CLASSICAL OPUS no.58

Aram Khachaturian: “Sabre Dance”

アラム ハチャトゥリアン: 「セイバーダンス」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2 minutes

This evidently begs for a speed ticket.  It is convulsive, manic, almost psychotic and yet tantalizingly infectious, not least in its use of marimbaphones.  How fitting for the Transcaucasian exoticism of hardy, unpredictable mountain dwellers, softened here somewhat by Seiji Ozawa’s exceptionally graceful baton.  Few remember that this bagatelle originates from the final act of a ballet entitled “Gayane”.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Listen,

if stars are lit

it means – there is someone who needs it.

It means – someone wants them to be,

that someone deems those specks of spit

magnificent.

 

Vladimir Mayakovsky: “Listen”

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.59

Alexander Scriabin: “Etude no.12 in D sharp”

アレキサンダー・スクリャービン:「Dシャープでエチュード12」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 minutes

This study of extremes runs the gamut from catatonic to heroic.  Emotional, defiant and heterodox, the progression is marchlike and turbulent.  Coming from a harmonic innovator and supporter of multimedia shows this ‘clenched fist’ approach should not come as a surprise.  The juxtaposition of such intentions with Horowitz’s finesse always does.  And who else can calm the fury resonating through entire body of the instrument with one gentle stroke of a pinkie?

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tude_in_D-sharp_minor,_Op._8,_No._12_(Scriabin)

 

A REFLECTION

Once three pathways, broad and wide,

Met upon the plain;

Into foreign parts, three brothers

Set out from Ukraine.

And they left an aged mother,

And one left a wife,

One a sister, and the youngest

Left his chosen bride.

 

Taras Shevchenko “The three pathways”

Published in: on November 1, 2018 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.64

Mily Balakiriev: “Islamey”

ミリー・バラキリエフ「イスラミー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 8 minutes

Balakiriev, the guiding spirit behind the “Mighty Handful” grouping, leaves behind trancelike ribbons of extravagant, tribal neuroticism.  He never quite fulfilled the promise encapsulated in the hazy orientalism of this piece.  And yet, his influence was enduring, during the Empire and beyond, in Soviet periphery.  Just listen to Mustafa Zadeh’s smoky jazz piece in the second video.  Despite valid claims to mugham heritage, isn’t this Azeri artist’s work just another twist on Balakiriev pioneering work?

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

For some we loved, the loveliest and the best

That from His vintage rolling Time hath pressed,

Have drunk the Cup a round or two before,

And one by one crept silently to rest.

 

Omar Khayyam: “For some we loved”

 

Published in: on October 27, 2018 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.67

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: “Le vol du bourdon”

ニコライ・リムスキー=コルサコフ:「バブルバーンの飛翔」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2 minutes

Virtuosic, incisive, punchy, muscular and intrepid, this cuddly interlude literally swamps us with its debonair winks.  This celebrated composer, mentor to Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and vintage Stravinsky, is often quoted as comfortably reveling in the juxtaposition of “feminine” orientalism and occidental masculinity.  Buf if that sounds like virile Kozaks’ unstoppable Drang nach Osten, whence the prototypical levity that buzzes around this piece?  Either way, no insecticide is required.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

It may indeed be fantasy when I

Essay to draw from all created things

Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings;

And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie

Lessons of love and earnest piety.

So let it be; and if the wide world rings

In mock of this belief, it brings

Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.

So will I build my altar in the fields,

 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “To Nature”

Published in: on October 24, 2018 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.76

Mikhail Glinka: “Ouverture to Ruslan & Ludmila”

ミハイル・グリンカ:「ルスランとルドミラの序曲」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 4 minutes

This seductive opening literally explodes with ceremonial power.  As it advances at frantic pace, the opera will repeatedly bristle with eruptive potential, but this volcanic energy should not distract from the composer’s dilemma.  Glinka’s oeuvre remained didactically syncretic.  Although he drew profusely on traditionally logorrheic folk songs of the Eastern plains (instrumental music was long frowned upon and even formally opposed by the Orthodox Church), he made his mark as the pioneer of Western forms in Russian music.  For this great musical nation, it all started here.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruslan_and_Lyudmila_(opera)

 

A REFLECTION

You listen to the peal of distant thunder

The rumbling voice of violent waves and storm

And hear the village shepherd’s lonely cry

And then you send your answer

But hear no echo, there is no reply

This also, poet, is your nature

 

Aleksandr Pushkin: “Echo”

Published in: on October 15, 2018 at 5:32 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