Started by Papy Oli, September 14, 2020, 03:17:20 AM
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Quote from: André on May 10, 2021, 05:05:31 AMMilhaud is an acquired taste. It comes in bits and takes root quietly. Over time you realize he's a decidedly unique composer. A bit like learning to enjoy cactuses
Quote from: Papy Oli on May 10, 2021, 05:19:53 AM :laugh:I recognize he has a unique identity and I'll give it time, André. Let's just hope he fares better over time than the various cacti I have owned in the past :blank:
Quote'Whoever wishes to come with me to see the blooming of the roses in Isfahan, must be prepared to wander slowly at my side from place to place as in the Middle Ages." With these partly seductive, partly warn-ing words, Julien Viaud (1850-1923) - for many years a French naval officer and well-known as the writer of numerous, mostly exotic novels under the pseudonym Pierre Loti - introduces the diary-like description of his two-month-long journey through Persia which led him in the year 1900 from Bushire on the Persian Gulf up the steep slopes to the Iranian plateau, through Shiraz, past the ruins of Persepolis to Isfahan [Ispahan], from there to Teheran and finally over the Elburz Mountains back down to the Caspian Sea again. This travel book, unspectacular though full of melancholy at the loss of former greatness and beauty, appeared in Paris in 1904 under the title Vers Ispahan ["Toward Isfahan"] and two years later as Gen /spa-ban in a German translation; it provided one of the essential sources on which Charles Koechlin relied when in 1913 he began to compose a piano cycle which over the years grew to 16 pieces called Les Heures Persanes, "The Persian Hours", to which in the completed orchestral ver-sion of 1921 he gave the subtitle "16 orchestra pieces after Vers Ispahan by Pierre Loti." Yet only about half of Koechlin's cycle refers with varying degrees of clarity to Loti's book; as equal inspirations there should be listed the trav-el books and stories of the diplomat Count Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) and the stories from A Thousand and One Nights in the French translation by Victor Mardrus (1868-1949). These two, Gobi-neau and Mardrus, with Loti, Ravel, Satie, Milhaud, Faure, Saint-Saens, and others less well-known should be included among those to whom Les Heures Persanes is dedicated. Gobineau's description of Persia, Trois ans en Asie ["Three Years in Asia"] (1859) refers in large part to the same route that Loti later pursued. Koechlin however never visited Persia, and untroubled by the threat of reproach for lack of authenticity, he himself called Les Heures Per-sanes "un voyage imaginaire", a journey in the mind, in imagination. (There can be no question that this is not nor could it be an actual depic-tion of Persia. The inclusion in art of things foreign and exotic has always been a legitimate prOcedure to thematicize areas that had been exclud-ed from the artist's own cultural tradition. Decoration, repetition, an absence of development, sensuality, ecstacy, or paganism often found in exoticism their first place and expression - as for example in the case of jazz.) This is then a fictional journey in which history and fantasy are indis-solubly woven together to form a tableau, a genre picture, an idyll, a miniature. However only a few of these pictures are still lifes, calm like the opening piece, evenly spread out like "The hills, at sunset" (XIII). Others capture movement such as the imperceptible passage of moonlight (VIII), the dreamy procession of the caravan (II), the careful movement up the steep slope (III), the splashing of the fountain (XI), the increasingly convoluted arabesques (XII), the "swarm" in the street (VI), or the frantic dance of the dervishes (XVI) - scenes, each respectively of a characteristic mood and speed which, though only imagined, must have fascinated Koechlin in much the same way as did on another occasion the characters in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, out of which Koechlin derived an orchestral cycle in five parts (1899-1940), or films in the thirties whose early movie stars he celebrated in sometimes large-scaled portraits (among them Douglas Fairbanks, Lilian Harvey, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Charlie Chaplin). This inspiration nourished by concrete models - which also influenced his large number of songs - stands with Koechlin in a well-balanced relationship to more constructed, more abstract, and sometimes more didactic aspects of composition which consistently led him to neutral titles such as "Piece", "Sonata", "Sonatine", "Quartet", "Quintet", and so on. It should be noted that both of these areas constantly permeated each other in reality. Koechlin's inner preoccupation with the theme of light - the changes between light and dark, sun and moon, day and night, month and sea-son - is revealed in all his creative periods and often makes its way into the musical interpretation itself as the playing instruction, lumineux, "luminous"; this leads to a special formal synthesis in Les Heures Persanes. In this cycle with a playing time of more than one hour, the sequence of the 16 pieces makes clear that more than two whole days pass before us: the restfulness on the day before the journey (I) and the dream of a night caravan (II) lead - just before dawn - to the climb through the mountain passes to the high plateau (III) and the "Cool morning, in the mountain valley" (IV). The pieces "In view of the town" (V) and "Through the streets" (VI) take place during the brightness of day-time before "Evening song" (VII) and ,,Moonlight on the terraces" (VIII) complete the first day midway through the cycle. With "Aubade" (IX), the morning serenade, the second day begins. "Roses in the midday sun" (X) and "In the shade, near the marble foun-tain" (XI) represent again the bright, warm daytime. "Arabesques" (XII) could be interpreted as an intermezzo, a play of mirrors between light and darkness, and with "The hills, at sunset" (XIII) lengthening shadows announce the arrival of the third night. One can already associate 'The Storyteller" and his three tales (XIV) with the evening hours and a return to rest, while in "The peace of evening" (XV) and in "Dervishes at night" (XVI) the time of day is again indicated in the titles. Without wishing to overemphasize the harmonical aspect of such an arrangement, the two-fold cyclic form anchors the musical cycle in the natural flow of time, or cosmologically speaking, in the hierarchy ruled by the sun and the moon, which provides the work with a unity that extends far beyond the musical relationships. Of course in spite of such formal security, it is not to be overlooked that, in common with Loti's book, a tone of melancholy reverie is characteristic of the work, rising only once at the central and climactic point in the cycle - in "Moonlight on the terraces" (VIII) - to a tragic lament, a lament for the loss of culture in general that later is repeated in a milder form in "Moonlight on the gardens" (the end of XIV) and "Moonlight on the deserted square" (the end of XVI), but also understandable as a bridge to that wartime against the background of which Les Heures Persanes was composed. Herbert Henck English translation by John Patrick Thomas
Quote from: Madiel on July 29, 2021, 06:29:09 PMI really do have to get back to this list of composers. I was last trying d'Indy without much enthusiasm (but I was going to switch genres as that sometimes helps).
Quote from: André on July 31, 2021, 12:11:13 PMI think you're being too harsh on poor old d'Indy. Many other works deserve more than just the dutiful occasional hearing.
Quote from: kyjo on August 02, 2021, 07:10:54 AMWhich works of his do you rate the most highly, André?
Quote from: joachim on March 17, 2022, 10:56:56 AMPapi Oli :A contemporary of Mozart, who he met in a trip to London, he got the nickname of the "Black Mozart". However, according to the documentary, Mozart did actually pinch some of Boulogne's earlier musical ideas when they met in London. That makes it worth a listen if anything.This is false. Mozart never met Saint George either in London or in Paris. Where Mozart could have met Saint George was during his trip to Paris in 1778, and his father Leopold had even advised him to meet him at the Concert Spirituel which he was conducting; but he didn't for some unknown reason. Perhaps a jealousy towards the one who triumphed in Paris, while he only had setbacks?For his part, Saint George was in London, but in 1787 and had a duel with the famous Chevalier d'Eon, then disguised as a woman!
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