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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sunday, April 23, 2017


My Classical Notes

Yesterday

More Mozart from Ibragimova

My Classical NotesMozart: Violin Sonata No. 12 in G major, K27 Violin Sonata No. 16 in B flat major, K31 Violin Sonata No. 17 in C major, K296 Violin Sonata No. 23 in D major, K306 Violin Sonata No. 32 in B flat major, K454 Violin Sonata No. 36 in F major, K547 ‘For Beginners’ ll performed by Alina Ibragimova (violin) and Cédric Tiberghien (piano) This is the third of the ongoing series from the partnership of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien. As before, the program mixes the early—two works by the precocious ten-year-old—with the mature, and includes Mozart’s final violin sonata. Gramophone Magazine wrote earlier this month: “Avoiding the twin traps of over-inflation and simpering coyness, the symbiotic partnership of Tiberghien and Ibragimova respect the music’s innocence while relishing every tiny opportunity for mischief and humour. If the ear is naturally drawn to Tiberghien’s limpid, subtly colored pianism in these keyboard-dominated works, Ibragimova ensures that her discreet contributions always tell. Here is Alina Ibragimova with Cedric Tiberghien in amazing music from this recording:

On An Overgrown Path

Today

One billion YouTube viewers cannot be wrong

More than 2 million cat videos on YouTube have generated in excess of one billion views, with one cat video alone viewed at the time of writing 77,495,605 times. Cat pictures are more popular than selfies on social media, with around 4.0 million feline photos and videos shared each day, and 350,000 cats have their own Twitter or Facebook page. It is known that cats have remarkable powers of hearing and exhibit an advanced form of synaesthesia by which they can switch sensory information between the hearing channel (ears) to the visual channel (eyes). And there are long-established links between cats and classical musicians, with the feline friend of the legendary harpsichord Scott Ross being just one of many examples. The cat is one of the few animals that is found on every continent except Antarctica. There are around 500 million domestic cats in the world and the annual global cat food market is worth US$70 billion. So it is surprising that there have not been many attempts to exploit the music for cats market. However one recent example was the release of the album seen above. Now although I am a cat lover I have to be honest and say that I was deeply sceptical when I read about Music for Cats by David Teie; because at first sight it seems to exploit the Mozart effect craze for cats and, moreover, is distributed by Universal Music. But a family friend who is more open-minded than me bought the CD for our resident feline, which allows me to report my paws-on experience. Dismissing Music for Cats as a marketing gimmick may well be unfair. David Teie's has studied the auditory capabilities of mammals, and he theorises that every species has an intuitive biological response to sounds linked to their brain development and vocalisations; an approach that is supported by academic research. Based on this theory he composed his music for cats incorporating feline-centric sounds and their natural vocalisations, with the sounds matched to a cat’s audible frequency range. The result to the human ear is a thoughtful evocation of ambient sounds crossed with the meditative sonic territory explored by Eliane Radique and others. (View an explanatory video with music samples via this link.) An extended visit by my wife to Toronto has left me cat-sitting our energetic house cat, which has given me a first-hand opportunity to experiment with deep listening for cats. My experience, or rather Ginger's experience, is that Music for Cats does engage its audience, and it does seem to induce subtle changes in feline consciousness. Yes, my subjective observations may well be the result of auto-suggestion. But those subtle and inexplicable changes in feline consciousness are not very different to the subtle and inexplicable changes in human consciousness that I experience when listening to a Rubbra symphony. And one thing that my 67 years on this earth have taught me is not to dismiss phenomena that cannot be logically explained. No review sample used. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.




Tribuna musical

April 19

New conductors and renewed programming at the Phil

The second and third concerts of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic´s subscription series at the Colón coincided in two factors: maestros that had never conducted the Phil and innovative programming. One is old, Finnish, talented and excentric; the other is middle-aged, Italian, very effective and enthusiastic. Leif Segerstam has been here before, Claudio Vandelli made his debut, and both had soloists from the orchestra in premières. Segerstam has changed enormously since his debut here in 1973 conducting Mozart´s "Le Nozze di Figaro". Then he was slim, 32 and almost at the start of his brilliant career; decades passed until he visited us at the helm of the Helsinki Philharmonic some years ago in programmes that stressed Sibelius and one of the conductor´s myriad symphonies. He was transformed into a Nordic overweight patriarch with a huge beard, but his command and musical sensitivity were quite evident. I also had the good luck of appreciating him as a Wagnerian in Vienna (February 2009) with a splendid "Lohengrin". Now in his late seventies, he has serious locomotion trouble and barely manages to climb the two steps to the podium, but his arms respond well and his capacity remains. He started and ended with Sibelius: the iconic "Finlandia" in a rousing performance, and the very welcome second time at the Phil for the Third Symphony, premièred by Pedro Calderón in 1973. Anecdote: at the time the programming was in the joint hands of Calderón (then Principal Conductor) and myself, and curiously he wanted to do Third symphonies and so did I; so he exhumed Mahler´s Third after forty years of its Fitelberg première and I programmed the première of Dvorák´s Third (Smetácek), played complete (not with cuts as happened in Diemecke´s integral of Dvorák symphonies). The Sibelius Third also had a performance (rather good) at the Facultad de Derecho by the Lanús Symphony three years ago and I was there, attracted by the chance to hear it live, for this is a neglected symphony in BA (as is the Sixth) and it doesn´t merit such negligence. Of course the first two are longer and richer but there is much beauty in the Third within its smaller scale. It was finished in 1907 and the composer´s stamp is everywhere, particularly in the attractive melodies of the first movement and the growing tension and density of the final minutes. It had a detailed and impressive reading. The first of two premières was an interesting arrangement by Luciano Berio of Brahms´ Sonata Op.120 Nº1 for clarinet and piano, converting it into a Concerto for clarinet and orchestra. Berio added apposite small introductions to the first and second movements. This is nocturnal, intimate, late Brahms composed in 1894; Berio´s orchestration is at times too loud (the music needs more matte colors, less trumpets) but considering the dearth of clarinet concertos, it is a useful addition to that repertoire. It was premièred in 1986 as a commission of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for its first desk Michele Zukovsky. Probably the execution by Mariano Rey, his counterpart at our Phil, was fully as good, for he is a virtuoso of international standing. I had the curious experience of following the music with the original Brahms score, and I found the interpretation (both soloistic and orchestral) cogent with the marked speeds and articulations. As an encore Rey offered an expressive clarinet adaptation of Piazzolla´s slow, melodic "Oblivion". Can you imagine a composer-conductor presenting his Symphony Nº 302? Surely a Guinness record, that´s what Segerstam did in this work dedicated to the Colón and called "A fundamental and universal musical conscience". Carlos Singer says in his programme notes (and I agree): "he created a gigantic meta-universe irresistible and labyrinthic, cosmic and chaotic". He uses what he calls "free pulsation", "leaving rhythmic decisions to the players". He certainly is "nonconformist, excentric and non-repeatable". He didn´t conduct his 24-minute symphony, of very full orchestration; instead, some players got up and led a particular section from time to time; I suppose rehearsals must have been fascinating to watch, and apparently the Phil coped well. I found it intense, dissonant though tonal-based, and strange; I was left imagining the workings of Segerstam´s psyche and comparing it to other excentric and prolific symphonists such as Havergal Brian and Alan Hovhaness, both quite unknown here. It would be intriguing to have a chance to compare them live. Back to relative normalcy in the following concert. The announced conductor was Alexander Vedernikov, but he fell ill and was replaced by Claudio Vandelli. What impressed me was that the programme was unchanged although it was made up of rarely played Russian music and a première. Reading his biography I understood it: he has been invited for the last ten years by the Moscow State Symphony New Russia and is the second conductor of the Russian Youth Symphony, so he is well versed in the Russian repertoire, although he has plenty of activity elsewhere (he has conducted orchestras of great caliber). He started with an umistakeably Tchaikovskian score, the fantasy overture "Hamlet" (one of his three Shakespearian tone poems, for that´s what they are: the others being "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Tempest"). Written when he was occupied by his Fifth Symphony in 1888, all the hallmarks of his style are there in this unfairly ignored creation: the dark, ominous textures; the melodies charged with sorrow; the vigorous climaxes; the sense of drama. I enjoyed Vandelli´s sanguine interpretation, played by a committed Phil. Johann Baptist Vanhal (Bohemian) had a rather long life (1739-1813) and was staggeringly prolific: 73 symphonies, about 30 concertos, around a hundred string quartets, and 95 sacred works. Very popular and well considered in his own time, but quite forgotten as the Nineteenth Century advanced, the vinyl catalogue after WWII and later the CD rush provoked a thirst for the expansion of the repertoire beyond the greatest names, and thus slowly Vanhal was explored at least partially. There are few concerts for the bass, and so the two by Vanhal, purely classicist, began to be played again. The cumbersome instrument is habitually used in orchestras as the basis for rich string textures, but rarely gets solos to play, let alone concertos. So Osvaldo Dragún, first desk of our Phil, welcomed the chance of premièring Vanhal´s Concerto in D major, a pleasant twenty minutes that allowed the player to show the melodic and the virtuosic aspects of the bass. Dragún also played some of Bottesini´s Variations on the Carnival of Venice tune. A good player of charismatic appearance, he got strong applause. And Vandelli accompanied well. Now to another excentric composer: Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). He started as a Late Romantic but gradually he went on to an audacious mystical avantgardism. His three symphonies are steps in that sense, crowned by his two great poems: "of ecstacy" and "of fire" ("Prometheus"). The Second Symphony (1901) was marvelously done here by Svetlanov and the USSR State Symphony, decades ago. In five movements (the first two and the last two joined), the music is exalted, turbulent and ample (48 minutes). Vandelli led with enthusiasm and command, getting a big sound out of an attentive Phil.For Buenos Aires Herald



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756 – 1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 - 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Mozart composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of Mozart's death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons. Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, of whom Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."



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