This single “movement” is in my topmost desert island napsack. It is as fine and dramatic as Schubert’s quintet, shimmering with color, delicately braided duos, full of heartbreaking lyricism. There is a stunning silence of epic proportions, darkness, then transcendent love. Elegant, perfect. Dvořák is underrated. I have never heard this live. Tragic.
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My b’day just passed. I spent the day dreaming of a music program to play for my friends. Now, in the after-mists of the holiday, I listen alone and revise endlessly. This captures it all. One of the very individual pieces of music you must encounter in life. Promise me. Listen to part 6 and 7 (the last movement).
p.s. I forgot the whole point of my previous post. Compare “Gut Bucket Blues” and then “Ko-Ko” from my earlier post. See how far (out) American Jazz got in only 25 years. Hot damn! Louis Armstrong meets Charlie Parker and Diz. Makes one think of Brahms meeting Stravinski.
Happy Independence day. One of the best manifestations of American “freedom” is our native music: Jazz. Another kind of chamber music indeed: small ensemble “art” music that, in less than 100 years of recorded history, demonstrates all the exploration, innovation, technicality and genius of the most august sustained musical tradition. Out of the early chaos of recorded jazz, here is a prime contender for the first “cut” you might dare to encounter. Hats off to New Orleans and Chicago.Happy 4th of July!
Bird is the word. Thinking about music other than chamber music today. Or wait, is this chamber music too? 1947, modern jazz is fully launched. This is a seminal recording. Magnificent. The dawn of potent new genre. Much like Beethoven, this music still and perhaps will eternally sound “modern.”
I was thinking about my dad today and how he introduced me at a very young age to the GREATEST PIECE OF MUSIC EVER WRITTEN. I am a libra, a conciliator, a counselor, a philosopher, a musicologist and an artist who has to suspend his judgement constantly to listen in order to really hear. My friends will laugh that I can’t possibly make a single declarative sentence without 1,000 caveats and playing my very own devil’s advocate. But today, in honor of my dad, I’ll slam my gavel on the desk and declare: Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony is the greatest piece of music ever written. I’ll defend myself in detail later, and, I reserve the right to change my mind 1,000 more times. Happy Father’s day.
My last music post had to do with the string core of chamber music and the stunning power of a single violin. But chamber music is a conversation of 2 or more players. Just putting two strings together (1 + 1), a new third dimension of synergy emerges including harmony, dialog, foreground and background, etc.. Mozart wrote 2 of the most magnificent string duets of all time, both for violin and viola. There is a world of riches in this 3 movement piece if you only take the time. A sonata, a minuet and a rondeau.
For me, the first dancing atom of chamber music starts with the violin, a defining trait I like to call “string theory.” Curiously, the violin is the odd man out when you consider the bulk of jazz and pop muisc. Here is one man, one fiddle and one mighty composer. Remember as you listen: this is a solo performer. And, there is no electricity involved.
Sometimes, we all need clarity, elegant thought and classical beauty. Why not one of the “founding fathers”? In the brief years between Mozart’s death and Beethoven’s 1st string quartet, the most amazing Haydn wrote this. A bracing cup of coffee “mit schlag”.
John Prine wrote a song made famous by Bette Midler titled “Hello in There.” It is about the fact that inside many elderly folks, a young river still rages. The next time you see an 80-year-old shuffling down the street, realize they may have this inside: