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Posted on Sunday, February 26, 2006

Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 27 February 2006

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Today’s Selections:

Olivier Messiaen: Turangalîla Symphony 81’02
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki String Quartet No. 1 (Already It Is Dark) 13’59

Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.
As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.

CD 1 Entire & 2, Bands 1,2,3: Olivier Messiaen (1908, Avignon – 1992, Clichy) http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/profiles/messiaen.shtml: Turangalîla Symphony (1946-48): François Weigel, piano; Thomas Bloch, ondes Martenot; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit, conductor. Naxos CD 8.554478-79 http://www.naxos.com/

Most of today’s program will focus on a single work, Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony, which the incomparable composer began in 1946 and finished writing in 1948. Isabelle Battioni (transl. Wil Gowans) quotes Messiaen biographer Harry Halbreich as comparing the work to "’an enormous chain of mountains.’" Battioni continues, "[According to Messiaen,] The title . . . is pronounced ‘Too-rahn-ger-lee-lah’ and comes from the Sanskrit. Its implications are richly varied: Lîla literally means a game, but game in the sense of divine workings in the cosmos, the game of creation, destruction and reconstruction, the game of life and death. Lîla is also Love.’ Turanga is ‘time that flies like a galloping horse, time that runs out like sand from an hour-glass. Turanga is movement and rhythm. Hence Turangalîla means altogether: song of love, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death.’" (Liner notes, 3)

Rebecca Rischin, in her magnificent book For the End of Time – The story of the Messiaen Quartet, relates this anecdote, told by ‘cellist Etienne Pasquier, about the symphony we are about to hear:

One time the [Paris] Opera did a ballet set to the music of Turangalîla. I was still in the Opera as a ‘cellist and I remember the first rehearsal [he laughed]. Messiaen was there. He had greatly expanded the orchestra, adding all sorts of equipment: there were ondes Martenot [a percussion instrument similar to the celeste], [additional] percussion, and a solo piano part with amplification, played by his wife, Yvonne Loriod. There was other equipment that was extremely loud. During the first half of the rehearsal, the equipment was badly adjusted and crated a horrible racket. We all had broken eardrums. At intermission, I went into the lobby with Messiaen, and he said to me: "Boy, what a racket I’m making! That must be why they criticized Debussy. He didn’t make enough noise." You see the wit that he had! He had a great sense of humor. He was an absolutely remarkable man." (Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London. http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/ p.94)

Turangalîla is an extremely long symphony, comprising some ten movements and running just shy of 81 minutes. I have absolutely no intention of interrupting it for any reason short of cataclysm.

Time: CD 1: 1. Introduction 06’38
2. Chant d’amour 1 08’30
3. Turangalîla 1 05’19
4. Chant d’amour 2 11’29
5. Joie du sang des étoiles 06’15
6. Jardin du sommeil 12’24
7. Turangalîla 2 04’01
CD 2: 1. Développment de l’Amour 12’02
2. Turangalîla 3 05’21
3. Final 08’27
Total time: 80’45

What an incredible piece of music. I don’t think I would have fidgeted much during a live performance of Messiaen’s Turangalîla! And what a joyous ending!

CD 3: Band 1: Henryk Górecki (*1933, Czernica, Poland)
http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/composer/gorecki.html: String Quartet No. 1: Already It Is Dusk (1988): Kronos Quartet http://www.kronosquartet.com/ : David Harrington and John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud ‘cello: Elektra Nonesuch CD 9 79257-2 www.nonesuch.com

It’s not easy trying to figure out what to broadcast immediately after a symphonic piece as majestic and moving as the Messiaen we have just heard. I’ve decided to end today’s program with a performance of the great Polish composer Henryk Mikołj Górecki’s String Quartet No. 1, Already It Is Dark, op. 62, performed by the Kronos Quartet. Commissioned for and dedicated to the Kronos Quartet The quartet takes its title from "[t]he opening words of a four-part church song by the 16th century Polish composer Waclaw z Szamotul." (Liner notes, David Drew, )

