Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Nielsen's glorious hymn to the sun. "Helios Overture" has been a favourite work of mine since I first heard it in 1978. Recently I have re-examined Nielsen's music especially as regards the symphonies and the concertos. New discoveries are his wonderful 'Wind Quintet', the complete string quartets and the opera "Maskarade" which is absolutely glorious music.......tuneful and full of great humour! Nielsen ranks high on my list of very favourite composers.....perhaps one of the top three! There is an excellent 6 disc set of the symphonies on the Dacapo label from Denmark. It can be ordered through your neighbourhood Naxos retailer. The first three CD's are all the symphonies; the fourth disc us a SACD of his best loved orchestral music and the last two discs are DVD live performances of the symphonies. HEARTILY RECOMMENDED!
This is one of my recent discoveries in the long period since I last posted. Grainger's music is glorious and so easy to listen to and appreciate. Some of the many composers I have discovered are Vagn Holmboe, Per Norgard, Rued Langgaard, Niels Gade, Robert Simpson, Alexandre Tansman, Florent Schmitt, Jean Francaix, Darius Milhaud, Humphrey Searle, Toch and so many more. I do have a terrible unquenchable thirst for discovering 20th Century composers and their music that is off the beaten track. In fact the three B's are NOT Bach, Beethoven and Brahms! The three B's are Berg, Bartok and Boulez. Down with the "great" classics! If today's audiences don't come to terms with 20th Century composers, both known and not so known, then I say it's time to relegate the "great" classics to a dark dusty death in a very dark cellar, lock the door and throw away the key. Modern classical music enthusiasts have been dumbed down for far too long. Imagine ANOTHER Beethoven symphony cycle recently released, this time conducted by Chailly........do we really need another cycle??!! I say beat the damn works to death and then move on!
Down with Beethoven and up with Carl Nielsen(one of the greatest symphonists of all time)!!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Der Abschied translated into English is 'The Farewell'. It is the last movement of his un-numbered symphony. Fearing he would die after writing his ninth symphony(as Beethoven did) he wrote this symphony after completing the eighth symphony. He chose to not number this work to outsmart fate itself. He went on to write his ninth and unfinished tenth. In his mind when he got to the tenth he was actually starting his eleventh. What he didn't know was that there were other composers who died after writing nine symphonies: Vaughan Williams, Dvorak, Glazunov(ninth was unfinished). Bruckner could be added to the list but he did write two early study symphonies that we now count as No.'s '0' & '00'. In this case we find a real similarity between the two composers as they both wrote a total of eleven symphonies and the last ones were left unfinished.
I feel that in this movement he was initiating his departure from this world. On May 18,1911 he did depart this world.
One hundred years ago today Gustav Mahler passed away. Few words can describe the sorrow I feel of his passing away at such a young age. If only he had lived another 20 or so years, imagine what more he could have written.But the music he did leave us will live in the hearts and minds of those who do love his music. Thank-you Herr Mahler!