Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Music news

The other day Rilkekind said, "Daddy, sing 'Oh My Darling' with bananas".

I was listening to Hindemith's _Mathis Der Maler_ recently and he remarked, "Big dustbuster [i.e., vacuum cleaner] music". I'll have to try him on the solo viola music, which I love.

The first movement (segment?) of _Mathis Der Maler_ ends as excitingly as any work I can think of. But the balance of the whole work is thereby thrown off for me. For that matter I've always wondered about e.g. Brahms putting the weightiest movement of say the 4th symphony first - it sometimes seems backwards.

There's a note in the first movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto that seems wrong to me - it's rhythmically awkward. I wonder if a century of violinists and conductors have triple-checked the score there. But surely there's a good reason for everything in the piece. Sadly googling "wrong note in Brahms violin concerto" doesn't yield much of obvious use.

Listening to Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony recently I was reminded by what turns out to be the "statue theme" of the phrase in measure 16 of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for organ. A quick google doesn't reveal a link - guess I should sit down at a piano and figure out all those accidentals.

Frank Black's reading of the line "God willing I won’t put you in the ground" from "California Bound" off _Black Letter Days_ is great - he has an awful but expressive voice and he undersings the threat or prayer perfectly. Compare to Paul Hillier's reading of "That the wolf ate" from "Song for a Sea Tower" off bitter ballads - he uncharacteristically overemphasizes the line by putting a sort of chuckle into his wonderful voice. The two albums, which make an interesting pair, have taught me a lot about what one can do singing songs in a mode closer to speech than what one might call the usual Liederstimme.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Finally, finally, finally.