Saturday, January 31, 2009

Twelve Dances, One Voice, Two Etudes: Playlist for Beethoven's Breakfast, January 26, 2009, Mondays 6:30 am PST

1. Norbert Kraft and the Razumovsky Sinfonia directed by Peter Breiner: Granados-- Spanish Dances 1-6, from Twelve Spanish Dances (Naxos)

In 1916, when Enrique Granados was returning to Europe after performing for President Woodrow Wilson, the ship on which he was travelling was torpedoed by the German navy and sank. Granados and his wife were drowned.

Granados was a Spanish composer and virtuoso pianist sometimes referred to as the Spanish Chopin. He lived in Spain and Paris, and was acquainted with many French composers of that time including Faure, Debussy, Ravel, and Saint-Saëns.

His two best-known works are Goyescas, a series of pieces inspired by the paintings of Goya, and Twelve Spanish Dances. Many of his works originally written for piano have been transcribed for the classical guitar including Peter Breiner's transcription of Twelve Spanish Dances on this recording. Breiner also created the lovely orchestral arrangements on this CD.

Norbert Kraft is a leading Canadian classical guitarist.

2. The Wailin' Jennys: Glory Bound, Swallow, Apocalypse Lullaby, One Voice, and Firecracker from Firecracker (Red House)

We're at the final performance of the Nelson B.C. 50-voice vocal group Corazón in May, 2008. "This song," director Allison Girvan tells us as we near the end of the performance, "is sung by three young women who have been in Corazón for as long as it is possible to be in it. They are all leaving us this year, and I don't know what I am going to do without them. This is One Voice by the Wailin' Jennys."

My daughter Laura moves forward on the stage and starts to sing, solo.

This is the sound of one voice
One spirit, one voice
The sound of one who makes a choice
This is the sound of one voice.

As Laura sings, Anneke McGivern, Laura's friend, walks slowly up to join her and the two of them sing…

This is the sound of voices two
The sound of me singing with you

Helping each other to make it through….

Malaika Horswill, a close friend of both of my daughters since all three were small children, joins them and adds her soprano to the harmony for the third verse.

This is the sound of voices three
Singing together in harmony….

Eventually the whole group, 50 people, joins them.

This is the sound of all of us…

And fifty voices become one voice.

Now whenever I hear the Wailin' Jennys, I think of that inspired evening. My other daughter, Rosie, was in Corazon during that performance as well.

Noel Lee: Etudes 1 and 2 from Claude Debussy: Piano Works 3 (Philips)

As I told my listeners when I played this music on the air: "Debussy's Etudes were written in France in 1915, put on this recording in Copenhagen in 1962, found their way in vinyl form by a donation to the CJLY music library in 2007 and to your ears this cold winter morning before dawn in the beginnings of 2009. Strange (and wonderful) how these things happen."

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