CLASSICAL OPUS no.75

Johannes Brahms: “Hungarian Dance, no.5”

ヨハネス・ブラームス:「ハンガリー・ダンス、第5番」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

Jumpy and brightly chromatic, this was Brahms’ classic Viennese piece, almost contemporaneous with Johann Strauss’ all-time greatest hit – “An der schönen, blauen Donau”.  But where Strauss remains stately and imperial, Brahms will even dabble with fiery czardas.  This spicy bacchanalia is served with incandescent infectiousness.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Dances_(Brahms)

 

A REFLECTION

laugh as the sea laughs, the wind laughs,

without the laughter sounding like broken glass;

drink and in drunkenness grab life,

dance the dance without losing the step,

touch the hand of a stranger

in a day of stone and agony

 

Octavio Paz: “Simple life”

 

Published in: on October 16, 2018 at 4:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.80

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – “Symphony no.40, 1st movement in G minor”

ヴォルフガング・アマデウス・モーツァルト – 「交響曲第40番、第1楽章のGマイナー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 31 minutes

Originally composed in separate segments, this zenith of 18th century orchestration relies on dynamic crescendos, unpredictable emotionalism of the home key (G minor) and head-on confrontation between competing melodies.  Canonical and totemic in its closing euphoria, it remains potent as ever.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._40_(Mozart)

 

A REFLECTION

A splendid night it was . . . .

In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed,

But at last drunkenness overtook us;

And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain,

The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet.

 

Li Po: “A Mountain Revelry”

Published in: on October 11, 2018 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.83

Robert Schumann – “Kinderszenen, op.15”

ロバートシューマン –  「子供の情景、オーパス15番」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 18 minutes

This ultimate miniaturist was frequently inspired by literature.  In this vignette, he was evidently seeking  – and finding – humor, adventure, quest for the unusual, yet he appears to be diving into the inward reaches of an adult, rather than children’s, life.  The “Scenes” are crafty, perfectly rounded between dissolute shrapnels and more nimble passages.  To this day, musicologists discuss the significance of the unusual tempo changes.  Was Schumann’s metronome really broken?

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Hush, be still. Outer space

Is a concept, not a place.

Try no more. Where we are

Never can be sky or star.

From prison, in a prison, we fly;

There’s no way into the sky.

 

C.S.Lewis: “Science-Fiction Cradlesong”

Published in: on October 8, 2018 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.85

Josef Matthias Hauer – “Zwölftonspiel für Klavier”

ヨセフ・マティアス・ハウアー – 「12音色のピアノ演奏」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

Hauer’s hesitant, halting permutations doggedly evade tonality by breaking through the molded walls of chromatic scales.  Like an ephemeral cluster of raindrops, this soliloquy warbles mostly in the middle-key range.  If CPE Bach demanded that consonances be played softly, here they flee as if embarrassed by their own obsolescence.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://continuo.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/josef-matthias-hauer-das-zwolftonspiel/

 

A REFLECTION

Something pale wakes up in a suffocating room.

The eyes

of the stony old woman

shine, two moons.

 

Georg Trakl “Birth”

Published in: on October 6, 2018 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.90

Johannes Sebastian Bach: “English Suite no.2 in A Minor”

ヨハネス・セバスチャン・バッハ:「英語の第2番の小曲」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 24 minutes

 

Stout and vehemently didactic, the suite enraptures us with its mechanical perfectness.  A rich variety of tone qualities lands on the keyboard, initially with little in the way of percussive decisiveness.  This is unusual for a baroque piece, but the style will change completely for the bourée, at 17th minute mark.  Originally written for harpsichord, here it is performed by Ivo Pogorelic, the pianistic enfant terrible of the early 1980s.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Suites_(Bach)

 

A REFLECTION

In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.

Speech is born out of longing,

True description from the real taste.

The one who tastes, knows;

the one who explains, lies.

 

Rabia al Adawiyya (Rabiʿa al-Basri): “Reality”

Published in: on October 1, 2018 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.96

Gustav Mahler – “Adagietto from 5th symphony, part III, 4th mvmt”

グスタフ・マーラー – 「第5交響曲のアダジエート、パートIII、第4楽章」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 11 minutes

Buoyant but rueful, hummable and redemptive, this fragment is scored for strings and harp only. Mahler’s palette shines with web-like contours and his aficionados bicker over who best gives it justice: von Karajan, Klemperer or Bernstein.  But his 5th Symphony is also irredeemably cross-textual, equipped with a Wagnerian quote, impregnated with Thomas Mann’s inspiration and immortalized by Luchino Visconti’s ultimate fresco.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6926092

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._5_(Mahler)

 

A REFLECTION

When a sighing begins

In the violins

Of the autumn-song,

My heart is drowned

In the slow sound

Languorous and long

 

Paul Verlaine: “Autumn song”

Published in: on September 25, 2018 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.97

Johannes Brahms – “Symphony 4 in E Minor”

ヨハネス・ブラームス – 「交響曲4 in Eマイナー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 45 minutes

The unmistakable allegretto opening inebriates us with its festive, reckless triumphalism.  The swirling orchestral architecture then carries us forward, but it’s the 4th movement – with its obsessive bass figures of a baroque-like passacaglia – that makes the last 12 minutes memorable.  Overshadowed by Mahler’s formal breakthroughs, Brahms was often accused of conservatism (or mis-timed revivalism?) yet remained influential among later modernists.  Leonard Bernstein’s commentary in the second video is an absolute delight.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

 

 

A REFLECTION

Flying past the wind and wave

Fleeing time, who will stop it?

You enjoy it in the moment

And off, running, in haste, now

 

Johann Gottfried von Herder: “Song of Life”

Published in: on September 24, 2018 at 7:03 pm  Leave a Comment