My first exposure to the English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872 – 1958) was Flos Campis – a wordless piece for choir & orchestra with a clear Debussy influence. It was on the flip side of a recording of An Oxford Elegy – his piece for orchestra & voice (elevated spoken word). He is a romantic impressionist who was often called upon to write for specific celebrations & one of my favourite pieces is The Lark Ascending – an amazing piece written for the end of WWI.
In my collection I have an mp3 cd that includes his English Quartets, Variations for Orchestra, Studies in English Folks Songs & more. Also in this mp3 collection are Wagner Overtures & suites; Bryn Trefoil: Tutto Mozart; L’Album des Six. As stand-alone I have The World Of Vaughn Williams; Symphonies 4&5 conducted by Vaughn Williams with various suites of folk songs & dances; Box set 8 cds of all the Symphonies plus orchestra work & his amazing concerto for two pianos.
The ‘drama’ of his music isn’t as over-the-top as Wagner or say Chopin. Elegant, sublime & at time transcending – as in The Lark Ascending (start with that if you are unfamiliar). The Fantasia on Greensleeves is also a good starter.
Seji Ozawa’s Wagner Overtures & Preludes is an excellent crisp introduction to Wagner; Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel’s Tutto Mozart is a great recording – almost a Mozart’s Greatest hits. L’Albumn des Six features work by French composers Poulenc, Auric, Durey etc.I heard some Auric as soundtrack for a film & sought this out. Excellent works by some under appreciated. almost obscure, modern composers.
The Polishing of the Magi
The Armature Theatre Guild has been forced to cancel this years presentation of “The Polishing of the Magi” – I understand this will come as a disappointment to many of you – especially those of you whose children had been fortunate enough to be chosen to play the parts of the shepherds, lambs, sacrifices, dervishes and of course, the ultra blessed couple themselves.
Rehearsals had been going better than ever, according to Hank Grebly. It was the first time someone other than a member of the McGinch clan had been given the opportunity to direct the production and Hank was making the most of this opportunity.
But alas, as things often do, it all went to the apple press in a hand cart when it was clear that the McGinch’s weren’t willing to allow things to progress smoothly. Not that this comes as much of a surprise either, mind you. We all pay for our indulgence of this family and its anti-social actions.
But not to give up all hope, as it seems Hank and some of the cast will be presenting a childless clown version of the same story. It may not have the same impact, but the show must go on. We will be spared the often bitter competition over whose baby gets to play the pivotal role of the fulcrum of all religions. That alone almost makes up for not having a full scale production, doesn’t it?
On a lighter note the Visitor’s Mall will be hosting their annual Midnight Madness sale, for those us who have time and need for yet more shopping. As the Mall says ‘Shopping is in the true spirit of the season, and if we don’t spend we just aren’t pious.’
I pray their prayers are answered.
Please note that the left-handicraft fair slated for the Pumpkin County Area has been cancelled. It was to be a fund raiser for the production of the “Polishing of the Magi” & seeing as that has been cancelled, there seemed little reason to have the craft fair.
Those who had planned to pick up some of Sylvia’s Jams and Moose Tarts can find a display of them at Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe and at Meg’s Cafe. Get there early as these delicious treats don’t last long.
Sylvia has introduced two new jams this year that I, for one, can’t wait to try. The Orange & Maple Ashes with Nutmage and Quince with Ginger & Bark. I have no idea what bark she has used, but I’m sure it will be a savoury deflight to perk up those you who are disappointed by the cancellation of the “Polishing of the Magi.”