Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 12:29 pm
In the New York Times this week, Anthony Tommasini has a series in both print and video about those microcosmic musical moments like "a fleeting passage, a short series of chords, some unexpected shift in a melodic line — when something occurs that just grabs us." What links these diverse bits from Chopin to Puccini to Mahler together?
Last week, we played Wagner's Parsifal, which is often referred to as an Opera-Oratorio. This week, for the beginning of the holiday season, it's Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion; in its turn, the work is often called a Concertante Opera. If ever there was an oratorio that called out to be dramatized, the St. Matthew Passion is it. While living in New York, I met many scenographers who dreamed of the day they'd have a shot at the cosmic drama. Also termed, "The most monumental musical drama before the Ring," Bach's passion has it all.
Badu Boye was born in Senegal, but is now based in Paris, France. In the 1990's he and his brother, Pape Armand Boye introduced a new sound into the Senegalese music scene. Very different from the electronic mbalax music of the day, the brothers played acoustic guitars. Badu's style today sounds very similar, on his eponymously titled CD, the songs are uplifting and inspirational, albeit with a touch of home sickness. A cello,violin and harmonica sprinkled throughout the album are very attractive additions and add an extra texture to the acoustic sound.
If Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote a dull piece of music, I've not yet heard it. And even if there is a workaday piece or two lurking within his 300 keyboard sonatas, you certainly won't find it on this new album by British pianist Danny Driver, who deftly uncovers the surprising restlessness of the music.
A new book, a new recording and some old instruments, all addressing the most memorable phrase in music: the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
Matthew Guerrieri has written a book about this symphony, called The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Guerrieri writes about how Beethoven's piece resonated with everyone from revolutionaries to Romantics, and German nationalists to anti-German resistance fighters.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” may not have been the first animated film, but as author and film historian J.B. Kaufman points out, Walt Disney “completely redefined the concept of what an animated feature could be” with his 1937 film, celebrating 75 years this December.
San Antonio's two period-instrument early music ensembles will join forces to present a concert that traces the evolution of musical styles from the Renaissance to the Baroque. Ensemble Cazona performs on copies of Renaissance-era recorders. Retablo will perform music of the 18th century using Baroque recorder and traverso with viola da gamba, harpsichord, and theorbo. This concert will take place at 3:00 on Sunday, November 25, in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word on the campus of Incarnate Word University located at 4301 Broadway. This event is free and open to the public.