Greetings From Audio Beach!
I did a little surfing just after the holidays. And I couldn’t wait to tell you about one of my adventures!
Actually, I decided to check out some of the items in the sea of sound files that have arrived over the past couple of years. The growing list of titles is just waiting to be explored whenever I have the opportunity to wade in. When you open those files with the right tools, the music is displayed visually as sound waves. So surfing may be a most appropriate description of the audition process.
At times, the waves resemble a fireworks display or light show that’s enhanced by the music. They help restore a bit of the curiosity that came with glancing at the record grooves on LPs while they were revolving. In case you never indulged in that pastime, know that you can anticipate loud and soft moments by the look of those grooves. That all ended with the arrival of CDs, which spin within a private chamber.
Anyway, while I was riding the waves of a 2018 recording of Baroque music for mandolin & violin, I was amused by an item in the notes by mandolinist/scholar Marga Wilden-Hüsgen (which are not displayed in waves, but simply in words). She mentions that a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi for oboe and violn, which also exists in a version for 2 violins, may have been intended originally for mandolin and violin. It’s known as the Concerto in B flat major, RV 548/764 to signify the double cataloging of the work. That’s not the amusing part, in case you were wondering.
Now you may or may not be aware that with today’s technology, art experts can determine whether an earlier painting is hidden beneath the surface of an existing painting, since some artists reused canvases. That’s exciting. But the Vivaldi concerto discovery was made just by looking at the cover of the original manuscript of the concerto with the naked eye and noticing that Vivaldi had written “oboe” over the word “mandolin.” Apparently nobody had noticed until recently.
What added to the amusement was recalling that writing over a word, even on a homework assignment, was always considered a “no-no.” So was typing over a character during the typewriter era. There were erasers for pencil and ink and coated paper strips and liquids for correcting typewritten pages. Eventually, typewriters were fitted with built-in correcting capabilities. Those have evolved into “Backspace” and “Delete” in the computer era.
Yet the music scholars got excited because Vivaldi wrote over a word! This is the same fellow who dared to write little notes in the margins of the manuscript of the “Four Seasons” concertos. Those gave us clues about what he had in mind visually when he composed the concertos.
Whether or not you share in my amusement, I do want you to know that I discovered more than that little note while “sound file surfing.” The recording itself is a welcome addition to the Friends of WILL Library. It’s titled Mandolino e Violino in Italia (Mandolin and Violin in Italy) and features mandolinist Anna Torge and violinist Mayumi Hirasaki, joined by a small ensemble known as “Il cantino” (CPO 555050). Included are concertos and chamber works for mandolin by Vivaldi and 3 of his contemporaries: Carlo Arrigoni, Johann Adolf Hasse and Abbate Ranieri Capponi.
Over the past decade, a steady trickle of recordings of mandolin music of the 18th century has arrived in the Friends of WILL Library. That includes performances by mandolinists like Duilio Galfetti, Avi Avital and the ensemble Artemandoline. Just a month or so ago, a new CD arrived with mandolin sonatas by the Neapolitan composer Giovanni Battista Gervasio featuring mandolinist Sergio Zigiotti and the Inchordis Ensemble (Tactus 720701). Even if those names don’t sound familiar, I’m guessing you’d enjoy hearing the music that goes along with the names. Quite a few selections performed by those musicians have become a regular part of Classic Mornings.
Speaking of Classic Mornings, in case you really didn’t get into a festive mood with the arrival of 2020, I hope it’s because you were saving it for the beginning of April when we celebrate a decade of the daily program. We’ve been celebrating our 10th year for just over 9 months. That doesn’t end until we celebrate our 10th anniversary.
For those who are wondering if we ever stop celebrating, the simple answer is: no. We continue to celebrate having classical music on the radio in central Illinois along with all the commemorations and stories that are a part of that music. And with the music coming from the Friends of WILL Library, it’s an ongoing celebration of the support of our listeners as well. Join us Monday through Friday from 9-noon on FM 90.9 or online at will.illinois.edu. We’ll get you into a celebratory mood!