a musical day


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Eileen reminded me that I am not retired and am old and that is why I have a shrinking energy pie. She is right. However, yesterday I was pretty active all day despite it being the day after my weekly choir rehearsal. I lazed around all morning, straightening the house and preparing scores for my afternoon trio rehearsal.

Thursday afternoon trio rehearsals are getting longer and more intense as we prepare to play weekly in public. This Sunday we are performing two movements by Corelli. I found this score on IMSLP under violin sonatas. It is entitled “Sonata a Flauto solo e basso” and is  in a different key than marked in IMSLP. I’m not sure about the circumstances and history of the piece, but it is nice and we like it.

Amy and I read another amazing Mozart violin sonata yesterday. The Mozart violin sonatas are really outstanding works. Mozart seems to have used them to explore some unusual and attractive (to me, at least) compositional avenues. After reading through most of it yesterday,  I thought that Mozart would have given Beethoven a run for his money if he (Mozart) had lived longer. I said as much to Amy, adding that if Beethoven heard this piece he would have sat up and taken notices. Also, he might have chosen Mozart as a teacher instead of Haydn, if Mozart had lived longer.

Here’s a lovely rendition.

This recording is using a replica Fortepiano, so called because it is precursor of the instrument used today.


After prepping for this Sunday, I presented some possible music for future Sundays for the trio to consider. Dawn, who works at the Hope College Library, had previously brought us an ancient set of Haydn piano trios. I chose one yesterday for us to look at and the trio approved. It won’t be ready for a week from Sunday but we might do it the following Sunday.

The one I chose is different from many of Haydn’s piano trios, in that he gives the cello its own part instead of doubling the left hand of the pianist. The one we are learning is in A Major, Hob XV/9. Here’s a nice recording of it.

We also decided to play 2 “Symphonies” by Samuel Scheidt a week from Sunday. They are short little movements, symphonias really, for three parts and continuo. I will play the second part and bass, violin will take part I and cello part III. I will probably make scores for myself with the voices I need clearly written out together. Yesterday I read from the score.

I also have two sets of pieces by Henry Purcell which we could use.

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Again there are three parts, the middle of which I would play with my right hand and a bass part for my left, the other two parts to be played by the violin and cello.

Then we rehearsed the Thomas Thomkins piece and my own trio, “Stirred Hearst and Souls.”

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After than Dawn the cellist and I rehearsed some Frescobaldi together. By that time it was almost time for supper.

Eileen was surprised when I suggested going out to eat before going to a concert last night. We tried the local Laotian place and it was great!

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Then we went to a battle of the organs at Jack Miller auditorium at Hope College. My friend Rhonda played pipe organ and the visiting prof Tony Monaco played Hammond. The program said B-3 but it looked more like an adapted C-3 to me.

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Rhonda played well. I liked her selections. She played several pieces by living composers and more than nailed them. She is an extraordinary player and seems to me to be getting even better and better.  It was ironic that the “popular music” contingent was so much more stuck in the past than the “classical music” player. Monaco plays in a specific jazz organ style that not only uses what I think of as the Hammond Sound (hollow funky sound that I like) but lots of loud heavy vibrato chords and lines that reminds me more of Lawrence Welk. Monaco has good jazz chops but I still have to wonder what it is that musicians like him are doing when they play “April in Paris” in 2017 in a style that came to its present state pretty much in the 60s.

The program leaflet was bogus. It just consisted of bios of the players. I think the concert would have been better served with the pieces listed. If Monaco wanted to be spontaneous they could have easily made provisions for that in a program which listed Rhonda’s interesting pieces.

I mentioned to Eileen that while Monaco was a good player and played clear good jazz voicings and standard improvs, Rhonda’s selections were better music. When she demurred, I pointed out that there’s lots of great, excellent jazz music which I like and think is good, citing Miles Davis.

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2 thoughts on “a musical day

  1. It’s funny, Brian was the one who insisted on the no listed pieces thing. Tony didn’t care, but Brian had this idea that it would be a more “relaxed, spontaneous” evening if we didn’t use programs. I thought that was weird, but whatever.
    Actually, I think for him it meant we were being intentionally more jazz oriented, and less “stuffy classical”. Seems a bit simplistic to me, but again. Whatever.

    I clearly stepped in the middle of the big classical-jazz riff at the college by doing this (as evidenced by the folks who didn’t show up…you know who) but I had fun, Brian even found a little extra funds for my efforts, and I thought it was a successful event. So that’s something.
    Thanks for your nice comments!

    That Laotian cafe is super yummy.
    Oh, it’s definitely a B3. Not that I’d know the difference. Tony brings his own with him from Cleveland whenever he comes in to play.

    1. It’s interesting to me that the impulse to be obscure and not communicate program choices is seen as “spontaneity and relaxed,” when in fact it increases the distance between the performers and the audience in my opinion. Like when Tony forgot to turn on his mic. Heh. That was spontaneous and relaxed. But I often find that the way I conceive of promoting the arts and bringing people together is very different from local profs and artists (yourself excepted, of course).

      I think Huw is making a mistake to not be more supportive. I wish Hope College was more visionary and would cultivate you to replace him when he retires. You would rock in that sort of a gig. I know you and the AGO think that college organ departments are dying, but I disagree with this impact that is sometimes assumed with this assessment when I see so much good music and new organs happening,

      If Tony’s instrument is a B 3 it resembles one I’ve never seen. Usually the cabinet is wood in the front. But I guess that might be true of C3s as well. He seemed like a sweetheart of a dude as is Brian for that matter.

      I’m very interested in some of the pieces you played the other night. Where did you buy the Henry Martin music? I’m having difficult laying my hands on the organ preludes and fugues and I would be interested in his piano preludes and fugues as well.

      Glad you got a little money for this gig. That’s a good sign.

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