Author Topic: Henning's Headquarters  (Read 441211 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6840 on: November 30, 2017, 06:11:33 AM »
Seven years ago!

Not just for the obvious reason (pleasure in the fact that fellow musicians and music-lovers respond so favorably to the music) I greatly enjoy Cato's essay.

I've started to read Alexander Waugh's (yes, Evelyn's grandson) Classical Music: A New Way of Listening, and the lion's share of the chapter I read this morning was good discussion on meaning in music . . . which we could summarize by a caption to one of the chapter's illustrations, to the effect that Beethoven wasn't thinking of moonlight when he wrote his piece, but there's nought wrong with 'hearing' moonlight in it.

So at first, it surprised me when Cato wrote that he hears Berg in the opening. But once I set that surprise to one side, I saw where he hears that . . . in short, one of the aspects of the essay which I enjoy (and find instructive) is getting a sense of what an entirely different pair of ears (and eyes) finds in this piece of my own.


For devotees of Karl Henning's music, especially of the recent Viola Sonata Opus 102 I offer the rather superficial analytical review of the First Movement Fair Warning: if you have not yet downloaded the score and performance, you should take care of that problem!   0:)

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,92.1940.html


In the first movement, you hear the shadow of Alban Berg in the Viola: a mysterious yearning arises from a kind of struggling non-tonal tonality.  Note that even in the first bar, in the 5:4 figure of 16ths, one hears a kind of tonality in the broken D# (= Eb) Bb (= A#) Eb (= D#) chord, and then again in bar 2, note the broken up D major scale in the 5:4 figure, nearly emphasized by the accent mark on the D after the 16th rest.  Bar 3 has the little march figure which again has an aroma of traditional tonality (F minor, starting with the C-F figure at the end of bar 2), and tells us that maybe the Viola has been wanting to be in F minor from the start, but cannot decide.  The seeming chaos in the piano, with its B/A# and D/C# in the bass, and similarly wide-spaced dissonances in the treble, would apparently not be involved, but listen carefully to the odd E major in the piano in bars 3 and 4, which the Viola picks up in its partially contrary figure at the beginning of bar 4.

The chord at the end of bar 4, with its open fifths in the piano and the Viola’s minor second G#/A stubbornly refusing to accept the engagement ring from either suitor, will become very important motivically, as it is paralleled in bars 28-31, and in bars 203-205, repeated nearly verbatim in bar 41, and paralleled again in the conclusion. The minor second in the Viola can of course be heard as a variation on the major 7ths in the piano’s bass at the beginning.  This idea is reinforced in bar 7 in the piano, where the bass ascends from Bb to Bb to G#, while the treble and the Viola hold an A.

Lest ye think that the little minor second is just a moment’s hesitation, let me send you to bar 14, where for a moment both instruments play G#, but then the piano plays F#2/G# on the last beat, and to the Meno mosso section at bar 45, where things are seemingly in accord, with a unison on B in both instruments, but immediately we get a disagreement (Bb in the piano/A# in the Viola), followed by a C/Db and then in bar 46 we hear that G#/A, resolved into a unison to be sure, but then note the minor seconds in bars 49 and 50 (nicely played in the performance).  This is one of the more comically poignant, or poignantly comic parts of the work.

The Piu mosso section at bar 59 shows a variation on the 5:4 motif from the opening melody.  The motif is now legalized with a time signature of its own (5/16), but does return in the piano for a moment in bar 64.  Of interest rhythmically and motivically are bars 66-72: the music struggles upward through major and minor seconds for a while.  In bar 69 the 5:4 figure in the piano sets the stage for an erratic ascent from B to C, with a minor ninth crescendo in bar 72.

The delicious Slow (but with life) part (bars 83-108) shows variations on the previous motifs (bar 86 develops the 5:4 figure, and the double open fifths in bar 87),  and I like how the wide leaps in the piano presage the sudden drop in the Viola in bars 97-98.  Octaves abound, but not for long, as the music fragments to a kind of pointillism in bars 109-132.  The open-fifths-vs.-minor-second debate is heard in the piano in bar 122, just to make sure you are paying attention, and that 5:4 figure now appears as a 5:6 in the base.

And then my favorite part: the completely schizoid Piu mosso ancora! (Bars 133-176) The section continues to play with items already established, e.g. hear the bass part of the piano continue the minor/major 2nd/7th/9th patterns, while the treble plays around with the motifs introduced back in bar 95ff. and 106-107.  Listen to how they contrast with the melodic line in the Viola, with trills (136-137), emphatically accented 16ths, the 5:4 and new 6:4 figures, while the piano obediently avoids such rhythmically complexities, allowing only some syncopations.  And I must remark upon how well the premiere performance handled this section!

