Monday, 24 June 2019

EVENSONG. JUST A FEW CHORDS. Franz Liszt: Liebeslied S 566 (Schumann: Widmung)

I have spent most of my life listening to big pieces, symphonies and masses, never knew much about Schumann songs. I heard this a couple of years ago and it rips me up and then puts me back together again, just those couple of bars of Ave Maria at the end. I think it's what they call an homage. It is Liszt after Schumann, realised by Lang Lang and Steinway; inspiration, composition, performance and manufacture. And in that grand piano, trapped forever, lost and yearning, sing all the spirits of the forest.

18 comments:

Mike said...

If you are a Schumann fan, Mr I, try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq7ncjhSqtk

Horowitz in Moscow in 1986. The audience were in tears.

Mike said...

Better recording

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU_ccvjxq6o

Anonymous said...

Schumann is wonderful stuff Mr I. The symphonies are amazing:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSY78CUVCtE

As are the piano sonatas, eg:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afxr6pWwejk

inmate said...

Evensong is one of your posts I’ve missed the most over the past two years, they motivate me to find and listen to some of man’s most beautiful creations. God speaking through mere mortals.
Thank you mr I.

call me ishmael said...

There is a tussle here, presently, mr inmate; mrs ishmael believes that without the ascendancy of (Judaeo) Christianity the Norse/Pagan religions would have wrought such art as this; I disagree, thinking that only the agony and ecstasy of the Christ Passion, real or imagined, only the Gutenberg Bible, only the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the Great Commotion fertilised this creative field and it is, as you say, God - or our need of God- who speaks through Steinway - or Fender or Martin - and both soothes and unsettles us.

I am no musicologist and grateful, therefore, that these choices have moved you as they have me.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you, mr mike and mr anonymous, I remember being impressed by Horowitz, when I was younger; there is just so much, isn't there?

I will try the symphonies. Right now.

Bungalow Bill said...

Beautiful, thanks.

mongoose said...

Very nice, Mr Ishmael. I often wish I could play the piano. Wastrel wretch that I was skipping the lessons my parents tried to make me have. But then they tried to get me riding horses amd fecking Irish danccing too.

There is something in the old understanding of quality in art - and not just music. One may not like something, Bach say, but one shouldn't be let argue that it is crap just because of it. The Monuments Men film twaddle was real apparently. The Allies really did have a team of people scouring the continent saving precious stuff and trying to return it to owners. Just for the saving of it. In times as straitened and perilous as those. We can't even save our libraries.

the noblest prospect said...

Bravo. Been expecting an Evensong since your return. Got tickets to see Abdullah Ibrahim later in the year. Jazz, innit?

call me ishmael said...

You've been a big influence, mr bungalow bill.Sometimes it only takes a word.

call me ishmael said...

My older brother and sister had piano lessons but my father's fortunes suffered a dramatic reversal by the time it was my turn and oddly, mr mongoose, I was the better intuitive musician. I still can't play the piano but I can figure stuff out in a way that qualified pianists can't, no matter, I'd love to be able to read and play that piece, above, and I never will.

I read about the monuments men years ago, somewhere, and I thought the film was very good. Wouldn't happen now.

call me ishmael said...

Yeah, I love Dollar Brand, as he was, mr tnp, aside from Ali Farka Tourre I can't think of many African musicians who grab me but he just rolls with it all - classical, boogie, jazz, township and that captivating North African Islamic drone.

The Madagascan Justin Vali Trio were fucking amazing, quirky instruments and weird, Afro-French arrangements, like chamber music from the village.

Anonymous said...

When I was a proper choirboy, Mr I, I was taught to read the music a tad. A singer's part is much less complex in the ordinary than the above malarkey though. We looked for the punctuation - the gaps and the big bits - and piped up using that. That's what conductors are for too.

I had and have no talent beyond the ordinary, I am afraid. Mrs mongoose otoh joins herself to any choir that pauses in its march, even to tie a shoelace. It makes her happy just to sing. She comes back here after on tiptoe, beaming like a mad thing. There is more to music, isn't there, than the noise made. There's that joy in making it. I wonder: does any other animal in the universe really sing like humans do?

Mike said...

Mr Mongoose: listen to the birds - they sing. Where I play golf each morning there are birds (not sure what the name is) with a distinctive call: "fuckit", "fuckit", "fuckit".

call me ishmael said...

I have tried reading the dots and there was a time when I could haltingly play a couple of pieces but it was always too slow, the time between the thought and the action, like writing, like anything.

Once sang the Messiah at the Albert Hall in a thousand voice choir with a proper band and soloists, so I know what entices mrs mongoose to the choral netherworld.

You read the dots, do cha, mr mike, for la gitarre, how's that going?

Mike said...

I'm afraid not Mr I. I've long wished to play the flamenco guitar. Although there are "tabs" (written scores) its largely based on a recognised set of traditional folk palos (tunes or rhythms), which are aurally passed on, about which improvisation is expected. Study isn't what holds me back. Its having all 10 digits being able to function independently, and all 10 fingers are definitely required. I haven't given up yet though, but patience is not one of my virtues. If you watch the Horowitz clip you will see Traumerei looks a deceptively simple piece, but only he can make that sound. So with the guitar when you listen to a mater flamenco player.

Bungalow Bill said...

Those who enjoy this sort of thing might keep an eye on a wonderfully promising Israeli pianist called Ariel Lanyi, some gift he has. He's on YouTube.

My best love is Sviatoslav Richter. There's a scored version on YouTube of him playing Rachmaninov Prelude Op. 23 No.2 which is utterly exhilarating. I've probably mentioned this on here before - I can't remember when I last brushed my teeth these days. Anyway, no apologies, because it will light you up.

mongoose said...

Strange to tell, Mr I, but I have sung the Messiah too. I was however a descant at the time - trilling like one of Mr Mike's winged birds.