Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Igor Stravinsky, Neville Marriner, Academy Of St. Martin-in-the-Fields – Pulcinella (Complete Ballet) / Suites Nos. 1 & 2 For Small Orchestra


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

This week’s Tuesday Blog is a new installment in our Vinyl’s Revenge series featuring works by Igos Stravinsky performed by the Academy of St-Martin-in-te-Fields, a pair of soloists, all under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner.

The main work on this Angel ADD release is Stravinsky’s one-act ballet ballet Pulcinella, one of two ballets inspired by the works of earlier composers. It is a based on an 18th-century play, Quatre Polichinelles semblables ("Four identical Pulcinellas"). The ballet premiered at the Paris Opera on 15 May 1920 under the baton of Ernest Ansermet. The dancer Léonide Massine created both the libretto and choreography, and Pablo Picasso designed the original costumes and sets. 

Pulcinella is a classical character that originated in commedia dell'arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry. Pulcinella's versatility in status and attitude has captivated audiences worldwide and kept the character popular in countless forms since his introduction to commedia dell'arte by Silvio Fiorillo in 1620. Many regional variants of Pulcinella were developed as the character diffused across Europe In many later adaptations, Pulcinella was portrayed as a puppet, as commedia dell'arte-style theatre did not continue to be popular throughout all of the continent over time. He was said to evolve into "Mr. Punch" in England. The key half of Punch and Judy, he is recognized as one of the most important British icons in history.

Not unlike The Fairy’s Kiss (1928) where Stravinsky elaborated several melodies from early piano pieces and songs by Tchaikovsky in his score, Diaghilev wanted a ballet based on an early 18th-century commedia dell'arte libretto and music then believed to have been composed by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. This attribution has since been proved to be spurious. Some of the music may have been by Domenico Gallo, Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, Carlo Ignazio Monza and Alessandro Parisotti. Stravinsky adapted the older music to a more modern style by borrowing specific themes and textures, but interjecting his modern rhythms, cadences, and harmonies.

Pulcinella marked the beginning of Stravinsky's second phase as a composer, his neoclassical period.

As filler, the disk includes Stravinsky’s two suites for small orchestra. These enchanting, gently satirical Suites are orchestrations made by Stravinsky of the eight piano duets he had written for his children, Theodore and Mika, the first three in 1914-1915 and then five more in 1917. 
Note the YouTube link is to a compilation set of Stravinsky music. Clips 29-47 are the contents of today’s disc.

Happy listening!

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)

Pulcinella, Ballet with Song in One Act (1920)
Bass Vocals – Robert Lloyd 
Soprano Vocals – Yvonne Kenny 
Tenor Vocals – Robert Tear 

Two Suites (Nos. 1 and 2) for Small Orchestra (1921, 1926)

Academy Of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Neville Marriner, conducting
Angel Records Digital – DS-37899
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Released: 1982

Friday, May 13, 2022

Mendelssohn: Double Concerti

No. 385 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.


Over the last couple of weeks on our podcasting channel, we’ve spent time revisiting posts of music by Felix Mendelssohn. Today’s Friday podcast is the first in several months that doesn’t revisit Tuesday programs, ad proposes a pair of double concerti by Mendelssohn.

Mendelssohn was considered by many of his time to be a prodigy comparable only to the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Besides being a brilliant piano virtuoso, his composition took a firm step forward in musical development. At the age of eleven, he had written a trio for strings, a violin and piano sonata, two piano sonatas and the beginning of a third, three more for four hands, four for organ, three songs (lieder), and a cantata. While aged 12 to 14, Mendelssohn composed twelve string symphonies; the two concerti proposed here today are contemporaneous to that period.

The Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Strings in D minor was written in 1823 when Mendelssohn was 14 years old. Mendelssohn composed the work to be performed for a private concert on May 25, 1823 at the Mendelssohn home in Berlin with his violin teacher and friend, Eduard Rietz. Following this private performance, Mendelssohn revised the scoring, adding winds and timpani and is possibly the first work in which Mendelssohn used winds and timpani in a large work. It remained unpublished during Mendelssohn's lifetime and it wasn't until 1999 when a critical edition of the piece was available. This concerto was previously paired with two Mozart double concerti in an early podcast, with different soloists and orchestra.

The Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in E Major (the first of two he composed for that combination in this early phase of his career) was written in the late summer and early fall of 1823. It was first performed in December 1823 with Felix and his sister Fanny Mendelssohn as the two soloists. Regarded as immature by the composer, the work remained unpublished during his lifetime, though he substantially revised it, perhaps a decade after the première, in which form the Leipziger Ausgabe der Werke Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy published it in 1961. The version I chose here is the world premiere recording of the concerto’s first movement restored to its original form thanks to research by musicologist Steve Lindeman. 

I think you will love this music too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A LA CARTE #13 - Mendelssohn in London (Alternate Programme, M-273A)


We are repurposing the music from a Friday Blog and Podcast post of March 9, 2018 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure. 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.

The following notes are an update. 

Don't you wish sometimes you could have a do-over, a Mulligan?

As we inch closer to our 400th ITYWLTMT Montage, I find there are quite a few playlists I wish I coukd do over, so that they would fit my overall programming better.Today is the first time I do just that, revisiting our montage #273.

As I stated  then, the United Kingdom and the city of London in particular is the home of several world-class ensembles, from chamber orchestras to large-scale Symphonies. Three of these are featured in today’s playlist which features three of Felix Mendelssohn’s ymphonic works.

Of the original montage, I kept Michael Rabin and the Philharmonia in Mendelssohn's E Minor violin concerto. The remaining works are symphonies.

To open the eponymous "London Festival Orchestra" performs Mendelssohn's first String symphony.From the same LSO/Abbado Mendelsohn symphony cycle I reached into in the original montage, I switched he third symphony with the first. As filler, I close with  an orcgestra setting of the Scherzo from the Octet, which Mendelssohn had envisaged originally as the scherzo for that same symphony.

Happy listening!


Sinfonia No.1 in C, for string orchestra , S1 no. 1

London Festival Orchestra

Ross People, conducting


Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op.64

Michael Rabin, Violin

Philharmonia Orchestra 

Adrian Boult, conducting


Symphony No.1 in C Minor, Op.11

Octet in E flat, Op.20 - III. Scherzo (Arr. for orchestra by the composer)

London Symphony Orchestra

Claudio Abbado, conducting


Archive Page - https://archive.org/details/alc-13

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Mendelssohn: Lieder ohne Worte / Songs without Words


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

Our Cover2Cover share this month is taken from YouTube and Brilliant Classics. The following is from the official webpage:

Felix Mendelssohn was a virtuoso pianist, and it worth remembering that he was born in 1809, with his friend Schumann being born a year later in 1810, as was Chopin, and Liszt following in 1811. These composers were among the greatest pianists of the 19th century, and they were born at a time when the piano was a relatively modern instrument, and composers such as Hummel, Moscheles (Mendelssohn’s friend), Kalkbrenner and Ries were accorded adulation similar to pop stars today. Beethoven commenced his career in the 1790s as a virtuoso pianist.

No surprise then that the young Mendelssohn composed extensively for his chosen instrument from the outset. From early concertos and sonatas he quickly established his ‘mature’ style in works such as the Rondo capriccioso, and the Andante cantabile e Presto agitato. The masterpieces that followed include the famous Songs without Words. On this recording, these piano 'songs' are played by Dutch pianist Frank van der Laar.

We will deploy this share on our podcasting channel over 2 episodes, May 3rd and 4th). Happy Listening!


Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words) 

Songs without Words, Book 1, Op.19b
Songs without Words, Book 2, Op.30
Songs without Words, Book 3, Op.38
Songs without Words, Book 4, Op.53
Songs without Words, Book 5, Op.62
Songs without Words, Book 6, Op.67
Songs without Words, Book 7, Op.85 
Songs without Words, Book 8, Op.102 

Frank van de Laar, piano

Brilliant Classics 93833
Release November 2007

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Piano Society

No. 384 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.


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on January 24, 2012. The below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

Today’s Friday Blog and Podcast repurposes a topic we explored during January 2012 under what we coined “Pianothon month” The three works featured were uploaded from The Piano Society’s main and free website. As it rightly states, “Piano Society is proud to present its large collection of more than 5,600 high-quality classical keyboard recordings, produced by our artists consisting of both professionals and skilled amateurs.”

