Sunday, July 29, 2012


Sorry for the light blogging.

First, Georg Friedrich Händel with the wonderful Sarabande.

I've written on these pages before that I am quite fond of baroque music. That's why Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759), a monumental German Baroque composer, famous for his operas, anthems, organ concertos and oratorios. After 'honing his craft' in Halle, Hamburg and Italy he settled in London in 1712 and effectively became British by naturalization in 1727 (and changed his name to George Frideric Handel). He could count Queen Anne among his patrons. By the time he died he had composed over forty operas.

Haendel's Sarabande is, as its name implies, a dance, and one in triple metre. In a sarabande measure the second and third beats are often tied, typically giving the dance a rhythm of alternating quarter notes and eighth notes (more or less symbolizing a 'real' dance's dragging steps). Check it out, it's quite obvious. This particular sarabande, from Haendel's Cembalo-Suite nr. 4 in d-moll (HWV 437, for Haendel Werke Verzeichnis 437) was used several times in a movie score - most famously of course in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece Barry Lyndon (with Ryan O'Neal as the protagonist).

Dmitry Shostakovich with Romance.

Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (Russian: Дмитрий Дмитриевич Шостакович; 1906 – 1975) was a monumental Soviet Russian composer and pianist who more or less came unscathed through the hell that was the USSR - and this despite his being friends with Mikhail Tuchachevsky, Trotsky's famous Chief of Staff who was executed in 1937 during Stalin's purges. He was influenced by Stravinsky and Mahler. His orchestral repertoire encompasses amongst others 15 symphonies and six concerti, but apart from that there's also a very substantial oeuvre in chamber and piano music, operas and film scores. This particular piece 'Romance' (Shostakovich' Opus 97) was used in the 1955 Soviet movie drama The Gadfly, directed by Aleksandr Faintsimmer and based on the 1897 novel by Ethel Lilian Voynich (of Irish stock and the daughter of the famous mathematician George Boole).

Goede nacht.


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