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.
05/11/20 Eric Homour – Devil’s Branch
According to the composer, this work was inspired by a creek he crosses on his walks to town. In this work, he equates his crossing Devil’s Branch with Orpheus crossing the Styx.
05/12/20 Steven Paulus (1940-2014) – Pilgrim’s Chorus (The Three Hermits)
Paulus’ opera is based on a Tolstoy short story. “The Three Hermits” are self-isolated monks on a remote island, devoted to meditation and prayer. Until the bishop comes calling.
05/13/20 Wu Man – White Snow in the Spring
This traditional Chinese piece dates to the early Ming dynasty (14th C.). It’s part of the standard repertoire for the pipa, an instrument that dates back to the 2nd Century.
05/14/20 Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) – Serenade no. 12 for solo tuba
Persichetti’s 15 Serenades were mainly for unusual instruments and combinations. No. 6 is for trombone, cello, and viola; No. 9 for solo recorder and No. 13 for two clarinets are just a few examples.
05/15/20 Carl Friedrich Abel – Prelude, WKO 205
This work is part of the Drexel Collection of the NY Public Library. It contains 27 manuscript works for solo viola da gamba by Abel.