Friday, July 27, 2012

Montage # 64 - London/Londres




As of August 31, 2012, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address / A compter du 31 août 2012, ce montage ne sera plus disponible en baladodiffusion Pod-O-Matic. Il peut être téléchargé ou entendu au site Internet Archive à l'adresse suivante:

pcast064 Playlist

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We are already into our fourth post in the great escape series!

Today, London is holding the opening ceremonies to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games at the new Olympic Stadium. London has had the Olympics twice before: in 1908 and in 1948, so they are old hack at this business.

Our montage today has one Olympic-related selection (I just couldn’t resist), but it has nothing to do with London; rather it relates to the 1924 Olympics in Paris.



The 1981 Best Picture Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire, which depicts Britain's athletics successes in the 1924 Olympics, is also a recurring theme in promotions for the 2012 London Olympics. The film's theme tune was featured at the opening of the 2012 London New Year's fireworks celebrating the Olympics, and the film's iconic beach-running scene and theme tune are utilized in The Sun's "Let's Make It Great, Britain" Olympic ads.The five thousand runners who first tested the new Olympic Park were also spurred on by the Chariots of Fire theme tune. The film was admirably scored by Vangelis, and the main theme is played in our montage by the Boston Pops.

The montage opens with Elgar’s Cockaigne overture – subtitled “In London Town”. Cockaigne or Cockayne is a medieval mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist. 'Cockaigne' was a term used by moralists in Elgar’s time as a metaphor for gluttony and drunkenness, while Britain adopted the name humorously for London. Elgar’s overture gives a lively and colourful musical portrait of Edwardian London.

In a post last year, I commented that Bach’s French suites weren’t French as much as they were composed “in a French manner”. The 19th-century Bach biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel suggested that the set of suites BWV 806–811 might have been composed for an English nobleman. For that reason, I suspect, they have been clumped under the appellation “English suites”. As for their French cousins and the six partitas, these suites follow the Italian formula of a sequence of baroque dances. Glenn Gould performs one of these suites in our montage.

Haydn’s London symphonies, sometimes called the Salomon symphonies after the impresario who introduced London to Joseph Haydn, were composed between 1791 and 1795. There are 12 in total (Hoboken 93 to 104, which – interestingly – excludes the number 92 Oxford symphony). At first glance, these symphonies are typical, formulaic, classical-era symphonies, but closer scrutiny suggests otherwise. Many of the lot have some unique characteristics to them – the “Surprise” effect (in no. 94), the tick—tock of the Clock (no,. 101), the large presence of percussions (in the nos. 100 and 103), and so on.

The last symphony of the set (and, in fact, the last symphony of the Hoboken catalog) has the subtitle “London”, and is possibly the most modern of Haydn’s symphonies. I may be alone to think this, but I find quite a few similarities between this symphony and Mozart’s Jupiter, in particular the finale. Tell me if you agree!

After a short trip eo WIndsor (with Otto Nicolai), we close the montage with a lovely rendition of the Gershwin standard “A Foggy Day” by Rosemary Clooney (yes, actor George’s aunt, who used to sell us Coronet paper plates). The song was introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1937 film A Damsel in Distress, making it one of the last songs Gershwin wrote before his death that year.

I think you will ove this music too!
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Commentaire français


Déjà à mi-chemin dans notre grande évasion, avec ce quatrième montege...

Aujourd'hui, nous nous déplaçons au Sud du mur d'Hadrien, et la ville Olympique de Londres, siège des jeux d'été de 1908, 1948 et maintenant 2012.

Afin d'ajouter une saveur olympique à notre montage, j'ai choisi le thème principal du film Chartots de feu, sacré film de l'année en 1981, dont la musique fut l'objet des publicités britanniques pour ces jeux. Le film relate les exploits des atthlètes Anglais aux jeux d"été de Paris et 1924, et met en vedette la musique du compositeur Grec Vangelis - l'adaptation pour notre montage est celle des Boston Pops.

En lever de rideau, l'ouverture de concert Cockaigne de Sir Edward Elgar. Cockaigne a une double signification - un paradis des légendes médiévales et une allégorie pour la vie excessive à Londres au début de l'ère Edwardienne. La musique d'elgar se veut un portrait de la ville de Londres du temps du compositeur.

Johann Sebastian Bach a composé près d'une vingtaine de suites pour clavier seul: les partitas, les suites dites françaises, et une série de suites supposément commandées par un noble Anglais - d'oû les suites anglaises. Je vous offre une de ces suites sous les doigts de notre Gould National.

Après plus de 30 ans au service de la cour des Esterhazy, Joseph Haydn entreprit une courte mais fructueuse association avec l'impressario Salomon, qui lui fit découvrir l'Angleterre. Pour Salomon, Haytdn composa 12 symphonies (dites Londonniennes) pour des académies de concert qu'il y dirigea. Plusieurs de ces symphonies ont des caractéristiques musicales particulières (la Surprise de la 94e, l'horloge de la 101e, etc.) mais la dernière de la série (la 104e) a non seulement le sous-titre "Londres", mais a une sonorité qui  me rappelle la grande 41e symphonie de Mozart (Jupiter).

Des oeuvres de Nicolai et Gershwin complètent ce montage.

Bonne écoute!