CLASSICAL OPUS no.48

Erik Satie: “Vexations”

エリックサティ:「愁傷」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 63 minutes

We are invited on a damp pilgrimage to the netherworlds of confused apathy.  Texturally brilliant despite its deceptive monotony, the composition relies on an industrious bass theme with chords overlaid above it.  It’s a surrealist journey, deambulating eerily cobbled streets emptied of hooves’ misty echo.  As unreal as the stench of horses’ dung, long swept away.

 

MUSIC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTgoVcP3YDs

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Mr artist

Builds a world

Not from atoms

But from remnants

 

Zbigniew Herbert: “Nothing Special”

Published in: on November 12, 2018 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.49

Modest Mussorgsky: “Night on a Bald Mountain”

モデスト・ムソルグスキー「禿げた山の夜」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 14 minutes

This monstrous, apocalyptic, calamitous drama sparkles with contorted, spine-chilling visions.  The delirious opening soon ferments into a backwood mystery which is punctuated by fervent climaxes, but never ultimately resolved.  Il grande Claudio Abbado graces us here with wazoos full of heavy percussion that he seemed to relish over the brass dynamo.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

The tired choir of stars calms down, yet.

Night goes away with apprehension.

There you descent from far hills in sunset.

I craved for you. To you my spirit’s spread.

You’re my salvation!

 

Aleksandr Blok: “I Seek Salvation”

 

Published in: on November 11, 2018 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.50

 

Samuel Barber – “Adagio for Strings (Agnus Dei)”

サミュエル・バーバー – 「弦楽器のアガジオ・(アグナス・デイ)」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 8 minutes

Barber’s lacrymogenous tenebrism reverberates with bottomless anguish.  This latterday master of soaring vocal and choral works plunges us into cheerlessly elegiac veils until we reach transcendence in stagnant, cavernous candlelight.  Once it is finished, I recommend three minutes of complete silence and several deep breaths.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Out of the day and night

A joy has taken flight;

Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar,

Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight

No more—Oh, never more!

 

Percy B. Shelley: “A Lament”

Published in: on November 10, 2018 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.51

Richard Wagner: “Walkürenritt”

リチャード・ワグナー:「バルキリーライド」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 5 minutes

This timelessly climactic delirium of awe-inspiring mythomania suffocates listeners with its programmatic, slippery angst.  For this Minotaur of Romanticism, the musical fabric and leitmotif analysis became eponymous for the eventually futile quest of a “complete” artwork.  But myth, desire, sensuality and destiny were all convulsed in the historical – and artistic – trajectory of Germany’s 19th century rise.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

 

A REFLECTION

Over all the hills now

Repose

In all the trees now

Shows

Barely a breath.  Birds are through

That sang in their wood to the west

Only wait, traveler.  Rest

Soon for you too.

 

Wolfgang Goethe: “Song of the Traveler at Evening”

Published in: on November 9, 2018 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.52

Johannes Sebastian Bach: “Toccata & Fugue in D minor”

ヨハネス・セバスチャン・バッハ:「トッカータ&フーガ・イン・Dマイナー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 8 minutes

This apotheosis of pipe organ’s ferocity is not only stately, aggressive, vivacious or fiery.  It combines interlacing melody lines through Bach’s signature counterpoints, even though this piece appears more linear than most of his famed bequest.  It is, however, invariably virtuosic and improvisatory, with the toccata part substituting for a prelude to the fugue.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toccata_and_Fugue_in_D_minor,_BWV_565

 

A REFLECTION

Keenly, without blinking, through pallid, stray

clouds, upon the child in the manger, from far away—

from the depth of the universe, from its opposite end—the star

was looking into the cave. And that was the Father’s stare.

