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Discussion Starter · #222 ·
Oops. I skipped a couple.

#92
Gloria RV 589
Antonio Vivaldi
1715


Vivaldi wrote at least three settings of the hymn Gloria in excelsis Deo, whose words date probably from the 4th Century and which is an integral part of the Ordinary of the Mass. Two survive: RV 588 and RV 589. A third, RV 590, is mentioned only in the Kreuzherren catalogue and presumed lost. The RV 589 Gloria is a familiar and popular piece among sacred works by Vivaldi. It was probably written at about the same time as the RV 588, possibly in 1715.

The better known of the two is RV 589, so well known that it's simply referred to as THE Vivaldi Gloria

Movements

I. Gloria (Chorus)
II. Et in terra pax (Chorus)
III. Laudamus te (Sopranos I and II)
IV. Gratias agimus tibi (Chorus)
V. Propter magnam gloriam (Chorus)
VI. Domine Deus (Soprano)
VII. Domine, Fili unigenite (Chorus)
VIII. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei (Contralto and Chorus)
IX. Qui tollis peccata mundi (Chorus)
X. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris (Contralto)
XI. Quoniam tu solus sanctus (Chorus)
XII. Cum Sancto Spiritu (Chorus)


Vivaldi Gloria at La Pieta, Venice

 

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Discussion Starter · #223 ·
#94
String Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op.76, No.3 "Emperor" (aka "Kaiser")
Franz Joseph Haydn
1797


Haydn's opus 76 is a set of six quartets (referred to as the "Erdody" quartets), the last full set of quartets he composed. (He composed only three more after this: The two Lobkowitz quartets, and an unfinished quartet).

This one carries the nickname Emperor (or Kaiser) because in the second movement is a set of variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" ("God Save Emperor Francis"), an anthem he wrote for Emperor Francis II. This same melody is known to modern listeners for its later use in the German national anthem, the Deutschlandlied.

The quartet consists of four movements:

I. Allegro
II. Poco adagio; cantabile
III. Menuetto. Allegro
IV. Finale. Presto


The first movement of the quartet is in the home key of C major, in common time, and is written in sonata form. The second movement, in G major cut time, is in variation form, with the "Emperor's Hymn" as the theme. The third movement, in C major and A minor, is a standard minuet and trio. The fourth movement, in C minor and C major, is in sonata form.

Composer/Conductor Samuel Adler has singled out this work's second movement as an outstanding example of how to score for string instruments, observing of the movement's final variation:

"This is a wonderful lesson in orchestration,
for too often the extremes in the range
are wasted too early in a work,
and the final buildup is, as a result, anticlimactic.

The other formal factor to notice
is that the entire structure
is an accumulation of the elements
which have slowly entered the
harmonic and contrapuntal
scheme in the course of
the variations and have
become a natural part
of the statement
[i.e. theme]."

This 2nd movement is actually in a "Theme and variation" form. After the statement of the theme, you will hear four variations, or alterations of the original statement of the theme. In each variation, you will hear the other instruments playing more actively, creating a more polyphonic texture than you heard at the beginning of the movement. As you listen to the theme in the lower violin part in Variation 1, notice how the upper violin plays faster-moving notes. In Variation 2, the cello has the theme accompanied by the other instruments. The viola plays the theme in Variation 3 while the other instruments provide lively interplay: . And in Variation 4, the higher violin plays the theme again in polyphonic texture with the rest of the string quartet

So listen for the statement of the theme in homophonic texture at the beginning of this movement. You'll then hear the theme in four variations, each of which becomes more polyphonic and features a different instrument playing the theme.

And then remember you're hearing only four instruments.

Here's the Calidore Quartet. [they start at 0:55]

BISQC 2013 - Calidore Quartet - Joseph Haydn Quartet in C Major "Emperor"


 

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Discussion Starter · #224 ·
#96
Piano Concerto No. 5 in E♭ major, Op. 73 "The Emperor Concerto"
Ludwig van Beethoven
1811


This is Beethoven's last completed piano concerto. The nickname was given by the English publisher of the concerto.

Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 could be considered either the last great concerto in the classical style or, because of its immensely powerful gestures, the first of the great 19th-century romantic concertos.

As expected, it's brilliant, long, and demanding for both the soloist AND the audience. Yes, the pianist must have some great chops to pull it off, but the piece itself vacillates seamlessly between some sort of Mozartian tribute and a Romantic depiction of heroism with trills, arpeggios, scales, and chords being pounded out.

Here's Krystian Zimerman, accompanied by the Wiener Philharmoniker, conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Beethoven - 5th Piano Concerto 'Emperor' (Zimerman, Bernstein, Wiener Philharmoniker)


 

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Discussion Starter · #225 · (Edited)
Spent all day yesterday preparing for the evening accompanying a Silent film short, "Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life" (1913).

This would be my 3rd outing doing Silent Film accompaniment (the first two being Keaton's The General, and Lloyd's Safety Last)

It's a rather interesting process to prepare for it . . . you basically have to memorize the film, so you know when to change to something else, and how long you'll have play something.

Of course, a hundred years ago there were professionals that could improvise accompaniment on the spot, but it was their steady gig, and they were very used to the predictable plot lines and characters.

Early on in the genres heyday they'd come up with something that fit, improvising, or playing songs of the day that suggested the tone of a scene (this particular trick is a relic of that era . . . 1. Using a song of the era on today's audiences may sail right over their heads, and 2. Using songs today's audiences DO know are anachronistic and usually do not work stylistically).

Accompanists of the day might also rely on Classical music, and I certainly do as well. When accompanying The General I used a healthy helping of Grieg's Finlandia for the rousing climax (only one person in the audience recognized it). This time I used some Grieg again, playing (and riffing on) Zug der Zwerge (March of the Dwarves) for the climactic train/car chase and rescue.

I played only the 13 minute warmup short (and 50 minutes of music from the era prior to that). The feature was Chaplin's The Kid (1921), and was run using the pre-recorded orchestral score that Chaplin himself wrote for it in 1971.

BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo


Mikhail Pletnev

 

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Discussion Starter · #226 · (Edited)
#97
Symphonie Fantastique
Hector Berlioz
1830


Well, technically the full title is Symphonie fantastique: Episode de la vie d'un artiste ... en cinq parties (Fantastical Symphony: An Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts) Op. 14

:cool:

"You don't know what love is, whatever you may say. For you, it's not that rage, that fury, that delirium which takes possession of all one's faculties, which renders one capable of anything."

Berlioz formed the idea of a "fantastic symphony" portraying an episode in the life of an artist who is constantly haunted by the vision of the perfect, unattainable woman based on his own infatuation with an Irish actress he saw playing Ophelia in a production of Hamlet.

Symphonie Fantastique is cast in five movements:

the first a dream,
the second a ball where the artist is haunted by the sight of his beloved.
After a country scene,
the fourth movement slips into nightmare: "Convinced that his love is spurned, the artist poisons himself with opium,"
"The dose of narcotic plunges him into a heavy sleep. He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned, led to the scaffold and is witnessing his own execution." - Berlioz.

Which brings us to the Dream Of A Witches' Sabbath, which weaves in the medieval Dies Irae plainchant. The artist's perfect beloved transforms and is cast into Hell.

It's generally thought that Berlioz was under the influence of opium when writing a least part of this symphony. Leonard Bernstein called the first Psychedelia in music.

Berlioz was a master orchestrator, and wrote a part in his Symphonie Fantastique for the bass ophicleide, a brass instrument that looks like a cross between a bassoon and saxophone, with long, cone-shaped tubing and a mouthpiece similar to a trombone's. The word "ophicleide" in Greek literally means "serpent with keys". These days the ophicleide is almost extinct and its line is usually played by a tuba.

Musical instrument Musician Wind instrument Reed Reed instrument


Bass ophicleide, made by A. G. Guichard, France (Paris), about 1840


The symphony has five movements, instead of four as was conventional for symphonies of the time:

I. Reveries - Passions (Reveries - Passions) - C minor/C major
II. Un bal (A Ball) - A major
III. Scene aux champs (Scene in the Fields) - F major
IV. Marche au supplice (March to the Scaffold) - G minor
V. Songe d'une nuit du sabbat (Dream of a Night of the Sabbath) - C major


Here's Stephane Deneve conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Hector Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique Op.14, CSO/Alexander Bedenko guest principal clarinetist


Symphonie Fantastique FUN FACT: Symphonie Fantastique appears (uncredited) on the soundtrack of the 1977 film Jabberwocky by first time director Terry Gilliam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #227 ·
#98
Nocturne in Eb, Op.9 No.2
Frederic Chopin
1832

This nocturne is the second of a set of three nocturnes. I've played the first, and it's gorgeous as well.

But let's talk about #2, the one in Eb, which is better known than the first; indeed, it may be his best known work.

As the song progress, the main melody is repeated thrice, and each time includes more and more ornamentation, a classic Chopin technique. The song is generally played with contrast, switching from light and sweet to loud and dramatic.

Here's a beautiful rendition of one of the variants of the Nocturne by Valentina Lisitsa live at The Royal Albert Hall June 19th 2012. By "variant", I mean that she's playing a later version with ornamentation (flashy parts) that are different than the original version. This version, however, IS authentic, with those changes composed by Chopin. Some publications will have the "alternate" passages printed above the original passages, while others may print them in appendices in the back of the score.

CHOPIN Nocturne in E flat ,op.9 no.2 ORIGINAL LATER VERSION Valentina Lisitsa

 

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Discussion Starter · #229 · (Edited)
#99
Revolutionary Etude
Chopin
1831


Well, technically it's Etude Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor. It's also known as the Etude on the Bombardment of Warsaw, as it was inspired by 1831 Russian attack on Warsaw, during the November 1830-31 Uprising. It's the last of a set of twelve dedicated to his "friend Franz Liszt".

Chopins Op. 10 études were published in 1833 when he was just 23 years old.

Quite a stylist 180° from the previous two nocturnes of his posted in this thread. :)

Here's Valentina Lisitsa, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Rachmaninoff"

Chopin Etude Op 10 No.12 Valentina Lisitsa

 

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Discussion Starter · #230 · (Edited)
#100 is coming, but in order to build a little anticipation, I'd like to highlight a few gems that, for some reason or another, aren't on this list.

Here's a little Toccata I used to play frequently, and still trot it out for a performance once and a while. The clip below is considerably slower than I play it.

In 1932, Soviet Armenian composer Aram Khatchaturian, at 29 years old, composed this wham bam Toccata in E-flat minor as part of a three movement suite.

This is not his most well-known piece. That distinction would go to the wore-out-its-welcome and overplayed "Sabre Dance" from his ballet Gayane (1939-41)


.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) composed his four act opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya in 1905, and arranged a four movement suite in 1907. It's based on two Russian legends, that of the city of Kitezh, which became invisible when attacked by the Tatars; and Saint Fevronia of Murom.

I. Prelude. A Hymn to Nature
II. Wedding Procession
III. Tartar invasion and Battle of Kerzhenets
IV. IV. Death of Fevroniya and apotheosis of the Invisible City


The opera itself is an odd mix of Russian nationalism, fairytale, and pantheistic and Christian symbolism and the Suite reflects that, although not overtly so. I do love the birdcalls in the opening movement of the Suite

.

.

And a String Trio. This one's from 1978, by Greek-French composer, music theorist, architect, performance director and engineer Iannis Xenakis, called Ikhoor.

While it starts off sounding rather random, it slowly comes together to showcase some unusual sonorities you might not have thought possible from a few string players.

 

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Discussion Starter · #231 ·
#100
Fanfare for the Common Man
Aaron Copland
1942


And here we are, 100 extraordinary and diverse Classical works.

Well, what a wonderful piece to have in the #100 spot. I'm betting that you've heard it, or excerpts of it, or adaptations of it. It's been musically "quoted" in many other works, and used to open TV shows, sporting events, and concerts, and as wakeup music for Space Shuttle astronauts. Even Copland worked it into the finale of his 3rd Symphony.

Fanfare for the Common Man was written in response to a request from Eugene Goossens, the conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, for fanfares to begin each orchestral concert for the 1942-43 concert season. A total of 18 fanfares were written at Goossens' behest, but Copland's is the only one which remains in the standard repertoire.

It was written in response to the US entry into World War II and was inspired in part by a famous 1942 speech where vice president Henry A. Wallace proclaimed the dawning of the "Century of the Common Man": "Some have spoken of the American Century. . . . I say that the century on which we are entering, the century which will come out of this war, can be and must be the century of the common man."

Here's James Levine and the New York Philharmonic

Fanfare for the Common Man, New York Philharmonic, James Levine

.

But it's the version by Emerson, Lake & Palmer in 1977 that brought it back into the public consciousness. The three minute single edit of this went to #2 on the UK singles charts, while an eight minute version appeared on Works Vol. 1.

But here's a live version from the Works Orchestral Tour, complete with spinning drum kit platform.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Fanfare For The Common Man - Live In Montreal, 1977


Fanfare for the Common Man

And another version of that version, by

Keith Emerson (Keyboards)
Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Guitar)
Joe Walsh (Guitar)
John Entwistle (Bass)
Simon Phillips (Drums)

Live in Japan 1990

THE BEST/Fanfare For The Common Man

 

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Discussion Starter · #232 ·
BREAK TIME

Main Theme from Star Wars
John Williams
1977


Live 1984

John Williams - Star Wars Theme (Live, 1984) (HQ áudio)


So much great "Classical" music, so little time.

As I've arbitrarily chosen a "Top 100", it would be remiss for me not to mention just how much music I've actually missed.

