Alexander Glazunov looking like the most dangerous tuberculosis victim of all-time.
It’s been eons since I’ve had the time to post anything in this space, and I’ve been feeling the effects of writer’s withdrawal. This condition has been an absolute plague based on the simple fact that I’m a horrible writer and therefore should feel better when NOT writing, but what can I say? Since I last wrote anything of substance the NCAA Tournament started, the Republicans have had something like 71 primary elections, and my interest has been piqued by a movie called “The Hunger Games” that looks to have the appealing plot of teenagers killing one another for the pleasure of adults (something I occasionally fantasize about when thinking of flash mobs and the junior prom).
At any rate, the other major development recently has been the acquisition of my first real acceptable stereo system, complete with receiver, floor speakers, and turntable. I already tested it out with the original instrumentation Royal Fireworks Music, and I’m pleased to report that it sounds pretty nice. Last night I was even able to corral Sandy to sit down and listen to Janacek’s masterful Taras Bulba, which I believe she enjoyed (we both really like Gogol). After that, I had it in my mind to listen to something else, but it was getting late, so I stopped after the first movement of a piece that I hadn’t listened to in some time and decided I was going to write about it because it’s just that cool. That piece is the Oriental Rhapsody by Alexander Glazunov.
...will be played by Anthony Quinn...
In the last couple months, I’ve made references to the music of Hugo Alfven. He cracked the top 10 of the Symphonies no. 3 countdown, which I’m sure thrilled the folks at the Alfven Society. And I compared him to a non-BCS football team in a rhapsody showdown, implying he was the dark horse that could probably take the whole cake if given the opportunity. And the piece with which he could achieve that victory is the Swedish Rhapsody no. 3, also known as the Dalecarlian Rhapsody. Continue reading
Franz Liszt was the greatest pianist of his generation, a renowned composer, and one hell of a nice guy. His contributions to the symphonic poem influence composers to this day. They just renamed the Budapest Airport after him.
George Enescu was a composer, conductor, violinist, and explorer of folk music. The list of his violin students is mighty impressive (Menuhin, Grumiaux, Haendel, Ferras). The village in Romania where he is born is now called George Enescu.
A Rhapsody is an episodic, free-flowing work that does not necessarily adhere to any formal structures. It is a favorite compositional style of the Romantic period, as unrequited love and tragic heroism also do not follow any formal structures.
Liszt wrote 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies for piano, six of which were arranged for orchestra by Franz Doppler with revisions by Liszt himself. The most famous of the bunch is the Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Enescu wrote two Romanian Rhapsodies for orchestra, the Romanian Rhapsody no. 1 being the more popular one. This will essentially be a BCS-type clash between #1 and #2. Continuing in the spirit of the BCS, Alfven’s sublime Swedish Rhapsody #3 has legitimate complaints about its omission from the contest and may file an antitrust lawsuit. Continue reading