Friday, June 6, 2014

Montage # 159 – Symphonies in C

As of  July 4, 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:


This week’s blog post and podcast begins a look at playlists we've assembled for Tuesday blogs that we are now revisiting and issuing as a Friday montage. One such playlist is the one we’d assembled two years ago on symphonies written to the key of C Major.
The original playlist proposed listening to symphonies by Beethoven (his first), Schubert (his sixth), and unnumbered symphonies by Stravinsky and Bizet. The Beethoven (already presented in our Beethoven’s #1montage of the Fall of 2011) and the Stravinsky (would have busted our 90 minute quota) aren’t part of this week’s montage, and are replaced by one of Haydn’s London Symphonies – his 97th – in a vintage mono recording by Hermann Scherchen with the “other” Vienna orchestra (the Symphony, not the Philharmonic). Scherchen is something of “performer” – a la Stokowski – and his Haydn symphonies from the 1950’s decry they tendencies of the time, so not a HIP performance.
The remaining symphonies in the original playlist are back here today – Schubert’s “little” C Major (which, as I pointed out back then is more a “relative” term, as it certainly dwarfs his “Great” C Major symphony) is a transitional symphony, moving from Haydn’s formulaic classical style to the more romantic-sounding latter Schubert symphonies.
As for the symphony by a 17 tear-old Bizet, it is composed in the French vein, clearly influenced by Gounod’s “little symphony” in D and nowhere as ominous as the ones that will be written by the likes of Saint-Saens and Franck in the latter part of the 1800s. It is a delightful, airy work that – thank Goodness – was brought back to life in the 1930’s.

I think you will love this music too.