The Society page host most of Schubert’s piano sonatas, and Tom Pascale recorded two of them, including the one I retained to open the podcast. Tom grew up in Brooklyn, New York and studied mathematics at Fordham and Yale, and later pursued a career in banking while raising a family in the New York suburbs. After years of obligatory piano lessons, Tom quit in his teenage years and never entertained the idea of making music a profession. But listening to classical music, attending concerts, and finding time to play the piano has remained an important part of his life. Tom's experience in music is personal he does not play publicly but does enjoy sharing his amateur music-making through recordings.

The middle work, Dvorak’s Eight Waltzes, is also provided by a Mathematician/amateur keyboardist. Chris Breemer is a Dutch IT tech support specialist by day, and a born-again pianist (thanks to the discovery of the Piano Society in the mid-2000’s). Additionally, he enjoys playing with other people: accompanying church services, playing piano regularly together with other people, having a violinist partner, a cellist partner, and a piano partner.

The final work is a concerto performance by Neal O’Doan and the Seattle Philharmonic. In 1999 he retired from his professorhip at the University of Washington Music School in Seattle, Washington having taught piano there for twenty-three years. O’Doan has a few concerto recordings on the Society’s website, all with semi-professional or student orchestras from the Pacific Northwest Moszkowski’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is an 1898 composition dedicated to pianist Josef Hofmann.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Lorin Maazel “A la Carte”

No. 383 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.

Original posts: TalkClassical; Blogger

 In the past few years, I have programmed Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique to mark “4-20” *which happens to have been last Wednesday) and Mahler’s Song of the Earth for Earth Day (today). As it turns out, we posted the Mahler song cycle a few days ago, and today (as part of this A la Carte post), it’s time for the Berlioz.

As I stated in the original post, the work itself doesn't need introduction, as its back-story, and programme, have been well documented. What we have here is a straight-forward, honest and for Maazel not too pretentious. Considering that the Cleveland Orchestra isn't a French repertoire orchestra per se, it is quite enjoyable!

To fill the montage, I added another Maazel CBS recording from his tenure in Cleveland. Theearly digital album featured three Richard Strauss tone poems, and I thought matching the Berlioz work to Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration was a fitting choice. Hope you agree!

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

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Changes to Tuesday Blog on TalkClassical


TalkClassical changed its underlying forum infrastructure around Easter, and as such the impact to our past Tuesday Blog posts is as follows:

  • TC does NOT support a blog feature any longer. However, it did retain all past blogs and maintains them under a distinct thread heading: https://www.talkclassical.com/forums/blog.91/
  • None of the embedded hyperlinks on this blogger site relating to "old" Tuesday Blogs aren't resolvable. However, the forum's advanced search is quite good, and you should be able to search and find past posts.

I have updated most of the 2022 post hyperlinks on our blogger site to the new URL's.

In the future, my Tuesday posts will be found at the above "Imported Content/Blogs" thread. Because I lost the ability to pre-schedule posts on TC, they will appear sometime before the usual Tuesday or sometime later.

Apologies in advance


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Mahler, Maazel, Orchestra Del Teatro La Fenice – Das Lied Von Der Erde


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

NOTE: I see TalkClassical's format has changed, and the old "Blog" feature seems to have disappeared. As I take stock of how this format change impacts my use of this platform, let me attempt a thread-style post and see how that works.

For the next four days on our Podcasting channel we will be sharing recordings by the late Lorin Maazel. For this month’s lone share, my Vinyl’s Revenge selection is a live recording by Maazel of a 20th Century German work, Mahler’s Song of the Earth, but with an unlikely orchestra, that of the Teatro La Fenice in Vennice, Italy.

Also, consider this an early Earth Day celebration.

The history of La Fenice Orchestra is associated with that of the theatre, which held such an important place in opera in the nineteenth century, with premières including Semiramide, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Rigoletto, and La traviata. The second half of the century brought an internationalisation of repertory, broadened also by symphony concerts and collaboration with leading soloists (among them Enrico Mainardi, Mstislav Rostropovich, Edwin Fischer, Aldo Ferraresi, Arthur Rubinstein).

