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Friday, May 05, 2006

Fugue Sets

The pinnacle of technical compositional musical skill is the fugue. For those not in the know, know now that you are a musical humbug. Even worse, if you don't know you don't know the fugue - musical purgatory for you!

Please, go out and buy any copy, any copy of the Well-Tempered and fast-forward through the prelude and fugue pairings until you find some that you like. Make these your friends, and have them on your iPod for 24 hour access. The ones you don't like are due to a lack of comprehension - the complexity and intricacy are baffling your mind, they sound chaotic and unpleasant. You will learn in time musical grasshopper.

For those further advanced, here's a list of Fugue Sets, organised by composer, with such rare delights as Bellak's Jazz Fugues, Busoni's Fugue for 2 Pianos, Grieg's 7 Fugues, and more. To enter the Gates of Fugue Heaven, whistle the c-minor fugue now, then click here.

Hilary and Jackie

Hilary and Jackie is a film from 1998 tracing the life of English cellist Jacqueline du Pre from childhood until the onset of multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, a disease which destroyed her career and her life. What fire was compacted into these 3 decades of life, true passion, the gift of music, and the reflection back to us from the inner soul. Hilary is the older sister, a promising flautist, but one resistant to the military conservatory training regime. Jackie, by contrast, has a talent that is sun-like, all apparent, bright, fixating, dazzling. She is that one-in-a-generation performer, with the winning gifts of ability and personality. Success.

For lovers of Classical Music, this is a film which presents those childhood joys of learning music and being in a close, understanding family. Those little birthday gifts of new music, nervous public performances, rapid surpassing of a string of qualified teachers, it is the development of musical life which keeps us thralled.

The Elgar and Dvorak concertos feature prominently, and one has to love the bumbling portrayal of Daniel Barenboim, esteemed man. Here's a link to the database profile, here.