Friday, 24 March 2017

Classical Music - December 2016

Bach, J.S. - Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (How beautifully shines the morning star)
Bach, J.S. - Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (Sustain us, Lord, with your word)
  • Cello Concerto
  • Piano Concerto
  • Music for a Scene from Shelley
  • Medea ballet suite
  • Souvenirs ballet suite
  • Adagio for Strings
  • Serenade for Strings
Bartok - String Quartets 2 and 3
  • Symphony No.4
  • Triple Concerto
  • Piano Sonata No.23, 'Appassionata'
  • Symphony No.1
  • Serenade No.2
  • Variations on a Theme by Haydn
  • Liebeslieder-Walzer (orchestral versions)
  • Hungarian Dances 1, 3 and 10 (orchestral versions)
  • Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel
Bridge - Miniatures for Piano Trio, Sets 1 to 3
Bridge - Phantasie Piano Quartet
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
  • Preludes, Book II
  • Estampes
  • Pour le Piano
  • Images (oubliées)
  • L'Isle Joyeuse
  • Masques
  • D’un cahier d’esquisses
  • Danse (Tarantelle styrienne)
  • Ballade slave
  • Valse romantique
  • Les soirs illumines par l’ardeur du charbon
  • Slavonic Dances, Series 1 (orchestral version)
  • Eight Waltzes
  • Four Album Leaves
  • Two Furiants
  • Scottish Dances
  • Eclogues
  • Dumka for piano
Faure - Elegie in C minor
Faure - Papillon
Haydn - Symphonies 3, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 25, 27, 32, 37, 'A'
  • String Quartets 14 and 15
  • Nuigen
  • Brass Quintet No.2
  • Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
  • Rückert-Lieder
  • 3 songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn 
Martinů - Piano Trio No.1
  • Three Dithyrambs
  • Three Arabesques
  • Four Pieces, op.4
Mozart - String Quintets 3 and 4
  • Symphonies 2 and 3
  • Helios Overture
  • Prelude to 'Sir Oluf He Rides'
  • Willemoes: Prelude to Act III
  • Maskarade: Overture and Cockerel's Dance
Nørgård - Symphonies 2, 6 and 8 
  • Piano Sonata No.2
  • Sarcasms
  • Visions Fugitives 
Ravel - L'heure Espagnole
Rimsky-Korsakov - Capriccio Espagnol
Schierbeck - Den kinesiske fløjte (The Chinese flute)
  • Piano Trio No.2
  • Impromptus, Set 1
  • Winterreise
  • Symphony No.4 (1841 version)
  • Overture, Scherzo and Finale
  • Das Paradies und die Peri
  • Symphony No.3
  • Night Ride and Sunrise
  • Pohjola's Daughter
  • Dance-Intermezzo
Villa-Lobos - Choros No.10, 'Rasga o Coração'
Villa-Lobos - Bachianas Brasileiras 4 (piano version) and 6 

The wave of listening to new music continued, with large swathes of Barber, Brahms, Dvorak and Nielsen.  And Bach. Let's not forget that I've been slowly trawling through Bach cantatas for over 4 years now.

Among the things I particularly enjoyed here were the extensive suite from Barber's ballet Medea, the Bartok string quartets (which demonstrated very quickly why they're highly regarded), the 1st Brahms symphony (likewise), and quite a few of the Haydn symphonies.

Nielsen also impressed. The Helios Overture turned out to be a very fine evocation of sunrise and I definitely enjoyed both of these symphonies. Nørgård I will say more about later, though I will mention now that Symphony No.2 is one of the more immediately accessible ones in the series.

The Schumann orchestral works also tended to be enjoyable and Das Paradies und die Peri was a particularly nice surprise. On one level the plot of this oratorio is now distinctively old-fashioned, but I found that to be only a minor point because Schumann's music is so sensitive and he maintains the momentum more than many other composers would.


As for the year as a whole, the approximate total of works listened to (a work being potentially a minute long or over 2 hours) was a rather startling 836. Easily the biggest total since I started keeping track, by a margin of several hundred.

I describe this as "approximate" because I suspect I accidentally erased a few 2016 entries by creating new 2017 entries, before I remembered I would eventually want to calculate the annual total. This is what I get for being so slow. I think I caught most of them though.

The large amount of buying during the year - not just the huge collection later on, but Shostakovich and Debussy near the start of the year and Mozart, Haydn and Dvorak in the middle, plus a few less bulky purchases - undoubtedly made a big contribution to this new record.

The top 10 most popular composers, in terms of works, did include the major newcomers but also featured some old warhorses of mine.

10. Chopin (30)
9. Shostakovich (36)
8. Nielsen (38)
7. Faure (39)
6. Debussy (45)
4.= Dvorak (49)
4.= Mozart (49)
3. Haydn (63)
2. Beethoven (80)
1. Holmboe (147)

I may well be the only person on the planet (outside of Denmark?) that listens to so much Holmboe, but that's a result of going on surveys across his entire output. It's also influenced by the fact his works are rarely lengthy, and that there simply are quite a lot of them!

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