By Tim Smith
The @ Home Edition
Across the nation, we are still struggling with getting geared back up to full swing, and that means that we may be required to spend additional time at home.
I hope the following will make that period just a bit livelier, and stay tuned, for the enclosed two-hour recommendation will certainly get the blood flowing-and the foot tapping.
First, a reminder: As you have been reading, I have been spending the period away from our live performance venues and the works they propel forward, by increasing my home music library, and to supplement that journey, I have taken quite a liking to You Tube and the endless viewing opportunities, and of late, that includes three areas – classical piano, orchestral symphonic works and jazz.
In that piano world, Lang Lang and Yuja Wang are resonating in that each are masterful in their technique, and when coupled with their personal styles, the performances are complete and elegantly wrapped packages. Mr. Lang’s recordings have been added to that library, most notably, his Piano Book collection and the most recent, Johann Sebastian Bach: The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988. From their accompanying liner notes:
Mr. Lang states: “I’ve been studying this work for more than 20 years, and recording it has been a lifelong dream.”
“So says Lang Lang of the Goldberg Variations, one of the greatest masterpieces of keyboard literature, and one of those musical Everests that every pianist seeks to climb.” Mr. Lang: “I’ve never spent so much time on one piece. You get nearer to it, sink deeper into it, find some distance and then go back to it again. I worked on the music every day, noting down new ideas all the time . . .”
He also assigned a single word to five categories that guided his exploration: “Learn, Challenge, Time, Feel, Intellect and Dream.”
Enjoy discovering each for yourself through his study, now recorded. I am listening to them as I draft this to you.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.” (Andre Gide, 1869-1951)
I have been reacquainting myself with the orchestral realm by listening to the catalogue of Maestro Sir Georg Solti, and his tenure as the long-serving music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the nation’s top five orchestras.
What I find so powerful is that the Solti period appeared to be one where the emerging, and unified personality of the musicians was a perfect match with the powerful and visionary focus of Maestro Solti, as it most certainly must be with all classic partnerships.
It comes through in their music.
There is a seminal work from the jazz world that I happened across and that I must share, and that was through You Tube and it is the 2004 BBC Proms performance by the legendary Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, under the leadership of Wynton Marsalis. I certainly do not want to complete a spoiler alert, however in this case, there are a couple of areas that, at the very least, deserve your attention, if for nothing else, simply to enhance your viewing experience.
First, the ensemble work, as referenced earlier with the Chicago Symphony, is sublime and then, amidst that flow, individual talents are recognized and permitted to shine. And their luster is blinding, trust me on that.
Secondly, as The Proms is, and by most accounts, remains the world’s leading music festival, this is no ordinary appearance by just any jazz group, their two-hour performance embraces and then enhances all that can be shared by an ensemble with their credentials, and then some.
The more than appreciative audience, calls them back, and calls them back – again. The traditional reserved British citizens were swinging right along, and then some.
I like to offer, and as we are in the early days of returning children back to school, that students interested in the arts, especially the performance art, should be encouraged to join with you in watching programs of this caliber.
At the outset of the BBC program, the announcer/commentator had some interesting conversations with some audience members who were more than passing jazz aficionados. Their comments complete the viewing experience for sure. Tune in, it is worth every minute.
Enjoy seeing you in the “E”paper.
Remember, there is always an opening night.
t A s
(This is the @ Home Edition of Where A r [ts] Thou?)