CLASSICAL OPUS no.47

Maurice Ravel: “Boléro”

モーリス・ラヴェル:「ボレロ」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 15 minutes

Jaded, as we are, by the familiarity with this piece, we should, for once, detect the composer’s full panoply of flippant, carnavalesque whim – executed on strings played alternatively portato, jeté, secco.  Nor should it be missed how this modernist archbishop of orchestral color augmented Western rhythmic vocabulary with his newfangled approach to percussion.   Alas, not everyone likes this conductor.  Or his toothpick, for that matter.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.classicalmpr.org/story/2016/12/05/ravel-bolero

 

A REFLECTION

The moon now rises to her absolute rule,

And the husbandman and hunter

Acknowledge her for their mistress.

Asters and golden reign in the fields

And the life everlasting withers not.

 

Henry David Thoreau: “The Moon Now Rises to Her Absolute Rule”

Published in: on November 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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

 

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.66

Georges Bizet: “Arlesienne Suite no.1 and no.2”

ジョルジュ・ビゼー:「アーレジアンスイート1号と2号」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 37 minutes

This magical rêverie for strings is seamlessly interlocked with minuet-like intermezzos.  The second part shines with its cinderblock, huffy and anguished first movement.  Almost subversively, it remains planted in our memory.  For true aficionados, we have here both no.1 and no.2 performed by Nathalie Stutzmann, but also a short fragment (“Farandole”) from no.2, under the direction of Herbert von Karajan.

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Arl%C3%A9sienne_(Bizet)

 

A REFLECTION

In misfortune, friends increase.

You who enter, leave all despair.

Goodness, your name is man.

It is here that the wisdom of the nations remains.

 

Comte de Lautreamont Isidore Ducasse: “Poésies II”

Published in: on October 25, 2018 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.68

Jean-Philippe Rameau: “Le rappel des oiseaux”

ジーン・フィリップ・ラモー:「鳥の呼び声」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2×3 minutes

We are instantly inebriated with the speed at which these cascades of notes flocculate, pollinate and reinject themselves relentlessly into the advancing theme.  Accused by his compatriots of being ‘italianate’, Rameau subverted with such kamikaze speed the established complexity of gallant productions that prevailed in the grand wig era.  Intriguingly, I find the version for guitar duo much less hectic.  The celebrated, somewhat gritty, earthy transcription for two saxophones (by Goebbels and Harth) falls somewhere in between.

 

MUSIC

 

 

 

INFO

http://thunderswallow.blogspot.com/2015/05/rameau-le-rappel-des-oiseaux.html

 

A REFLECTION

In the same way that a fresh, red rose shows its petals to the sun,

so this female eagle blushed when she heard all this.

She gave no answer, neither a ‘yes’ nor a ‘no’, she was so taken aback, until Nature said:

‘Daughter, there’s nothing to be frightened of, I assure you.’

 

Geoffrey Chaucer: “Parliament of Fowls”

Published in: on October 23, 2018 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.71

Deodat de Séverac – “Tantum Ergo”

デオダ・ド・セヴラック – 「だけにして」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 minutes

Enchantingly vertical, stylized as a soaring, almost astral invocation, this meditative motet strays closer to impressionism’s household names than to formal traditionalists.  The composer drew heavily upon rural traditions of southern France, which goes some way towards explaining the a-formal structuring of his works.  The Dutch recording here sadly sports only stills, but boasts better sound than other versions available online.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dw.asp?dc=W14_GBAJY9366913

 

A REFLECTION

You are the space

That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.

Away from you it sinks into the abyss

Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.

 

Edith Stein: “A Poem”

 

Published in: on October 20, 2018 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.77

 

Josquin Des Prez – “Missa pangue lingua”

ジョスキン・デ・プレッツ – 「ミサ・パンゲ・リンガ」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 minutes

This jubilant prayer is based on Thomas Aquinas’ “Feast of Corpus Christi” which, unlike his printed works, survived as a manuscript.  The sublime invocation is resplendent in its multilinearity.  It urges to proclaim the divine glory, with a perfect union between the signifier and the signified.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Hear, Shepherd Thou who for Thy flock art dying

Oh wash away these scarlet sins, for Thou

Rejoicest at the contrite sinner’s vow

Oh wait! to Thee my weary soul is crying.

 

Lope de Vega: “The Good Shepherd”

 

Published in: on October 14, 2018 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.78

Maurice Ravel: “Piano Concerto in G major”

モーリス・ラヴェル: 「ピアノ協奏曲/ Gメジャー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 33 minutes

The complex interplay of surprisingly plebeian, flabby woodwinds holds the concerto together in drowsily pictorial passages.  However, once you have pierced through this deftly constructed moment of synesthesia, you will find that flutes and violin remain in a pole position to converse with the piano, upending the structural constraints of classical formalism.   The great Martha Argerich steers us through the journey.

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Concerto_(Ravel)

 

A REFLECTION

I have built a house in the middle of the Ocean

Its windows are the rivers flowing from my eyes

Octopi are crawling all over where the walls

Hear their triple hearts beat and their beaks peck against the windowpanes

 

House of dampness

House of burning

Season’s fastness

Season singing

 

Guillaume Apollinaire: “Ocean of Earth” (to Giorgio di Chirico)

Published in: on October 13, 2018 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.87

Claude Debussy: “Golliwogg’s Cakewalk”

クロード・ドビュッシー:「ゴリウォークのケークウォーク」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 minutes

Debussy (and Satie) apparently heard ragtime at 1900 Paris Exposition, courtesy John Phiilp Sousa’s syncopated marches.  Debussy flashes here figments of a gypsy rag, letting it jolt and thump.  Apparently the 2nd video captures the sound re-enacted from the composer’s original 1913 paper roll recording.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Corner

 

A REFLECTION

K for the Klondyke, a Country of Gold,

Where the winters are often excessively cold;

Where the lawn every morning is covered with rime,

And skating continues for years at a time.

Do you think that a Climate can conquer the grit

Of the Sons of the West? Not a bit! Not a bit!

 

Hilaire Belloc: “From a Moral Alphabet”

Published in: on October 4, 2018 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no. 99

Darius Milhaud – Elegie pour piano et violoncelle, op.251

ダライアス ミルホード – – ピアノとチェロのためのエレジー、op.251

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

This elegant, dusky threnody showcases fibrous cello verses, warmly endorsed by heartfelt keyboard touches.  It successfully conceals trans-Atlantic eclecticism that this ultra-prolific composer often betrayed and eventually bequeathed – also to his American students: Steve Reich and Dave Brubeck.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

(I know, it’s not much, but if you are truly hungry, here’s the beef):

https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-00825871/file/these_cortot_pierre_2003.pdf

 

A REFLECTION

Out of this world, we’re on our way:

Our greetings to those who will stay.

We send all our greetings to those

Who give us their blessings and pray.

 

Yunus Emre “Poems”

Published in: on September 22, 2018 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment