Music, My Diary

From the Darkness to the Light

An interesting title, an interesting concert. Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”, who doesn’t remember the Witches Sabbath in Walt Disney’s Fantasia? Probably based on Slavic folk legends concerning the summer solstice on St John’s Eve…or was it? Some believe that it relates to the composer’s stay in Italy. Mussorgsky was inspired by the folk legends surrounding the witches of Benevento on Monte Irpino. Benevento was world famous in the middle ages for being a witch -infested spot. First the excitement, fast furious energy then finally, the church bell dispelling night- thoughts and restoring serenity .Mussorgsky’s work has been revised and re –revised not least by Stokovsky for Disney.

Then an unusual concert for trombone by Michael Nyman, (of “piano lesson” fame and a very busy musician). Unusual but full of familiar themes like the chiarivari ( just to refresh your memory it is a peasant tumult or mock parade accompanied by “rough music”, pots and pans, bells and bones, and in which the “wrongdoer” is subjected to public humiliation and derided in ribald verses…targets were unmarried mothers, wifebeaters, marriages with mixed age couples adulterous relationships) this form of popular justice is not so unlike the shaming that goes on on social media nowadays is it? I guess all communiites, even global ones need to keep hold of the societal reins. And finishing with Stravinsky’s wonderful Firebird. written for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes ,it is a piece based on another Russian Folk tale.

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