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Rodney Trudgeon's Concert Notes is a collection of essays on famous classical, orchestral compositions. The pieces in this collection have appeared in concert programmes that have accompanied performances by the Cape Town and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestras.
Rodney Trudgeon is a well-known radio host and presenter on Fine Music Radio. He is an expert on the range of musical genres that broadly fall under the category "classical music". The text that comprises Rodney Trudgeon's Concert Notes is structured alphabetically according to composer and gives a broad overview of the development of classical music, starting with the Baroque period and ending with modern, atonal music. Each piece is dedicated to a particular musical composition, describing its highlights, its history, and what makes it unique.
Broadly, the pieces are grouped together according to the following three broad categories: ouvertures, concertos, and symphonies, mimicking the structure of concert programmes. Each entry also includes a short biography of its composer. Trudgeon's style is easy to read and accessible to all readers: from those who listen to classical music regularly to those who are unfamiliar with it. Overall, this collection is a useful and informative musical guide, making a case for listening to orchestral music.
Mozart's music has enthralled listeners for centuries. In this brilliant biography, acclaimed historian Paul Johnson draws upon his expert knowledge of the era and Mozart's own private letters to conjure Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life and times in rich detail.
Johnson charts Mozart's life from age three through to his later years - when he penned "The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni." Along the way, Johnson challenges some of the popular myths that cloud Mozart's image: his allegedly tempestuous personal relationships and supposedly bitter rivalry with Salieri, as well as the notion that he was desperately impoverished when he died.
The result - a bold, invigorating portrait of one of the most popular and influential composers of all time - is a welcome addition to Johnson's extraordinary body of work and makes a perfect gift for classical music lovers and fans of biographies.
for SATTBB & SA or SATB unaccompanied We are is a dynamic and vibrant setting of 'The human family', a powerful poem by American poet Maya Angelou. The poet's message that 'we are more alike than we are unalike' is carried through the piece by a compelling rhythmic figure, and the a cappella textures and interplay between voices creates an infectious energy. The rich texture of the double choir scoring allows the two groups of singers to work together to create the sense of unity and common purpose the poem speaks to. We are was commissioned by The King's Singers for their 50th anniversary celebrations and features on their album 'GOLD' (Signum, SIGCD500). The piece was originally presented with the first choir scoring as AATBarBarB, but has since been rescored for SATTBB, with the option for the second choir to be SA or SATB remaining unchanged.
for SATB and organ Archer's setting of this well-known Christmas text is lilting and buoyant, with a memorable melody and charming organ interludes. Suitable for liturgical or concert use, the carol features great textual variety, building to a rousing finish that is sure to fill audiences with Christmas cheer!
for SAATB unaccompanied A piece made famous by the award-winning a cappella group Vocado, Coffee Time is an upbeat dedication to the down time we all crave, for sharing thoughts, silence, and that aroma! Founded on classic a cappella style and sense of fun, the piece boasts an infectious melody and bossa nova rhythm, with sumptuous key changes, scat rhythms, and contrasting sections. The piece is perfect for vocal groups or small- to medium-size choirs, and has the makings of a great encore or competition piece.
for SATB double choir, children's choir, and piano Setting a text by Charles Bennett, The White Field presents a dreamlike scene in which blackbirds plant songs in the cold earth and await the growth of their music. Chilcott's melodies echo through the voices, before a climactic tutti central section giving full voice to the idea of renewal and hope in the depth of winter. A wistful coda completes the reverie as the blackbirds settle to await the return of the sun. The piano part provides harmonic support and rhythmic energy to the voice parts with chordal and semiquaver figurations throughout the work. The White Field was commissioned by the Barbican Centre for London Symphony Chorus and BBC Symphony Chorus for Sound Unbound, November 2015.
Elegy, with its warmly expressive tenor-range melodies, is highly suitable for use at funerals, while the cascading joy of Festive Bells makes it perfect as a wedding recessional. The finely wrought sonorities will sound to maximum effect on a large organ in a spacious acoustic, but will nonetheless be convincing on even the most modest of instruments. Both pieces have that warm sense of Englishness that makes them very accessible to the first-time listener.
for SATB, piano, and optional saxophone, bass, and drum kit Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda puts a jazzy twist on three Shakespearean characters. With newly written texts by Charles Bennett, each of the three movements focuses in on Ophelia from Hamlet and Caliban and Miranda from The Tempest. In the funky opener, 'River Bride', the upper voices take the part of Ophelia, while the tenors and basses play a lover figure. Caliban's song, 'Ariel taught me how to play', is a reflective ballad in which the slave tells Miranda, who has escaped his advances, about the spirit helper Ariel teaching him to play the saxophone. The final movement, 'All good things come to an end', is a sassy yet tender number, where Miranda bids farewell to her beloved husband Ferdinand, declaring: 'I've gone back to the island to remember who I am'. The piano part may be played as written or serve as a guide, and a part for saxophone, bass, and drum kit is available separately for jazz quartet accompaniment.
for soloists, SATB, and organ Written for the Choir of Wells Cathedral, of which Matthew Owens is Organist and Master of the Choristers, this setting of the St Matthew Passion is ideally suited to liturgical performance during Holy Week. The principal role of the Evangelist is taken by a baritone soloist, who narrates the story of Christ's trial and Crucifixion in unaccompanied chant. The other, smaller, solo roles of Judas (tenor), Pilate (tenor), Jesus (bass), and Pilate's wife (alto) continue in the same vein, with four-part choral interspersions from the crowds, soldiers, and priests providing a contrast in texture. The hymn 'When I survey the wondrous cross', set to the Rockingham hymn tune, appears twice throughout the work, and the congregation are encouraged to join in on both occasions. The simple organ part supports the voices for the hymn, and may also optionally double the choir during the narrative.
for SSAATTBB unaccompanied Ave gloriosa mater salvatoris is a challenging and yet delicate anthem, with subtle key-signature changes, vocal divisions in up to eight parts, and alternating homophonic and polyphonic passages. The text includes excerpts from the synonymous medieval hymn and Wordsworth's poem The Virgin, making the piece suitable for a variety of sacred celebrations and particularly those of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Around the middle of the eighteenth century, the leading figures of the French Enlightenment engaged in a philosophical debate about the nature of music. The principal participants-Rousseau, Diderot, and d'Alembert-were responding to the views of the composer-theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau, who was both a participant and increasingly a subject of controversy. The discussion centered upon three different events occurring roughly simultaneously. The first was Rameau's formulation of the principle of the fundamental bass, which explained the structure of chords and their progression. The second was the writing of the Encyclopedie, edited by Diderot and d'Alembert, with articles on music by Rousseau. The third was the "Querelle des Bouffons," over the relative merits of Italian comic opera and French tragic opera. The philosophes, in the typical manner of Enlightenment thinkers, were able to move freely from the broad issues of philosophy and criticism, to the more technical questions of music theory, considering music as both art and science. Their dialogue was one of extraordinary depth and richness and dealt with some of the most fundamental issues of the French Enlightenment. In the newly revised edition of Music and the French Enlightenment, Cynthia Verba updates this fascinating story with the prolific scholarship that has emerged since the book was first published. Stressing the importance of seeing the philosophes' writings in context of a dynamic dialogue, Verba carefully reconstructs the chain of arguments and rebuttals across which Rousseau, D'Alembert, and Diderot formulated their own evolving positions. A section of key passages in translation presents several texts in English for the first time, recapturing the tenor and tone of the dialogue at hand. In a new epilogue, Verba discusses important trends in new scholarship, tracing how scholars continue to grapple with many of the same fundamental oppositions and competing ideas that were debated by the philosophes in the French Enlightenment.
for SAT and piano or organ Originally published in the collection Alan Bullard Anthems, this optimistic setting of Jan Struther's famous text is perfectly suited to performance at a variety of occasions, including at weddings, funerals, and services throughout the year. Bullard's original melody is expressive and graceful, paying homage to the message of the words, and the supportive and melodious accompaniment may be performed on piano or organ.
for violin and mixed choir This innovative and imaginative choral arrangement of The Lark Ascending has the original solo violin part accompanied by mixed choir. It sensitively sets George Meredith's poem (on which the original orchestration is based) and combines this with wordless vocal lines and vocal solos, preserving the texture and timeless effect of the original. Commissioned and premiered by the Swedish Chamber Choir, the work has also been recorded by the choir under the direction of Simon Phipps.
