Reviews of music I’ve listened to from 1930.
1. Maurice Durufle: Prélude, adagio et choral varié sur le theme du ‘Veni Creator’ op. 4 (9/10)
The prelude goes for it right off the bat, throwing aggressive ideas at your right away, instead of lulling you in like some of his other preludes. To the best of my knowledge this is an aggressively modernist prelude for organ, utilizing the full range of the instrument and showing off the abilities of the performer.
The adagio, though more sedate as you would imagine, still allows for some showy playing by the organist. Like a lot of Durufle’s slower pieces, there are moments when the sound seems to almost disappear. The conclusion to the adagio is one of the prettiest things of his I’ve yet to hear.
The ‘choral varié’ (choral variations?) almost feels like more of a prelude to my untrained ears. It’s more somber than the prelude in this piece but still provides plenty of opportunity for the sort of cyclical pattern that Durufle likes so much. The end really does sum up the piece, though.
2. Ernest MacMillan: “Two Sketches for String Quartet Based on French Canadian Airs” (8/10)
Glad that someone is doing this kind of thing, but really, again, there’s just no comparison between the great pieces of the era and the pieces Canadians wrote. That I know of, we really haven’t produced a composer of note.
3. Memphis Minnie: “New Bumble Bee” (8/10)
Due to its age, this one’s a little poor sounding, but there’s some impressive playing in the intro. Minnie’s lower in her range on this one too, which is cool.