Monday, September 11, 2017

John Rutter's Psalm 150

A Facebook friend shared a performance of John Rutter's Psalm 150.

The 8-minute composition seems to be in the unusual key of F# Major. It is performed by the St. Paul Cathedral Choir in London.  The music is somewhat modal at times, and is suggestive particularly of Ralph Vaughn Williams.

I presented Bruckner's treatment of the Psalm here Jan. 25, 2014. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

Houston pastor plays his piano in flooded home; Yamaha will replace it (AC360 CNN)

A Houston pastor plays the piano in his flooded home to show his son the piano still works.

Anderson Cooper interviewed Vanessa Carlton on AC360 to help Eric and his family (seven kids). 

Yamaha will replace the piano, according to AC360 Friday evening.
If you’re a musician, the piano is an essential item.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

More Amy Beach: the huge Violin Sonata

Monday Night, WETA FM broadcast a March 22 concert from the National Gallery of Art, “Three By Three: The Music of Amy Beach”.   The cellist was Rachel Young, with Alexandra Osborne, violin and Lisa Emenheiser, piano (older writeup). 

The program started with the Five Pieces for Cello and Piano, which are “La Captive”. “Berceuse”, “Dreaming”, “Pastorale”, and “Mazurka”.  On YouTube, I-Hsuan-Hsieh plays them.

Then they played the massive Violin Sonata in A Minor, Op. 34, in four movements, composed in 1896. The style is Brahmsian, and wants to be a full violin concerto.  The work runs 33 minutes, with four movements.  The Largo, in the dominant E Minor, is the third movement, and is a massive post-romantic slow movement. The Finale has an intricate fugue before a triumphant conclusion on the tonic A Major.

The YouTube video above was filmed at Indiana University in Bloomington with Justin Bird, piano; the violinist is not identified.
The concert also played the Piano Trio, but that was reviewed here May 23, 2016. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Beethoven's "The Heavens Are Declaring", from another work?

On Sunday, August 13, 2017 the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC performed an anthem by Ludwig van Beethoven, “The Heavens Are Declaring”,  in C Major, with Lon Schreiber directing the Chancel Choir and soloists Kelly Curtin and Aurelio Dominguez.

I cannot find an opus number for the work or any indication that it is extracted from a larger choral work.  The most definitive reference is here

Later Schreiber played an independent Scherzo by Beethoven, not obviously extracted from any larger work (Sonata or Symphony), no opus number.

But both pieces are familiar to my ear, even since boyhood.

By comparison, Haydn's "The Heavens Are Telling" does come "The Creation". 

The First Baptist Church has been offering breakfast Sunday mornings in August for the “Faith in Action” series of common Sunday school lessons.  The teacher had been to Charlottesville Saturday.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

100 year old pianist performs at retirement center in Seattle

Here is a 100-year-old pianist, Randolph Hokanson playing Scarlatti and Chopin at a retirement center in Seattle.

He also has a CD,
The CD seems to come from the University of Washington.

Wikipedia attribution link for Seattle picture. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Vox releases short film explaining Hans Zimmer's music composition techniques

Vox Media and Ezra Klein posted a 6-minute video explaining the compositional techniques of Hanz Zimmer in some of his scores, especially the recent film Dunkirk, here

The video explains some compositional techniques like the Shepherd’s Tone.

These are probably used by other younger modern composers.  I sent the link along to the Metropolis Ensemble in New York City.

The music is particularly interesting in Christopher Nolan’s films, which often deal with ambiguities in time and reality layer.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sebastian Letocart's Prelude and Fugue in G for Organ

Here is Sebastian Letocart’s Prelude and Fugue in G Major for Organ,  played by Edward Vanmarsenille at the Bruckner Organ of Saint Florian in Austria.  

The embedded video is a recent 2017 recording.  There is an older 2011 recording.   The Prelude has a fast section, and the Fugue starts at about the 4 minute mark.  The Belgian composer has said that in some of his music he was influenced by Vaughn Williams (sort of the world of the Fourth Symphony), but there is a density here that suggests Reger and also shows the composer’s (he calls himself “Tracotel” on Facebook) work with Bruckner.

Sebastian has some YouTube postings of some other Bruckner symphonies with “appropriate tempi”.  Here is the Fifth, taken a bit faster, with some new inner voices at the very end.

Here’s a video about the largest pipe organ in the world, in Donald Trump’s Atlantic City. 

Update: Sept. 11, 2017

Here is Letocart's Fugue in 5/4 Time for solo piano, in C Major.  It sounds like a take-off on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. He now calls himself "Abes Tracotel" on Facebook.