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.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.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.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.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.93

Jean Sibelius: “Valse triste”

ジーン・シベリウス:「悲しいワルツ」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 5 minutes

Delicate and musing in its fidgety, doomed forays into the most nocturnal of waltzes, the composition flourishes unexpectedly with a series of unsettling, dynamics jolts.  Initially dark and austere, it swells seamlessly and climaxes with emblematic intensity before reclining for the final repose.  This symbolic chiaroscuro was handed down by one of the last of exponents of musical nationalism (in the Finnish case – anti Russian).

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valse_triste_(Sibelius)

 

A REFLECTION

When sorrow fades

Come the memories,

And each of them

Hurts uniquely.

 

Eeva Kilpi: “When Sorrow Fades”

 

Published in: on September 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment