Each Piano, A Masterpiece

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For some strange reason (connected to reworking their podcast delivery system, I think), the folks at NPR Control sent me a sort-of-random podcast this week. From something they did back in 2011. Something from the folks at Morning Edition called “Musical Innovation: A Grander Grand Piano.” Best mistake ever. Most pianos have 88 keys. And most great [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 24

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Today, “Christus Factus Est,” from Anton Bruckner. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum et dedit illi nomen, Christ became obedient for us unto death, even to the death, death on the cross. Therefore God exalted Him and gave Him a name which is [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 23

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Today’s selection is from the “Really Short and Really Sweet” category — almost too sweet for it’s subject matter, in fact — and comes from Franz Joseph Haydn’s lesser-known (but obviously-talented) brother, Johann Michael Haydn. I know him mostly for his wonderful pair of trumpet concerti, but his list of sacred compositions is quite imposing, [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 22

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Today, the beautiful “Abendlied,” by Josef Rheinberger, which draws its brief text from Luke’s account of the Supper at Emmaus: Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden, und der Tag hat sich geneiget. Bide with us, for evening shadows darken, and the day will soon be over. Attribution(s): “Christ at Emmaus” (by Rembrandt) is licensed under [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 21

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Sticking with the English for a bit, here’s Henry Purcell’s “Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences” (from his Funeral Sentences). I would call special attention to the 1:35-1:45 section — the desperately discordant “spare us” and the wonderful resolution of “good Lord.” Brilliant stuff. “Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor th’offences of our forefathers; neither take thou vengeance on [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 20

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Today’s musical meditation comes from the great Thomas Tallis and is about as traditionally Lenten as one can be (at least musically): The Lamentations of Jeremiah. I’m sharing this particular recording for two reasons. The first? While I’m usually a More-Is-More kind of guy, I really love the tightness and sparseness of this version. And second? [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 19

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A short (but wonderfully sweet) setting of the Our Father from the famous Frenchman, Maurice Duruflé. Notre Père qui es aux cieux,que ton nom soit sanctifié,que ton règne vienne,que ta volonté soit faite sur la terrecomme au ciel.Donne nous aujourd’hui notre pain de ce jour,pardonne-nous nos offensescomme nous pardonnons aussi à ceuxqui nous ont offensés,et ne nous [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 18

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“Virgo virginum praeclara” from Agustino Steffani’s Stabat Mater. Virgo virginum præclara,mihi iam non sis amara,fac me tecum plangere. Virgin of all virgins blest,Listen to my fond request,let me share thy grief divine. Attribution(s): “Crucifixion” by Evgraf Semenovich Sorokin and licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons;” Bells” via Shutterstock. [Read more...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 17

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Taking things in a different direction once again — tacking away from yesterday’s Early (If Strange) Sacred Music — for something much more recent. Something even more unusual (despite the undeniable strangeness of Gesualdo). And something that is also, in a bit of a departure from my prior selections, much longer. It’s the nearly-contemporary (1981, [Read More...]

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A Lenten Musical Journey, Day 16

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Fresh off yesterday’s brief (but super-exciting) detour through Rachmaninoff’s Vigil, here’s the last of our “O vos omneses.” (At least for now). This one’s from the Late Italian Rennaisance composer (and nobleman and…ahem…murderer) Carlo Gesualdo. His stuff’s astonishingly dissonant (given his era) and wonderfully unpredictable, and this piece is pretty much a perfect example. (Just listen to how quickly it [Read More...]

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