Saturday, May 31, 2014

Programming - June 2014

=====================================================================

Monthly Theme


Three years ago today, I published the first post on my Tuesday Blog on TalkClassical, and to mark the occasion, I have prepared a set of montages that pick-up some of the playlists (or in some cases, modify them) we considered on past Tuesday posts in a series I call "From Tuesday to Friday".
Pierre’s Tuesday Blog

Once or Twice a Fortnight

Back with a pair pf operas, both exploring Seamstresses in love with Poets: Charpentier's Louise and Puccini's La Boheme

NOTE: Since OTF posts do not get published on set dates, make sure to visit OperaLively regularly or …

Ssubscribe to our ITYWLTMT Fan Page on Facebook

All of our Tuesday, Friday and ad-hoc posts, as well as OTF and YouTube Channel updates get regularly mentioned (with links) on our Fan Page. If you are a user of Facebook, simply subscribe to get notified so you never miss anything we do!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Montage # 158 – Beethoven: Sonatas & Concerto

As of  June 27, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:

https://archive.org/details/pcast158



pcast158-Playlist.pdf

=====================================================================
The last chapter in our Unfinished Business series is an all-Beethoven program, which includes two of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas and one of his five piano concertos.

In 2011 and 2012, we undertook what I called at the time the “Beethoven Project”, a set of regular montages that aimed to explore all of the Beethoven symphonies and concertos. One of the earliest installments of that project was a montage that featured the Egmont overture, the Eroica Symphony and one movement from the Emperor concerto, which I aptly called “Three E’s in Beethoven”. The three works not only shared the letter “E”, they also shared a common trait – Beethoven’s “humanist” streak, in his own way (a lot like our Wartime symphonies from last week showed) a tribute to the human spirit.

Of the five Beethoven concertos, the fifth (Emperor) is surely his best known, and its powerful rondo stands out as probably a precursor of the great piano concertos that will follow in the coming century – notably the great Russian concertos, part virtuoso showpiece and part catchy tune. The late great Vladimir Horowitz is the soloist, with Fritz Reiner conducting the RCA Victor Symphony (i.e. the NBC Symphony).

My favourite Beethoven piano concerto is not the Emperor, but rather the fourth, which was featured in a different montage which I called “Serene Beethoven”, along with a pair of “pastorals” – the sixth symphony and the piano sonata no. 15, also nicknamed “pastoral”. The incomplete performance by Vladimir Ashkenazy is one of two “complete” sonatas featured this week, along with the 14th sonata – probably one of his most notorious, the Moonlight sonata in a performance by Wilhelm Kempff, aiming to complete our “Night Time” montage.


I think you will love this music too! 


Friday, May 23, 2014

Montage # 157 – Sibelius & Prokofiev Symphonies no. 5

As of  June 20, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:

https://archive.org/details/pcast157



pcast157-Playlist.pdf

=====================================================================

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, so it is appropriate to reconsider two symphonies that were explored in November 2011, when we looked at the music of the First and Second World Wars.

In my World War II montage, I sampled a pair of Russian symphonies, one by Shostakovich (his Leningrad symphony) and Prokofiev’s fifth. In 1944, Prokofiev moved to a composer's colony outside Moscow in order to compose what would turn out to be the most popular of all his symphonies, both within Russia and abroad. He gave out in a statement at the time that he intended it as "a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit." He added "I cannot say that I deliberately chose this theme. It was born in me and clamoured for expression. The music matured within me. It filled my soul."

Both Scandinavian composers Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius wrote important symphonies during the 1914-18 war. Nielsen’s Inextinguishable symphony (no. 4) and his untitled no. 5, foreshadowing Prokofiev’s statements, considered the human spirit and how it emerged from the conflict. As the title of his symphony suggests, the human spirit was indeed inextinguishable in spite of the horrors of the War, and the human spirit emerges victorious in a showdown between the orchestra and kettle drums that mark the apotheosis of the fifth’s first section.

The 1910s were a decade of change for the symphonic form which had existed for over a century. Meanwhile, various landmark works in other genres had presented further radical developments. In 1909 Schönberg continued pushing for more dissonant and chromatic harmonies in his Five Pieces for Orchestra. From 1910–1913 Igor Stravinsky premiered his innovative and revolutionary ballets. Ravel and Debussy were at work developing and performing their Impressionistic music.

Though having spent nearly 30 years in the public spotlight, Jean Sibelius found his works receiving poor reviews for the first time and he was beginning to sense his own eclipse as a contending modernist. The moid-1910 saw Sibelius at a crossroads of sorts, forcing him to choose between changing his style to fill the more modern desires of audiences or continue composing as he felt best fit.

Sibelius was commissioned to write his fifth symphony by the Finnish government in honor of his 50th birthday, which had been declared a national holiday. The first version of this symphony (1915) kept his orchestral style (consonant sonorities, woodwind lines in parallel thirds, rich melodic development, etc.) while further developing his structural style. The structure was firther refined in a revised (1919) version, which is the one we hear most often.


I think you will love this music too.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Montage # 156 – Mendelssohn & Mahler Symphonies no. 4

As of  June 13, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:

https://archive.org/details/pcast156



pcast156-Playlist.pdf

=====================================================================

The two symphonies programmed today address unfinished business from Digital Vinyl and Musical Holiday in Italy, both 2011 montages.

Mendelssohn's Fourth symophony result from Mendelssohn's European travels in the late 1820's, which also gave us his Scottish Symphony. Completed in Berlin, the symphony was first performed in London in 1833 and - from what we can read - didn't completely please Mendelssohn. He planned to do complete rewrites of several of its movements but - thank Goodness - he never got around to it!

As we pointed out recently in discussion his Third symphony, Mahler's early symphonies all find theor inspiration from the many texts of Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Mahler adapted 10 songs set for soprano or baritone and orchestra as a cycle in 1905, but in total 12 orchestral songs exist, and a similar number of songs for voice and piano.

"Das irdische Leben" – The Earthly Life (composed after April 1892) is one of these songs that was recycled to be used in one of these symphonies - the Fourth. Another interesting addition to the symphony is the "mistuned" violin in the second movement - representing the Devil - though the overall gig atmosphere shows him as a playful not necessarily maleficent Hades.

I think you will love this music too!







Friday, May 9, 2014

Montage # 155 - Korngold & Beethoven: Violin Concertos

As of  June 6, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:

https://archive.org/details/pcast155



=====================================================================

Today's installment of "Unfinished Business" takes a look back - way, way back - at a pair of montages that were put together in the early days of 2011 (before we were even doing bilingual posts!)

The works have this n common: they are both concertos by Austrian composers, and both are in the key of D Major: works by Beethoven and and Erich Korngold.

The Korngold was programmed in our Canada Day (July 1st) podcast of 2011, along with a bevy of works featuring Canadian artists and composers. Among the "unfinished" works we also have some selections from the Goldberg Variations featurmg you-know-who and a pair of excerpts fir solo piano of Oscar Peterson's Canadiana Suite. The concerto was performed then - and today - by Manitoba's James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony.t

The Beethoven was embedded in a montage of Digital Vinyl tracks, along with "unfinished" fragments of Mahler's Fourth and the Ravel ballet Daphnis et Chloe. The former Mahler is on deck for next week's podcast... The violin concerto is performed (then, and now) by Christian Ferras and the Berlin Philharmonic.

BTW - we also featured the Beethoven "piano and orchestra" transcription of the violin concerto in 2012 in our look at Ronald Brautigam's Beethoven piano cycle.

I think you will love this music too!










Friday, May 2, 2014

Montage # 154 – Schumann & Tchaikovsky Symphonies no. 1

As of  May 30, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:

https://archive.org/details/pcast154



pcast154-Playlist.pdf

=====================================================================

I remember, when I was a student, listening to a station emanating from the Greater Toronto Area that prided itself in "not playing the same songs twice". Obviously, how many times a week can one expect to hear "Stairway to Heaven", even if it is a true classic of the Rock repertoire?

In putting together content for this blog, I have tried to avoid "going back to the well". I have set some tracks multiple times, and at least twice without realizing I had already programmed them! I mean, there's well-over 500 years of music, thousands upon thousands of composers, why then always go back and re-program works?

Well, this month, I'm purposely going back to works we already sampled. Why? Because, in many cases, these works were only programmed as "fragments" - a single movement, a single song from a set of lieder, etc, etc. Thus, this is why I've called this month's arc "Unfinished Business".

This week;s pair of works have a few things in common: they are both "first symphonies", they are both inspired by seasons, and they are both important - albeit not necessarily most important - compositions for their respective composers.

In our "Spring" podcast, I programmed a number of work frangments from: Grieg's Lyric Pieces for piano, Copland's Appalachian Spring, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (which ended up getting re-programmed in its entirety the following year) and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, as well as Schumann's First Synphony subtitled "Spring". Oft recorded, this symphony is light-hearted and very appropriate for the season. The performance this week, as was the case originally, is that conducted by Riccardo Chailly and the Concertgebouw orchestra.

I realize that winter was especially hard this year (remember the Polar Vertex?) but I wanted to go back to unfinished business from our "Winter" Podcast. Along with an incomplete performance of Verdi's "Four Seasons" ballet from I Vespri Siciliani, I had programmed a movement from Tchaikovsky's Winter Daydreams symphony. Some will say that this early work doesn't stack up to the great trio of late symphonies we programmed very early on in our podcasting project, however it does have great atmosphere and this performance by Andrew Litton and the Bouremouth Symphony has its fair share of charm.

I think you will love this music too!



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Programming - May 2014

=====================================================================

Monthly Theme


Through the years, I have used single portions (movements, sections, ...) of larger works in my weekly montages. This month, we will return to some of these fragmentary works, and provide complete peformances (from the performance and artists we originally used) in an arc I like to call "Unfinished Business".

Pierre’s Tuesday Blog

Once or Twice a Fortnight

Nack with a pair pof pperas, bith exploring Abbe Prevost's story of Manon Lescaut: operas by Massenet and Puccini.

NOTE: Since OTF posts do not get published on set dates, make sure to visit OperaLively regularly or …

Ssubscribe to our ITYWLTMT Fan Page on Facebook
All of our Tuesday, Friday and ad-hoc posts, as well as OTF and YouTube Channel updates get regularly mentioned (with links) on our Fan Page. If you are a user of Facebook, simply subscribe to get notified so you never miss anything we do!