Sunday, May 27, 2012

Organ settings of a hymn used by Mahler; more Taneyev

The Mahler Eighth Symphony (discussed here in February) starts with a setting of the plainsong hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus”.

Sunday, May 27, 2012, at the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington, organist Carol Feather Martin played settings of the hymn by Wilbur Held (prelude) and Afred Fredak, an “improvisation”, as the postlude.  Much of the congregation remained and applauded.

The Fredak has a lot of scales and a rather atonal effect. I guess church services can use some atonality.

On Oct. 1, 2011, I reviewed the Taneyev Piano Quartet, and today I played an Ondine recording (2000) of the composer’s “Concert Suite for Violin and Orchestra”, Op. 28 (1909). It’s odd for a piece that runs over 42 minutes to come across as a “suite” rather than as a sonata-like experience.  But this work, in five movements (the fourth is a theme and variations and coda, a composition in itself), does indeed come across as a kind of Baroque amalgam, a far cry from the emotionalism of the Quartet.  The violinist is Pekka Kuusisto; the Helsinki Philharmonic is conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy.  The piece does not maintain tonal integrity: the opening slow Prelude is in G Minor, but the closing tarantella crashes down in D minor at the end. 

The CD also includes the second entr’acte from the opera “Oresteya”, “The Temple of Apollo at Delphi”, and the independent overture, 16 minutes, which sounds a bit like Tchaikovsky with a bit of Wagner thrown in. There is a noble, serious and chordal second subject, but the overture settles down and ends quietly.

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