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AC Benus

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@Zenobia et al :)  Susan Alexander-Max performs Zipoli's sonatas magnificently on the world's oldest surviving piano (the second one ever built!). I can't tell you how much I love the tone of this instrument. No wonder Cristofori, the inventor, changed the musical landscape of Europe over night; who wouldn't want to hear such an instrument in use. This is one of my favorite recordings. I hope you all give it a listen. 

 

 

 

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My choir made this quarantine video. It's a choral arrangement by Carl-Bertil Agnestig of Edvard Grieg op. 33 nr. 9, Ved Rondane. Words by A.O. Vinje. I did the sound mix for this. Kind

This is a stunning arrangement and a great performance   

Feeling a little nostalgic this afternoon. Played this one when I was in high school, around when I first started appreciating Baroque music and Bach.

On 11/29/2018 at 6:53 PM, AC Benus said:

@Zenobia et al :)  Susan Alexander-Max performs Zipoli's sonatas magnificently on the world's oldest surviving piano (the second one ever built!). I can't tell you how much I love the tone of this instrument. No wonder Cristofori, the inventor, changed the musical landscape of Europe over night; who wouldn't want to hear such an instrument in use. This is one of my favorite recordings. I hope you all give it a listen. 

Ohhh - thank you. :) I haven't heard of him until now, and what an interesting person he is - another Domenico from the 1680ies with a love for keys.

His pieces don't sound as hard to play as some of Scarlatti's sonatas are.

Cristofori's piano certainly sounds wonderful and we are very lucky that it can still be heard. For me, it sounds mainly like an uncommonly strong clavichord with a homogenuous quality of tone. And of course I see the logic in playing these pieces on this contemporary instrument; I don't know if the composer knew of it but he might well have tried to play his compositions on it.

But I have to say I'll listen to a recording on harpsichord, too, now that I've learned of Zipoli - I can be pretty persistent in listening to solo pieces like these 😉

 

Edited by Zenobia
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When I read that Domenico Zipoli died in Argentina in 1726, I thought of someone else: William Hamilton Bird might have been born some years later than Zipoli died, but he also wrote compositions for the harpsichord and traveled to the other end of the world, so to speak - in his case, India. That's where the structural parallels between these two men end, though, because he was interested in Indian music and integrated this influence in his 1789 "The Oriental Miscellany" (whereas Zipoli seems to have "only" imported European music to America).

I like Jane Chapman's CD from 2015 very much:

 

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Borge and Mulvey *clears throat* perform Verdi.

 

(actually, her singing is fantastic, despite all the laughs and clowning around interrupting her)

 

 

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10 hours ago, Zenobia said:

When I read that Domenico Zipoli died in Argentina in 1726, I thought of someone else: William Hamilton Bird might have been born some years later than Zipoli died, but he also wrote compositions for the harpsichord and traveled to the other end of the world, so to speak - in his case, India. That's where the structural parallels between these two men end, though, because he was interested in Indian music and integrated this influence in his 1789 "The Oriental Miscellany" (whereas Zipoli seems to have "only" imported European music to America).

I like Jane Chapman's CD from 2015 very much:

 

Thanks for sharing this! Knew nothing about Bird or his work. The selection you chose sounds great on a plucked instrument like the harpsichord; I can sort of perceive the sitar twang which the composer no doubt wanted to bring to Western European audiences. Thanks again for posting it      

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1 hour ago, AC Benus said:

Borge and Mulvey *clears throat* perform Verdi.

 

(actually, her singing is fantastic, despite all the laughs and clowning around interrupting her)

 

 

 

That's fricking impressive, that she managed to get through that without totally losing it. What a fantastically professional woman! I'm in awe.

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Another work we did when I was in high school was Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. The whole thing is magnificent, IMO, but I'm especially fond of the last four movements, as they just weave into each other so beautifully. I knew all of the solos on this thing, but I didn't get to do any of them cause they didn't think a student would be ready to perform them. Did Dulcissime during rehearsal once, though. Nowhere near this well, I was like seventeen at the time.

 

 

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Feeling blue this morning... Here's the original Eine kleine nachtmusik -- Salieri's Armonia per un tempio della notte.

 

The development section (starting at min. 2:20) is quietly emotional and leads back to the main theme with subtle power. In these shades of nuance, I hear Mozart's later Masonic Funeral Music. 

 

 

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On 12/4/2018 at 5:01 PM, Thorn Wilde said:

Another work we did when I was in high school was Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. The whole thing is magnificent, IMO, but I'm especially fond of the last four movements, as they just weave into each other so beautifully. I knew all of the solos on this thing, but I didn't get to do any of them cause they didn't think a student would be ready to perform them. Did Dulcissime during rehearsal once, though. Nowhere near this well, I was like seventeen at the time.

 

 

I like the rendering of the aria very much here. Makes me wonder if I should try for a performance translation of the Latin.... *rubs chin thoughtfully* hmmm

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11 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

I like the rendering of the aria very much here. Makes me wonder if I should try for a performance translation of the Latin.... *rubs chin thoughtfully* hmmm

 

The awesome thing about Carmina Burana, I think, is that everyone thinks it’s sacred music, but actually it’s entirely profane. The words are about sex, alcohol, food, essentially pleasure. And many of them are graffiti left by young monks on convent walls, poems written in secret about beautiful women, that kind of thing. It’s such a fascinating backstory. 

Edited by Thorn Wilde
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If anyone has any ideas, I would like to talk about them, but I really struggle to see how these six movements form a cohesive work of art. Naturally, one can default to Mahler's descriptions for each movement, but I immediately go beyond that and just listen to the progress of the work itself. 

 

I don't get it. It seems such a potpourri, like some leftover studies expanded and cobbled together. If the triumph of spirit and music known as Mahler's 2nd Symphony had not been there, then perhaps this 3rd titled symphony would have seemed like a step towards greatness, but as it is...what is going on?

 

For my taste, movements 1 through 3 are far too alike. Then the two choral numbers don't belong together either: first a dirge-like solo followed by a ding-dong Christmas carol.

 

And then, omg, the concluding movement belongs somewhere else again. It has none of the noisy brassiness of the opening movements, or none of the tinkling percussions  of the Christmas movement, but forms a long, slow unwinding for the strings. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I feel each movement on its own is interesting and engaging, but how they are all supposed to come together to form a whole musically (without his written descriptions) escapes me totally. As for the final movement, I think it alone can stand as one of the greatest symphonies ever written. It is amazing, but again, how does it fit with the rest...?     

 

 

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5 hours ago, Thorn Wilde said:

 

The awesome thing about Carmina Burana, I think, is that everyone thinks it’s sacred music, but actually it’s entirely profane. The words are about sex, alcohol, food, essentially pleasure. And many of them are graffiti left by young monks on convent walls, poems written in secret about beautiful women, that kind of thing. It’s such a fascinating backstory. 

Is it bad that this comment caught my attention so quickly on the Forum home page sidebar? :unsure:

Be that as it may, I am now intrigued and will endeavour to check out the validity - no offence, Thorn - of this claim...

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36 minutes ago, Reader1810 said:

Is it bad that this comment caught my attention so quickly on the Forum home page sidebar? :unsure:

Be that as it may, I am now intrigued and will endeavour to check out the validity - no offence, Thorn - of this claim...

 

I'm paraphrasing my high school vocal coach and conductor here, so grain of salt for some of it, I guess. :P Fact remains that all the texts are secular or satirical, and were written by clergy and students. 

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A little Italian sunshine for everyone's December day... :)

 

 Stefano Innocenti performs Ferdinando Paër's Concerto in D for Pipeorgan and Orchestra

 

 

 

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My choir have been singing this for our Christmas concerts. I did the solo last night. We sing it better than these people. :P Basically, it suits a small choir better than a big one.

