Persian Market

The other day I posted on my blog about Albert Ketelbey, a composer I stumbled into by accident. The piece that captured my imagination is called "In a Persian Market." The work vacillates between melodic almost pastoral passages and a larger-than-life men's chorus. It really it something to listen to. Here, see for yourself:

I wondered if Ketelbey did anything else I would like. I looked him up on Wikipedia, which was a little helpful but not illuminating. I next tried You Tube, with more success. I've been listening to Ketelbey pieces non-stop for several hours, trying to decide which are the best ones to share. "In a Persian Market" is still the best, but I have found some others.

"In the Mystic Land of Egypt" is a real trip. The song starts out like the intro to some Beatnik poetry shindig but quickly develops its own quirky theme. I have no idea if this music represents Egypt, or if it just Ketelbey's imagination, but it's easy to picture the exotic Middle East when listening. A couple of minutes in the music changes to almost French! The dichotomy of the Persian Market song is here too, back and forth between the Egypt-feeling parts and the Romantic Lady and the Tramp-like music. Actually, now that I think about it, aren't the French obsessed Egypt? Maybe I'm over-thinking this. Listen for yourself:

Another piece, "Reveil d'Amour," ("Love's Awakening") isn't as strong as the first two, but I'm including it because the arrangement is played all on piano, and gives a different feel. The song feels silky and soft, like something you'd play for a lover on a cold rainy afternoon. (At this point, it's possible I've overdosed on Ketelbey.)

The last song by Ketelbey that I'm presenting is called "In a Monastery Garden." (You have to hand it to him: he likes the theme of "In a.....") This work isn't as strong as the Persian or Egyptian ones, but is a little smoother. The Monastery part is almost sweet. There are two versions; one less produced and live with a small orchestra, but I chose the more ornate one. There is one annoying part; they have bird sounds intermittently, but they aren't often, so just ignore them. The main reason I chose this rendition is that at the end there are echoes of the "In a Persian Market" work, which is a great way to end the set.

I hope you enjoy listening to these Ketelbey pieces, and it encourages you to find out more about him:

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