Monday, 22 August 2016

Classical Music - June 2016

Bach, J.S. - Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (May you be praised, Jesus Christ)
Bach, J.S. - Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott (Take from us, O faithful God)
Beethoven - String Trio No.2
Berlioz - Les Nuits d'été
Chopin - Three Mazurkas, op.59
  • Cello Sonata
  • Elegie for piano
  • Les soirs illumines par l’ardeur du charbon 
Dvorak - Symphonies 4 to 9
Dvorak - The Heirs of White Mountain 
  • Piano Quartet No.1
  • Piano Quintet No.1
  • L'horizon chimérique 
Haydn - Missa brevis (original version)
  • Viola Concerto
  • Symphony No.13
  • Haiduc
  • Quartetto sereno
  • Sværm (string quartet version)
  • 2 songs for choir, M.122
  • Hemlängtan (Homesickness), op.34/1
  • Ikke forlig (No Compromise) 
Mozart - Piano Concertos 14 and 24
Ravel - Sheherazade
Saint-Saens - Saltarelle
Shostakovich - Symphony No.13
Shostakovich - String Quartets 9 to 11
  • 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 C minor, RV 202 (Op.11/5)
  • Violin Concerto in C minor ('Amato bene'), RV 761
  • Concerto for 2 violins in G minor, RV 517
  • Concerto for violin and cello in B flat, RV 547
  • Kyrie
  • Credo
  • Magnificat
  • Nisi Dominus in A, RV 803
  • Lauda, Jerusalem
As I was writing this list out, it was looking a bit thin for a while. Only one Beethoven work? Only a couple of entries from my 'general' page for the composers I don't have large amounts of works from? But then I hit the composers who I spent a lot of time with.

Debussy is only represented by a few works, but this is the end of the chronological survey I started early in the year (a quick traversal by my standards). I've only listed the works I own a recording of (including the set of piano music that inspired this exploration), but did listen to other works along the way using online sources. So, now I have some ideas about what else I need to purchase, particularly chamber music and songs.

The similar Shostakovich traversal is not yet complete, but hit some very fine works this month. The 9th string quartet is one of my favourites now (particularly the finale which dominates the work), and I also think the 13th symphony is powerful (particularly the first movement).

The somewhat longer Holmboe traversal was also completed with the Viola Concerto being a late masterpiece. I then went and confused things by listening to some choral works from much earlier in his career from a newish CD.

But the thing that captured my attention the most this month only occupies one line in the list. I've owned recordings of Dvorak's 7th, 8th and 9th symphonies for a couple of years, and in the previous month I'd listened to the 4th symphony from a new set of the 4th, 5th and 6th. After first listens to those last two, I was sufficiently inspired to throw all six works into my listening, several times over in most cases.

And it was well worth it. Dvorak is one of the most immediately enjoyable composers with his great gift for melody. People who are not well-versed in Classical music (including one of my own relatives) find his music appealing.

I think personally I found the 9th and (somewhat surprisingly) 4th symphonies the ones I responded to the most, but really it's hard to find a Dvorak work that isn't a pleasure so long as one avoids the very early material when he knew about tunes but not about structure. The surprise regarding the 4th symphony is because it's earlier than any of the works I've previously enjoyed.

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