In 1938 La Fenice became an autonomous entity and the orchestra was developed further with active participation in the Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale. In the 1940s and 1950s under the guidance of Toscanini, Scherchen, Bernstein, and Celibidache (with a complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies), Konwitschny (with Wagner’s Ring cycle), and Stravinsky, the orchestra presented a series of historic concerts. In concerts the orchestra has undertaken cycles, including those dedicated to Berg and to Mahler, under the direction of conductors such as Sinopoli, Kakhidze, Masur, Barshai, Tate, Ahronovitch, Kitajenko, Inbal, and Temirkanov.

I am reminded of a documentary I saw decades ago, featuring Michael Tilson Thomas, discussing how he found it difficult to conduct Mahler with Italian orchestras, because their natural rhythm is lyrical (UnoDueTre) when compared to German rhythm that is more strident (EinsZweiDrei).

But one thing Italian theatre orchestras do well is opera and song, and even though Mahler’s work is a hybrid between a symphony and a song cycle, it is very rooted in the latter, and under Maazel’s usual stern guidance (yes, even at this early stage in his career), the results are quite surprising.

Happy Listening

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) (1908-09)

Contralto Vocals – Kristhine Meyer
Tenor Vocals – Richard Lewis
Orchestra Del Teatro La Fenice
Conductor – Lorin Maazel
Recorded live Venezia 11.9.1960

Label: Longanesi Periodici – GCL 35
Format: Vinyl, LP

DISCOGS - Mahler - Maazel, Orchestra Del Teatro La Fenice Di Venezia - Das Lied Von Der Erde

Friday, April 8, 2022

The pilgrimages of Francis Poulenc

No. 382 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.

Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past forum posts; today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Once or Twice a Fortnight post in question was issued on February 29th, 2012. The below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

Today’s post focuses on the sacred and secular works of spiritual inspiration by French composer Francis Poulenc. Poulenc’s life has its many paradoxes – Poulenc is an early 20th century “born again Catholic” who happened to live an openly gay lifestyle in a rather liberal Parisian artistic entourage. This paradox leads, in my personal opinion, to some inner turmoil which also manifests itself in Poulenc’s output; something critic Claude Rostand coined in the expression «moine ou voyou» (monk or punk).

There are two specific notewirthy losses in Poulenc’s life that were followed by pilgrimages to the well-known French shrine of the Black Virgin at Rocamadour: the passing of composer and critic Pierre-Octave Ferroud in 1935, and that of fellow gay artist Christian Bérard in 1949. Biographers suggest that the 1935 Rocamadour pilgrimage also was the beginning of Poulenc’s re-embracing of his Catholic faith (which he’d more or less put aside after his father’s death in 1917).

Though one selection from the original OTF post is part of today’s playlist, the majority of the pieces on the montage are settings of latin sacred text sung a capella. The one piece that harkens back to the original share, and the only set with musical accompaniment, is his Stabat Mater, composed in 1950 and dedicated to Bérard.

I think you will love this music too

Thursday, April 7, 2022

A LA CARTE #11- Ton Koopman Plays J. S. Bach (EXTENDED)

We are repurposing the music from a Vinyl's Revenge post of March 10, 2015 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure. 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.

The following notes are an update. 

As we have done a few times before under this series, I am extending an old Vinyl’s Revenge post that was well-short of 60 minutes by adding like-material. Here, I added a few Koopman Bach recordings I found off YouTube.


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

All works feature Ton Koopman, organ

Prelude and Fugue in C  Minor, BWV 546

[J. Gabler organ, Basilika St. Martin, Weingarten]


Toccata and Fugue in D-, BWV565

Toccata and Fugue in D-, BWV538 ('Dorian')

Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV564

Toccata and Fugue in F, BWV540

[Rudolf Garrels organ, Maassluis, Grote Kerk]


Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 683

Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten, BWV 691

[Silbermann Organ, Leipzig]


Concerto for solo organ No. 3 in C major (after Vivaldi Op. 7ii/5, RV 208), BWV 594

[Arp Schnitger's baroque organ in Groningen, the Netherlands.]


