Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Raga Hansadhwani - Shiv Kumar Sharma

Indian classical is different from Western Classical in that there is no concept of written notes that govern a recital. A raga, which is the basic framework for a performance, provides a skeleton. The performer is then at complete freedom to stretch it's definition per his/her imagination.

From Wiki: A raga uses a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is constructed. However, it is important to remember that the way the notes are approached and rendered in musical phrases and the mood they convey are more important in defining a raga than the notes themselves. In the Indian musical tradition, rāgas are associated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rāga. Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs and ghazals sometimes use rāgas in their compositions.

In this rendition, you can see how some notes have been stretched on for minutes on end, that it's almost like a jam session!

This raga is an evening raga, meaning it was meant to capture the mood of people in the evenings. Men coming home after a day of labour in the fields; women after slogging in the house all day - could both relax to this music. I'm not sure if beer was common in those days ;-), but Indians have always loved their wine!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Embraceable you, by George Gershwin

From Wikipedia:

"Embraceable You" is a popular song, with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. The song was originally written in 1928 for an unpublished operetta named East is West. It was eventually published in 1930 and included in the Broadway musical Girl Crazy. where it was performed by Ginger Rogers in a song and dance routine choreographed by Fred Astaire. Billie Holiday's 1944 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sevilla (Sevillanas), by Isaac Albeniz

War Horse Soundtrack: 02 - The Auction, by John Williams

Badinerie, by Johann Sebastian Bach

From Wikipedia:

The badinerie (also spelled 'battinerie'; from French 'jesting') is best known for its designation as the final movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor. The movement is light in mood, and is structured in a binary form; it is cast in a swift 2/4 metre beginning on the upbeat, much in the manner of a fast gavotte.
Badineries also appear in French ouvertures by Christoph Graupner and Georg Philipp Telemann, also in fast tempos and in 2/4 or alla breve metre. The presence of an upbeat is not a consistent feature; examples by Telemann include the upbeat (including one example which is essentially a gavotte), while Graupner's do not.
While the designation 'badinerie' is not common, its Italian counterpart 'scherzo' appears more frequently.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Banks of Green Willow, by George Butterworth

From Wikipedia:

This is a short orchestral piece by George Butterworth, probably the most played of his three works for orchestra. It has certainly been his most recorded orchestral work.
Described by its composer as an "Idyll", and written in 1913, it is scored for a small orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, one trumpet, harp and strings.[1] It is thus a belated companion to the Two English Idylls of 1910-1911. All three pieces are founded on folk melodies Butterworth collected in Sussex in 1907, each has a similar "arch" shape, and each lasts between 4½ and 6 minutes.[2]
Butterworth based The Banks of Green Willow on two folk song melodies that he noted in 1907 - "The banks of green willow" and "Green bushes". The first was noted from the singing of "Mr & Mrs Cranstone" of Billingshurst,[3] though a few bars from the end (after the flute and harp have played Green Bushes) a solo violin muses on a variant of the tune, recorded by Butterworth in 1909, using a phonograph, from the singing of David Clements in Basingstoke Workhouse.[4]Versions of the second tune were noted from at least ten different singers, though the tune as it appears in the Idyll is not any of them. Each use of each tune varies slightly, and it is likely that Butterworth created new variants based on features of all the various versions he collected. Green Bushes as it appears in the Idyll most closely resembles that sung by Ned Harding of Lower Breeding, Sussex, in June 1907.[5] It is interesting that the composer also noted a version from Mr Cranstone, though it is not much like the one in the Idyll. Green Bushes was a common tune, and there are notable uses of it in works by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Folk Song Suite, Movement 2) and Percy Grainger (Passacaglia: Green Bushesand The Lost Lady Found).
A solo clarinet and strings create a pastoral scene with the title theme, followed by a short development and restatement of the tune. The mood becomes more sombre and agitated as a new theme (Butterworth's own, on horns) is introduced. An animated motif leads to the main climax, which is surpisingly passionate for such a short work, before the music subsides to introduce Green Bushes hesitantly on oboe. This is repeated gently on flute, accompanied by harp, and the piece ends tranquilly with snatches of the variant title theme on violin solo, horn and oboe.
As the composer said this piece is a "musical illustration to the ballad of the same name",[6]it may be useful to realise that the folk ballad tells the tale of a farmer's daughter who falls in love with a young sea-captain, becomes pregnant and runs away with him to sea, having first stolen money from her parents. When her child is born on board ship, the labour is especially difficult and there is no "woman's help" available. Knowing she will die, she asks her lover to "bind a napkin round my head, then throw me overboard, both me and my baby"[7] Her lover does this and watches as she "quivers" - presumably in her death-throes - and he sings a lament to "my true love, whom I once loved so dearly" and who shall be buried on "The Banks of Green Willow" (Butterworth's capitalisation). It is a shocking tale, even more so in other collected versions, where it is the man who decides to throw the girl and baby overboard rather than risk the shame of taking them home (Mr & Mrs Cranstone's text is a little more palatable).
The premiere of The Banks of Green Willow took place on 27 February 1914, when Adrian Boult conducted a combined orchestra of forty members of the Hallé and Liverpool orchestras in West Kirby. This was, in fact, the 24-year-old conductor’s first concert with a professional orchestra (he also gave the British premiere of Hugo Wolf's Italian Serenadeat the same concert). The London premiere took place three weeks later, and seems to have been the last occasion Butterworth heard his own music.
Butterworth was killed on 5 August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 31, and was a Lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry.

Friday, 10 February 2012

633 Squadron Theme Music

From Wikipedia:

633 Squadron is a 1964 British film which depicts the exploits of a fictional Second World War British fighter-bomber squadron. It was based on a novel of the same name by Frederick E. Smith, published in 1956, which itself drew on several real Royal Air Force missions. The film was directed by Walter Grauman, produced by Cecil F. Ford for United Artists and stars Cliff Robertson and George Chakiris. 633 Squadron was the first aviation film to be shot in colour and Panavision wide screen.

Concerto for oboe, strings and basso continuo in D minor, by Alessandro Marcello

From Youtube:


Concerto for oboe, strings and basso continuo in D minor

2. Adagio

3. Presto

Performed by Concerto Italiano
Directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini

*Alessandro Marcello was an Italian nobleman and dilettante who dabbled in various areas, including poetry, philosophy, mathematics and, perhaps most notably, music.

A slightly older contemporary of Antonio Vivaldi, Marcello held concerts at his hometown of Venice. He composed and published several sets of concertos, including six concertos under the title of La Cetra (The Lyre), as well as cantatas, arias, canzonets, and violin sonatas. Marcello often composed under the pseudonym Eterio Stinfalico, his name as a member of the celebrated Arcadian Academy (Pontificia Accademia degli Arcadi).

Although his works are infrequently performed today, Marcello is regarded as a very competent composer. His La Cetra concertos are "unusual for their wind solo parts, concision and use of counterpoint within a broadly Vivaldian style," according to Grove, "placing them as a last outpost of the classic Venetian Baroque concerto."

Alessandro's brother was Benedetto Marcello, also a composer.

**This concerto is part of Marcello's "concerti a cinque" published in 1716. It is one of the most performed oboe concertos in the oboe repertory. In the past, and continuing to the present, it has been mistakenly attributed to both Benedetto Marcello and Antonio Vivaldi. J.S. Bach made the piece famous by writing a transcription of the piece in C minor for Harpsichord (BWV974).