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Calm Radio is a music streaming alternative that offers calming music. Listen to classical and relaxation music for work and sleep, online jazz music with nature sounds, meditation and world music available on our Calm Radio app.
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CALM RADIO - MOZART - Sampler
Il y a 11j. 17h. 18min.
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Mozart Akademie Amsterdam, Jaap Ter Linden - Mozart: Symphony No. 34 In C Major, K. 338: Iii. Allegro Vivace
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Salvatore Accardo, Bruno Canino - Mozart: Violin Sonata In E-Flat Major, K. 302: Ii. Rondeau. Andante Grazioso
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Franz Schubert Quartet Of Vienna - Mozart: String Quartet In D Major, K. 499
21 0
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Derek Han, Philharmonia Orchestra, Paul Freemen - Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 27 In B-Flat Major, K. 595: Ii. Larghetto
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Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, Florian Heyerick - Mozart: Notturno In D Major, K. 286: I. Andante
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Derek Han, Philarmonia Orchestra, Paul Freeman - Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 23 In A Major, K. 488: Ii. Andante
12 0
Sonare Quartet - Mozart: String Quartet In D Minor, K. 173: Ii. Andantino Grazioso
10 0
Marc Grauwels, Guy Penson, Jan Sciffer - Mozart: Flute Sonata In B-Flat Major, K. 15: I. Andante Maestoso
9 0
Bart Van Oort, Ursula Dutschler - Mozart: Fugue In G Minor, K. 401
8 0
Klara Wurtz - Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 15 In F Major, K. 533: Iii. Rondeau. Allegretto
8 0
Orlando Quartet, Nobuko Imai - Mozart: String Quintet In G Minor, K. 516: V. Allegro
8 0
Klara Wurtz - Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 5 In G Major, K. 283: Ii. Andante
7 0
Emmy Verhey, Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Eduardo Marturet - Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4 In D Major, K. 218: Iii. Rondeau. Andante Grazioso - Allegro Ma Non Troppo
7 0
Slovak Sinfonietta, Taras Krysa - Mozart: 20 Menuets, K. 103: Vii. Menuet No. 7
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Camerata Salzburg, Sandor Vegh - Mozart: Divertimento In B-Flat Major, K. 287
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Buhuslav Matousek, Collegium Jaroslav Tuma - Mozart: Church Sonata In D Major, K. 144
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Henk De Graaf, Jan Jansen, Johan Steinmann - Mozart: Divertimento No. 4, K. 439B: I. Allegro
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  • How do you get tickets to the BBC Proms?

    classical-music.com | Wed, 17 Apr 2019 12:26:21 +0000

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    The 2019 BBC Proms season is almost upon us, so we’re here to give you all the information you need to attend.

    This year’s season begins with the First Night of the Proms on Friday 19 July with concerts every day until the Last Night on Saturday 14 September. 

     

     

    How to buy tickets

    A full Proms schedule is available here, where you can also buy tickets in advance online.

    Season and Weekend Promming passes go on sale on 11 May, with general booking opening on 11 May at 9am.

    You can also order tickets over the phone by calling the Box Office on +44 (0)20 7070 4441 or +44 (0)20 7589 8212 (international).

     

     

    Promming

    If you fancy a slightly different Proms experience, you could join the Prommers and queue for £6 tickets on the door. It’s recommended that you get there from 5pm to ensure you get a queueing ticket (although you may need to go earlier for very popular concerts).

    If you’re an avid Prommer and want to buy your tickets in bulk, you may find that a weekend or season pass is better value. Have a look at the ticket bundles here.

     

     

    The Last Night of the Proms

    The Last Night of the Proms is a slightly different affair, owing to its huge demand. For Prommers, an early rise is on the cards. The stewards allow you to leave the queue for 30-minute intervals, and they will explain the specific Promming protocol to all queue members on the day.

    If you have attended at least five other Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, you can enter the ballot to buy a maximum of two tickets for the Last Night. The Five-Concert Ballot closes on Thursday 6 June.

    There is also an open ballot for the Last Night of the Proms, in which 200 seats are available. The ballot opens closes on Thursday 4 July. Apply here.

    Any remaining tickets for the Last Night will go on sale on Friday 12 July at 9am, by phone and online only. 

    The Last Night of the Proms extends beyond the Albert Hall, with celebrations also taking place in Hyde Park. As well as the Prom being streamed live from the Albert Hall, there will be performances from artists and ensembles.

     

     

    Watch and listen at home

    Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and some will be televised on Sundays and Fridays on BBC Four and Proms Extra on BBC Two. 

  • BBC Proms 2019 season unveiled

    classical-music.com | Wed, 17 Apr 2019 11:40:21 +0000

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    The programme for this year’s BBC Proms has been revealed, with major celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings scheduled across the season. Founder and conductor Sir Henry Wood is also honoured this year, as the Proms celebrates the 150th anniversary of his birth.

    Composers have long been inspired by the sound of space, imagined or otherwise. This year’s  season will highlight some of these works to mark the anniversary of the moon landings. Holst’s The Planets and John Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine will be performed, as well as premieres of Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos, which is focused around the concept of black holes, and a work by Zosha Di Castri about the moon landings, which will be the first piece heard at the 2019 Proms. 

    Public Service Broadcasting has its own Late Night Prom this year, orchestrating its 2015 concept album The Race for Space, which blends music with broadcast recordings from the US/USSR Space Race era. Expanding on the space theme further, there will also be a Sci-Fi Film Music Prom in which the London Contemporary Orchestra will take on legendary scores from cult sci-fi films. 

    Exploring how our role on earth ties in with the solar system, Hans Zimmer has been commissioned by the BBC for this year’s Ten Pieces scheme. His new work, Earth, will be performed in the CBeebies Prom by the Chineke! Orchestra. This Prom will also be broadcast on CBeebies. 

     

     

    With a diverse range of performers, we will see Proms debuts from a clutch of BBC New Generation Artists as well as Eric Lu, winner of the 2019 Leeds International Piano Competition. Alongside these young performers are legends including Murray Perahia, who will play Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic, under 2018 BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year winner Bernard Haitink.

    As ever, the Proms venture beyond the walls of the Royal Albert Hall with the Proms at… series. This year, concerts will be held at Cadogan Hall, Battersea Arts Centre and the Holy Sepulchre London, where Proms founder Sir Henry Wood is buried.

    Wood’s anniversary is being marked in several ways during this year’s season. As a major advocate of new music, Wood used the Proms as a platform for showcasing newly-written compositions. Thirty-three of the works Wood gave British and world premieres of will be performed again this year, including Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra. The 2019 Proms will match this number, with 33 new works commissioned this year. 

     

     

    Henry Wood was a fan of dedicating a full night to one composer, a programming style which will be emulated in the final week of this year’s Proms season with concerts given over to Wagner, Bach and Beethoven.

    To mark the 120th anniversary of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a new anonymously-written theme has been written, inspired by Elgar’s legendary orchestral work. This new piece features variations by 14 composers including Sally Beamish, Judith Weir and Sir Harrison Birtwistle.

    Other anniversaries and birthdays celebrated in this year’s Proms include those of Berlioz, Louis Andriessen, Peter Eötvös and Sir James MacMillan. 

     

     

    New BBC conductors will make their Proms debuts this year: the BBC Philharmonic’s new chief conductor Omer Meir Wellber and the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska. In other firsts in 2019, Karina Canellakis will be the first woman to conduct the First Night of the Proms.

    Mezzo-soprano and winner of the 2018 BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award Jamie Barton will take to the stage for this year's Last Night of the Proms, accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under its chief conductor Sakari Oramo.

    All Proms will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and 25 of the concerts will be available to watch on BBC TV. 

    The BBC Proms will take place from Friday 19 July to Saturday 14 September 2019.

  • Free Download: Corelli's Violin Sonata No. 3 played on the viola da gamba

    classical-music.com | Wed, 17 Apr 2019 09:47:48 +0000

    'Lucile Boulanger emerges as something of the Jacqueline du Pré of the viol'

    This week's free download is the fifth movement, Allegro, of Corelli's Violin Sonata No. 3, transcribed for the viola de gamba and performed by Lucile Boulanger, with basse de viol player Claire Gautrot and harpsichordist Pierre Gallon. It was recorded on the Harmonia Mundi label with a selection of other works that were once performed or composed by the great French Baroque viol player Antoine Forqueray.

    DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS:

    If you'd like to enjoy our free weekly download simply log in or sign up to our website.

    Once you've done that, return to this page and you'll be able to see a 'Download Now' button on the picture above – simply click on it to download your free track.

    If you experience any technical problems please email support@classical-music.com. Please reference 'Classical Music Free Download', and include details of the system you are using and your location. If you are unsure of what details to include please take a screenshot of this page.

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  • The best recordings of JS Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier

    classical-music.com | Wed, 17 Apr 2019 09:00:00 +0000

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    Bach’s collection of 48 Preludes and Fugues in all the major and minor keys has long been a bible for keyboard players, and was the inspiration for similar sets by Busoni, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich, among others. Bach’s decision to explore music in all the keys had, in turn, been motivated by his predecessors – notably JKF Fischer, from whose Ariadne musica Bach borrowed and developed several themes.

    Written ‘for the use and profit of musical youth’, the first of the two books of the ‘48’ appeared in 1722, the second following some 20 years later – a period when Bach played an active role in the development of various keyboard instruments. There is no easy answer to the question of which type of instrument is most suitable for these works. Bach, ever practical, would no doubt have played them on the range of keyboards available to him: clavichord, harpsichord or even organ.

     

     

    The best recording

    András Schiff (piano) (2012)
    ECM New Series  476 4827

    András Schiff’s two versions of the ‘48’ remain timeless classics. The first, a Decca recording from the 1980s, is poised and lyrical, if occasionally verging on the self-indulgent; the later, 2012 version on ECM would be my desert island choice. Schiff’s mature vision is more abstract, less sentimental: as such, we hear Bach’s music distilled to its essence, rather than the pianist’s personality.

    Informed by the spikier sound of the harpsichord, Schiff avoids the temptation to smudge Bach’s textures with the piano’s sustaining pedal. Instead, thanks to his impeccable technique and instinctive grasp of the music’s architecture, he floats the sound, spinning cantabile melodies with the fingers alone (and with a little help from ECM’s glossy recording). Contrapuntal lines are sharply etched, so that even the most highly wrought fugues sound transparent as cut glass.

    Schiff is unrivalled in his ability to delineate voice parts with subtle weighting and a conversational interplay that ranges from spirited repartee to reflective discourse. Discernible, too, is his synaesthetic perception of keys: A minor he sees ‘as red as blood’; D major as brassy gold; C major is the white of innocence; B minor is black, the colour of death. These readings span the gamut of human experience, from the exuberance of youth to the introspection of old age.

     

     

    Three more great recordings

    Edwin Fischer (piano) (1933-36)
    Documents 231784

    Among the most charismatic classic accounts from yesteryear are Glenn Gould’s (brilliant, if manic) and Richter’s (expansive and lyrical), but my definitive choice would be Swiss pianist Edwin Fischer, who made the first complete recording in the mid-1930s. It remains a landmark.

    Poetic and thoughtful, Fischer is one of the most intuitive of Bach interpreters: tempos are beautifully judged – never too lugubrious nor too frenzied – and he eschews the anachronistic tendency for those grandiose, Romantic gestures that mar many early performances.

    The recorded sound may not compare with recent versions, but this remastering reveals a luminous tone and transparent, cleanly articulated counterpoint. If you’re after a note-perfect reading, this may not suit; but for the humility and humanity of his musicianship, Fischer is unimpeachable.

     

     

    Angela Hewitt (piano) (2008)
    Hyperion CDA67741/4

    Of the more recent piano versions, I’d be loath to lose Peter Hill’s honest, warmly coloured performances, but Angela Hewitt wins the day with her second recording from 2008. In contrast to her straight-laced earlier accounts, these mature readings are pliant and free, their liberal use of rhetorical gestures and rubato informed by Baroque harpsichord technique.

    Her Fazioli piano is lighter and leaner than the Steinway of the previous version, its specially adapted action lending clarity. Hewitt is at her best in the dance-inspired pieces, which she plays with balletic grace; there’s never any hint of heaviness or pummelling here. My one caveat is that her microscopic attention to detail is sometimes just too finicky.  

     

     

    Gustav Leonhardt (harpsichord) (1989)
    Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 886 919 53072

    For period-instrument performances, leave shelf space in the library for Robert Levin’s intelligent readings on the type of keyboard instruments Bach himself would have known: the delicate clavichord, one- and two-manual harpsichords, organ and fortepiano – all of which reveal the glorious palette of colours, timbres and temperaments available to the composer.

    For a budget option, harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour’s accounts on Naxos are vital and historically informed. Ultimately, though, I’d opt for Gustav Leonhardt, whose noble playing on an equally noble Rückers harpsichord stands as a classic. Leonhardt plumbs the depths of these works, both as a musician and as a scholar, and by the time he made this 1989 recording, they flowed from him as naturally as blood through his veins. Blissfully free of mannerisms or intrusive eccentricities, his readings are seigneurial.

     

     

    And one to avoid…

    Though a masterful pianist, Daniel Barenboim disappoints with this 2006 Warner Classics recording of the ‘48’. With their excessive use of the sustaining pedal, wide dynamic range, rubato and other obtrusive mannerisms, Barenboim’s readings sound more like Mendelssohn or Schumann than Bach. They will only appeal if you don’t mind Baroque music blurred through a soft-focus and rather sentimental lens.

     

    This article first appeared in the August 2017 issue of BBC Music Magazine.

  • Classical music inspired by Shakespeare

    classical-music.com | Wed, 17 Apr 2019 06:00:40 +0000

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    It is thanks to Shakespeare that we have one of the most famous ever quotes about music. As Twelfth Night opens, Duke Orsino speaks the words that are familiar to millions of us: ‘If music be the food of love, play on’.

    Shakespeare’s plays are awash with music. His characters make reference to music; singers and dancers regularly accompany the action on stage; and the Bard’s words themselves flow melodiously.

    Unsurprisingly, then, composers for centuries have in turn been inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. Tragedies, comedies and histories have alike found themselves entering the repertoire, represented in all manner of ways: from Purcell, writing in the same century that Shakespeare died, to Thomas Adès in the present day; from Nordic types such as Sibelius and Stenhammar to those masters of Italian opera, Rossini and Verdi; from the briefest overtures to grand operas.

    Over the following nine pages, we mark 400 years since Shakespeare’s death by taking a look at the plays that, above all, have inspired masterpieces and not-so-masterpieces. Operas, ballets, overtures, incidental music, tone poems, choral works and songs are all there (though, with apologies to Walton fans in particular, we have largely left out Shakespearean film scores – that’s a subject for another occasion.)

    Keen Shakespeareans will, of course, know that Duke Orsino’s quote continues ‘Give me excess of it that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die.’ But surely, when it comes to Bard-inspired music, there can be no such thing as an ‘excess’. And so, play on…

     

     

    Romeo and Juliet

    THE PLAY

    When Romeo and Juliet meet, they fall instantly in love. The catch is that their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are sworn enemies, so they marry in secret with the help of Friar Laurence. Matters are complicated further when Romeo kills Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin, in revenge for the murder of his friend Mercutio, and is exiled from Verona. Friar Laurence prepares a sleeping potion to put Juliet in a death-like coma so that Romeo can return and the pair can escape. But the message never reaches him and, believing Juliet to be truly dead, he kills himself. Juliet wakes to find him dead and so kills herself too.

     

    THE MUSIC

    This tragic love story has inspired some truly great music, along with its share of less successful pieces. One of the earliest settings is a singspiel by the Czech composer Georg Benda, whose 1776 Romeo und Julie, loosely based on the play, was one of his most popular pieces. In keeping with operatic tradition at the time, his version ends happily, and he isn’t the only composer to experiment with the plot.

    When Prokofiev decided to write music for a Romeo and Juliet ballet in 1936, he also thought it would be better if the lovers didn’t die. Stalin, however, had other thoughts and Prokofiev had to stick to Shakespeare’s ending. This bold, colourful score, which you can also hear in three concert suites, offers some of his best music, from the menacing ‘Dance of the Knights’ to the rapturous love music for Romeo and Juliet. Constant Lambert also wrote a Romeo and Juliet-inspired ballet, in 1926, with a double-layered scenario setting Shakespeare’s play within a dance rehearsal. Premiered by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the score is lively and bright, in the mould of Satie, Poulenc and Milhaud.

    In the opera house, Gounod’s 1867 Romeo et Juliette is perhaps the most enduring work, with Juliette’s sparkling waltz song ‘Je veux vivre’ as its highlight. The 19th-century craze for Shakespeare also saw Bellini and Nicola Vaccai take on the tale. Vaccai’s 1825 Giulietta e Romeo is now all but forgotten, but Bellini’s 1830 bel canto opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi is still a hit today, even if its plot might be more Romeo and Juliet fan fiction than faithful setting.

     

     

    Later operas exploring the star-cross’d lovers include those by Harry Rowe Shelley (1901), Delius (loosely, in his 1901 Village Romeo and Juliet), John Edmund Barkworth (1916, who attempted to set Shakespeare word for word), Heinrich Sutermeister (1940) and Gian Francesco Malipiero (1950). But perhaps the most famous Romeo and Juliet-inspired score of the 20th century is West Side Story, the musical that features some of Leonard Bernstein’s most brilliant music.

    Balakirev inspired Tchaikovsky to write a Fantasy-Overture on Romeo and Juliet, modelled after the older composer’s own King Lear Overture, but the taut drama and passionate outpourings of the final piece are all Tchaikovsky’s own. A Shakespeare fanatic, Berlioz went one step further and wrote a whole Romeo et Juliette choral symphony, inspired by the play’s ‘raging vendettas, the desperate kisses, the frantic strife of life and death’. The Romeo and Juliet operas by Daniel Steibelt (1793) and Bellini also inspired him, along with Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, resulting in one of his most original works. Stenhammar, Kabalevsky and Svendsen also wrote orchestral music based on Romeo and Juliet, all of which is worth exploring.

     

     

    Hamlet

    THE PLAY

    Hamlet learns his father was murdered when his ghost appears in Elsinore castle. Swearing revenge on his uncle Claudius, the murderer, Hamlet presents a play to the court in which the play-King is murdered. Claudius runs guiltily from the room and Hamlet later tries to kill him, but instead stabs Polonius, father of Ophelia, with whom Hamlet is in love.

    Ophelia goes mad with grief and drowns. As Ophelia’s family plots to kill Hamlet, the body count rises – a poisoned swordfight results in the deaths of Laertes, Claudius and Hamlet himself, and Gertrude drinks poison intended for him. As the King of Norway arrives at Elsinore, the whole Danish royal family lies dead.

     

    THE MUSIC

    Shakespeare’s longest play provoked ‘Ophelia mania’ across Europe after an astonishing performance in Paris in 1827 that starred Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson as Ophelia, and inspired a wealth of music. Berlioz’s infatuation with Smithson most famously led to his lovesick, opium-fuelled Symphonie fantastique, but her performance also inspired Tristia: three songs for choir and orchestra depicting the deaths of Ophelia and Hamlet.

    In fact, Ophelia’s plight is the focus of many musical settings. In the play her madness is highlighted by ever-stranger on-stage singing, a gift to composers. Some, such as Brahms’s unaccompanied Ophelia Lieder, even use Shakespeare’s original song texts, although Shostakovich’s Song of Ophelia, which sets a poem by Alexandr Blok, is equally haunting.

    Shakespeare’s ultimate tragic hero does have musical homages of his own, meanwhile. Liszt’s eponymous symphonic poem is a whirlwind examination of character through Hamlet’s turbulent emotions – here, there is just a hint of Ophelia, though she has little chance to calm the impetuous Prince.

    When Tchaikovsky was asked to compose incidental music for a stage production in 1888 he was hesitant. ‘Is it really possible to express in music the profundity of the tragedy and the very persona of the Prince of Denmark?’ he wrote to his brother Modest. His first attempt became an Overture-Fantasia, which was premiered to great success alongside his Fifth Symphony. However, in another attempt he simply borrowed music from previous compositions, leading to an unlikely combination of Hamlet and The Snow Queen.

     

     

    Shostakovich also wrote incidental music, for a satirical 1930s production that was quickly shut down after scandalising Stalinists. His brash score is all that remains of this strange version of Hamlet, in which the characters are played as drunk, rather than mad. Prokofiev wrote incidental music for Hamlet just a year after his hugely successful Romeo and Juliet. Keen to attempt another Shakespearian tragedy, he had hopes to transform his music into an opera, but nothing came of it. In fact, only one notable operatic version of Hamlet exists, penned in 1868 by French composer Ambroise Thomas.

    Based on a translation by Alexandre Dumas, who believed Shakespeare’s original ending was ‘most unpleasant’, Hamlet is miraculously restored from his deathbed by the ghost and leads his people into a hopeful future. Thomas wrote an ‘alternative’ final scene with a dead Hamlet for the Covent Garden premiere, as he was advised that the English wouldn’t stand for such a violation of Shakespeare’s original masterpiece.

     

     

    Macbeth

    THE PLAY

    Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy is also one of his goriest. When the Three Witches foretell that he will become King of Scotland, Macbeth becomes consumed with ambition to make that happen as soon as possible, goaded on by the odious Lady Macbeth. The reigning king, Duncan, is the first to be dispatched by him, beginning a trail of slaughter that, driven by his increasing paranoia over the ambiguity of the witches’ prophesies, goes on to include his friend Banquo and the family of Macduff, Thane of Fife. Macduff himself, however, is still at large and, accompanied by Duncan’s son Malcolm, wreaks bloody revenge.

     

    THE MUSIC

    Verdi had unbounded admiration for Shakespeare, whom he described as ‘above all dramatists, the Greeks not excepted’. Macbeth, which he told his librettist Francesco Maria Piave was ‘one of mankind’s grandest creations’, was the first of the playwright’s works to inspire an opera from him – the plot’s rich concoction of ruthless ambition, witchcraft, ghosts and deranged somnambulism gave opportunity aplenty to unleash his creativity, while handy political parallels could be drawn between the oppressed existence of the Scots under Macbeth’s rule and that of Verdi’s own Italian homeland.

    Though Shakespeare’s trio of witches is replaced by a three-part chorus in the opera, Verdi was otherwise adamant that the all the elements of the play, as well as its unremittingly dark atmosphere, should be retained. For sheer sense of unease, few moments compare to the disturbed Lady Macbeth’s sleep-walking scene, followed by her aria ‘Una macchia è qui tuttora’.

    Another Macbeth worth investigating is the 1904 opera by the Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch, whose eerie but bewitchingly atmospheric score will have you wondering why it is performed so rarely today. Beyond that, it’s over to the concert hall for orchestral works by the likes of Richard Strauss, Spohr and Sullivan.

     

     

    Strauss’s Macbeth, his first ever tone poem, does not display the rich imagination of his later symphonic works but is nonetheless suitably edgy and dramatic, while Spohr’s overture to an 1825 production of the play creeps menacingly into life. Sullivan’s 1888 overture, in contrast, packs all the menace of a prance through a daisy-filled meadow… but is lovely on its own terms.

    Macbeth has also inspired orchestral music by Rubbra, Bantock and Khachaturian, though recordings of all three are near-impossible to find. You will, however, have little trouble getting hold of a disc of Smetana’s enchanting Macbeth and the Three Witches for solo piano, an 1859 work that, full of skittish chromatic runs, has more than a touch of his teacher, Liszt, about it. 

     

     

    Othello

    THE PLAY

    When Othello, a Moorish knight in the Venetian army, promotes the young Cassio above his standard-bearer Iago, little does he know the demons he is about to unleash. Iago, arguably the most hate-ridden and duplicitous character in all of Shakespeare, hatches a series of plots to have Cassio implicated in an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife. He succeeds, but his ‘little web’ of deceit has fatal implications for the innocent Desdemona, who is murdered by the enraged Othello, only for Othello to then realise he has been duped. As justice awaits, the title character kills himself.

     

    THE MUSIC

    It was nearly 35 years after the premiere of his Macbeth that Verdi decided to return to Shakespeare. Setting a libretto by Arrigo Boito, Otello is one of his most masterful creations – dramatic, fast-paced and intensely moving. While some operatic adaptations of Shakespeare take the original play as a rough guide and then elaborate wildly from there, Boito chose to stick very tightly to the Bard – the opera’s action begins in Cyprus rather than Shakespeare’s Venice, but other than that, the plot and protagonists are all very recognisable.

    Much of the brilliance of Verdi’s score lies in the way that he depicts the characters of the main protagonists: the tenor title role is big boned and powerful; Desdemona is a radiantly lyrical soprano; and the baritone part of Iago is sinuous, cagily sinister and disturbingly understated. Interestingly, Boito and Verdi initially intended to call the opera Iago – a fair reflection of his insidious ever-presence.

    Unlike Verdi, when Rossini wrote his own Otello in 1816, he felt no need to stick closely to the script. Transferring the entire action to Venice, he lessens the role of Iago, bigs up the part played by the dissolute Roderigo and only really plays Shakespearean ball in the opera’s third and final act.

     

     

    Crowned by Desdemona’s exquisitely mournful ‘Assisa a’ piè d’un salice’ aria (the ‘Willow Song’), that third act in particular shows Rossini at his most inventive and original. For non-operatic takes on Shakespeare’s Moor, meanwhile, try Dvorák’s Othello, a stormy orchestral overture from 1892 or, from the Soviet era, Khachaturian’s Othello suite, put together from his score for Sergei Yutkevich’s 1955 film.

     

     

    The Merry Wives of Windsor

    THE PLAY

    Middle-aged, overweight and skint, Sir John Falstaff nonetheless fancies his chances of seducing Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, both of whom happen to be married. Falstaff’s already remote chances are lowered even further when his targets become aware of his intentions and team up to make a fool of him.

    As he tries to get his wicked way, Sir John finds himself tricked into being tipped into a river in a basket of dirty laundry and then, at his second attempt, into dressing up as Mistress Ford’s dumpy aunt. Final humiliation comes when he is lured into Windsor Forest, only to be assaulted by children dressed as fairies. Thankfully, he eventually sees the funny side, and all ends happily.

     

    THE MUSIC

    Falstaff’s various antics in The Merry Wives of Windsor have proved quite a draw to composers, not least Verdi, who made him the eponymous hero of his final opera in 1893. Once again he turned to Boito for the libretto, and the collaboration resulted in a work of fast-paced action, charming characterisation and brilliant comic timing – even if it did leave its first audiences a little befuddled.

    As with his previous takes on Shakespeare, Verdi remained largely faithful to the Bard’s plot but, feeling that the central character needed a little more depth than just buffoonery, he and Boito also drew on elements from the other two plays in which Falstaff appears: Henry IV Parts I and II.

    Thirty years after the premiere of Verdi’s Falstaff, Vaughan Williams set to work on Sir John in Love, his own take on The Merry Wives, and poured into the project all the enthusiasm he had amassed during his spell as the music director at Stratford-upon-Avon.

     

     

    It was in that role that he had first composed an adaptation of ‘Greensleeves’ for productions of The Merry Wives and Richard II, and the folk tune makes an appearance in Sir John in Love too, when it is sung by Mistress Ford. Importantly, Vaughan Williams chose to begin and end his opera with the real love interest in The Merry Wives – that between Fenton and Anne – and gives Falstaff a less boorish, and more melodious, character than Verdi does.

    Other opera composers to have found themselves Merry Wives-inspired include Salieri, who dispensed the Fenton-and-Anne subplot entirely for his nimble Falstaff of 1799, concentrating his efforts instead on the eponymous hero. For a Falstaff  from the heart of the bel canto era, meanwhile, try the little-known opera by the Irish composer Michael Balfe, penned in 1838.

     

     

    Henry IV, Part I and II

    THE PLAYS

    Over the course of two plays, King Henry IV of England is at civil war against forces led by the powerful Percy family – a conflict that reaches a head at the Battle of Shrewsbury at the climax of Henry IV, Part I, resulting in victory for the king. Set against this, we also learn of Henry’s frustration at his son Harry – the future Henry V – who spends much of his time sharing the company and joining in the various antics of the witty and charismatic, but thoroughly dissolute, Sir John Falstaff. In Part II, Harry vows to change his ways which, when his father dies and he himself ascends the throne, sees him cruelly rejecting his former friend.

     

    THE MUSIC

    While Verdi’s Falstaff was based on the fat knight’s adventures in The Merry Wives of Windsor with little bits of Henry IV thrown in, Elgar’s Falstaff, a 30-minute ‘character study’ for symphony orchestra, takes its inspiration entirely from the latter. Accordingly, while there is bumbling and buffoonery to enjoy, Elgar’s 1913 work also reflects on Falstaff’s more reflective, and even forlorn, side – vividly portrayed high jinks with Harry and a rowdy drinking session in the Boar’s Head contrast with Falstaff’s wistful reminiscences of his younger days and, at the end, the dejection of going to greet his friend as the new king, only to find himself spurned.

    Unlike Elgar’s work, which follows Falstaff in his adventures up and down the country, Holst’s 1924 one-act opera At The Boar’s Head stays firmly in the pub. Various regulars head in and out of the inn over the course of the opera, indulging in banter and describing what’s happening in the civil war-torn world outside.

    Said regulars include Falstaff and Prince Hal, whose competitive duet – in which Hal sings Shakepseare’s sonnet ‘Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws’ against Falstaff’s earthier rendition of the ‘When Arthur first in Court began’ ballad – is one of the highlights. Like most things that take place in pubs, it’s good fun.

     

     

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    THE PLAY

    There are several plotlines to follow here: Hermia and Lysander are in love but Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius, whom Helena loves. Meanwhile, Peter Quince and the so-called ‘mechanicals’ have been tasked with staging the play Pyramus and Thisbe. And at the same time, Oberon, the king of the fairies, and his queen, Titania, are having a tiff, so he convinces Puck to concoct a potion that will make her fall in love with the first thing she sees. But there’s a mix-up and both Lysander and Demetrius become besotted with Helena. Confusion aplenty ensues but it all ends in smiles, with weddings and a performance of the play-within-the-play.

     

    THE MUSIC

    When it comes to Shakespeare’s supreme comedy of magic and mischief, two composers loom large: Mendelssohn and Britten. In 1826, Mendelssohn was only 17 when he composed his sparkling Overture, described by George Grove as ‘the greatest marvel of early maturity that the world has ever seen in music’. Four wind chords transport the listener to the forest, before scurrying strings conjure up the fairies with the deft, light music that Mendelssohn made his speciality.

    The rest of the incidental music was written years later, in 1842, thanks to a commission by Frederick William IV of Prussia. There are 14 movements, with voices and orchestra; the Wedding March has become perhaps the most famous bit of music by Mendelssohn, while the instrumental Scherzo, Intermezzo and Notturno movements are often heard in concert as standalone pieces. But there’s a dark twist to this piece’s history: the Nazis banned Mendelssohn’s music because he was Jewish. As a result, Carl Orff wrote his own incidental music to Ein Sommernachtstraum to replace Mendelssohn’s, revising it in a final version in 1966.

    Six years earlier, in 1960, Britten wrote (pretty quickly) his masterly three-act opera for the opening of Aldeburgh’s refurbished Jubilee Hall. The libretto, by Britten and Peter Pears, preserves Shakespeare’s original words and keeps almost all of the characters. Each of the three groups and stories has its own distinctive soundworld: otherworldly, unsettling harps, percussion and keyboards for the Fairies; lusher strings and winds for the Royalty; comic brass and lower woodwind for the Mechanicals. Oberon’s aria ‘I know a bank where the wild thyme blows’ gives a taste of the opera’s darker undercurrents as well as a hint of the power that sleep, dreams and spells have in this opera.

     

     

    Before Britten, there was Purcell. The English composer wrote his enchanting The Fairy Queen in 1692, a ‘semi-opera’ with instrumental masques to be played between each act of an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Other notable Midsummer Night’s Dream-inspired music includes Weber’s opera Oberon (1826), Henze’s Eighth Symphony (1992) and Hans Gefor’s Der Park (1922).

     

     

    The Tempest

    THE PLAY

    A ship crashes onto a remote island, where Prospero, his daughter Miranda, the magical spirit Ariel and the strange monster Caliban have lived together for 12 years. On the ship are a variety of characters, including Prospero’s brother, Antonio, who stole the Dukedom of Milan from him, and the young Ferdinand, son of Alonso, who everyone believes has drowned.

    Ferdinand has, in fact, washed up on another part of the island, where he meets Miranda, falls in love and eventually marries her. Prospero reveals he caused the ship to be wrecked, and the remainder of the play charts his revenge and regaining of his title as Duke of Milan. Finally, the ship is magically repaired and Caliban left as the island’s sole inhabitant.

     

    THE MUSIC

    No shortage of musical settings here, although the only opera of note with the title The Tempest is Thomas Adès’s 2004 dramatic masterpiece, whose libretto condenses Shakespeare’s play into modern English and rhyming couplets. Perhaps the best known setting is Sibelius’s incidental music to a Danish-language theatrical production, with 35 snatches of music ranging from the eerie opening to the charming Dance of the Nymphs and exquisite music for Miranda.

    Written in 1925, The Tempest was Sibelius’s penultimate work, and it was an eternal source of regret to him that he never had the chance to develop some of the ideas explored in many of the briefest of passages. Tchaikovsky also had a stab, writing his Tempest Fantasy Overture in just a fortnight during the summer of 1873. ‘In those two weeks,’ he remembered, ‘I wrote the draft of The Tempest without any effort, as though moved by some supernatural force.’ Like his treatment of Hamlet, the piece only touches on crucial events, here being the initial storm and shipwreck, the monstrous Caliban and the love between Ferdinand and Miranda.

     

     

    There are other settings. Arthur Sullivan’s 1861 incidental music – his first major work – pays homage to Schumann and Mendelssohn, but falls short of their quality. Berlioz fares rather better with the dramatic ‘Fantasy on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”’, which is the final movement of his Lélio suite for narrator, soloists, choir and orchestra – this, incidentally, is the first time a piano had been used as an orchestral instrument.

    Add to these Purcell’s setting (since thought to have written by John Weldon in 1712), Malcolm Arnold’s Three Songs From The Tempest for unison voices and piano, William Alwyn’s 1952 symphonic prelude The Magic Island and Arthur Bliss’s 1921 The Tempest for voice and ensemble. Vaughan Williams’s surprisingly modern-sounding 1951 Three Shakespeare Songs for unaccompanied choir are terrifically atmospheric, and include Ariel’s song ‘Full Fathom Five’ and ‘The Cloud-capp’d Towers’ from the final act.

     

     

    Much ado about nothing

    THE PLAY

    Don Pedro pays a visit to Leonato with his officers, including Claudio – who becomes engaged to Leonato’s daughter Hero – and Benedick, who enjoys winding up Hero’s cousin Beatrice (in fact, they are secretly in love). Alas, the evil Don John plots to cause havoc by fooling Claudio into believing that his beloved is unfaithful.

    At their wedding, Claudio denounces Hero, the shock of which appears to kill her. Don John’s deception soon becomes known and, to atone for his accusations, the grieving Claudio is persuaded to marry Hero’s cousin… who, hurrah, turns out to be Hero herself. They wed, as do Benedick and Beatrice.

     

    THE MUSIC

    Not really an opera as such, Berlioz’s last large-scale work, his 1862 ‘divertissement’ Béatrice et Bénédict, is a simplified setting of Much Ado, a series of tableaux connected by spoken dialogue. In terms of narrative flow, it’s not the most rewarding but Berlioz’s music is brilliant. The sunny, Italianate overture is one of the French composer’s more imaginative and subtle inventions and some of his arias are heart-melting, including the extraordinary end to Act I, a gorgeous duet between Héro and Ursule.

     

     

    Written 60 years later, Korngold’s extensive and lush incidental music, written for a 1920 Viennese production of Much Ado, was an instant hit. It’s full of great tunes, although Korngold’s attempt to conjure up 16th-century Sicily is a touch clumsy. Those after a more regal approach to proceedings might like to try Edward German’s incidental music to an 1898 Herbert Beerbohm Tree production – it’s full of totally un-Sicilian pomp, as if Shakespeare set the whole play in the Cotswolds, but it’s deliciously irresistible. In a very similar mould, give the soupy Overture to Much Ado about Nothing by Alfred Reynolds (1884-1969) a spin.

     

     

    King Lear

    THE PLAY

    King Lear decides to divide his realm between his three daughters depending on how much they love him. Goneril and Regan flatter Lear, but Cordelia’s plain speech angers him. He disinherits Cordelia, and splits his kingdom between the other two. They mistreat Lear and drive him mad. Edmund reveals that Cordelia is invading with the French army.

    Regan and Goneril defeat the French and order the execution of Lear and Cordelia. Goneril poisons Regan so she cannot marry Edmund, who they both desire. When Edmund is killed, Goneril commits suicide. Lear escapes execution, but Cordelia does not. Overwhelmed by madness and grief, he dies.

     

    THE MUSIC

    Even Verdi was daunted at the prospect of adapting Lear for the stage: ‘Lear is so tremendous, so intricate, that it would seem impossible to make an opera of it.’ He struggled with a libretto for 40 years with no success. Three more recent operatic attempts have made it to the stage. German composer Aribert Reimann produced an intense, uncomfortable, and often all-out ugly Lear at the suggestion of baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

    Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen’s Kuningas Lear is a comparatively easy, if less striking, listen, with music more influenced by Musorgsky than Berg. The most effective, and remarkably hummable, of the three Lear operas is surely by Brit Alexander Goehr, who was at a self-described ‘Lear-like’ stage of life when he dreamt up his opera Promised End. His take focuses on the relationship between Lear and Gloucester, the ‘old men who get it wrong when they have power and influence’.

     

     

    Another major source of Lear works is incidental music. Debussy had the same bug as Verdi, and only finished two movements of his 1904 Le roi Lear: the Fanfare-Overture and the mysterious ‘Le sommeil de Lear’ (Lear’s dream). Balakirev wrote his somewhat bombastic and nationalistic incidental music at the age of just 22, including an overture that is often performed separately. Shostakovich’s incidental music was written in the run up to Germany’s invasion of Russia – leading to many parallels being drawn between Russia, and Lear’s inwardly collapsing kingdom.

     

     

    The Merchant of Venice

    THE PLAY

    Needing funds to court Portia, Bassanio is persuaded by his friend Antonio to get a loan from Shylock, a Jewish money lender, with Antonio himself as guarantor. Shylock agrees, but only on the condition that he is entitled to a ‘pound of flesh’ from Antonio if Bassanio defaults on the payments. To cut a long, and complex, story short, Bassanio succeeds in winning the hand of Portia but, when it is reported that Antonio’s ships have been lost at sea and he cannot fulfill his obligation to Shylock, the latter demands his side of the bargain. When a hearing is called in front of the duke, Portia herself saves the day by disguising herself as a legal expert and turning the tables on Shylock – found guilty of conspiring against a Venetian citizen, he is ordered to hand over his property.

     

    THE MUSIC

    In Act V of The Merchant of Venice, Lorenzo, a friend of Antonio and Bassanio, declares his love to Jessica, Shylock’s daughter, under the moonlight. ‘How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!’ he begins. ‘Here will we sit and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night Become the touches of sweet harmony.’

    The monologue that follows provides – with one or two judicious cuts and repetitions – the words for Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, a work written in 1938 by the English composer to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Henry Woods’s first Prom concert. Scored for 16 vocal soloists and orchestra, it is a gloriously atmospheric wallow, with the amorous scene set firstly by a rhapsodic violin solo and then rippling orchestral accompaniment. Vaughan Williams did, incidentally, also write a similarly lovely version for orchestra only, but that rather misses the point.

    The romance between Lorenzo and Jessica is also the subject of Sullivan’s Merchant of Venice incidental music – initially written for a production in 1871 – though in this instance it’s the jolly masque that accompanies their elopement in Act 2 that we hear. Bustling and bubbly, it’s arguably Sullivan’s most successful take on the Bard. Try out, too, Reynaldo Hahn’s 1935 opera Le Marchand de Venise – very French-sounding, including a smoky saxophone solo in its opening bars – or Fauré’s sumptuous orchestral Shylock suite, written for a Shakespeare-inspired play by Edmond Haraucourt in 1889.

  • The BBC Music Magazine Playlist

    classical-music.com | Tue, 16 Apr 2019 11:50:24 +0000

    Rating: 
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    Every Monday, the BBC Music Magazine team choose their favourite new recordings of the past week. The tracks are compiled into The Playlist, which can be accessed via the BBC Music Magazine's Apple Music page

     

    This week's playlist:

     

    The listings for previous playlists are featured below.

     

    Vol. 18

    John Williams The Raiders March (from ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’) (Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel)

    Robert Schumann Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70 (Richard Watkins, Julius Drake)

    Edmund Finnis The Air, Turning (BBS Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov

    Will Todd Songs of Renewal: I. Me renovare (Bath Camerata, Benjamin Goodson

    Rachmaninov String Quratet No. 1: I. Romance (Orava Quartet)

    Richard Barbieri Vibra (Richard Barbieri)

    Offenbach Les Bavards, Acte I Scène 3: Air d’Inès ‘Ce sont d’étranges personnages’ (Jodie Devos, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Laurent Campellone)

    Caroline Shaw Plan & Elevation: IV. The Orangery (Attacca Quartet)

    JS Bach Oboe Concerto in D minor (Performed on Recorder): I. Allegro (Lucie Horsch, The Academy of Ancient Music/Bojan Cicic)

    Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ, Pt. 3 ‘L’arrivée à Saïs’: Trio des Ismaélites (Prudence Davis, Sarah Beggs, Yinuo Mu, Andrew Davis)

    Henry Cowell Banshee (Wilhem Latchoumia)

     

    Vol. 17

    Sibelius Symphony No. 1: III. Scherzo (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Santtu-Matias Rouvali)

    Brahms Die schöne Magelone: Traun! Bogen und Pfeil sind gut für den Feind (John Chest, Marcelo Amaral)

    Danny Elfman Violin Concerto ‘Eleven Eleven’: III. Fantasma (John Mauceri, Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Sandy Cameron)

    Verdi Macbeth: Patria oppressa! (Live) (Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Riccardo Muti)

    Camus Airs, à deux et trois parties: Laissez durer la nuit, impatiente Aurore (Anna Reinhold, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie)

    Schubert Piano Sonata in B, III. Scherzo Allegretto (Paul Lewis)

    Britten Five Flower Songs: IV. The Evening Primrose (RIAS Kammerchor/Justin Doyle)

    Schumann Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor ‘Concerto Without Orchestra’: IV. Prestissimo possibilie (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet)

    Rameau Hippolyte et Aricie: ‘Espoir, unique bien…’ (Karine Deshayes, Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet)

    Janáček String Quartet No. 2 ‘Intimate Letters’: I. Andante (Wihan Quartet)

    Lutosławski Partita: V. Presto (Maksim Štšura, Michael Foyle)

     

    Vol. 16

    Handel Concerto Grosso for Oboe and Strings in D minor: V. Allegro (Le Consort, Marta Paramo, Emilia Gliozzi, Johanne Maitre)

    Michael Nyman The Diary of Anne Frank (arr. Richard Boothby): If (Iestyn Davies, Fretwork)

    Reger Piano Concerto, Op. 114: III. Allegretto con spirito (Markus Becker, NDR Radiophilharmonie/ Joshua Weilerstein)

    Gabriel Jackson The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ: VI. Crucifixion (Emma Tring, Guy Cutting, Choir of Merton College, Oxford)

    Karl Jenkins The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace: XII. Benedictus (Karl Jenkins)

    Liszt Sardanapalo: Sotto il tuo sguardo (Joyce El-Khoury, Airam Hernández, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits)

    Musorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 10, The Great Gate of Kiev (London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda)

    Bruno Sanfilippo Doll (Bruno Sanfilippo)

    Liszt Ständchen (transc. From Schubert’s Schwanengesang No. 4) (Khatia Buniatishvili)

    John Williams The Imperial March (from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back) (Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel)

     

    Vol. 15

    Florence Price Symphony No. 1: IV. Finale (Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter)

    Chopin Mazurka in B, Op. 56 No. 1 (Maurizio Pollini)

    Berlioz Le Carnaval Romain: Overture (Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray)

    Reinecke Cello Sonata No. 1: III. Finale. Allegro molto ed appassionato (Martin Rummel, Roland Kruger)

    Mozart Piano Sonata No. 2: III. Presto (Peter Donohoe)

    Nils Frahm Sweet Little Lie (Nils Frahm)

    JS Bach Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor: I. Allegro (Isabelle Faust, Xenia Löffler, Bernhard Forck, Academy for Ancient Music)

    Zemlinsky Clarinet Trio in D minor (Version for Violin Cello & Piano): III. Allegro (Stefan Zweig Trio)

    Jean Français Imromptu for Flute and Strings: III. Scherzando (Ransom Wilson, BBC Concert Orchestra/Perry So)

    Robert Schumann Phantasiestücke, Op. 88: II. Humoreske. Lebhaft (Live) (Gautier Capuçon, Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon)

    Max Bruch Die Loreley, Op. 16, Act I: Ave Maria! (Michaela Kaune, Philharmonischer Chor Prag, Müncher Rundfunkorchester/Stefan Blunier)

    Anon Ther is No Rose of Swych Virtu (The Telling)

     

    Vol. 14

    Mozart Symphony No. 13: I. Allegro (Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen/Johannes Klumpp)

    Roxanna Panufnik The Sweet Spring (Blossom Street, Annabel Thwaite, Hilary Campbell)

    Robert Schumann Cello Concerto: III. Sehr lebhaft (Live) (Gautier Capuçon, Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Bernard Haitink)

    Weber Piano Sonata No. 2 in A-flat: II. Andante. Ben tenuto (Paul Lewis)

    Janáček String Quartet No. 2 ‘Intimate Letters’: II. Adagio – Vivace (Wihan Quartet)

    Sibelius Symphony No. 3: III. Moderato – Allegro (ma non tanto) (Orchestre de Paris/Paavo Järvi)

    André Campra Achille et Déidamie: ‘Timbales et trompettes’ (Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet)

    Corelli Concerto grosso in F: IV. Allegro (Marco Scorticati, Estro cromatico/Sara Campobasso)

    Trio Tapestry Sparkle Lights (Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell, Carmen Castaldi)

     

    Vol. 13

    Berlioz Symphonie fantastique: II. Un Bal (Transcribed for piano duet) (Jean-François Heisser, Marie-Josèphe Jude)

    Schubert Octet in F, III. Allegro vivace – Trio (OSM Chamber Soloists)

    Schumann Three Romances: I. Nicht Schnell (Stephen Waarts, Gabriele Carcano)

    Bernstein Mass: No. 2, Hymn & Psalm. A Simple Song (Arr. for voice, flute, electric guitar, harp and organ) (Anne Sofie von Otter, Sharon Bezaly, Fabian Fredriksson, Margareta Nilsson, Bengt Forsberg)

    Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga Médée: Hymen, viens dissiper une vaine frayeur (Berit Norbakken Solset, BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena)

    Rzewski Four North American Ballads: No. 1, Dreadful Memories (After Aunt Molly Jackson) (Adam Swayne)

    Johannes Ciconia O rosa bella, o dolce anima mia (The Telling)

    Liszt Sardanapalo: Vieni! Risplendono festive faci (Damen des Opernchores des Deutschen Nationaltheaters Weimar, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits)

    Florence Price Symphony No. 4: IV. Scherzo (Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter)

    Hoffmeister Double Bass Quartet No. 3 in D: I. Moderato (Niek De Groot, Minna Pensola, Antti Tikkanen, Tuomas Lehto)

     

     

    Vol. 12

    Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 2: III. Finale. Presto scherzando (Ronald Brautigam, Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens)

    Haydn Concerto per il Corno da caccia in D: I. Allegro (Premysl Vojta, Martin Petrák, Haydn Ensemble Prague)

    Dvořák Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’: III. Molto vivace (Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrusa)

    Vivaldi Tito Manlio: ‘Combatta un gentil cor’ (Cecilia Bartoli, Serge Tizac, Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi)

    Giuseppe Sammartini Recorder Concerto in F: II. Siciliano (Lucie Horsch, The Academy of Ancient Music/Bojan Cicic)

    CPE Bach Solo in G: II. Allegro (Anaïs Gaudemard)

    Robert O’Dwyer Act I Scene I: An tráth a mbíonn an spéir fá scáil (Imelda Drumm, Irish National Opera Chorus, RTE National Symphony Orchestra/Fergus Sheil)

    Ami Maayani Toccata (Elisa Netzer)

    Tchaikovsky Swan Lake: Act III. No. 17 Scène: Entrée des invites (Fanfares) et la valse (Allegro) (London Symphony Orchestra/Anatole Fistoulari)

     

    Vol. 11

    Piazzolla Tango para una ciudad (Quinteto Astor Piazzolla)

    Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor: II. Langsam (Sol Gabetta, Kammerorcheser Basel/Giovanni Antonini)

    Schumann Zwölf Gedichte, Op. 35 No. 5, Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend (Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber)

    Bruch Concerto for Clarinet and Viola in E minor: III. Allegro molto (Dimitri Ashkenazy, Anton Kholodenko, Royal Baltic Festival Orchestra/Mats Liljefors)

    Schoenberg Drei Klavierstücke Op. 11 No. 1: ‘Mässige Virtel’ (Jeremy Denk)

    Verdi et al. Messa per Rossini: 11. Agnus Dei (Veronica Simeoni, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano/Riccardo Chailly)

    Ethel Smyth Violin Sonata in A minor: IV. Finale. Allegro vivace (Tasmin Little, John Lenehan)

    Berlioz Harold en Italie: 3. Sérénade d’un montagnard des Abbruzes à sa maîtresse (Tabea Zimmermann, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth)

    Xenakis Pléïades: IV. Mélanges (DeciBells, Domenico Melchiorre)

    Schubert Symphony No. 3: IV. Presto vivace (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner)

     

     

    Vol. 10 

    Vivaldi Il Giustino, Act II: Scene 1. Sento in seno ch’in pioggia di lagrime (Anastasio) (Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone, Silke Gäng)

    Gulda Concerto for Cello, Wind Orchestra and Band: I. Overture (Edgar Moreau, Raphaël Merlin, Les Forces Majeures)

    Roxanna Panufnik Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis: I. Magnificat (Richard Johnson, Exultate Singers/David Ogden)

    Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4: IV. Finale (London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda)

    Weber Piano Sonata No. 2: III. Menuetto capriccioso. Presto assai (Paul Lewis)

    Francis Lai Love Story – Theme (Arr. Campbell) (Jess Gillam, BBC Concert Orchestra/Ben Dawson)

    Berlioz Harold in Italy: II. Marche de pèlerins chantant la prière du soir (Tabea Zimmermann, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth)

    Arthur Lourié A Phoenix Park Nocturne (Vladimir Feltsman)

    Ramin Djawadi The Rains of Castamere (Arr. Lawson) (VOCES8)

    Philip Glass Etude No. 2 (Jeremy Denk)

    Tallis Suscipe quaeso Domine (prima pars) (The Gentlemen of HM Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace/Carl Jackson)

    Debussy Livre I: II. Pour les tierces (Roger Muraro)

     

     

    Vol. 9

    Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor, Op. 23 No. 5 (Live at Philharmonie, Berlin) (Yuja Wang)

    Stravinsky The Firebird: Tableau II, XIX: Disparition du palais et des sortilèges de Kastchei, animation des chevaliers petrifies. Allegresse génerale (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko

    Amy Beach Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 34: II. Scherzo. Molto vivace (Tasmin Little, John Lenehan)

    Hauscha Dew and Spiderwebs (Hauschka)

    Frank Horvat The Thailand HRDs: No. 5, Boonsom Nimnoi (Mivos Quartet)

    Trad. Deep River (Arr. Coleridge-Taylor, Kanneh-Mason) (Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata Kanneh-Mason, Braimah Kanneh-Mason)

    Mendelssohn Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 19: No. 6 in G minor (Andante sostenuto) ‘Venetian Gondola Song’ (Jan Lisiecki)

    Wim Henderickx Nostalgia (Boho Strings)

    Mozart Così fan tutte, Act 1: Aria ‘Come scoglio’ (Héloise Mas, Alexander Sprague, Nazan Fikret, Francesco Vultaggio, European Opera Centre, Biagio Pizzuti, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Laurent Pillot)

    Philip Glass Melodies for Saxophone (arr. for trumpet): No. 3 (Craig Morris)

    Giovanni Paisiello Partimento in F minor (Nicoleta Paraschievescu)

    Ramin Djawadi The Rains of Castamere (VOCES8)

    Triumphal Parade (Scottish National Jazz Orchestra/Tommy Smith)

     

    Vol. 8

    Josquin Des Prez Miserere mei, Deus, IJ. 50: I. Miserere mei, Deus (Cappella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss)

    Scriabin Sonata N. 10, Op. 70 (James Kreiling)

    Kaija Saariaho Cloud Trio: I. Calmo, meditato (Jennifer Koh, Hsin Yun Huang, Wilhelmina Smith)

    Dowland Flow, my tears (Stile Antico)

    JS Bach Keyboard Partita in D, BWV 828: VII. Gigue (Federico Colli)

    Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, III. Allegro ben marcato (Joseph Swensen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra)

    Bellini Norma: Casta Diva… Fine al rito (Orchestra E Coro Del Teatro Massimo Di Palermo, Jader Bignamini, Marina Rebeka)

    Lyatoshinsky Symphony No. 3 ‘To the 25th Anniversary of the October Revolution’: III. Allegro feroce (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Kirill Karabits)

    Handel Armida abbandonata, HWV 105: ‘Ah crudele! E pur ten’ vai’ (Emmanuelle Haïm, Le Concert d’Astrée, Sabine Devieilhe

    David Lang Mystery Sonatas: No. 1, Joy (Augustin Hadelich)

    Antheil Archipelago ‘Rhumba’ (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgards)

     

    Vol. 7

    Thea Musgrave Loch Ness (Daniel Trodden, BBC National Orchestra of Wales/William Boughton)

    Cheryl Frances-Hoad Love Bytes (Verity Wingate, Philip Smith, Beth Higham-Edwards, Anna Menzies, George Jackson)

    Lutosławski Symphony No. 1: III. Allegretto misterioso (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu)

    Purcell King Arthur, Z628, Act 1: ‘I Call, I Call’ (Stefanie True, Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier)

    Finzi Violin Concerto: I. Allegro (Ning Feng, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlos Miguel Prieto)

    Brahms Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79 No. 2 in G minor – Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro (Charles Owen)

    Copland Letters from Home (Version for Chamber Orchestra) (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/John Wilson

    Szymanowski Nocturne and Tarantella in E minor, Op. 28: I. Nocturne (Jennifer Pike, Petr Limonov)

    Beethoven Fidelio, Op. 72: O welche Lust (James Gaffigan, Zürcher Sing-Akademie, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester)

    Liszt Études d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini: No. 1 in G minor (Elisa Tomellini)

    Corelli Violin Sonata in C Op. 5 No. 3 (transcribed for viola da gamba): III. Adagio (Lucile Boulanger)

    Mozart String Quintet No. 5: IV. Allegro (Klenke Quartett, Harald Schoneweg)

     

    Vol. 6

    Saint-Saëns Ascanio, Acte I, Tableau 1: Scène 1 ‘Très bien!’ (Jean-François Lapointe, Joé Bertili, Chœrs de la Haute École de Musique de Genève/Guillaume Tourniaire

    Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 III. Allegro con fuoco (Xiayin Wang, Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Peter Oundjian

    Purcell Come Ye Sons of Art (Birthday Ode for Queen Mary): ‘Strike the Viol, Touch the Lute’ (Tim Mead, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien/François Lazarevitch)

    Aleksander Sedlar Savcho 3 (Nemanja Radulovic, Double Sense, Stéphanie Fontanarosa/Aleksander Sedlar)

    Barbara Strozzi Arie, Op. 8 No. 2: ‘Che si può fare’ (Emoke Baräth, Il Pomo d’Oro/Francesco Corti)

    Josef Suk 6 Piano Pieces, Op. 7: No. 1, Liebeslied (arr. for violin and orchestra) (Eldbjørg Hemsing, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra/Alan Buribayev)

    Scheidemann Pavana Lachrymae in D minor (Yoann Moulin)

    Beethoven String Quartet in E minor ‘Razumovsky’: III. Allegretto (Elias String Quartet)

    Mozart Violin Sonata in D Major, K306: III. Allegretto (Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov)

    Moteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine: VIII. Paslmus 126. Nisi Dominus a dieci voci (Bruno Boterf, Ludus Modalis)

     

    Vol. 5

    Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, Act 1 (1877 Version): No. 8, Danse des coupes. Tempo di polacca (State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’/Vladimir Jurowski

    John Harbison Requim, Pt. 1: II. Sequence I. Dies irae (Nashville Chorus, Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero)

    Richard Strauss 5 Lieder, Op. 41: No. 1, Wiegenlied (Arabella Steinbacher, WDR Symphony Orchestra/Lawrence Foster)

    Parry English Lyrics, Set 12: No. 7, The Sound of Hidden Music (Sarah Fox, Andrew West)

    Andrzej Panufnik I Kwartet smyczkowy: III. Postlude (Apollon Musagete Quartett)

    Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2: II. Scherzo (Live) (Eric Lu)

    Szymanowski Nocturne & Tarantella in E minor, Op. 28: II. Tarantella (Jennifer Pike, Peter Limonov)

    Einaudi Life (Live) (Angèle Dubeau, La Pietà)

    Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli 6 Sonatas for Violin and Continuo, Op. 3: Sonata No. 2 ‘La Cesta’ (Elicia Silverstein, Mauro Valli)

    Dvořák Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor: II. Poco adagio (Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt)

    Florence Price Symphony No. 4: III. Juba Dance (Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter)

    Mozart Piano Concerto No. 16: III. Allegro di molto (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Gábor Takács-Nagy

    Haydn Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 30 No. 5: I. Allegro con brio (Roman Rabinovich)

    Johann Strauss I Radetzky-Marsch, Op. 228 (Christian Theilemann, Vienna Philharmonic

     

    Vol. 4

    Arvo Pärt Passacaglia (Victoria Mullova, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi)

    Michael Higgins The Angel Gabriel (Sonoro/Neil Ferris)

    Debussy Cello Sonata in D minor: I. Prologue. Lent. Sostenuto e molto risoluto (Jean-Guiden Queyras, Javier Perianes)

    Massanet Hérodiade, Act 1: ‘Celiu dont la parole efface… Il est doux, il est bon’ (Salomé) (Elsa Dreisig, Orchestre national Montpellier Occitanie/Michael Schonwandt

    Poulenc Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani in G minor: I. Andante (Live) (James O’Donnell, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin)

    Schumann Fantasiestücke Op. 72: I. Zart und mit Ausdruck (Sol Gabetta, Bertrand Chamayou)

    Gurney Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty (Teberae/Nigel Short)

    Peter Gregson Bach: The Cello Suites: Recomposed by Peter Gregson – Suite No. 1 in G, BWV 1007: I. Prelude (Peter Gregson, Richard Harwood, Reinoud Ford, Tim Lowe, Ben Chappell, Katherine Jenkinson)

    JS Bach Concerto in D minor, BWV 974: III. Presto (Víkingur Ólafsson)

    Purcell King Arthur, Act 1: ‘Come If You Dare’ (Robert Buckland, Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier)

    Messiaen La Nativité du Seigneur: V. Les enfants de Dieu (Richard Gowers)

