MP3 cyberchambermusic - Kamarinskaya
Chamber music without the chamber.
10 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Virtual Orchestra, CLASSICAL: Traditional
The Russian School of music with Tchaikovsky as its leading member is well known. One of its leading promoters was the influential conductor Leopold Stokowski (and his follower Eugene Ormandy) with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The basic principle (unstated) of the Russian School is that the sound or tone of the orchestral instruments, especially the string sections should be blended by the composer’s music with the resonance or the acoustic of the of the hall or theater. The reverberation of the concert hall thus becomes an asset rather than a liability. A performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite becomes more than just a stirring musical offering, it has the extra dimension of also being a thrilling sonic experience. All of this was started by Glinka, the father of Russian music.
Glinka studied in Paris but rejected foreign influence. Perhaps he understood the value and uniqueness of the Russian cultural contribution. His concert-piece, Kamarinskya, is brightly orchestrated in the Russian, not European, way.
The question cyberchambermusic raises is what would it sound like in a small room (chamber) without reverberation where all the intricate parts can be heard in the clear. The answer is here, now, before us.
The concert-grand piano, massive and loud as a church bell, was unknown to Mozart and Beethoven. They wrote their sonatas and concertos for a small piano - limited in sound by today’s standard. Prokofiev however wrote for the modern instrument. Judging from the music score, he must have attacked the keyboard with youthful hammer-like vigor and the strength of the Russian bear. Cyberchambermusic’s rendering of this early Toccata for Piano supports this playing style: like, perhaps, that of a physically well-coordinated line-backer.
Dvorak was an old-world composer. But he lived into the 20th century and he admired and visited America. We cannot call his music “American” but nonetheless there is a jazz or blues flavor unmistakable in this particular string quartet.
Dvorak favored the viola. It always has a more prominent part. The quartet begins with the viola stating the theme which is the focus of the first movement. It is a high point in the viola literature.
There is a falling fifth that begins and ends the first movement of Schumann’s quartet. It also appears at every juncture. It is a short jump to conclude that it represents the two syllables of his wife’s name, “Clara”. Well, anyway, it makes a nice story.
We know Schumann from his solo-piano works. It is surprising to find other gems like this quartet and the more well-known piano quintet which cyberchambermusic will present shortly.