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 Post subject: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Recorded this morning --This is the only Griffes piece I have ever heard or played. The title intrigued me and the music is so very lush and dreamy; I think it really can put one into a trance at the end. It's not that easy to play though, and I've practiced it a lot so I hope it's okay.

Regarding the music, it's from a set that Griffes wrote called "Roman Sketches". Since I was recently in Rome, I probably should look at the other pieces in this set, but I doubt I have the time. Also, I never saw an actual white peacock, either. Oh well... this particular piece is based on a book of poetry by William Sharp called, "Sospiri di Roma", which means "sighs of Rome". Isn't that nice? The poem itself is rather long; I've copied and pasted it below for anyone interested. Also a pretty picture of a white peacock.

Griffes - Roman Sketches, Op. 7, No. 1 "The White Peacock"


THE WHITE PEACOCK - by William Sharp, from "Sospiri di Roma"

Here where the sunlight
Floodeth the garden,
Where the pomegranate
Reareth its glory
Of gorgeous blossom;
Where the oleanders
Dream through the noontides
And, like surf o' the sea
Round cliffs of basalt,
The thick magnolias
In billowy masses
Front the sombre green of the ilexes
Here where the heat lies
Pale blue in the hollows,
Where blue are the shadows
On the fronds of the cactus,
Where pale blue the gleaming
Of fir and cypress,
With the cones upon them
Amber or glowing
With virgin gold:
Here where the honey-flower
Makes the heat fragrant,
As though from the gardens
Of Gulistan,
Where the bulbul singeth
Through a mist of roses
A breath were borne:
Here where the dream-flowers,
The cream-white poppies
Silently waver,
And where the Scirocco,
Faint in the hollows,
Foldeth his soft white wings in the sunlight,
And lieth sleeping
Deep in the heart of
A sea of white violets
Here, as the breath, as the soul of this beauty
Moveth in silence, and dreamlike, and slowly,
White as a snow-drift in mountain-valleys
When softly upon it the gold light lingers
White as the foam o' the sea that is driven
O'er billows of azure agleam with sun-yellow:
Cream-white and soft as the breasts of a girl,
Moves the White Peacock, as though through the noontide
A dream of the moonlight were real for a moment.
Dim on the beautiful fan that he spreadeth,
Foldeth and spreadeth abroad in the sunlight,
Dim on the cream-white are blue adumbrations,
Shadows so pale in their delicate blueness
That visions they seem as of vanishing violets,
The fragrant white violets veined with azure,
Pale, pale as the breath of blue smoke in far woodlands.
Here, as the breath, as the soul of this beauty,
White as a cloud through the heats of the noontide
Moves the White Peacock.


Attachments:
white peacock.jpg
white peacock.jpg [ 203.91 KiB | Viewed 2416 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:55 pm 
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Monica, I think you did a very fine job with this work, the quintessence of American musical Impressionism. Throughout it had a proper etherealness to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:39 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Monica, I think you did a very fine job with this work, the quintessence of American musical Impressionism. Throughout it had a proper etherealness to it.

Thank you, Eddy. Etherealness...I like that, it's a good word for this piece.

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:58 am 
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Location: Carbondale, IL
Monica,
I had a listen to the piece. I have never heard of it before. In fact, the only other introduction I've had to griffes is the Pleasure Dome of Kubla Kan (sp?) Chris recorded. It is very lush indeed, and I think your practicing has paid off. That this piece is based on a poem I find interesting. Debussy, of course, wrote was is perhaps his most famous piece "clair de lune" based on a poem by Verlaine. Though critiquing"Peacock," solely from composition perspective, I must say this piece's form seems not very well defined. It could just be the chords are so very complex. Maybe this piece has more appeal not on the first, but instead quite a few listens. Enjoyed this and though its still early to say it, Happy New Year!

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 Post subject: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:51 am 
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Thank you, Riley. You are right about the chords being very complex. Many of them are five-finger chords, something you don't see everydya.
Hqppy New Year early to you too! Do they celebrate New Years there like we do here? Maybe they shoot off more fireworks...? ddin't the Chinese invent fireworks?

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:05 am 
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Very good playing, especially as there seem to be quite some wide stretches here.

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:52 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Very good playing, especially as there seem to be quite some wide stretches here.

Thank you. Yes, there are many wide stretches and chords with 9ths or 10ths on the ends. I had to eliminate a couple bottom notes here and there. Griffes must have had large hands or he wasn't great at writing pianistically (word?) because there are also a couple awkward spots in this piece.

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:15 am 
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Location: U.S.A.
Hi Monica,

I enjoyed your recording of "The White Peacock"! Very nicely played. There is also an orchestral version of this piece which in its day was often heard. You had good courage, as the piano piece is difficult to play well.

Griffes died a young man at 36. I recall reading years ago that he used to work at his day job, then when he returned home, he'd burn the midnight oil composing. It was thought at the time that he died of overwork.

I've only played his "Lake at Evening" from the Tone Pictures. Maybe I should relearn that piece and record it. Griffes isn't exactly over-represented here.

Again, fine playing, Monica.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:28 pm 
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Thank you, David. I don't really know much about Griffes but just read his bio on our main site. Poor man, another one dying in his 30's. What a shame and all too common among composers from the past like Chopin, Gershwin, Mozart, Schubert....(probably others but I can't think of the right now).

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:44 pm 
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Very good. This is the only piece by Griffes that I had heard before, and you play it better than the other times I heard it. Very "professional-sounding" recording, too - congratulations.

Griffes is buried near my home, but I won't visit the grave - I'm too afraid of composers' ghosts after your comments earlier this year. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:39 am 
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Very sensuous and evocative playing! Thanks for sharing. Griffes' brand of impressionism seems mid-way between Debussy and Ravel's.


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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Thank you guys! It's not often that I get no negative comments, so this is a nice way to start the new year!

StuKautsch wrote:
Griffes is buried near my home, but I won't visit the grave - I'm too afraid of composers' ghosts after your comments earlier this year. :lol:

Funny! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:02 pm 
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This is very good indeed! I like your pedal usage: it contributes significantly to the ethereal (Eddy chose the best adjective and I'm not finding an inferior synonym!) feel of the music. A recording to be proud of, imo.


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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:43 pm 
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andrew wrote:
This is very good indeed! I like your pedal usage: it contributes significantly to the ethereal (Eddy chose the best adjective and I'm not finding an inferior synonym!) feel of the music. A recording to be proud of, imo.

Thank you, Andrew! :D
Wow...I feel a little weird with all these nice words. :) And to think that I almost put this piece away a couple weeks ago because I was getting tired of practicing it....

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 Post subject: Re: Charles Griffes - "The White Peacock"
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:33 pm 
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What can I say after all has been said?

A very enjoyable performance of a very enjoyable piece; the recording leaves norhing to desire and the sound of the paino is also very superior. The name Griffes was familiar to me, but I must say I had never heard anything by him, at least no piano pieces, so this made a very good introduction. I listened to it twice yesterday and look forward to listening to it again. I hope the other pieces in the Roman Sketchbook are of the same quality, so that you may reocord some of them too.

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