 

Josip Brodsky: “Star of the Nativity”

Published in: on November 8, 2018 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.53

Claudio Monteverdi: “Lettera amorosa”

クラウディオ・モンテヴェルディ:「ラブレター」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

We owe to him the introduction to contrasts in music – texture, timbre and (later) tempo – all with a dose of healthy unpredictability.  While essentially maintaining the structure of a song, the composer sought a wider range of emotional expression, mining the potential of color in vocal rendition.  After all, doesn’t human voice possess more intrinsic emotional quality than any man-made instrument?  Some results may have been inconclusive, others sound ultramodern even today.  Regardless of the final verdict, Monteverdi left behind many resplendent, hallucinatory canticles.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://cappellamediterranea.com/fr/productions/22-monteverdi-a-voce-sola

 

A REFLECTION

I choose to love you in silence

For in silence I find no rejection

I choose to love you in loneliness

For in loneliness

No one owns you but me

 

Rumi: “I Chose to Love You in Silence”

Published in: on November 7, 2018 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.54

 

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: “1st Concerto for Piano in Bb minor”

ピョートル・イリッヒ・チャイコフスキー:「Bbマイナーでピアノのための第1コンチェルト」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 34 minutes

The concerto is excruciatingly predictable in the way orchestral pathos relaunches keyboard’s sprightly, sizzling extravanganzas.  And yet, the proceeding is so effective!  The lighter passages feel as if they were lifted from Tchaikovsky’s floating ballets, while the ‘heavier’ moments act as metaphors of the composer’s sombre fatalism.

The material shown here is by Geneva’s venerable orchestra, starring Marta Argerich, but this is but a substitute for the eminent von Karajan & Kissin version, with three generations that separated them at the time of the recording.  Alas, Berliner Philharmoniker have taken an axe to their Youtube archives and it is gone, for now.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_No._1_(Tchaikovsky)

 

A REFLECTION

O who can ever praise enough

The World of his belief?

Harum-scarum childhood plays

In the meadows near his home

In his woods Love knows no wrong

Travelers ride their placid ways

In the cool shade of the tomb

Age’s trusting footfalls ring

O Who can paint the vivid tree

And grass of phantasy?

 

W.H.Auden: “Poem” (1937)

Published in: on November 6, 2018 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.55

Ludwig van Beethoven: “Für Elise”

ルートヴィヒ・ヴァン・ベートーヴェン:「エリーゼのために」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

Elemental and full of contrasts – programmatic but passionate, iconic in form and yet epicurean in appetite – this canon of piano teaching has also gained a (largely superfluous) orchestral version.  What’s more unexpected is that “Für Elise” was this radical innovator’s mid-period piece.  If dated properly, it underscores the composer’s dizzying versatility – coinciding with his heroic pieces and the gradual loss of hearing.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%BCr_Elise

 

A REFLECTION

Like the stamen inside a flower

The steeple stands in lovely blue

And the day unfolds around its needle;

The flock of swallows that circles the steeple

Flies there each day through the same blue air

That carries their cries from me to you.

 

Friedrich Hölderlin: “Lovely Blue”

 

Published in: on November 5, 2018 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.56

 

Alexander Borodin: “Polovtsan Dances from ‘Knyaz Igor’”

アレクサンダー・ボロディン:「イゴール王子のポロフツァン・ダンス」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 12 minutes

This matinal excerpt serves us pagan, shamanic, or downright deranged ritualism.  Based on medieval epic it quickly subverts traditional canons of instrumentation.  The lightness of harp is transported from its Hellenic references towards Ural, woodwind greets the sunrise and the swing of the strings predates Hollywood classics.  This immaculate cuisine fills our palate until it’s relieved in the triumphal hustle.  Yes, the real deal begins from the 4th minute mark.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

And I matured in peace born of command,

in the nursery of the infant century,

and the voice of man was never dear to me,

but the breeze’s voice—that I could understand.

 

Anna Akhmatova: “Willow”

 

Published in: on November 4, 2018 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.57

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: “Solfeggietto in C minor”

カール・フィリップ・エマヌエル・バッハ:「Cマイナー ソルフェジゲート」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 1 minute

Ah, what a cyclically pedantic oscillator this is!  This flash flood of cascading notes literally submerges us with an unprecedented spontaneity.  Clearly, Johannes Sebastian’s “harpsichord” son moved away here from dad’s signature counterpoint, infusing instead a dose of emotionalism into his own trademark.  But many of us forget this, having heard this piece practiced countless times, emotionlessly, by a neighbor across the wall.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

There is nothing you can see that is not a flower

There is nothing that you can think that is not the moon

 

Basho (a haiku)

Published in: on November 3, 2018 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment