I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes – The Ukrainian Version

Bortniansky-1-mal copy Here’s some Easter Sunday testimony as to why the Ukrainian-born composer Dmitri Bortniansky (mentioned earlier in this space) was a giant in his day, The court composer to Catherine The Great wrote no fewer than 35 “sacred concertos” for choir, generally three-movement a cappella concoctions based on psalms.  This one I think is one of the most impressive, displaying, in the words of Slavophile liner note auteur Philip Taylor, “amazing richness, suppleness, and strength.”

Bortnniansky shows an outstanding gift for lyrical ideas such as we have rarely heard before in the concertos.  In ‘I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes Unto the Hills’ we are transported little by little in the cavernous depths in which the concerto begins upwards towards moments of sublime beauty.  The second movement is an uninterrupted stream of fresh melodic ideas….this provides an excellent contrast for the forceful vigor of the Finale….”

 

Can I get an Amen?   And check out the classic sound of those Russian basses in the excellent Russian State Symphonic Capella.  You can even follow along to the score in this video!

 

Freaky Friday with Fryderyk

16 pianists playing a single Chopin Polonaise, with even a few clams thrown in. A tour-de-force of editing, and a remarkable seven-minute-and-nineteen-second tutorial on, oh, I don’t know…technique, style, fingering, cinematography, lighting, dress, culture…. Enjoy!

And a second consecutive day of referencing Liberace, too!

PS – for another mashup involving this Polonaise, check out the 24 pieces crammed into two minutes that chronicles Chopin’s affinity for his favorite key signature.

 

Episode 73: That A-Flat Thing

Prize-Winning Storytelling…in 25 Seconds

In and among the usual suspects to land Peabody Awards today (including AMC for Breaking Bad, NPR for The Race Card Project, FRONTLINE for the excellent NFL concussion expose “League of Denial,” and a host of other terrific PBS productions) was the first YouTube video ever to win. In the words of the judges:

“Short, simple and spot-on in its critique of rape culture, the ingenious PSA by two University of Oregon students takes just 25 seconds to make its point that real men treat women with respect.”

Amen.  Congrats to students Samantha Stendal and Aaron Blanton for such a succinct and brilliant little production.   The complete of Peabody winners for 2013 can be found here.

Happy Birthday, Amadeus!

Happy Birthday, Mozart! Check out this compendium of audio, video, and even a few downloads from WCRB Classical New England….

 

‘Course, my vote for favorite video is this one, featuring Mozart’s own instruments, that we brought into our Fraser Performance Studio at WGBH last summer…Wonderful performance by violinist Dan Stepner and violist Anne Black…

 

The entire performance is available too:
Mozart Comes to America

A Winter’s Journey II: Eschenbach and Wakao play “Das Wirsthaus”

So it’s the middle of January. Inspired by the ATC tale in yesterday’s post, a few more “Winterreise” entries this week. This time, it’s pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach in our WGBH Fraser Performance Studio, recalling his difficult childhood in war-torn Europe, and launches into a performance with Boston Symphony Orchestra Associate Principal oboist of a transcription of “Das Wirtshaus” (The Inn) from Schubert’s song-cycle “Winterreise.” Cathy Fuller is the WCRB Classical New England host.

Reasons to Value Vinyl, Part III: Sleeveface

AUSTIN, TX – About to board a plane back to DC after another stimulating uTunes residency at UT, and what do I behold in the paper but a little wire service item buried in the back of the paper about “Sleevefacing.” The Alpower blog tells you all you need to know. Can’t wait to try this out at home with my own vinyl collection!

Sleeve + Face: Alpower

Alpower is right — the Flickr slideshow is sure to bring a smile to your face. Check out more on the “official” sleeveface website!

And even….the official(?) “how-to” video…

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