Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Musica Della Sera: Gurdjieff, Sibelius, Pärt

The latest Musica della sera show is now up on the Internet to enjoy on demand; see below for locating the link. This program will be available until Thursday, May 7, 2009 (Get it while it lasts!)

After creating a baroque diversion with two keyboard works by Bach (played on 20th Century pianos), the show took a distinctly modern turn, beginning with the tuneful Starry Night for flute, harp, and xylophone, by Alan Hovhaness.

Next, a performance by Tashi and friends of Toru Takemitsu's Water-Ways, a captivating atonal combination of timbral textures scored for clarinet, two harps, piano, violin and two vibraphones.

Next, the Sibelius String Quartet in D Minor, Op.56, completed in 1909 and subtitled by him "Voces Intimae", a wonderful new discovery for me...my thought was, hey, why didn't anyone tell me Sibelius wrote a wonderful string quartet? He wrote much chamber music in youth, but most of it was never published. This is the only string quartet he deemed worthy to share with the world, which makes me wonder what gems he may have deprived us of.

There then followed several short piano works composed by Greek-Armenian mystic, spiritual teacher, and author of Meetings with Remarkable Men and Beelzebub's Tales to Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. These pieces were written in the 1920s in collaboration with Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann, and reflect the religious hymns of Central Asia and Russian liturgical music.

This led nicely, I thought, to "Cecilia, vergine romana" (2002), by Arvo Pärt, an Estonian composer also strongly influenced by Slavonic liturgical traditions.

The harp made its third appearance on the show in Debussy's "Danses sacree et profane pour harpe et orchestre", composed in 1904.

I concluded the show with a string trio dating from 1959 by Rudolf Escher (1912-1980), a Dutch composer much influenced by Debussy and Ravel.

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You can see exactly what was played and who performed it by referring to the playlist (originally broadcast 4/30/2009).

My wife, Meera Collier-Mitchell, and I take turns hosting the classical radio program Musica della sera on Thursday evenings, 7-9:30 (PT). This week I hosted. Listen at your convenience:

KUSP's brand new web feature: The KUSP Music Show Player, Classical, Jazz, Global, Eclectic, and Late Late, listen on demand, check it out, peruse the list and click the one for Musica della sera to hear our show.

Each broadcast is available for download until it is replaced by the subsequent week's program.

You can also stream KUSP live of course.

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