Page 279 of 279 FirstFirst ... 179229269275276277278279
Results 4,171 to 4,176 of 4176

Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #4171
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Posts
    883
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    The Tetzlaff et al. seems to be a picture of the former power plant where the Heimbach festival where it was recorded live, takes place.

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraftwerk_Heimbach
    https://www.spannungen.de/de/das-kraftwerk.html

    While the Hagen cover has basically just a picture of the ensemble, they apparently made it so to look like "a night at the opera" with the old style red seats and evening dress etc. which is a nice touch.

  2. Likes Merl, Burbage, StevehamNY liked this post
  3. #4172
    Junior Member Burbage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    48
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    It's Friday and so, despite a busy week, I've done this:


    It’s an awkward dawn in Naples. Verdi, now of a certain age, gets up early and paces about his room, nervously. Aida is going well, or would be if the prima donna hadn’t gone sick, but he has money in his pocket and nothing much on the horizon. There’ll be a requiem (too late for Rossini) to be repurposed (too late for Manzoni), but that’s not in the diary yet so, for the past couple of weeks, he’s been working on something a bit different and tonight will be the first performance. The audience, selected by Verdi from his own friends, can be relied on to be polite. And the musicians, also with time on their hands, have diligently rehearsed, didn’t ask many questions and were grateful for the extra money, so Maestro Verdi is confident they’ll do it justice, though he wonders if there aren’t more auspicious days than Aprils Fools’.

    But tosh to superstition. He’s never been worried about that, despite everything. What luck he’s had, he’s made himself, with the sweat of his own hands or back or brow or whatever, despite his humble origins. And look what he’s achieved, both musically and politically. Italy is now united, purged of the parasitic royalty and grasping rentiers who’d, for so long, oppressed his fellow peasants. That, he likes to think, might not have happened if he hadn’t, time and time again, campaigned against the well-heeled classes by writing shows that they’d enjoyed. He’d even, albeit briefly, become a member of Parliament (though, sadly, one too busy to attend any meetings), where he might have continued to press the case of the Italian peasant (if he’d not been too busy etc).

    And look how he’s built up the family home. What was once practically a hovel (albeit one that also served as an inn, grocery and post-office) in Busetto is now a sprawling, productive estate. It’s not as well-managed as he’d like, and he’s sure he’d do a better job, if only he had the time and the knowledge and the strength and wasn’t prey to those discerning sorts of nerves that make such work impossible for people of his station in life. But, despite the errors of his stewards and the indolence of the peasants, it’s bringing in good money all the same and, again, all thanks to his ceaseless work. Despite his humble origins.

    Every ointment has its fly, though, and a few things still rankled. One of which was a crack from Boito about his writing being formulaic, as if all he’d done in his life was churn out operas to other people’s words. Although a list of his published works might give that impression, he’d done many hard yards in his youth, writing hundreds of pieces for the church choir and town band, before that miserable conservatory in Milan had rejected his application and he’d been forced to find private tuition. But, despite all this writing, and tuition and eager study, and his unconquerable success in opera houses across the world, he’d never been taken quite as seriously as he’d liked by those serious critics (and conservatories) who idolised the Germans, with all their difficult, serious chamber music.

    And, of course, Wagner, whose harmonic sophistry had led some to consider Verdi’s operas as a few jolly tunes sung to a rumpty-tumpty accompaniment, with brass-band choruses taken for political anthems. As if Preziozilla hadn’t done more in twenty minutes than Siegfried could manage in eight hours. But never mind. At least Verdi could pay his bills. And, besides, his music wasn’t nearly as elementary as it sounded. There was craft in that. There was counterpoint beneath those drinking songs, daring harmonies in the duets and those terzetti weren’t accidental, but came from a thorough study of the great quartets.

    So, while he’d found himself at a loose end, he’d started to sketch an actual quartet, the most serious music of all, just to see if it might work. Sure, he’d not had any words to set, which might rob a work of a narrative, but that was just a matter of imagination and anyone who could sell a legend about Egypt to the actual Egyptians could hardly be lacking in that. And, if it didn’t, that didn’t matter. Retirement might have its attractions, after all.

    But, as he sketched, he’d found he’d not left Busetto so very far behind. Strings weren’t the same as a choir, exactly, but not far off, and music was what he understood. Writing a quartet wasn’t much different to any other day at the office. It didn’t matter how big the canvas or small the voices. It was all music, and that’s what Verdi did, with as much virtuosity as any motif-hammering German or neuraesthenic French. It just happened that, for most of his career, he’d found large, wealthy crowds paid better than, however much he loved them, the ungrateful, late-paying tradesfolk of Busetto. But now it’s done. And Verdi paces about his room, nervously.

  4. #4173
    Senior Member StevehamNY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    160
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    ^ Burbage, your Friday posts continue to be a highlight! You actually made me go look up the history of April Fool's Day this time, but it does indeed go all the way back (disputedly) to Chaucer and undisputedly to the early 1500's.

    (Your trivia for today: As widespread as April Fool's Day is around the world, did you know it's an official holiday only in Odessa, Ukraine?)

  5. Likes Burbage, Malx liked this post
  6. #4174
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    6,194
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    70

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Burbage View Post
    ... But, as he sketched, he’d found he’d not left Busetto so very far behind. Strings weren’t the same as a choir, exactly, but not far off, and music was what he understood. Writing a quartet wasn’t much different to any other day at the office. It didn’t matter how big the canvas or small the voices. It was all music, and that’s what Verdi did, with as much virtuosity as any motif-hammering German or neuraesthenic French. It just happened that, for most of his career, he’d found large, wealthy crowds paid better than, however much he loved them, the ungrateful, late-paying tradesfolk of Busetto. But now it’s done. And Verdi paces about his room, nervously.
    Aida and quartets weren't the only things on Verdi's mind. The home improvements in Busetto were impressive but the outdoor space was far from ideal and something was needed to tame the unruly bushes and boxes bordering the refurbished estate. Verdi took the this task on himself, at first hacking furiously at the explosion of foliage and then more tenderly as he began shaping then in more intricate designs. As he worked his obsession grew as slowly and surely as box. Every June, as the cutting season arrived, dreams of Egyptian landscapes and Ethiopian princesses would cool and his night time mind would be filled with visions of topiary . At dawn, with wine in hand and still in his monographed Verdi PJs, the snipping began. Tiny serpentine shapes emerged with giant spheres, stars, spirals and cones. Some began to look increasingly like green pyramids. Squares of green box proliferated across the whole garden with the composer becoming smitten by the bug and creating small geometric patterns across the whole area. Other designs looked indescribably weird. Dreams do not always translate well into hedging. Then, snip, snip, snip, came a sphinx, then a volcano with lumps of box, cascading down the sides. The obsession consumed Verdi more than any other project, whether musical or horticultural. He even considered a new opera with a story revolving around Egyptian Kings and hedging entitled 'Rameses the Gardener', the tale of a pharaoh murdered by jealous contestants in the yearly Cairo Flower and Shrub Show....

    *some poetic license may have been present in this story, Henry.



    britten_edit_246942350718569.jpg
    Last edited by Merl; Today at 11:52.

  7. #4175
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,274
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    Quick reminder - SearsPoncho will get to choose this week.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

  8. #4176
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    10,272
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I can't say that the Verdi quartet thrilled me - as so much of his music (operas) does - but it is likeable enough. I'm sorry but I am not sure I have much more than that to say. I am, anyway, glad to have had a reason to get to know it a little.
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Today at 17:40.

  9. Likes Merl, Malx liked this post

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •