Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Time with Summer Music

The past week or so has been busy – though I’d put the Piano Trio, for the moment, on a back burner.

For once, that metaphor sounds appropriate as it’s been in the 90s here since last Sunday, reaching 101° yesterday and shooting for 102° this afternoon. It’s supposed to cool off to 90° by the end of the weekend…

The scurrying scherzo of the Piano Trio reached a snag and I needed to put it aside for a while to sort things out and I think, in a way, I might have. So I’ll be ready to dig back into it in another day or two.

Meanwhile, other than reading and occasionally breaking a sweat just turning a page, I’ve been blogging a lot for Market Square Concerts’ Summermusic Festival 2011 and you can follow them with these links. Performances begin tonight at 8pm at Market Square Church and continues Sunday afternoon at 4pm at Messiah College’s Climenhaga Arts Center in Poorman Recital Hall, then concludes Tuesday evening with an earlier-than-usual start time of 6pm, back at Market Square Church.

As I joked on Facebook, “the music will be hot but it’s inside and it’s air-conditioned!” This is a good weekend not to be at the old Mill on the Yellow Breeches, as beautiful a spot and as quaint a building as that was. Last year, I was tempted to call the festival “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”…

Here’s a general post about the festival, the performers and the repertoire for each program.

This post gets into the whole idea of how people listened to music back in Haydn’s day, how that changed in the 19th Century and how it affects how we might listen to something, familiar or unfamiliar, today. It also includes some video clips of the Bartók 3rd Quartet that’s on tonight’s program (one of my favorite pieces ever, I am soooo looking forward to this).

Since I’d interviewed Bartók’s son, Peter, back in April for the Gretna Music presentation of all six of the Bartók Quartets, I wrote a post about “Bartók, the Man Behind the Music.”

While the Dvořák Piano Quintet “needs no introduction,” here’s a post that includes video performances of it and the 2nd of the Brahms String Sextets, recorded at LaJolla’s SummerFest a few seasons ago.

Usually, Brahms’ music also “needs no introduction,” but I find many of the details of Brahms otherwise uneventful life to have significant impact if not on how he wrote the music but on how I might listen to it in light of realizing Brahms was more a man than the old bearded “marble bust” we usually take him for. So there are two posts, one for each of the sextets. The first post also includes video clips of each of the four movements of the B-flat Sextet.

Meanwhile, hope you’re staying cool out there, wherever you are.

Dick Strawser

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