Rebel, Four Seasons, Janacek's Sinfonietta, Quartet for the End of Time
by, Apr-19-2011 at 13:39 (772 Views)
I took a long, long walk through the park and the city today, and listened to four works while I did so. First was Rebel's Les Elemens.
By listening to Reinhard Goebel, I position myself in opposition to a league of internet snobs, and tomorrow I will listen to Jordi Savall to entrench myself here.
Anyway, the first part of Les Elemens is must-hear music, whether you indulge yourself in this particular philistine recording or seek out something more elite. I simply love it and cannot recommend it strongly enough.
Unless you haven't heard Vivaldi's Four Seasons yet. "Air" has posted a long blog on how he overcame his Bohemian ennui and learned to appreciate The Four Seasons again. He gives some recommendations and it's a post worth checking out: How I finally came into terms with Vivaldi.
In the comments, he explained that he'd become "overfamiliar" with it, ruining the pleasure for him. Fortunately, I think I haven't done that to myself yet, but I thought I'd put myself to the test, listening to the version that I've heard the most:
I found it unbearably hackneyed and ... just kidding. Aside from a few movements (the first of Spring and the second of Winter, for example), I think the only time I've heard this music is when I've put it on. It really is delightful, every little detail is perfect, and there's a satisfying range of emotion.
Don't listen to it until you're sick of it. Everything in moderation, friends!
Well, then I listened to Janacek's Sinfonietta.
It's like a tutorial in what to do with the brass and the horns. Wonderful stuff. Janacek enjoys a little more fame than Rebel, but they both deserve more than they've got.
Finally, it was on to Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.
It has become my understanding that this recording is not the correct one; we're supposed to have this one:
But I don't, so... I listened to the one I've got. This really is a lovely chamber work, but if "lovely" implies emotional superficiality then I'll have to find a different word. You'll want to know the story behind it: Quatuor pour la fin du temps (wikipedia).
Of these, the winner for the evening was Rebel. The others and especially Janacek put up a good fight, but Les Elemens is just not going to get beaten by much!