Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Audio Post - Telemann, Fantasia #2

Telemann, Fantasia #2. Copyright 2010, Jeff Lazar. All rights reserved.

Well, I certainly took my time getting this one recorded. I posted some notes on this Fantasia about a month ago.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Audio Post - Rochut/Bordogni, Melodious Etude #19

Rochut/Bordogni, Melodious Etude #19. Copyright 2010, Jeff Lazar. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Audio Post - Bach, Cello Suite #6, Sarabande - For John Rendeiro

I'd like to post this recording in honor of John Rendeiro, my father-in-law, who died this past Saturday, a month shy of his 79th birthday. He was truly a larger-than-life character to everyone who knew him. He was a self-made man--tireless, curious, fearless, and strong as an ox--who lived his life to the fullest. He loved life. He loved to help people. He loved to work hard. And perhaps most of all, he loved to sit down with family and friends--a plate of food and, of course, a glass of wine for everyone--and share old stories.

I learned a lot from him and I'm a better person for having known him.

The music is the Sarabande from Bach's Cello Suite #6 in D major. I'm playing from Doug Yeo's arrangement.

Copyright 2010, Jeff Lazar. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Slow and Fast in Telemann's Fantasia #2

Telemann's Fantasia #2, which I hope to record quite soon, consists of four movements: a very slow Grave, followed by a speedy Vivace, followed by another very slow movement--this time Adagio--and then another fast movement, Allegro. Telemann's key is A minor--I'll be recording Alan Raph's version, which is a clef transposition in C minor.

The opening Grave opens very gravely indeed. Telemann opens with a slow C minor triad and then drops down on the fourth note to an A-flat. A measure later he repeats the phrase one step down, starting on a B-flat. And another measure later, he brings us down another step, starting the phrase on A-flat. It feels like we're sinking--deeper and deeper. We then get two measures of slow sixteenth notes that feel like we're trying to climb our way back upward, though we keep getting stuck on a slow trill between B and C. Finally, two measures later, we start moving up and up in a series of ascending arpeggios built around an F-minor chord. We work our way up to a high F, and then quickly slide down an octave. The movement worms its way back down to a low G. It no longer feels so dark--in fact it just feels expectant--something's about to happen.

And indeed something does happen: the second movement Vivace. The Vivace is a bright and fast dance in three--there are intervals galore. We're swooping up and down. As soon as you feel you're settling in in one direction, you quickly turn the other way. The widest intervals (with the help of some intermediary almost-grace-note-sixteenths) stretch to two full octaves. The strings of leaps are broken twice--once in the middle and once a few bars from the end--by generally descending sixteenth note runs. Our final measure descends from C, down to G, down to the lower C. The third of the chord is deliberately left out, perhaps to create some ambiguity as to whether we're in major or minor (we're definitely in C minor at this point, but it feels very bright and light).

Whereas the Vivace clearly wants some rhythmic strictness, the third-movement Adagio seems comfortable with a much freer tempo. A recurring dotted 16th/32nd note pattern is preceded or followed by various patterns, either with 16th note sextuplets or regular 16th notes. Although quite slow like the Grave movement, this movement keeps the three flats of C minor, but now we're in E-flat Major, and the mood is quite peaceful, but not at all somber.

The final Allegro is as exciting as the Vivace. This movement feels more like a chase or a race than a dance. The motion is a vibrant 2/4. I believe I used the image of a "hunt" to describe the mood of the final movement of Fantasia #5. I could use the same imagery here--though, while #5 reminds me of guys in tweed on their horses with horns and hounds, this last movement of #2 makes me think of the poor fox, sprinting and dashing and winding his way through the woods to escape his pursuers.