Not all the choral music that stops me in my tracks is of the sacred variety- take Voces8’s spellbinding arrangement and performance of the American folk song, “Shenandoah.” .
Today is World Peace Day, something I think deserves observance. The tune in my head today is “Ukuthula”, a traditional Zulu song of peace and faith, sung here by the Cape Town Youth Choir. You can read a full translation of the lyrics here.
Ēriks Ešenvalds’ setting of Sara Teasdale’s nostalgic poem, “Only In Sleep” was recently recorded by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Layton. The result is simply stunning.
Only in sleep I see their faces,
Children I played with when I was a child,
Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.
Only in sleep Time is forgotten—
What may have come to them, who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the dollhouse stood at the turn of the stair.
The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild—
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)
Since my regular readership here includes several accomplished musicians (and folks who appreciate a new perspective), I can’t resist sharing this analysis of what a pianist sees when they are playing. Fascinating.
I can completely relate to the vertical and horizontal scanning to sight read- what about the rest of you?
When I first heard about Joachim Horsley’s performance of the second movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in the style of Cuban Rumba, I wasn’t convinced such a mashup could ever work. How wrong I was- it’s fantastic. All instruments in the arrangement are played (or hit!) on the piano which makes me love it even more. For those interested in the score, you can follow it here.
Two recent posts have been about spring and my piano…. and here’s a combination of both. Dutch brothers Lucas and Arthur Jussen play the Allegro from the Sonata for piano four hands in C flat major, K.521. To me this sounds of spring (complete with birds and rain)… and here’s hoping that playing this will actually usher it in.
Some of you have asked about the piano- how it is, how I like it, if I play it. We just had some damper work done (there was some very faint ringing attached to a few bass notes that our amazing technician took care of) and now it’s perfect. And I do mean, truly perfect. The tone is warm and mellow and the touch is balanced and wonderfully responsive. It has become so comfortable that I can’t imagine wanting to play anything else. Pianos were at the very height of craftsmanship in Germany at the end of the 19th century and I am incredibly lucky to have one. In the end, It’s a far better instrument than I ever deserve.
Here’s a look inside.
And yes- I play her. I’m doing more music than I have in years and this has me playing this incredible instrument nearly every day. Jeff and I are both completely besotted.