Saturday, August 10, 2013

April 2013 - Classical Music

[Note: I wrote much of this post several months ago, but then haven't been in a position to finish it until now. The normal levels of patchy service will now be resumed.] 
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Bach, J.S. - French Suite No.4
Beethoven - Mass in C major
Dvorak - String Quartet No.7
Faure - La bonne chanson
Haydn - Symphony No.99
Holmboe
  • String Quartets 1 to 20
  • Symphony No.5
  • Chamber Symphonies 1 and 3
  • Violin Sonata No.2 
Janacek - Capriccio, 'Defiance'
Liszt - Festklänge (Festival Sounds)
Poulenc
  • Three Pastorales
  • Valse-Improvisation on the name of Bach
  • Melancolie
Well, it happened again.  I went completely and utterly Holmboe-crazy.

It might only take a few lines in the above list, but the focus of that craziness was the complete series of numbered string quartets.  No sooner had I listened to the last 4 works (which form a sort of a group) that I impulsively decided I wanted to listen to all of them, in chronological order, to get a better grasp of the music.

So I did. Over most of the month of April.

No sooner had I finished this that I decided I wanted to listen to all 20 of them again, this time not in chronological order, to further develop my sense of the individual works.  I polished off a dozen of them in about 36 hours, before slowing down and listening to the rest a few days later.

At the start of this Holmboe frenzy I was also listening to a few other works, and along the way the 3rd chamber symphony marked the point where I had finally listened to all of the Holmboe discs I bought last year (having expanded my total collection from 6 discs - the symphonies - to 17).  I already have my eye on about half a dozen more.

Those quartets are quite a body of work. They span 36 years of creative output, and that's starting from when Holmboe was already 40 years old! I won't pretend to love them all equally, but I didn't get tired of listening.

Favourites? Well no.11, subtitled ''Rustico", is probably top of the list and it's about the only quartet that could really be called happy.  I've also got an instinctive soft spot for no.2 and no.7.

I listened to a Haydn symphony after I heard that the conductor Sir Colin Davis had died, because it's his set of the 'London' symphonies that introduced me to that music and also it's the only set of Davis recordings I own. I now know that he's considered to have left a greater legacy with some other recordings, but I'm pretty happy just from having that one slice of lovely, warm-hearted music-making from him.

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