Classical Music Forum banner
381 - 399 of 399 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #381 ·
186

Bach
Partita for Violin no. 2 in D minor
1717-1720


This is from Bach's compositional cycle called Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin.

It's in 5 movements:

Allemanda
Corrente
Sarabanda
Giga
Ciaccona


The first four movements are typical dance styles of the time, and the last (also a dance form) is written in the form of variations, and lasts approximately as long as the first four movements combined.

The Chaconne is one of the longest and most challenging entirely solo pieces ever composed for violin.

Yehudi Menuhin called the Chaconne "the greatest structure for solo violin that exists".

Violinist Joshua Bell has said the Chaconne is "not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history. It's a spiritually powerful piece, emotionally powerful, structurally perfect."

In Bach’s Chaconne, the basic theme is four measures long, short and simple enough to allow for 64 variations. From a stern and commanding mood at the beginning, Bach gradually increases the complexity of his theme, mixing in various compositional effects. Some twists upon the theme are spacious and grand; others flow nimbly. Fast runs and large interval skips are frequent, requiring much dexterity from the performer. Bach also calls forth changes in emotional intensity, as some variations are dominated by long notes and others by many, more urgent short notes. Bach builds up his work over 256 measures, finally restating the theme at the end with new, even stronger harmonies.

As with many works by Bach, you can also find version of this transcribed for piano, organ, cello, guitar, harpsichord, piano trio, and orchestra.

But here it is as originally intended.

Here's Shunske Sato on violin.

Bach - Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV 1004 - Sato | Netherlands Bach Society




 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #382 · (Edited)
JS Bach

So that's five from Bach, with a short appetizer, and a “Bonus Bach”:

181. Bouree from Lute Suite in E minor

182. Mass in B minor
183. Goldberg Variations
184. The Art of Fugue
185. The Musical Offering

BONUS. Partita No. 4: Sarabande


186. Partita for Violin no. 2 in D minor


So . . . here's dessert.

187
Air on the G String
, the second movement from Orchestral Suite #3 In D, BWV 1068


As with most Bach works, they've been reworked, transcribed for other instruments, re-orchestrated, and shoved into TV episodes and films. You can even hear a bit of it in the Yellow Submarine soundtrack and in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Overplayed for a good reason: The Air is one of the most famous pieces of baroque music.

Naturally, I'm well aware that some Classical Music elitists look upon this little trifle with disdain, but, it's brilliant in its simplicity.

Let's start with the designation of "Air", not a dance form, but an instrumental 'aria', a lyrical and expressive movement. This Air (written in an asymmetrical binary form) is often played as an independent work, removed from its 1731 Orchestral Suite, which runs a half hour or more, and which the Air is only the second of six movements (starting with an Overture, the Air, 2 gavottes, a bourree, and the predictable ending Gigue.

Of course, this isn’t a simple binary piece with just one modulation – Bach takes us through a wide variety of keys in this piece, everything from the original key of D and its dominant A major, to Cm, Bm, Em, G major and beyond. He also strips out all the extraneous instrumentation, leaving only strings and continuo, a musical 'trick' he also used in the slow movements of The Brandenburg Concertos.

The walking bass pattern helps the piece attain a sort of perpetual motion, never stopping except for strong cadences at the ends of sections. And it's remarkable that this short little piece (it's only 18 measures long!) remains so beautiful and interesting centuries later.

But here's the part you may have missed: WHY is it called Air "on the G string"?

Well, roughly 150 years after it was written, a German violinist, August Wilhelmj made a violin and piano arrangement of the second movement, changing the key from D to C, and transposing the melody down an octave. By doing so, Wilhelmj was able to play the piece on only one string of his violin, the G string.

Here it's played by Early Music ensemble Voices of Music on period instruments, with Hanneke van Proosdij conducting from the baroque organ. I do enjoy this version, as the rest of the instruments aren't drowned out by the overzealous violins.



.

I think context is an important component of music, and for those that feel as I do, here is the entire

Orchestral Suite No. 3
Václav Luks Collegium 1704


00:00 Overture
10:08 Air
14:48 Gavotte I and II
18:08 Bouree
19:10 Gigue

I love the ten minute 'Overture', a bouyant, joyous, and rambunctuous rollercoaster of happiness. At 10 minutes, it's practically half the entire Suite.





.

Oh, and I almost forgot to include my favorite Air on the G String 'shout out'. This one's from George Martin, in the Sea Of Monsters from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. You can hear it at around 2:20, although it's fun hearing it in the context of the short 3:36 track.





.


And that’s it for the J.S. Bach Deep Dive / J.S. Bach Deep Dive
 

·
Premium Member
Chicago (ex-Dublin)
Joined
·
2,899 Posts
JS Bach

So that's five from Bach, with a short appetizer, and a “Bonus Bach”:

181. Bouree from Lute Suite in E minor

182. Mass in B minor
183. Goldberg Variations
184. The Art of Fugue
185. The Musical Offering

BONUS. Partita No. 4: Sarabande


186. Partita for Violin no. 2 in D minor


So . . . here's dessert.

187
Air on the G String
, the second movement from Orchestral Suite #3 In D, BWV 1068


As with most Bach works, they've been reworked, transcribed for other instruments, re-orchestrated, and shoved into TV episodes and films. You can even hear a bit of it in the Yellow Submarine soundtrack and in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Overplayed for a good reason: The Air is one of the most famous pieces of baroque music.

Naturally, I'm well aware that some Classical Music elitists look upon this little trifle with disdain, but, it's brilliant in its simplicity.

Let's start with the designation of "Air", not a dance form, but an instrumental 'aria', a lyrical and expressive movement. This Air (written in an asymmetrical binary form) is often played as an independent work, removed from its 1731 Orchestral Suite, which runs a half hour or more, and which the Air is only the second of six movements (starting with an Overture, the Air, 2 gavottes, a bourree, and the predictable ending Gigue.

Of course, this isn’t a simple binary piece with just one modulation – Bach takes us through a wide variety of keys in this piece, everything from the original key of D and its dominant A major, to Cm, Bm, Em, G major and beyond. He also strips out all the extraneous instrumentation, leaving only strings and continuo, a musical 'trick' he also used in the slow movements of The Brandenburg Concertos.

The walking bass pattern helps the piece attain a sort of perpetual motion, never stopping except for strong cadences at the ends of sections. And it's remarkable that this short little piece (it's only 18 measures long!) remains so beautiful and interesting centuries later.

But here's the part you may have missed: WHY is it called Air "on the G string"?

Well, roughly 150 years after it was written, a German violinist, August Wilhelmj made a violin and piano arrangement of the second movement, changing the key from D to C, and transposing the melody down an octave. By doing so, Wilhelmj was able to play the piece on only one string of his violin, the G string.

Here it's played by Early Music ensemble Voices of Music on period instruments, with Hanneke van Proosdij conducting from the baroque organ. I do enjoy this version, as the rest of the instruments aren't drowned out by the overzealous violins.



.

I think context is an important component of music, and for those that feel as I do, here is the entire

Orchestral Suite No. 3
Václav Luks Collegium 1704


00:00 Overture
10:08 Air
14:48 Gavotte I and II
18:08 Bouree
19:10 Gigue

I love the ten minute 'Overture', a bouyant, joyous, and rambunctuous rollercoaster of happiness. At 10 minutes, it's practically half the entire Suite.





.

Oh, and I almost forgot to include my favorite Air on the G String 'shout out'. This one's from George Martin, in the Sea Of Monsters from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. You can hear it at around 2:20, although it's fun hearing it in the context of the short 3:36 track.





.


And that’s it for the J.S. Bach Deep Dive / J.S. Bach Deep Dive
This is first-rate work - You're really hitting your stride with the concept - Just enough information to be readily accessible, just enough detail to enlighten without overwhelming the reader. Well-written clear-sighted analysis - The curated selections are obviously chosen with great care - and I especially like those tie-ins that you use at the end sometimes in which you extend the subject with popular music analogies.

Also, kudos for respecting the work and continuing to defend compositions whose only crime seems to be that they're too popular.

You do the forum proud - My compliments!
 

·
Premium Member
Chicago (ex-Dublin)
Joined
·
2,899 Posts
I was writing the above at work about 10:30 pm or so and didn't really have the time to finish the post... The strongest aspect of the thread is the writing style - You can definitely write with clean and clear prose and more importantly, actually be able to explain complex subjects in a manner that isn't condescending to your intended audience. Being able to explain something - anything - is a rare gift - One that I certainly don't have - I need like an hour to explain how to hammer a nail into a piece of wood - maybe 90 minutes if I'm off my game.

But the main point is - You should give serious consideration to writing an actual book - "The Beginner's Guide to Classical Music" - Even if it's one that you print yourself - Give out review copies to high school music teachers - and it might just take off. Do a search on Amazon and try to see how many introductory books on classical music you can find that are actually worth reading. "Classical Music for Dummies" is the least worst of the less than best - which is damning with faint praise.

If you do decide to write and then publish the book - Don't forget to dedicate it to me for coming up with the idea - Make your wife wait for the sequel - :LOL:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #385 ·
188
Allegro barbaro
Béla Bartók

1911


Well, then, here's a short piece, the Allegro barbaro from Béla Bartók, that may sound familiar to fans of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who used this piece wholesale in the opening track, The Barbarian, from their self-titled debut album in 1970, initially without giving credit to the composer.

Now, even though it was composed in 1911, it wasn't premiered until ten years later.

For the Music Theory geeks (of which I am one), the opening melody of Allegro barbaro is largely pentatonic, and the opening melody uses a Phrygian mode subset.

As a composer he is best known for his use of Hungarian, Slavic and Romanian folk music. He collected and made arrangements of these folk songs, combining the spirit of folk music with the discipline of European art music.






.

And Emerson, Lake & Palmer performing their cover, The Barbarian, live. They used Bartok's Allegro barbaro as the central part of the their version, tagging a 90 second heavy metal intro onto the front and back of it based on Bartok's harmonic progression.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #386 ·
189.

Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39
Jean Sibelius
1899 (rev. 1900)


Music is,
for me,
like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together.
He takes all the pieces in his hand,
throws them into the world,
and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.

-Jean Sibelius


This turn-of-the-century four movement work has some quirky moments, most notable of which may be in the fourth movement, when a number of tones that lead to a rumbling effect due to intermodulation distortion.

The "slow" movement (the second) starts quietly with tragic themes. And expands into a large and furious passage, with the original themes returning at the end and ending calmly.

And the third movement, tucked in between these two is certainly a thrill ride.

I. Andante, ma not troppo - Allegro energico
II. Andante (ma non troppo lento)
III. Scherzo: Allegro
IV. Finale (Quasi una fantasia): Andante – Allegro molto – Andante assai – Allegro molto come prima – Andante (ma non troppo)


While I love Bernstein's version of this, today we'll go with Orchestre de Paris, Paavo Järvi, conductor, for a live version.






However, I do recommend this video of Bernstein's 1992 performance for the wonderful patriotic (and often anachronistic) visuals. The visuals bring a new dimension to the work, even though there seems to have been some re-orchestrations in this version.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #387 ·
190

String Quartet No. 8
Dmitri Shostakovich

1960

And we jump forward 60 years, to 1960, to String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110, which reputedly was written in three days, not too long after he was forced to join the Communist Party.

According to the score, it is dedicated "to the victims of fascism and the war"; Shostakovich’s son Maxim interprets this as a reference to the victims of all totalitarianism, while his daughter Galina says that he dedicated it to himself, and that the published dedication was imposed by the Russian authorities.

Shostakovich's friend, Lev Lebedinsky, said that Shostakovich thought of the work as his epitaph and that he planned to commit suicide around this time.

Shosty’s String Quartet No. 8 quotes liberally from Shostakovich’s own music and uses his personal motto theme (a four-note theme built on an abbreviation of the composer's name, DSCH, which becomes D-Eflat-C-B in German nomenclature, which he'd previously used in his 10th Symphony), suggesting that it is autobiographical, that is, about Shostakovich himself.

This highly popular quartet, extremely compact and focused, is in five interconnected movements and only lasts about 20 minutes:

I. Largo
II. Allegro molto
III. Allegretto
IV. Largo
V. Largo

Good
. Let's start with a very short course about Shostakovich, his music, and the 8th Quartet.






"I was shaken . . . and I cried."

And now . . .

. . . what all the fuss is about.



THIS . . . is how music can touch your soul.


Dmitri Shostakovich
String Quartet No. 8 in C minor


The David Oistrakh Quartet
(four Russian musicians) gives an incredible performance at the Glafsfjorden Festival 25 January 2019 in The Great Hall of Ingesund School of Music in Arvika, Sweden.




By the way, judging by the comments under the video, there are many that feel that the Olstrakh Quartet is playing the 2nd movement too fast.

