Classical Music.

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:51 am

I've been revisiting a fair bit of Witold Lutoslawski recently. I met him in the mid-80s while he was on tour conducting the BBC Symphony in a programme that included his cello concerto, performed by its dedicatee Mstislav Rostropovich, along with his Symphony 3. A Polish friend was a school friend of his grand-daughter, and knowing that I was into all things musical invited me along for a light luncheon before the concert.

It was a strange affair for me, with my pal and Witold speaking Polish, Witold and Rostropovich speaking Russian and occasionally slipping into German, someone at the table was French as I recall, and everyone seemed to slipping back and forth between their native tongue and English - a real cosmopolitan affair. Though the atmosphere was light and good natured I felt a bit out of place to be honest, but his personal assistant was a charming woman with flawless English who engaged me in idle chit-chat so I didn't feel too left out. At the time I only had a passing acquaintance with his music, probably only knew his work by reputation really, but was seriously diving into the micropolyphony of Ligeti and co. Towards the end of the meal Witold asked a few probing questions about music and me, and although I don't remember much of the particulars I do remember that he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and that it was a proper conversation. He was very enthusiastic about Ligeti as I recall.

Before we left he gave me a gift of a signed a copy of the score of Muzyka Zalobna (funeral music) which is still among my most prized possessions. As my friend and he were exchanging farewells it became apparent that we didn't have tickets for the concert, and were duly invited. So later we dolled up and were met by his PA at the stage door and hung out in the green room with the 'stars' for a while before being ushered on stage with the orchestra and placed in the choir stalls behind the horn section. To the people in the audience it must have been a pretty strange sight but it gave us a great view of the orchestra and of the old boy's conducting.

His conducting was as idiosyncratic and personal as his music. Sometimes he'd just stand there casually with his hands together and let the orchestra get on with it before suddenly snapping into action and being quite forthright - but throughout the whole thing he encouraged the band with eyebrows, nods, the occasional cheeky wink at the string section, and lots of beaming grins. It was a truly magnificent experience - priceless; and I'll never forget having it even if a lot of the details are a bit blurry 45 or so years later.

Anyway, after the concert we returned to the green room where I probably over-indulged in effusive thanks and praise, which were graciously received, before making my excuses despite an invitation for another meal. My friend stayed on and when I caught up with him the next day he was decidedly worse for wear. He'd ended up playing cards and drinking vodka with Rostropovich and some of the orchestra at the hotel until the wee hours and lost about £50, which was a lot of money in those days.

I've been an avid fan ever since. I have a couple of biographies of him on my shelf, a number of scores, and plenty of recordings on vinyl and CD going back to his early popular and commercial music. But I haven't listened to him for quite a few years now and I must admit that hearing it again recently has been a very, shall we say, stirring experience for me.

---

A brief vid about how the cello concerto was commissioned by the Philomonia ...


Having to split this one I'm afraid - but this is the definitive recording, as far as I'm concerned anyway...





It's a shame I couldn't find a video of Rostropovich performing this. He's was such a physical performer and I can still see him rocking from side-to-side in his chair like the pendulum of a wonky clock in that opening section.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:52 pm

Cheesy, but interesting...

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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Hermit » Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:03 am

Kind of cute and sometimes a bit contrived, but I love it - especially the bit where Antonio Artese turns a Vivaldi sonata into a Bach fugue, then keeps morphing the piece through the styles of various other composers, all on the fly.
So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists. - G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:53 am

:tup: Yeah, that was a special moment.
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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:09 am

Did you find the 'The Riddle of Bach' episode?
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Hermit » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:29 am

Yes. Youtube popped it up for my perusal after I watched the piece about Vivaldi. Bach being my favourite composer of any period, I jumped to it.



It was even better.

One small annoyance I initially had with Scott Yoo's presentation of Vivaldi and his music is present in this one too. Granted, the role of religion was huge for both. Vivaldi was a priest after all, Bach a devout protestant, and their respective churches were the most important commissioners of musical works for both by far.

Just the same, there really is no need to start by referring to Bach as the God of Music and his oeuvre as its Bible.

To be fair, that turned out to be an elaborate joke. The joke is made all the more delicious by the fact that the entire documentary built up to the punchline, which more or less contradicted the initial statement. "I feel like I've solved the riddle of Bach himself. He's not a God. Just a guy who loved the Italian music of Vivaldi, French dance, German beer and a good joke."

And coffee. Yoo forgot about the coffee. It brings melody, dance, comedy, jokes, the entire joie de vivre, together. The image of Großmama in her dotage impishly sipping the beverage Schlendrian so disapproves of always reminds me that Bach was ultimately about the joys of this profane life rather than escape from this cruel world to the ethereal hereafter.




Eta: 1) One thing I found particularly fascinating was the demonstration of what a cembalo that is not wohltemperiert can not do, even when it is not out of tune.
2) Altogether, the doco is an elegant, beautifully composed short essay.
So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists. - G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Mon Jul 06, 2020 12:32 pm

I'm warming to Mr Yoo. I've got the Scarlatti one lined up for later.
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:35 pm

"Philippe Jaroussky has the most beautiful voice in the whole universe!"
-- "Of course Sir, but thanks a lot for saying it"
" I'm a woman..."


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Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:52 pm

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:36 am

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Tero » Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:54 am

I've gotten used to nearly all baroque instrumental music, not so much the vocal. So I actually listen to endless violin concertos etc. Most people are not fans of violin. If we have guests over and some music is needed at first, I play the guitar arrangements. I have their Vivaldi also, but it was a badly scratched used CD, I was only able to copy it and burn a copy that now plays without problems. They were big in the 80s and many people bought these as cassettes. I did! Dutch guitarists are the best!
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:26 pm

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Hermit » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:55 am

How the fuck do they do this?



Yeah, I know. I know. It's nothing special. Just a little aptitude, some study and 50,000 hours of practice.
So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists. - G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Classical Music.

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:49 am

I bet she's a good touch typer.
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Re: Classical Music.

Post by Brian Peacock » Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:42 am

Talking of piano chops - here's one for Tero...



;)
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"This is how humanity ends; bickering over the irrelevant."
Clinton Huxley » 21 Jun 2012 » 14:10:36 GMT
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