Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Waltzes for orchestra

No. 329 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Tuesady Blog. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast329


Our final montage for 2019, just in time for the New Year, features the Waltz, including some waltz collections and was built around the contents of an old Vanguard recording called "The Great Waltz Composers" featuring the Vienna State Opera Orchestra under Anton Paulik.

I added three "waltz collections" to the montage: Richard Rodgers' waltzes from his many Broadway musicals (arranged by Leroy Anderson for the Boston Pops), the set of waltzes composed by Richard Strauss for Der Rozenkavalier (arranged by Artur Rodzinski for the Cleveland Orchestra) and Ravel's own orchestration of his Valses Nobles et Sentimentales.

To close things out, Karajan's arrangement of Sibelius' Valse Triste.

I think you will love this music too!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Child's Play & Year In Review 2019

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from December 21, 2012. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/ChildsPlay_479


Normally, when we dig into the Podcast Vault on Fridays, I provide a fresh musing on a past montage, and provide a bonus track via YouTube. This week, however, I will not be doing that. If you wish to read my original take – assorted with a then-bonus clip, please use the hyperlink I provided at the top of the page.

This week, I will rather use the opportunity to provide my “Year In Review” and collected annual assemblage of assorted YouTube clips.

2019 was a busy year for us on ITYWLTMT. Among the highlights, we spent a lot of time this year on collections: Part Three of Project 366 proposed a good number of collections from Bach’s concertos to Stravinsky’s ballets, without forgetting Beethoven and Mozart. The latter two composers were also featured throughout the year in our Friday montages, where we completed our overall survey of their piano sonatas.

In September, we rebranded our Pod-O-Matic channel into a daily share portal, walking through old and new Listener Guides from Project 366. We are almost done with our first four months of daily podcasts, and will provide our next tranche in calendar form on or around New Year’s day.
We have continued with our bi-weekly Tuesday Blog, and are setting up for 2020’s “Beethoven Year” with fresh shares of some of our favourite Ludwig works – sonatas, concertos, symphonies and the Missa Solemnis, interspersed with other selections in our ongoing Cover 2 Cover and Vinyl’s Revenge series.

Our Friday programming for 2020 will continue to be somewhat sporadic as we intertwine Podcast Vault selections (per the Project 366 calendar) with new podcasts; by the end of 2020 we will have created fewer original montages than in past years. We are on track, however, to issue our 365th podcast in August 2021. (TEASER - in September 2020, we will embark into another cycle of daily shares – more on that as we get closer).

Among our new montages, you will get a good dose of Mozart, Bruckner and (inevitably) Beethoven. (I plan something special with our 2021 “daily programming” with Mozart, so I need to get more titles in the bank, as it were.)

One area I have neglected in the last few months are my posts on OperaLively. I will admit I feel quite overwhelmed with preparing the daily shares, much more than I originally thought, actually. As a result, I made the conscious decision to put Once or Twice a Fortnight on hiatus. My hope is to resume opera posts next fall, when I’m done with Project 366.

Before I forget: we are planning a trip to a warm spot in mid-January. I’ll do my best to queue up material, but if I don’t, I promise to catch up!

Always appreciate your comments and reactions on our many platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Jeep them coming!

Happy and Safe New Year to everyone! Please enjoy our “Video Favourites” for 2019.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Karajan Highlights

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

For our final Vinyl’s Revenge of 2019, I dug deep into my record collection to share a compilation of classical hits conducted by Hebert von Karajan

According to discogs, my go-ro source for recorded material (especially vinyl), Karajan has nearly 2000 titles to his credit, and nearly 400 of those fall under “compilations”. As I glanced through the titles, we can find Karajan compilation albums on many of the well-known labels, and quite a few on DG with the Berlin Philharmonic.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about today’s vinyl share, likely picked up nearly 40 years ago in a bargain bin…The four works featured were in some cases recorded several times throughout the years and the resulting album is quite satisfying. An appropriate Christmas present!

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Les Préludes, S.97
Hungarian Rhapsody in C Sharp minor, S.359 no. 2

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Capriccio Italien, Op, 45 [TH 47]

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
An der schönen, blauen Donau (The Beautiful Blue Danube), Op.314

Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conducting

Label: Deutsche Grammophon ‎– 2545 010
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Released: 1974

Details - https://www.discogs.com/Berlin-Philh...elease/3941329


Internet Archive -  https://archive.org/details/01lespreludess97

Friday, December 20, 2019

Ballet & Opera

No. 328 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages, which can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast328


This week’s podcast explores ballet in the context of opera. Opera, as I’ve discussed in past musings, has to be viewed as the culmination of music, song and stage, so it should come as no surprise that dance episodes and numbers intended for a corps de ballet have a place in grand opera.

Of p[particular note, the Paris Opera Ballet had its origins in the earlier dance institutions, traditions and practices of the court of Louis XIV. Of particular importance were the series of comédies-ballets created by Molière with, among others, the choreographers and composers Pierre Beauchamps and Jean-Baptiste Lully. The 18th century saw the creation of an associated school, now referred to as the Paris Opera Ballet School (École de Danse de l’Opéra de Paris), which opened in 1713. The operas of Rameau, and later Gluck, raised standards for the dancers. Jean-Georges Noverre was a particularly influential ballet master from 1776 to 1781. He created the ballet Les petits riens in 1778 on Mozart's music.

Two selections in our podcast, from Massenet and Gounod, are elaborate ballet sequences inserted within the opera, specifically intended for the Paris Opera ballet. Selections from operas by Smetana, and Berlioz I consider more as dance episodes or dance interludes often heard in concert as stand alone “bonbons”.

Sometimes, ballet companies commission choreographies against opera music. For example, in the 1970’s, les Grands Ballets Canadiens toured internationally with their own vision of The Who’s rock opera Tommy. I think it’s in that context that we need to consider Les Patineurs (The Skaters) a ballet choreographed by Frederick Ashton to music composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer and arranged by Constant Lambert. It was first presented by the Vic-Wells Ballet at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, on 16 February 1937.

The inspiration for the work came from Constant Lambert, who was music director of the Vic-Wells Ballet during the 1930s and who exercised a major influence on the artistic as well as musical direction of the company. To create the score he chose vocal and dance numbers from two Meyerbeer operas, Le prophète and L'Étoile du Nord, and linked them into an irresistibly cheerful score.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Magyar rapszódiák

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from December 5, 2014. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast176


Today’s five year old podcast was the first of two dedicated to Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies. The Hungarian Rhapsodies constitute a set of 19 piano pieces based on Hungarian folk themes, composed between 1846 and 1853, and later in 1882 and 1885. Liszt also arranged versions for orchestra, piano duet and piano trio.

Liszt incorporated many themes he had heard in his native western Hungary and which he believed to be folk music, though many were in fact contemporary tunes written by members of the Hungarian upper middle class, or by composers of the time, and performed publically by Roma (Gypsy) bands.
The large scale structure of each was influenced by the verbunkos, a Hungarian dance in several parts, each with a different tempo. Within this structure, Liszt preserved the two main structural elements of typical Gypsy improvisation—the lassan ("slow") and the friska ("fast"). At the same time, Liszt incorporated a number of effects unique to the sound of Gypsy bands, especially the pianistic equivalent of the cimbalom.

In their original piano form, the Hungarian Rhapsodies are noted for their difficulty. As is the norm for much of Liszt’s piano solo output, the thinking has to have been to use these works to showcase and display his legendary technique at the keyboard.

All nineteen rhapsodies will not fit our usual 75 to 90 minute podcast format, so I had to come up with a logical way of splitting them up over two podcasts… To do so, I chose to consider first the orchestral versions of the rhapsodies.(no. 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, and 14)  arranged by Franz Doppler, with revisions by Liszt himself.

As a bonus, here is the complete set for piano, thanks to YouTube and Brilliant Classics.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Mozart: Symphonies 36 & 39, Lockhart/RPO

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

This week's Cover2Cover is a selection from the Royal Philharmonic's own label, from about 20 years ago. These CDs were distributed by third parties in North America and parts of Europe, and I happen to have acquired a few f them around 2005-06. I have a couple of those titles lined up next year in fact.

This Royal Philharmonic Masterworks Audiophile Collection disc features the RPO under the baton of James Lockhart in a selection of later Mozart works. Lockhartworked as an organist in Edinburgh and London, and then as an assistant conductor in German opera houses and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. He was director of opera at the Royal College of Music, London 1986–93, and of the London Schools' Vocal Faculty, from 1993.

The program begins with the overture to The Magic Flute, Mozart's final opera. Despite the large orchestra used in the performance, this track still manages to maintain a sense of lightness, spryness, and crisply executed articulations.

The main body of the disc includes two of Mozart's later symphonies: his 39th (one of the :big three") and his delightful Linz symphony.

Happy Listening!

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Overture to Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K.620
Symphony No. 36 In C Major K. 425 'Linz'
Symphony No. 39 In E Flat Major K. 543

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
James Lockhart , conducting

Label: RPO Records ‎– 204438-201
Format: CD, Compilation
Year: 1996

Discogs - https://www.discogs.com/Mozart-The-R...master/1478241

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...e0ZrA2iFTMDzfQ

Internet Archivehttps://archive.org/details/06symphonieno.39enmibemolmaj 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Beethoven in Berlin

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from January 27, 2017. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast238


Today’s podcast, dug out of the Podcast Vault, is nearly three years old, dating January 2017. It was assembled, in part, to feed into our Trifecta chapter of Project 366, which is currently being explored in our daily shares these days. The montage takes new significance on this Beethoven year (though we are technically a year away from Beethoven’s actual 250th birthday, but who attention to those details!)