Internet Archive - https://archive.org/details/alc-11-ton-koopman-plays-j.-s.-bac

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A LA CARTE #10- Richard Strauss à la carte

We are repurposing the music from a Vinyl's Revenge post of February 12, 2019 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure. 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.

The following notes are an update. 

Today’s podcast builds on the Karajan recording of the Alpine Symphony with another Strauss/Karajan recording, this one of the Metamorphosen from 1969.

By 1944, Strauss was in poor health and needed to visit the Swiss spa at Baden near Zürich. But he was unable to get the Nazi government's permission to travel abroad. Karl Böhm, Paul Sacher and Willi Schuh came up with a plan to get the travel permit: a commission from Sacher and invitation to the premiere in Zurich. The commission was made in a letter by Böhm on August 28, 1944, for a "suite for strings". Strauss replied that he had been working for some time on an adagio for 11 strings; In fact, his early work on Metamorphosen was for a septet (2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos and a bass). The starting date for the score is given as 13 March 1945, which suggests that the destruction of the Vienna opera house the previous day gave Strauss the impetus to finish the work and draw together his previous sketches in just one month (finished on 12 April 1945).


Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)

Metamorphosen, for 23 solo strings, Op.142, TrV290


Eine Alpensinfonie, Op.64, TrV233


Berliner Philharmoniker

Herbert von Karajan, conducting


Internet Archive - https://archive.org/details/alc-10-richard-strauss-a-la-carte

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Programming – April to June 2022


Highlights for the second quarter:

We will conclude the 222 day binge challenge with our bi-weekly OPera Alphabet share of Herodiade on April 9/10. Starting on April 1 we will reintroduce ITYWLTMT Montages as part of our daily programming, with more A La Carte and PTB/material left to re-broadcast. We will also contnue Friday do-overs of PTB and OTF themes until June.

Lenten programming continues until Easter Monday. The week of April 19 will be dedicated to the late Lorin Maazel with a pair of new podcasts.

May and June will have lots of arcs on Mendelssohn, Vivaldi and Brahms.

Here is our quarterly calendar (Link here to download):

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Jochum conducts Bruckner: Symphony no. 8


No. 381 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Tuesday Blog. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast381


This week’s Tuesday Blog is a “Fifth Tuesday” podcast featuring Bruckner’s Eighth symphony, thus concluding our survey of the Jochum/DGG cycle from the 1960’s.

Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 in C minor is the last symphony the composer completed. This symphony is sometimes nicknamed The Apocalyptic, but this was not a name Bruckner gave to the work himself.

It exists in two major versions of 1887 and 1890. In September 1887, Bruckner had the score copied and sent to conductor Hermann Levi, one of Bruckner's closest collaborators, having given a performance of the Symphony No. 7 in Munich that was "the greatest triumph Bruckner had yet experienced".

However the conductor wrote back to Bruckner that he found the symphony “impossible to perform” in its current form. “As much as the themes are magnificent and direct, their working-out seems to me dubious”.

By January 1888, Bruckner had come to agree with Levi that the symphony would benefit from further work and completed the new version of the symphony in March 1890. Once the new version was completed, the composer wrote to Emperor Franz Josef I for permission to dedicate the symphony to him. The emperor accepted Bruckner's request and also offered to help pay for the work's publication.

By the time the 1890 revision was complete, Levi was no longer conducting concerts in Munich. As a result, he recommended that his protege Felix Weingartner. The premiere was twice scheduled to occur under the young conductor's direction during 1891, but each time Weingartner substituted another work at the last minute. Weingartner admitted, in a letter to Levi, that the real reason he was unable to perform the symphony was because the work was too difficult and he did not have enough rehearsal time: in particular, the Wagner tuba players in his orchestra did not have enough experience to cope with their parts. At last Hans Richter, subscription conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic, agreed to conduct the work. The first performance took place on 18 December 1892.

Today, Bruckner's Eighth remains somewhat controversial. This is a piece that is attempting something so extraordinary that if you're not prepared to encounter its expressive demons, or to be shocked and awed by the places Bruckner's imagination takes you, then you're missing out on the essential experience of the symphony.

If you think of Bruckner only as a creator of symphonic cathedrals of mindful - or mindless, according to taste - spiritual contemplation, who wields huge chunks of musical material around like an orchestral stone mason with implacable, monumental perfection, then you won't hear the profoundly disturbing drama of what he's really up to.

I think you will love this music too.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Jochum conducts Bruckner: Symphony no. 7


No. 380 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast380


Today’s podcast continues our crossover portion of our survey of Bruckner symphonis under Eugen Jochum with his 1967 recording of the seventh symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic

The Symphony No. 7 in E major, one of the composer's best-known symphonies, was written between 1881 and 1883. It is dedicated to Ludwig II of Bavaria. Along with Symphony No. 4, the Seventh is the most popular Bruckner symphony both in the concert hall and on record. The symphony is sometimes referred to as the "Lyric", though the appellation is not the composer's own, and is seldom used.

The Seventh Symphony premiered in Leipzig on December 30, 1884, conducted by Arthur Nikisch who insisted (after hearing a piano version); “from this moment, I regard it as my duty to work for Bruckner’s recognition.”  The Leipzig performance had been great, and the following premiere in Munich, March 10 1885, was fantastic. This acclaim constituted a major turning point in his career. 

Symphony Seven was destined for a Viennese premiere shortly thereafter, but the composer asked that this plan be withdrawn or at least deferred, “because of the influential critics who would be likely to damage my dawning success.” As it is often the case with Bruckner symphonies he undertook a revision in 1885. Vienna finally heard the work on March 21, 1886, where Bruckner’s premonitions proved correct. Hanslick wrote, “the music is antipathetic to me and appears to be exaggerated, sick, and perverted.” Gustav Dompke (another critic) added, “We recoil with horror before this rotting odor which rushes into our nostrils from the disharmonies of this decomposing counterpoint.”  Audiences around the world, including those in Vienna, did not agree with the spiteful opinions, and the symphony became a decided, unassailable triumph. Jonathan Kramer summarized: “Bruckner’s special world of slow moving intensity, overpowering climaxes, and intimate lyricism nowhere found a more coherent or beautiful statement than in the Seventh Symphony.”

Interesting fact: an arrangement of this symphony for chamber ensemble was prepared in 1921 by students and associates of Arnold Schoenberg, for the Viennese "Society for Private Musical Performances. The Society folded before the arrangement could be performed, and it was not premiered until more than 60 years later.

I think you will love this music too

Friday, March 11, 2022

Jochum conducts Bruckner: Symphony no. 5

No. 379 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast379


Throughout the month of March on our podcasting channel, we are featuring the Bruckner symphony cycle recorded by Eugen Jochum for Deutsche Grammophon in the mid-1960’s. Today’s Friday podcast is the first of three “crossover” chapters of that series.

The earliest recording from the DGG set, dating from 1958, is Jochum’s recording of the Fifth, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. It was written in 1875–76, with minor changes over the next two years. It came at a time of trouble and disillusion for the composer: a lawsuit, from which he was exonerated, and a reduction in salary. Dedicated to Karl von Stremayr, education minister in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the symphony has at times been nicknamed the "Tragic", the "Church of Faith" or the "Pizzicato"; Bruckner himself referred to it as the "Fantastic" without applying this or any other name formally.

Jochum wrote in detail about the symphony's interpretive challenges, noting that, in contrast to the Seventh Symphony, "the climax... is not merely in the last movement but at the very end, in the chorale. ... The first, second and third movements seem almost a... vast preparation. ... The preparatory character applies especially to the first movement [whose] introduction ... is a large-scale foundation... destined to bear the weight of all four movements." As evidence, he detailed the way... the introduction's thematic materials function in later movements, and said the interpreter "must direct everything towards the Finale and its ending... and continually keep something in reserve for the conclusion."

Jochum also detailed tempo and its relationships and modifications as an element in achieving overall direction and unity, and regarded the quarter notes in the first-movement introduction as "the fundamental tempo". Also, he wrote that in the Finale's double fugue, "it is not enough to bring out themes as such [because] subsidiary parts would be too loud." To get the desired contrapuntal clarity, he detailed dynamic subtleties required.

