Sunday, December 30, 2018

Bernard Herrmann Rehearsing Carl Ruggles' Angels And An Interview

Now this makes my researching Bernard Herrmann worth it,  I came across this old BBC video yesterday but didn't listen to it till this morning.  I'll give Herrmann credit, he was an damned effective rehearsal conductor.  The difference from the beginning point to the end of it was notable.  

It's the all-muted trumpet version of Ruggles' Angels, not the one with the lower voices played on trombone.  What he says about having met Ruggles through Charles Ives is fascinating to hear.  I think some of what he says is somewhat inaccurate but there is other stuff I hadn't heard.  I never said Bernard Herrmann was an inferior musician, he was clearly very skilled, even brilliant.  It's just that his music apart from the movie music IN THE CONTEXT HE WROTE IT FOR is sort of a letdown.  

Here's the recorded performance of the piece directed by Gerard Schwartz, perhaps the greatest trumpet player of his generation, now a very fine conductor:

Here's the version with muted trumpets and trombones and the score

And here's a version for piano

You'll notice they are all different in details.  My dear late teacher,  Marilyn J. Ziffrin, Ruggles' friend and biographer said when she wrote a paper about this piece in the 1960s, she wanted to discuss it with Ruggles and as soon as they started going over the score, he wanted to start making changes to it - the piece had already been published for more than 40 years.   I'll dedicate this post to her memory, she died last spring

Here's her Suite for Piano.

Max Lifchitz, piano

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