Thursday, June 14, 2012

March 2012 - Classical Music

Bach, J.S. - Christ lag in Todesbaden (Christ lay in Death's bonds)
Bach, J.S. - Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich (For you, Lord, I long)
Beethoven - Piano Sonatas 5 to 8
Faure - Piano Quintets 1 & 2
Faure - Cello Sonata No. 1
Haydn - 6 String Quartets, Op.76 (the 'Erdődy' quartets)
Holmboe - Symphony No. 9
Vivaldi - Stabat Mater

The data recording kept going, even though the writing didn't.  (Meanwhile, what the heck has Blogger done to the look of the area I compose posts in?! Aargh!)

I didn't get my hands on the new purchase I hinted at in the February Classical post until the very last day of the month.  It was a 10-CD box of Bach cantatas - specifically, the first 10 of the chronological series still being created by Masaaki Susuki and the Bach Collegium Japan.  I had a lovely walk to the post office on a nice sunny day...

Oh, right, the music.  Well, this entry covers a mere two cantatas, but the early signs were good!  It's still strange to me that I'm suddenly listening to a lot more vocal Classical music.  Dealing with the different languages is still something of a challenge, and often it's better if I just switch off and hear it purely as music.  I also re-started on some Vivaldi, wrestled my box set into some vague resemblance of chronological and thematic groups and began with the Stabat Mater (probably the earliest of his vocal works to have survived).

The main 'event' of the month was probably listening to the Haydn Op.76 for the first time in several years.  I cannot recall for certain whether my cassette copies of these were the first classical music I ever bought for myself (around the age of 16 or 17), but if not the first they were very close to it.  And there's still so much to enjoy in there.  They're the last complete set of quartets from the first master of quartet writing.

I also tackled Holmboe's Symphony No. 9 with a vengeance.  It's one of his tougher works, but once I pulled it apart and put it back together, yet again I found it very rewarding and a clear example of the way this composer writes across movements.  The second movement on its own sounds like... well, nothing much. A lot of soft whimperings and scratchings.  But once you've grasped that there's a little melodic fragment in it that's carried over from the first movement, suddenly it's like the music is holding its breath for 4 minutes before unleashing in the third movement.

I know that's all rather brief and not terribly insightful, but I do have some catching up to do...

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