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki is one of the musical phenomena of the 20th century. Norman Lebrecht, in his provocative book Who Killed Classical Music credits "this humble Pole from Katowice" with "turning the world’s most sophisticated merchandising machine [the recording industry] on its head and teaching it the virtue of simple things." (Carol Publishing Group, Seacaucus, NJ, 1998. 289. Lebrecht’s point is that as a result of Górecki’s religious commitment, he composed music that "defied every tenet of record industry faith" by doing in 1993 what [n]o living symphonist had" accomplished since Shostakovich, that is, selling not only tens of thousands of copies of his Third Symphony, but, in fact, nearly a million." Lebrecht continues, "For the record industry . . . it was nothing less than a revelation. In the . . . winter of 1992-3, the classical music business found God in a record store." (290). The popularity of post-modern religious music in the latter 20th century is not something I’m prepared to go into at this point, but it certainly exists to this day. We're going to broadcast a piece that Górecki composed several years before his Third Symphony, namely his first string quartet (1988), Op. 62, subtitled "Already It Is Dark." The piece, as David Drew tells us in his liner notes, is based on material from a song by Wacław of Szamotuły from the first half of the 16th century . . . and closes with a quotation from this song. We’ll hear it performed by the Kronos Quartet.

Time: 1. Already It Is Dusk 13’59

Total running time: 94’44

We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard the glorious Turangalîla Symphony by Olivier Messiaen, and the superb String Quartet No. 1, Already It Is Dark, by Henryk Mikołj Górecki. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next wee for more great 20th and 21st century "classical" music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music!
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Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2006

Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 20 February 2006

060220

Today’s Selections:

Hans Krása’s Symphonie 16’14
George Walker’s Poème for Violin & Orchestra 17’45
Anton Webern’s Five Pieces 10’38
Messiaen’s La Ville d’en haut 09’17
Janàček’s Piano Sonata 1.X 14’56
Roger Hannay’s Time Remembered 09’56
William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartet 14’17

Total time: 93’03


Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.

As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.

CD 1: Disc 2: Bands 12,13,14: Hans Krása (1899, Prague – 1944. Auschwitz) http://www.musica.cz/comp/krasa.htm: Symphonie (?)Brigitte Balleys, soprano; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor. London CD 289 455 587-2

Simply put, the term Entartete Musik means “degenerate music,” and “consists of works by composers suppressed or displaced during” the Third Reich. (cover, boxed set, Hans Krása). One composer whose music was so designated was the Czech composer, Hans Krása, whose intense love for his native city, Prague, lulled him into staying there until it was too late for him to escape the Nazi takeover of Czechoslovakia. He was arrested shortly after finishing his children’s opera, Brundibar, and interned in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. In 1944, he was removed to a concentration camp, probably Auschwitz, where he died.

He wrote his Symphony for small orchestra in 1923. The third movement is set to a poem by Rimbaud called “The Lice Pickers,” which appears in a collection by the great French poet called “A Season in Hell and Other Poems.” The poem appears in both German and English translations in the liner notes to Krása’s opera Betrothal in a Dream and Symphonie, today's selection. We’ll hear Brigitte Balleys, soprano; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor. London CD 289 455 587-2


Time: 12. I Pastorale 06’59
13. II Marsch 04’42
14. III Die Läusesucherinnen 04’23

Total time: 16’04

CD 2: Bands 5,6,7: George Walker (1933, Washington, D.C.) http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/1617/bio.html: Poème for Violin & Orchestra. Gregory Walker, violin; Cleveland chamber Symphony; Edwin London, Music Director. Albany Records, Troy 270.

Three years ago this May, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dr. George Walker, a superb composer who also excelled as a pianist and who began a distinguished career at Rutgers University in 1969. His awards, including a Fulbright, a John Hay Whitney, a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, and a MacDowell Fellowship, read like an encyclopedia of honors.

He composed his Poème for Violin & Orchestra in 1991. It is, according to the composer, “a revised version of an earlier Violin Concerto, that is ‘by no means a tranquil piece,’ alternating between an ‘intense lyricism’ and ‘dramatic qualities, which you hear particularly in the final movement.’ It is dedicated to [Walker’s] mother in tribute to her extraordinary devotion to her family and friends. ‘I think,’ said the composer, ‘she would have liked the piece.’” It appears to me to have all the earmarks of a neo-Romantic composition.

Poème for Violin & Orchestra is written in three movements named for their metronomic timings:

Time: 5. I Eighth Note = 88 08’12
6. II Eighth Note = 72 04’02
7. III Eighth Note = 120 05’31

Total time: 17’45

Running time: 33’49

CD 3: Bands 4,5,6,7,8: Anton Webern (1883, Vienna – 1945, Mittersill)
http://w3rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/webern.html: Five Pieces (1909) (also referred to as Five Movements for String Quartet – cf. Baker’s): Kronos Quartet www.kronosquartet.com : David Harrington and John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, ‘cello. Elektra Nonesuch CD 9 79318-2 www.nonesuch.com

One of WJFF’s very good friends, Martha Franco, asked me the other night if I might consider playing some Anton Webern, whom she had discovered at some point and become enamored of. I really need to expand my collection of this incredibly brilliant Viennese composer, usually associated with the so-called 2nd Viennese School in the same breath as Schoenberg and Berg. However, Webern left precious little in the way of composition when he had his life cut short by the friendly fire of an American soldier in Mittersill in 1945 – approximately three hours worth.

Charles Shere, in his fine liner notes, argues that “Anton Webern was harder for the public to ‘understand’ [than Berg]. . . Because it is so concise, Webern’s music seems more esoteric, more enigmatic. The Five Pieces, Op. 5, were written the year before Berg’s Quartet, in 1909, but on first hearing, the music is exotic, condensed, full of extremes, now nearly audible, now extraordinarily dense.” Shere continues, “It’s probably best not to pay attention to it the first few times: better to let the music find its way through the ear, not the mind. . . . Schoenberg would say later that Webern’s gift was ‘to express a novel in a single gesture, joy in a single breath.’”

Time: 4. I 02’26
5. II 02’22
6. III 00’38
7. IV 01’43
8. V 03’29

Total time: 10’38

Running time: 44’27

CD 4: Band 8: Olivier Messiaen (1908, Avignon – 1992, Clichy) http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/profiles/messiaen.shtml: La Ville d’en haut for 31 wind, brass, piano, and percussion (1987): members of The Cleveland Orchestra; Pierre Boulez, conductor. Deutsche Grammophon CD 445 821-2

Thanks again to Martha Franco, I was reminded during our pledge drive that I have not played enough Messiaen recently. Part of my problem here, of course, is that once I start to listen to Messiaen, I don’t want to stop! The next piece is one I have never aired before to the best of my knowledge, a piece written for 31 wind, brass, piano, and percussion instruments, called La Ville d’en haut, or The City Above, or The New Jerusalem; or, simply, Paradise. Paul Griffiths notes that this piece is “enormous and elemental, built from a few elements . . . ‘According to the composer, “the brass chorale represents the glory of the Heavently City. The birds of the xylophones, the woodwinds, the piano solo, symbolize the joy of the resurrected, assured of being always near to Christ. The chords’ colors change almost constantly, and symbolize in their turn the colors of the light Above.’” (Liner Notes)

What do I love about Messiaen? Rarely do I find myself particularly drawn to religious music, although I find it often beautiful; but with Messiaen, I find his music goes way beyond his religious convictions to a kind of almost pure sound. How I wish I could have met him and, if you can forgive the impudence, interviewed him!

Time: 8. La Ville d’en haut 09’17

Running time: 53’44

CD 5: Bands 1,2: Leoš Janáček (1854, Moravia – 1928, Moravská Ostrava) http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/janacek.html: Piano Sonata 1.X Z ulice [“From the Street; only 2 movements extant; inspired by the abortive but sanguine Russian revolt”] (1905) (Baker’s): Leif Ove Andsnes, piano. Virgin Classics CD VC 7 91222-2 261 658

Leoš Janáček wrote the sonata we are about to hear, Sonata 1.X Z ulice “in direct response to the killing of a Czech worker by Austrian troops during a demonstration of a Czech worker by Austrian troops during a demonstration in support of a Czech university for Brno (at that time under German Administration) on 1 October 1905.” So says Mark Audus in his liner notes. Baker’s Biographical Dictionary, on the other hand, attributes the inspiration for this piece to the 1905 Russian Revolution. Either way, the liner notes seem to be correct in discerning that in the piece, “the composer confronts harsh reality in the bleakest terms.” Indeed, there is something heartbreaking and unrelenting in the piece, which pianist Leif Ove Andsnes performs with fine comprehension, technique, and feeling.

The piece survives in two movements; Audus indicates that Janàček seized the third movement and burned it, throwing the first two movements into the Vltava River because “the music he had written in the heat of the moment excited both extreme emotion and self-criticism in the composer.” (7) The two movements survive because the “soloist had made of copy of [them] and in 1924, Janàček consented to their publication, adding the dedicatory lines, ‘The white marble staircase of the House of the artists in Brno . . . a simple worker František Pavlík falls, stained with blood . . . He came only to plead for a university . . . And was killed by cruel murderers.’”

Time: 1. Presentiment 06’20
2. Death 08’36

Total time: 14’56

Running time: 68’40

CD 6: Band 11: Roger Hannay (1930, Plattsburg – 2006, Chapel Hill) http://www.aucourantrecords.com/aurec/rogerhannay.htm: Time Remembered (1970): Donald Oehler, clarinet; Peter Pettinger, piano. Historical Preservation Recordings, Selected Chamber Music of Roger Hannay, Vol. II.

My friend Roger Hannay, who always signed his emails and letters “Hrothgar,” died on January 27, 2006 of complications following heart surgery. I became acquainted with Roger through my friends Eleanor and Arnold Hughs – he was Eleanor’s first cousin – and he was gracious enough to visit with us on our program twice. I regret that I did not make time to visit him while he was still in good health, and I deeply regret the loss of this superb composer, much admired professor, and lovely human being. I hope to travel to NC in the spring to attend a memorial concert.

There is some irony in his passing, as his cousin-by-marriage, Arnold Hughs, who died several years ago, was a much admired and well loved Director of Music for the Monticello Central School District. On Saturday, March 18, at 2:13 PM, the district will honor the late Mr. Hughs by naming the high school/middle school auditorium after him. If any of our listeners are interested in finding out more about this event, please contact Gandalf.

Meanwhile, let’s listen to this neat 1970 crossover piece by Roger Hannay, Time Remembered – a perfect name for this moment – performed so beautifully by Donald Oehler on the clarinet and Peter Pettinger on the piano. It was recorded during a Belgian radio broadcast performance on May 14, 1979.

Time: 11. Time Remembered 09’56

Running time: 78’36

CD 6: Entire: William Grant Still (1895, Woodville, MI – 1978, LA) http://www.williamgrantstill.com/wgsbiography Lyric Quartet (1960): Oregon String Quartet: Kathryn Lucktenberg and Fritz Gearhart, violins; Leslie Straka, viola; Steven Pologe, ‘cello. Recorded Jan 3, 2000, in Beall Hall at the University of Oregon http://music1.uoregon.edu/fac/gearhart/osq.html.

Quite a few years ago, I had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing William Grant Still’s daughter Judith, who provided me with fascinating anecdotes grounded in very interesting biographical information that convinced me that her father never received the acclaim that ought to have been his during his lifetime. That he was a superb and very important composer, no one who listens to his music can doubt, I think. But because he was a Black composer, the establishment refused to take him seriously. Only during the past decade, thanks in large part to the diligent campaign of his daughter and granddaughter, has Still begun to receive the attention he so richly deserves. His 1960 Lyric Quartet, a three movement piece, is a good example of Still’s neo-Romantic talents. This is a wonderful piece to end our program with today.

Time: 1. The Sentimental One 06’23
2. The Quiet One 04’48
3. The Jovial One 03’05

Total time: 14’17

Total running time: 93’03

We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard Hans Krása’s Symphonie; George Walker’s Poème for Violin & Orchestra; Anton Webern’s Five Pieces; Messiaen’s La Ville d’en haut; Janàček’s Piano Sonata 1.X; Roger Hannay’s Time Remembered; and William Grant Still’s Lyric Quartet. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century “classical” music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for making our February pledge drive a resounding success and wishing you all the joy of New Music!
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Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006

Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, 13 Feb 2006: Noon to 2:00PM: WJFF
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 13 February 2006

060213

Today’s Selections:

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 46’54
Mark Fish’s Pictures of Miró 19’00
Paul Hindemith’s Sonate III for organ 11’35
Marc-Antonio Console’s Varie Azioni 16’48

Total time of music: 94’17

Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.

As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.

CD 1: Bands 4-7: Dmitri Shostakovich (1906, St. Petersburg – 1975, Moscow): http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/shostakovich.html Symphony No. 15, Op. 141 (1971): BBC Philharmonic; Vassily Sinaisky, conductor. BBC Music Vol14, No. 6. http://www.bbcmusicmagazine.com/

2006 also marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the great 20th century composers, Dmitri Shostakovich, who was born in St. Petersburg in 1906 and who died in Moscow in 1971. BBC Music Magazine, a publication not always noted for its attention to 20th century and contemporary composers, has issued a CD containing two complete works by the great Soviet composer and part of a third one. For that, and for their comments, I am more than a bit grateful.

