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Friday Miscellanea

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Friday Miscellanea

On top of the coronavirus epidemic my week has been plagued by Internet and electricity outages, but that isn't going to stop the Friday Miscellanea, even though it has certainly inhibited much additional posting.

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I stole this from Somewhere in the Internet:
Almost time for my jerk neighbors to start yelling and banging on the wall again. Every night from midnight until two. It's non-stop and it really messes with my drum practice.

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Wenatchee the Hatchet has also been blogging about Richard Taruskin's new essay collection Cursed Questions:
I've read Taruskin enough over the last fifteen years to have a pretty good sense that on the topic of a Romantic and post-Romantic assertion of the aesthetic autonomy of the arts in general and high art in particular that Taruskin's answer to the question of whether there is a baby in the bath water is that, basically, no, there isn't.  We cannot ultimately disentangle the aesthetic considerations of art works from those social, economic and political and ritual aspects of reception history through which works come to our attention.  To put it in musical terms, the extramusical associations through which music can receive meaning from "us" as individuals and as grous are inextricable from the music we listen to that we then admire or reject.
Yes, and I guess we have to accept that this is largely unarguable. But on the personal level, I came from a cultural milieu where there was very little in the way of cultural associations, myths and social contexts to shape my reception of the music. Sure, I picked up some of that from reading in the local library, but I honestly think that much of the way I interacted with the music was on a personal level. The kind of fundamental assumptions that one picks up from one's piano teacher and peers were really not available. There was the world, a confused medley of politics, economics and everyday culture, and then there was the world of classical music which seemed to me pretty much a separate universe. Your milage may vary.

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 Very much connected with the Taruskin collection is this article on the influence of the Cold War magazine Encounter on culture:
It is almost 30 years since the demise of Encounter, the London-based monthly review of culture and politics, but no other magazine has since come close to matching its influence. Certainly none has attracted such a glittering contributors’ list of philosophers, poets, novelists, critics, historians and journalists. The sense of loss occasioned by its ending, akin in my own case to that caused by the death of a close friend, combined with a fear that a force for good in the world had been carelessly allowed to perish.
But communism had just collapsed, the Cold War had been won and the US foundations which had recently supported the magazine concluded that its aim of fighting communism had been heroically served; underwriting a magazine is an expensive business, and there were new concerns to address.
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Just a few days ago, March 29, the great Polish Composer Krzysztof Penderecki passed away.
The Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, who has died aged 86, was an outstanding representative of musical modernism’s success in the 1960s. From the early 70s he became equally emblematic of the subsequent failure of so many of that modernism’s principal pioneers to sustain a lifelong career without abandoning their original principles.
In Penderecki’s case, that appeared to mean the substitution of his early trademark emphasis on sound itself, the innovative textures of his choral and orchestral music replacing themes and tonality as the basis for musical construction, with a more lyrical and Romantic style that seemed more like a continuation of 19th-century compositional concerns than a radical reappraisal of received materials.
The Guardian obituary seems to raise quite a few questions!

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I was once fined by the musician's union for playing a free concert, and now we have the Munich police raiding the Bavarian State Ballet for rehearsing against orders!
This morning, a police raid took place at the Ballet Rehearsal House at Platzl in Munich, the headquarters of the Bavarian State Ballet. The dancers had to identify themselves and their personal data was recorded. This was the last so-called “voluntary” daily training, which ballet director Igor Zelensky had decided to hold despite the pandemic…
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Inexplicably, this Sarabande by Bach, from a possible seventh cello suite, was just discovered! How odd that it was on April 1st...

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The New York Times informs us that The Coronavirus Hasn't Slowed Classical Music. And I retort, "just the paychecks!"
The live streams began immediately, with production values ranging from tinny iPhone videos to cinema-ready sophistication. On March 12, the day New York theaters shuttered, the pianist Igor Levit gave a lo-fi performance from his living room, while the Berlin Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra played to empty halls and audiences at home. (In retrospect, these groups of 100 or so musicians should probably have stayed as far apart as the rest of us.)
Since then, a day hasn’t gone by without something to stream. In the past week alone, I’ve been able to watch older performances I missed; ones I had hoped to travel for this spring; ones that would otherwise seem unfathomable, like the pianist Maria João Pires coming out of retirement. If anything, I’m taking in more music than before; the only difference is that now I can be in multiple places — or at least multiple browser tabs — at once.
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I've been putting my extra time to use by memorizing a couple of Bach gavottes.

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Let's have a really splendid envoi today. First up Igor Levit with Beethoven. I am amazed they got him to play on an upright!

Here is one of my teachers, Oscar Ghiglia playing the second movement of the Sonata Romantica by Manuel Ponce. UPDATE: He is playing the second and third movements.

"Come, Heavy Sleep" from the First Booke of Songes or Ayres by John Dowland with Nigel Rogers and Paul O'Dette.

And finally, the Andante con moto, used in countless European films, from the Trio No. 2 by Franz Schubert played by Ambroise Aubrun, violin, Maëlle Vilbert, cello and Julien Hanck, piano


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