Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Beethoven Two-For: Overtures and Emperor Concerto


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.


This month's installment of our #Beethoven2020 series (the penultimate installment) shares two vinyl albums from my collection - one of them completes the "piano concerto" cycle we undertook when er launched this series earlier this year.

Let's start there - Rudolf Serkin recorded all of the Beethoven concertos - some of them more than once, under Eugene Ormandy, Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein, The Bernstein collaboration on the Emperor concerto was reissued several times, including under the "Great Performances" series, which is how I acquired it.

Manu conductors have recorded the Beethoven overtures - either as filler for their symphony cycles like Bernstein, von Dohnanyi and Leibowitz did or as stand-alone releases. This "Resonance" reissue combines overtures recorded by Karl Böhm with the Vienna Philharmonic with a pair of Fidelio overtures from his landmark recording of the opera with Staatskapelle Dresden.

Happy Listening!


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Overture To Goethe's Tragedy "Egmont", Op. 84
Overture To H.J. V. Collin's Tragedy "Coriolanus", Op. 62
Overture To The Ballet "The Creatures Of Prometheus", Op. 43
Wiener Philharmoniker
Overture "Fidelio", Op. 72b
Overture "Leonora No. 3", Op. 72a
Staatskapelle Dresden
Conductor – Karl Böhm
Deutsche Grammophon ‎ Resonance – 2535 135
Format: Vinyl, LP, Reissue
DISCOGS - https://www.discogs.com/Beethoven-Ka...lease/10018255

Concerto No. 5 In E-Flat Major For Piano & Orchestra, Op. 73 "Emperor"
Piano – Rudolf Serkin
Orchestra –New York Philharmonic
Conductor – Leonard Bernstein

CBS Great Performances ‎– MY 37223
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
DISCOGS - https://www.discogs.com/Ludwig-van-B...elease/1436994


Friday, October 23, 2020

Back to Bach – Orgelwerke

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from October 18, 2013. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/Pcast127


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For a few years, we used to feature Podcast Vault podcasts on the Tuesday Blog, and this week's selection was indeed redone in March of 2014. The title I used at that time was "Three Organs and Three Organists" and though the bulk of the musing essentially repeated the original Friday musing, there was a notable exception and let me recycle iy here:

Seeing all these colonnades of bone so methodically ranged about, would you not think you were inside of the great Haarlem organ, and gazing upon its thousand pipes?

This description of the mouth of a whale, quoted from the Melville novel Moby Dick makes a direct reference to the historic Christiaan Müller organ of the St.-Bavokerk in the Dutch city of Haarlem. It is one of the world's most historically important organs, whose original construction dates back 1735-38, thus contemporary to Bach’s lifetime. Dutch organist and composer Piet Kee performs eight short preludes and fugues for organ (BWV 553-560) on this venerable instrument.

Our two other organists - and organs - come from different parts of the Globe; Ian Tracey performs the Passacaglia and Fugue BWV 582 in this montage on the grand Blancfort organ at Our Lady of Incarnation church in Marbella, Spain. Glenn Gould plays selections from The ARt of the Fugue on the Casavant organ at All Saints' Kingsway Anglican Church in Toronto.

The original post (under my old bilingual format) proposed two YouTube clips (on in the French commentary, the other in the English commentary). Today's filler is an altogether different performance of the Art of the Fugue, this one on the Ahrend & Brunzema organ, , Kirche St. Johann, Bremen-Oberneuland by Herbert Tachezi.



I think you will (still) love this music too.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Arthur Fiedler (1894 - 1979)

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from February 7, 2014. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast142


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In order to complete our series of podcasts entrusted to “memorable conductors”, this week's throwback montage cedes the podium to the late Arthur Fiedler, associated with the current of “popular concerts” in the United States (and elsewhere) where we program works from the repertoire to others we don’t usually hear during symphonic concerts.

A seriously trained musician and member of the Boston Symphony (as was his father for that matter), in 1924 he created the Boston Sinfonietta, with which he began a series of concerts outside of his duties at the BSO. This orchestra - which would later become the Fieldler Sinfonietta on record – stuck to the traditional repertoire. In 1930 he was hired as conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, where he held musical direction for nearly half a century. Under Fiedler's direction, the "Pops" have made more recordings than any orchestra in the world, selling over 50 million records and cassettes. In addition, Fiedler collaborated for 26 seasons with the San Francisco Pops Orchestra, and occasionally conducted other orchestras around the world.

The montage explores the more or less “typical” content for Fiedler and his “Pops”. Our bonus clips feature more Fieldler and the Pops. The album title (Evening at Pops) refers to his decade of television concerts produced WGBH fir PBS.


I think you will (still) love this music too.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Mozart, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Alexander Gibson, Henryk Szeryng ‎– The Violin Concertos

 


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.


This week's Tuesday Blog is a near-COver2Cover share of Henryk Szeryng's complete Mozart Violin Concerto cycle.

Back in February of 2016, I shared in these pages a vinyl pressing of two of these concerti - numbers 3 and 5. Today, we share the remaining tracks from that cycle, including three short concerto movements.

As I wrote back then, Szeryng's noble tone, flawless technique, and eloquent expressivity are wonderfully well-suited to Mozart's youthful concertos, and his lyrical yet playful interpretations touch the elegant impetuosity at the heart of the music.

Also worth noting, the fine backdrop offered by Sir Alexander Gibson and the New Philharmonia orchestra.

Enjoy!


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto #1 In B Flat, K. 207
Violin Concerto #2 In D, K. 211
Adagio In E, K. 261
Violin Concerto #4 In D, K. 218
Rondo In B Flat, K. 269
Rondo In C, K. 373

Conductor – Alexander Gibson
Orchestra – New Philharmonia Orchestra
Violin – Henryk Szeryng
Philips ‎ Silver Line Classics – 422 256-2

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/Mozart-New-P...elease/5527510


Friday, October 9, 2020

Saint-Saëns‘ cello

No. 345 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.


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Today marks Camille Saint-Saëns' birthday )born OTD in 1835) and to celebrate, I created a montage of works he composed for Cello and orchestra.

Saint-Saëns was a pianist and organist or renown, but he did compose worls for violin and for cello at different times during a career that spanned into the earky 20th century.

The First Cello Concerto has long been one of Saint- Saëns’s most popular pieces,; although officially written in one continuous movement, such a description is misleading in that the music follows concerto convention by dividing the music into three distinct sections, with a fast-slow-fast structure. It is only in one movement inasmuch as each movement continues without a pause. The performance chosen  here today, featuring canadian cellist Shauna Rolston, was the one remaining work from a CBC recording she made with the Calgary Philharmonic under Mario Bernardi (the other works on the album were featured in past montages).

While the First Cello Concerto was written during a period of post-war social readjustment, the Second—composed three decades later in 1902—came at a time of significant upheavals in the French musical landscape. This was the year that saw the premiere of Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande, a work that was not to the taste of Saint-Saëns, nor to many other critics of the time. Saint-Saëns’ new cello concerto was even less successful, with one critic denouncing it after its premiere on 5 February 1905 as ‘bad music well written’—a phrase that plagued the composer’s music for years. A principle objection was the physical demands made of the soloist. Joseph Hollman (1852–1926), was an energetic, muscular player, and Saint-Saëns sought to exploit these characteristics, but to the detriment of its reception. Although performances and recordings of the Second Cello Concerto have become more frequent in recent years, it is still greatly overshadowed by the First, and this is in no small part due to the music’s considerable technical difficulties with many solo passages, huge leaps, and runs that require two staves to accommodate them.

Remaining pieces on the album are shorter concertante works, inclusing the Swan from the Carnival of the Animals. The exception is the Suite in D minor, originally conceived for cello and piano, but was revised and orchestrated in 1919 (Saint-Saëns wrote two new movements for the orchestral version, the Gavotte and the Tarentelle).

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Opera on Broadway

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from October 31, 2014. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast171


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Our Podcast Vault selection this week feeds a thematic arc on our podcasting channel this week which I called “Operation Opera”.

Two of the titles released this week featured works by George Gershwin, a composer who is usually associated with musicals and with the famous New York theater district, Broadway.

One of the works we shared - Blue Monday - was included in a revue and the other, Porgy and Bess, was a daring attempt to put on a "grand opera". Even though Porgy is now staged by major operatic companies, its premiere was on Broadway, not the Met.

The post that originally accompanied today's share explored the opera phenomenon in the context of accessibility, and the pair of operas composed in the mid-1940s by Menotti are fine examples of this attempt to bring together the medium of opera and access to an audience that is less familiar with the same medium.

The bonus clip, another short opera by the same composer, attempts the same experiment with the radio audience. The Old Maid and the Thief is a short 14-scene opera composed expressly for radio, exploring a contemporary theme, in a language familiar to listeners. The chosen performance is the original feed from the NBC company, with the introduction (and synopsis) of the time.


I think you will (still) love this music too.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Franz Schubert Dressed to the Nines

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from September 26, 2014. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast166


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Our Podcast Vault montage this week come from our “Dressed to the Nines” series of 2014, this time focused on Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony.

