Thursday, January 5, 2012

November 2011 - Classical Music

Bach - Harpsichord Concertos 5 to 7
Bach - Double Harpsichord Concertos 1 to 3
Haydn - Symphonies 102, 103 'Drumroll' and 104
Thomas Linley the younger - Music for 'The Tempest'
Mozart - Symphonies 32 to 34
Schumann
  • Piano Concerto
  • Waldszenen (Forest Scenes)
  • Introduction and Allegro appassionato for piano and orchestra
Shostakovich - String Quartets 1 and 7
Telemann - Tafelmusik Volume 3: Concerto, Trio, Solo and Conclusion
Vivaldi
  • Violin Sonata in G minor, RV 26
  • Concerto for Strings in D minor ('Madrigalesco'), RV 129
  • Sonata a 4 in E flat ('Al Santo Sepolcro'), RV 130
  • Sinfonia for Strings in B minor ('Al Santo Sepolcro'), RV 169
  • Violin Concerto in G minor, RV 202 (Op.11/5)
  • Concerto for 2 violins in G minor, RV 517
  • Concerto for violin and cello in B flat, RV 547
  • Laudate pueri in G, RV 601
  • In exitu Israel (When Israel went)
  • Laudate Dominum, RV 606
  • Laetatus sum, RV 607
  • Nisi Dominus in G minor, RV 608
  • Salve Regina in F, RV 617
  • Vestro principi divino, RV 633
Lots more Vivaldi. Still going even at the time of writing - just one more CD to go!

After an abortive attempt in September, I listened to Haydn's last 3 symphonies which all premiered in London in the 1795 concert season.  It's the first time I've listened to symphony no.104 in several years. I had this idea I didn't like it much. And now, I can't imagine why I thought that.  It's certainly not inferior to its companion pieces.

It's now over a year since I listened to the first six 'London' symphonies (from the first of Haydn's two visits to the UK). I could almost start all over again... only I already have plans drawn up for listening to some more late-ish Haydn. Still 5 piano trios to go and the last full set of string quartets.

The Mozart chronological listening is also slowly crawling along, with the last 3 symphonies that he wrote before moving to Vienna.  The growth in maturity is noticeable, as Mozart was now reaching his mid-20s.

Thomas Linley the younger was Mozart's almost exact contemporary. The two met as teenagers - both being recognised as musical prodigies and so moving in similar circles - and became friends.  Mozart regarded Linley as a genius.  The reason you've probably never heard of Thomas Linley is because he was only 22 when he died in a boating accident.  Mozart died in his 30s, but he still had a chance to really establish himself as a name.  Linley didn't.

Which is a damn shame if the music he wrote for a production of The Tempest is anything to go by, and specifically the 'storm chorus', Arise! ye spirits of the storm.  It unfolds in that kind of wonderful manner where it seems inevitable, as if the music couldn't possibly be any other way.

I can still remember when I first heard it, around a decade ago.  It was back in the days that I worked in an office close to my Dad's office and took lifts with him. He always had Classic FM on in the car, which I could tolerate because at breakfast time they would have short pieces (I rarely listen to classical music on the radio as I can't stand hearing random snippets, eg 20 minutes somewhere in the middle of a Mahler symphony).  The storm chorus came on one morning and I was enthralled.

I think it was the only time that I hunted down a classical CD after hearing something on the radio. Truth be told, the rest of the CD (all of it by Linley) isn't at anything like the same level, but I'm not sure that matters. Certainly, any time that I play that one amazing track, I'm glad the music is in my collection.

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