Having been sick as a dog this week, we had to cancel our regularly scheduled Arts@theAviary program, but fortunately the last meeting we had, on January 29, gave me much to discuss.
In addition to the poems I’ve already shared, we had a special musical trio delight us with a unique arrangement of a popular classical work.
Music scholar that I am, I wandered to my shelf of music history books and retrieved “Grout and Wikipedia” for a little research.
(Gi’me a break. The book is like 15 steps away, and I’m still sick, remember.)
German composer and pianist, lived from 1833-1897. Wrote a ton of really awesome music of the Romantic period of the broadly understood “Classical” scope of music.
In 1869 Brahms completed a set of 21 beautiful and energetic pieces based on Hungarian music themes. Originally scored (written) as a piano duet, to be played by two people at one piano, he eventually arranged the first ten dances of the series to be for solo
banjo piano. Number 5 is the most popular and has been performed on a wide variety of instruments.
Listen to the following videos for some examples. (For ease I just linked to the entire youtube videos. You only need to hear a little bit to get the gist.)
Piano – four hands:
And now, the featured presentation…
Introducing Bob Wightman, arranger and violist; Brian Pearson, guitar; and Matthew Carey, banjo!
I missed the very beginning because I was busy counting them in in Russian. It was the closest thing to Hungarian that any of us knew, and it just seemed fitting to count them in. So, without further ado, ODIN! DVA! TRI! CHETYRE!
Wasn’t it great?! I had never heard the piece on such an….unorthodox arrangement of instruments. It got me curious about what else is out there.
I was looking for a “normal” string quartet and found this, of the Russian Balalaika string quartet:
This week I decided that I really need to get an accordion and start working on it again. But I might not start with this piece:
Violin and clarinet – an uncommon combo, but I like it:
Oh my word, I’ve never seen so many clarinets play together – but there are a bunch of other youtube videos of clarinet choirs, so maybe I’m just out of the loop. Is there a clarinet choir loop?
Uh-oh guys, you might have some competition:
Have you ever heard of David Garrett. I hadn’t, but his stuff is kinda cool:
Perhaps the most breath-taking: Wine glasses, by Robert Tiso
A brave solo guitarist, Galina Vale:
I couldn’t not include this:
Hope you liked that sampling. I think it just goes to show that really great music not only stands the test of time but also fit into a variety of musical vehicles to be delivered to many different kinds of audiences. It makes me think of how Shakespeare need not be performed only by men in tights and women with voluminous bosoms. In other words, go pull out that old recorder, dust off the xylophone that you’ve been using as a buffet (you know who you are), or set the table with wine glasses, and make some music.
Or you can just settle for humming the tune the rest of the day. I know you will be after listening to all those clips.