    George Onslow String Quartet No. 29 in E-flat, Op. 73 Elan Quintet)

    Cécile Chaminade Arabesque No. 1, Op. 61 (Mark Viner)

    Enescu Strigoii, Pt. 3: Bătrânu-și pleacă geana și iar rămâne orb (Alin Anca, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Gabriel Bebeșelea)

    Max Richter Mary Queen of Scots: The Shores of Scotland

    Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, Act II (1877 version): No. 13a, Danses des cygnes I. Tempo di valse

     

     

    Vol. 3

    Emilie Mayer Symphony No. 4: IV. Presto (Neubrandenburg Philharmonie/Stefan Malzew)

    Weber Clarinet Quintet in B-flat Major: IV. Rondo - Allegro giocoso (Julian Bliss & Carducci String Quartet)

    John Hess Vous, qui passez sans me voir (Julien Behr, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon/Pierre Bleuse)

    John Francis Wade Adeste fideles (arr. M Suzuki for Choir and Organ) (Bach Collegium Japan Chorus/Masato Suzuki & Masaaki Suzuki)

    Schumann Fantasiestücke: I. Zart und mit Ausdruck (Sol Gabetta, Bertrand Chamayou)

    Domenico Sarro Messa a 5 voci: 'Laudamus te' (Maxim Emelyanychev, Jakub Józef Orliński, Il Pomo d'Oro)

    Holst Invocation Op. 19 No. 2 (Guy Johnston, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Davis)

    Dowland Come, Heavy Sleep (Grace Davidson, David Miller)

    Schumann Humoreske Op. 20: II. Hastig (William Youn)

    RO Morris Love Came Down at Christmas (arr. Stephen Cleobury) (Stephen Cleobury, Henry Websdale, Choir of King's College, Cambridge)

    Tchaikovsky The Seasons Op. 37a: XII. December. Christmas (Barry Douglas)

    Berlioz Roméo et Juliette: Pt. 3, Finale - Oath of Reconciliation (San Francisco Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Michael Tilson Thomas)

    Elgar Chanson de nuit (Hallé Orchestra/Mark Elder)

    James Burton Tomorrow Shalle Be My Dancing Day (Jack Hawkins, Michael Bell, James Adams, Joseph Wicks, Choir of St John's College, Cambridge)

     

    Vol. 2

    Julian Anderson Heaven is Shy of Earth: III. Gloria (With Bird) (Susan Bickley, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Oliver Knussen)

    Richard Strauss Horn Concerto No. 1: III. Rondo. Allegro (Live) (William Caballero, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck)

    Derek Bermel Murmurations: I. Gathering at Gretna Green (ROCO)

    Frank Martin Ballade for Flute & Piano (Bridget Bolliger, Andrew West)

    Debussy Violin Sonata in G minor: III. Finale. Très animé (Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov)

    Anonymous Now May We Singen (ORA Singers/Suzi Didby)

    Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor Op. 23 No. 5 (Live at Philharmonie, Berlin/2018) (Yuja Wang)

    James Newton Howard Violin Concerto: II. Andante semplice (James Ehnes, Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Cristian Măcelaru)

    Sally Beamish In the Stillness (Sonoro/Neil Ferris)

    Parry Suite moderne (arr. J Dibble for Orchestra): III. Romanza. Lento (BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Rumon Gamba)

    Jonathan Dove A Brief History of Creation: X. Whales Return to the Sea (Hallé Children's Choir, Hallé Orchestra/Mark Elder)

    Purcell King Arthur, Act 1: 'Come if You Dare' (Robert Buckland, Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier)

    Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 4 (Live at Kimmel Center, Philadelphia) (Daniil Trifonov, The Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin)

    Fagerlund Höstsonaten, Act 1: charlotte Andergast! Vilken konstnär! (Krista Kujala, Mari Sares, Jere Martikainen, Jarmo Ojala, Finnish National Opera Chorus, Finnish National Opera Orchestra/John Storgards

     

    Vol. 1

    Julian Anderson Heaven is Shy of Earth: III. Gloria (With Bird) (Susan Bickley, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Oliver Knussen)

    Zemlinsky Albumblatt (Erinnerung aus Wien) (William Youn)

    Schreker The Birthday of the Infanta: Suite I. Reigen (Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta)

    Mozart Violin Concerto No. 1 K.207: III. Presto (Nikolaj Znaider, London Symphony Orchestra)

    Tchaikovsky The Seasons, Op. 37a, TH 135: XII. December. Christmas (Barry Douglas)

    Holst In the Bleak Midwinter (Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Isata Kanneh-Mason)

    Glazunov The Seasons ‘L’été: No. 9, Scène de l’été (Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Kitayenko

    JS Bach Prelude & Fugue BVW 855a: Prelude No. 10 in B minor (Vikingur Ólafsson)

    Magnus Lindberg Tempus fugit Pt. 1 (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hannu Lintu)

    Gurney Since I Believe in God the Father Almighty (Tenebrae/Nigel Short)

    Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker Act 1: No. 6 Clara and the Nutcracker (Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel)

    Ravel Ma mère l’Oye Suite, M. 60: V. Le jardin féerique (Prague Philharmonia/Emmanuel Villaume)

    Eric Whitacre Deep Field: Earth Choir (Eric Whitacre Singers, Virtual Choir 5, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Eric Whitacre)

  • A guide to Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 'Pastoral'

    classical-music.com | Tue, 16 Apr 2019 10:00:00 +0000

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    Premiere:
    Theater an der Wien, 22 December 1808

     

    Initial idea:

    The first sketches of the Pastoral Symphony appeared in 1802, but Beethoven was not ready to complete it for a further six years. The most interesting aspect of the symphony is not that it has a descriptive programme – it doesn’t really, apart from a few picturesque moments like the slow-movement bird calls and the storm – nor that it is in five movements (debatable, even though Beethoven suggests it). It is the way the music is put together, completely unprecedented and virtually unfollowed.

    The term ‘Pastoral’ in music had already for 100 years implied the sleep of nature and drone of bag-pipes. Beethoven exalts the concept to that of a primordial murmur, and imitates natural repeated patterns with long passages of unchanging harmony. His music had been moving in that direction throughout his Opus 50s.

     

     

    The movements:

    The first movement in F (‘Awakening of happy feelings on arrival in the country’) is followed by another long movement (‘Scene by the Brook’) in the subdominant B flat. This gives a hymn-like, plagal, feeling which is maintained by the return to F for the scherzo (‘The merry making of country-folk’). Had there not been a distinct departure into F minor for ‘The Storm’ fourth section, the F major ‘Hymn of thanksgiving’ finale would not convey the sense of completion.

    The storm does everything in Beethoven’s power to subvert the fundamental F major, pastoral stasis, churning through every key known to man. The orchestration of the storm is also an extraordinary exercise in musical impressionism, with double basses and cellos fudging each other’s lines to create a deep inchoate rumbling. Nothing like it was to be heard for another 100 years.

    In purely musical terms, the storm is the introduction to the finale, without which it would be another leisurely panorama, hardly distinguishable from the pace of the other movements. Indeed, since the scherzo, storm and finale are played without a break, there is as much justification for regarding the symphony as a three- rather than a five-movement construct.

     

     

    Overall effect:

    Beethoven’s Sixth is the polar opposite of the Fifth, which is a herculean construct of compressed energy, its downward plunging motto forbidding expansion. The Pastoral, with its infinitely extendable opening motif, is an expansive and expanding universe. Harmonic movement determines the form. Motifs are repeated for bars on end in one tonal centre, and then the whole passage is heard again a third up or down. In the process, Beethoven creates all sorts of sounds which the later Romantics took as emblematic of nature, such as the cuckoo-like motif which Mahler recalls in many of his works.

     

     

     

    Recommended recording:

    Still as fresh as ever – a combination of original instruments and conductor Roger Norrington’s energy – this 1980s recording of the Sixth gets to the heart of Beethoven’s titanic creativity. Every note, every phrase penetratingly re-thought, it’s like hearing the music for the first time: the bird-calls sound startling, the ‘beginner’ bassoon in the scherzo wonderfully wittily, the storm elemental. 

    London Classical Players/Roger Norrington
    Virgin 083 4232 (part of 7-CD set)

     

     

     

    Words by Chris de Souza. This article first appeared in the December 2015 issue of BBC Music Magazine.

  • Schubert: A Style Guide

    classical-music.com | Mon, 15 Apr 2019 10:00:00 +0000

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    Harmony

    Schubert wrote some of the most famous melodies of all time – some have achieved the status of folk-song. Folk melody was indeed his starting point, but it is often the harmony which makes them memorable. His chords were not new in themselves, but his characteristic progressions, and sudden shifts from one key to a distantly related key, produce heart-stopping moments.

     

     

    Keyboard style

    A good but not brilliant pianist, Schubert wrote in a style which did not make huge technical challenges. His piano music is highly original, with some of the finest pieces in the piano duet repertoire. Masterpieces like the F minor Fantasy and Grand Duo display a new soundworld, with frequent ringing high-octave doubling.

     

     


    Sviatoslav Richter and Benjamin Britten perform Schubert's Fantasy in F minor

     

    Alienation

    Schubert’s terminal illness distanced him from others. Passages of the ‘Unfinished’ Symphony express despair, and alien elements often intrude – such as the violent interruptions in the slow movement of the G major Quartet (D887) and the hysterical outburst in the slow movement of the A major Sonata (D959). Parts of his song cycle Die Winterreise are as nihilistic as it is possible to imagine.

     

     

    Music without Schubert?

    The Germanic line from Beethoven through Mendelssohn and Schumann was tempered when the lyrical and pastoral influence of Schubert was brought to play on Brahms, Bruch, Bruckner and Dvorák – to all of these he showed how to use the long lines of song in symphonic argument.

     


    Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Alfred Brendel perform Schubert's Die Winterreise

  • Five essential works by Handel

    classical-music.com | Sun, 14 Apr 2019 10:00:37 +0000

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    Messiah

    Handel wrote his great oratorio Messiah in just two weeks in 1741, setting a libretto by Charles Jennens. Every aria and chorus is memorable including, of course, the famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus.

    Recommended recording:
    Susan Hamilton, Nicholas Mulroy, et al, Dunedin Consort/John Butt
    Linn CKD285

     

     

     

    Water Music

    When George I took a boat trip down the Thames in July 1717, complete with entourage, they were also accompanied by 50 musicians on a separate ‘barge’ playing Handel’s stately Water Music.

    Recommended recording:
    L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo
    CPO 7773122

     

     

     

    Keyboard suites

    Like Bach’s great Partitas, Handel’s Suites incorporate French, Italian and German music. From the most tender opening of Suite No. 2 to its Gigue ending, Handel reveals his mastery of colour and texture.

    Recommended recording:
    Murray Perahia
    Sony SK62785

     

     

     

    Giulio Cesare

    Giulio Cesare received a welcome boost from a tremendously zesty Glyndebourne production in 2005. Handel's opera
    boasts magnificently memorable music.

    Recommended recording:
    Jennifer Larmore, Barbara Schlick, Bernarda Fink, et al, Concerto Köln/René Jacobs
    Harmonia Mundi HMC901385/87

     

     

     

    Dixit Dominus

    Written during his years in Italy, the influence of Vivaldi on this anthem is clear. It’s a virtuosic choral piece with exuberant counterpoint and drive.

    Recommended recording:
    The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
    Coro COR16076

     

  • The best choral works for Passiontide

    classical-music.com | Fri, 12 Apr 2019 12:00:00 +0000

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    Passiontide - a period of preparation for the death of Christ - is a sombre affair. Purple shrouds cover the often decorated crosses in church and choirs sing of the last days of Christ's life. Out of this deep sorrow and mourning came some of the most stunning choral music ever written. We asked some of Britain's top choral conductors to tell us about their favourite works...

     

    James Macmillan - Seven Last Words

    I conducted this work in the City of London Festival and it was one of the most profound musical experiences I’ve ever had. Even out of season (the concert was in July) it left me and many others - performers and audience members - with a feeling of utter desolation. Nothing in the choral repertoire quite encapsulates the final moments of a life.

    The tension starts from the very first chord and doesn’t let up for a second all the way through. There are passages that so clearly reflect what’s going on physically that it can cause moments of great shock.  The final page is almost unbearable as the writing echoes the very final breaths of Christ. If you are able to experience the drama of Holy Week either liturgically or musically over the whole week then this work provides you with the most bitter of climaxes imaginable.

    In his recording of it, Graham Ross balances precision with passion to an extraordinary degree. Some achievement for one so young, as he was when he recorded it.

    – Nigel Short, Tenebrae

     

     

    Thomas Luis de Victoria – Tenebrae Responsories

    The Passiontide piece I have chosen is Victoria’s magnificent Tenebrae Responsories, part of a great body of work the industrious Tomás Luis de Victoria wrote for Holy Week. I first came to know this piece whilst singing it at university, and was struck by the way it expresses grief and suffering in the most exquisite and heart rending way.

    However, with this consistent narrative of pain it is vital that a good performance finds the individual inflections and voices within the work; therefore, the recording I’d most readily recommend is the 2013 release from Tenebrae (Signum SIGCD344). It’s a beautifully nuanced and expressive recording of this moving work.

    – Suzi Digby, ORA Singers

     

     

    Dieterich Buxtehude – Membra Jesu nostri

    I first encountered this work as a student at Cambridge, and was immediately struck by the expressive beauty of it.  Neatly structured around texts from a medieval Latin hymn, ‘Salve mundi salutare’, each of the seven short cantatas in Buxtehude’s cycle address a different part of Christ’s crucified body, as observed by a witness at the foot of the cross.

    Scored for five-part vocal ensemble, two violins and continuo, the work is full of invention, each cantata beginning with an instrumental sonata, and with a chorus movement performed either side of various solo arias. I remember vividly discovering Buxtehude’s ingenious change of scoring to represent the soul of Christ’s body in the fifth movement, ‘Ad cor’ (‘To the heart’), where he employs the uniquely intimate, expressive qualities of a viol consort.

    I was so taken by the work that for one my of first commissions as a composer I selected and set a text from the Book of Hours, ‘Precor te, Domine’, in which the face of the dying Christ is further broken up into its individual qualities, as a kind of further exploration of the final movement of Buxtehude’s cycle, ‘Ad faciem’ (‘To the face’).  

    – Graham Ross, The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge

     

     

    Francis PoulencSept Repons de Tenebres

    This is the last work Poulenc composed and it is Poulenc at his most scintillating. About thirty years ago I turned on the radio eager to hear this work. I was expectant but in the end so frustrated and annoyed. I even phoned the producer to complain - had no-one listened to this recording before transmitting it.

    It was quite simply a travesty and from that moment I was determined to one day redress the balance. I hope I have done the work justice; it has all the complexity of the vocal writing of his Lenten motets, all those personal touches but accompanied by a full symphony orchestra abounding in that characteristic sound world of his.

    – Harry Christophers, The Sixteen

     

     

    James MacMillan – Miserere mei, Deus (Psalm 51)

    Perhaps it is a little inappropriate to describe a piece for Passiontide as having the 'wow' factor but, with the atmosphere this piece sets and the journey that it takes you on, it leaves me emotionally drained and spiritually uplifted in one hearing. As with all MacMillan's work, there is complete integrity matched with an extraordinary sense for atmosphere.

    The walk from despair to promise starts with an opening that is dark, bleak, and ominous. Through the anguished torment of chromatic and searching soprano duets to full choral cries and some exquisitely harmonised plainchant (mirroring the famous Allegri setting of the same Psalm) the listener is rewarded with a stunning and radiant conclusion.

    – Neil Ferris, BBC Symphony Chorus

     

     

    Thomas Tallis – Lamentations

    Sets of Lamentations have long been an essential element in the work of the Tallis Scholars. The fact that they are extra-liturgical means they can be sung at almost any time of the year in concert without apology, but they are certainly at their most apposite in Lent and Passiontide.

    Musically-speaking they offer a moving balance between completely abstract music, in the Hebrew letters, and passionate text. Many renaissance composers were drawn to set these words, but perhaps the most successful remain the two by Tallis.

    – Peter Phillips, Tallis Scholars

     

     

    Francis Poulenc Quatre motets pour un temps de penitence

    With their chromatic harmonies, sudden dynamic contrasts between phrases, and abrupt changes of texture, mood and time signature, these motets are typical of the composer’s choral style. The first two, Timor et tremor and Vinea mea electai, are more modest in scope than the latter motets, Tenebrae factae sunt and Tristis est anima mea, which are more stylistically progressive even though they were written first.

    Of the many recordings available the one by The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers is among the best - full of drama and intense emotion. 

    – Esther Jones, The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain

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  • Play   ChillYourMind Radio • 24/7 Music Live Stream | Deep House & Tropical House | Chill Music, Dance
  • Play   日文、動漫音樂電台 | Anime Music➨24/7
  • Play   lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to
  • Play   Lagu Indonesia Terbaik - Terpopuler - Terhits Sepanjang Masa | MusicStream #LiveMusic #MusicaStudios
  • Play   Just Good Music 24/7 ● Stay See Live Radio 🎧
  • Play   Best Remixes Of Popular Songs 2019 : 24/7 Live Stream Music 🔥 Electro House & Party Club Dance Mix
  • Play   24/7 Best Deep House | Chillout Music | EDM 2019 Live Radio
  • Play   🌴Tropical House Radio | 24/7 Livestream | Summer Music | Kygo
  • Play   Best Electro House Music Mix 🔥 24/7 Live Stream Music Mix 🔥 Best Remixes Of Popular Songs 2019
  • Play   Car Music Mix 2019 🔥 Best Electro House & Bass Boosted 🔥 New Hits 🔥 24/7 Live Stream
  • Play   Cat Music Live TV / Non Stop Music 24/7 🎧
  • Play   NCS 24/7 Live Stream 🎵 Gaming Music Radio | NoCopyrightSounds| Dubstep, Trap, EDM, Electro House
  • Play   lofi hip hop radio - beats to sleep/chill to
  • Play   Progressive House · Relaxing Focus Music · 24/7 Live Radio
  • Play   Tropical House Radio 🌴 24/7 Live Music
  • Play   Best Gaming Music Mix 2019 ♫ 🎮 24/7 Live Stream | Gaming Music / Electronic Radio / EDM 🎧
  • Play   🔴Space Ambient Music LIVE 24/7: Space Traveling Background Music, Music for Stress Relief, Dreaming
  • Play   24/7 Live Rap Music Radio | Hip-Hop, Underground Rap, Hype Rap Music, Popular Rap Music
  • Play   Chillstep 24/7 Livestream | Chill, Ambient & Study Music 🎧
  • Play   Relaxing Jazz Piano Radio - Slow Jazz Music - 24/7 Live Stream - Music For Work & Study
  • Play   College Music · 24/7 Live Radio · Study Music · Chill Music · Calming Music
  • Play   Cozy Jazz & Bossa Nova Music With Fireplace - 24/7 Live Stream - Relaxing Cafe Music
  • Play   RNB / R&B Radio - Live Music Stream 24/7
  • Play   Dance Music Radio Live Music Stream 24/7 Hits 2019 Best EDM, Pop Songs 2019 Remix Top Music Playlist
  • Play   shiloh - lofi hip hop mix [LIVE 24/7] Shiloh Dynasty
  • Play   🔴 Relaxing Music 24/7, Sleeping Music, Deep Sleep Music, Calm Music, Sleep Meditation, Sleep Music
  • Play   Code Radio 🎧 + 💻 24/7 concentration music for programmers 🔥 jazzy beats from freeCodeCamp.org
  • Play   Lounge Jazz Radio - Relaxing Jazz Music - Music For Work & Study - Live Stream 24/7
  • Play   Deep House 24/7: Relaxing Music • Chill Study Music
  • Play   🎧Best Of Epic Music • Live Stream 24/7 | GAME OF THRONES
  • Play   Deep House · Relaxing Study Music · 24/7 Live Radio
  • Play   STUDIO GHIBLI MUSIC LIVE RADIO 「24/7」 🔴 スタジオジブリ音楽