hey mr. dj

for those of you who aren’t (yet) listening to *stumptown’s 89.9, let me just say it’s gotta be the most kick-ass classical radio station in the country.  seriously.  there are a million reasons why this is true, but high on the list are the brilliant announcers spinning all those oldies but goodies.  weekend host edmund stone was kind enough to share some thoughts on ralph vaughan williams’ fifth symphony, which carlos and the band will play this saturday and sunday at the schnitz.  i implore you: read the following with a british accent…

Ralph Vaughan Williams grew up in bucolic rural England, a countryside strangely removed from the harshness of survival… a place, like his music, where pleasant moments and sojourns can be found, everywhere!  A dichotomy from birth, Vaughan Williams descended from both England’s Wedgewood family and Charles Darwin – he could have avoided service in World War I but following his conscious, became a stretcher-bearer in France. There he witnessed the extremes of cruelty and kindness in men that influenced his symphonies.  Thirty years later, with World War II raging and despondency on every horizon, the Fifth Symphony is peaceful, hopeful – almost joyous – a projection of the best in mankind.  Premiered in 1943 in London with Vaughan Williams conducting, it begins and ends with horns and strings, perhaps a gentle tribute to the fallen.  The work opens with gentleness, moving softly to the second movement and a light ballet of changing motifs and playful folk themes.  In the Romanza, the Fifth Symphony finds a harmonic voice in English horn and strings.  Like his earlier Lark Ascending, a solo violin phrase soars in sun-filled blue skies.  It is a wistful, dreamlike movement where imagination takes flight.  The finalé, a rich tapestry Passacaglia, leads us by the hand towards a light-filled horizon where a state of grace awaits.

wow: sir edmund, you’ve painted a very sweet picture of this symphony… thank you so much for the beautiful words!  oh, and faithful beaver readers, tune in tomorrow for another grand interview.  [okay, i’ll give you a hint: it’s with pianist jeffrey kahane!]


1 Response to “hey mr. dj”

  1. 1 Darvel Lloyd February 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I’m listening to Vaughan Williams’ 5th Symphony now; and you’re right, Edmund, it’s a GORGEOUS, sweeping, melodious, bucolic work!! Wish I could have experienced it at Schnitz with the Oregon Sympony this past weekend.


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