In bars 177 the music develops the earlier Piu mosso (bars 59-82) and drives toward a climax where a variation of the opening is proclaimed beginning at bar 201.  During this drive, note again the presence of those minor/major 2nd/7th/9th patterns: bars 189 and 194-195 are especially impressive here, the latter two bars show a minor second expanding to a third and then a fourth, leading to the open fifths in the treble in the next two bars.

As mentioned earlier, those Beethovenian chords from bar 4 return in bars 203-205.  We then hear a brilliant, condensed, and varied recapitulation of the most important parts of the entire movement (e.g. listen to the piano in bars 212-214 and in the bass only to 218 and compare it to bars 95-102), while above one hears a near apotheosis of the 5:4 figure interspersed with continual variations on it: check out e.g. bar 219 where the Viola plays an eighth-note triplet with a duplet, as well as the bass part in the piano in bars 220-221.  Bar 221 is particularly fascinating with the way motivic and rhythmic elements coalesce in the piano, before our Beethovenian chords put an end to this serious yet playful and highly expressive movement! 

Very gratified that someone else is so fond of the Più mosso ancora . . . it probably fits the "schizoid" descriptor, but that section has layers which were carefully 'plotted' (I have fond memories of one evening in the staff lounge in the basement of the MFA as I worked on the more 'mechanical' aspects of it), and other layers of pure fancy, or fancy as nearly pure as my composition is capable of.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7975
  • An American Hero!
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6841 on: November 30, 2017, 03:32:46 PM »
And now, though we are not quite at the one-minute mark, the mp3 hath too great grown for simple attachment hereunto.

We note a G Major/g minor aspect in the piano's opening statement, and it seems that major/minor conflicts of various kinds may await us in future bars:  great start!

And many thanks for bringing back the masterful  Viola Sonata to our awareness!   ;)

COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Rons_talking

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Upper British Colu
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6842 on: December 06, 2017, 07:38:26 PM »
Fresh mp3

I really like this...is there more ?!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6843 on: December 07, 2017, 02:34:26 AM »
I really like this...is there more ?!

Thanks; a little more, but then the pre-holiday distractions (as only expected) have taken over.  A couple of weeks more and I can resume my "a little progress each day" act.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/xAu8jmII5rk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/xAu8jmII5rk</a>
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline arpeggio

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 415
  • Location: Burke, Virginia, USA
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6844 on: December 07, 2017, 08:09:01 AM »
Wow.  I look forward hearing the completed work  ;)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6845 on: December 09, 2017, 07:01:17 PM »
A few modest modifications, some of them simply to repair miscalculation (my arrangement runs two measures for each one of the source hymn, but I "dropped" a measure here and there).  Withal, I think the glide is yet smoother.

And here is a "studio demo" I fluffed through on 5 Dec.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6846 on: December 11, 2017, 04:03:09 AM »
Long day, yesterday.  Winter storm Saturday evening into Sunday, perhaps 5" of wet snow; so, two cars to clean off ere I might head off to church. Needed to be at church early to set up the handbells. Good service. Grabbed a warm sub for lunch, counting on a long joint rehearsal. Good rehearsal, and ran as long as (but no longer than) I had anticipated. Executed the three-stop grocery run requested. Delivered the goods, in time to turn around and head to the four o'clock Master Singers concert. The highlight, which indeed opened the program, was my dear friend Pam Marshall's Shepherds & Angels, a 12-number suite for choir accompanied by harp, violin & tambourine. After the concert, met with the director, who apologized for not yet listening to the music I sent. I assured him that I am alive to the busyness of the season; he in turn affirmed that he doesn't mind my reminding him. I think I shall wait, either until after New Year's, or when we have the latest Triad concert hoist up to YouTube. On the way home, picked up the mono RCA cable (the miracle of Amazon locker), which proved exactly the thing wanted to get the sound from the telly to the sound bar. Quite an impressive difference. It was too late to start up Godfather III, so I contended myself with some of the videos from Genesis and We Can't Dance.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6847 on: December 11, 2017, 10:44:16 AM »
There are only two items of Henningmusick on the docket for this weekend’s Christmas Concerts:  the revival (i.e., only the second performance ever) of Gabriel’s Message, my arrangement of the Basque carol for two baritones, small unison women’s chorus, flute and violin;  and the new Fantasy on « I Saw Three Ships » originally for cl/hp, but here for clarinet and piano.  The harpist had a struggle with the bug that’s making the rounds, so she was not able to spend practice time with it;  we’ll swap in something else, I am thinking of What Child Is This.  The flutist whom Charles hired is a bit . . . reactionary.  There’s a measure at the end which she seems unable to count (she inserts a beat of rest).  Charles tried rehearsing that wrinkle out, but she just would not get it.  And then she had the cheek to call the writing “awkward.”  I kept my own counsel, but I certainly thought of the proverb, “A bad workman blames his tools.”  “Awkward” is now become my second-favorite cloth-headed response to my music – the first being, of course, “The worst viola sonata in the world.”  I really don’t see that being displaced anytime soon.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7975
  • An American Hero!
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6848 on: December 11, 2017, 10:59:40 AM »
  “Awkward” is now become my second-favorite cloth-headed response to my music – the first being, of course, “The worst viola sonata in the world.” I really don’t see that being displaced anytime soon.