Those people are wrong.





Here's a heavy metal version of the 2nd movement. I think that Dmitri would have nodded approvingly.

Connor Gallagher






Oh, and just one more thing . . . This string quartet, having been premiered in 1960, is still protected under copyright.

Mr. Gallagher is able to present this performance by citing that under "Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by Copyright Statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favour of fair use."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
I was asked a few pages back for, "Which versions", I'd recommend to a beginner. For the most part, whilst I have versions that I enjoy, I'll refrain from making specific recommendations. Let me explain.

Now I am not saying that Young is better than Furtwangler, or Wand. But recommend a bunch of guys without a heartbeat to beginners, excluding more modern interpretations, and you risk taking the freshness out of the journey they're starting. Give them options and let them decide.
I appreciate the work that both Chilham and Pianozach have done in their respective threads, and to both of you, I say thank you! Your approaches are clearly different (I think someone said "target market" to describe ones efforts?) so I felt the need to express where I am in the middle of all of this.

Without a lengthy explanation confuddled with backstory, I am an Intermediate lover of CM. I am following both of your threads, in an effort to glean what it is that I have been missing all of these years. It is clear that all the members love their CM choices, and I sense a true sense of community in this forum. I am in the process of building my CM library by researching and participating here, because although I still love Rock, Pop, Prog Rock, Jazz, Classic Country Western, and Blues, I am a Septuagenarian who is saturated with those music forms. This place is my "final frontier", and what a great place it is!

Sadly, there are no "do-overs", and with most people, some of my choices were counterproductive & detrimental to my well being. Oh well, I gotta be me!!! :oops::giggle: One of the biggest mistakes I made is that I did not lead my family into CM as my primary direction. Sadly, I am sensing resistance & disinterest from them in sharing my interests today. I am, however, one of the most goal oriented individuals you will meet! Perhaps I'm a dope who doesn't always get it right immediately, so it is my plan to continue to drag my wife & child into my quest for tranquility, peace, and hope, with shared benefits with my loved ones ;)

As I flounder about here at TC, I perceive the need for a thread to present my point of view as an "Intermediate" seeking knowledge as to how to go about it. My journey is my thirst of CM, but that is well into the future. But, I hope to be around here for a long time, so someday, I hope to make that presentation. Perhaps others like me will come to appreciate it & I really do want to share. Someday? Somewhere... there is always hope.

Cheers!
Ray Jay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #389 · (Edited)
I appreciate the work that both Chilham and Pianozach have done in their respective threads, and to both of you, I say thank you! Your approaches are clearly different (I think someone said "target market" to describe ones efforts?) so I felt the need to express where I am in the middle of all of this.

Without a lengthy explanation confuddled with backstory, I am an Intermediate lover of CM. I am following both of your threads, in an effort to glean what it is that I have been missing all of these years. It is clear that all the members love their CM choices, and I sense a true sense of community in this forum. I am in the process of building my CM library by researching and participating here, because although I still love Rock, Pop, Prog Rock, Jazz, Classic Country Western, and Blues, I am a Septuagenarian who is saturated with those music forms. This place is my "final frontier", and what a great place it is!

Sadly, there are no "do-overs", and with most people, some of my choices were counterproductive & detrimental to my well being. Oh well, I gotta be me!!! :oops::giggle: One of the biggest mistakes I made is that I did not lead my family into CM as my primary direction. Sadly, I am sensing resistance & disinterest from them in sharing my interests today. I am, however, one of the most goal oriented individuals you will meet! Perhaps I'm a dope who doesn't always get it right immediately, so it is my plan to continue to drag my wife & child into my quest for tranquility, peace, and hope, with shared benefits with my loved ones ;)

As I flounder about here at TC, I perceive the need for a thread to present my point of view as an "Intermediate" seeking knowledge as to how to go about it. My journey is my thirst of CM, but that is well into the future. But, I hope to be around here for a long time, so someday, I hope to make that presentation. Perhaps others like me will come to appreciate it & I really do want to share. Someday? Somewhere... there is always hope.

Cheers!
Ray Jay
Thanks for the comments!

My Beginner's Guide, while geared to 'beginners' is likely also useful to intermediates, advanced, and beyond. An 'intermediate' listener may find joy in revisiting a work, or find joy in listening to a different version of that work.

One can pick and choose . . . You may think that #s 1-4 look worthwhile, but have no interest in # s 5 & 6. That's fine.

BUT . . . about the videos I pick: I generally pick live videos, with the best sound quality of those available on Youtube. I might lean a bit towards picking something conducted by Bernstein, or played by Hillary Hahn (I know I can count on their interpretations to be thoughtful, and exciting), but if the sound sucks, I'll go with a different video.

I'm really not all that picky about which version of a work I chose . . . that is really a subjective matter. I mean, of the dozens of versions of Beethoven's 3rd Symphony available on Youtube, whose version is the best? Sometimes a conductor will conduct a work again, but twenty years later will have an entirely different interpretation. So . . . Andrés Orozco-Estrada? Herbert von Karajan? Leonard Bernstein? Daniel Barenboim? Alondra de la Parra? Claudio Abbado? Michael Boder? Paavo Jarvi? Does it really matter? They'll all be somewhat different, yet not a single one of these conductors will ruin the piece. Give me a well-recorded version, where the individual instruments aren't all buried by a massive string section. Are the blends good? Is there a full sound frequency? Is there some great bottom?

Somehow, a live video seems more special . . . watching the musicians play is more intimate and warm. Sometimes it's wonderfully fascinating.

And sometimes a video I had chosen long ago is no longer available, so I'll simply find another.

As for your own personal journey . . . I understand that your family doesn't love CM as you do. It's a similar situation with my wife as well. She'll hear some Classical Music, and her mind often makes the association with children's animated cartoons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
215 Posts
Thanks for the comments!

Sometimes a video I had chosen long ago is no longer available, and I'll find another.

As for your own personal journey . . . I understand that your family doesn't love CM as you do. It's a similar situation with my wife as well. She'll hear some Classical Music, and her mind often makes the association with children's animated cartoons.
Actually, I came back to share that I will put my wife onto your thread first! :) It is clear, concise, and easy to follow, and my wife will put on the earbuds and sit in front of her PC to watch, learn and listen. I've already sent her a number of your YouTube shares, and they are excellent! We were totally wowed by the Mozart Clarinet Concerto you put up! (y) You are showing me how to fill in my Baroque/Classical/Romantic collections, and that is very much appreciated. Chilham's thread is more pointed at the knowledgeable listener with a stronger listening background than I currently have, but the input from the membership there is a great read, so I know that it is worth the effort as well ;)

On the other hand, my son represents a greater challenge for a couple of reasons, some of is sociological, and some of it is that he is a listener first, and a watcher second when it comes to any music. Being a GenExer, his likes lean to Prog as well as Jazz Fusion, along with Visual Kei, which is not my cup of tea. He likes minimalism, soundscapes, and video games as well. He is a Robert Fripp follower of the first order, as well as David Bowie,,,. at least I am not tortured with Heavy Metal, angry Goth, and the likes... I am so glad :censored::)

We have our HDTV hooked up with a ROKU streaming device, but the ROKU YouTube app is not enjoyable, unless you pay for the service to avoid their excessive advertising. For that reason, I am using Spotify for that kind of session with my son. The TV is hooked up to a very good stereo system with a separate amplifier, so I can get his attention for a full listening session, one album at a time. His interests lie in the 20th century composers from Stravinsky & Bartok, going forward to Glass & Reich, etc. My collection and experience is weak in that area, so I've been hitting the 50% off Naxos sale at Presto Music grabbing up a lot of works that I sampled. I really wish people around here would post more Spotify examples of their loves when possible everywhere in this forum! If I listen & like a work I can save it to my Spotify library for further review. Spotify is a great research tool, but it has it's weaknesses as well. But I digress...

I found my way into the current composer offerings at Presto from spending time the Current Listening Vol VIII thread, & I am finding the cream of the crop from across the full spectrum, but I do plan on spending time to "rock his world" to light his fire!!! So again, thank you for what you do. It is clearly a labor of love. :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #391 ·
191

String Quintet No. 5 in D major, K. 593
WA Mozart
1790 (published 1793)


That's right, a quintet, not a quartet. It is scored for string quartet and an extra viola (two violins, two violas and cello), sometimes referred to as a "Viola Quintet".


The work is in standard (although modified) four movement form:

I. Larghetto - Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Menuetto: Allegretto
IV. Allegro


The opening Larghetto is considered quite unusual for Mozart, even more so since it's in 3/4 time. Even more surprisingly a modified version of this opening is brought back after the main section, then dismissed abruptly.

But most people cite the Adagio as being what makes this quintet so wonderful . . .

There's also a great fugal finale, so good, here's a music nerd score version of that 4th movement that points out just how clever Mozart could be.

This late work exemplifies just how cheeky Mozart's music is; there's just enough smartassiness in most of his works to make them lovable (rather than spiteful). Here, you can hear the violin written deliberately a beat behind the others, or themes that are made up mostly on upbeats rather than downbeats. I love how he lands on deceptive cadences, which tell me that Mozart thought the journey was better than the destination.






.

And here's the whole thing, played by the Kodaly Quartet with Avishai Chaimedes on 2nd viola for this performance for opening night of the 2016 Indian Summer in Levoca Festival. Concert given with the support of the Hungarian Institute in Bratislava.








••••••••••
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #392 ·
192

Concerto for Percussion Solo and Orchestra
Joseph Schwantner
1994


That's right; 1994. For me, that's practically yesterday. And for Classical Music, it's also practically yesterday.

So . . . It's in a standard three movement format.

I Con forza
II 'In Memoriam': Misterioso
III Ritmico con moto (with restrained energy) con forza


I'll let composer Joseph Schwantner describe his own work:

"The Concerto, cast in a three-movement arch-like design, opens with the soloist stationed near the other percussionists. A collaborative relationship develops between the soloist and his or her colleagues in an expanded ensemble that also includes the piano and the harp. The marimba and drums are most prominently featured in this first movement.

"Throughout the second movement, In Memoriam, a slow, dark-hued elegy, the soloist is placed center stage while the other percussionists remain silent. Two principal ideas appear: a pair of recurrent ringing sonorities played on the vibraphone and an insistent “heartbeat” motif articulated on the bass drum.

"The second movement leads directly into the fast and rhythmic third movement, which begins with an improvisatory section for the soloist. While continuing to improvise, the soloist walks back to the initial performance position of the first movement. As in that movement, the amplified marimba is again prominently featured. The final section, drawn from the drum motives of the first movement, proceeds to a high-energy cadenza and conclusion.

"The score bears the dedication “To the memory of Stephen Albert,” and was commissioned by Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York. The premiere was given by the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Slatkin conducting. Christopher Lamb was the soloist. The wind transcription was done by Andrew Boysen Jr."


- Program Note by Joseph Schwantner

The University of Texas Wind Ensemble
Thomas Burritt, Soloist
Jerry Junkin, conductor

Live in Bates Recital Hall - Austin, Texas
May 1, 2016

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #393 · (Edited)
00:00 I Con forza
07:00 II 'In Memoriam': Misterioso
18:50 III Ritmico con moto (with restrained energy) con forza


I didn't want to give away too much prior to y'all getting to experience a rather "new" piece, probably for the first time.


So . . . there is a Primary Percussionist (the soloist), and four additional supporting percussionists (the fifth percussionist is 'stage left', behind 5 timpani). Jeez, that's an awful lot of marimbas. I'm still confused at the 1st Percussionist, during the 1st mvt. seems to switch from Marimba to another Marimba at one point . . . I'm guessing that it's a xylophone, but I'm fairly clueless here. There's a few shots where you can see four percussionists all in synch on marimbas . . . quite impressive. I will say that the first few minutes reminded me more of film music, but I suppose that since Classical and Film music are twin sons from different mothers, I shouldn't be all that surprised.

I love the rack of bells in the 2nd movement, and the very subtle gong partially submerged in a tub of water. Oh, that rack of triangular bells is a set of Bianzhong, an ancient Chinese musical set of bronze bells. Even the fact that the percussionist has two triangles (of different sizes) is pretty nifty.

The 3rd mvt is really sweet, with the time shifts between 5/8 and 9/8 (or four counts of 5, followed by a count of 3) for awhile. I really love that kind of ****.

Given my own personal musical tastes, I'm actually somewhat surprised to find a recent Classical work that I'm actually excited about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #394 ·
193

String Quintet in E major, Op. 11, No. 5 (G 275)
Luigi Boccherini

1771


This quintet is famous for its minuet third movement (often referred to as "The Celebrated Minuet") which is often played as a standalone piece outside of the context of the full quintet.

The minuet has been used extensively in popular media including movies, television and video games. It has often been used to depict late 18th / early 19th century society in the United States, most especially during the Revolutionary War. It was most notably used in The Time of Their Lives (1946), the British black comedy The Ladykillers (1955) with Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers, and as the music box music in Two Rode Together.

It was also used in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), and even more famously, in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

And it's also a piece I played as a kid, in a piano transcription.

Unlike the Mozart Quintet in D, this quintet adds an extra cello instead of an extra viola.

It should be pointed out that Boccherini wrote more than 120 string quintets. This Quintet is the fifth of a set of six from his Op.11 composed in 1771 (but was for quite some time known as Op.13 No.5).

It's in four movements

I. Andante mosso, amoroso
II. Allegro con spirito
III. Minuetto
IV. Rondo. Andante


The famous minuet starts at 12:30

Luigi Boccherini, Quintetto per archi in mi maggiore Op.11, No.5, G275
Lukas Stepp, Tobias Feldmann, Philipp Bonhoeffer, Jakob Stepp, & Kristaps Bergs

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #395 ·
194

Concerto for Bassoon in F Major, Op. 75 (J. 127)
Carl Maria von Weber

1811/revised 1822


Two "Firsts" here . . . . the first time this list has featured the bassoon, and the first piece on the list by Weber (1786 - 1826).

Weber was one of the first significant composers of the Romantic era. He was born in the Prince-Bishopric of Lubeck, an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire until 1803. Oh, yeah. Where's that?

That would put it in the mid-1900s Prussia, or in today's north Germany, with a coastline on the southwestern Baltic Sea.

Weber
's bassoon concerto is among the most frequently played by bassoonists.

The concerto consists of three movements in the standard fast-slow-fast pattern:

I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Adagio
III. Rondo: Allegro


What's of note here, though, is the bassoon itself, which is capable of a wide range of characters and emotions, which Weber capitalizes upon.

After exploring the many different capabilities, at the end of the piece after the final statement of the theme, the bassoonist engages in a tornado of scales and arpeggios, showing off in one of the bassoon repertoire's flashiest and most virtuosic finales.

Here's bassoonist Drew Pattison, with Raphael Jimenez conducting the Oberlin Orchestra



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #396 ·
195

"Un Bel Di Vedremo", Madame Butterfly, Act II
Giacomo Puccini
1904


The libretto of the opera is based in part on the short story "Madame Butterfly" (1898) by John Luther Long – which in turn was based partially on stories told to Long by his sister Jennie Correll and partially on the semi-autographical 1887 French novel Madame Chrysanth?me by Pierre Loti.

"Un bel di vedremo" ("One fine day we’ll see") is a soprano aria from the opera when she imagines and performs the return of Pinkerton on a white ship, signaled by a thread of smoke on the far horizon.

The context: In the first act of Madama Butterfly, Lieutenant Pinkerton is a soldier from the United States stationed in Japan, who rents a house from a real estate agent/marriage broker. Along with the house, three servants and a geisha that is to be Pinkerton's wife are supplied. Pinkerton tells his friend that he lives from moment to moment and that he ultimately dreams of marrying a U.S. woman instead.

Despite his future plans, Pinkerton signs the contract and agrees to marry Cio-Cio San, the geisha called Madama Butterfly. Cio-Cio San falls deeply in love with Pinkerton, going so far as to denounce her own Japanese faith, converting to Christianity for Pinkerton. Little does she know that Pinkerton shares similar feelings. Shortly after their marriage ceremony, Pinkerton is called out of Japan.

The second act begins three years later during which time Madama Butterfly prayed for his return. Her servant Suzuki pities her and repeatedly tells her that Pinkerton is never going to come back, but Madama Butterfly believes differently. She sings "Un bel di, vedremo" as she envisions that day Pinkerton's ship arrives into port, and how she'll see it through the window in their home that sits high atop a hill.

One good day, we will see
Arising a strand of smoke
Over the far horizon on the sea
And then the ship appears
And then the ship is white
It enters into the port, it rumbles its salute.

Do you see it? He is coming!
I don't go down to meet him, not I.
I stay upon the edge of the hill
And I wait a long time
but I do not grow weary of the long wait.

And leaving from the crowded city,
A man, a little speck
Climbing the hill.
Who is it? Who is it?
And as he arrives
What will he say? What will he say?
He will call Butterfly from the distance

I without answering
Stay hidden
A little to tease him,
A little as to not die.

