A tribute to mankind composed on the path to victory

Harsh and soft. © Charles Thibo

War is the background of this work, the greatness of the human soul its overall theme. The composer considered it “very important not only for the musical material that went into it, but also because [he] was returning to the symphonic form after a break of sixteen years”. Sergei Prokofiev labeled his Symphony No. 5 in B flat (Op. 100) as the culmination of an entire period in his work, it remains until today one the most best-known and most frequently performed  symphony.

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Making time for an impressionist pulsation

Port d’attache. © Charles Thibo

Written on the fly, a momentous impression during a short stay at the Atlantic coast. Rain, wind, happiness, a little nocturnal melancholy a few days ago. This unscheduled post does not follow my ordinary logic, my careful planning, my meticulous research, no, it obeys its own laws if any and the outcome is unclear. For a few minutes I felt the urge to write in verses. From a long slumber the poet woke, without pain, bewilderd and exhilarated by the idea to play again with words. I fell asleep again, but I had to think about that moment for the rest of the day.

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French avant-garde meets the Sufi mystics

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Oriental melancholy. © Charles Thibo

East and west united, sublimated, a synthesis of oriental and occidental culture, two broad streams of ideas about beauty and harmony coming together and creating something new – Ahmed Adnan Saygun’s String Quartet No. 1 (Op. 27) is all that and so much more. The first movement sets the tone: Oriental phrasing side by side with the French avant-garde of the 20th century – Saygun studied between the two world wars with Vincent d’Indy in Paris – very evocative, very ambitious too to incorporate traditional folks elements from what used to be the Ottoman Empire very much like Bela Bartok did after his ethno-musicological studies.

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Challenging Mozart and men’s dominance in music

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Did you say feminine? © Charles Thibo

Wolfgang must be mad at me. He always was and always will be a jealous guy. I had scheduled for this spring two posts on Mozart’s music and now I have replaced them with texts on Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Wieck. But let Mozart be mad, women will feature more prominently on this blog. So many were or are either excellent composers or performing artists or both and have a right to be heard and praised. Mozart is immortal, he has no reason to complain.

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