Alison Balsom plays Qigang CHEN's "Joie Eternelle" for trumpet & orchestra at BBC Proms with China Philharmonic conducted by Long YU on 19 July 2014.
First of all, this is a lovely and subtle piece of music -- not primarily a virtuoso showpiece, although it does become that in due time, but a sonic structure. At over 18 minutes it's a major work, as long as a lot of three-movement concertos. But it is nothing like a traditional concerto. It has many elements of classical music that people used to traditional sounds and harmonies can hold onto. But it also has a lot in addition. The orchestration is subtle, and the Chinese orchestra sounds excellent. The piece is not avant garde, and it's also not "Chinese" if you know what I mean.
If there was ever a night in which Ms. Balsom earned her pay as a trumpet player, this concert had to be it. Holy cow! That it was a BBC Prom concert mad it all that much more of a big deal. Talk about pressure!
Much of the piece features the beautiful soaring sound the trumpet is capable of. But there is also some passage work of great complexity, including several sections where I wonder how she had enough breath to get through them. As a one-time brass player myself (bass trombone), I know that you have to plan ahead to breathe! If you run out of no air, no sound comes out the other end.
I also noticed that Ms. Balsom turned bright red in some places. The great orchestral trumpet player Adolph (Bud) Herseth was famous for not only being the best player ever, but for turning utterly beet red as he played. I never saw that in another player until I noticed Alison turning roughly the color of a radish in some of the more extended high passages. Her lip must have been hamburger by the end.
This is a good one. Highly enjoyable if you have a few minutes to listen.
I listen to this YouTube channel frequently. It's apparently a guitar shop that deals in professional quality instruments. They bring in world class or aspiring to be world class musicians who get to play on one of the instruments they have in the shop at the time. You can always see them in display cases in the background. The recordings are always stunning, and so are the instruments.
This ranks for me as the all-time best Isaac video. I don't expect anyone but the most diehard Isaac fan to watch more than two minutes, but that much is definitely worth watching.
I'm constantly amazed by how good-looking and cheerful this boy is. And now I know what I can do with him when we come to visit next time.
This reminds me of an experience I had Ed and Cyra-Lea would enjoy hearing about, which I'll add as a comment to this post.
I have this album and think it's fabulous. On it Ms. Balsom plays only on the sort of valveless trumpets that were used in that era. (Beefed up with little finger holes on the side, which I believe mainly help with intonation -- they are not valves.) As a long-time brass player myself, I can only tell you that playing on the upper overtone series of a valveless instrument is like walking the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.
This documentary, about ten minutes long, has generous samplings of the music on it, including bits from one of the finest countertenors I've ever heard. Missed his name (and not inclined right now to go look it up). The film is extremely well-shot, and gives the viewer an idea of what it's really like to make recorded music. I can't imagine a more satisfying way to spend a few days, and that's apparent in the playing and faces of all the musicians involved. Five stars here.
I thought we had a lot of albums/music, but a young man (yes, young!) in Frenchy's the other night confessed that he had 1400 albums on CD and vinyl. When he said that you can never have too much music we agreed, but I said that you can't easily listen to it all. "Not in one day" was his reply, which was great! And so true.You can never have too much.
The best known songs were Different Drum (recorded by Linda Ronstadt) Joanne (allegedly about a cow) and Rio about a fantasy escape to Rio de Janeiro. (The latter made number 1 in the UK charts) His best album by far was "And the hits just keep on coming" (He has a very droll sense of humor and little time for the music industry establishment!)
Oh yes, and his grandmother invented Tippex and he apparently inherited most of her fortune when she died. Making him rather independent of said establishment! He also co-founded MTV.
Please add me to circles about:
- Music: classical, modern classical (aka new music), jazz, good songwriting (from Irving Berlin to Sting), blues, American musical theater, third world and ethnic, and on and on
- High culture: art, literature, theater, dance, photography, film
- Running, particularly ultrarunning
- Books - I read a lot -- literature, historical fiction, biography, US history, music, much more
- Social networking in general - its philosophy, place in our lives today, and possibilities for the future
- US history
- Web technology
- Linux, Mac OS X, Unix (over 25 years experience)
- Writing, editing, English language practice (usage, grammar, publishing, linguistics, semantics)
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