Alex Ross's sweeping history of twentieth-century classical music, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, is a gripping account of a musical revolution. The landscape of twentieth-century classical music is a wild one: this was a period in which music fragmented into apparently divergent strands, each influenced by its own composers, performers and musical innovations. In this comprehensive tour, Alex Ross, music critic for the 'New Yorker', explores the people and places that shaped musical development: Adams to Zweig, Brahms to Bjoerk, pre-First World War Vienna to 'Nixon in China'. Above all, this unique portrait of an exceptional era weaves together art, politics and cultural history to show how twentieth-century classical music was both a symptom and a source of immense social change. This edition includes a definitive list of the greatest recordings of twentieth-century music.
This engaging work was composed in 1929 and premiered the following year by its dedicatee, the legendary Spanish cellist Pablo Casals. The five folk songs on which the work is founded are 'Salisbury Plain', 'The Long Whip', 'Low down in the broom', 'Bristol Town', and 'I've been to France'. This arrangement for solo viola and orchestra is compatible with the original orchestral accompaniment, materials for which are available on hire.
for SAATBB unaccompanied This touching piece sets Yeats' beautiful words describing the love of a parent for their child. Switching between major and minor tonalities, A Cradle Song is quiet and understated, with sensitive a cappella scoring that makes the sentiments seem all the more real. This is an impressive and sophisticated debut from Swedish singer and composer Joel Nilson.
Commissioned for the 40th birthday of the organist Paul Walton, Walton's Paean is a work of great verve, with compelling rhythms, exciting harmonies, and catchy melodies propelling the celebratory music forward. Through the boisterous excitement, legato passages emerge as the piece hurtles towards the resounding finale. There is also a little joke in the occasional references to the music of Paul Walton's namesake, William.
for SSA unaccompanied Songbird sets an evocative text by the composer describing songbirds that spin tunes of gold. The catchy, colourful melody is first presented by tutti voices, and is then woven through the vocal parts, often to scat accompaniment.
for SATB, piano, and optional saxophone, bass, and drum kit Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda puts a jazzy twist on three Shakespearean characters. With newly written texts by Charles Bennett, each of the three movements focuses in on Ophelia from Hamlet and Caliban and Miranda from The Tempest. In the funky opener, 'River Bride', the upper voices take the part of Ophelia, while the tenors and basses play a lover figure. Caliban's song, 'Ariel taught me how to play', is a reflective ballad in which the slave tells Miranda, who has escaped his advances, about the spirit helper Ariel teaching him to play the saxophone. The final movement, 'All good things come to an end', is a sassy yet tender number, where Miranda bids farewell to her beloved husband Ferdinand, declaring: 'I've gone back to the island to remember who I am'. The saxophone, bass, piano, and drum kit parts may be played as written or serve as a guide.
for soprano and baritone soloists, SATB chorus, and orchestra This significant seven-movement work from Cecilia McDowall presents an imaginative pairing of extracts from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci with texts from the Latin Missa pro defunctis. Da Vinci's reflective and penetrating insights into the nature of mortality and all that it encompasses cast new light on the familiar Requiem texts, and McDowall employs her orchestral forces to create a rich, atmospheric backdrop to the profound narrative presented by the chorus and soprano and baritone soloists. Dark, sonorous writing precedes an energetic 'Sanctus', and the closing bars of the luminous 'Lux aeterna' create a powerful allusion to da Vinci's concept of 'The Perspective of Disappearance'.
for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, and violoncello The concept of the Five Elements was a central aspect of traditional Chinese thought. Here each of the Five Elements is characterised in an individual movement. In the first movement metal is represented by metallic percussion, while in the second movement marimba and claves are used to portray wood. In the third movement a slower and expansive texture is employed to signify water, and rhythmic drumming is used to illustrate the heat of fire, the subject of movement four. A majestic yet peaceful final movement portrays Earth, where all the elements are transformed into a perfect balance.
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