Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

Posts tagged ‘Classical music’

Scattered thoughts and random links

I think that the Civilization series is one of the best series of computer games ever. Don’t ask why, but for some reason, it seems to go better for me when this song is repeating endlessly in the background:


Inspired by the Arbourist, I present this quote from Corey Robin, writing in The Nation:

St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. The first was a novelist, the second a philosopher. The third was neither but thought she was both.


Why Liberalism (US definition) works.


I’m most definitely not the first to notice this, but people borrowed from themselves centuries ago. Consider these two annotated Mozart incipits:

Sheet music

The first two bars of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 7 K. 309.

Sheet music

The first two bars of the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11 K. 331

The one on top is the first two bars of the first movement of Piano Sonata No. 7 K. 309; the one on the bottom is the first two bars of the second movement (the minuet) of Piano Sonata No. 11. K. 311 (that’s the one with the well–known Rondo alla Turca). As can be seen, perhaps even by someone who cannot read music, they begin with almost the exact same phrase. Indeed, they start with the same pattern (ignoring the acciaccaturas) of scale degrees (the annotations above the staves). They also have basically the same pattern of “long” and “short” (ill–defined terms) notes. Just about the most significant difference is the key, as C major and A major are not closely–related.

After these two bars, the two movements diverge significantly.


France and Slovakia qualified for the next round of the 2013 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championship. The main tournament is takes place in Finland and starts December 29.

No fat lady in a horned helmet over here

The Arbourist’s partner, The Intransigent One, is a choral soprano who has received some vocal training. She has even taught herself arias. The Arbourist himself sings in a choir but mostly plays the piano. With that information in mind, I wonder they think of this video, another incarnation of the “Sh*t people say” meme:

It’s Sh*t Opera Singers Say, and is brought to you by mezzo–soprano Jennifer Rivera and Tenor William Ferguson.

Some trivia: The song sung when she puts on all those scarves is not a made up, but rather is a few measures of what is arguably the best–known opera excerpt sung by women, the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, also known as Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen. The fact that she doesn’t reach F6 shows she’s no coloratura soprano.

Music under the dense canopy of flowers

This is a good arrangement of the most famous duet in classical music. I really like it because it’s instrumental (and therefore non–sung, making it a billion times better than the sung version), because this number is one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and because I played the flute in school band.

If you cannot see the video, click here.

If you recognize the music, you’re in good company. “The Flower Duet”, also known as “Viens, Mallika” and “Sous le dôme épais“* has been used in gazillions of commercials to sell all sorts of different things.

And what’s with this number having all these titles, some of which look like French phrases?† Any what do I mean by being better because it is “non–sung”? To me, that raises an unsolvable issue with (some of the) classical music I like. I like lots of classical music, but I don’t like the singing that does with some parts of it. Basically, I don’t like the sound of the voices in that style of singing. In other words, I don’t like opera, cantatas, etc. The unsolvable problem is that several of my favourite pieces of classical music, happen to have singing in their “complete” versions. “The Flower Duet” comes from an opera and I like the music, so long as Lakmé and Mallika aren’t singing to it; I like playing the Queen of the Night’s vengeful call for murder on my flute, but not the Queen of the Night herself; “Sheep May Safely Graze” is Bach’s best work, so long as Pales isn’t singing in it; and so on. And sometimes it’s hard to find good–quality instrumental versions of such music, unless you play it yourself.

(more…)

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: