I have a 40 cd boxset of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Masterworks – I did replaced the one that had some of his organ works with a downloaded complete organ works. Even at 40 cds this is a sampling of his output. He died at 38! He either burned out like a lightbulb or exploded like a supernova.
I did have a some lps, then cd’s of his work before I picked up this set. I knew the hits, as it were, but that was all. Like many composers he was reduced to a few concert warhorses & of course the Wedding March. The box set includes complete: symphonies, piano concertos, violin concertos, chamber music, choral works, lieder, some oratorios & more.
I bought it at HMV for about $70. The sound quality is good, though the recoding levels change from cd to cd. some are louder than others. The musicianship is excellent including the likes of Kurt Masur, Dietrich Fischer-Dieshaku. So it was a solid investment in my classical collection.
Mendelssohn is a romantic composer in the Beethoven sense – rich, playful, emotive works for piano, orchestra that sweep me away, though he rarely becomes as over-the-top as, say, Liszt or Chopin. It is delightful music that doesn’t call attention to technique.
Much of it was new to me and his choral music lead to my greater enjoyment of that form. He also incorporates choir & solo voices into some of his symphonies. I added the organ music for the melodic work & also to have an organ version of the wedding march, which to me is rather funereal & spooky. ‘Here comes the deceased, all dressed in pine”
‘Did you know Greg well?’ Jane asked the sullen man beside her.
‘Met him a few times in the neighbourhood. You know at the annual street sale. Sometimes I’d stop to chat while he was working on the front bed of his?’
They had both stepped out of the funeral home chapel to smoke.
‘Garden. A little patch of tulips & crocus. He kept pretty much to himself. Did you know him?’
‘Same as you. I have the house cross the back laneway from his. We’d wave sometimes when he was mowing the back lawn but that was it.’
‘So you live in this neighbourhood, too?’
‘Yes. I have seen you at the corner store a few times.’
‘Well, sad though isn’t it?’
‘Makes you wonder though, just how well you know people. Like he’s lived here nearly 15 years and I didn’t even know his name.’
‘Jane Brown. That’s my husband over there.’
‘Right. Good looking man.’
‘Thanks. And yours?’
‘My husband isn’t quite that real. Single life.’
‘I mean your name?’
‘Ah, right. David Peters. I’m at 46 Amber and you?’
‘Amber is that one street away. We’re nearly neighbours too.’
‘Small world, yet it seems too far at the same time. A few hundred yards. Sorry I never got to know Greg better. Not many other gays in this area, you know.’
‘Haven’t given it much thought.’
‘I suppose not.’
‘You knew Greg was … gay?’
‘Not that we ever talked about it but that rainbow flag, single white male living alone except for the occasional male visitor. It adds up.’
‘Yeah, in the back yard. I think he had one in the front too. That one would go up around gay pride.’
‘Oh, that’s what that was all about. The changing banners, I just thought there were decorations not signals.’
‘See, you’re learning more about him already.’
‘So you are … gay too?’
‘Yep. Not much point is pretending otherwise.’
‘Strange that you’d live so far from the heart of town … you know … where I understand most of that goes on.’
‘I like it out here. Quieter, feels safer even if it isn’t.’
‘Oh yeah. Didn’t you hear about the swarming at the school a block over. Pretty nasty stuff. Glad I’m not closer to the school than I am. But yeah, this is pretty much like the neighbourhood I grew up in. Nice houses with families.’
‘Doesn’t keep death away from the door though does it.’
‘Not many places do Jane. Not many places do.’
every Tuesday 2019
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org