What was that soprano's reaction to From the Pit of a Cave in the Cloud?  (My text had apparently infected her with instant PTSD!  ??? :o  8)  )  "A terrible poem with terrible music" or some such outburst?
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6849 on: December 11, 2017, 11:01:33 AM »
Oh, you're right!  I should seek that out . . . I'm accumulating quite a sheaf  0:)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6850 on: December 13, 2017, 02:31:02 AM »
Yesterday, Peter H. Bloom & Mary Jane Rupert gave the fl/hp adaptation of the Fantasy on « I Saw Three Ships » a test-drive in public yesterday, and found this modest piece “delightful”; so there is now some Henningmusick in their Christmas bag of musical goodies.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6851 on: December 20, 2017, 05:07:34 AM »
It’s that time of year!  The Stock-Taking
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6852 on: January 07, 2018, 03:41:12 PM »
First composition of the year!  A start on what will be a brief brass quartet for contest purposes.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6853 on: January 07, 2018, 03:42:02 PM »
And, as it is as yet brief, here's the ghastly MIDI
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7975
  • An American Hero!
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6854 on: January 07, 2018, 04:03:54 PM »
First composition of the year!  A start on what will be a brief brass quartet for contest purposes.

Love that First Trumpet theme bar 4 and following!
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6855 on: January 16, 2018, 08:20:58 AM »
Well, A) there is as yet no indication of what will go on, fixed-media-wise; and B) I may re-work it, anyway, as I move along.

But, it is the official start.  (Recall:  I threw out the first draught of the Gloria  8) )
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 7975
  • An American Hero!
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6856 on: January 16, 2018, 08:26:16 AM »
Well, A) there is as yet no indication of what will go on, fixed-media-wise; and B) I may re-work it, anyway, as I move along.

But, it is the official start.  (Recall:  I threw out the first draught of the Gloria  8) )

Nice start!  And how did I guess that flutes, and specifically a bass flute, would be involved?!
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Rons_talking

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 308
  • Location: Upper British Colu
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6857 on: January 17, 2018, 11:08:12 AM »
First composition of the year!  A start on what will be a brief brass quartet for contest purposes.

I like the counterpoint in pairs!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6858 on: January 17, 2018, 11:09:59 AM »
Thank you!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 47712
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Henning's Headquarters
« Reply #6859 on: January 23, 2018, 07:37:44 AM »
So . . . a year ago I finished the Symphony № 1 (this will mildly mock me, up until I finish a № 2 – but I am okay with that) and I sent it right away to a conductor friend of mine, purely for information, as he does not at present have an appointment to an orchestra.  His response was warmly positive, and he enjoined me to show it to two friends of his.  Both of these conductors do indeed have appointments, and are (as you may imagine) busy as a consequence.  My low-urgency news item this week is, that I have reached out with discreet “please review when you have a chance” follow-up messages.  (I did hear directly back from one of the twain.)

And it was probably time to ping Adam again, viz, my choral music.  So I did.

I want to do What Wondrous Love with my chancel choir again, this Lent, the challenge being that as it is, it requires 10 ringers, and our handbell choir is presently 7 strong, and two of these sing in the chancel choir.  So I need to recast the accompaniment for (say) six ringers.

I keep meaning to “reduce” Nun of the Above for cl/pf.

A friend, not herself a pianist, has a piano in the Brookline apartment into which she has lately moved, and has decided that she needs the space more than she needs the instrument.  I am keeping my ears open for a piano for the church, the instrument presently in the sanctuary is both musically inadequate, and has a broken leg.  Saturday I went to play the prospect.  The action of the keys seems fine;  the tuning is off, but only to a degree that may require no more than a fresh tuning.  There were some 5-6 keys (not contiguous, though in the same area) which did not sustain even when I had the sustain pedal depressed, so I wanted to talk to our piano tuner (who is up on the North Shore, so it would not be practical to have him schlep to Brookline to examine the instrument personally).  The two key takeaways from our chat yesterday:  “Churches are where old pianos go to die” – people quite naturally feel reluctant to heave a piano out onto the trash, preferring to find it a new home;  and there is no point in replacing an instrument, unless we are certain that the replacement is a superior instrument.  Our tuner does (as I had surmised) periodically learn of good instruments, which need to find a new home.

So, on the one hand, we are in the same situation at the church;  but on the other, the search process has begun.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot