CLASSICAL OPUS no.42

Isaac Albeniz: “Asturias”

イサク・アルベニス:「アストゥリアス」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 6 minutes

The hasty, insolent, unnerving attacks are richly interspersed with pastoral vistas.  Feared as a challenging piece to play, this sonically nationalistic symbol ushered a century of European fascination with peninsular traditions.  Others would follow.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asturias_(Leyenda)

 

A REFLECTION

White cloud stained by the blood

of the sun piercing the earth to be born again

in another world of its kingdom. 

White as the cloud, the spray of heavens,

celestial cumulus which waters the earth.

 

Published in: on November 19, 2018 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.43

Ludwig van Beethoven: “9th symphony in D minor”

ルートヴィヒ・ヴァン・ベートーヴェン:「第9番交響曲第4番」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 93 minutes

This monumentally encyclopedic, spirited yet rigorous celebration almost annihilated the symphonic form.  The overwhelming, universal perfection of this piece was responsible for the desertification of extended orchestral forms in romanticism.  Luckily, it allows much freedom to maestros who indelibly stamp it with their individuality.  Hence two versions below.  First, the immortal Arturo Toscanini with his left-handed tribute to ambidextrous gentleness.  And then Leonard Bernstein, A.D. 1989, recorded it shortly before Bonn, Beethoven’s native city, lost its historical significance.

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._9_(Beethoven)

 

A REFLECTION

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,

God of glory, Lord of love;

Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,

Praising Thee their sun above.

 

Henry van Dyke: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

Published in: on November 18, 2018 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.44

Henry Purcell: “Rondeau”

ヘンリー・パーセル:「ロンドロー」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2 minutes

Centuries before his country modernized rock music with obsessive bass lines, Purcell utilized them in flamboyant court music, here performed with instruments d’époque.  He perfected the art of recurrence, often carrying the pieces to anti-climactic, cathartic aphasia.  His musical heritage dribbles with royal patronage, but England had to wait until the 20th century to become the musical center of the world.  It is then that Purcell’s influence re-emerged, not least for the vintage Michael Nyman (in the second video).

 

MUSIC

 

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,

Why dost thou thus,

Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?

Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?

 

John Donne: “The Sun Rising”

Published in: on November 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.45

Giuseppe Verdi: “Dies Irae”

ジュゼッペ・ヴェルディ:「ディラ・イレーエ」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 2 minutes

This wrathful, fiery and demoniac chant explodes with paroxysms of thunderous detonations.  Verdi subverted operatic conventions with his groundbreaking use of choruses and unprecedented vigor.  The toolkit was used, to great effect, in this memorial mass.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_(Verdi)

 

A REFLECTION

This solitary hill has always been dear to me

And this hedge, which prevents me from seeing most of the endless horizon

But when I sit and gaze, I imagine, in my thoughts

Endless spaces beyond the hedge

 

Giacomo Leopardi: “The Infinite”

Published in: on November 15, 2018 at 9:03 am  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.46

Igor Stravinsky: “Rites of Spring”

イゴール・ストラヴィンスキー:「春の儀式」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 10 minutes

Over a century later, this variegated, polycentric ballet still puzzles with its eternally adventurous miscellany of formal ecosystems.  We are in the realm of the ‘unreal’ or ‘near-real’.  The original, Parisian caste of the “Dancers of the Ballets Russes” A.D. 1913 also sported attire more commonly associated with the Baltic natives than Russia proper and even the composer’s source melodies were predominantly Lithuanian.  Disorderly ostinatos and persistent dissonance made dancers’ life impossible but remain a labyrinthine delight to any adventurous listener today.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

The water understands

Civilization well;

It wets my foot, but prettily,

It chills my life, but wittily,

It is not disconcerted,

It is not broken-hearted:

Well used, it decketh joy,

Adorneth, doubleth joy:

Ill used, it will destroy,

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Water”

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 10:49 am  Leave a Comment  

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.49

Modest Mussorgsky: “Night on a Bald Mountain”

モデスト・ムソルグスキー「禿げた山の夜」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 14 minutes

This monstrous, apocalyptic, calamitous drama sparkles with contorted, spine-chilling visions.  The delirious opening soon ferments into a backwood mystery which is punctuated by fervent climaxes, but never ultimately resolved.  Il grande Claudio Abbado graces us here with wazoos full of heavy percussion that he seemed to relish over the brass dynamo.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

The tired choir of stars calms down, yet.

Night goes away with apprehension.

There you descent from far hills in sunset.

I craved for you. To you my spirit’s spread.

You’re my salvation!

 

Aleksandr Blok: “I Seek Salvation”

 

Published in: on November 11, 2018 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.50

 

Samuel Barber – “Adagio for Strings (Agnus Dei)”

サミュエル・バーバー – 「弦楽器のアガジオ・(アグナス・デイ)」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 8 minutes

Barber’s lacrymogenous tenebrism reverberates with bottomless anguish.  This latterday master of soaring vocal and choral works plunges us into cheerlessly elegiac veils until we reach transcendence in stagnant, cavernous candlelight.  Once it is finished, I recommend three minutes of complete silence and several deep breaths.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

A REFLECTION

Out of the day and night

A joy has taken flight;

Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar,

Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight

No more—Oh, never more!

 

Percy B. Shelley: “A Lament”

Published in: on November 10, 2018 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

CLASSICAL OPUS no.51

Richard Wagner: “Walkürenritt”

リチャード・ワグナー:「バルキリーライド」

 

TIME COMMITMENT: 5 minutes

This timelessly climactic delirium of awe-inspiring mythomania suffocates listeners with its programmatic, slippery angst.  For this Minotaur of Romanticism, the musical fabric and leitmotif analysis became eponymous for the eventually futile quest of a “complete” artwork.  But myth, desire, sensuality and destiny were all convulsed in the historical – and artistic – trajectory of Germany’s 19th century rise.

 

MUSIC

 

INFO

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

 

 

A REFLECTION

Over all the hills now

Repose

In all the trees now

Shows

Barely a breath.  Birds are through

That sang in their wood to the west

Only wait, traveler.  Rest

Soon for you too.

 

Wolfgang Goethe: “Song of the Traveler at Evening”

Published in: on November 9, 2018 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment