Latest posts by Senor Weaselo (see all)
- Senor in the City, Episode 1: The Holiday Gauntlet – February 26, 2020
- Your “Senor’s To-Play List” Saturday Evening Open Thread – February 8, 2020
- DFO Hate Week Halftime Hate! The Superb Owl Halftime Show – February 2, 2020
Evening lizard people. It’s your friendly neighborhood Senor Weaselo getting to throw it back just a little to the “bands we like” genre of the usual Saturday Evening Post threads. Because fuck it, it’s Saturday night, let’s listen to some tunes! Well, except it’s not bands we like. Or bands I like. Actually, it’s “here’s a bunch of shit that I want to play with people.” So I give you Senor Weaselo’s To-Play List, chamber music edition.
This all started because we were writing about favorite Georges in music or entertainment, or something like that. And I posted this.
This is George Crumb’s Black Angels, for amplified string quartet. One of contemporary composer George Crumb’s most famous works, it is, for lack of terms, pretty fucking cool. First off, as I said, amplified string quartet, all four players have mics or pickups on their instruments. And if you look at the score, it gets pretty loud and screechy. So it gets really loud and screechy. There’s also a bit where the quartet has to play wine glasses filled with water to certain pitches, tam-tam, the violins and violists play their instruments like a cello and everyone bows at the nut (the end of the fingerboard) and fingers the notes essentially backwards, and the overarching theme of the piece is 7s and 13s. I first heard it freshman year in undergrad (I think) and thought it was the coolest thing, and I definitely would like to play it. Mr. Crumb is still alive, and my teacher gave me a notable story when he played in Mr. Crumb’s ensemble. They were on tour and stopped at a rest stop. Everyone got off and got whatever knick-knacks, and Crumb got a spoon and a plate. When my teacher asked why, it was because he liked the sound when he hit the plate with the spoon. So, as my teacher said, “He bought a sound.” Which is pretty cool.
Yes, there’s a fair bit of contemporary chamber music that only rarely you get to play. Or maybe one group plays every several years. Such as this:
Messiaen’s Quator pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) was written in 1941 in a concentration camp. S0 to them it could have been the end of time, the end of the world. Messiaen was a religious man (later working as an organist in Paris) and the “end of time” he references in the work is the Apocalypse. His use of time, of rhythm, and of unison, like in the sixth movement, drives the work, and I could probably use the last movement, “Louange à l’Immortalité de Jésus” (“Praise to the Immortality of Jesus”) as a solo work, as it’s written for violin and piano. The instrumentation for the quartet is for the musicians who were at the camp: piano, violin, cello, and clarinet.
Let’s get all the dark stuff out of the way then. Like Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” quartet.
It’s one of the staples, I haven’t played it. Kind of as simple as that. There are other staples that I haven’t played, or only played a snippet of, like the Schumann Piano Quintet (I really like the second movement, but I’ve only played the first), or the Brahms B Major Piano Trio (I’ve only played the C Minor). Schumann’s the most famous of the piano quintets I haven’t played, since I’ve played Brahms, Dvorak, and Shostakovich.
Do you know what’s surprising? I haven’t played much Beethoven. Like almost any of the quartets—I played one of them and I learned an important lesson to not start it on an up bow. But there are others I want to play like the Razumovsky Quartet, especially the last two movements. But I am a fan of the late quartets, and among them two in particular.
From the Op. 132 quartet, there’s the third movement, “Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der Lydischen Tonart.” (“Holy song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian tonality.) It’s a movement that basically says “thank God I didn’t die,” as Beethoven had an intestinal disorder the prior winter and didn’t die. It’s lengthy, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous.
On the other side of the late Beethoven spectrum, there’s the Grosse Füge. Originally the last movement to the Op. 130 quartet, Beethoven ended up spinning it into its own thing and adding a different finale to the B-flat Major Quartet. That finale is actually the last completed piexw Beethoven wrote.
Lastly to finish off the quartets with something completely different. The Helicopter String Quartet!
That’s right. String quartet, four helicopters with pilots, audio and video equipment, and technicians. It’s a silly piece that I have no chance of performing, which is why I would love to do so! Also, it’s technically a scene from an opera, which I’m not even going into but you can read about here.
Wait, there’s still sports on, right?
Yes there are! All times Eastern.
X Gonna Give it to Ya-FL
LA (Who are we? Who are we gonna beat?) Wildcats vs. Houston
Renegades Roughnecks (in progress), FOX—Way to go, Menafee.
Duke at U*NC (in progress), ESPN
BDSM State at Baylor (in progress), ESPN2—The battle of clear consent vs. none!
Kansas State vs. Iowa State, 8:00, ESPN2
Providence vs. Xavier, 8:00 FS1
Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s, 10:00, ESPN
UCLA vs. Fat Dog for Midterms (Arizona), 10:00, ESPN2
USC vs. Arizona State, 10:00, FS1
UFC Prelims, 8:00, ESPN
UFC Main Card, 10:00, ESPN+ streaming
Lastly, a BattleBots Byte: Season 5 is confirmed! Filming will be in April, tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday. Get someone you love (me?) robot combat tickets!