Tuesday, 10 September 2013

August 2013 - Classical Music

Bach, J.S.
  • Christus, der ist mein Leben (Christ, who is my life)
  • Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz (Search me, God, and know my heart)
  • Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz (Why are you downcast, my soul)
  • Keyboard Partitas 1 to 6
  • Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue
Barber - Second Essay for Orchestra
Barber - 2 Songs, Op.18
Beethoven - Symphonies 7 and 8
Beethoven - String Quartet No.11, 'Quartetto Serioso' 
  • There Is A Willow Grows Aslant a Brook
  • Sir Roger de Coverley (A Christmas Dance) - full orchestra version and strings version
  • 2 Songs of Rabindranath Tagore  (orchestral versions)
  • Vignettes de Danse
  • 2 Intermezzi from 'Threads'
  • 2 Entr'actes (Rosemary, Canzonetta)
  • String Quartet No.4
  • String quartet movement in F major
  • 2 Waltzes for string quartet (arranged by Dvorak from piano pieces) 
  • Songs, opuses 76, 83, 85 and 87
  • Melisande's Song (from incidental music for Pelleas and Melisande)
  • Papillon for cello and piano
  • Sicilienne for cello and piano
  • 8 short pieces for piano
  • Impromptu 'No. 6' for piano (transcription of impromptu for harp)
Heller - 30 Progressive Etudes, Op.46
  • Sinfonietta
  • Taras Bulba
  • Lachian Dances
  • Pohadka (Fairy Tale, for cello and piano)
  • Presto for cello and piano 
  • Orpheus
  • Heroide Funebre
  • Die Ideale
  • Two Episodes from Lenau's 'Faust' 
Minkus/Delibes - La Source (The Spring)
  • Symphony No.38, 'Prague'
  • Piano Sonata No.14
  • Fantasia in C minor 
  • Suite Francaise (piano version)
  • Francaise
  • Promenades
  • Improvisations 13 and 14
  • Piece Breve on the name of Albert Roussel
  • Bourree for the Pavillion of Auvergne
  • Feuillets d'album (Album leaves)
  • Capriccio for 2 pianos
  • Elegie for 2 pianos
  • L'Embarquement pour Cythere for 2 pianos
Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No.1
Ravel - Menuet Antique
Schumann - Papillons (Butterflies)
Schumann - Davidsbundlertanze (Dances of the League of David)
Vivaldi - Filiae maestae Jerusalem (Mournful daughters of Jerusalem)
Vivaldi - Non in pratis aut in hortis (Neither in meadows nor in gardens)

That's a pretty long list! Although many of the works are quite short.

I suddenly realised during the month that I had abandoned Mozart some 18 months ago, leaving him hanging mid-chronology. I suspect this was mostly due to shifting my focus to other composers when I bought new CDs, but it may have also had to do with the Sonata and Fantasia in C minor, works with which I'm relatively unfamiliar.  And that, in turn, is mostly because I simply don't like the Fantasia very much. I still don't, but it turns out that I quite like the sonata on its own. From now on I'll be more likely to ignore the traditional pairing of the 2 works.

The Bach cantatas are back. I acquired another 10 CDs worth, which still, amazingly enough, means that I have less than half of the total.

Just when I start thinking that this might be overkill and my fetish for complete sets might be unwise in this instance, there's some magical little bit of music that makes me think it's worthwhile exploring all this Bach.  Christus, der ist mein Leben (BWV 95 in the standard Bach catalogue) has this amazing tenor aria in it that I found myself listening to repeatedly - in fact I've just put it on again while writing this. I would post a link if I could find a version that I enjoy as much as the one that I have, which is by Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan.

My listening to the orchestral works of Frank Bridge has recently reached the 'late' works, and There Is A Willow Grows Aslant A Brook is a piece full of eerie magic. The title is a line from Hamlet, the beginning of the description of Ophelia's drowning, and the music fits this imagery wonderfully well. Special mention for atmosphere must also go to Janacek's Pohadka, which I found completely enchanting from the very beginning.

Liszt, too, managed to engage me a couple of times this month. Heroide Funebre (somewhat difficult to translate - one version I've seen suggested something like 'funeral letter to a hero') is one of the more moody symphonic poems, and so is rescued from Liszt's tendency for blustering. But even more successful were the Two Episodes from Lenau's 'Faust'.  The second piece is much better known on its own as the first Mephisto Waltz, but I found both of them to be quite satisfying and Liszt explicitly wanted them treated as a pair.

The two Vivaldi works I listened to are both introductory works for a Miserere, a psalm setting used for Good Friday, but the Miserere itself is lost.  Both of the introductions are, not surprisingly, also quite moody!

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