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Posts tagged “Modern Era

Musikalisches Bilderbuch, No. 5 Weisse Und Schwarze Tasten II

According to the German Wikipedia, István Szelényi (no, don’t ask me how to pronounce that) was a not-German and yes-Hungarian pianist and composer, born in 1904. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Music and liked performing and editing Liszt cause they’re both Hungarian and hungary for the satiater that is ~romantic music~. Except Szelényi had “the drive to write a tonal and intelligible, while contemporary music close.” Which means that he was actually an expressionist.

He composed Musikalisches Bilderbuch (Musical Picture-Book) in 1967, just 5 years before his death at 68 years old. This Reliable Source (totally not copied from German Wikipedia) suggests that Musical Picture-Book “is one of the most stimulating educational collections of piano music of the 20th century.”

So why does nobody have a numbered song list of it?!

the numbers are important because math»

Music of Our Time, Book 2, Twotone

(Yes, I’m digging through old RCM pieces now that it’s finally over. Do have a listen to Das Artige Kind, another simple study.)

The title of this post is somewhat misleading because Music of Our Time, Book 2 isn’t called ‘Twotone’. Twotone is one of the pieces in the book, but I don’t know which one. Imagine it as ‘Music of Our Time, Book 2, No. ???: Twotone,’ and it doesn’t seem as confusing. Of course, ‘No. ???’ looks appallingly ugly and I wouldn’t write such a travesty if my life depended on it, but…

Music of Our Time was actually a collaboration by renowned Canadian composer Jean Coulthard, and her two students David Duke and Joan Hansen. (I really don’t know how to properly Oxford comma this sentence, so I’ll just leave it as-is.) Twotone was written by Joan Hansen, an enigmatic mortgage sales representative-cum-composer.

…Yeah, that’s not the Joan Hansen we’re talking about. Probably shouldn’t go into so much detail on a composer when we have such a short little piece to talk about.

I really like the polytonality of this. (There’s… not much more to like. What can you like about 11 bars of music?) You can distinctly hear the two different hands, and the dissonances and parallel fifths actually sound alright. The key switch in the middle section seems a bit trivial, since the left hand F-major chord in bar 7 is still natural, and you don’t actually encounter any c-sharps in the right hand there. Actually, you don’t encounter any c-sharps in the entire piece…

If the dynamics aren’t contrasting enough, blame my camera: it automatically makes soft sounds louder and loud sounds softer. I think I did pretty well, though. I fessed up at bar 10 – there’s a two-beat rest, and I only rested for one. I hope nobody uses my recording to help them learn this piece… (which isn’t in the syllabus anymore, lol)

In two words, this piece is pretty cute.

Parallel 5ths

Oh hey, another Musical Monday!

Remember last Musical Monday, when I posted about Stephen Chatman’s Ginger Snaps? Neither do I! Here’s another composition that features parallel fifths like there’s no tomorrow. What’s it called?

Parallel 5ths.

As opposed to opposed fifths»

Preludes for Piano, Book 3, No. 3 Ginger Snaps

Welcome to another (late) Musical Monday! Today’s piece of music is titled… wait, I’ll let you guys guess…

..that’s right! It’s titled Friday, featuring the beloved Rebecca Black Ginger Snaps, written by Stephen Chatman in his music collection, Preludes for Piano, Book 3 between 1999 and 2001. Yep, it’s a recent (21st-century!) composition, and as you’d expect from recent compositions, it defies conventions a little bit.

The fies can fence shins»

Les Gymnopédies





Études-Tableaux, Op. 33, No. 8

Oh man, this is HST Week but I’ve done nothing but HSRs; I swear, I’ve got all the musical stuff planned, but school stuff and parental stuff are seriously hampering my efforts to do something. At least I’ve got that Level E 7 post done (for next next day).

There’s not much more to read»

Petite suite en Quinze images, No. 7 La Promenade en Traîneau

For some reason, I seem to really like the number 7.

Firstly, there seems to be some time/video delay – as some of you may know, my camera sorta died on me a while ago, so now the only thing it can do is record videos, which it obviously is doing with quite a lot of bugs.

C’mon guys, this is /music/, some time/video discrepancies shouldn’t irk you much if you’re not looking at the video :P

For that matter, the lighting sucked, so the only thing worth looking at at the video was Bulbasaur.

As with most influential composers of, well, since the Renaissance, Jacques François Antoine Ibert was born in Paris. The 1890s were the start of quite an… emotionally compelling era, with German expressionism and French impressionism marking their lasting (pardon the pun) impressions on the musical industry.

Conceived in this turmoil of musical clashes, you’d expect Ibert to pick a style and stick with it; on the contrary, he was quite unattached to any style themes, preferring instead to dabble in the mishmash of genres prevalent in Parisian (and indeed, worldwide) society at the time.

This did not mean he was a bad composer at all, for he won one of the most coveted prize in musical composition – the Prix de Rome, waarded only to such geniuses as Hector Berlioz, Georges Bizet, and Claude Debussy.

After decades of productive musical establishment, the Axis-aligned Vichy Regime (of France) banned his music, and Ibert voluntarily moved to Switzerland to continue his career.

He died in 1962, when he was 71.

In 1943, after the outbreak of war, he composed ‘Petite suite en quinze images’ – Small suite, in 15 images (I BET YA DIDN’T KNOW THAT HUH). A completely solo piano work, he delicately paints many idyllic scenes of a peaceful time. Strangely, it seems (I just can’t find good recordings for all of them) that none of them are very loud. A perfectly natural thought for one wanting to escape the war.

The 7th piece in the collection, ‘La Promenade en Traîneau’, actually means ‘the Sleigh Ride’, rather than what I thought it was; ‘the Train Station’. Because of this, I tried to evoke visualizations of a quiet train station, with the suddenness and swiftness of a train arriving and leaving in the middle of the night. It seemed so much more… obvious. Before I searched up the real translation, I just couldn’t get why everyone else was basically slamming the notes to make it stand out against the seemingly unimportant bass. Really, it was quite… disgusting. Horrifying.

But what am I, to criticise others’ perceptions? What difference what that be to brutally sabotaging others’ inner mentality? When not even I, am properly expressing the dynamical nuances, the whole… calmness of the scene.

Yet, a train station would make much more sense. The quiet left-hand Alberti footsteps motioning the train to come faster, quicker, so that they could fially go home after a long day’s work. The sudden plunge into organized noise as the vehicle slowly slides into the platform. Quick pit-pats of shoe on ground, growing faster, louder, as swarms of people flood onto the train.

And then it’s gone.