Mendelssohn discovers the West Coast soul

Patchwork. © Charles Thibo

The other day I had a crazy thought: What if Felix Mendelssohn would by some strange supernatural phenomenon be catapulted into San Francisco and more precisely into the year 1959? Let’s say it is October, Felix might walk into one of these clubs, like the The Jazz Workshop, and stumble over the Cannonball Adderley Quintet recording “This here”. He would certainly laugh out loud hearing Adderley assuring the audience that the song will not be something like a Bach chorale, but rather has its origin in soul style church music.

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Singularity through creativity

Admire me! © Charles Thibo

Look at this thimbleweed! It is pretty, isn’t it? It is an autumn flower and this year it was very early. I photographed it in the first week of August and I didn’t think about autumn yet. This flower is unique. It shares its genetic material with millions of its species and still no two flowers look the same. During growth – the replication of cellular DNA according to a precise plan – errors occur, spontaneous mutations happen. Most will not affect the shape or colour of the plant, some might. Some may affect the plant’s survival. Any major glitch in the DNA replication and the flower may perish. Nature is concerned with survival, not with creativity.

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Un air de Chopin signed Clara Wieck

Rêverie. © Charles Thibo

Ah, this woman! If only she had written more piano concerts, this world would be a better one. She only wrote one and so we will have to contend with the situation as it is and make the best of it by enjoying Clara Wieck’s Piano Concerto in A minor. A truly Romantic concerto, three movements – fast, slow, fast – and beautiful melodies to enjoy, a hint of nostalgia, quite a bit of energy and self-consciousness, gentleness and rêverie… beautiful! The music critic James Reel detects parallels to Frédéric Chopin, and indeed, the lightness, the brilliance, the sensitivity – un air de Chopin.

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A composer and a pioneer of gender equality

Andante. © Charles Thibo

I must praise my fellow blogger Leah Broad to have drawn my attention to one more female composer I did not know yet: Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929) from Sweden. The Swedish pianist Oskar Ekberg, who has recorded Andrée’s piano works, has done some research and so I will let him assess Andrée’s relevance: “[She] is without question one of the most important figures in Swedish music during the second half of the 19th century and at the turn of the century, not only as long-time organist of Göteborg (Gothenburg) Cathedral and a composer of vocal, symphonic, chamber and organ music, but also as a well-known, indefatigable champion of women’s professional standing. She was a true pioneer of the still-ongoing campaign for gender equality in music.”

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