Rubscrubbing Smart Neoclassical : Hindemith, Ives, Stravinsky

I’m fond of Classical Music. It’s a perpetual exploration. Comparing the performances. Reading books. Educating my ears.

Today I chose three examples of “Neoclassicism”, three composers of the XXth Century playing with forms from the past. What can we find in this?

 

Hindemith : Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter), composed in 1934, evokes a painter from the 16th Century.

 

Ives, Symphony No 1 was composed in 1898-1902.

 

Stravinsky, Apollon Musagète (Apollo) was composed in 1927-28.

 

All pieces are labelled “Neoclassical”. Hindemith evokes a Painter from the 16th Century. Ives synthesizes ideas from “Late Romanticism” (Dvorak or Schubert). Stravinsky composes a ballet music about… Mythology.

What I love here is… where it rubs, where it scrubs.

  1. Melodies come obviously from past forms, but sometimes there are twists and weird torques, delicate or sudden. Simplicity goes into smokes. Then it restructures itself…
  2. Harmonies are the same. From extreme comfort and predictability to sudden changes or toxicologic strange colors invasions. Then, sit back.
  3. Forms, shapes, frames are from the past, but XXth Century prowls. Again, you feel in a normal world, but you are surprised by unusual and unreliable twists, breaks, complete changes of mood, or rhythm. All this, most of the time, with a well-well-well-sorry-I-couldn’t-refrain-myself way. Then it reframes…

 

Yes, dear reader. Have fun, if you like music. Read the wikis. Try to find the common patterns in these three pieces work. Explore other pieces from the composers, you’ll be surprised.

Light a candle. Appreciate the keen baroque style of Stravinsky, the splendid colored veils of Hindemith, the luxurious sunny racing car Americanity of Ives.

But also, find the pattern, our today’s tool. What is Neoclassical? Can you do it in photography, poetry, in pop-rock?

How will you make it? Study the past? How? How will your modernity invade it? Sudden twists and winks, or slow/imprecise secretions? What can it bring to your work? Ideas or real creativity? What does the audience feel? Are you aware of it?

 

Thanks for reading! Keep cool! Bonne journée !

 

C360_2014-12-06-09-32-14-741.jpg

 

 

Advertisements

Overwhelmed While Trying No To…

Directing The Rite of String (and performing it, je suppose) is a mess.

ONE : it’s complicated.

TWO : it’s a terrible fantastic TRANCE, at times.

There’s a danger here, for the directors. They must direct ! Some of them finish it like devastated with pleasure. Some others try to control themselves : the audience should be extatic, not the Chef d’Orchestre ! Enfin !

The Fifth Movement of the Symphony N°2 “Resurrection” (I’ve read that it was “the most monumental musical work written up to that point“), by Gustav Mahler, is ending by a glorious use of choir.

I took this example because I watched a DVD of this Symphony, directed by Pierre Boulez, and at the end of the end (say, the 4 last minutes), the choir is building something really too much, and you feel the shivering chill of pleasure all along your delighted skin (hell, I’m french, and I do not know really how to say it).

At this moment, I saw this lady crying (cf picture) in the choir – why, maybe because of the music, but who knows ? – and just after the end, while the audience was applausing like crazy, I saw Boulez (did I imagine it ?) completely overwhelmed by emotion.

Dial : Is holding the flood possible/useful ? What about painters ? What about the best DJs ? Do they dance like fools, or do they focus on the perfection they want to bring to the dancers around him ?

Tool : If you create, try to check your stuff in the next morning. It could hurt. Good to you. Creating pleasure, it’s some work, Chief !

Let’s ask to a French poet :

It is impossible for a poet not to contain within himself a critic. Therefore the reader will not be surprised that I consider the poet as the best of all critics.

Charles Baudelaire

20160116_190345

 

The Extreme Upper Register of the Bassoon, story of the Wrong Tool

OK I’m french. My english is a frenglish, it’s rusty and wobbly, et voilà. Try me, though. I’ll do my best. I promise. If sometimes it’s too bad, just laugh at me or roll you eyes.

The opening solo of The Rite of Spring, by Igor Stravinsky, is played by a bassoon playing out of its normal register. It’s written “out of range”, and the result is a quite weird melody.

Musicians and analysts have been wondering about that for years. How to play this machin ? Le Sacre du Printemps, is about primitive rituels, it’s full of danses sacrificielles and other étranges processions. Soooo… I like the idée to play it weirdly, strangled or lost, lost in a forest, œuf corse…

By the way, héééé, you know the bassoon, this instrument : it’s like a tree, un arbre ! It’s long and made of wood, it’s a tree. A tree without the branches, d’accord.

OK that’s useless, but the idée of beginning that “pagan mass” (of mess) of broken dances by this “out of range” melody played by a bassoon is giving me the chills.

Well. OK. So what ?

Francesco Alberoni is an Italian, a professor of sociology. He wrote a très utile book named Falling in Love, which is completely… out of range for him. As a sociologue, he knows how to study collective movements, and certainement pas some couples and lovers. No no no no. Mr Alberoni, vous n’êtes pas du tout dans votre domaine de compétence…

He is NOT skilled to do that. Toutefois, et néanmoins, he DID it ! He used his sociologist tools to study two persons who fall in love, pfffff. Unappropriate ! Fool !

The result ? A classic, a best-seller. And it’s still a best-seller, more than 30 years after the first print. And it’s a great book by the way. Useful if you’re a broken heart – you’ll understand once you need it, trust me…

I let you elaborate the links between le livre Falling in Love and la musique de The Rite of Spring. It’s Tool Time now.

Tool :

Maybe sometimes, in life or at work, in a brainstorming session or in the middle of a battle, you just have to pick the wrong tool. Or pick the usual tool, and use it the wrong way. Use it nevertheless. Whatever ! Zut ! Maybe you’ll explore a new way to lead the victoire, after all ! Maybe you’ll be enough étrange to surprise everybody, allies and ennemis. You go boy and girl ! You go !

2015-01-29_1422546518