The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: YOU MUST HEAR THIS – the “Meditation” for solo piano by Mexican composer Carlos Chavez | July 27, 2019

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By Jacob Stockinger

The solo piano repertoire is huge, but The Ear knows quite a lot of it.

Yet here is a piece he had never heard, live or recorded, until he finally did hear it this week on Wisconsin Public Radio.

It is the five-minute ”Meditacion” – or Meditation – by the 20th-century Mexican composer Carlos Chavez (below, in a photo by Paul Strand).

It is played beautifully and sensitively in a live performance by the unjustly neglected Mexican virtuoso pianist Jorge Federico Osorio (below), and was recorded — perhaps as an encore, given the applause at the end — with the Piano Concerto by Chavez for the nonprofit Cedille Records in Chicago and distributed by Naxos Records.

Listen to it and let The Ear know what you think.

Does anyone else hear echoes of the eccentric French composer Erik Satie in the music? Shades of other pieces or composers?

Do you like the Chavez piece?

The Ear wants to hear.


6 Comments »

  1. Carlos Chavez also wrote pieces for the classical guitar.

    Here is Manuel Barrueco performing his “3 Pieces for Guitar”

    Comment by Augustine — July 27, 2019 @ 11:27 am

  2. shades of Debussy?

    Comment by Betty Risteen Hasselkus — July 27, 2019 @ 10:58 am

  3. Hiya Jake. I enjoyed listening to Meditacion, quite a lot. I brought to mind the soundtrack to the movie “Unfaithful,” composed by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. This is not intended as a put-down since I happen to find some film scores interesting, occasionally provocative. Unlike Michele, who seems not to hear them because she is engrossed in the visuals and storyline, I listen to the music, occasionally missing what’s going on in the film.

    Grace Presents is in good form. Our audience numbers are up and our finances are on a sound footing. If you would care to interview our program manager, James Waldo, I think you would find him an engaging and talented young man.

    I hope this finds you well. M and I are doing well, anticipating the arrival of our daughter Amanda’s second child, a girl, in four weeks’ time. Yeah! Take care, and please stay in touch and keep us in mind next time you are headed to New York.

    All the best. Bruce

    On Sat, Jul 27, 2019 at 1:01 AM The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > welltemperedear posted: “IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG POST, PLEASE SPREAD > THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not just “Like” it) > ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw potential > audience members to an event. And you might even attract new rea” >

    Comment by Bruce Croushore — July 27, 2019 @ 7:20 am

  4. I see what you mean about Satie. Sounds like it’s about a thought process. Definitely psychological.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — July 27, 2019 @ 6:45 am

  5. “The idea of repetition and variation can be replaced by the notion of constant rebirth, of true derivation: a stream that never comes back to its source; a stream in eternal development, like a spiral …” Again, minimalism before Philip Glass. Glass,by the way, doesn’t like the term minimalism but acknowledges repetition is a large part of his music. There’s a very Eastern element in that if you follow Buddhism or know the works of H. Hesse.

    Quotation is Chávez in the 4th of his Norton Lectures at Harvard. He was a very distinguished musician and thinker and headed several important symphony orchestras. He wrote lots of music including music for piano and voice, operas, string quartets and symphonies (6 of them).

    Comment by fflambeau — July 27, 2019 @ 3:12 am

  6. It’s a lovely piece: remarkable. Yes, you can hear Satie in it and also the minimalists before minimalism. I would also say there is a Schumann-esque sound to his music but with more of a French twist to it.

    His Valses (also for piano) sounds even more like Satie.

    I enjoy his music but not know of him before your post; so thanks.

    Comment by fflambeau — July 27, 2019 @ 2:42 am


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