Angela Hewitt, Canada, Dresden, Faustina Bordoni, Flute Sonatas, Glenn Gould, Goldberg Variations, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Jesus On Calvary, Johann Adolph Hasse, Johann Sebastian Bach, St John Passion, The Serried Multitude
Another decent morning’s work is just drawing to a close. I added dynamics and phrasing to The Serried Multitude, but am getting to the stage where I cannot do much more until I get the final green light from the commissioner. How many reminders is more than polite, I wonder? Maybe I need to fire off a nice kindly email this afternoon. People do get busy, after all.
I have spent the other part of the morning knee deep in code once more, trying to fix a website for a relative, which has been successful in shorter time than I had imagined. Maybe I should look into this as a sideline for when the commissions dry up.
I also scanned the latest composition competitions, swiftly dismissing one which included the lines “Composers must provide performers for their work if selected…it will be the composer’s responsibility to make all necessary arrangements for performance and compensation”, not the greatest of opportunities. Should anybody concerned be reading this, perhaps a rethink might be in order next time around!
Still, I have found a couple of opportunities which might be worth a flutter, especially the ones I might be able to back-to-back, as it were, writing a piece for one which can then act as a submission or a staging post for another. As my book of commissions currently consists almost entirely of possibilities rather than confirmations, it is time to hunt for ideas elsewhere. To be fair, though, I cannot remember the last time I was “commission-quiet”.
I have been listening to a couple of niceties this morning, Bach’s Flute Sonatas and a Mass by Hasse, the latter at the prompting of a colleague. I found the Hasse interesting, but I cannot help but feel a little badly disposed towards him for standing in the way of Jan Dismas Zelenka, somebody I rate as one of the great neglected minds of the Baroque. Of course, it was not really Hasse’s fault, for he (and his soprano wife Faustina Bordoni) were quite the celebrities, and poor old Zelenka was on the back row of the double basses. For all the beauty of the Hasse, I still find considerably more “wow” moments in JDZ’s writing, pieces such as Jesus On Calvary bearing extraordinary resemblances to Bach’s St. John Passion. Zelenka was often first choice over Hasse for sacred music at Dresden, which says something, although Hasse normally got the nod in the operatic field.
My odyssey through my CD collection is now at least a month behind schedule, but not to worry, for I have the Goldberg Variations on at the moment. Much as I adore Glenn Gould’s brave and visionary playing of Bach, Angela Hewitt is clear, precise and beautifully balanced as well, without Gould’s bizarre humming (which I rather like!). Something in that Canadian water to make their Goldbergs so clear and refreshing, but the star, of course, is Johann once more.