Allen’s Classical Jukebox (Notes on Music Notes – 1)

Birds on Wires via Arksinspace

Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s a few additional notes to the auctioneer’s notes and a few further superficial notations

So Clement Janequin  (1485-1558) and his “Chant des Oiseaux” (Song of the Birds). Allen is drawing here on his knowledge of Ezra Pound’s work on early music and sends the reader to Pound’s Canto 75 (“Out of Phlegethon!/out of Phlegethon,/Gerhart/art thou come forth out of Phlegethon?…” – ”Phlegethon”, from Greek mythology, one of the five principal rivers in the realm of Hell (Hades). It flows with fire and burns but does not consume. Gerhart – German composer, Gerhart Munch, who escaped from the war, bearing music manuscripts (including a handwritten transcription, for violin and piano, of Francesco da Milano’s lute transcriptions of Janequin’s choral setting).

“Clement Janequin wrote a chorus…when Francesco da Milano reduced it for the lute, the birds were still with the music. And when Munch transcribed it for modern instruments the birds were still there’, writes Pound in his ABC of Reading

Alonso Mudarra (1510-1580) (mis-transcribed by Allen as Alphonse De Mudurra)’s David’s Lament (Triste Estaba el Rey David) – Spanish composer – A performance of this piece (by the Kings Singers) can be accessed here

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) – AG (and/or his transcriber) surely don’t mean Mass in 5 minor (sic), but Mass in B minor and for Partita #2, here‘s the legendary Glenn Gould playing it . For a performance of the St,Matthew’s Passion (this exquisite performance by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Soloists), can be found here

Ludvig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) Grosse Fugue, as performed by the Alban Berg Quartet in 1989, can be found here. His Piano Sonata Opus 111, performed by Sviatoslav Richter, may be listened to here

“Quarter op. 116 (?) , the one so strained” – Quartet (sic) Opus 116. Any idea what Allen is referencing here? – Beethoven’s Opus 116 is this, but does he really mean this Terzetto:Tremate, empi, tremante”? perhaps he has his numbers wrong?

Missa Solemnis, Opus 123, yes – here’s the Kyrie

Sviatoslav Richter can also be heard playing here the work of (Franz) Schubert’s that Allen cites (the auctioneer doesn’t enumerate), the Schubert Sonata in A Major. For (Johannes) Brahms, we’ll send you to Eugene Istomin, Isaac Stern, and Leonard Rose playing the first movement of Brahms Piano Trio No.1. (the composition, Allen’s choice). Prokofieff’s famous film-score to Sergei Eisenstein’s masterpiece Alexander Nevsky is where he leads us with Prokofieff (pointing out that this was a favorite piece of music for Jack Kerouac). Pieces by Arnold Schoenberg (Verklarte Nachthere’s Pierre Boulez and the New York Philharmonic), and Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s Kontakte, complete the survey.

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