CLASSICAL OPUS no.15

Domenico Scarlatti – “Sonata in D Minor k141”

ドメニコ・スカラッティ – 「ソナタのDマイナーk141」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 minutes

This intense rococo carousel of swirling torrents leaves a trail of stubborn aftershocks.  And yet, we crave for more.  Luckily this is only one of this composer’s 555 keyboard sonatas.  Just imagine his lightning harpsichord speed competition with Haendel, the other eminent expatriate of that era.  But while Haendel peddled his fare to England, Scarlatti departed for Portugal.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.e-musicmaestro.com/members/resources/view/97

 

A REFLECTION

The startling reality of things

Is my discovery every single day

Everything is what it is

And it’s hard to explain to anyone how much this delights me

And suffices me

 

Fernando Pessoa: “The Startling Reality”

 

Published in: on December 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.16

Erik Satie: “Airs à faire fuire”

エリック・サティー:「逃走する空気」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

Mysteriously ascetic and speculative, this short form is also astonishingly resilient in repeated mood resets.  Less plaintive than Satie’s other compositions, it oscillates along the gravitational structure of louder passages, only to explore the netherland of quieter introspections.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi%C3%A8ces_froides

 

A REFLECTION

And yet whiteness

can be best described by greyness

a bird by a stone

sunflowers

in December

 

Tadeusz Ròzewicz: “A Sketch for a Modern Love Poem”

 

Published in: on December 15, 2018 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.17

Sergei Prokofiev – “Suite from Love for Three Oranges”

セルゲイ・プロコフィエフ – 「三つのオレンジへの恋からのスイート」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2 minutes

Prokofiev offers here a soaring, freakout cortège of highly animated colossi.  He excels in grotesque, scurrilous treatment of the progression, laden with volatile brass-band style toxicity.  The diatonic genius, who died in Moscow on the same day as Stalin, suffered from the commercial failure of this piece, which was composed while he still lived in the US.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Love_for_Three_Oranges

 

A REFLECTION

Why am I without joy,

achieving everything,

but grasping

nothing at all?

 

Yevgeni Yevtushenko: “Tomorrow’s Wind”

Published in: on December 14, 2018 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.18

Georg Frideric Haendel: “Sarabande (4th mvmt from Suite in D Minor)”

ゲオルグ・フリードリヒ・ヘンデル:「サラバンデ(第4楽章)スイート・ディ・マイナー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2 minutes

Misanthropic, inertial and ponderous, the fleeting epitaph engraves its farewell lines with elegiac fluency.  This least florid and most forthright of all baroque greats was unparalleled in generating tormented, dramatic harmonies.  In 1975, the intricately interwoven choppiness of this segment was immortalized in Stanley Kubrick’s sunset-lit historical drama, to immense effect.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_suite_in_D_minor_(HWV_437)

 

A REFLECTION

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses

your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its

heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the

daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem

less wondrous than your joy;

 

Kahlil Gibran: “On Pain”

Published in: on December 13, 2018 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.19

Olivier Messiaen: “Turangalila Symphonie”

オリヴィエ・メシアン:「トゥランガラの交響曲」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 79 minutes

This glorious epitome of asymmetry is intimidating and, at first hearing, rather undecipherable.  And hence, highly rewarding.  The archivist of avian sound departed here to explore revolutionary use of reverb, percussive exoticism and Ondes Martenot.  Some modernism has lost nothing beyond its -ism.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turangal%C3%AEla-Symphonie

 

A REFLECTION

Get ready for the action of the geyser of our blood

-submarine formation of transchromatic aeroplanes,

cellular metals numbered in

the flight of images.