We’ve done quite a number of Schubert musings over the years, considering many aspects of his output – lieder, chamber music and his orchestral music. In fairness, his orchestral output can be characterized as modest when compared to other aspects of his production, but some of these works – this ninth symphony more specifically – is noteworthy dues to its clear “late romantic” atmosphere.

The other feature work on the montage – selections from his music for Rosamunde. By all accounts the 1820 production of the play Die Zauberharfe was a flop. There were, however, positive things to say about Schubert’s musical prowess; scholars have noted that Schubert takes many steps here towards his mature style, tempering both his lyrical genius and displaying masterful motivic development.

Schubert did not write an overture to his drama Rosamunde, which premiered on December 20, 1823, and he instead used a variety of overtures, including at one point, the Act I Overture from Die Zauberharfe. A more explicit connection between these two dramas comes from a piano forte duet, purportedly arranged by Schubert in 1825 with an explicit description “Overture to the play ‘Rosamunde’.” Whether the association is correct or not, the reception history of Die Zauberharfe has been unquestionably attached to the later production.

Our filler clip today, keeping with the “nines” is Schubert’s piano sonata no. 9, performed in its entirety here by Alfred Brendel.




I thin you will (still) love this music too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Beethoven - Sviatoslav Richter, Piano Concerto No. 3

 


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.


This week's post on our ongoing #Beethoven2020 series is a Vinyl program featuring Sviatoslav Rchter playing Beethoven's third piano concerto.

Beethoven composed his Piano Concerto No. 3 at the time when he still performed himself, his increasing deafness would soon end his career as a piano virtuoso.

A quick review of Richter's Beethoven output on record has him performing cello sonatas as accompanist, and as soloist on the piano sonatas (he probably recorded them all in the USSR over a span of 30 years) but no "complete" concerto cycle. From what I could find, he recorded this concerto three times, twice with Kurt Sanderling (in Russia with the Moscow Youth Symphony and with the Vienna Symphony for DGG) and this recording (conveniently reissued for Melodiya in the Russia) for EMI with the Philharmona under Riccardo Muti.

The filler piece, the Andante Favori, is another Richter specialty, found in a few of his recordings.

Happy listening


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770- 1827)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37
Andante Favori Wo0 57 In F Major

Piano – Sviatoslav Richter
Orchestra – Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor – Riccardo Muti
Recorded: 19 & 20. IX. 1977, Abbey Road Studios, London.
Angel Records ‎– AM-534717
Series: Angel Master Series –
Format: Vinyl, LP, Reissue, Remastered (ADA)
Reissued: 1985

DETAILS - https://www.discogs.com/Beethoven-Sv...elease/8638699



Friday, September 18, 2020

Jewish Inspirations

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from September 22, 2017. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast259


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Today’s post marks the Jewish New Year-  Rosh Hashana - which technically starts at sunset tonight and ends at sunset this coming Sunday. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah (literally "day of shouting or blasting"). It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days hat occur in the early autumn of the Northern Hemisphere.

Its observance involves praying, congargating in synagogue, personal reflection, and hearing the shofar, an ancient musical horn. I guess it is appropriate to associate music with this holidaty, as we do today with some selection of “Jewish tradition”.

As I pointed out in the original commentary for today’s montage, music of Jewish tradition falls somewhere between what we think of as being music of secular, national tradition and religious / sacred music. None of the pieces I selected for this montage of music of Jewish inspiration are in my view religious in nature, but they do share the common distinctive sound, at times “schmaltzy” we associate with Jewish folk music.

The filler piece this week, Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, is styled as an “Adagio on 2 Hebrew Melodies for Cello and Orchestra”. It predates Bloch’s Schelomo by about 30 years. Bruch, a Protestant, first became acquainted with the Kol Nidrei melody through the cantor-in-chief of Berlin, Abraham Jacob Lichtenstein. Cantor Lichtenstein was known to have cordial relations with many Christian musicians and supported Bruch's interest in Jewish folk music. While some commentators have criticized the lack of Jewish sentiment in Bruch's piece, Bruch never presumed to write Jewish music.

The clip here is a performance by Jacqueline Du Pré, with the Israel Philharmonic under her then-husband, Daniel Barenboim.




I think you will (still) love this music too.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Grande messe des morts

 


This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from March 15, 2013. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/GrandeMesseDesMorts 


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This week’s throwback montage was chosen to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the terrir attacks of September 11, 2001. Hector Berlioz's 1837 Grande Messe des Morts ("Great Mass for the Dead," often referred to as his Requiem Mass) is an appropriate work to mark this somber anniversary. As I pointed out in the original commentary, the performance of the Requiem I retained marked another commemoration – the bombing of Dresden by Allied forces at the height of the Second World War.

