Psalm 50 — Romanian Orthodox Chant

Published in: on August 12, 2010 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Antoly Liadov: Kikimora, Op. 63

Fred Child once said on Performance Today that “Kikimora” sounds more like the name of a playful, cute kitten than what it actually is — in Slavic folklore, a creature that will tend your chickens and keep your house clean, unless she is displeased, in which case she will shriek at night and break your dishes.

You can only appease her by washing all of the pots and pans in fern tea.

But she’s no common imp; the folklore is that Kikimora are the mutated spirits of unbaptized children and abortions. If house builders were angry at their clients, they would build a Kikimora in effigy — not unlike a voodoo doll — and place it in the house. Once she was there, it was considered very hard to get rid of her.

So what do you do when you hear the story of the hellspirit who wants to break your teacups and steal your chickens’ eggs? Write a symphonic poem:

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haydn Trumpet Concerto, Third Movement

I was in the mood for some horn music, and this fit nicely. Not much to say, really, except that it makes me happy.

On a different note, this video has the same feel as those produced for big sports events.

Published in: on June 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

George Gershwin — Piano Concerto in F

Just to prove that I like something other than choral music, Baroque and Russian composers:

I’ve previously posted a Gershwin piece, and truly I find his music a puzzle; no matter what he did, it was a kind of fusion of two mediums of music that at first blush I almost always hate, at second listen I have to analyze, at third listen I appreciate and at fourth listen I enjoy (though not in that way that I could listen to it every day). Gershwin’s work is both indigenous and original, but he was truly a modernist composer, and the more I listen to his music the more I realize today’s fusion composers are — even if subconsciously — just aping what he did.

Published in: on June 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jan Dismas Zelenka — Missa Votiva: Kyrie

More Zelenka. A Czech baroque take on the Kyrie Eliason.

Published in: on June 9, 2010 at 12:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Jan Dismas Zelenka — Miserere mei Deus I & II

Solid baroque Czech liturgical music. I expecially like the second movement.  While the first movement sounds very much like penetential music, the second sounds hopeful — repentant but hopeful. The text is taken from Psalm 50.

(50:3) miserere mei Deus secundum magnam; misericordiam tuam et; secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam (50:4) amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea et a peccato meo munda me (50:5) quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco et peccatum meum contra me est semper (50:6) tibi soli peccavi et malum coram te feci ut iustificeris in sermonibus tuis et vincas cum iudicaris (50:7) ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum et in peccatis concepit me mater mea (50:8) ecce enim veritatem dilexisti incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi (50:9) asparges me hysopo et mundabor lavabis me et super nivem dealbabor (50:10) auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam exultabunt ossa humiliata (50:11) averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis et omnes iniquitates meas dele (50:12) cor mundum crea in me Deus et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis (50:13) ne proicias me a facie tua et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me (50:14) redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui et spiritu principali confirma me (50:15) docebo iniquos vias tuas et impii ad te convertentur (50:16) libera me de sanguinibus Deus Deus salutis meae exultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam (50:17) Domine labia mea aperies et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam (50:18) quoniam si voluisses sacrificium dedissem utique holocaustis non delectaberis (50:19) sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus cor contritum et humiliatum Deus non spernet (50:20) benigne fac Domine in bona voluntate tua Sion et aedificentur muri Hierusalem (50:21) tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae oblationes et holocausta tunc inponent super altare tuum vitulos

(51:3) Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. (51:4) Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (51:5) For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. (51:6) To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words, and mayst overcome when thou art judged. (51:7) For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. (51:8) For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me. (51:9) Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. (51:10) To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. (51:11) Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. (51:12) Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. (51:13) Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. (51:14) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. (51:15) I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee. (51:16) Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice. (51:17) O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise. (51:18) For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted. (51:19) A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (51:20) Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. (51:21) Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mikhail Glinka – The Lark

The father of Russian music. There’s something about the simplicity of this song that I like.

Published in: on June 5, 2010 at 1:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Telemann — concerto for four violins in D major

A little Telemann for Friday. Performed here by the wonderful Musica Antiqua. That is all.

Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Summertime — from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”

Well, it isn’t quite summertime, but around here the water is high.

This fall will mark the 75th anniversary of George Gershwin’s folk opera Porgy and Bess. Summertime is probably the best-known aria from the entire production, having been lifted and covered by dozens of musicians across the spectrum. I didn’t like it much when I was younger, but it grew on me more and more as my musical tastes developed, and we eventually ended up singing it as a lullaby to my oldest.

The opera has an all-black cast, which means that the mainstream didn’t bother to pick it up until the 1970s.

This is from the original production. Summertime begins at the 1:20 mark.

Here’s a more current production that I liked OK:

And here’s Ella Fitzgerald singing a version that I wish these young, deep-voiced girls I hear on the radio would sit down, listen about 100 times and take notes.

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lacrimosa dies illa — from Mozart’s Requiem

One of the things I like about Mozart is that his music often translates well to piano, my instrument of origin. I know that — as instruments go — the piano is very ecumenical, but many pieces lose much of their emotion on it. The Lacrimosa dies illa from Requiem is not one of those.

This piece was originally written for performance with a choir, but here it sounds as if it was always a piano piece.

The Requiem mass was the final piece of Mozart’s career; he died before finishing it.

All of this is not to say that you shouldn’t listen to the choral version. It’s almost a different piece of music when you add all of the vocal and instrumental dimensions.

Published in: on May 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm  Leave a Comment