Monday, January 16, 2017

Diabelli Project 140 - Woodwind Quintet

The Diabelli Project is about offering my weekly flash-composition sketches freely to all. Like Antonio Diabelli's theme, these sketches aren't great music. But perhaps (as in Diabelli's case) there's a Beethoven out there who can do great things with them.

This week's flash composition turns out to be the first woodwind quintet in the series. Without the 10-minute time limit, I would have developed the section beginning at measure five further. Still, I was surprised at just how far this sketch got before time ran out. 

As always, you can use any or all of the posted Diabelli Project sketches as you wish for free. Just be sure to share the results. I'm always curious to see what direction someone else can take this material.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Line Mar Match Box Construction 035 - Stork

 I found a Line Mar Match Box Construction Set from the 1930s, complete and with instructions. The box claimed the set made 100 different toys. I decided to test that claim -- one toy at a time. You can read all the posts for the Line Mar construction project at 100 Toys.

035 Stork

The stork has some similarities with the 034 Duck -- and some additional problems. The beak is way longer on the toy I built than it shows in the diagram. The issue is one I've run across before. There are two dowel rods running through the metal piece, and one simply blocks the other.

In this case, the dowel representing the beak was blocked by the one serving as the neck. In retrospect, I might have come closer to the illustration by cheating a little. I could have had the neck dowel go just a little way into the head, which would have allowed the beak dowel to move further inside and thus make a shorter beak. And it would have made the exposed neck longer, bringing it closer to the depicted toy.

In the current construction, the open side of the head's metal piece is facing downwards, so the bird looks complete from both sides. In order to have a shorter beak, I'd have to turn the box on its side to give the neck dowel a hole to slide into, which would mean the toy could only be viewed from one side only. So we'll just go with the modified version, I think.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Berl Senofsky in Concert - a legend returns

Berl Senofsky, though an influential and respected artist, didn't record a lot. So his reputation rests mainly on accounts of those who heard him in performance or studied with him.

This new release adds to his slender catalog of recordings and provides some additional insight into his artistry. It's a recording of Senofsky's recital at the Expo '58, Brussels.

He had won the Queen Elisabeth International Competition prize at the age of 29 -- the unanimous selection of judges David Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin, and Zino Francescatti. This recital recorded just three years later, hints at what those prize-winning performances were like.

The recording has been lovingly remastered with minimal tinkering (that I can hear). It's a rich, warm, analog sound that places Senofsky front and center in the audio mix.

I could easily hear the delicacy of Senofsky's tone, especially in quiet passages. Long notes sounded full and well-rounded. Double and triple stops were executed cleanly and clearly heard in the recording.

Senofsky plays in an old-fashioned style, but with a more restrained vibrato than most prewar artists. It's a sound that's both of its time and one that transcends it through the beauty of his expressiveness.

Especially fine, I think, are the Ysäye Sonata No. 6, Op. 27, and Bach's Chaconne from the Partita No. 2, BWV 1004. Not to take anything away from the performances with pianist Marie Louise Bastyns, but when Senofsky played alone, I was enthralled.

Berl Senofsky In Concert at EXPO '58 Brussels
Berl Senofsky, violin; Marie Louise Bastyns, piano
Bridge Records 9470