Thursday, March 18, 2010

Small thoughts

• The other day I heard Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Italien” on NPR. It was played by the Malaysian Philharmonic. Let’s see- a Russian composer’s tribute to Spain played by an Asian orchestra. I guess it’s no worse than having an American orchestra play it. However, the Malaysian performance was so unidiomatic.

• Today I listened to Scriabin’s “Poem of Ecstasy.” I haven’t heard it in years and I ran across it on Amazon. The performance was by Stokowski and the Houston Symphony. Jane used to hate it some 30 years ago. When I listen to it now, it seems like warmed over Wagner with a few discordant notes. No wonder we don’t hear it a lot.

• I am currently listening to Schoenburg’s “Verklarte Nacht.” This unabashedly romantic piece predates his 12-tone adventures. It is sweet and loving music about forgiveness and redemption.

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