Track of the week

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Erian
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Tue May 01, 2018 8:49 pm

Track #18. Requiem in D minor op 48 by Gabriel Faure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zqoztX4u9A

The link is to a chamber choir and orchestra performance, beautifully done and performed in such a way that one can hear all the textures. The style these days, mostly influenced by John Rutter's edition, is for this lighter touch. The Rutter performance - I've had the CD since it came out - is also available on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3SlIemXgEU

This requiem is stunningly beautiful, sweet, holy, and melodious. There isn't a single duff passage, and there are many standout moments. The final movement, In Paradisium (31'40 in the first link, 30'55 in the second) is my favourite, closely followed by Pie Jesu. This is at 18'00 in the first recording, but I don't much like the soprano - too much vibrato, a bit too fishwife-ish and a bit flat. The soprano in the Rutter version (at 17'30) is pure-toned and wonderful. The whole work has a saintly simplicity to it.

I've been lucky enough to sing this twice as Bass I, in Durham Cathedral, many years after I first grew to love this piece in my twenties. At present, I'm rehearsing it again, for upcoming performances in Ushaw College, in June; this time as Bass 2.
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Tan » Wed May 02, 2018 3:23 am

Keep them coming Erian!
Fauré has always been one of my favourites, especially the very known Pavane, the Sicilienne, his Pièces Brèves pour Piano and my self chosen final exam piece: his Barcarolle 1, Op26.
Ah, the memories...

I've never even looked at his choir compositions but I can imagine it must be extraordinary to sing the Requiem!
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Wed May 09, 2018 9:27 am

Track #19. Quadrophenia, by The Who

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXY5UWBmIFs

Stunning double album full of energy and driving rock coupled with melodies and a storyline. There is a slightly later film which I never tire of seeing, and also containing the best cinematic knee-trembler.

The full album is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyN7WUK ... 4F43DA0E34
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Fri May 18, 2018 4:11 pm

Track #20. Salome, composed by Richard Strauss in 1905.

Final section here, wonderfully performed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRYNHOiEFBs

Topical, as this is the opera I went to see on Wednesday. A full performance is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umMeLSNlYMU

This won't be to all tastes, but the music is very fine indeed. Particular passages to look out for are the leitmotifs where John the Baptist makes reference to Jesus (albeit un-named), the dance of the seven veils, and the final scene. It is a tale of lust, incest, murder, and madness.

Wednesday reminded me that if you have never been to a live opera or classical performance, you should try it. Music played on CD or computer or radio is very two-dimensional and flat compared to the energy in a live performance by a full orchestra in full flow.
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:38 am

Track #21 The Bergen, by Jez Lowe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9ez3yEzzKg

Jez Lowe is hardly known outside North-East England, and barely known there. He was born and raised in Easington, a few miles away from where I live, and still lives there. He's one of England's greatest songwriters (in my view, of course). He's managed to escape going down the pit and instead has built a career touring on the folk circuit. Sometimes he plays solo, but much of the time he plays with his group The Bad Pennies, including Kate Bramley - fiddler and wonderful vocals - and Andy May, who is probably better known for his piping on Northumbrian pipes. Last time I saw him was in November in a village hall in Weardale, playing to about 50 people who'd come from all over the North East to catch him.

His songs are deeply rooted in the North East, often wistful commentaries on the people, the poverty, or on social justice. His best songs are deeply evocative. At the same time, he has a terrific ear for good melodies. It's hard to find recordings on Youtube to recommend to you because they are mostly mobile-recordings made at folk festivals where he tends to play standard lively songs with an audience-involving chorus. Here is another ballad I like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI9jclbF4hc

My favourite song of his is Yellow Hair, on the album Jack Common's Anthem, partly because I find it meaningful on a personal level and partly because the melodic lines are just brilliant. This album is a good place to start. Or try Tenterhooks, which has the outstanding song Dry Season's Land. Here is Jez singing Taking on Men from the aforementioned:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak5UEbqW4xU
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Re: Track of the week

Post by ArrZarr » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:36 am

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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:20 pm

Track #22 Piano Concerto no. 3 by Sergei Prokofiev

Played here by Martha Argerich

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgnE25-kvyk

This is a stunning piece, full of energy. It takes a few hearings to get the tunes and the rhythms, but well worth it. My phone ringtone is a snippet I recorded from the final movement. My memory isn't entirely secure, but I think I got to love this piece watching the film The Competition; it awoke in me the realisation that dissonant music can be great:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Competition_(film)

Here is a clip from the film; very bad sound quality, but emotive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcWzXyfiXZk
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:53 pm

Track #23 Satyagraha, by Philip Glass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU1hyzl8UJ4

There are also links to snippets, of which the most accessible is the Evening Song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHKUt5fDbH0

And, if you can spend only one minute (!!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoAN_xDcmmI

The middle clip is a clip I first heard sometime in the eighties. In those days, CDs were a new phenomenon and there used to be a magazine called Classic CD which came with a disc compilation of latest classical releases. This clip was on one such compilation. I had never heard anything like it before and got to love it. Many years later I found a second-hand set of CDs holding the full opera, and listened to it over and over again.

Satyagraha (meaning approximately the forcefulness of truth) is a term Gandhi used for his non-violent civil resistance movement, leading eventually to the ending of the British Empire in India and - ultimately - the ending of apartheid in South Africa.

The music is minimalist and tuneful. It can feel rhythmically repetitive, but it's easy to fall under it's spell. As you can read in youtube comments, a lot of people find the music deeply emotional.
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Ramael » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:40 pm

Beautiful. Thank you. :)
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Re: Track of the week

Post by Erian » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:06 pm

Track #24. Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis, by Ralph Vaughan-Wiliams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihx5LCF1yJY

For me, this is the sound of how it is to be English.

Written in 1910 and designed to be played in Gloucester Cathedral, the orchestra is split into three distant parts as in this recording. I have heard it played only in the concert hall, but I'd love to hear it in the intended setting.

Tallis was an Elizabethan composer, one of the great early English composers. I've sung one of his pieces for evensong in Durham Cathedral. Vaughan-Williams is a hugely under-rated English composer, with a lot of very fine orchestral and symphonic output. His tragedy was to live through the Great War, with so many friends lost in a futile war fought by lions and led by donkeys. I've sung his Sea symphony and a little choral gem called Benedicite.
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