In a Classical Notes article, we are reminded that, although Berlioz retained warm memories of his religious upbringing, he referred to God as "standing aloof in his infinite unconcern," dismissed worship as "revolting and absurd," called Catholicism "charming now that it no longer burns people. Berlioz's cynical attitude colors perceptions that his Requiem is predominantly secular.

The article provides critiques of Berlioz’s Requiem that, some might say; underscore the dichotomy of Berlioz’s agnostic views and the Mass’ ambitious scale. George Bernard Shaw disparaged the Berlioz Requiem as "only a peg to hang his tremendous music on; to a genuinely religious man the introduction of elaborate sensational instrumental effects into acts of worship would have seemed blasphemous." One suspects that such reproaches reflect the critics' shallow view of religion as merely providing worshipers with spiritual comfort, a narrow purpose to which they also consign requiems. Andreas Kluge credits Berlioz with balancing social protest with religious hope, "rais[ing] a voice of protest at human suffering on earth while also casting a wistful glance in the direction of divine redemption in the world to come."

Our filler work, marking the tenth anniversary of the 1830 Revolution, is the Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale, comprising three sections evoking eruptions of battle amidst a mournful cortege, a funeral oration as the victims were reinterred in a new commemorative monument in the Place de la Bastille, and a hymn of glory as the tomb was sealed. Initially written for a large symphonic band, in 1842 he added string and choral parts "which, although not obligatory, add considerably to the effect."

The filler, as for the main work this week, is performed under Sir Colin Davis.


I think you will (still) love this music too.


OTF Link - https://operalively.com/forums/showthread.php/3284-OTF-Grande-Messe-des-Morts

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Mozart - Symphony No.1 - 9 - Leinsdorf - 1956

 


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.


This week’s Tuesday Blog ushers in the return from our Summer semi-hiatus and to our bi-monthly format. For September, I have two posts planned (and, for reasons of programming logistics, there won’t be a “fifth Tuesday” montage for the quarter). Among other news. In addition to our traditional YouTube share, I am also posting this share to my podcasting channel – check it out when you have a chance!

Three of the final four Cover2Cover shares this year will be dedicated to Mozart, and two of these (today’s and a later share in December) cover what I will call the alpha and the omega of his symphonic output.

The "Italian" style of symphony, often used as overture and entr'acte in opera houses, became a standard three-movement form: a fast movement, a slow movement, and another fast movement. Haydn and Mozart, whose early symphonies were in this form, eventually replaced it with a four-movement form through the addition of a second middle movement.

The numbering of Mozart's 60-odd symphonic works is hideously confused, since everything after No. 41 is actually early music that was either undiscovered or for some reason unnumbered by Köchel when the original Mozart catalogue was first compiled. The early symphonies are all of interest, but of much less worth than the later works. Some of the early symphonies have doubtful provenance – e.g. No. 2, K.17 is probably by his father, Leopold, and No. 3 K. 18 is by Carl Friedrich Abel (his Op. 7. No. 6) who was J. C. Bach’s concert-giving colleague in London.

This week’s share features the first nine , taken from Erich Leinsdorf’s 1950s complete Mozart symphonies recorded with the Royal Philharmonic. Because the Royal Philharmonic recorded “exclusively” with EMI, the name of the orchestra for these Winchester recordings was dubbed “Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of London”. These were reissued in the early days of CD in “Double Decker” sets for MCA records, which owned the Winchester catalogue at the time. Symphonies 1-8 were on the first disc of one such set, and I added number 9 as a “bonus”.

Happy listening!


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony #1 in E Flat Major, K.16
Symphony #2 in B Flat Major, K.17
Symphony #3 in E Flat Major, K.18
Symphony #4 in D major, K.19
Symphony #5 in B Flat Major, K.22
Symphony #6 in F Major, K.43
Symphony #7 in D Major, K.45
Symphony #8 in D Major, K.48
Symphony #9 in C Major, K.73

Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra Of London
Erich Leinsdorf, conducting

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/Wolfgang-Ama...elease/6300013


Friday, September 4, 2020

Modern Baroque

No. 344of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player f ound on this page.


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This week’s montage looks at work from twentieth century composers that model themselves or repurpose music in the baroque tradition.

The first composer on the list, Igor Stravinsky, went through what has been largely characterized as his “neo-classical” period from about the end of the First Workd War to the early 1950’s. In that time, as an example, he composed his ballet Pulcinella, where he “reworked”  music by Pergolesi, and managed to strike a good balance between keeping to the baroque aesthetic whilst staying true to his modernist slant. The work I retained, his “Dumbarton Oaks” concerto, was heavily inspired by Bach's set of Brandenburg Concertos, and was the last work Stravinsky completed in Europe.

Another set of composition inspired by seminal Bach compositions is Benjamin Britten’s series of three compositions for solo cello, dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich. The suites were the first original solo instrumental music that Britten wrote for and dedicated to Rostropovich, who gave the first performances of each work. There's something very Britten-ish about the way these Suites manage to be profoundly affecting, while still showing emotional restraint.

The final two works on the montage both re-purpose music from other composers, the first (à la Stravinsky) spit-shining baroque music for a odern setting and the latter taking modern folk songs and setting them in a baroque style.

The arrangements by Strauss of Couperin's keyboard pieces to form a dance suite were part of a "Ballettsoirée" (ballet evening) which premiered on 17 February 1923 (as part of the Vienna Fasching or carnival). They revisit social and theatrical dances in the manner of Louis XV based on books 1–4 of Couperin's Pièces de Clavecin (composed over the period 1713 to 1730).

The final work, one of André Gagnon’s Turluteries after the songs of Mary Rose-Anne Bolduc (1894 –1941, née Travers - not to be confused with Mary Travers of Peter Paul and Mary fame…).  Known as Madame Bolduc or La Bolduc, she was known as the Queen of Canadian Folk Singers in the 1930’s; Bolduc is often considered to be Quebec's first singer-songwriter. Her style combined the traditional folk music of Ireland and Quebec, usually in upbeat, comedic songs. Her surviving recordings showcase her distinctive singing style, which often featured turlutage, which derives from Irish and Scottish musical traditions. This term inspires the name of the pair of suites Gagnon composed for himself at the keyboard, released in 1972.

For those of us familiar with the tunes, the baroque camouflage doesn’t totally hide the familiar ditties. The pastiche I retained, with the addition of the looming oboe, renders these works in a perfectly baroque setting.

 I think you will love this music too


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

For Your Listening Pleasure = Fall Programming Calendar

 


Below is our programming calendar for September, October, November and December. A few points of note 

  • Items that were part of Project 366 are identified, to help identify itens that have ot been "recycled" yet
  • Items with yellow marks are part of a thematic arc
  • Items highlighted in November with purple marks are "In Memoriam" posts
  • Items highlighted  in December with purple parks are "Beethoven @250" posts





Friday, August 28, 2020

Narciso Yepes (1927 –1997)


This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from July 28, 2017. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast254


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We are inching closer and closer to the end of our musical alphabet, and the end of our year-lom=ng journey through the Western Classical repertoire we began four years ago. Today’s montage, part of Part 1 of that journey, dates back a little more than three years with a contribution to a chapter that looked at different instruments.

In a fine page from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website, we learn that the term Spanish guitar has been used differently across the centuries in different countries. Today it is often used interchangeably with the term classical guitar and is certainly not limited to instruments made in Spain. The recorded history of the guitar begins in the Renaissance, with the earliest written sources dating to the fourteenth century. The guitar emerged in Europe alongside musical traditions that came out of the Arabic world, among instruments like the lute and the viol . Johannes Tinctoris, writing in the fifteenth century, identifies Catalonia as the birthplace of the guitar, yet regardless of the instrument’s origin, the country of Spain has had an extraordinary impact on its development.

The same can be said about the rich tradition of music written for the instrument by Spanish composers (Sor, Tarrega, …) and of course its many, many fine virtuosi, chief among them today’s artist, Narciso Yepes.

As the original article does a good job of summarizing Yepes’ accomplishments, I will just introduce our bonus material, a fine early 1963 recording by Yepes of many Spanish guitar favourites, some of which overlap with today’s montage and an another one from this past January dedicated to Joaquin Rodrigo.

 


 

I think you will (still) love this music too.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Mozart at the keyboard

No. 343 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.

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This weeks’ new montage ushers in a new set of Mozart shares that are on our plan between now and the end of this year. Most of them will be on Tuesdays, but this one on Mozart keyboard works is part of our Friday series.

There are two logical parts to this week’s montage – the first part proposes five sets of keyboard variations on various themes inspired by works of the day by a number of composers. Walter Gieseking performs all these tracks, taken from vintage mono recordings.

The latter half of the montage is dedicated to Mozart’s K. 107, which presents three keyboard concerti based on sonatas by Johann Christian Bach.

