Normally the Classics a Day theme for May involved May Day (#SovietaDay). Having a theme centered around social distancing/self-quarantine seemed more appropriate. The challenge for May is post works for unusual solo instruments or works about solitude.
Here are my selections for the first day of May, and the first full week of #ClassicalDistancing
05/01/20 Samuel Barber (1910-1981) – Hermit Songs, Op. 29
Barber’s song cycle is based on the poetry of Medieval monks. These anonymous poems were written in the margins of books the monks were copying and illuminating.
05/04/20 David Bennet Thomas (1969 – ) – Because for Basson solo
Thomas is equally at home in the jazz and classical worlds. He’s also written solo works for alto flute.
05/05/20 John Harbison (1938 – ) – Four Songs of Solitude
According to Harbison, “The solitude is the composer’s, but even more the performer’s. The listeners can, if they wish, add in their own inner distances.”
05/06/20 Dai Fujikura (1977 – ) – Serene for solo recorder
This Japanese-American composer’s “Serene” was premiered in early 2020. As with most of his commissions, Fujikura worked closely with the artist to create the music.
05/07/20 Max Reger (1887-1916) – Der geigende Eremit
“The Hermit with his Fiddle” was inspired by an Arnold Böcklin painting. It’s part of Reger’s Vier Tondichtungen nach A. Böcklin.
05/08/20 Carl Maria von Weber – The Hermit’s Aria
Weber’s opera ” Der Freischütz” features the Hermit, a bass role. “Wer legt aug ihn so strengen Bann” is his big aria in Act III.