I think you will love this music too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Anton Bruckner, Eugen Jochum, 9 Symphonies (1958,1964-68)

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

This month, my only Tuesday post is this Cover2Cover share of the great late fifties/early sixties Bruckner symphony cycle by Eugen Jochum. Thanks to this cycle, along with a later cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden, Jochum has established himself as an authority when it comes to Bruckner’s orchestral output.

A few years back, a thread on TalkClassical explored the relative merits of both these cycles and I won’t be feeding the debate here. In my personal collection, I have individual albums by Jochum from both cycles, and I also have a weak spot for Tintner’s cycle for NAXOS.

As I’ve discussed in other circumstances, when I consider a cycle release, I look for consistency and cohesion between the individual performances. What is unique about this DGG ensemble is that this cohesion is achieved with two different orchestras (as opposed to the single orchestra with the EMI set). We can haggle over individual symphonies (I like the fourth with EMI better, as I do the Eighth with DGG). There are no wrong answers, though.

Enjoy the complete set here from YouTube. For listeners of my podcast, I will be sharing all nine symphonies over 8 different episodes, three of which will cross over on our Friday series.

Happy Listening!

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
Symphony No.1 in C-, WAB101 (1, 1966)
Symphony No.2 in C-, WAB102 (2, 1967)
Symphony No.3 in D-, WAB103 ('Wagner') (2, 1968)
Symphony No.4 in Eb, WAB104 ('Romantic') (1, 1967)
Symphony No.5 in Bb, WAB105 (2, 1958)
Symphony No.6 in A, WAB106 (2, 1967)
Symphony No.7 in E, WAB107 ('Lyric') (1, 1967)
Symphony No.8 in C-, WAB108 ('Apocalyptic') (1, 1964)
Symphony No.9 in D-, WAB109 ('Unfinished') (1, 1966)

Berliner Philharmoniker (1)
Symphonie-Orchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks (2)
Eugen Jochum, conducting

Deutsche Grammophon – 469 810-2
(Reiisued, original recording dates as indicated)

DISCOGS - https://www.discogs.com/release/1091...n-Rundfunks-9-

Friday, February 25, 2022

Scherzi & Menuetti

No. 378 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast378


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on September 10, 2013. The below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

Minuets and scehrzi are close cousins both in their form and their use in classical music. The scherzo, as in the dance-like, musical joke has come to replace the minuet in three or four-movement works. The transition from the minuet (espooused by Haydn in particular) to the scherzo is a key step in the evolution from the classical period to the early romantic.

I don't now if we can call this the first instance of a scherzo, but certainly the third movement of Beethoven's First symphony (deceptively marked Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace) is really a scherzo:

The playlist I assembled proposes a set of scherzos (and minuets) for different combinations of instruments - going from the solo piano to the full orchestra - from Haydn and Mozart to Maurice Ravel.  The playlist has few selections from the original 2013 set. We note Litoff's Scherzo and less-heard works by Borodin and Lalo.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A LA CARTE #9- Classical Symphonies à la carte

We are repurposing the music from a Vinyl's Revenge post of July 5, 2018 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure

The following notes are an update. 

Over the coming months, we will be repurposing several of the Haydn symphonies contained in a pair of Once Upon the Internet posts featuring Herrmann Scherchen. This first post in the series combines a selection from a 2011 “Musical Links” post from our Friday series we called “Mozart’s EuropeanVacation” and a third hitherto unpublished selection – Schubert’s Second symphony from Riccardo Muti’s Schubert cycles with the Vienna Philharmonic.


Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Symfony no. 31 en in D Major, K. 297  "Paris"

Mozart Akademie Amsterdam

Jaap Ter Linden, conducting

[WoO 110729]

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)

Symphony No. 100 in G Major, Hob.I:100 « Military »

Wiener Symphoniker

Hermann Scherchen, conducting


Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Symphony No.2 in B Flat Major, D.125

Wiener Philharmoniker

Riccardo Muti, conducting


Internet Archive - https://archive.org/details/alc-09

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Rossini/Respighi – La Boutique Fantasque - Suite Rossiniana

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

This week’s Vinyl’s Revenge digs out an old cassette I acquired in the early 1980’s featuring the music of Ottorino Respighi inspired by music composed by his compatriot, Gioacchino Rossini.

Respighi had written the ballet La Boutique fantasque for Léonide Massine and Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1919, basing it on short piano pieces from Rossini's collection Péchés de vieillesse (Sins of Old Age).

Massine described how, in Rome for a ballet season, Respighi brought the score of Rossini's Péchés de vieillesse to Diaghilev. Toulouse-Lautrec was an influence on the period setting and style of La Boutique fantasque, and Massine envisaged the principal character "quite Lautrec-like".

The story of the ballet has similarities to Die Puppenfee ("The Fairy Doll") of Josef Bayer, an old German ballet that had been performed by Jose Mendez in Moscow in 1897 and by Serge and Nicholas Legat in Saint Petersburg in 1903. Others note the similarities to Hans Christian Andersen's The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Massine's scenario centers on the love story between two can-can dancer dolls in a toyshop, incorporating elements of comedy, national folk dance and mime, as well as classical choreography.

In 1925, Respighi returned to Rossini's music, but not as a ballet, simply as concert music. He again used Sins of Old Age, specifically Quelques riens (Various nothings) from Volume XII, and applied what he called a trascrizione libera (free transcription) to them.

The four-movement score is brilliant, but also dark and evocative. Although not written for ballet, Rossiniana has been choreographed as a dance performance work.

Antal Dorati recorded many of Respighi’s seminal orchestral music for Mercury with the Minneapolis and London symphonies in the 1950’s, and his recording of the Ancient Airs and Dances with the Philharmonia Hungarica (again for Mercury, featured here a few years ago) is a reference recording. This coupling of the two Rossini-inspired scores comes much later, in the mid-1970’s for Decca, with the Royal Philharmonic. I note that the Boutique score is labelled a “ballet suite”, meaning some sections of the complete ballet are omitted in this performance – it still remains crisp and enjoyable.

Happy Listening!

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936)
La boutique fantasque (ballet after Rossini), P.120 – ballet suite
Rossiniana, P.148 (after Rossini)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Antal Dorati, conducting

Decca Jubilee Series – KJBC 79

Discogs https://www.discogs.com/release/1068...ite-Rossiniana

Friday, February 11, 2022

Salvatore Accardo (*1941)

No. 377 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at https://archive.org/details/377-salvatore-accardo-1941-alc


Original posts: TalkClassicalBlogger

Today’s A la Carte montage is fashioned around Salvatore Accardo’s visit with the Montreal Symphony in May of 1986, which we featured on a past Once Upon the Internet post.

Salvatore Accardo was born in Turin in a family coming from the South of Italy: his father Vincenzo, artist engraver of cameos was passionate with music and his mother was a primary school teacher. At 3 he asked for a violin and began to play to ear, at 5 he began his studies in Naples with the musician and pedagogue Luigi D’Ambrosio, later he entered the Naples Conservatorio of San Pietro a Majella where at 13 he graduated  full marks playing for the first time Paganini’s Caprices, earning the first prize of the 1958 Paganini Competition in Genoa. 

Admitted ad honorem at the Accademia Chigiana of Siena, Accardo studied there with Yvonne Astruc, former pupil and assistent of George Enescu, starting to be friends with his classmates: Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Charles Dutoit, and Maurizio Pollini.

 He was a leader of "I Musici" (1972-1977) and has long been associated with Italian and European ensembles; he founded the Settimane Musicali Internazionali in Naples, the Accardo Quartet in 1992 and he was one of the founders of the Walter Stauffer Academy in 1986. and the Cremona String Festival in 1971. In 1996, he re-founded the Orchestra da Camera Italiana (O.C.I.).

He has an extensive discography of almost 50 recordings on Philips, DG, EMI, Sony Classical, Foné, Dynamic, and Warner-Fonit. Part of today’s montage includes selections from the Italian RCA release "Salvatore Accardo’s magic bow" featuring violin and piano showpieces.

From the MSO concert, we packaged his performance of the Stravinsky violin concerto and Ravel’s Tzigane,

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