Friday, February 23, 2018

#ClassicsaDay #WeWriteSymphonies Annotated List - Week 3

I'm a regular contributor to the #ClassicsaDay feed on Twitter. At a speech in Poland on 7/6/17, the President said, "The world has never known anything like our community of nations. We write symphonies." The next day #WeWriteSymphonies appeared on Twitter, citing all the non-Western -- and non-white -- composers who do indeed write symphonies.

To celebrate composers of color, I used both hashtags in my feed for the month of September. Below is an annotated list for the third week of posts.

Dorothy Rudd Moore (1940 - )

Dorothy Moore is one of the many American composers who studied with Nadia Boulanger. She is one of the co-founders of the Society of Black Composers. Her opera "Frederick Douglass" premiered in New York City in 1985.

Julia Perry (1924-1979)

Perry studied with Luigi Dallpiccola in the 1940s and won a Guggenheim Fellowship. She also studied with Nadia Boulanger and spent several years working in Europe. Her compositions incorporate African-American folk music traditions into an adventurous neo-romantic style. Her catalog includes 12 symphonies.

Jeffrey Mumford (1955 - )

Mumford studied with Elliott Carter and Lawrence Moss. His style is modern and complex in structure.


Diedre Murray (1951 - )

Diedre Murray is a cellist and composer known to both the jazz and classical worlds. Most of her classical scores, including her opera "The Running Man" are heavily influenced by jazz idioms.


Adolphus Hailstork (1941 - )

Hailstork has served as composer-in-residence at both Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. His music combines African-American motifs with an accessible, almost impressionistic classical style. Hailstork's catalog includes three symphonies, two operas, and several orchestral and chamber works.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Line Mar Match Box Construction 076 - Buggy

I found a Line Mar Match Box Construction Set from the 1930s, complete and with instructions. The box claimed the set made 100 different toys. I decided to test that claim -- one toy at a time. You can read all the posts for the Line Mar construction project at 100 Toys.

076. Buggy

I guess this could be a buggy. I thought it was a little low-slung, though. To me, it's more of a wagon. But whatever it is, this toy's impossible to build as depicted. 

This is another case where the illustrator drew the dowel lengths as they should be for aesthetics, rather than their actual lengths. 

The two dowels that secure the handle assembly to the frame might look as drawn -- if the holes were offset. But they're not, and so I could only insert them about halfway (as shown at left). 

And note the overhang of the long dowel. There simply isn't a dowel of the right length included in the set. The handle and the securing dowel are the same lengths as the axles. 

As always, I tried to position the finished build to come as close as possible to the image shown in the instruction sheet. But there's no disguising the over-sized dowels.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thomas Tallis, Katherine Parr, and Songs of Reformation

To fully appreciate the music on this release, you should read the liner notes. To appreciate Thomas Tallis' artistry, you just have to listen.

This release features Tallis compositions written for the nascent Church of England. The music reflects the latest scholarship, which shines new light on Tallis and his catalog.

The text for Se lord and behold is now believed to be written by Queen Katherine Parr in 1544. It was set to an early version of Tallis' Gaude gloriosa.

The liner notes go further into the origins of the work, and the historical evidence behind the current view. The release also includes later version of Gaude gloriosa dei mater for comparison.

The third major work on the album is a setting of the Litany, also from 1544. It's definitely music of its time. The cantor asks the Lord to not only take away the congregation's sins, and protect His servant Henry VIII, but also to deliver them from "the tyranny of the bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities.(!)"

Though the text is somewhat heavy-handed, Tallis' music remains sublimely buoyant and beautiful. Also included are some shorter Reformation hymns for voices and instruments.

Alamire has a rich, full ensemble sound that's well-suited to this music. They're recorded in a large space that lets the sound decay in a satisfying fashion. Fretwork performs to their same high standards as well. Lines are cleanly executed, and there's a wonderful warmth to the ensemble's overall sound.

The musicological and historical content of this release is important. But what really makes it is the of the music and the of the performances.

Thomas Tallis: Queen Katherine Parr and Songs of Reformation
Alamire; Fretwork
Obsidian CD716