Mozart’s early concerti were studies based on sonatas by (among others) CPE Bach and Leontzi Honauer, so the set in K. 107 follows more that study pattern. Starting from the fifth concerto however, Mozart composes novel material. According to Mozart’s catalogue of piano concerti, these were published somewhere between his fourth (1767) and fifth (1773) “numbered” concerti. The performances on the montage are part of a set we sampled earlier on our Friday series, from early keyboard specialist Viviana Sofronitsky.

I think you will love this music too

 


Friday, August 14, 2020

Mendelssohn & Mendelssohn: Trios

 


This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from January 9, 2015. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast180



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This week’s throwback montage is brought to you  by the letter “M” as in Mendelssohn – for the brother and sister duo of Felix and Fanny.

The works featured today are all piano trios – two by Felix, and one by Fanny.  Like her brother, Fanny received a thorough musical education from teachers including her mother, Ludwig Berger, and Carl Friedrich Zelter. Due to social conventions of the time about the roles of women, a number of her works were published under her brother's name in his Opus 8 and 9 collections. Some fifteen years after marrying the artist Wilhelm Hensel and despite the continuing ambivalence of her family towards her musical ambitions, Fanny Hensel published a collection of songs as her Opus 1. The next year, she suddenly died of a stroke. In all, she composed over 460 pieces of music, including over 125 pieces for the piano, and over 250 lieder, most of which went unpublished in her lifetime.

As our bonus material this week, I discovered a pair of Konzertstück (concert pieces) for the trio combination of clarinet, basset horn and piano by Felix Mendelssohn – his opus 113 and 114, respectively. These works are performed by local Paris artists.

Felix Mendelssohn: Konzertstück n°1 op. 113


Felix Mendelssohn: Konzertstück n°2 op. 114

I think you will (still) love this music too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Beethoven - Otto Klemperer, Philharmonia ‎– Symphony No. 7 In A / Symphony No. 8 In F

 


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.


For the last few installments of our #Beethoven2020 series, we considered Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s symphonies no. 4, 5 and 6. Today, we return to the orchestral versions of these symphonies, with Otto Klemperer’s renditions of the symphonies number 7 and 8.

According to the Penguin Guide, Klemperer recorded his first cycle of Beethoven symphonies for EMI with the Philharmonia orchestra from 1954 onwards, in mono. He made another series from 1961, recording in stereo. About a decade later, under the moniker of the “New Philharmonia” he had another crack at the symphonies. Because the mono recordings were remastered in Stereo and reissued in the 1980’s, based on the available recording dates, these would have been originally issued in Mono, but could have been recorded in Stereo or remastered.

Since Klemperer recorded these works, there have been several (shall we say) “as close to original” editions of the scores to Beethoven symphonies - Urtext editions by Jonathan Del Mar (published by Barenreiter) and Clive Brown (published by Breitkopf and Hartel). Klemperer’s vision is best expressed by that of his contemporaries (going as far back as Mahler, Mengelberg and Weingartner) who went for a “big orchestral sound”, which may not fare well with the more historically informed view of the more recent editions.

Enjoy!


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770- 1827)
Symphony No. 7 in A Major, op. 92
(Recorded, 5.X, 19.XI & 3.XII.1960)

Symphony No. 8 in F Major, op. 93
(Recorded, 529 & 30.X.1957)

Philharmonia Orchestra
Otto Klemperer, conducting
Angel Records ‎– AE 34427

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/Beethoven-Ot...elease/5415505

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Programming Update

In years past, we would use Labour Day as a signpost that summer is almost over and that we are into the final third of the year. In the days of COVID-19, it seems that the calendar doesn’t have the meaning that it once had.

I trust that you are all safe and doing well, in spite of the many public health measures we have come to accept.

I also hope that our musings and daily shares on our podcasting channel provide some form of respite and escape from the mundane that has become our everyday.

 I would normally take some time as we approach the end of the summer to “tease” some of the stuff we have in store for the remainder of the year, and let you in on some of the ideas we are working on for next year. Here we go…

For Your Listening Pleasure – Year Two

As I pointed out in a post August 1st, we have come to the end of Project 366. We used the final 12 months of the project to guide our daily programming on our Podcasting Channel. As of September 1st, we plan to begin a new 12 month cycle, this time guided by a different “project”.

Under the auspices of Project 366, we have revisited 217 of our ITYWLTMT montages – which as of now number 342. Over the next 12 months, we will be adding another 23, to bring the total up to 365, one for every day of the calendar year.

