CLASSICAL OPUS no.69

Joaquin Rodrigo: “Concierto de Aranjuez”

ホアキン・ロドリゴ: 「アランフェスのコンサート」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 27 minutes

Everything in this composer’s art is visual.  He indulges in additive, ochre patterns, overlaid with multiple lattices of light, watercolor strokes.  The title acknowledges gossamer praises to the Royal abode’s yesteryear glory.  Familiar as the theme rings, this instant classic was penned full 30 years after Albeniz had brought back Iberian music to Europe’s heartland.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Has my heart gone to sleep?

Have the beehives of my dreams

stopped working, the waterwheel

of the mind run dry,

scoops turning empty,

only shadow inside?

 

Antonio Machado: “Has My Heart Gone to Sleep?”

 

Published in: on October 22, 2018 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.70

Tomaso Albinoni (?): “Adagio in G Minor”

トマソ・アルビノーニ:「アダリオ・イン・G  マイナー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 9 minutes

This dramatized, almost illogically poignant passage exudes deep sorrow only to hug us with its tuneful consolation.  Albinoni bequeathed a three-movement, fast-slow-fast concerto structure and is also considered the Godfather of oboe concertos.  But this professionally unattached Venetian dilettante may have never seen this Adagio as we know it today.  The score was allegedly reconstructed from Dresden’s ruins by Remo Giazotto.  Hopefully for fraud lovers, this is closer to an okapi than to a unicorn.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Don’t worry about watering the flowers—

In fact, don’t plant them.

You will have gone back home before they bloom,

And who will want them?

 

Bertold Brecht: “On the Term of Exile”

Published in: on October 21, 2018 at 3:24 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.72

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Rondo alla Turca”

ヴォルフガング・アマデウス・モーツァルト:「トルコ行進曲」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 3 minutes

Rallying and throbbing, lashing and oniric, this excerpt remains one of the homo sapiens’ biggest Schlager ever.  But its historical pedigree is intriguing.  Turkish military marching bands were popular salon curiosities, as formerly scary things often are.  After all, this piece was most likely penned in Vienna, exactly 100 years after the city’s last, unsuccessful siege by the Ottomans.  If we discount Jean-Philippe Rameau’s colorful titles, the “Rondo” could also count as the preface to orientalism in Occidental Music.  Here, we invert the trick, presenting the piano-less Japanese version, which seems less shamelessly percussive than the ubiquitous keyboard performances dished out by Westerners.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_Sonata_No._11_(Mozart)

 

A REFLECTION

I sought the tavern at the break of day,

Though half the world was still asleep in bed;

The harp and flute were up and in full swing,

And a most pleasant morning sound made they.

 

Khwāja Šamsu d-Dīn Muḥammad Hāfez-e Šīrāzī: “Ode 487” also known as “With last night’s wine still singing in my head”

Published in: on October 19, 2018 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.73

Richard Strauss: “Metamorphosen”

リチャード・シュトラウス:「変身」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 26 minutes

Icy, audacious and highly tensile, this string enigma is perplexing: musicians’ warped parts appear to compete for tangible audibility.  Strauss, whose tone poem endings puzzled audiences, is usually remembered as a deconstructive innovator but he also relished obsessively traditional virtuosity.  Despite such formally irreconcilable ingredients, he emerged successful from most attempts to match them.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://csosoundsandstories.org/strauss-reflecting-on-his-artistic-life-in-metamorphosen/

 

A REFLECTION

Losing too is still ours; and even forgetting

still has a shape in the kingdom of transformation.

When something’s let go of, it circles; and though we are

rarely the center

of the circle, it draws around us its unbroken, marvelous

curve.

 

Rainer Maria Rilke: “Losing”

 

Published in: on October 18, 2018 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.74

Manuel de Falla: “Serenata Andaluza”

マヌエル・デ・ファーガ:「セレナタ・アンダルツァ」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 5 minutes

De Falla, fêted for bringing the guitaristic idiom into classical music, went far beyond tempting, cheap folklore residues.  His work captures the southwestern light, charming and hallucinatory in its power to evoke hitherto unheralded thematics.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

The moon is dead dead

— it will come back to life in the spring

 

when a south wind

ruffles the brow of the poplars

 

when our hearts yield their harvest of sighs

 

when the roofs wear their grass hats

 

The moon is dead dead

— it will come back to life in the spring

 

Federico Garcìa Lorca “Two Evening Moons”

 

 

Published in: on October 17, 2018 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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.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.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