CLASSICAL OPUS no.62

Anton Webern – “String Quartet op.28”

アントン・ウェーベルン –  「弦楽四重奏op.28」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 15 minutes

The expressionist quartet’s nocturnal scraps germinate and burgeon, then imperceptibly whittle down in curvilinear fashion.  Webern’s serialist repetitions initially stem from an anarchic chromatic core, but are later reversed and further superimposed.  This was done long before studio multi-tracking durably changed our reception of musical textures.

 

MUSIC

Opus 28:

(a much earlier) Opus 20:

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_Quartet_(Webern)

 

A REFLECTION

Eye’s roundness between the bars

Vibratile monad eyelid

Propels itself upward, releases a glance

Iris, swimmer, dreamless and dreary

The sky, heart-grey, must be near.

 

Paul Celan – “Language Mesh”

Published in: on October 29, 2018 at 5:03 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.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.79

Henry Cowell: “Ongaku”

ヘンリー・コーウェル: 「音楽」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 14 minutes

In a belated bow to Japonsime, Cowell masterfully assembles a toxic palette of shimmering komorebi, diverting in form (though not in spirit) from the flute- and drum-reliant canon of traditional gagaku music.  As the grandfather of tone clusters and polyharmonies, the composer excelled in metrical inventiveness – which was abundantly clear in his Persian pieces, but is less immediately observable here.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.naxos.com/mainsite/blurbs_reviews.asp?item_code=FECD-0003&catNum=FECD-0003&filetype=About%20this%20Recording&language=English

 

A REFLECTION

Softly, O softly we bear her along,

She hangs like a star in the dew of our song;

She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,

She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.

 

Sarojini Naidu: “Palanquin bearers”

 

 

Published in: on October 12, 2018 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.81

Miklos Rozsa: “Piano Sonata in A Minor”

ミクロス・ローザ – 「ピアノ・ソナタ・イン・Aマイナー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 6 minutes

This monochromatic and elegant sonata appears alternatively contemplative and cosmopolitan.  More directly lyrical than the other Hungarian greats of the past century, Rozsa is too often derided for his Hollywood scores.  He may, indeed, be bathing us in traditionalist tonality, but his romantic flare-ups are bold, honest and somewhat irreverent.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.cbcmusic.ca/posts/12261/forgotten-works-of-miklos-rozsa

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/the-double-life-of-miklos-rozsa/

 

A REFLECTION

I think it rains

That tongues may loosen from the parch

Uncleave roof-tops of

the mouth, hang

Heavy with knowledge

 

Wole Soyinka: “I Think It Rains”

Published in: on October 10, 2018 at 5:14 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.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.88

George Gershwin: “Porgy and Bess”

ジョージガーシュイン:「ポーギーとベス」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 22 minutes

The composer’s dedication to kinetic leitmotifs is subverted here with the nonchalance of the continent’s heatwaves.  Gershwin incorporates extemporization, ragtime and jazzy phrasing on an orchestral scale but delivers this ratatouille with an emphatically theatrical lethargy.

The classic ballad celebrates warmer days and is reprised in the second video by Kronos Quartet (from the 9th minute).  Alas, their strident statement makes use of a distinctively Texan vocabulary, extinguished by heroin overdose in 1970.

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

The wild bee reels from bough to bough

With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.

Now in a lily-cup, and now

Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,

In his wandering;

Sit closer love: it was here I trow

I made that vow.

 

Oscar Wilde: “Her Voice”

Published in: on October 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.89

Karol Szymanowski – “Violin Concerto no.1”

カロル  シマノウスキ – 「ヴァイオリン協奏曲第1番」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 30 minutes

With pre-dawn intensity, the concerto radiates with a promise of therapeutic metamorphosis.  Inebriated with the lyricism of the composer’s native flatlands, the narrative is lightly disturbed, but never saturated with soloing ornamentation.  But this could be attributable to Penderecki, il direttore in the performance presented here, who blunts the piercing romantic formalism and brings to the fore the unity between the violin and the orchestra.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_Concerto_No._1_(Szymanowski)

 

A REFLECTION

A pity. We were such a good

And loving invention.

An aeroplane made from a man and wife.

Wings and everything.

We hovered a little above the earth.

 

We even flew a little.

 

Yehuda Amichai: “A Pity”

Published in: on October 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.91

 

Dmitri Shostakovich – “Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano”

ドミトリ・ショスタコーヴィチ – 「2つのヴァイオリンとピアノのための5つの作品」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 11 minutes

Abandoned, husky and rumbling, this collection exposes head-on clashes between deceptively banal melodicism and strident scraps of what hostile Soviet critics dubbed ‘formalism’.  Mysteriously, it’s his outings into dissonance that prove most deeply affective and almost pungent with bereavement.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://www.earsense.org/article/?id=3080

 

A REFLECTION

Falling is the constant mate of fear,

And feel of emptiness is the feel of fright.

Who throws us the stones from the height —

And stones here refuse the dust to bear?

 

Osip Mandelshtam: “Falling is the constant mate of fear”

 

Published in: on September 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment