Friday, April 23, 2021

Invitation to the Dance

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from June 10, 2011. It can be found in our archives at


For the past eight months, we’ve been going through all of our montages and I’m glad to revisit this quite early post from June 2011. Though I haven’t been reporting on this before, as I go through these montages I do from time to time recompile them – today’s montage had many “home digitized” tracks that I have later found properly digitized elsewhere and the resulting “revised” montage is of far better quality!

I remember that my younger daughter (fourteen at the time) was getting ready for her annual dance recital when I assembled this montage of dance favourites.

In classical music, we find dances in several forms – as pieces that exemplify specific dance styles (waltzes are a good example of that), as dance suites (such as, say, the Bach partitas), as national or folk dances and – of course – as dance numbers within larger stage works.

The selected works cover the entire spectrum, including a few “ballet selections” among which is the Sailor’s Dance from Reinholt Gliere’s 1920’s era ballet “The Red Poppy”. As our bonus piecem this week, here’s a suite of selections from the ballet performed by the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra conducted by Yuri Fayer.

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

Friday, April 16, 2021

Otto Klemperer & Haydn

No. 355 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.


This week’s new podcast takes us back to a familiar place: Haydn’s London Symphonies. In the past, we assembled a triptych of three “even” London symphonies (nos. 94, 96 and 98) under one conductor and orchestra and today’s triptych completes the “even set” with symphoniesm100, 102 and 104.

We have also trusted one conductor, Otto Klemperer, with these three works but his forces are the “original” and “new” Philharmonia orchestras. Let me share the insights of James Weinman commenting on these performances for Maclean’s a dozen years ago:

Klemperer made [four Haydn symphony LPs] at various times in his career; two of those LPs are among the best things this prolific conductor ever recorded. […] These are the recordings he made in 1964-65, one LP of symphonies # 88 and 104 (Haydn’s last symphony) and another LP of symphonies # 100 and 102 […].

The British critics hated these discs, calling the performances charmless and heavy. […] Klemperer’s performances were among the few of the era that really took the music seriously, and really grasped how much Beethoven borrowed from Haydn: the sudden pauses, the weird shifts in tone within a movement, the complex development of seemingly simple melodies. Most conductors of the time tended to let the strings dominate in this kind of movement, but Klemperer keeps the woodwinds well forward […] and when Haydn writes a brass fanfare in the first movement of 104, you can hear it.

[…] While Klemperer has a reputation as a slow conductor, his tempos are not slow in these symphonies; not as fast as they would be today, and like many conductors he doesn’t seem to think Haydn means it when he marks his minuets (which aren’t really minuets at all) “allegro,” but these are not slow at all.

I think you will love this music too

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

PTB Classic: Robert Schumann

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

Today’s Tuesday Blog is the second of a three-part series where we consider the four symphonies of Robert Schumann. In this “PTB Classic” playlist, Sergiu Celibidache leads the Munich Philharmonic in a pair of live concert recordings featuring the second symphony and the piano concerto in A Minor.

In the year 1845, Schumann embarked into intensive study of counterpoint with his wife, Clara. He began to compose away from the piano, as he noted in his writing: “Not until the year 1845, when I began to conceive and work out everything in my head, did an entirely different manner of composition begin to develop”.

Schumann began to sketch his second symphony on December 12, 1845, and had a robust draft of the entire work by December 28 and spent most of the next year orchestrating it. The uplifting tone of the symphony is remarkable considering Schumann's health problems during the time of its composition — depression and poor health, including ringing in his ears.

Though begun a few years earlier, the composition of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor drags into 1845 as well. The complete work was premiered in Dresden on December 4 of 1845. It is one of the most widely performed and recorded piano concertos from the Romantic period.

Today’s featured soloist, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli is considered one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century and was perhaps the most reclusive, enigmatic and obsessive among the handful of the world's legendary pianists. Our conductor today, Sergiu Celibidache, considered Michelangeli the "greatest living artist" and saw in him a colleague, stating that “Michelangeli makes colors; he is a conductor."

Celibidache's career in music spanned over five decades, including tenures as principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Sicilian Symphony Orchestra and several other European orchestras. Celibidache frequently refused to release his performances on commercial recordings during his lifetime, claiming that a listener could not have a "transcendental experience" outside the concert hall. Many of the recordings of his performances were released posthumously. He has nonetheless earned international acclaim for his interpretations of the classical repertoire and was known for a spirited performance style informed by his study and experiences in Zen Buddhism.


Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, piano
Live recording: 26 September 1992

Symphony No.2, in C Major, Op.61
Live recording, 29 November 1994

Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Sergiu Celibidache, conducting


Friday, April 9, 2021

Digital Vinyl

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from April 29, 2011. It can be found in our archives at

Because we were busy last week with some Lenten/Easter programming, I didn’t bring up that on April 1st we marked our tenth anniversary of blogs and montages on ITYWLTMT, and that in a couple of months the same will be true of our other blogging and musical sharing platforms.

This coming weekend, we will be programing our “Musical Alphabet” montages which were our first and second installments. Today’s montage, the fourth in our ongoing series which counts today well 354, was made up entirely of selections from my vinyl collection, some were even digitized using homemade techniques – which were discussed on another contemporaneous post which discussed this in more specific terms. Since those days, I have since found digital copies of most (if not all) of the tracks on today’s montage, though for nostalgia sake, I have not re-edited the montage to replace some of my original handy work!

In the original post, I make specific reference to the album Saga by pianist and “pseudo-classical” composer André Gagnon (the quote is attributable to the performer, actually). I managed to fimnd the entire album (save for one track) as a playlist on the artists’s YouTube Topic page. I luckily found the missing track and created a more complete playlist that I share today as our bonus filler.

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