My plan is then to program all of them as daily shares on the channel. I will do my best to intersperse the remaining new montages at the rate of one or two a month, and will continue to dust off Podcast Vault features on Fridays we don’t have new montages to offer, much like I have done through the last year.

The programming will also revive some of our past “thematic arcs” – and in some cases, add new or recent montages under the arc umbrella. Also, where it makes sense, I plan to match up pairs of montages under the moniker For Your Listening Weekend.

I can tell you montage #365 will be a Quarterly Tuesday share on August 31st 2021  but keep you in suspense as to what that will be about. It will be the launching point to programming for Year Three, that is if we’re still doing this!

On September 1st, I will unveil our daily calendar for the remainder of 2020, which will include a lot of Beethoven in December, in itime for Ludwig’s 250th birthday.

Tuesday Blog

We cut back on Tuesday Blogs for the Summer, limiting ourselves to monthly #Beethoven2020 shares. We have a few more of these left for the Fall, as well as some Mozart Cover2Cover titles. We need to build up our Mozart collection, as it will be an important part of our overall 2020 programming – more on that in December when we do our Year In Review teaser.

What we plan on doing that will be different moving forward, is that our Tuesday Blogs will be “bonus” shares on the Podcasting Channel, whilst continuing – at least for the time being – our policy of having Tuesday Blogs matched to YouTube clips and playlists. We keep having more and more music lovers subscribing to our YouTube channel, so I don’t see that policy ending any time soon.

The Return of OTF

I’ve discretely resumed posting on OperaLively in July. Most of our posts are concentrated on a thread I call “OTF Short Stories”, which provide a quick blurb on operatic or lyrical shares on the Podcasting Channel.

As I scan the calendar I have developed so far, I think there’s still quite a bit of material we can flag as a Short Story. I plan to provide either “encore” shares or new opera material on OperaLively (as Short Stories or as “classic” OTF posts) as we move along. In the event material isn’t on the calendar (which, remember, will be limited to ITYWLTMT Montages), I will provide the material as “bonus” shares on the Podcasting Channel, same as the Tuesday Blog.

Friday, August 7, 2020

George Gershwin (1898-1937)


This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from November 9, 2012. It can be found in our archives at http://archive.org/details/InMemoriamGeorgeGershwin



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Today's peek into the Podcast Vault feeds our ongoing Project 366 musical alphabet with an aliteration for the letter G, with the initials of today's featured composer, George Gershwin.

As I wrote in the original post from 2012, George Gershwin left us on July 11, 1937, two months shy of his 40th birthday. One can only speculate as to what great things Gershwin could have done had he lived 40 more years. He’d only spent a few years working in Hollywood, and had already one major opera under his belt. There probably would have been more films, possibly more music for the concert hall or the opera house…

The bulk of Gershwin’s output was for the theatre: well over 15 musicals, and hundreds of songs. This is where we will spend most of today’;s montage, exploring the many, many orchestral and jazz adaptations of many of these songs.

The montage closes with a studio rendition of his Rhapsody in Blue with a vintage piano roll cut by Gershwin himself serving as soloist.

As filler this week, I thought I would point you to a YouTUbe playlist which features a 1976 all-Gershwin piano album with Andre Watts as soloist.



I think you will (still) love this music too.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Project 366 - Dates on the musical calendar for August 2020

Project 366 continues in 2019 with "Dates on the Musical Calendar


This month makes the final installment of Project 366, a long-standing long-term project we began in April 2016 to mark what was then the fifth anniversary of our music blog. Today, we will share the last few listener guides in this series, and will discuss in a post later this month how we will program our daily podcasts for the foreseeable future - stay tunes.

Highlights

  • 10-Aug - Happy Birthday Marie-Claire Alain (*1929) [Guide #10
  • 13-Aug - Left-Handers Day [Guide # 362]
  • 15-Aug -  Happy Birthday Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (*1875) [Guide #363]
  • 18-Aug -  Happy Birthday Antonio Salieri (*1750) [Guide #146]
  • 22-Aug  -  Happy Birthday Claude Debussy (*1862) [Guide #84]
  • 31-Aug - FP of Weill's  Threepenny Opera (OTD 1928) [Guide #366]

If you recall, our very first listener guides were our two-part musical alphabet. As a fitting close to the project, and to fill the remaining dates on the calendar, we will revisit the musical alphabet therough a series of listener guides. Here is our "new" alphabet (noting some listener guides tackle more than one letter)




