Quantz Rachmaninov

 

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697 -1773) Flute Sonatas. Next are two cds of lp transfers of MHS albums. Quantz inspired both Bach & Mozart so I guess this count as back-to-the-roots music. The sonatas are for for various combinations – 1, 2 or 3 flutes. plus stand-alone Works for Baroque Traverse flute The solo flute pieces aren’t really solo but have a cello or harpsichord continuo to pillow the sound. All are dainty, charming, playful & relaxing. Rarely emotional.

Which is not the case with Sergei Rachmaninov. (1873 –1943). I have a pair of 2cd sets in with his Piano Concertos; the other with his Preludes. These are romantic masterpieces that are at times over-the-top melodrama. So dramatic that some pieces frequently turn up in in movies, cartoons almost as parodies of themselves. His music has inspired endless, uncountable movie soundtracks – when you hear a piano cadenza with stirring strings you can ‘blame’ Rachmaninov.

One of the things that often happens when I’m writing about these albums I get the urge for more. What can I say, plus the current covid19 crisis lock down, I needed a little diversion so I checked Rachmaninov on iTunes to see if there was something I could add, I was not disappointed & now I have Rachmaninov: The Complete Recordings – performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitink & Concertgebouworkest. over 13 hours of music in 205 tracks. I’d say this is enough 🙂 I have listened to all & am quite pleased with it. His range is a little wider than I expected with some rather expressionist pieces. The work for two pianos is a delight.

If you want mood music for writing a Harlequin love story this is perfect. The influence of Liszt & Chopin cannot be denied but Rachmaninoff takes things to a different level of unapologetic sentimentality but never gets as sugary as Tchaikovsky. Needless to say I love Rachmaninoff. Like the other composers I mentioned he is emotionally open. He wears his heart on his sleeve as he pounds the piano not even taking the time to wipe the tears from his eyes.

The Cocktail

The restaurant staff went back to their duties. The other diners went back to their meals. The waiter brought a cocktail and put in front of him

“From the owner. Sorry for the confusion. I’ll be right back to take your order, sir.”

Joe smiled. Once again sticking to his guns had brought him a reward. He was about to take a sip when he was interrupted by a man in the booth behind him.

“Would mind not taking so loudly on your cell phone.” The man snapped.

“I am not taking on my cell phone.” Joe put the drink down. “I haven’t even taken it out of my pocket.”He patted the pocket to demonstrate that fact and realized he had left his cellphone at home.

“You just out it back there. I heard every word of that conversation you had. None of us are interested in your difficulties at work.”

“Here! Here!” Chimed in the older woman. “There should be a law against using those infernal things in public.”

“Agreed, madam. Some people have no shame about what they say and no respect for those us they inflict their obscenity riddled conversations on. I came here for a quite meal.”

Joe shank back into his booth. “I … I don’t have my cell phone here.”

“You calling me a liar?” The gentleman got up from his booth. His whiskered face red and puffed.

“What seems to be the problem.” The waiter materialized. “Oh! You again.”

“This man thinks I’ve been talking on a cell phone, when in fact,” Joe gave a small laugh. “I don’t have one with me.” He turned his coat pocket inside out to show it was empty.

“Harumph.” The bearded man went back to his booth.

“Enjoy your red zipper cocktail. I’ll be right with you to take your order.’

Joe sighed. He sipped his drink. It was a tart, clear, reddish concoction that tasted of strawberries and celery. He found it quite refreshing. It reminded him of his mother. How she would made sandwiches for his lunch at school. She would put unexpected things in them. His revere was broken by a short man bumping his table to get his attention.

“You didn’t flush.” The short man glowered at him.

“Flush?”

“Yes. You went to the bathroom and didn’t flush. I saw you go in.”

“Didn’t flush!” the man in the booth behind him said triumphantly. “I’ll bet he didn’t even wash his hands.”

“You would be right,” the short man continued. “Didn’t flush and left the steaming heap for me to face when I had to go in there.”

“I haven’t left my booth since I got here.” Joe protested. He held his hands out to show how clean there were.

“Your type is what makes going out for a meal such a torment. You know that don’t you. A Goddamned ordeal.” The short man walked away.

“Shame.” the older woman at the near by table smirked at him. “A man your age. I’m not surprised though. Ignorance is bliss. Isn’t it.” She laughed.



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