Sunday, November 18, 2012

César Franck - Panis Angelicus

The Thanksgiving holiday makes us ponder what we are thankful for.  Today is a trifecta of thankfulness.  We have Luciano Pavarotti, possibly the greatest operatic tenor of the past generation.  We have St. Thomas Aquinas who was not only a saint, but was probably the smartest intellect of the past millennium.  And we have César Franck, perhaps the introduction to truly modern music.

Frank is considered the best organist in history, with the possibly exception of Bach.  He developed the musical style of the tone poem, perfected by  Maurice Ravel and Clause Debussy.  This work was perhaps the starting point of that, where Frank took the poem from the Medieval philosopher and Church Father Aquinas, and turned a liturgy into something that transcends time.  The title of the piece translates as the bread of angels, a feast for the soul.  That has captured the imagination of the world - not only has this become one of the signature challenge performances for tenors, but it has been performed at funeral masses through the ages, including the funerals of brothers Robert and Edward Kennedy.

Me, I'm thankful for the wonders that surround us, for the legacy of Civilization.


Phyllis (N/W Jersey) said...

I remember years and years ago, hubby was working on our roof. I decided that this was the perfect time to put on one of Pavarotti's albums since hubby didn't like opera. Well, I guess the volume was turned up a tad too high, because I couldn't hear dear husband yelling and pounding on the roof trying to get my attention. The ladder had fallen down and a neighbor had to rescue him!

Old NFO said...

Yep, GOOD trifecta! I just wish my hearing wasn't shot so I could actually enjoy it!

libertyman said...

That Eye-talian feller shore can sing!

drjim said...

I got to see his last performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
It's one thing for an artist to sound good on a recording, and quite another for them to sound good on stage.
I was just totally blown away by his musicianship, even though I'm not a big opera fan.
He was truly amazing.