Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labelling

Every time I write a blog post, I feel a twinge of guilt as I look over the list of labels. Does Bairstow really deserve his own label? Why do I label Auden and Eliot with their first initials, Robertson Davies and Elliott Carter with their full names, and everyone else with their last name only? Why on earth do I have labels for "journalism", "mysteries", and "miscellanea"? One day, perhaps, I will spend a few hours developing a logical system for my blog labels, which will enable anyone to find any post I've ever written on any topic quickly and easily. Except then I realize that I can't actually think of any task that could possibly be more boring, and so instead I go retag my Itunes library, or get a head start on income tax.

This week's Silly Church Music Conceit (previously: 20th-century German neoclassicism week, Composers whose last names begin with "V" week, and 20th-century Veni Creator settings by composers whose last names begin with "L" week) is "Composers That Your Wind Player Friends Will Be Surprised To Find Out Wrote for Organ". Namely, Jacques Ibert (the Piece solennelle) and Gabriel Pierne (the Cantilene). Both composers are best known for wind chamber music these days. Unfortunately, this week also has a second theme, which is "Music That Osbert Thought Sounded Nice When He Sight-Read It, But That Turned Out Not To Be Very Good And Now It's Too Late To Learn Something Else Or Change The Music List." The Ibert is fun, I suppose - but the organ writing is really very unidiomatic, and I'm pretty sure there are some harmony mistakes in the score. The Pierne, on the other hand, is quite well-written for the organ, and there are no mistakes in the score - it's just that the music is utter treacle.

I didn't have much of interest to say in this post, I'm afraid, but you seem to have read it anyway. As a reward, here's a mugshot of Igor Stravinsky.

8 comments:

shogart said...

The second theme you mention for this week seems to be a recurring one... I think that was the theme last time I visited St L's, too. Is it something I'm doing wrong?

Osbert Parsley said...

Ewwwww. . . the last time you visited, I was playing MYRON ROBERTS. The idea of playing "Prelude and Trumpetings" again gives me chills. Don't worry, though, both of these pieces are better than any of Roberts's music.

I think the reason this keeps happening is more prosaic - I use the summertime to learn and test out new repertoire.

Osbert Parsley said...

I think basically the moral of this story is that I should just play Bach all the time.

CurrentConductor said...

I am dying to know under what circumstances that mug shot was taken...

Osbert Parsley said...

The composer was arrested by the Boston police department for "tampering with public property". Which property? The American national anthem. Stravinsky's arrangement of the "Star-Spangled Banner" contained an unconventional major seventh chord.

CurrentConductor said...

He was arrested for that arrangement? That is a fabulous story.

Rick Parker said...

Well, there's a bit of myth that surrounds this story. Stravinsky wasn't actually arrested for the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner, but he was asked to not play it again by authorities. The Boston performance was in 1944 and the mug shot is from 1940.

The 1940 mug shot is no doubt from some other dubious moment, but not the Boston performance of the national anthem.

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/may/02/opinion/oe-shaffer2

Osbert Parsley said...

Thanks for that, Rick. After doing a bit of research, it turns out that the photo was taken for the much more prosaic purpose of renewing Stravinsky's visa.

The police were in fact called in about the 1944 national anthem debacle, but there was no arrest - he was simply asked to remove his arrangement from the programme.