We dedicate nine rounds of Ether Game to the nine ancient Greek muses of theatre, poetry and art. Ascend Parnassus with the Ether Game Brain Trust and browse this week’s playlist.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Te Deum laudamus, K. 141 Mozart left his mark on all genres of art music in the early classical era, and although he seemed to delight most in his operas, violin concertos and keyboard sonatas, his sacred works were most personal to him, having were raised strictly Catholic. Polyhymnia is the muse of hymns, and the Te Deum, or Te Deum Laudamus (To Thee God we praise) is one of the earliest surviving Latin hymns, first appearing in writing in AD 387 but probably composed even earlier. . Mozart’s most famous Te Deum setting appears in his Unfinished Mass in C Minor, but K141 is a stand-alone piece, written in 1769 before 13-year-old Mozart made his first trip to Italy with his father Leopald. Mozart modeled the work after another Te Deum written by Michael Haydn, and for this reason its authenticity was questioned for many years.
Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904) Humoresques, op. 101: No. 1: Vivace in E flat minor We have just listened to the first of a cycle of Eight Humoresques or Humoresky (in Czech) which Dvorak composed in 1894. Those who have studied music will probably recognize No. 7, with its offbeat rhythm and melodious melody, which has become a popular children’s piece. Thalia is the muse of comedy, and what better musical genre to offer her tonight than comedy? which, like the scherzo and the buffo, is defined by its comic quality. Although Dvorak’s stay as a music teacher in the United States lasted only three years, he collected many melodies during his stay and, on his return to Bohemia, set several of them to music. These settings evolved into the Humoresques, which were released first in Germany and soon in the rest of Europe and the United States.
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) Salome, op. 54: Dance of the Seven Veils Eroticism, the domain of muse Erato, is present in many pieces of classical music (we even did a Musical Erotica show many years ago on Ether Game). Strauss’ adaptation of the story of Salome remains one of the most infamous classic works of the late 19th century. According to the Gospel of Matthew, on King Herod’s birthday, his daughter-in-law performs a dance for him which pleases the king so much that he offers Salome anything as a reward for her performance. She only asks for one thing: the head of Jean-Baptiste imprisoned on a silver platter! Strauss’ opera, based on a play by Oscar Wilde, amplifies the sexuality and bloodlust of the main character, transforming his dance into the erotic “Dance of the Seven Veils”. The salaciousness of the dance and the amount of veils remaining on Salome at its conclusion varies from production to production. It depends on the discretion (or lack thereof) of the director and the soprano.
George Chadwick (1854-1931) Euterpe Although he is probably best known as one of the first developers of great symphonic music in a uniquely “American” style, George Chadwick was also inspired by Greek mythology. Three concert overtures written between 1883 and 1903 are named after different muses, including tonight’s selection titled Euterpe, after the muse of music. There is a sixteen year gap between Chadwick’s second overture and Euterpe, and although he is considered a conservative composer, Euterpe belongs to his ‘dramatic’ period, demonstrating how Chadwick was experimenting with increased drama and wider range. of emotional expression. The overture was premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1903.
Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) Terpsichore: a suite of dances Considered one of the best-known musical works of the Renaissance, Michael Praetorius’ collection of 312 French dances, known as Terpsichore, was named after the Greek muse of the same name. Sovereign of dance and the dramatic chorus, the name Terpsichore literally means “dancing pleasure”. Dancing was one of the main pleasures of the French aristocracy from medieval times to the Baroque period. She accompanied almost every type of non-liturgical or social gathering. Even solemn occasions had slow, elaborate dances that followed the ceremonial activities. Unlike the country dances printed in manuscripts in England, the French court dances required training to learn the steps and movements. These would have been learned by professional theater dancers, as well as courtiers and gentry. The music of Praetorius’ Terpsichore would accompany this kind of dance, which is why the music is more stately and refined than the raspy tunes imprinted in the English country dances of Playford.
Henryk Górecki (1933-2010) Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ Mvmt. III A contemporary of Penderecki and Lutoslawski, Polish composer Henryk Gorecki was perhaps best known for his Symphony No. 3. While most symphonies typically contain a mixture of fast and slow sections, Gorecki’s haunting and painful work includes three slow movements. The text of the 2nd movement, which we heard in tonight’s selection, comes from a prayer, which was inscribed on the wall of a cell in the basement of the “Palace”, the headquarters of the Gestapo in Zakopane. Below the words is the signature of a young woman, and the words “18 years old, imprisoned since September 26, 1944”. Although there are apparently several references in this work to World War II, Gorecki refrained from referring to the work as a “symphony of war”, calling it instead “a normal symphony of sorrowful songs”, which makes it music of choice for the muse of tragedy, Melpomen. . In the early 1990s, when this specific recording was released, it became a hit CD, selling over a million copies.
Tan Dun (born 1960) Marco Polo: The Book of Time: Spring: Such a Time No doubt when you write an opera based on historical events, you will seek inspiration from Clio, the muse of history. Tan Dun’s 1996 opera takes the historical journeys of Marco Polo and divides them into two journeys with two main characters. A mezzo soprano plays Marco as the historical figure who makes the physical journey from Italy to China. This story is performed in the style of Western opera. However Polo, which is played by a tenor, represents the Traveler’s Memory on his spiritual journey through three states of being, which is performed in the style of Peking Opera, with his own set of traditional instruments. The two narratives are intertwined and sometimes occur simultaneously, with the singers alternating words in the same phrases.
Kelly Marie-Murphy (born 1964) Dark Energy For the ancient Greeks, the arts and sciences were closely linked. They both required the same source of divine inspiration, which is why alongside the muses of poetry and music is Urania, the muse of astronomy. The idea that harmony is “the music of the spheres” resonating in the soul also began in ancient Greece, so it’s easy to see why Urania was the oldest muse. Many composers have been intrigued by astronomy, including Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy, whose 2007 string quartet Dark Energy was inspired by the role of the Hubble telescope in discovering the anti-gravitational force known as dark energy name. Dark energy remains one of the greatest mysteries in the universe, but we know it’s what keeps the universe expanding at an increasing rate.
Eric Clapton, Martin Sharp (p.1967) Tales of the Brave Odysseus You may only know the fairground organ that bears her name, but Calliope is said to have been considered the leader of all muses by Homer and Virgil, as she inspired heroic and epic poetry. She may have inspired Australian pop artist Martin Sharp to write the poem that became the lyrics to Cream’s Tales of Brave Ulysses. The song was a B-side single and later appeared on Cream’s second album Disraeli Gears, the cover art of which was also designed by Sharp. The track is notable for being one of the earliest recorded examples of an electric guitar using the “wah-wah” pedal, which was invented a year earlier in 1966.