Monday, December 30, 2013

Local church gives solo jazz interpretation of Christmas music; was Busoni a teen prodigy?

The combined service at the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA on Sunday, December 29, 2013 featured special jazz music by Robert Stocks, who usually organizes the early morning contemporary service.  This music comprised mostly Christmas carols played on a solo saxophone, sometimes with electronic piano keyboard, sometimes with accompanying guitar, and at least once case (“The Little Drummer Boy” on an unusual drum and percussion apparatus that I haven’t seen before. 

For a little more material, I looked up my 1988 CD of piano music of Ferruccio Busoni, played by Bruce Wolosoff, and see that I had reviewed the Piano Sonata earlier (Oct. 25, 2011).  So today, I played the much more "modern" Seven Elegies, which run 42 minutes. The Second of the elegies ("All'Italia") has passage work that anticipates the slow movement of the mammoth Piano Concerto in C.  The Third, "My Soul longs and hopes for You", somewhat recalls the Christmas carol "What Child was this?"  The Fourth invokes the familiar tune "Greensleves" (aka, "What Child?" and even more obviously now) and is called "The Boudoir of Turandot".  The Fith is called "The Nightly" as if to anticipate "The Night Jaunt" in Timo Andres's "Shy and Mighty".  The last, "The Vision" is said to be the best known. Each elegy ends quietly, and some have a sudden tonality shift at the very end.

I've recently discussed the Liszt "ad nos" variations from Meyerbeer (Nov. 25);  Busoni transcribed that for piano.  


I like it better for organ, still.
  

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