The harpsichord and the violin are a happy couple. What delighted princes and royal dignitaries in the Baroque era, gives me every year many happy autumn days. The Baroque repertoire for violin and basso continuo* is vast, every now I present rarities, little known composers like Heinrich I. F. Biber or Jacob Kirkman, and I am sure there are many more to be discovered by me as a listener or by musicologists and musicians as professionals.
Is this the echo of the Big Bang? A train rumbling down a tunnel? A not-too-well oiled machine? No, it’s not. It is… Rebecca Saunders. The UK composer is exploring unfamiliar realms of sound and she walks here at least partly in the footsteps of her teacher Wolfgang Rihm. Now, I am aware that the Neue Musik puts off some of you, the readers of this blog. However I listened to a few compositions of Mrs. Saunders and one struck me as a box of multiple surprises, a kind of benign Pandora’s Box. It merits a little attention, and be reassured, we will return to the more familiar classical music in no time at all. This is just a lovely escape into modernity!
Two weeks ago, I presented Luciano Berio’s “Petite Suite”, an interesting piano piece blending different traditions, Baroque and the music of the early 20th century popular in Paris. If you did not like Berio’s suite, you may like this one better. It has a much more classical ring, it was composed for a symphonic orchestra, written by a student of Pyotr Tchaikovsky some 40 years before Berio presented his “Petite Suite” to the public.
Angry young man, proud young man, what is it that you are trying to hide? Your fierce demeanor will not delude me for I have felt what you feel. The anger, the revolt, the tension – and the arrogance. And over the years I have learned to control these emotional outbursts. Because behind the rage lies the feeling of vulnerability. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 fascinates me for the simultaneity of the violence and the fragility it expresses.