Your Listener Guides

Listener Guides #357 & 358 - A for Aida

Verdi composed his first opera (Oberto) in 1839 and from then on strung together great works achieving critical and popular success: Nabucco (1842), Rigoletto (1851), Il trovatore (1853), and the list goes on and on. Probably one of Opera’s most celebrated spectacles of excesses, Aida was a commission by the ruler (Khedive) of Egypt for the great opera house he’d inaugurated in Cairo in 1869. Versi’s Rigoletto was the first production put up at the opera house, and so Verdi was approached to create the spectacular stage work. [Once or Twice a Fortnight - August 15th, 2013]

[L/G 357 – Acts 1 & 2, L/G 358 – Acts 3 & 4]




Listener Guides #359 - E for Elgar

Elgar was at the height of his fame when the Philharmonic Society commissioned a violin concerto in 1909. The work was dedicated to Fritz Kreisler, the internationally famous violinist who was the soloist at its first performance. The work is long for a violin concerto and expansive in mood but nevertheless compelling and not overblown. It contains none of the pomposity and swagger found in many of Elgar's works which some commentators find disturbing and rather distasteful. The work is firmly established in the classical repertoire although not performed frequently. [ITYWLTMT Montage # 294 – October 30 2018]





Listener Guides #360 - J for Jongen

Joseph Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante of 1926 is a tour de force, considered by many to be among the greatest works ever written for organ and orchestra. The work was commissioned by Rodman Wanamaker for debut in the Grand Court of his palatial Philadelphia department store, Wanamaker's. Its intended use was for the re-dedication of the world's largest pipe organ there, the Wanamaker Organ. As part of a series of concerts Rodman Wanamaker funded with Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Wanamaker's death in 1928 precluded the performance of the work at that time in the venue for which it was written, but it was finally performed for the first time with the Wanamaker Organ and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2008. [ITYWLTMT Montage #191 - March 27, 2015]





Listener Guides #361- K for Kabalevsky & Khachaturian

After a tenure with the Bolshoi Theatre (1943-56), Kirill Kondrashin concentrated on orchestral conducting, becoming sought after as a concerto accompanist and working with the country’s leading instrumentalists, such as Emil Gilels, Leonid Kogan, David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter and Rostropovich. In the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958, Kondrashin was the conductor for Van Cliburn, who won the first prize. After the competition he toured the USA with Cliburn, being the first Russian conductor to visit America since the Cold War began. The two suites (Comedians and Masquerade) are taken from the same October 20, 1958 Manhattan Center recording by the RCA Symphony Orchestra (the likely remnants of the NBC Symphony/Symphony of the Air) under Kondrashin, a few months after the Cliburn sessions at Carnegie Hall.  [ITYWLTMT Montage #316 - July 12, 2019]





Listener Guides #362- The Left Hand
Pianists limited to the use of their left hands are not uncommon. As an example, in 1964, American pianist Fleisher lost the use of his right hand due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia. Fleisher commenced performing and recording the left-handed repertoire while searching for a cure for his condition. In the 1990s, Fleisher was able to gradually overcome his focal dystonia symptoms after experimental botox injections to the point where he could play with both hands again. [ITYWLTMT Montage #320 - August 13, 2019]





Listener Guides #363- The Dark Continent
The Dark Continent has long been associated with adventure, immense deserts, fierce predators and a population that lives in the extremes of riches and poverty. Africa has also been the stage of colonial expansion, followed by self-governance and (often times, it seems) civil war, unrest and despots. [ITYWLTMT Montage #118 - August 16, 2013]





Listener Guides #364- O for Offenbach
Offenbach was born in Germany of a musician father, cantor of a synagogue. Early on, Jacob Offenbach showed himself adept at the cello, which convinced his father to send him to study in Paris. Offenbach joined the Conservatoire to become a soloist, but his clownish behavior saw him leaving after a year. Thanks to his talent, he still performs in concert - after having francized his given name - then joins the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique in which he plays while establishing himself as a composer. [ITYWLTMT Montage #299 - December 21, 2018]





Listener Guides #365 - P for the Planets

Written between 1914-1916 by British composer Gustav Holst, ‘The Planets’ is a suite of seven short tone poems, each representing one the known planets of the Solar System seen from Earth at the time, and their corresponding astrological character. [Vinyl’s Revenge #33 - December 12, 2017]






Listener Guides #366 - The Three-Penny Opera

A milestone of 20th century musical theatre, The Threepenny Opera rolls on unstoppably into the 21st. In their opera "by and for beggars", Weill and Brecht transformed old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, incorporating a sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Weill's acid harmonies and Brecht's biting texts created a revolutionary new musical theatre that inspired such subsequent hits as Cabaret, Chicago, and Urinetown. [Once or Twice a Fortnight - August 31st, 2013]