Thursday, June 09, 2011

A Musical Idyll in Floyd

I met up with the future Baron on Tuesday and we went on a road trip to take in an evening of music at the National Music Festival in Floyd, Virginia (see also the Festival’s Facebook page).

The primary attraction of the evening for me was the Third Brandenburg Concerto by J. S. Bach, the finest piece of music ever written. There were other delightful pieces as well, however, and over the course of the festival all classical genres, from Bach to Shostakovich, are well-represented.

I emphatically recommend the Festival to readers who are close enough to commute. There will be two more evenings of music (tickets are $10 for each evening), with a final performance on Saturday, June 11th.

The Festival is designed to give music students a chance to hone their performing skills under the tutelage of older mentors, who also perform with them on stage. Tuition grants are underwritten by donations, so that students from all over the country have a chance to gain invaluable experience and receive instruction that they might otherwise miss.

To give you a taste of the Festival, below the jump is a brief video clip of the opening of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, as played by a euphonium quartet:

During my trip to Floyd I expected a 36-hour break from the Jihad, but no such luck! Jihad may be found even in the Blue Ridge Mountains and their foothills in Southwestern Virginia.

I’ll have more on that in my next post.


Papa Whiskey said...

Hard to argue with your choice of the Third Brandenburg Concerto as the finest, but I venture to suggest that the Glorious Ninth of Ludwig Van at least ties it.

Zenster said...

The primary attraction of the evening for me was the Third Brandenburg Concerto by J. S. Bach, the finest piece of music ever written.

How delightful that we should share a similar esteem for what can only be Bach's meisterstück.

The soaring string arpeggios are brought to bear against bass viol rubbings even while the keyboard's melodic lead interweaves amongst a forest of harmonies that would require a dozen bloodhounds to track with any accuracy.

To this day I still get chills, even when performing my own very limited impressions of this piece on flute. The false crescendo that begins at the video's time point 03:46 is but a foretaste of the true climax which starts to build at 04:42.

However, equal in beauty are the swirling melody lines of Concerto No. 3's Allegro variation. Even still, the violin trade-offs in the Allegro passage of Concerto No. 6 are hard to beat.

Another all-time favorite of mine will always be Glenn Gould's rendition of Bach's WTC Book 1 Fugue No. 2 in C minor. The modulated counterpoint is reminiscent of a chess game.

I'll stop now as this could go on for hours if not nipped in the bud.