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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Scottish Inspirations

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Keeping with our month-long look at the music of Felix Mendelssohn, today is the first of four planned Tuesday Blogs which will feature Mendelssohn content - along with five montages on our Friday series (more on that in our below teaser).

Interestingly, today's post and next week's show a convergence of sorts between Mendelssohn and fellow German composer Max Bruch. Coincidence, I assure you!

The key works on today's montage are both of Scottish inspiration. Mendelssohn travelled to Scotland and England in 1829 and of that trip we have two important musical reminiscences: The Fingal’s Cave Overture and a symphony which he sketched and put aside until 1841. The Scottish Symphony was completed in January of 1842 and was first performed on March 3rd of the same year, in Leipzig. After a successful performance of the symphony in England, Mendelssohn received permission to dedicate it to Queen Victoria. What is especially noteworthy about the work is its unique formula: all four movements are played attaca, that is without pausing between them, giving a unique sense of continuity to the work. This is not programmatic music, but rather mood music, bringing the listener into the headspace of the composer during his trip.

A German composer, a Spanish virtuoso – a very strange pairing of individuals that somehow takes us back to our Scottish connection… Following Paganini, the most famous nineteenth century violinists were German-schooled Joseph Joachim, and the virtuosic Spanish showman, Pablo de Sarasate. Max Bruch wrote more for Sarasate than did any other composer, and while Bruch was fonder of his Second Concerto, the Fantasia Freely Using Scottish Folk Melodies (the present work's formal title) proved to be far more popular.

To complete the montage, Hector Berlioz’s Intrada di Rob Roy is a rollicking tribute to the Scottish warrior, sometimes recognized as the “Scottish Robin Hood” - because he stole from the rich and gave to the poor.

Happy Listening!

ITYWLTMT Podcast Montage # 63 – Scotland
(Originally issued on Friday, July 20, 2012)

Hector BERLIOZ (1803 - 1869)
Intrada di Rob-Roy MacGregor, overture in D Major, H. 54
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
Charles Dutoit, conducting

Max BRUCH (1838 – 1920)
Fantasie: für die Violine mit Orchester und Harfe unter freier Benutzung schottischer Volksmelodieen (Scottish Fantasy), op. 46
Cho-Liang Lin, violin
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conducting

Symphony no. 3 in A Minor, op. 56 (Scottish)
Berliner Philharmoniker
James Levine, conducting

January 9 2014, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Mendelssohn & Mendelssohn: Trios" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more on our blogs in English and in French.

Updated Jan-06-2015 at 11:13 by itywltmt

Classical Music , Recorded Music