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.
Chamber music is the workshop for intensity.
In Paul Hindemith’s 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 Kodály’s Suite for Solo ’Cello in B minor, Op. 8 (1921). János Starker’s 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.