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Crank it up

Curved Air

If elevator music deadened your ear to the energy of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons you are not alone. In 1970 violinist Darryl Way formed band Curved Air (a nod to Spender?) and recorded a rock version.

But he was not the first to take this route. By the end of the nineteenth century, composers were looking for a way to crank up the intensity. Atonality opened the door.

Fast: only 25 years separates the lyricism of Tchaikovskys fifth symphony (1888) from The Rite of Spring (1913).

Chamber music is the workshop for intensity.

In Paul Hindemiths Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 11, Nº4 (1923), I hear two musicians in a café late at night playing for their own pleasure while the waiter closes up.

Tip of the hat to Chip Delany, whose novel The Einstein Intersection introduced me to this work.

Nothing gets more intense than Zoltán Kodálys Suite for Solo Cello in B minor, Op. 8 (1921). János Starkers performance has been part of my inner musical landscape” for most of my life. But here is Lidy Blijdorp with a recent performance that blows away the cobwebs.

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