Don Robertson's Musical Kaleidoscope
Show Examples - World Four
Since 2017, the Rising World foundation has completed over 1,000 videos. Over 260 of them are shows, each averaging 1 hour in length. The following are five example videos from our “World 4” section. So far, we have created 160 shows for World Four.
Classical Music of Europe and India
The Classical Music of Europe
The Classical Music of North India (Hindustani Classical Music)
The Classical Music of Europe
Example 1 – A Taste of the Renaissance (1 hour)
This is a show that presents great music from the masters of the 16th-century Renaissance.
First, we watch “Resonet in laudibus”, a beautiful 14th-century carol that was widely known in medieval Europe. The important Flemish composer Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) composed this joyful setting. This is followed by the motet “Tu Solus” by Josquin des Prez (1455-1521), whose music dominated the early part of the century. Following that is a beautiful rendering of the Christmas motet “O Magnum Mysterium” by the great Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548-1611). Next, we present the beautiful motet “Ave Verum Corpus” by the important English composer William Byrd (1538-1623). Dedicated to Mary, the spiritual madrigal “Ave dulcissima Maria” is perhaps the most beautiful composition by the infamous composer Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613). After that, a four-part setting of the Magnificat in the first of the eight “church modes” is another composition by Orlando di Lasso.
Next, we watch a performance of a setting of “Ave Maria” composed by Jacobus Gallus, also known as Jacob Handl. This beautiful music was for many years incorrectly attributed to Tomás Luis de Victoria. Moving on, we hear more music by Gallus: “Ecce quomodo moritur iustus” is a responsory for Holy Saturday, a composition that was especially beloved by 19th-century composer Anton Bruckner. Another Orlando di Lasso composition “Adoramus te Christe” follows. Following that, a beautiful rendering of the Marian antiphon “Salve Regina” composed by Tomás Luis de Victoria is presented.
The motet “Sicut cervus” by Giovanni Palestrina (1525-1594) follows, then “Super flumina Babylonis” composed by Tomás Luis de Victoria followed by “O Vos Omnes” by Carlo Gesualdo. Then we listen to another setting of the Magnificat, also composed in the first of the eight church modes: this one is for two choirs and was composed by Giovanni Palestrina (1525-1594). As a finale, we present the Christmas motet “O Magnum Mysterium” that was earlier represented in a setting by Victoria, here it is a version that was composed for two choirs by the great Italian composer, Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1554-1612).
What glorious music arose from the 16th century!
Example 2 - A Taste of the Romantic Era (1 hour)
This show provides a beautiful introduction to the music of the 19th century – the Romantic Renaissance – beginning with the great French composer César Franck (1822-1890), whose “Symphonic Variations” for orchestra and piano, composed in 1885, is performed by young Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov, with Jan Latham-Koenig conducting the orchestra. Music by the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) is next, and we listen to his beautiful “Rêverie” of 1898 performed by The Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam. “Kikimora”, by the Russian composer Anatol Liadov (1855-1914), is a work in the romantic tradition from 1909. It is performed here by the hr-Sinfonieorchester. Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) composed “Songs My Mother Taught Me” for voice and piano in 1880, and an arrangement for soprano Ernestina Jošt and the Gimnazija Kranj Symphony Orchestra with conductor Nejc Bečanm is presented here.
The remaining music in this show is dedicated to another great Czech composer, Czech Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884). Má vlast is a set of six separate symphonic poems composed between 1874 and 1879. We present two of them: “Šárka” and “Vltava” performed by the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest in the great Concertgebouw concert hall in Amsterdam, with Krzysztof Urbański conducting. The second piece, “Vltava”, expresses the beauty and the flow of the longest river in the Czech Republic: The Moldau River. We finish the show with a short sketch of the composer Smetana with accompanying music: an excerpt from Hakon Jarl, by Bedřich Smetana.
Example 3 - A Taste of French Impressionism (1 hour)
We open with a work by Henri Duparc, a French composer who had studied with César Franck. He is known today for his 17 mélodies (“art songs”), with texts by poets such as Baudelaire, Gautier, Leconte de Lisle and Goethe. They are masterworks of French art song. Duparc’s “Aux Étoiles” was composed in 1874 as an entr’acte for an unpublished drama and is one of only a few compositions for orchestra by Duparc, who ceased composing early on in his life at age 37. It is performed by the Orchestre de Chambre Pelléas, conducted by Benjamin Levy. Next, we listen to Claude Debussy’s “La demoiselle élue”, a beautiful early work composed in 1887 and 1888 for soloists, children’s choir, contralto choir and orchestra. The performance is from the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Tomáš Brauner. Following this is the ever-popular “Pavane” by Gabriel Fauré performed by the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, with Peter Dijkstra conducting.
We now turn to Guillaume Lekeu, a young Belgian student of César Franck who died one day after his 24th birthday. The “Adagio pour quatuor d’orchestra” was composed in 1891 for string orchestra and solo violin and is performed by Junge Kammerphilharmonie Rhein-Neckar of Heidelberg. Ernest Chausson, a student of César Franck and a friend of Claude Debussy, composed “Poème, Op. 25 for Violin and Orchestra” in 1896. It is performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with Zubin Mehta conducting, and Vadim Repin playing the Violin.
Example 4 – Special Feature – American Landscape
The three-part American Landscape series presents American classical music that is truly American.