The difficulties that Dmitri Shostakovich faced as a premier composer during the Stalin era in the Soviet Union are well known; although Shostakovich’s actual attitudes and states of mind are still hotly debated among musicologists and historians, as he moved in and out of official Soviet favor with some frequency. http://www.siue.edu/~aho/musov/dmitri.html

David Nice, in an excellent article in BBC Music Magazine (Feb. 2006), calls Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 “his last will and testament,” and argues that “it is a philosophical work in which the ailing composer, leading a restricted existence after a heart attack and the onset of a disease similar to polio, sums up the wisdom of a lifetime and reflects upon his own impending death.” (p.6)

As you listen to the piece, you will undoubtedly hear specific references to Schoenberg, Rossini, Wagner, and others.

During the summer of the early 1950s, when I was yet a youngster, a recording of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, which he composed in 1937, suddenly made the charts, and suddenly it seemed to me that I was hearing that composition more frequently than any of the pop songs of the era. Let’s listen now to Shostakovich’s last symphony as it is performed by the BBC Philharmonic under the baton of Vassily Sinaisky.

Time: 4. Allegretto 08’33
5. Adagio 16’57
6. Allegretto 04’25
7. Adagio – Allegretto 16’59

Total time: 46’54

CD 2: Bands 3-13: Mark Fish (*1969, San Diego) http://markfish.com/: Pictures of Miró (2004): members of the East West Continuo: Tessa Brinckman, flute; Daniel Rouslin, violin; Victoria Gunn Pich, viola; Lori Presthus, ‘cello. Glass Sky: NPM LD 021 http://www.northpacificmusic.com/

The contemporary “classical” music scene is alive and thriving in the Pacific Northwest, as our friend and sometime guest, composer Gary Nolan, has taken the time to remind me with two recent CDs, one of his works, one of works performed by Tessa Brinckman and East West Continuo. Because I enjoy visual program music, if there is such a term, I thought we might broadcast Pictures of Miró, a piece recorded on the latter CD, which is called Glass Sky - the CD, that is.

Mark Fish, a young composer who was born in San Diego in 1969, composed Pictures of Miró in 2004. He has also set a painting by Gustav Klimt to music (if you are not familiar with Klimt’s art, I recommend it to you heartily!)

Pictures of Miró comprises eleven movements dedicated chronologically to paintings that Miró painted from 1919 through 1960. It begins and ends with two self-portraits, with a third one interspersed. The paintings, with some commentary from the liner notes, are as follows:

1. Self-Portrait, 1919: A somewhat aloof, somewhat cubist, self-portrait, painted in brilliant red. Picasso loved it, bought it, and kept it for the rest of his life.

2. Dog Barking at the Moon, 1926: One of Miró’s most famous paintings. As the viola barks like a dog, the flue and violin’s thready high notes depict the moon hanging in the sky. Ascending pizzicati in the strings represent Miró’s ‘escape ladder,’ a theme that reappears in later paintings.

3. The Lutanist (Dutch Interior 1), 1928: Miró took a trip to the Netherlands in 1926, creating his own versions of Flemish masterworks, including this 1661 painting by Hendrick Martensz, Sorgh. Here the composer uses both modern and 17th century harmony, the viola becoming the lute, while the ‘cello becomes the singing lutanist.

4. Girl Practicing Gymnastics, 1932: A comical take of the title, with the painting’s bright geometric figures reflected in the music’s light, colorful harmonies. With a supporting cast of strings, the flute as the girl first struggles with, and then overcomes, her difficult exercises.

5. Woman, 1934: This depiction of a woman’s anguish is part of Miró’s ‘Wild Period’ (encompassing this and the next painting). The figure in the painting is war and monstrous, with a wide-open mouth and sharp teeth.

6. Man and Woman in Front of Pile of Excrement, 1936: Miró had strong premonitions of the strife and terror of fascism, later realized in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. He chose this title because he thought about the artist Rembrandt saying that one can find rubies and emeralds in a pile of dung.

7. Self-Portrait, 1937: The artist uses delicate silvery greys and yellow – a significant lack of color compared to the first self-portrait’s fiery red. As penciled lines cross and fade in and out of one another, so do the melodic lines played by the quartet.

