Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
J. Brahms Clarinet Quintet raises a kind of longing and memories. Especially the first few bars of the 1st movement. For years I was sure it was used in an old TV series I could not recall. Reading the comments of other listeners in YouTube, I realized that for other people, those memories may belong to events that never happened. This is the magic of the piece.
If you’ve never heard this Quintet before take 40 relaxing minutes to listen to it, contemplate and remember. The second movement is beautiful.
Towards the end of the Quintet you’ll hear the motive from those beginning bars, just in case you’ve already forgotten…
Click on the video below. It’s a great example of coloratura singing. Cecilia Bartoli sings “Agitata da due venti” (Vivaldi, Griselda). This is a very, very demanding piece but Bartoli is doing it without any problem. Extreme jumps from very high to very low. Amazing midriff work and it all looks like with seamless effort.
Are you still reading this? Click on the video below…
Hellou! There are not only soundtrack-like electronica music in SoundCloud – also high quality performances and recordings of “western art-music” can be heard. Here is some findings…
Boston-based New England Conservatory (NEC) provides regulary high quality recordings from solo performances to orchestral performances to avantgardean improvisations. Here New England Conservatory piano faculty Randall Hodgkinson performs Fauré’s Preludes.
Jouni Stenroos – guitarist from Espoo, Finland – has transcribed and arranged J.S. Bach’s music for 10-string guitar.
Herman Vandecauter from Brussels, Belgium is specialised in different kinds of plucked instruments: romantic guitar, mandolin, theorb-lute… Here is Händel arranged for ukulele!
There is something about the wooden texture, shining metal and the styling of traditional musical instruments that is very appealing. Although most of their designs are centuries old, there is a lot of grace and beauty in the way classical instruments are constructed.
Virtuoso is a board game that successfully captures that unique classic design. The playing board is wooden and shaped as a classical orchestra’s stage. All of the game design down to the dice is inspired by classical music and instruments.
It’s designer, Caleb Heisey describes it on his website: “Virtuoso is a music theory board game. Players compete against each other by successfully answering trivia questions about music history, composition, listening comprehension, and theory. Not for the faint of heart, Virtuoso is a competitive, yet educational game geared for high school and college musicians to expand their knowledge and show off their mad skills.” When not used for playing, it will serve nicely as a collector’s item thanks to its beautiful design.
Heisey is a Philadelphia based print designer and illustrator. He studies for his MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in Graphic Design at the Tyler School of Art.
Although Virtuoso gets a lot of interest, the game is not for sale yet and does not even has a price tag. Heisey is looking for a publisher to produce the game and to distribute it. If you are interested he will be glad to hear from you via his website. After talking to him drop me a line, I’ll be glad to own one!
The music of Benjamin Britten has a spell on me and it never stop to surprise me. You always find enchanting combinations of musical instruments and human voices. Wonderful melodies as well as not so easy to listen to pieces.
Frontispiece to Petrucci’s Odhecaton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
OK, I admit it I have a passion for musical scores notes. It comes second only to my Piano keyboard obsession. That’s why I was very happy to browse through IMSLP, the International Music Score Library Project. The IMSLP is a Wiki project and was launched on February 2006. IMSLP consists mainly of scans of out of copyright musical scores. There are also some MP3 tracks to listen to and always an Amazon link to the relevant piece.
IMSLP is also known as the Petrucci Music Library. Ottaviano Petrucci was an Italian publisher who lived between the 15th and 16th centuries. Petrucci was one of the first music sheet publishers.
The wealth of material is amazing. You can find the complete Bach public domain works as well as all of the public domain works of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Corelli, Debussy, Fauré, Handel,Palestrina, Ravel, Schubert, Schumann, Sibelius and many others. Some like Mozart and Liszt, have most of their works downloaded. According to the site as of Aug 2011, IMSLP has 63,243 works, 225,387 scores, 21,976 recordings, 7,769 composers, and 194 performers. I don’t play any instrument myself but this wealth of scores is really inspiring. It “tickles” me to start those piano lessons I’m postponing for so long…
Copyrights are a very central issue when running a project like IMSLP. In fact the site was shut down for almost a year (Oct 2007 to June 2008) because of copyright claims. Since its reopening IMSLP complies with the very strict copyright rules of Canada, US and the EU. The site makes sure that its users will not accidentally infringe any law. No wonder that Edward W. Guo, the creator and leader of IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library is a graduate of the New England Conservatory (B.M. in composition, 2008) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 2012)…
The project also allows contemporary composers to publish their works under the Creative Commons license. By this it helps them gain recognition and acceptance.
The main target audience of IMSLP is obviously musicians. Let me know how it affected you as musicians, armatures or listeners.
Naxos, the first budget CD label is celebrating 25 years. Anastasia Tsioulcas from NPR Classical has interviewed Klaus Heymann the founder of Naxos, click here to read ,listen and to learn more about how he did it.
Naxos have changes the classical music landscape even before the appearance of the digital formats. Some of my favorite CD’s are from Naxos so I don’t care giving them some free publicity in return to those great hours…
Portion of the Psalms Scroll (Tehilim) from Qumran (credit: Wikipedia)
The music I hear in the morning has the most effect on me. Usually I find Baroque music the most enjoyable to listen to as the day starts. I guess this is because its festive and very structured. It’s very repetitive and has all kinds of exciting forms of combining musical themes together. Altogether Baroque music have meditative and focusing effects on me, exactly what I need in the morning…
A few years back, I flew from Tel Aviv to London. I was about to meet my new bosses in a new firm I just joined. Away from my family I needed a musical companionship that morning more than the usual. I tuned the radio in the hotel room to one of the classical music stations. The music I heard was meditative and composed with all kind of interesting structures. In addition I suddenly heard familiar words sung. About 3,500KM (2,200 miles) from home I heard a musical piece in Hebrew. It sounded too modern to be Baroque but it had many common feature. What I heard was Steve Reich‘s “Tehilim” (Psalms) and it certainly made me closer to home and at the same time ready for the new starts waiting for me on that morning.
Steve Reich (born 1936) composed “Tehilim” in 1981 and its his first piece to reflect his Jewish heritage. You can listen to it on YouTube below don’t let the background lights distract you from the music:
Fisher Dieskau was a mentor and the “golden reference” to many professional and amateur singers. In my 1st voice lesson as an amateur singer, I’ve learned that if I really want to hear how a Lieder should sound I’d better listen to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau performance. Everything he did was perfect starting from technicalities such as diction and all the way to his wonderful and reliable performances and interpretation.
I don’t take voice lessons anymore but the performances of Dietrich Fischer Dieskau will always accompany me and be a source of inspiration.