While browsing the internet looking for gorgeous and inspiring music, I stumbled across some soundtrack music, of which I've posted ONE example of, above, the Main Title Theme from Star Wars, one of John Williams' most memorable works. Of course, Williams, the prolific composer that he is, is not content with letting well enough alone, and has converted many of his film scores to Orchestral Suites.

And Williams is not just prolific, as a composer he's really great.

If you were to attempt a Greatest Hits compilation of his great and memorable and favorite music, it might end up being a 10 or 20 CD box set. Star Wars alone has several tracks - remember the Cantina Band? Yeah, you can hear it in your head right now.

By the time you get to 1975s Jaws, which really put him out into the public consciousness, he'd already scored over 40 films, including The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, The Cowboys, Goodbye Mr. Chips and Valley of the Dolls. After that there were some other interesting scores: Hitchock's last film Family Plot, Black Sunday, and The Fury.

But, of course, most of us will recognize the names of most of his extraordinary scores:

Star Wars,
Close Encounters of the Third Kind,
Superman
Raiders of the Lost Ark
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Empire of the Sun
Born of the Fourth of July
Home Alone
Hook
JFK
Jurassic Park
Schindler's List
Saving Private Ryan
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

and many of the sequels of those films.

But Williams is not what I ran across: There's other brilliant scores by other composers, most with unfamiliar names.

The scores to Disney's Frozen, Dreamworks How to Train Your Dragon . . .

Several from Hans Zimmer: Man of Steel, Pearl Harbor, The Last Samurai, The Thin Red Line, and on and on

Just sayin'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #233 ·
The Top 100

Holst - The Planets, Op. 32 [1918]
Dvorak - "New World" Symphony No.9 in E minor "From the New World", Op 95 [1893]
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 55 "Eroica" [1804]
Stravinsky - The Firebird [1910]
Tchaikovsky - 1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49 [1882]
Vivaldi - Summer, The Four Seasons [1723]
JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto #6, In B Flat, BWV 1051 [1721]
WA Mozart - Symphony 41 in C "Jupiter", K. 551. [1788]
Borodin - In the Steppes of Central Asia. 1880.
WA Mozart - Overture from The Marriage of Figaro, K492 [1786]

Grieg - Peer Gynt: Suite No. 1, Op. 46, and Suite No. 2, Op. 55. (Original score, Op. 23) [1876]
Frederic Chopin - Polonaise in Ab Major, Op. 53 [1842]
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (Ravel orchestration). [1874/1922]
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue [1924]
Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring [1913]
Beethoven - Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op. 67. [1808]
JS Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 [1720]
Carl Orff - O Fortuna from Carmina Burana [1937]
Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain (Rimsky-Korsokov arrangement). [1867/1886]
Johann Sebastian Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier 2, Prelude F Sharp minor [1742]

Claude Debussy - The Sunken Cathedral, from Préludes [1910]
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Prelude Op. 23 No. 5 [1901]
Franz Liszt - Consolation No. 3 [1850]
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra [1896]
Ravel - Bolero [1928]
George Martin - Pepperland [1968]
Chopin - Prelude in Db "Raindrop" [1838]
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor ("Moonlight Sonata") [1801]
Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons [1720]
Rossini - Overture to "The Barber of Seville" [1816]

Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries, Die Walküre, Der Ring des Nibelungen [1856]
Mozart - Symphony No.40 in G minor [1788]
Vivaldi - The Four Seasons "Spring" [1720]
Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 [1808]
Mozart - Requiem in D minor [1792]
Johann Strauss II - The Blue Danube, Op.314 [1866]
Tchaikovsky - Capriccio Italien [1880]
Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice [1897]
Beethoven - "Choral" Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 [1824]
Schubert - Ave Maria from Liederzyklus vom Fräulein vom See, Op. 52 [1825]

Ottorino Respighi - The Pines of Rome [1924]
Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 [1812]
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op.58 [1806]
Tallis - Spem in Alium (40-voice motet) [1570]
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.21 in C Major Op.53 (The Waldstein) [1804]
Dvorak - Slavonic Dance No. 7, Op. 46 [1878]
Josquin des Prez - Missa L'Homme armé super voces musicales [1495]
Palestrina - Missa Aeterna Christi munera [1590]
Allegri - Miserere [1638]
Beethoven's String Quartet in F Major Op.59, no.1 [1806]

Beethoven - "Razumovsky" String Quartets, Op. 59 [1806]
Monteverdi - The Vespers [1610]
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 [1785]
Tchaikovsky - Sixth Symphony in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique" [1893]
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique" [1798]
William Byrd - Mass for 4 & 5 voices [1593 / 1595]
Bach - Brandenburg Concertos [1721]
Brahms - Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 "Eroica" [1854]
Schubert -String Quartet No. 14 in D minor "Death and the Maiden" [1824]
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, Andante ("Elvira Madigan") [1785]

Haydn - Mass No. 11 in D minor "Lord Nelson Mass" [1798]
Bizet - Carmen [1875]
Schubert - Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished" [1822]
Monteverdi - Madrigals, book 5 [1605]
Bach - Goldberg Variations [1741]
Dvorak's Carnival Overture, Op. 92 [1891]
Handel - Messiah [1741]
Mozart - Symphony 35 [1782]
Strauss - Salomé - "Dance of the Seven Veils" [1905]
Shostokovich - Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor [1944]

Debussy - String Quartet in G , Op. 10 [1893]
Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring, [1944]
Ravel - Miroirs, No. 5 "La vallee des cloches" [1905]
Ravel - String Quartet in F [1903]
JS Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier [1722]
Beethoven - Sonata no. 28 in A major, Op. 101 [1816]
Schubert - String Quartet in C major [1828]
Smetana - Vltava from Ma Vlast [1874]
Verdi - Requiem [1874]
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians [1976]

Stockhausen - Gesang der Jünglinge [1956]
Mahler - Symphony No 2 "Resurrection" [1894]
Mozart - Symphony 36 in C major, K425 "Linz" [1783]
Legeti - Requiem [1965]
Elgar - Enigma Variations [1899]
Krzysztof Penderecki - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima [1960]
Machaut - Messe de Nostre Dame [1365]
Perotin - Viderunt omnes [1198]
Palestrina - Missa Papae Marcelli [1562]
Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D Minor [1708]

Handel - Water Music [1717]
Vivaldi - Gloria [1715]
Haydn - Symphony No. 104 "London" [1795]
Haydn - String Quartet Op.76, No.3 "Emperor" [1797]
Mozart - Overture from The Magic Flute [1791]
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5 in Eb major, Op. 73 [1811]
Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 [1830]
Chopin - Nocturne in Eb, Op.9 No.2 [1832]
Chopin - Revolutionary Etude, Op. 10, No. 12 [1831]
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Common Man [1943]
 

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Discussion Starter · #234 · (Edited)
#101
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
Johannes Brahms
1885


This is the last of Brahms' symphonies, and it contains some of the darkest and deepest music in the 19th century.

The first movement (Allegro non troppo) is notable for not bothering to go back and repeat its exposition; the music just seems to continually unfold.

The third movement is notable for being the basis for Yes' Cans and Brahms found on the 1971 album Fragile (actually just keyboardist Rick Wakeman). In this clip the 3rd mvt. starts at 23:30.

The final movement is a masterwork of scoring and architecture.

The roughly 40 minute symphony is in 4 movements:

I. Allegro non troppo
II. Andante moderato
III. Allegro giocoso
IV. Allegro energico e passionato


Brahms - Symphony No 4 in E minor, Op 98 - Haitink


And the adaptation of the 3rd movement by Rick Wakeman for the Yes album Fragile . . .

Cans and Brahms (Extracts from Brahms' 4th Symphony in E Minor, Third Movement) (2008 Remaster)

 

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Discussion Starter · #235 ·
#102
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 "Scottish"
Felix Mendelssohn
1842


From Mendelssohn, after a 'walking tour" of Scotland:

"In the deep twilight we went today to the palace where Queen Mary lived and loved;
a little room is shown there with a winding staircase leading up to the door;
up this way they came and found Rizzio in that little room, pulled him out,
and three rooms off there is a dark corner, where they murdered him.
The chapel close to it is now roofless;
grass and ivy grow there, and at that broken altar
where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland.
Everything around is broken and mouldering,
and the clear heavens pour in.
I think I have found there the beginning of my Scottish Symphony."​


Atmosphere Cloud Sky Building Plant

"Ruins of Holyrood Chapel"
Louis Daguerre

Although it was the fifth and last of Mendelssohn's symphonies to be completed, it was the third to be published, and has subsequently been known as Symphony No. 3.

Intriguingly, despite describing the work as his 'Scottish Symphony' to his family in 1829, by the time the work was published in 1842 Mendelssohn never publicly called attention to the symphony's Scottish inspiration, and it is debatable whether he intended the finished work to be considered 'Scottish'. Ever since the Scottish provenance became known following the composer's death, however, audiences have found it hard not to hear the piece as evoking the wild Romantic landscapes of the north - even if such picturesque associations have caused audiences to overlook the many other musical qualities of this symphony.

Mendelssohn's symphony is in four interconnected movements:

I. Andante con moto - Allegro un poco agitato (in A minor and in sonata form with introduction)
II. Vivace non troppo (in F major and in sonata form)
III. Adagio (in A major and in abridged sonata form)
IV. Allegro vivacissimo - Allegro maestoso assai (in A minor → A major and in sonata form)

Unusually, Mendelssohn marked the movements to be performed without breaks, and underlined the connection between the symphony's parts by making them grow from the continual thematic transformation of the original idea he had notated in 1829, presented in the slow introduction to the first movement. Despite this overriding concern for musical unity the emotional scope of the work is wide, consisting of a dark and stormy first movement, a joyous and fairly brief second movement, a slow movement maintaining an apparent struggle between love and fate, and a finale that takes its components from Scottish folk dance.

The lively second movement is in the style of Scottish folk music melodically and rhythmically, using the pentatonic scale and the characteristic Scotch snap rhythm, although no direct quotations have ever been identified.

A novel feature lies in the coda of the finale, where Mendelssohn introduces a new majestic theme in A major to close the work in a contrasting manner to the rest of the A minor finale. Akin to a victory hymn and intended by Mendelssohn to allude to a male-voice choir, this ending returns to the balladic tone of the first movement's introduction, transforming the material of the original inspiration for the piece Mendelssohn had twelve years before.

The Finale is marked Allegro Guerriero - fast and warlike - and the music strongly suggests a battle, with its syncopations which dominate the movement and the underlying lower instruments marching constantly onward. The chaotic fugal passages conjure up the frenzy of combat and the falling two-note figure which occurs later in the movement is a device which has been suggested to be akin to women bewailing the death of their men in battle.

At the end of the movement the music comes to a virtual stop and is followed by a curious coda which presents a theme which sounds new, although it is related to the very opening theme of the Symphony. The orchestration is unusual and unlike anything that Mendelssohn did before or after. The majestic melody begins with the lower strings and the woodwind doubling each other at the bottom of their register before it gradually rises up as if escaping the mists with which Mendelssohn and his lifelong friend Carl Klingemann (who wrote the phrase "mighty mountains sticking up to their knees in the clouds, and looked out again from the top") had become so familiar in the Highlands. The Symphony ends in triumph with horns blazing above the full orchestra.

Here's Rumon Gamba directing the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia.

F. Mendelssohn: Symphony nº 3 "Scottish" - R. Gamba - Sinfónica de Galicia

 

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Discussion Starter · #236 · (Edited)
#103
Thieving Magpie Overture
Gioachino Rossini
1817


The Thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra) is an Opera Semiseria in two acts, although it's best known for this Overture.

According to legend, before the first performance of the opera, the producer assured the composition of the overture by locking Rossini in a room, from the window of which the composer threw out the sheets of music to the copyists who then wrote the orchestral parts, to complete the composition of the opera.

You might remember it being used for dramatic effect in Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, where an abridged version was used.

This abridged version was actually uncredited on the soundtrack album. It's the Rome Opera House Orchestra conducted by Tullio Serafin in 1963.

I think it was also used in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

Here's Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

GUSTAVO DUDAMEL conducts ROSSINI - "La Gaza Ladre" ~ Vienna Philharmonic


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But, of course, for Prog fans, Marillion used the Overture on their double-disc live set The Thieving Magpie as entrance music.

Marillion La gazza Ladra Sláinthe Mhath Live


That Marillion clip sounds just like this from the Ren & Stimpy soundtrack

 

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Discussion Starter · #237 · (Edited)
#104
William Tell Overture
Gioachino Rossini
1829


Ah, yes, the Overture to Rossini's opera William Tell, his last of 29 operas. Probably more well known as the Lone Ranger Theme, an edit from the 4th movement.

"Hi-yo Silver, awa-a-a-ay!"

Nello Santi conducts the NHK Symphony Orchestra

Rossini "Wilhelm Tell" Overture


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I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that amongst the films which feature this overture prominently is Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, where an electronic rearrangement by Wendy Carlos of the finale is played during a fast motion orgy scene.

William Tell Overture Abridged 720p

 

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Discussion Starter · #238 ·
#105
Trout Quintet
Franz Schubert
1819 (published posthumously in 1829)


The Trout Quintet (Forellenquintett) is the popular name for the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667.

The 4th movement (of 5) is a set of variations based on an earlier 'Trout' song Schubert had written (with the help of a popular German poet Christian Schubart), a request made by a friend (wealthy music patron and amateur cellist Sylvester Paumgartner) that commissioned the work.

In this case he used the instrumentation of piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass (instead of the standard piano + string quartet).

The Trout Quintet represents Schubert at his most natural, unaffected and carefree. Schubert writes not four movements, but five: an exploratory sonata-form movement (I. Allegro vivace), an andante (II.), a brilliant scherzo (III. Scherzo: Presto), and the requested set of variations on Die Forelle (IV. Andantino - Allegretto) slipped in just before the rollicking finale (V. Allegro giusto).

"The importance of the piece stems mainly from its use of an original and innovative harmonic language, rich in mediants and chromaticism, and from its timbral characteristics. The Trout Quintet has a unique sonority among chamber works for piano and strings, due mainly to the piano part, which for substantial sections of the piece concentrates on the highest register of the instrument, with both hands playing the same melodic line an octave apart (having been freed to do so by the inclusion of both cello and bass in the ensemble)." [thank you Wikipedia!]

In 1969, five young musicians (They were pianist Daniel Barenboim, cellist Jacqueline du Pre, violinist Itzhak Perlman , violinist Pinchas Zukerman on viola, and Zubin Mehta on double bass) were filmed by director Christopher Nupen for what became a landmark classical music documentary title simply The Trout. It's an all-star cast - even the the page-turner is the Grammy-awarded Lawrence Foster. The musicians are shown in intimate backstage scenes laughing together as they prepare to play. They then go on to deliver a virtuosic performance.

Barenboim and du Pre were married in 1967.

Here's that film . . . the performance of the actual quintet starts at 15:00, but the lead-in mini-documentary is fascinating as well.

Allegro Vivace 15:00Andante 24:14Scherzo 32:30Thema 37:45Allegro Giusto 46:30

Schubert Piano Quintet D667 The Trout Jacqueline du Pre, Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas


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All of the performers here, with the exception of Jacqueline du Pre, whose career was cut short by Multiple Sclerosis (which forced her to stop performing at the age of 28), went on to long and illustrious careers. Still, du Pre is a recognizable name in classical music, having been the subject of a scandalous biographical film Hilary and Jackie in 1998.

Daniel Barenboim, du Pre's husband is currently the general music director of the Berlin State Opera and Staatskapelle Berlin, and has served as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and La Scala in Milan. He's received 7 Grammy awards.

Itzhak Perlman has appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show (in 1958 [when he was eleven years old] and again in 1964), and made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963. He's appeared on several film scores, notably Schindler's List, Memoirs of a Geisha. He's won 15 Grammy Awards in addition to the Brammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 4 Emmy Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Violinist/violist/conductor Pinchas Zukerman has received 21 Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins. He is featured on over 110 releases. Zukerman was married to his second wife, actress Tuesday Weld, from 1985 to 1998.

Zubin Mehta is currently music director emeritus of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He's served as the Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967; and Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra from 1962 to 1978. From 1978 to 1991, he was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Mehta has received 23 Grammy nominations, with 5 wins.

The page turner is Lawrence Foster, currently the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
 

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Discussion Starter · #239 · (Edited)
#106
Symphony 37 in G Major
WA Mozart
1783


There is no Symphony 37 by Mozart.

Let me explain: Until the mid-17th Century it was considered a waste of time to catalog music - honestly, nobody realized it was actually worth keeping or remembering.

There's a couple of modern examples here:

Film: movies were considered one-shot viewing deals, once created, and viewed, preserving them wasn't considered, in fact, many were deliberately melted down so the celluloid could be recycled.

TV: TV shows in the 1950s through the mid 1960s were not preserved . . . the video was reused, and often all we have are kinescopes (films of the broadcast) as a record.

So it was back in the 1800s. Nobody back then expected their music to be played centuries later, let alone be organized. In the "Classical" era, they rarely played music from earlier centuries (outside of some church pieces), and there wasn't a large music publishing business. What purpose was there in cataloguing and carefully codifying one's music? Not only that, since music printing did not become very profitable until the nineteenth century either, composers did not expect it to hold particular value after it had been performed.

Mozart almost certainly did not title his symphonies - nobody did.

Ludwig von Kochel finally counted everything in 1862, 71 years after Mozart's death (which is why all of Mozart's works have a K. number after them). He painstakingly found all of Mozart's 626 works and put them roughly into chronological order.

When looking at Mozart's symphonies, he counted 41. He recognized Mozart's handwriting, and looking at the music of "Symphony 37," he could tell the introduction was clearly composed by Mozart. But in 1907, Lothar Perger discovered that the rest of the symphony was actually one by Michael Haydn (the brother of Joseph Haydn). Mozart had likely copied the symphony to learn from it (which was a common practice back then to learn from others), and simply composed his own slow introduction since it didn't have one.

It's doubtful that Mozart worried much about the confusion he may have caused by his frequently copying out other composer's scores. That's how you learn. Or, perhaps in Mozart's case, it's how he entertained himself; by writing out something he had heard.

It's not that he plagiarized it . . . it's that he made a handwritten copy of it, and added a 90 second introduction, and this was later thought to a symphony that Mozart had written.

By 1907, everybody was very familiar with the famous symphony No. 40 in G minor, and his amazing "Jupiter" Symphony No. 41. Were people going to call the Jupiter Symphony no. 40, and No. 40 No. 39? That would be too confusing, so we simply skip over 37 and refer to the others by their "original" titles.

So . . . While there was a 37th Symphony, because it was believed to be a work by Mozart, there is no longer a Symphony No. 37, as it is mostly written by Michael Haydn, being his Symphony No. 25 in G major, Perger 16, Sherman 25, MH 334.

Mozart's Adagio maestoso introduction in triple time (3/4) ends with a fermata on a V7 chord, which leads into a tonic chord beginning Haydn's work. And Mozart did not copy the rest of the work verbatim: he removed a bassoon solo from the middle Andante sostenuto movement, and "appears to have reduced the colla parte writing in the winds throughout the work," according to music historian Gary Smith. There's also some other minor alterations, such as leaving out some bassoon doublings of the cello part, and leaving out the harpsichord, which was playing a 'continuo' part based on the cello line.

Ⅰ. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con spirito
Ⅱ. Andante sostenuto
Ⅲ. Allegro molto

Here's a spirited performance, with the harpsichord part restored (played by Roland Martin). It also like the bassoon part was restored as well, at least I THINK I can hear the occasional bassoon.

Unfortunately there is no attribution on this video, but Martin is an adjunct professor at the University of Buffalo specializing in harpsichord and organ. The orchestra is likely either that school's orchestra (I hear some clams here and there) or one of the many others where he's been a "guest" harpsichordist.

There's also something a bit different about this live performance: Notice how the violinists and violists aren't sitting.

Symphony "Number 37' in G Major, K. 444/425a - Mozart


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I. Adagio maestoso
Allegro con spirito (1:19)
II. Andante sostenuto (5:12)
III. Allegro molto (10:27)


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What I find remarkable is that this Symphony was mistaken for a Mozart Symphony for decades. While it was never one of his "Greatest Hits" symphonies, no one doubted that is was one of Mozart's, because it was good enough to be mistaken for one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #240 ·
#107
Symphony No. 5 in Bb major
Franz Schubert
1816


This is the perfect entry level for anyone to whom you want to introduce Schubert with the intention of making sure that they want to hear more. It's fresh, it's fairly light and it's just bursting with tunes, in every nook and cranny.

Well, there's the usual four movements . . .

I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Menuetto (Allegro molto - trio)
IV. Allegro vivace


Schubert scored this one for a fairly small ensemble at the time, without clarinets, trumpets, or timpani. And only one flute instead of the usual two.

When he was 19 years old. His freakin' fifth symphony. In 1816 year he put to paper some 125 songs and over 50 other works for chorus, orchestra, piano, and various chamber ensembles.

The symphony is in the key of B-flat minor and following a brisk, elegant, and classical-sounding Allegro, a charming Andante seems to continue in the 18th century spirit with a lyrical genius. It opens as a straightforward song form, with a developing middle section in contrast to the outside statements. Schubert begins the return, but in a surprise move he then allows the listener a review of nearly the entire middle section, with its extended harmonic journey in search of the home key and theme. The straightforward but energetic and fast-paced Menuetto reminds us how far the character of this form had removed itself from its ancestor in the dance, so much so that it's more of a Mozartian scherzo than a minuet. Many believe this movement, in G minor, is an homage to Mozart's Symphony No. 40.

In keeping with the rest of the work, the Allegro Vivace is completely classical in form and character; it requires an especially light presto treatment for which the old-style instruments are admirably suited, even so, it's a flashy, carefree romp. Surprisingly, it's the shortest of the four movements.

Every analysis I've read of this symphony mentions the very strong influence of Mozart on Schubert, and indeed, it wouldn't be all that impudent to call it a tribute. For an untrained ear, it wouldn't be unusual to mistake it for one of the Haydn-esque Mozart Symphonies. Certainly the 2nd movement reflects the style of Mozart, and the 3rd resembles Mozart's 'peasant stomp' minuets.

In his 5th Symphony, Schubert poured some of his beautiful melodies into a flexible classical form, seemingly "half Haydn and half Mozart, yet he still managed to make it sound utterly "Schubertian"."

So I love the sound of this particular live performance (The Tel Aviv Soloists conducted by Barak Tal), and it's probably due to the unusually small orchestra being used, and probably closer to the size that Schubert had in mind. The sound of the instruments isn't swallowed up in a massive reverberative crowd of instruments, which seems to be the norm for most live performances (as in "bigger is better").

Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D. 485

 
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