Monday, 1 November 2010

What are you doing in the Piano?

Apologies for not being around for a while. I'm still very busy, what with teaching and playing - not to mention going on holiday to Wales.

I've just been arranging a movement from a Haydn Baryton Trio for three guitars (for three pupils - I've published it on my other blog). I had a look on Youtube to see if I could find the movement I'd arranged - but I couldn't. I found another, though, which I hope illustrates why I don't think there are many composers better than Haydn. Not only is there is a wonderful sense of proportion in his music, but there's a good-naturedness to it, which always seems to shine through. Interestingly, people who knew him used to say what a thoroughly nice chap he was.

Getting a bit carried away, I thought I'd search Youtube for one of my favourite bits of Haydn, and I found it. His Symphony No 6, "Morning", begins with what I think is one of the best portrayals of the dawn in music. The sun rises, in a stately fashion, with strings. Then the birds start singing, in the form of the woodwind. No crude imitations of birdsong, just an impression.

The Burlington Chamber Orchestra is directed by Michael Hopkins:

I don't think translations of Sanskrit were around in Haydn's day (the earliest European translations I've heard of were 19th Century) but I like to think he would have approved of this poem. It certainly goes very well with the opening of the Symphony. I read somewhere that it was by the Sanskrit poet, Kalidasa (who I know very little about):

Salutation to the Dawn

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendor of beauty.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn. 


And, almost finally, from the sublime to the ridiculous.In case you don't know, the title of the post the first line of a very old musical joke:

Ist person: What are you doing in the piano?
2nd person: I'm hidin'.
1st person: No you're not, Haydn died years ago!


And finally, completely off the subject, (and this shows how long it is since I last blogged) isn't the Poetry Bus Magazine good?


Kat Mortensen said...

The Haydn "Morning" symphony is, as you say one of the best portrayals in music. I love the when the strings come in for the birds.

The Trio is quite lovely too. I think I'll just leave your blog on my computer for a while.

That is a nice Salutation to the Dawn, as well. I feel I should be doing yoga now.


P.S. Yes! That Poetry Bus Mag is very, very good.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Also re Haydn - all the music for piano is within the reach of a fairly competent pianist. There is nothing worse for a recreational pianist (of which I am definitely one) than struggling with a piece which one knows one can never ever get to anything like a passable standard. Good old Haydn.
As for the musical joke - less said, the better.

Yes - I do agree about the Poetry Bus Magazine.

Gerry Snape said...

thanks for the two music clips but especially the sanskrit poem...beautiful.
what is the instrument on the left of the trio called, please?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Wecome back Mr Rivron! Where have you been?
Have you been playing Haydn seek?

Rachel Fenton said...

TFE always nicks the best lines! Good to have you back Dominic, and lovely verse/music companionship there.

the watercats said...

about t listen to the musical pieces.. I'm sadly lacking vastly in 'classical' knowledge.. even though I love to listen to the stuff. It's good to be busy, particularly when it's business involving music :-)
and the poetry mag is sterling indeed!

the watercats said...

love that opening... just spine tingling stuff, cheers!

Dave King said...

Welcome back indeed - and thanks for reminding me that it's high time I got around to listening to a spot of Haydn!!!

Rachel Fox said...

I'm another classical thanks for these!

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everybody.

Poet in Residence said...

Haydn may well have been dead for a long time but it is only relatively recently that he was reunited with his head which had been stolen by gravediggers and subsequently examined by phrenologists and then secretly disappeared into the 'archives' of the Musikverein (i.e. Vienna Philharmonic). The theft of the head came to light when it was decided to move his body from its grave and place it in a mausloeum. Eye witness remember the day when the head was marched through the streets of the Austrian town of Eisenstadt on a cushion and reunited with the body in the local church. There's an annual Haydn Festival in the town's castle Schloss Esterhazy. Haydn worked for the Esterhazy royal family for many years. Many will know the name Esterhazy from the celebrated Dreyfuss Affair.