At the first meeting,
And then a little troubled
He will call, he will call
"Little one, dear wife
Blossom of orange"
The names he called me at his last coming.

All this will happen,
I promise you this
Hold back your fears -
I with secure faith wait for him.



Maria Callas sings. Movie scenes - Memoirs of a Geisha, a historical novel by American author Arthur Golden, published in 1997.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #397 · (Edited)
196
Solemn Vespers (Vesperae solennes de confessore) K. 339
W.A. Mozart
1780

"Solemn Vespers for a Confessor"
is a sacred choral composition for choir, vocal soloists and small chamber orchestra, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1780 in Salzburg. The Text is from Psalms 110–113, 117; Magnificat.

It's divided into six movements, which could be separated to accommodate the needs of the mass, which makes them also function well as stand-alone works:

Dixit Dominus (Psalm 110)
Confitebor tibi Domine (Psalm 111)
Beatus vir qui timet Dominum (Psalm 112)
Laudate pueri Dominum (Psalm 113)
Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (Psalm 117)
Magnificat (Canticle for Vespers)

Definitely written in an older church style, yet with some modern homophonic and melodic stylings.

There's nothing really groundbreaking here, but what you do get is some of the most beautiful and divine music of the late 1700s, especially the sublimely gorgeous Laudate Dominum for soprano and chorus, a piece that was so popular in the nineteenth century.

Here's a 2016 performance from the Tucson Masterworks Chorale led by Artistic Director Jonathan Kim, and Soloists Soprano Dori Scholer, Mezzo-Soprano Susan Stokes, Tenor Hugo Vera, and Baritone Mark Hockenberry.

Twenty-eight minutes of joy. Starts at about the 1:00 mark.

If you don't have the 30 minutes to spare, you might want to hear the Laudate Dominum, which starts at 20:22.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #398 ·
198

“Non ti scordar di me”
Ernesto de Curtis
1912



Well, for most folks, even those that are fans of Classical music, the name of Italian composer Ernesto de Curtis won’t ring a bell. He was born in 1875 and died in 1937, and was a great-grandson of composer Saverio Mercadante and the brother of poet Giambattista De Curtis.

He is mostly known as a Classical “songwriter”, although he was an accomplished pianist.

This may very well be the most beautiful song you will hear today.

Ernesto de Curtis - “Non ti scordar di me” - Luciano Pavarotti

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #399 · (Edited)
199
The Poem of Ecstasy (Le Poème de l'extase), Op. 54,

Alexander Scriabin
1908

Scriabin, a Russian synæsthete, sometimes referred to his Poem of Ecstasy as his Fourth Symphony, although it probably falls under the description of Tone Poem, as it avoids the conventional divisions of individual movements.

Scriabin approved the following text for the program notes at the premiere of the symphony:

The Poem of Ecstasy is the Joy of Liberated Action. The Cosmos, i.e., Spirit, is Eternal Creation without External Motivation, a Divine Play of Worlds. The Creative Spirit, i.e., the Universe at Play, is not conscious of the Absoluteness of its creativeness, having subordinated itself to a Finality and made creativity a means toward an end. The stronger the pulse beat of life and the more rapid the precipitation of rhythms, the more clearly the awareness comes to the Spirit that it is consubstantial with creativity itself. When the Spirit has attained the supreme culmination of its activity and has been torn away from the embraces of teleology and relativity, when it has exhausted completely its substance and its liberated active energy, the Time of Ecstasy shall arrive.

There is an awful lot to unpack here, notably Scriabin’s use of the “Mystic Chord” (or, as it called it, the Chord of the Pleroma), based on a 6-note whole tone scale, and his brilliant skill avoiding tonal resolution. He described this chord as being "designed to afford instant apprehension of -that is, to reveal- what was in essence beyond the mind of man to conceptualize. Its preternatural stillness was a Gnostic intimation of a hidden otherness."

There are three thematic elements he utilizes, first separately, then together in varying configurations, developed in ingenious ways.

He also wrote a 300-line poem to accompany the piece (as an explanation, not as part of the work).

And once the second (and final) climax hits, he adds bells and organ to help wrap it all up.

If you find this to your liking, there is an awful lot of analysis available to lead you down a rather satisfying rabbit hole.

 
381 - 399 of 399 Posts
Top