(Contemplating) Music(ology)

With apologies to Joseph Kerman!

My personal tumblr can be found here.

Capriol Suite (1926)


"English composer, critic, and author. Published his music under pseudonym Peter Warlock. Studied music at Eton, then helped by van Dieren and Delius . Founded and co‐edited the periodical The Sackbut in 1920 and wrote a book on Delius in 1923. Friend of Cecil GrayE. J. Moeran, and Constant Lambert. Edited much 16th and 17th century music in collaboration with Mangeot. His songs alternate between the lyricism of Delius and a roistering spirit reminiscent of the first Elizabethan age. His personality veered between extrovert, heavy‐drinking joviality and neurotic introspection. Eventually (it may be presumed, despite the open verdict at the inquest) took his own life. Sensitive critic and writer. His music, especially his songs and part‐songs, is of high merit.”

(Oxford Dictionary of Music)

It’s been a while since I posted here, so time to get it going again!

Our first new feature will be a Composer of the Week, chosen by me usually on Monday but this week on a Tuesday because I don’t want to wait until next Monday to revamp this place.

Morton Feldman - Rothko Chapel, part 1 (1971)

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist.

One of Morton Feldman's best known pieces of music was inspired by and written to be performed in the chapel — it too is called Rothko Chapel (1971).

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothko_Chapel)

Chet Baker, ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ (1955)

The Seikilos Epitaph is the oldest piece of music that survives in its entirety. It probably dates from around the first century AD, and was found engraved on a tombstone in Turkey, along with the inscription "from Seikilos to Euterpe".

The Seikilos inscription. (Source: unknown)

Modern transcription of the Greek notation (shown above the stave). (Source: http://www.clg-tremonteix-clermont-ferrand.ac-clermont.fr/sitemusique/textes/decouvmusic/sorbonne.htm)


Ὅσον ζῇς, φαίνου,μηδὲν ὅλως σὺ λυποῦ·πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶ τὸ ζῆν,τὸ τέλος ὁ xρόνος ἀπαιτεῖ.
[Hoson zês, phainou,mêden holôs su lupou;pros oligon esti to zên,to telos ho chronos apaitei.
While you live, shine,Have no grief at all,Life exists only for a short whileand time demands its toll.]
(Main source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seikilos_epitaph)


Messiaen Turangalila-Symphonie, movt.5 “Joie du sang des étoiles”


whoa, Alban! looking fine


whoa, Alban! looking fine

(via sarabandas-deactivated20120804)

The ondes Martenot is an early electric instrument, designed by the French cellist and radio operator, Maurice Martenot, and first unveiled at the Paris opera in 1928. The player’s right hand controls the keyboard (which, unlike a standard keyboard, allow slight side-to-side motions, creating a vibrato effect) and a finger ring attached to a ribbon. The latter creates a sound similar to a fretless string instrument and can be used to produce glissandi, etc. With their left hand, the player operates a series of switches and dials that control the dynamics, articulation, and timbre.

Production of the ondes Martenot ceased in 1988, but was recently revived with the approval of Maurice Martenot’s son.

Pieces featuring the ondes Martenot:

  • Messiaen’s Turangalila-Symphonie and Saint-Francois d’Assise
  • Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack to Amélie (2001)
  • Radiohead’s albums Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows and King of Limbs
  • Muse’s ‘Resistance’ (from the album The Resistance)

Thomas Bloch showing off the ondes Martenot in action

More ondes videos

Messaien - Feuillet Inedit 4

Radiohead - How To Disappear Completely (Live)

Thomas Bloch talks about the instrument (in French)

Also a place to put some of the more obscure things I might come across so that they don’t bore all of my regular followers.

To begin, here is a picture of Schoenberg playing table tennis.