Monday Music: The Cold Genius (Henry Purcell)

It was absolutely necessary that I find a counter-tenor song for today, since I’m still so very disappointed that Cezar‘s magnificent counter-tenor effort on Eurovision didn’t do better, but it’s after midnight as I schedule this, and I have to work tomorrow, so was really not up for trolling the internet in search of the perfect piece of music.

Fortunately, it turns out that I had, stashed away in my list of things to write about, Andreas Scholl singing the Aria “What Power art Thou”, also known as the song of the Cold Genius, from Purcell’s King Arthur. Continue reading

Advertisements

Monday Music: The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation (Purcell)

I’m planning (hoping is more accurate, at this stage) to do the Trinity ATCL exam this year, so I’m currently collecting repertoire suitable for a recital.  This piece of music is one I ran across a few years ago, and the title immediately piqued my interest.  It isn’t often that you see the word ‘expostulation’ in a song title, after all.

Then I heard it, and fell completely in love.

Continue reading

Friday Fun: When I have often heard young maids complaining (Purcell)

I know, I know, it’s more Purcell.  Anyone would think I had no imagination at all.  But the thing with Purcell is that if you are looking for gorgeous church music, there he is, writing it.  If you are looking for delicate, beautiful artsong, there’s Purcell again, writing that, too.  If you are looking for opera, or drunken rounds with impeccable music, he’s your man.

So it’s hardly a surprise that when you are in search of hilariously funny opera – in English, too, which does give us more scope, don’t you think? – Purcell is one of the names that comes up.

Incidentally, if you are watching this at work, you may want to switch it off as soon as the initial aria is finished.  The aria itself is mildly naughty, but the naughtiness is largely from the words.  What happens after the aria is probably not something you want the boss watching over your shoulder.  (There’s no nudity, but it is still decidedly not safe for work)

Continue reading

Monday Music: Scherza Infida (G.F. Handel)

I think my love for both Handel and Ian Bostridge are pretty well established now, and if you spend much time on this blog, you will probably find yourself getting to know them rather well.  Part of me feels that I should be looking for more variety, but honestly, this blog is about the music I love, and, well, this is it.  And this particular aria contains, I think, some truly perfect singing, especially in the repeat at the end.

Continue reading

Monday Music: My Beloved Spake (Henry Purcell)

It’s highly likely that Mondays are going to be church music days around here, quite simply because I spend most of my Sundays singing in church choirs, so that’s the sort of music that is in my head.  And of course, every day is Purcell day… and really, why wouldn’t it be?  He is a beautiful composer.

Continue reading

Monday Music: Ei, wie schmeckt der Coffee süsse (Oh, how sweet coffee tastes) (J.S. Bach)

Bach is not a composer known for his lively sense of humour (unless you like obscure mathematical jokes involving making codes out of people’s names and setting them to music, in which case you’ll probably find him an absolute scream).  Indeed, the first allegedly humourous piece of his that I heard was an obscure cantata using Greek myth to express the fact that he was a much better musician than one of his rivals, who pretty much had donkey’s ears.  This sort of thing is extremely amusing, when your name is Johann Sebastian…

But he was, apparently, capable of more generally intelligible light moments, and he wrote, as it happens, an entire cantata about coffee.  What could be more appropriate for a Monday morning?

Continue reading