 

Tristan Tzara: “Proclamation without Pretension”

Published in: on December 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.20

Johannes Brahms: “3rd Movement of the 3rd Symphony in F major”

ヨハネス・ブラームス:「第3回交響曲第3楽章主題歌」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 6 minutes

This soothing, somnambulant melodrama seems ruminating but is devoid of the era’s ubiquitous fatalism.  It contains one of the most addictive allegrettos, a deceptive ear-worm (“Ohrwurm”), as we say in German.  Its skeleton is essentially a vacillating valse and the French horns under Bernstein are dizzyingly engrossing.

In the second video, Jane Birkin bravely realizes the movement’s poppy potential.  It confirms that you can pull it off without a properly schooled voice (and in a foreign language).  Now, why dontcha try it yourself?

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._3_(Brahms)

 

A REFLECTION

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,

Dark, benighted, travel-worn,

Over many a tangled spray,

All heart-broke, I heard her say:

‘O my children! do they cry,

Do they hear their father sigh?

Now they look abroad to see,

Now return and weep for me.’

 

William Blake: “A Dream”

Published in: on December 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.21

Edvard Grieg – “Peer Gynt suite 1 and 2 op.46”

エドヴァルド・グリーグ  「ペール・ギュント・ スイート1と2 op.46」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 33 minutes

This ‘Lord of the Rings’ avant la lettre, runs the gamut from deviant zombie dances to misty sleepiness.  The perfumed, emotive suites stem from incidental music to a theater performance, a half-forgotten genre which vanished as quickly as it emerged.  The second video sports only the totemic “Hall of the Mountain King”.

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_Gynt_(Grieg)

 

A REFLECTION

In summer dusk the valley lies

With far-flung shadow veil;

A cloud-sea laps the precipice

Before the evening gale.

 

Henrik Ibsen: “Mountain Life”

Published in: on December 10, 2018 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.22

Modest Mussorgsky: “Pictures at an Exhibition”

モデスト ムソルグスキー:「展覧会での絵」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 34 minutes

This palatial, raw, multifarious composition essentially forms a catchy song cycle of a vaguely folksy resonance.  It is unmistakably Russian but remains original in its self-styled collection of pastoral themes.  Kissin in the original version may awe, but the Ravelian orchestration of the piece (here recorded from Japanese TV) is highly recommended.   Note the wake-up clarion used to replace the right-hand intro in “Promenade”.

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictures_at_an_Exhibition

 

A REFLECTION

Because it is so very clear,

It takes longer to come to the realization.

If you know at once candlelight is fire,

The meal has long been cooked.

 

“The Gateless Gate” (koan)

Published in: on December 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.23

Gabriel Fauré: “La Sicilienne op.78”

ガブリエル・フォーレ:「シチリアオペラ78」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

This introspective and inconsolable lullaby adsorbs layer by layer as a carefully balanced, subliminal chamber piece.  The asymmetric dialogue places a crooning cello in piano’s collateral embrace.  The result is perennially subtle, creaky and slow, just as the means of transportation were in the composer’s era.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicilienne_(Faur%C3%A9)

 

A REFLECTION

Eyes, are you not aware,

When eager to admire

Her face so soft and fair,

You are as wax in fire,

As snow in sun? Unless you have a care

Certes you’ll melt away.

 

Ludovico Ariosto: “Madrigal 1”

Published in: on December 8, 2018 at 4:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.24

Toshiro Mayuzumi: “Nirvana Symphony”

黛敏郎 – 「ニルヴァーナ交響曲」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 37 minutes

These disquieting, razor-sharp and flamelike mantras roast uncomfortably in claustrophobic caverns. The composer exposes the vestiges of his country’s heterophonic tradition with precise interplay between the basic structure and simultaneous ornamentation.  For the brave only.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

http://www.jerretanner.com/blogs/2015/6/1/toshiro-mayuzumi-1929-1997-nirvana-symphony

 

A REFLECTION

As autumn mountains

Tinged with scarlet were you, maiden,

A pliable bamboo,

Supply bending, lady,

Of what

Were you thinking?

 

Man’yoshu (by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro): Waka “mys ii: 217”

Published in: on December 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment