Richibi’s Weblog

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July, 2015‏

"July Bathing" - Konstantin Yuon

July Bathing (1925)

Konstantin Yuon


the most wonderful thing I learned
about Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons”
recently, watching the Tchaikovsky
, was, first of all, that
they even exist, and secondly, that
they are comprised of months,
January, February, March, and so
on, not seasons

so Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky would’ve
thought, so XVlllth-Century, been
there, done that

my favourite month is June to date,
of course, my birth month, July,
though more accurate here,
seems somehow inappropriate
on account of its unfortunate title,
“Son of the Reaper”

you’ll like June, a barcarolle
in G minor, and imagine the music
of July to be the music of June all
over again, no reapers but of wheat
and money

listen to Moye Chen, however,
deliver not only the first formal
glimpse I had of Tchaikovsky’s
masterwork, including months, like
“April: Snowdrop in E-flat major”,
do you love it, but also a noteworthy
Bach and, not un-coincidentally,
a quite competent Mozart

all entirely worth your time

may your July be blessed

by whoever might be your deity


at the XVth International Tchaikovsky Competition – Bach‏

"J.S. Bach, Wohltemp. Klav. Bd. I, No. IV. (Extrait) / (Duo de Tristesse)" -  Robert Strûbin

“J.S. Bach, Wohltemp. Klav. Bd. I, No. IV. (Extrait) / (Duo de Tristesse)” (1957)

Robert Strûbin


if I’ve been getting on their backs
about their Bachs at the Tchaikovsky
, it’s that they’re playing
Bach as though he were mediocre
Beethoven, it’s like asking Duke
Ellington to be Pink Floyd, it’s just
a completely different generation,

Bach wrote for the harpsichord, a
precursor to the piano, it could not
control the volume, nor the length
of a note, the pianoforte came
along to resolve both issues

therefore before Beethoven, who
made full use of the new invention
and worked hard the pianissimos
and the fortissimos, to degrees that
often became either inappropriate
or too authoritative, indelicate or
obnoxious if you’re not in the mood
– I remember wanting to play his so
solemn 111 at my father’s funeral,
but realized late that the first
movement was not especially in
that situation warranted, nor even
parts of the transcendental, but not
always not obstreperous, adagio –
and thumbed thus his nose at the
aristocracy, who earlier, before
the citoyens had demanded their
rights and when the world had
been considered to be of a
rational, logical order, a clock,
and as regular, would never have
tolerated such impudence

Bach and Mozart do not sway
much from strict rhythm, neither
do they alter volume much at all

so that the constant display of
heartfelt Bach and passionate
Mozart becomes cloying, and
not at all what these Classical
and Baroque masters would
have approved of

nor Beethoven, nor Chopin, for
that matter, whose strict tempo
markings didn’t include much
rubato, ritardandos, which you
could think of as milking a note,
putting velvet on your canvas,
it doesn’t work, the composition
itself unaided by bathos, pathos,
delivers, check out, of course,
Glenn Gould

Andrei Korobeinikov sat me right
down the other night with his
arresting BWV868, thrilling,
followed by more dazzling
pyrotechnics, though he fizzled,
and fractured his Beethoven, the
very 111 I care so much for, I
couldn’t even finish, you don’t
need a velvet canvas behind the
111, neither cloying ritardandos,
just skill, nor tangles of notes,
for that matter