I just realized yesterday that Eileen and I have one more vacation time planned next week. We are meeting our friend Barb at a cottage north of here she rents every year around this time (pictures above and below from last year). It was a very relaxing time last year. This year however I am feeling pressed with church job related duties like recruitment letters and filing years worth of choral music. The only way I can justify going away is if I can bear down and get a bunch of this stuff done before we leave next Wednesday.
I can’t believe I forgot this was coming. I’m planning on sheepishly taking up my lovely wife’s offer to help me file music on her day off.
Yesterday I got hung up on Charles Stanford’s music. I downloaded and printed up his “Ballade” for piano. Lovely stuff. As I have been learning his Fantasia on Engelberg for Sunday I have been struck with the skill with which this piece is written.
Yesterday I learned that he was renown in his time and was a friend of Brahms (whom he outlived) and the famous violinist Joachim. Apparently he was accused of being too much under Brahm’s influence as a composer.
I am struck by the lyricism I found in his Ballade.
I made up a playlist of a few of his works to treadmill by.
His Irish Rhapsody number four was on the list. This music doesn’t really strike me as Brahmsian. There are a few minutes in the piano Ballade which are reminiscent of Brahms, but I think that Stanford is his own composer.
He wrote some piano trios which I am looking at for possibly playing through with my trio.
This article made me think of my other weird attraction this summer. I guess the Bard Music Festival tries to perform music that isn’t on the playlist of most orchestras or classical music groups.
I wonder if they will do a Stanford festival sometime. Probably not.
I was thinking this morning about musical prejudices. When I was first getting to know the Episcopal scene I remember an influential leader who was on the Hymnal 1982 editorial board disparaging the work of Alec Wyton. She said something like I do love “Alec” but his music….. (significant pause and arch look).
I thought of this as I looked at Alec Wyton’s hymn tune he wrote for “Where is this stupendous stranger.” He named the tune Kit Smart after the author.
I was looking at a congregational hymnal which only has the melody. I noticed that it seemed to be in the Lydian mode.
I pulled out my accompaniment edition and noticed that nowhere does Wyton leave this pitch set. A friend of mine used to criticize my compositions when I didn’t leave the key. Heh.
I think Wyton’s a pretty good composer. I met him once before he died. I drove him to the airport after a workshop. He was charming and could keep up with my gab easily. We talked murder mysteries (Josephine Tey) and music composition (how difficult it was to write hymn tunes). I even yelled at him about what I thought of as “crap” he and others put in the then newly published Hymnal 1982. I have since changed my mind about most of this music and use it with a clear conscious.
Wyton died a few years ago after succumbing to Alzheimers.