Grace Notes: Music of the week – October 17th

Hello and welcome back to my Music of the Week blog. I wasn’t sure what to choose this week as I’ve been pretty busy and so have just been listening to whatever is on the radio in the morning. Today, however, two tracks jumped out at me. I hope you enjoy them too!

The first piece is ‘Night on a Bare Mountain’ by Modest Mussorgsky, arranged by Rimsky Korsakov in this version (There are many other arrangements as well as the original tone poem. If you’re interested in finding out more, I’ve included a link here).

In the original printed edition of the Rimsky Korsakov arrangement, the description of the work says “Subterranean sounds of non-human voices. Appearance of the spirits of darkness, followed by that of Chernobog. Glorification of Chernobog and Black Service.  Sabbath. At the height of the sabbath, the distant ringing of a village church bell is heard; it disperses the spirits of darkness. Morning.” You can really hear the ghouls coming out, through the oscillating of the strings, the shrieks of the woodwind and the low and ominous brass chords. Listen out for the bell at the end and the retreat of the monsters.

I’m preparing to play this in a concert on October 26th (a Halloween-themed concert with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales) and have been loving  practicing bits of it again. It brings back memories of when I first played it in my county High Schools Orchestra when I was about 14 and I’m having fun remembering hearing it for the first time. Hope you enjoy this spooky piece as a premonition for Halloween in a couple of weeks!

The second track is Taylor Swift’s latest song called ‘Shake It Off’ (and could not be more different!). This is a big change to her normal country style (which I also love) and is so catchy! The music video is also great and really fun to watch. This has quickly made it onto our ‘getting ready’  playlist in the flat, which we use whenever we are all preening to go out to an event in the evening (so obviously a big honour to make the playlist…). I hope you like this song and have a little dance to brighten up your evening!

I’m looking forward to seeing you all again for my next blog post on Monday. It’ll be about a concert I took part in last night with Orchestra Vitae in St Johns’s Smith Square where there were over 170 performers playing a program including the amazing Requiem by Stephen Montague.


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