Friday, February 28, 2020

No. 104

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from June 1st 2012. It can be found in our archives at


Over the years, we've done a few montages that play on numbers - in fact, as recently as yjree weeks ago with numbers 3 and 33.

As I stated in the original post, there are many great works that have in common the number 104.  One of them, Haydn’s last symphony, Dvorak’s cello concerto, Sibelius' Symphony no. 6, a trumpet concerto by Michael Haydn the latter three featured this week. Here, as a bonus, another "104:, from Beethoven's chamber music catalog:

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sir Adrian Boult / LPO ‎– Brahms: Serenade In A / Variations On A Theme Of Haydn

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

This week’s Vinyl’s Revenge looks at an Angel Red Label re-issue I purchased in the early 1980’s featuring Sir Adrian Boult and the music of Johannes Brahms.

Adrian Boult followed musical studies in England and at Leipzig, Germany, with early conducting work in London for the Royal Opera House and Sergei Diaghilev's ballet company.

When the British Broadcasting Corporation appointed him director of music in 1930, he established the BBC Symphony Orchestra and became its chief conductor. In 1950, after being forced into retirement by the BBC, Boult took on the chief conductorship of the LPO (retiring from that position in 1957). Although in the latter part of his career he worked with other orchestras, it was the LPO with which he was primarily associated, conducting it in concerts and recordings until 1978.

A modest man who disliked the limelight, Boult felt as comfortable in the recording studio as on the concert platform, making recordings throughout his career. His recording career stretched from the days of acoustic recording until the beginning of the digital era. Although widely recognized as a champion of British music, the exceptional breadth of Boult's repertoire has left some well-regarded recordings of works not immediately associated with him; in the core continental orchestral repertoire, Boult's recordings of the four symphonies of Brahms, and the Great C major Symphony of Schubert were celebrated in his lifetime and have remained in the catalogues during the years after his death.

Today’s share is contemporaneous to the Brahms cycle – a coupling of the Second Serenade and the Haydn Variations.

Happy Listening

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Serenade for Orchestra No.2 in A Major, Op. 16
Variations on a Theme of Haydn in B-Flat Major (Orchestra setting, Op. 56a)

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Adrian Boult, conducting

Angel Records ‎– RL-32091
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Released: 1979


Internet Archive -

Friday, February 21, 2020

Mozart: Father and Son

No. 334 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at

This past Monday was Family Day here in Ontario, and it justifies, in part, this week’s montage dedicated to the Mozart family. In a way, this is territory we covered already in a past montage from December 2018, when we featured works from three generations of Mozarts: Father, Son and Grandson.

Leopold Mozart is primarily known as the father and mentor of his son Wolfgang, but he was a composer of importance in his own right, becoming the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg’s court composer in 1757 and vice chapelmaster a few years later. His “Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing” was published in 1756 (the year of Wolfgang’s birth) and was long a standard text and was widely reprinted and translated.

Since he was court composer, you expect that his output was massive, taking in symphonies, concertos, cantatas, oratorios, masses, various chamber works, songs, sonatas, and numerous other works; he ceased composing regularly in the early 1760s to concentrate on the education of his elder daughter Nannerl and his son Wolfgang.

Leopold's best-known works, considered typical of his output, are the ones least representative of it: The Musical Sleigh-Ride, The Peasant Wedding, the Toy Symphony are oddities. His best works, those written for the Church, are virtually unknown and of his symphonies, concertos and serenades, few are played and fewer still were recorded.

The Sinfonia di caccia is a genre piece written for a specific occasion – in this case an undisclosed hunting party. In addition to the shouts, dog barks and raucous horn playing, Leopold also makes provision in the score of the first movement for several gun-shots. The combined effect of the brilliant horn writing, which is based on a traditional horn-call, and the unexpected and highly imaginative sound effects is stunning. There are few pieces of music which have so successfully and memorably captured the excitement and thrill of the hunt. The second movement, by comparison, is far more restrained although not without its own deft touches. The extensive use of echo, while not original, is highly effective in conjuring up a sense of the great outdoors. With the concluding Minuet, however, the action returns indoors, albeit with a reminiscence of the hunting field in the form of prominent writing for the four horns.

Although little of Leopold Mozart's music is now played, it has of course attracted a great deal of attention over the years as scholars have searched for influences on his son's work. Leopold Mozart may have played a quite major role in the composition of Wolfgang's earliest works but his influence as composer on his son was probably minimal.

To match up with the Leopold piece with prominent horns, I chose to include two horn concertos, Wolfgang’s third and fourth. These were written in the mid-1780’s for his friend Joseph Leutgeb whom he had known since childhood. Leutgeb was a skilled player, as the works are very difficult to perform on the natural horn of the period, requiring lip trills, much hand-stopping, and rapid tonguing.

The concerti are performed, in keeping with its usual “democratic” tradition, by two different soloists, both members of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. That tradition also includes performing without a conductor. To complete the montage, from the same CD anthology of wind concertos, I included his first flute concerto.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Plaisir d’amour

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from February 8, 2019. It can be found in our archives at


The origin of Valentine’s Day is found in the ancient pagan culture of Rome and Greece. The month of February was always considered as a month of romance and fertility. History proves that St. Valentine’s day originated from two obscene Roman festivals of fertility called Lupercalia and Feast of Juno Februata both celebrated in mid-February. 

The Roman Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity but pagan festivals continued in his empire and pagan customs were soon integrated into Christianity. In AD 494, Pope Gelasius I decided to suppress the perverted pagan festivals. He replaced the Feast of Juno Februata with St. Valentine’s Day and moved it to 14th February. Different stories were created by the Roman Catholic church to attribute this festival to one Saint Valentine, whose origins are obscure. It was clearly an attempt by the Roman Catholic church to whitewash the pagan celebrations with a label of Christianity. 
In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging handmade cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.

THe montage was shared last year and the original musing does a good job justifying my choices. As bonus material, here's a cute YouTube playlist full of "Cute Couple Songs"

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Yevgeny Mravinsky - Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

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

This week, as part of our year-long #Beethoven2020 salute, we share a pair of Beethoven symphonies, performed by an orchestra and conductor we don’t immediately think of in this sort of repertoire.

The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (known at the height of the Soviet era as the Leningrad Philharmonic) was founded in 1882 and is thus Russia's oldest symphonic ensemble. Principally a Court ensemble (performing at receptions and official ceremonies and at the balls, plays and concerts at the Royal Court) its vocation changed in the early 20th century offering subscription concerts for the general public. The series of concerts «Orchestral collections of musical news» saw the first Russian performances of Richard Strauss’ symphonic poems Ein Heldenleben and Also sprach Zarathustra, Mahler’s First Symphony, Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Among the conductors were world renowned musicians like Richard Strauss (1912) and Arthur Nikisch, Alexander Glazunov and Serge Koussevitzky.

In 1917 the Orchestra became the State Orchestra and later incorporated into the newly founded Petrograd Philharmonic, the first of its kind in the country. In the early days of the Soviet era, Western conductirs were still invited for subscription concerts and tours of the Soviet Union - Otto Klemperer, , Ernest Ansermet, Bruno Walter, Felix Weingartner. Under the initiative of the foreign conductors, the orchestra begins to play the modern repertoire - Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc.

In 1938 Yevgeny Mravinsky joined the orchestra and for the next 50 years he gradually transformed it into one of the best orchestras in the world. In respect to the performance of Tchaikovsky and D. Shostakovich symphonies, they start to call it «the model». It joined the class of the great virtuoso orchestras as solid interpreters of Mozart (as invitees to the Viennese festival dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the composer). The orchestra also performed with other famous conductors of the day: Leopold Stokowski, Igor Markevitch, Arvid Jansons, Mariss Jansons, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Evgeny Svetlanov and Kurt Sanderling. From 1942 to 1960, Sanderling was joint principal conductor with Mravinsky of the Leningrad Philharmonic.

It is without a doubt Sanderling’s influence that permeates the orchestra’s Beethoven, exemplified in this live concert performance of Beethoven’s 1st and 3rd symphonies, distributed internationally under the Erato label.

Happy Listening

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770- 1827)

Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21
[Date of Recording: 01/28/1982 / Live Leningrad Philharmonic Large Hall]

Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica"
[Date of Recording: 10/31/1968 / Live Leningrad Philharmonic Large Hall]

Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Yevgeny Mravinsky, conducting

Erato Catalog #: 45759

Details -

Internet Archive

Friday, February 7, 2020

3 & 33

No. 333 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages can be found in our archives at


This week’s Podcast montage finds its inspiration in our sequence number, 333, with a pair of symphonies – numbers 3 and 33 – from two composers we will be showcasing to some extent this year.

This year is Beethoven’s 250th birthday, and we have already started a long Tuesday arc on his major works; I have two all-Beethoven montages planned for December. Suffice it to say, Beethoven isn’t on the program today.

In the next few weeks, I have quite a few Mozart titles in the works for our Friday series. This week, I am sharing one of a handful of his symphonies on this year’s programming.

Symphony No. 33 is the smallest of his late symphonies; the lightness of the work extends to the mood of the piece. In January of 1779, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart returned from a disheartening 16-month tour of Europe. He had been unable to achieve his goal of finding a new and more lucrative position, and he was still grieving the loss of his mother, who had died while he was away. Despite the disappointment one might expect the composer to have felt after such a disappointing period in his life, the symphony is a light-hearted and witty work.

His 31st symphony was a colorful three-movement work tailored for Parisian audiences, who didn’t receive it with as much enthusiasm as Mozart had hoped, and his 32nd symphony was an experiment at writing in the Italian style. Symphony No. 33 saw him return to a more Austro-German style; it was originally a three-movement work; the composer added the minuet movement for a mid-1780s performance in Vienna, where four-movement symphonies had become popular.

Another composer we will be exploring this year is Anton Bruckner– we already have shared his fifth and ninth symphonies in past years. . Two conductors will be relied upon in this year’s wave of Bruckner symphonies – Georg Tintner (from his Naxos cycle with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) and Eugen Jochum who has at least two complete cycles of the Bruckner symphonies on record. This week’s choice, the Third, comes from his older set featuring him here with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on Deutsche Grammophon.

Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 was dedicated to Richard Wagner and is sometimes known as his "Wagner Symphony". It was written in 1873, and like all of his symphonies, underwent several revisions - in 1877 and again in 1889. I believe Mr. Jochum uses the 1959 Nowak edition of the 1889 version. In this version, the Scherzo coda is removed and additional cuts are done in the first movement and the Finale.

The symphony has been described as "heroic" in nature. Bruckner's love for the grand and majestic is reflected especially in the first and last movements. The signal-like trombone thema, heard at the beginning after the two crescendo waves, constitutes a motto for the whole symphony. Stark contrasts, cuts and forcefulness mark the signature of the entire composition. Many typical elements of Bruckner’s later symphonies, such as the cyclical penetration of all movements and especially the apotheosis at the coda of the finale, which ends with the trombone thema, are heard in the Third for the first time.

I think you will love this music too.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Project 366 - Dates on the Musical Calendar for February 2020

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

  • 2-Feb - Groundhog Day [Guide #324]
  • 9-Feb - HB Alban Berg (Born OTD, 1885) [Guide # 228]
  • 14-Feb - Vallentine's Day [Guide # 325]
  • 17-Feb - Family Day (in parts of Canada) [Guide #106]
  • 25-Feb - Mardi Gras (the last day before the start of Lent) [Guide # 240]
  • 26-Feb - Ash Wednesday (first day of Lent) [Guide # 181]
  • 29-Feb - Leap Day [Guide # 328]

In terms of the remaining dates on the Calendar, many are filled with Listener Guides from our look at Earlu music, the music of J. S. Bach and Classicists. Additional listener Guides include a montage of works sharing the “number 104” [Guide #327] and, in keeping with Weber’s music, some clarinet works performed by Slovenian clarinetist Joze Kotar [Guide #326].

Your Listener Guides

Listener Guide #324 – Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day is a celebrated on February 2nd in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter-like weather will soon end. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. (ITYWLTMT Podcast #41 - 2 Feb 2012)

Listener Guide #325 – Plaisir d’amour
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, this listener guide is a montage of love-themed songs spanning 300 years – from lieder, to opera/stage to popular repertoires. (ITYWLTMT Montage #303 - 8 Feb 2019)

Listener Guide #326 – Joze Kotar, clarinet
Jože Kotar is born in Trbovlje and became principal clarinetist of the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra in 2007 after serving in that role at the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra for 12 years. He is also a tenured professor at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. Kotar is a member, co-founder and artistic director of the Slovenian Clarinet Orchestra and a member of the Ariart Wind Quintet and the MD7 Contemporary Music Ensemble. As a clarinetist, he collaborates with the Slovenian Chamber Orchestra, the Academie Ars Musicae Orchestra, etc.) Since 2007 he is a conductor and artistic director at the Trbovlje Workers Band.. (Once Upon the Internet #29 - 823 September 2014)

Listener Guide #327 – No. 104
We find numbers everywhere in music: three movements in a concerto, four movements in a symphony, the opus numbers, the catalog numbers (K, BWV, FWV, S, D, Sz, …). The numerical order of like-works (27 Mozart Piano Concertos, 104 Haydn symphonies, 48 preludes and fugues in two books of the Well-Tempered Clavier). Many great works have in common the number 104. (ITYWLTMT Podcast #57 - 01 Jun 2012)

Listener Guide #328 – Sonate a quattro
In the 1940s, composer Alfredo Casella discovered a set of six string sonatas written by Rossini in 1804, when he was still quite young. The pieces were written for his friend, Agostino Triossi, who was an accomplished amateur bassist. Triossi, Morini (Triossi's violinist cousin), Morini's cellist brother, and Rossini performed the pieces, apparently in a less-than-stellar fashion. Rossini says his playing (on the second violin part) was the worst of all. (Once Upon the Internet #30- Oct-14-2014)