Saturday, 1 November 2014

Classical Music - September 2014

Bach, J.S.
  • Meine Seel erhebt den Herren (My soul magnifies the Lord)
  • Wer nun den lieben Gott läßt walten (Whoever lets our beloved God rule)
  • Was frag ich nach der Welt (What do I ask of this world)
Beethoven - Piano Trios 1 and 2 (op.1/1 and 2)
Brahms - Piano Quintet
Brahms - String Sextet No.2
  • The Sea
  • Dance Poem
  • Dance Rhapsody
  • Norse Legend (orchestral version)
  • 5 Entr'actes from 'The Two Hunchbacks' 
  • Piano Sonata No.1
  • Rondo in C minor
  • Rondo a la Mazur
  • Variations on a German national air
  • Variations in D for piano duet
  • Polonaises in G minor, B flat, A flat, G sharp minor, B flat minor
  • 3 Polonaises, op.posth. 71
  • Mazurkas in G, B flat, G (op.67/1) and A minor (op.68/2)
  • Funeral March in C minor
  • 3 Ecossaises
  • Contredanse in G flat 
Debussy - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Debussy - Nocturnes
Dowland - In darkness let me dwell
Dvorak - Symphonies 7 and 8
Dvorak - String Quartet No.7 
Haydn - Symphony No.84
Holmboe - Concerto No.3 (for clarinet)
Holmboe - Benedic Domino (from Liber Canticorum)
Mozart - String Quartets 16 and 17
Poulenc - Oboe Sonata
Rachmaninov -  Songs, op. 8 and 14
Rachmaninov - Did you hiccough, Natasha?
Schoenberg - Pelleas and Melisande
Schumann - String Quartets 2 and 3
Shostakovich - String Quartet No.2
  • Lemminkäinen Suite
  • The Dryad
  • Dance-Intermezzo
Simpson - Symphony No.10
Telemann - Tafelmusik Volume 1
Vaughan Williams - Silent Noon
  • Dixit Dominus, RV 594
  • Domine ad adiuvandum
  • Cur sagittas, cur tela
Having very recently listened to the last few pieces of Chopin solo piano music that I hadn't touched in recent years (I have the box set by Vladimir Ashkenazy), I went slightly Chopin-mad. Mostly, this was because I wanted to get a clearer idea in my head about the chronology of those works not published with opus numbers in Chopin's lifetime. There are a few publications from his youth, and also various works that were not published until after his death. It seems that in quite a few cases these were things he wrote out for friends and acquaintances as personal gifts.

So essentially, part of September became about listening to teenage Chopin, particularly on one weekend. It is actually quite astounding just how quickly Chopin developed into a first-class composer. It is true that most of the focus here is on sounding brilliant rather than being profound, but my goodness, it is brilliant. By the time he was 17 or 18, Chopin was already dazzling.

Beethoven seems to have taken a little longer to really get going. In August I listened to the earliest Beethoven now in my collection, the piano trio WoO 38, and to be honest it was a bit pedestrian. But in September, I reached the opus 1 piano trios. The improvement from the earlier piece is considerable.

Another highlight of this list would have to be my introduction to the Lemminkäinen Suite (well, to three-quarters of it as I'd previously heard The Swan of Tuonela. Up until recently I've known very little Sibelius beside the symphonies, but with my recent purchases I'm feeling that I just want to hear even more. I can well understand why his orchestral music tends to dominate recordings of his output, though, because right now I think he might just be the finest orchestrator of them all. The sense of colour and mood in these pieces is amazing.

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