1921 in Music

1. Gustav Holst: “The Lure, or The Moth and the Flame” (8/10)

This is a later Holst piece with a lot more pizazz than some of his other works of this length. It also has an “eastern” flair to it missing from even his otherwise “Indian” inspired music. Good stuff.

2. Leoš Janáček: Káťa Kabanová (8/10)

Káťa Kabanová is considered Janacek’s first “mature” opera but I think I like it less than Jenufa. It’s still pretty appealing and very clearly of a different ilk than so many of the 19th century operas that proceeded it. It’s not as radical (and, therefore, to me, not as interesting) as the kinds of things people like Debussy and Berg were doing at this time, but it’s still pretty good stuff.

3. Gabriel Faure: Nocturne No. 13 in B minor, Op. 119 (9/10)

The final nocturne begins softly, like many of his nocturnes before turning into a classic late Romantic/early Impressionist swooning crescendo about 90 seconds in. It does this push and pull. I like it, but I get the distinct feeling I’ve heard something like it before.

4. Aaron Copland: “Three Moods” (8/10)

Will review next time I listen to it, hopefully.

4. Aaron Copland: “Four Motets” (8/10)

Will review next time I listen to it, hopefully.

4. Aaron Copland: Petit Portrait (8/10)

Will review next time I listen to it, hopefully.

7. Ernest MacMillan: String Quartet in C minor (7/10)

MacMillan’s quartet is enjoyable but it is typical of so much Canadian music, only notable because it’s one of the few decent Canadian string quartets.

8. Erik Satie: La belle excentrique (7/10)

Another orchestra piece changed to piano. It’s a satire of the Parisian cabaret scene and, for someone like me, who doesn’t know that scene all that well, it doesn’t work as well as a satire. But it’s full of typical Satie touches (more from 20 years earlier than near his death) and it’s certainly very enjoyable to listen to.

9. Gabriel Faure: Barcarole No. 13 in C major, Op. 116 (6/10)

The final barcarole is quite pleasant listening but I’m not sure it does enough to really grab me given the year.