This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
I’ve previously published two columns with musicians at home performing during lockdown. Here’s another one, this time featuring classical musicians. It would be considerably harder for them as there are generally quite a few more to corral. The ones below do a good job though.
The self-titled JERUSALEM STREET ORCHESTRA play the first two thirds or so of the first movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K 525, which technically means “a little serenade”, not what most people (including me) think it means.
The Jerusalem Street Orchestra doesn’t seem to be actually out on the street, they’re safely tucked up at home.
Famed pianist LANG LANG is joined by his wife GINA ALICE REDLINGER to play the Chopin Nocturne op.9 No.1. Gina is an excellent pianist in her own right and I wish this had been longer.
Here is part of an even more famous symphony from the most famous composer who ever lived, Beethoven. Musicians from the ROTTERDAM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA play the famous “Ode to Joy”, a small part of the fourth movement of his Symphony No 9.
In spite of its seemingly frivolous name, the ARCTIC PHILHARMONIC is a real orchestra based in Norway. Naturally they play something from Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. That something is the “Preludium”, which they subtitle “á la Quarantine”, from his Holberg Suite.
The next is a made-up group calling themselves THE SWAN PROJECT, consisting of 24 cellists in 24 different cities around the world, accompanied by Inah Chiu on the piano.
The cellists don’t play together, they are featured separately via some impressive editing. They perform “The Swan” from the suite, The Carnival of the Animals composed by Camille Saint-Saëns.
The SOCIALLY DISTANT ORCHESTRA is another where many disparate musicians get together to play, and play beautifully on Dvořák’s Symphony No 9, the New World Symphony. This is the second movement, the theme of which was adopted for the song, Going Home.
The much acclaimed TRIO ZADIG consists of childhood French friends who play violin and cello and an American pianist. They all got together in Paris and clicked immediately (okay the French two were already playing together). They have played all around the world.
Today they play from their homes the Gabriel Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine, arranged for Piano Trio. This was originally written for a choir and organ, but it sounds fine this way.
Members of the TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA get together to perform Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring, one of his most performed and loved pieces of music.
This is a real hoot. Here is a string quartet, the UCELI QUARTET playing in Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house to an audience of plants. It was the first concert in the opera house since their shutdown.
Instead of people we have the plants, all 2,292 of them – one for each seat in the house. They applaud wildly at the end, although that reminded me somewhat of triffids, which was a bit disturbing. The quartet play Puccini’s I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums, singularly appropriate).
Here are some musicians from the MILWAUKEE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA performing Edward Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme Enigma, Op. 36 - Variation IX (Adagio) called “Nimrod”. This is from his famous Enigma Variations.
You knew this one had to be here somewhere. Here are some musicians from the NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC to play a shortened version of Ravel’s Bolero.