Is There A Word…?

… for having to choose between the finale of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (playing on the radio inside) and this?



Incidentally, while surfing for an example of the Mendelssohn, I found this. Son of a bitch. My hornplayer father would have loved this:


18 thoughts on “Is There A Word…?

    • Alas, none of my radios are portable any more — all shelf stereo systems (one in the music room, one in the massage room and one in the living room, speaking of embarrassment). The music room one has gone tits-up actually. I want one of those multiplex things that will play all media and transcribe your vinyl onto CDs, but apparently they all suck.

        • No, I did it sequentially. I went in and out so I could be sure to get the best bits of the Mendelssohn and then I went looking for a Youtube version later. A little like the dreams I used to have of booking two clients at once accidentally and having to run back and forth between two tables.

  1. With a pair of headphones (or earbuds but I hate those things), I could play that off your blog via my phone. Or use the phone’s FM receiver.

    But I didn’t have to and instead sat here and was transported to a wondrous point in space-time.

    • I still wish I could find any version of a concerto or Concertino, originally written for clarinet I think, which a band buddy of my father’s used to play on the trombone. Weber? Spohr? Same unearthly agility using brass to reproduce the fluency of a far more responsive instrument. I’ve hunted all over for even the clarinet version; there are other pieces listed as a Concertino by Weber, which is what I remember my father having written on the tape reel, but not that one. Yet I can hear every note of the final bars in my head. There was this amazing jump of a major tenth and then twelfth followed by a blitz of sixteenth-note triplets on the tonic chord.

      This version of the Mendelssohn is as close to that feat as I have encountered.

  2. One rare hot August forty-six years ago in Falmouth, I left a lingering view of a sunset from Castle Beach towards the Manacle Rock and Helford River, and slipped into a small stuffy church hall to watch a brass band playing a concert of transcriptions of this kind.

    It was magical. The richness of expression and sound came as a complete surprise to me.

    Mind, I had just fallen in love with my wife, who was away in Italy.

    There is a great tradition of brass bands in the industrial and mining North of England. They were sponsored by employers and founded and participated in by the workers with life-absorbing dedication and enthusiasm. They are much depleted now – the decline of manufacturing has taken its toll in more ways than the mere economical – although by the looks of your clip, Foden’s is still going strong. Some have survived the demise of the firms that employed them and there are still fiercely fought competitions.

    The visiting band in Falmouth was of such origins and I went up to the conductor afterwards and amid a clamour of tough male Yorkshire accents, I thanked him. He just looked back at me, immune from all praise and clearly indifferent to the sunset, now long faded, outside.

    • I love the fruits of that factory band tradition. The brass band suites of Holst and Vaughan Williams are among the dozen or so recordings I could not do without and I will snap up any recording of British band music. Perhaps it speaks to me because of the Army Band music that surrounded me growing up, but Sousa, etc. have no such effect on me. I could listen to the “Fantasia on the Dargason” every day of my life, I think.

      What a serendipity — just to stumble across a performance like that.

      You might remember the 1997 film of “The Full Monty” in which the laid-off workers (I think it’s set in Sheffield?) are still rehearsing their band music, and greet their mate (who’s just been caught practicing his strip routine in the empty factory) by striking up a bump and grind. Not Mendelssohn, but an endearing touch.

      • I have many happy memories of childhood holidays on the Isle of Wight.

        On Sundays we, my parents took my sister and me to Ryde to hear the Salvation Army on the front there.

        My parents loved to sing the old hymns along with the band as the sun sank over the Solent – my parents were not religious and it was not otherwise a religious service of any kind.

        As the strains of Eternal Father strong to save/Whose arm doth bind the restless wave … reached into the cooling summer breeze my mother would weep quietly to herself. Her home town, Portsmouth was just across the water and she had lost a brother in the Battle of Jutland.

        Then there is the Band of the Royal Marines and Abide With Me … Oh dear. Excuse me.

        • “Abide With Me” crossed my path when I was still being exposed to my Southern relatives, who were of course quite religious. (In the American South, you are either earnestly religious or you pretend to be very hard lest you be ostracized and your dog shot in a drive-by.) It sounds a good deal better without quavering old aunties singing the words.

          I see Youtube also has a version by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, and now I have a whole playlist of their uploads to get through — their recordings of the Holst Suites are my favorites.

          • Ah. I tried the first URL twice before seeing your second comment. Will go check it.

            Also, I see you have changed your WordPress blog address yet again. I didn’t know. Are you on the lam from someone, speaking of compromised innocence? (Actually, I thought Full Monty was one of the sweetest and most innocently charming films I’ve ever seen. The big fat fellow whose wife assures him that she’d go anywhere to see him dance; the two lads who fall for each other while rehearsing; the guy who cooks up the whole scheme practicing his moves while his tween-age son mixes the music. I left feeling all warm and fuzzy. Don’t know about the stage show.)

          • Iam is a singular cat food.

            Each blog is accessible from the others through the contents page at the top.

            Religion is gone, music silent, fine arts in the bank, mathematical nomenclature dissolved, now working to abandon words.

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