29 January 2013
27 January 2013
26 January 2013
25 January 2013
24 January 2013
21 January 2013
Most of my work (a little bird suggests that I might cast that noun in scare-quotes, but let it be) on the Organ Sonata over the past week or so has been cerebral, or ethereal, certainly immaterial: I hadn’t set ink to paper in quite some little while. But this evening I re-awoke Sibelius, and added to the score some passages I had been thinking to add for some little time, and I quite like the result. Will get back to actual paper to-morrow.
In addition to the Shostakovich symphonies and string quartets, I’ve spent some time with Charles Wuorinen’s string quartets (and Archangel, for bass trombone and string quartet). Oh, and with Hindemith’s Ludus tonalis.
19 January 2013
18 January 2013
17 January 2013
16 January 2013
15 January 2013
There are a number of places where Petrenko takes a markedly deliberate tack. The first this becomes apparent, is the start of the development of the first movement — and in this case, the result is not entirely successful . . . there is some hesitancy/uncertainty in the band, I think, and it comes off sounding almost like a false step. This does not last long, as there are stepped accelerandi through the ensuing passage, and the band regains its footing.
Now, it seems to me that an 'unforgiving' listener may be apt to judge the later instances of tempi which feel slower than one may be accustomed to, as 'equally unsuccessful'; but actually, I think they all carry well.
As to the mixed (or negative) reviews, this is my take:
1) For some, there are 'classic' recordings which 'define' the symphony, for them. To these, Petrenko's 'deviations' from their 'standard text' of the piece, will be unpardonable misdemeanors.
2) That aside, there are near-flawless 'classic' recordings of the piece, and the fact that there is this one mis-step is an easy 'disqualification'.
To my ears, though, apart from a few seconds of wishing that the transition had been better secured before the performance, this is a genuinely fine account of the piece. The Largo particularly, and the tension in the coda of the last movement, I think are successes that more than justify the risk-taking.
13 January 2013
Just sang some Copland, Handel, Tye & Palestrina. There was talk of a Nunc dimittis, but I restrained myself, and did not suggest my own setting.
Talked a bit with Bill T. about the Organ Sonata, which in turn spurred recollections of the Toccata.
Time's up! Back to rehearsal.
11 January 2013
10 January 2013
Some folder reorganization / file re-tagging on the devices, too.
Fun Glenn Gould quote of the day: “Schoenberg does not write against the piano, but neither can he be accused of writing for it.”
Was leafing through A Natural History of the Piano the other day. Chap walks up, notes title, and remarks, “What would a natural history of the piano be? Talk about wood, sources of felt, &c.?” He was dead right, of course, and at first I suggested simply that the adjective natural be dropped . . . but the book were better titled A Social History. That were le mot juste.
09 January 2013
08 January 2013
Making great progress on the St John’s Passion setting for St Paul’s. Posting from an undisclosed roadside location, waiting for my bicycle to emerge from under the knife (or the wrench and sprockets, as it may be . . . .)
05 January 2013
04 January 2013
The new listening for to-day:
Shostakovich, Salute to Spain!
A Rakhmaninov Moment musical (I want to say c# minor)
Not absolutely new, as I've seen the opera … but the Suite from The Nose, Op.15a. The all-percussion Entr’acte is every bit as brilliant as its reputation.
03 January 2013
02 January 2013
- Listen to bits of Shostakovich’s film scores to Hamlet and Alone.
- I’d read “Annabel Lee” to her.
01 January 2013
- Tchaikovsky, String Quartet № 1 in D, Op.11(The Endellion String Quartet)
- Shostakovich, Piano Quintet in g, Op.57(Boris Berman & The Vermeer String Quartet)
- Rakhmaninov, Variations on a Theme of Corelli, op.42(Andrei Nikolsky)
(The listening followed ritual viewings of Christmas with the Addams Family and A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim.)
Why all the Russian listening? Well, honestly, it just happened that way.