Jun. 1st, 2015 08:43 pm
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Our trip to North Devon a couple of weeks ago reminded me of this fantastic and terrifying video of Dave Thomas and Martin Perry climbing Breakaway out at Henna Crag close to Morwenstow.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
For no terribly good reason other, except that they're each extremely charming in their own way, three different takes on the same piece of music.

Firstly, the original: Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto in D-major for violin RV 230 from L'Estro Armonico, Op. 3, No. 9 performed by the Clarion Musical society:

Secondly, Johann Sebastian Bach's keyboard arrangement of Vivaldi's concerto BWV 972, performed here on the harpsichord by Richard Egarr:

Thirdly and finally, Alison Balsom's arrangement for trumpet and organ of Bach's arrangement. I liked this piece very much when I heard it as part of the RFH's Pulling Out All the Stops festival back in March — I particularly like the crispness of the tutti in the allegro and the conversation between the performers in the larghetto.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Via Tom Service in the Guardian, a reminder that Messiah is very much an Easter piece. So here then is the seasonally appropriate closing chorus, Worth is the Lamb, and the beautiful Amen fugue that closes the piece.

Although it doesn't say so on YouTube, I'm almost certain this is Trevor Pinnock's recording with the English Concert and Choir from the late 80s.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
The first movement of Karol Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, with Elzbieta Szmytka accompanied by Simon Rattle and forces of the CBSO.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Via YouTube, a fascinating document in the form of the first part of a 1959 recording of Martha Graham and Aaron Copland's ballet Appalachian Spring. I really like the Revivalist's hat and coat!

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Shameless French Romanticism in the form of Louis Vierne's messe solennelle for two organs, with Pierre Cochereau providing the room-rattling accompaniment.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
I can't remember whether I've posted this before or not: Maurice Duruflé's tribute to his friend Jehan Alain, Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain. This performance by Sarah Soularue is my favourite by quite a long way: the recording picks out all the details of the piece while retaining the feeling of a big gothic acoustic.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Tangentially, via this morning's Breakfast on R3 which was marking Australia day, I've discovered Elena Kats-Chernin's 2nd piano concerto. Best know for Eliza's Aria from her ballet Wild Swans — which you may not think you know but you do; it was used to advertise a bank a few years ago — Kats-Chernin's minimalist style is a world away from the great romantic struggle of yesterday's Beethoven.

The pianist is Ian Munro and the Tasmanian SO is conducted by Ola Rudner. It's really very nice; just a shame it doesn't seem to be available commercially...

ETA: Via YouTube, the discovery that Sarah Cracknell has an acoustic version of The Journey Continues that makes good use of Kats-Chernin's motif from Eliza's Aria.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
You have to have a heart of stone not to feel George Butterworth's exquisitely melancholy setting of The lads in their hundreds from A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad, beautifully performed here by Roderick Williams and Ian Burnside.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
This is quite something: the Youth Orchestra of Caracas in scorchingly performance of the Bacchanal from Saint-Saëns' opera Samson et Dalila.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
There is nothing that is not delightful about Johannes Brahms' Academic Festival Overture: its characteristic use of theme of variations; its deceptively casual structure; it's brilliant orchestration; its cheeky sense of humour — most of themes are student drinking songs — and approachability. Here's Bernstein and the Vienna Phil doing justice to a brief masterpiece.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
A cat in a shark suit riding a roomba? Surely the very reason the internet was invented!

sawyl: (A self portrait)
In a clear case of less being more, the original piano and harmonium version of Rossini's Petite messe solonnelle knocks spots off the larger scale orchestral versions.

I think the walking ostinato figure in the kyrie might just be the catchiest thing ever...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Retconned after I forgot to post it, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Concerto Italiano, and the incomparable Sara Mingado performing Vivaldi's Gloria RV 589:

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Via Tor, DeAnne Smith's Nerdy Love Song featuring "assistance" from an exhuberant kitten:

What's not to love?
sawyl: (A self portrait)
One of those adorably catchy pieces of music that everyone seems to know, even if they're not quiet sure where from: Hugo Alfvén's Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, Midsommarvaka. Here's a charming version from the Iceland SO and Petri Sakari.

sawyl: (A self portrait)
I'd forgotten just how good Arthur Bliss' score for the 1936 film Things to Come really is until I happened to catch it the march on the radio. Here's the suite conducted by the doyen of film music composition, Bernard Herrmann:

ETA: Coincidentally John Holbo has just posted about the forthcoming blu-ray edition of Things to Come over on Crooked Timber...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
The second of Franz Liszt's Légendes, St François de Paule marchant sur le flot, performed by Leslie Howard.

The legend tells of St Francis of Paola, denied passage to Sicily, walking across the stormy waters of the Strait of Messina.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Here's Franz Liszt's Légende No 1 St François d'Assise, La prédiction aux oiseaux, performed by Leslie Howard.

The trills in the opening mimic a twitterings flock of birds before gradually giving way to a chorale theme that represents the saint's sermon. It's really brilliant bit of musical scene painting.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Thomas Bloch's improvisation on the Ondes Martenot makes it easy to see why it captured the imaginations of a generation of composers and why it featured on quite so many film scores:


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