Wednesday, January 2, 2013

November 2012 - Classical Music

Bach, J.S.
  • Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht (Lord, do not enter into judgement with your servant)
  • Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe (You people, glorify God's love)
  • Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei (Make sure that your fear of God is not hypocrisy)
Barber - First Essay for Orchestra
Barber - Songs, opus 13
Beethoven
  • Symphonies 5 and 6
  • Cello Sonata No.3
  • Violin Concerto (2nd movement)
  • Ah! perfido
  • Variations on 'Maedchen oder Weibchen' for cello and piano
Bridge
  • Isabella
  • Dance Rhapsody
  • Suite for Strings
Dvorak - String Quartets 2 and 6
Dvorak - Allegro appassionato for string quartet
Faure - Songs, opuses 46 and 51
Faure / Messager - Souvenirs de Bayreuth
Holmboe
  • String Quartets 6 and 9
  • Violin Sonata No.3
  • Svaerm (Swarm), string quartet version
  • Ballata
  • Quartetto, op.90
Janacek - String Quartets 1 and 2
Janacek - Violin Sonata
Liszt - Mazeppa
Liszt - Hamlet
Poulenc
  • 3 Pieces for piano
  • Nocturnes
  • Humoresque
Vivaldi
  • Gloria, RV 589 with introduction Ostro picta
  • Gloria, RV 588 with introduction Jubilate, o amoeni chori
  • Credo in E minor
Almost the same list of composers as the previous month, as I continued to plow my way through the recent purchases.  But that makes it sound like a chore. It isn't, and in fact if it starts feeling that way I stop for a while and switch to something else (often in the pop music world).

Holmboe continues to fascinate and delight. With my raft of different recordings, I deliberately chose this month to listen to a group of works that are quite close together chronologically - the third violin sonata is opus 89, the quartet for flute, violin, viola and cello is opus 90, and string quartet no.9 is opus 92.  They do have different moods to a certain extent, although I confess that over a month later I can't clearly remember the details.  My vague memory is that it was actually the Ballata, or ballad, for piano quartet that was the most distinctive piece from this list.

Janacek continues to bring a lot of rewards, and I'm definitely glad about making that particular purchase even though I'm only about 1.5 discs through a 5-disc set.

And then there's Faure... I only listened to 2 sets of songs this month, but that included Clair de lune (Moonlight), considered one of the great songs not only of Faure but of French composers generally.  And I think it lives up to is reputation. The match between poetry (by Verlaine) and musical style is a really good one, and it doesn't surprise me that Faure continued to use Verlaine's poetry quite a bit in the years after this.

Which is not to say that the other songs around this period are bad. Far from it. I rather like Les presents (The Gifts), Moonlight's far less famous stablemate, and Spleen (another Verlaine poem) with its pattern of raindrops made an impression on me, and Au cimetiere (At the Cemetery) has plenty of power (I always do go for the really dark ones...).  But even in that company, Claire de lune does stand out as something pretty special.

Frankly, if you don't have the words in front of you/speak fluent French, it's not quite the same. And the picture of wolves is completely wrong for a song about courtiers dancing - unless it's a commentary on the intrigues of court? Unlikely. But what the heck.

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