 

 

 

The lyrics are a poem by a Norwegian poet called Erik Bye. It's a wonderful poem. The title translates to Song in Winter Light. This is a translation of the poem itself:

 

In the winter light when the fjord is sleeping and breathes mist against the skin of the earth

And pious spruces bow their heads on their way to church as pale sisters dressed in white

 

In the winter light when the mountain raises its frosty brow to the sun's play

And the north wind has white fingers that play on strings of fire and ice

 

Then humans lift up sacrificial flames deep, deep inside behind drifts of snow

And raise up thin little Jacob's ladders into the air just like threads of smoke

 

But your eyes never were so bright as now, and never your mouth so red

And never did your soul burn towards me, as warm and naked as blood in snow

 

And my hands reach for your hands, your breath like embers against my cheek

In the winter light when the earth trembles, then you belong so much more to me

 

Not the best translation, I think, but I did the best I could. 😅 Translating poetry is hard.

Edited by Thorn Wilde
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18 minutes ago, Thorn Wilde said:

 

The lyrics are a poem by a Norwegian poet called Erik Bye. It's a wonderful poem. The title translates to Song in Winter Light. This is a translation of the poem itself:

 

In the winter light when the fjord is sleeping and breathes mist against the skin of the earth

And pious spruces bow their heads on their way to church as pale sisters dressed in white

 

In the winter light when the mountain raises its frosty brow to the sun's play

And the north wind has white fingers that play on strings of fire and ice

 

Then humans lift up sacrificial flames deep, deep inside behind drifts of snow

And raise up thin little Jacob's ladders into the air just like threads of smoke

 

But your eyes never were so bright as now, and never your mouth so red

And never did your soul burn towards me, as warm and naked as blood in snow

 

And my hands reach for your hands, your breath like embers against my cheek

In the winter light when the earth trembles, then you belong so much more to me

 

Not the best translation, I think, but I did the best I could. 😅 Translating poetry is hard.

I think it's an amazingly provocative translation; so many strong images and metaphors. If you dig up the original, I'd encourage you to post both on Live-Poets. We have a thread for poems in different languages (specifically about doing translations), or you can just post it on the Live-Poets' thread for maximum exposure.

 

Great work. Now, lol, I'll listen to the video :)

 

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13 hours ago, Thorn Wilde said:

In the winter light when the fjord is sleeping and breathes mist against the skin of the earth

And pious spruces bow their heads on their way to church as pale sisters dressed in white

 

In the winter light when the mountain raises its frosty brow to the sun's play

And the north wind has white fingers that play on strings of fire and ice

 

Then humans lift up sacrificial flames deep, deep inside behind drifts of snow

And raise up thin little Jacob's ladders into the air just like threads of smoke

 

But your eyes never were so bright as now, and never your mouth so red

And never did your soul burn towards me, as warm and naked as blood in snow

 

And my hands reach for your hands, your breath like embers against my cheek

In the winter light when the earth trembles, then you belong so much more to me

Wonderful, Thorn ❤️  Thank you!! I love both the poem (for which I need a translation, of course) and the music.

The poem seems to describe the stillness which exists in the snow and in nature, but it is not like a dead silence but makes the two lovers feel their closeness all the more (?), and there is also the wind and the fire.

If I may ask: Is there a special meaning to "Jacob's ladders"?

 

And could you tell me when the poem and the music (by Egil Monn-Iversen, right?) were written?

Edited by Zenobia
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On 12/5/2018 at 2:01 AM, Thorn Wilde said:

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff

Sorry, I can't resist :) - not by Orff but Carmina Burana; also an interesting text, of course:

 

Edited by Zenobia
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42 minutes ago, Zenobia said:

Wonderful, Thorn ❤️  Thank you!! I love both the poem (for which I need a translation, of course) and the music.

The poem seems to describe the stillness which exists in the snow and in nature, but it is not like a dead silence but makes the two lovers feel their closeness all the more (?), and there is also the wind and the fire.

If I may ask: Is there a special meaning to "Jacob's ladders"?

 

And could you tell me when the poem and the music (by Egil Monn-Iversen, right?) were written?

 

Jacob’s ladder refers here to two things, I believe. 

 

Jacob's Ladder (Hebrew: סולם יעקב‬ Sulam Yaakov) is an element in a dream that the biblical Patriarch Jacob has during his flight from his brother Esau in the Book of Genesis.

