Day 41: God In Time of War

HaydnCD41My day started early, even by my standards – somewhere around 4:30am.

I don’t know why.

Once up, it’s always tough for me to return to my previous state of slumber. So, I made the best of it.

I watched Sons of Anarchy, Season One, Episodes 1 and 2. I read the latest issue of Tricycle magazine. And then, around 6:30, I headed to Denny’s, where I now sit…listening to Haydn’s Mass in Time of War (Missa “In Tempora Belli”) while watching people who bear a scary resemblance to a Far Side comic.

531901_609303722468316_1408418453_nI don’t know which is worse.

Opera has not been a favorite of mine. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the talent – especially the vocal talent – required to master this art form. I do appreciate it. Deeply. (Well, maybe not deeply. But at least superficially. Earnestly superficially.)

Just between you and me, I gained deep appreciation for two opera singers when I listened to everything Mozart composed: Nicolai Gedda and Pilar Lorengar, especially their electrifying performance of the Love Duet from Madame Butterfly.

The notes they hit…

Well, watch them hit said notes Continue reading

Day 38: St. Martin, Dennis Brain, and the French Horn

HaydnCD38Today’s CD features a performance by the acclaimed Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner, conductor.

I’ve always liked performances by Marriner and the Academy. I’ve never heard a bad one. They’re consistent, and consistently first-rate at that.

Trumpet Concerto in E Flat No. 1 is no exception. Written in 1796 (Haydn was 64) for his friend Anton Weidinger, this performance features the late Alan Stringer (1928 – 2012) as the trumpet soloist. And a marvelous player he was, too. Stringer possessed a wonderful fluidity and expressiveness. He seemed to caress the notes. Not bad for a guy who was, at the time of this recording, 66.

Here. Listen for yourself. This is the exact performance to which I’m listening right now.

The entire Trumpet Concerto – all three movements – is a delight. No one movement stands out to me, although Continue reading