Sunday 21 March 2021

A Musical Centenary

 Today is the centenary of the birth of the Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux, one of the 20th century's best. I have his classic set of Bach's partitas and sonatas, and was pleased to discover that a sample of Grumiaux's Bach found its way on to the Voyager Golden Record, that extraordinary disc that was launched into space in 1977 to give any receptive extraterrestrials an idea of what we humans are like. The Voyager will pass within 1.6 light years of the star Gliese 445 in 40,000 years or so – exciting times! Here, from the Golden Record, is Grumiaux playing the Gavotte en Rondeaux from Bach's Partita number 3 –

Lately I've been enjoying some of the Budapest String Quarter's recordings of Beethoven, and was again pleased to discover that they also are represented on the Golden Record, playing the glorious Cavatina from the B flat Quartet – which Beethoven himself thought was the most beautiful melody he ever wrote. Here it is – simply sublime music...

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