The original theme of the montage had works by Beethoven performed by Berlin-based orchestras. (The trifecta angle is our programming of the Triple Concerto and Third symphony).

Our bonus feature this week is a performance by a third Berlin-based orchestra. With a tradition reaching back to 1570, the Staatskapelle Berlin is one of the oldest orchestras in the world. Initially it performed exclusively for the Court. However, when Frederick the Great founded the Royal Court Opera in 1742 – today’s State Opera – and merged the Opera and Orchestra, the sphere of activity of the Staatskapelle was broadened and the success story began.

The Staatskapelle Berlin is an essential part of the State Opera: it undertakes the majority of the opera and ballet performances. In a series of concerts each season the Orchestra performs major symphonic works of the Classic, Romantic and Modern periods, commissioned works, and a broad variety of chamber music.

Over time famous conductors have contributed to the orchestra’s characteristic sound and musical interpretation. Daniel Barenboim was appointed general music director of the Staatskapelle in 1992.

The recording I chose for today’s bonus clip is a vintage DG recording of the Staatskapelle under Otto Klemperer

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

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Project 366 - Dates on the Musical Calendar for December 2019

Project 366 continues in 2019 with "Dates on the Musical Calendar". Read more here.

December is Holiday Season, as evidenced by most of the highlighted dates


  • December 22nd - FP of Beethoven's Symphonies 5 and 6 (Guide #180)
  • December 24 - Christmas Eve (Guide #50)
  • December 25 - Christmas Day (Guide # 318)
  • December 26 - Boxing Day (Guide # 227)
  • December 31 - New Year's Eve (Guide # 65)

As we work through Part 1 of the Project, we encounter “the trifecta” which is a good opportunity to add a few “threesomes” as filler guides (Guides 315 and 316) and provide complete Scott Slapin’s rendering of J.s S. Bach’s works for solo violin (and solo flute) performed on the viola (Guide #317). As a “bonus” holiday selections, we added Amahl and the Night Visitors (Guide #63) and Debussy’s delightful “Toy Box” (Guide #319). Finally, notice a few Beethoven Listener Guides, in keeping with the Beethoven Year.

Your Listener Guides

Listener Guide # 315 - Three Scandinavian Symphonies
Jean Sibelius wrote seven symphonies; and his Third Symphony represents a turning point in Sibelius's symphonic output. His First and Second symphonies are grandiose Romantic and patriotic works. The Third, however, is a good-natured, triumphal, and deceptively simple-sounding piece which hardly foreshadows the more austere complexity of his later symphonies. The Sibelius is flanked by a pair of symphonies by the early-romantic Swedish composer Franz Berwald. (Once Upon the Internet #55 – 17 January 2017)

Listener Guide # 316 - Afro-American Opera
If Porgy and Bess is without a doubt the most well-known opera that deals with African Americans, there are many other works that have African American subject matters in the stage repertoire, and I chose to assemble three of them in this Listener Guide. Works by Scott Joplin, George Gershwin and Jerome Kern. (ITYWLTMT Podcast #209 - 11 Sep. 2015)


Listener Guide # 317 - J.S. Bach: Sonatas for Solo Violin
The complete set of solo violin works by J.S. Bach consists of three sonatas da Chiesa (or church sonatas), in four movements, and three partitas (or partias), which are “dance suites”. The set was completed by 1720, but was only published in 1802 by Nikolaus Simrock in Bonn. Even after publication, it was largely ignored until the celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim started performing these works. Today, Bach's Sonatas and Partitas are an essential part of the violin repertoire, and they are frequently performed and recorded. (Once Upon theInternet #38 – 9 June 2015)

Listener Guide # 318 - Christmas
This Christmas playlist programs titles from both the French (Canadian) and English repertoires. Some of the "stand alone" classics come from Adolphe Adam (Minuit, Chrétiens, which is known in English as O Holy Night), Frederick Delius (his charming sleigh ride) and Corelli's Christmas Concerto. Bemjamin Britten and Ralph Vaighan-WIlliams both provide variations based on a pair of well-known carols: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and Greensleeves. Marcel Dupre also adapted a well-known French carol for organ. (ITYWLTMT Podcast #212 - 25 Dec 2015)

Listener Guide # 319 – Child’s Play
Kids and Toys are what Christmas is about. This Listener Guide proposes some music that is appropriate for young (and young at heart) music lovers. There are three main ideas that intermingle in this montage: children, children’s tales and (of course) toys. (ITYWLTMT Podcast #85 - 21 Dec 2012)