American Landscape - Part One (1 hour)
We open with African-American composer William Grant Still’s “The American Scene: The Far West”, performed by the Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and directed by David Hattner; Next, we listen to Howard Hanson’s beautiful “Romantic Symphony No. 2, Op. 30”, with Baltimore’s Peabody Symphony Orchestra directed by Joseph Young. Hanson, born in 1896 in Nebraska, was the director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, for forty years. Next is the first movement from African American composer Florence Price’s first symphony, performed by the Chineke! Orchestra conducted by Roderick Cox. The final presentation in this show is an excerpt from Canadian American composer Nathaniel Dett’s opus called “The Chariot Jubilee”.
American Landscape - Part Two (1 hour)
Part Two of American Landscape features the music of American composers who generally have not been featured in the larger concert halls of the United States, but whose works we find being performed in other counties in the world. We open with two compositions by New England light-classical-music composer Leroy Anderson. First is the brilliant “Fiddle Faddle” performed by the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in Siberia, conducted by Alim Shakhandand. Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops gave the composition its premiere on March 30, 1947 during a concert radio broadcast from the Boston Opera House. It was subsequently recorded by RCA Victor for its “Red Seal” classical label. It is said that Anderson spent six months fine-tuning this little composition before it was first performed. Following is Anderson’s “Plink, Plank, Plunk” performed by the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, with Anna Duczmal-Mróz conducting in Poznan, Poland.
Next, we watch the “Scherzo” from Arthur Foote’s “Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 38”. Foote was a member of the “Boston Six” (the other five composers were George Whitefield Chadwick, Amy Beach, Edward MacDowell, John Knowles Paine, and Horatio Parker). The performance is by Kevin Chen and Oliva Taylor – violins, Angela Kratchmer – viola, Josie Greenwald – cello and Shana Liu – piano. The performance took place in Radovljica, Slovenia. African American composer William Grant Still’s “Ennanga” is a three-movement chamber work dedicated to an African harp-like instrument by the same name. The performance is by the Luther College Symphony Orchestra in Decorah, Iowa, directed by Daniel Baldwin.
Next, trumpet player Rani Elias is featured in Alan Hovaness’ “Prayer of St. Gregory, Op. 62b” performed by the WDR Funkhausorchester in Köln, Germany with Wayne Marshall conducting. Henry Kimball Hadley, born in Somerville, Massachusetts, composed “In Bohemia: Concert Overture Op.28” in 1902. It is here performed by the Novaya Russiya Orchestra in Moscow, John McLaughlin Williams Conducting. Hadley, himself a conductor, was the first American conductor to hold a full-time position with a major American orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, in 1921 These positions had always been held by European men. Following this is an entry in the 2017 NZCT Chamber Music Contest in New Zealand, where we hear a performance by “M+M”, who play William Grant Still’s “Danzas de Panama”.
We end the show with African American composer William Levi Dawson’s composition “Soon Ah Will Be Done”, based on the African American spiritual, performed by The Master’s College Chorale in Santa Clarita, California. .
American Landscape - Part Three (1 hour)
Part Three of the three-part American Landscape series opens with the “Symphony in E-minor, Op.32”, the “Gaelic” Symphony, composed in 1896 by Amy Beach (1867-1944). She was the first successful American female composer of symphonic music. Four of the symphony’s themes are traditional Irish-Gaelic melodies. The performance is by the Eureka Ensemble of Boston conducted by Kristo Kondakçi.
Next, the Andante moderato from African American composer Florence Price’s “String Quartet in G Major”, composed in 1929, is performed by Matthew Vera and Mina Lavcheva on violins, Eve Boltax playing viola and Patrick McGuire, cello. Florence Price, born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1887, was the first female composer of African descent to have a symphonic work performed by a major national symphony orchestra.
Following this performance is “Wood Notes”, a four-movement work composed by African American composer William Grant Still in 1947, performed by a Houston-based music ensemble called ROCO. William Grant Still is known primarily for his first symphony, the “Afro-American Symphony” that was until 1950 the most widely performed symphony composed by an American. Born in Mississippi, he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, attended Wilberforce University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and was a student of George Whitefield Chadwick.
The Classical Music of North India
Example 5 - Ragas Morning, Noon and Night (1 hour)
The tradition of performing ragas in North Indian classical music assigns each raga to a particular 3-hour period of the 24-hour day. This video takes us through the full 24-hour day with a performance of one of the ragas associated with each of the eight 3-hour periods, starting from sunrise and ending at sunrise of the following day. We begin with the 6am to 9am period and the morning raga called Bhairov, and an instrumental performance by the V. Balsara Orchestra accompanying images of the Ganges River in Benares in the early morning.
Next, for the 9 to noon period, raga Asawari is performed on the rudra veena by Asad Ali Khan. Following is the noon to 3pm period and a performance on sarod by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan performing raga Madhumad Sarang. For the 3pm to 6pm time slot, we feature Hariprasad Chaurasia performing raga Bhimpalasi on the flute. To represent the evening period of 6pm to 9pm, the famous raga Yaman is performed on sitar by Mita Nag.
The 9pm to midnight period is represented by raga Bageshri, with Dilshad Khan playing the sarangi. Raga Malkauns is performed by vocalist Rajan and Sajan Mishra for the midnight to 3am time period, and raga Lalit, performed by Ulhas Bapat on santoor, for the 3am to 6am period.