Sunday, 20 October 2013

September 2013 - Classical Music

Bach, J.S.
  • Ich hatter viel Bekümmernis (I had many afflictions) - 1723 version
  • Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe (There is no health in my body)
  • Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgend ein Schmerz sei (Behold and see, if there is any sorrow)
  • Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget (Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us)
  • Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele I (Praise the Lord, O my soul, No.1)
  • Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and mouth and deed and life)
  • Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance
  • Excursions
  • Nuvoletta
Beethoven - Piano Sonatas 28 and 29
Beethoven - Cello Sonatas 4 and 5 
Brahms - Horn Trio
  • Enter Spring
  • Oration
  • Phantasm 
  • Symphony No.9
  • Cypresses for string quartet
  • Songs my Mother Taught Me (transcribed for violin)
  • Piano Quintet No.1
  • Barcarolle No.7
  • Impromptu No.4
  • Le don silencieux
  • Chanson
  • Vocalise-etude 
Janacek - Říkadla (Nursery Rhymes) - choral version
Janacek - Suite for string orchestra
Liszt - Faust Symphony
Liszt - Anees de Pelerinage, Third Year
Mozart - Piano Sonata No.15
  • Sonata for 2 pianos
  • Sonata for piano, 4 hands
  • Violin Sonata  
  • Symphony No.1
  • Suites 1 and 2 for 2 pianos
  • Prelude in C sharp minor for piano
  • String Quartet
  • Jeux d'eau
  • Pavane pour une infante defunte (original piano version and orchestral version)
Schumann - Carnaval
Schumann - Symphonic Etudes
Vivaldi - Ascende laeta (Gladly climb) with Dixit Dominus, RV 595

My approach of listening to some composers chronologically seemed to be hitting some very rewarding moments in several cases this month.

Of all the magical things that Faure composed, his first piano quintet is one that holds an extremely special place for me.  It sometimes seems to be regarded as a difficult work - difficult for the composer, who took many years to complete it, and difficult for the listener because of it's somewhat withdrawn and reticent nature.  But it's exactly that reticence that makes me adore it.  This is not the music of big, grand tunes, but something inhabiting a deep inner world.

Beethoven is heading that way, too, as my listening reached the works that seem to be generally regarded as marking the start of his late style.  There's certainly a lot of inner depth here, although piano sonata no.29, the 'Hammerklavier' has its showy side too.

And then there's Bridge.  All three works I listened to this month are considered to be pretty major works from Bridge's later, more modern period.  Oration, which is essentially a cello concerto, is often considered the pick of the bunch, but while I did enjoy it I responded to it less than the other two.  I found Phantasm, essentially a piano concerto, to be particularly appealing.  It seems I may have a thing for single-movement piano and orchestra works from this period, as I've realised that Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini and Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand are nearly contemporaneous.  Rhapsody in Blue isn't that far off in chronology either.

I haven't been listening to Poulenc chronologically, but I'm continuing to notice a trend of appreciating some of the later works, and the Sonata for 2 pianos is probably the first larger-scale work I've listened to from that period, and also one of the best yet.  I'm definitely intending to explore this composer's later years more extensively once I've finished with the current set.

Elsewhere, from composers where I'm not focused on late works, Barber delivered a very nice surprise with the Excursions for piano.  I'm sure I've listened to these before, but probably in the midst of a lot of other pieces without the same sense of focus.  This time I thoroughly enjoyed the work, and was particularly taken with the second piece, 'in slow blues tempo'.

Hope you are too.

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