Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Partita on Toulon by Gerhard Krapf, and then some "controversy"


Sunday morning, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA, organist Carol feather Martin played the Partita on Toulon by professor Gerhard Krapf.

I couldn’t find it on YouTube, but there is a performance by Krapf of a Reger Fugue, performed at the University of Iowa, supposedly the only University tracker organ in the U.S.


The work comprised a Toccata, Siciliano, Cavatina, Fanfare, and Finale, in the key of F Major. The music has polyphony like Bach but with more modern dissonances. It sounds more like a full blooded organ symphony than a “suite”.

There was also an anthem with piano, “Psalm 139” by Allen Pote.




Both the children’s sermon and later the full sermon by Judith Fukp-Eickstaedt focused on “Cultivating Gratitude: For Life, For the Wonder of the Human Body”. There were slides that show the complexity of organ systems (as if from Shaun Murphy’s savant visions on “The Good Doctor”), with some statistics on neurons and synapses in the human brain that still dwarf any computer (it is speculated that a quantum computer running in a cold environment like on Titan, a moon of Saturn, might some day recreate human intelligence artificially). She also said that people cannot always be held responsible for their own physical issues, and seemed to point specifically at fat-shaming, such as we have heard from Donald Trump and especially MiloYiannopoulos (she barely escaped naming names). This particular congregation has outstanding young people (high school to college), that does international missions, and that is quite well-informed in the culture wars (it found another sponsor than World Vision for its 30 Hour fast).  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New York Philharmonic will play Bruckner Ninth in April with Eschenbach, but it appears to be the three movement version


The New York Philharmonic is performing Bruckner’s Symphony #9 on late April (from 20 to 24) with Christoph Eschenbach, along with Mozart’s 22nd Piano Concerto. 

The notes online (along with the two-hour concert time including intermission for the entire program) tend to suggest that this is “only” the three-movement version.  
I don’t know yet whether I will go or buy tickets in advance.  But in this day, why not make the effort to play the complete work?  Bruckner nearly completed it.  The completions (essentially added codas) of Samale et a (2011) and Letocart are the two best (and offer different concepts of what Bruckner intended, but both concepts work artistically and emotionally and are argued for reasonably well in detailed notes by the composers). 
  

I do agree that symphony orchestras now ought to present a complete work.  (But that really can be done with Schubert’s Unfinished).  

Friday, January 05, 2018

Andy Borowitz and "The End of Trump" monologue


Andy Borowitz and his eight-minute stage monologue play, “The End of Trump” (from “The New Yorker”). 

Borowitz proposes his own mass-movement, “Elitism”.


“Our country used to be smart”.  But we did it with the help of a Nazi, he said.   

Then we discovered Sarah Palin ("Game Change" on HBO). 

House Puerto Rican refugees in Mar a Lago? Hosting?
  
He wants to send Mike Pence to women’s prison (hang ‘em all).  He wants Trump guarded by transgender troops and sharing a prison sell with El Chapo. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Schubert's C Major "The Great" Symphony #9 foreshadows Bruckner just as his "completed symphonies" do


Here’s a score of Schubert’s “Great” C Major Symphony (#9) in C, D. 944.  (It is sometimes listed as #7.)


This sounds like the work that made all of Bruckner’s output possible.   The performance is by Wolfgang Sawallisch.

The magnificent (“Brucknerian”) close of the first movement occurs at 14:17,  Sawasllish slows down.  At the end of the finale, he holds the final crashing octave as a fortissimo, which not all conductors do.

Besides the rapid repeated notes, the work has many unresolved dissonances (as in the second movement) which must have inspired Bruckner.

I had a Decca (with Decca vinyl) record of the work with Furtwangler conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in the early 1960s.  It sounded muffled and constricted.
  
I believe I heard the Minnesota Orchestra play this in 2001. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Symphony for a Broken Orchestra", to raise money for new instruments for kids


Rob Blackson of Temple University in Philadelphia got composer David Lang to write a symphony for “broken instruments”, up to 1500 of them. The NBC news story from Kristin Dalgren.  It’s called “Symphony for a Broken Orchestra”.

The New York Times story, by Ted Lios from Nov. 6,  is here. 

  

This seems to be the ultimate “gebrauchmusil” – music written for economic utility or charity.  It’s often what composers have to do for commissions.  But film music is the ultimate example of what Paul Hindemith started.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Stagecraft at Christmastown, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg


I did a walkabout through Busch Garden's Christmas Town Sunday night and didn't have time for any of the lines for the stage shows ("Scrooge" was playing at the Globe Theater replica) but I did get to the FestJall in the Germany section, where there was a considerable Christmas stage show, vaudeville style.



It takes about four hours to do the walk,  Note the Pompeii alien landscape exhibit, too.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mystery choral work about "angels" on YouTube -- is this Rachmaninoff? Russian orthodox church?


I attended the 60th Annual Christmas Candlelight Service at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, and that experience is described now on Wordpress, here.

But I wanted to add a comment about the Rachmaninoff Vespers.  In looking for the YouTube complete performance (the work lasts over an hour and I heard it once in a Catholic Church in Greenwich Village in the 1970s) but I found this curious video "Voices of Anges" on YouTube when I looked for it.   It does sound a bit like the Vespers

Who is the composer? Von Bingen?