 

It is also a device for producing high voltage traveling arcs, an electrical effect often employed in classic cinematic portrayals of scientific laboratories.

 

I can’t seem to find a date for the poem, but the song is from 1986. This arrangement for choir is from what I can tell from  2004.

Edited by Thorn Wilde
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Thank you for answering so fast, @Thorn Wilde

That helps - it's some time ago that I read Genesis and I wasn't able to find it on the internet. The second meaning - never heard of it. Interesting!

And I just wanted to know an appoximate date, so 1986 is helpful.

This is definitely something I wouldn't have discovered without this website, so thank you again for presenting it here.

Have a nice evening :)

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2 hours ago, Zenobia said:

Sorry, I can't resist :) - not by Orff but Carmina Burana; also an interesting text, of course:

 

 

This is awesome! I love it.

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3 hours ago, Zenobia said:

Wonderful, Thorn ❤️  Thank you!! I love both the poem (for which I need a translation, of course) and the music.

The poem seems to describe the stillness which exists in the snow and in nature, but it is not like a dead silence but makes the two lovers feel their closeness all the more (?), and there is also the wind and the fire.

If I may ask: Is there a special meaning to "Jacob's ladders"?

 

And could you tell me when the poem and the music (by Egil Monn-Iversen, right?) were written?

Last night, soon after @Thorn Wildeposted it, I went looking for Erik Bye. Google really, really let me down, showing the most idiotic things (advertising crap), and then when I looked for an exact match, "Eric Bye", it had nothing. I knew that was BS, so finally googled the Norwegian name of the carol. Up came page after page on Bye. Jeesh, Google.

 

From what I saw, it looks like the poem was copy-right protected in 1966. I'm not sure if that's correct. I for one would like to read more of Erik Bye's poetry (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, dear Thorn :yes:

 

Jacob's ladder is a pretty familiar metaphor in English; it's the original "stairway to heaven."   

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6 minutes ago, AC Benus said:

I for one would like to read more of Erik Bye's poetry (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, dear Thorn :yes:

 

I'll see what I can do. :) 

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On 11/18/2018 at 5:53 AM, Zenobia said:

😉I also have a deeeeeep love for the harpsichord, so I'll post a link here of Scott Ross's interpretation of Francois Couperin's harpsichord oeuvre:

Thank you so much for this. I haven't really listened to any Couperin since my conservatory days, but this was exactly the music that helped me learn to love the harpsichord. (I mean, I like Scarlatti on the piano. I love Bach on the piano. But it's like the piano has nothing special to offer Couperin -- and Couperin offers his best self through the harpsichord. So I love the two of them together, like couple-friends. ;) )

 

On 11/18/2018 at 5:53 AM, Zenobia said:

I was only minimally aware of Mr. Ross -- I knew that he played harpsichord, that he was a weird dude, and that he was dead. So thank you for this, as well. I would never have thought to look up his interpretations specifically, but I certainly will now!

 

On 11/18/2018 at 5:53 AM, Zenobia said:

Hm, why do I always see threads like this one when I have absolutely no time?

Ain't that the truth, though?

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On 11/18/2018 at 12:12 AM, Thorn Wilde said:

I love Stravinsky. The Rite of Spring and The Firebird are my favourites.

Oh, Stravinsky, my hero. . . As someone who (literally) ran screaming out of piano lessons as a child, and later backed into classical music again by way of jazz, Frank Zappa and Astor Piazzolla -- Rite of Spring is TOTALLY MY JAM :D (And if anyone wants to hear me swoon and count the ways I think it is amazing, we can do that in another room, I guess.) Thanks for putting this here.

 

Also, fun fact: I have no idea how this happened, but Firebird is the first ballet I ever saw. So, it, too, has a soft space in my heart.

 

On 11/18/2018 at 12:12 AM, Thorn Wilde said:

That opening, to Rite of Spring... Perfection.

My ex in college played the flute, and thus did I come to spend more time with the orchestra woodwind section than I ever expected to do, or even want to. They used to tease the bassoon players about the Rite of Spring opening: "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'mm just a poooooor bassoooooooonnn. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'mmm not an English Hooooorrrn."

 

Good times.

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