Odious and Peculiar

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Friday, December 18, 2009
There have been some really interesting musical oddities on the last couple episodes of Performance Today. There's really not much music out there that will literally drop my jaw. But such was the case yesterday when I heard a fairly typical orchestral opening of an 18th Century concerto, waited for the soloist to come in, and heard a jaw hap. Really! The composer's name is Albrechtsberger, he wrote seven of these (really!) and you'll find the excerpt a ways into the first hour here, at about 14:15. (Performance Today, alas, doesn't allow linking of specific pieces; probably copyright/record company issues.) The whole thing may be had here, and if any reader would like to donate a copy for review, feel free!

Not much can follow a concerto for jaw harp and orchestra, but the next day's show included a very, very alla Turca piece by one Dmitri Kantemiro─člu, or Cantemir, a Moldovan who spent quite some time at the Ottoman court in the late 1600s (at 9:43 in the first hour). Later, we get a fiddle and orchestra number that contains a Nathaniel Gow composition (at 45:45, also in the first hour). It's actually one of my favorite numbers from the Gow collection, Three Good Fellows Down in Yon Glen. My edition notes that it was "a favourite of Neil Gow," so I wonder if Nathaniel was the actual composer, though a piece by his son may perfectly well have become a favorite.

Update: A complete finale movement from a jaw harp concerto is now to be had.

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