8. The Escape Ladder, 1937: Music, sky, and night are Miró’s metaphors for a leap away from the oppressive circumstances of his time – an escape ladder into creativity.

9. The Nightingale’s Song at Midnight and the Morning Rain, 1940: This painting from Miró’s Constellation Series fills up the entire canvas without any central figure dominating the space. Likewise, the quartet dances an elegant dance in equal partnership.

10. The Red Sun Gnaws at the Spider, 1948: Eyes stare out at the viewer, a large black figure reminiscent of a Chinese character. The strings and flute produce a gnawing intensity that later becomes both sparse and quaint.

11. Self-Portrait, 1960: Like the painting from the previous movement, this last self-portrait comes from Miró’s Black Period. Over the grey pencil self-portrait created twenty-three years earlier, the artist has added thick black lines as a graffiti-like personage, and a few bright red and yellow splotches. Though Miró lived for another twenty-three years after creating this painting, he said that he left this last self-portrait unfinished. The music reflects a tragic simplification of character, as though the artist had seen himself degenerate over time.

Time: 3. Self-Portrait 02’34
4. Dog, Barking at the Moon 01’10
5. The Lutanist 01’37
6. Girl Practicing Gymnastics 02’05
7. Woman 03’23
8. Man and Woman in Front of a Pile of Excrement 01’08
9. Self-Portrait 00’40
10.The Escape Ladder 00’23
11.The Nightingale’s Song at Midnight 02’28
12.The Red Sun Gnaws at the Spider 01’24
13.Self-Portrait 01’54

Total time: 19,00

Running time: 65’54

CD 3: Bands 6,7,8: Paul Hindemith (1895, Hanau – 1963, Frankfurt am Main): Sonata III for organ (1940) http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/hindemith.html: Kevin Bowyer, organist (at the Marcussen Organ of Odense cathedral, Denmark): Nimbus Records NI 5411.

A very tiny bit of the variety of the “classical” music that has been composed during the past century may be imagined by simply juxtaposing the piece we are about to hear with the two we have just heard. Paul Hindemith composed his Sonata III for organ, subtitled über alte Volkslieder in 1940, the last of three organ sonatas that he composed beginning in 1937.

Nicholas Williams argues that this and other organ pieces on this CD demonstrate that “[t]hough the conservative reputation of organ music is inseparable from the conservatism of its greatest composer, Bach, his protean character that appeals both to reactionaries and radicals has also at times brought the instrument to the forefront of contemporary styles.”

Williams adds, “Hindemith, for example, in the 1920s used the slogan ‘back to Bach’ as an avant-garde rallying cry.” (Liner notes)

The organ sonata we’ll hear, “consists of three chorale preludes, the melodies nostalgically reflecting the composer’s love of German folk material as heard in the Mathis der Maler symphony.”

Time: 6. Ach Gott, wem soll ich’s klagen 04’32
7. Wach auf, mein Hort 05’08
8. So wünsch ich ihr 01’55

Total time: 11’35

Running time: 77’29

CD 4: Bands 1,2,3: Marc-Antonio Consoli (*1941, Catania, Italy): Varie Azioni (1995): Cyrus Stevens, violin; George Fischer, piano: Vuci Siculani: Cri CD 735.

The title of our last piece, Varie Azioni, translates, according to the composer, Marc-Antonio Consoli, as either “various actions” or “variations.” Consoli composed the three movement piece for violin and piano in 1995 at the MacDowell Colony. He writes that the first movement, Cantilena, is “a kind of continuous chant”; the second movement, “Notturno Triste, . . . reflects my state of mind at this time”; and the third and last movement, Salta Fuoco, . . . is a celebration of life: wild and frenetic gestures in the solo violin are reminiscent of gypsy music, which the Spaniards left behind during their occupation of [Sicily] . . .” (Liner Notes)

Time: 1. Cantilena 05’46
2. Notturno triste 05’34
3. Salta Fuoco 05’28

Total time: 16’48

Total running time: 94’17

We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15; Mark Fish’s Pictures of Miró; Paul Hindemith’s Sonate III for organ; and Marc-Antonio Console’s Varie Azioni. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next Monday for more great 20th and 21st century “classical” music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening; reminding you that WJFF begins its Winter pledge drive tomorrow at 6:00AM; and wishing you all the joy of New Music!
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