Friday, March 23, 2018

#ClassicsaDay #WomensHistoryMonth 2018 - Week 3

Some of us contributing to #ClassicsaDay decided to celebrate the role of women in classical music for March. Those posts included both the #ClassicsaDay and #WomensHistoryMonth hashtags. There were many posts of female performers and conductors. I chose to stick with composers.

Here is an annotated list of the composers I posted for the third week:

Maria Francesca Nascinbeni (ca. 1640–1680) - Una fiamma rovente

Very little is known about Maria Nascinbeni. She studied composition in Ancona Italy with Scipio Lazzarini. When she was sixteen she published two volumes of music. Her catalog includes music for organ and for voices, including madrigals, motets, and canzonas.

Anna Bon (c.1739-c.1767) - Divertimento in D minor, Op. 3, No. 3

Anna Bon was born to a librettist/scene designer and opera singer. She studied in Venice and served as a chamber music performer for the Margrave of Brandenburg. Her Opus 1 Flute Sonatas were dedicated to the Margrave. In 1762 she and her family were employed by Count Esterházy (and worked under Franz Joseph Haydn). She published a set of harpsichord sonatas and a set of trio sonatas.

Josephine Lang (1815–1880) - Arabesque in F major

Josephine Lang was born into a musical family and exhibited talent at an early age. She was supported in her compositional efforts by Felix Mendelssohn, as well as Robert and Clara Schumann. She was a pianist, and most of her works center around that instrument. Her catalog includes 50 published collections, mostly for solo piano, or lieder.

María Teresa Prieto (1896-1982) - Symphony No. 1 "Asturiana"

Maria Preito was born in Spain but spent most of her professional life in Mexico. She studied with Carlos Chavez, and Darius Milhaud. Her music often incorporated folk elements. Her catalog includes two symphonies as well as ballet music, and various chamber works.

Ingrid Stölzel (1972 - ) - Loveliness Extreme for clarinet, viola, and piano

Stölzel was born in Germany, and lives and works in the United States. She writes that "the heart of her compositions is a belief that music can create profound emotional connections with the listener." Her growing body of work has been well-received both critically and by audiences.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Line Mar Match Box Construction 080 - 2 Wheel Hand Truck

I found a Line Mar Match Box Construction Set from the 1930s, complete and with instructions. The box claimed the set made 100 different toys. I decided to test that claim -- one toy at a time. You can read all the posts for the Line Mar construction project at 100 Toys.

080. 2 Wheel Hand Truck

This was another toy the illustrator took liberties with. 

Note that the dowels on the handles are flush with the collars, as is the dowel securing the wheel assembly. Not possible with the lengths provided with the set.

You can see there are two collars sitting on top of the truck body. They're supposed to be holding dowels that provide support for the truck. 

But the short dowels didn't extend as far as the axle. And the long dowels were simply too long, with a good portion of them sticking up. So I decided to cheat a little myself. The collars are there, securing nothing. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Novak - In the Tatra Mountains

There are two things I admire about the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of JoAnn Faletta. First, their high performance standards. Even their basic repertoire recordings make you sit up and take notice. Second, their commitment to expanding the repertoire.

Experience has taught me that I can trust Faletta and the BSO. If they've taken the time to record music by an unfamiliar composer, it will be worth my while to listen to it.

In this case, the composer is Vítězslav Novák. Novák was a major influence in Czech music during the 1930s and 1940s. He studied with Dvorak and counted Josef Suk and Alexander Zemlinksy among his colleagues.

The three selections presented on this album all come from the early 1900s, when Novák was in his thirties. All are strongly post-romantic in style and masterfully orchestrated.

In the Tatra Mountains is a symphonic poem very much in the vein of Richard Strauss (without the excess drama). Novák incorporates Czech folk music traditions into his music, giving the work a sense of location.

Eternal Longing is an evocative, introspective work. It borders on impressionism, with flowing harmonies that never point very strongly towards a key center.

The Lady Godiva Overture is perhaps  Novák's most successful work. Written in just two days. It has a sense of urgency about it. The overture fairly crackles with energy and drama. I'm surprised this work hasn't entered the repertoire.

Novák is an important composer in the Czech Republic, but little known beyond its borders. In an ideal world, these sympathetic performances by Falletta and the BPO would change that.

Vítězslav Novák: In the Tatra Mountains - Symphonic Poem, Op. 26
Lady Godiva Overture, Op. 41; Eternal Longing, Op. 33
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: JoAnn Falletta
Naxos 8.573683