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?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Mahler's "minimalist" Symphony #4 in G Major (ending in E)

I got my first two stereo records for Christmas in 1962. One was Klemperer’s 1957 recording for Angel of the Beethoven Ninth (with some Fidelio exceprts, a set); the other was a 1960 (I think) recording of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, 1899-1900, in G Major.

This is true “G Major” music, in the first movement and slow movement (third).  The slow movement ends on the dominant after a Sunrise passage.

The Finale, which wanders to the distant E Major to end quietly with one of Mahler’s songs, always leave me feeling that the work is incomplete. There are stories that Mahler originally had intended this movement to be the finale of the Third;  instead the majestic Adagio there is fine as it is.

The YouTube video above shows the San Francisco Symphony with Micheal Tilson Thomas.