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1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Jue Nov 18, 2010 3:44 pm

143. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto no. 20 (1785)



Recording

Title: Piano Concertos 20, 23, 24, 26 & 27
Performer: Clifford Curzon, English Chamber Orchestra
Director: Benjamin Britten
Year: 1970
Length: 33 minutes

Review

Mozart's Piano concertos are something else, possibly only comparable to Beethoven's, and the concertos numbered 20 and over are particularly good, together with the no. 9 "Jeunehomme" that we had before.

They are not only particularly good but also interesting in the way that they are almost prefiguring the Romantics and particularly the other great composer of Piano Concertos, Beethoven.

Here you have a collection of three great movements, the first powerful and dark takes a while to start with the piano, which comes in solo to play the second theme, the second movement is truly a beautiful Romance, with the piano and the Orchestra playing back and forth beautifully, the third movement has an amazing Coda. So no fillers here, it is all good, but I particularly like the Romance as I am a sap.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

A few days after the first performance, the composer's father, Leopold, visiting in Vienna, wrote to his daughter Nannerl about her brother's recent success: [I heard] an excellent new piano concerto by Wolfgang, on which the copyist was still at work when we got there, and your brother didn't even have time to play through the rondo because he had to oversee the copying operation.

Mitsuko Uchida plays and conducts the Romance, she is a bit freaky, but such a great player:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Jue Nov 18, 2010 3:47 pm

144. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto no. 21 (1785)



Recording

Title: Piano Concertos no.21 K.467, no.9 K.271
Performers: Murray Perahia, English Chamber Orchestra
Director: Murray Perahia
Year: 1984
Length: 28 minutes

Review

This concert is very much a companion piece to number 20, it was composed at the same time the orchestration is similar and it is also a masterpiece. Again like in no. 20 the masterpiece is the great slow movement which is one of Mozart's most famous pieces.

That said the whole piece is stupendous and Murray Perahia's performance captures the brilliance of the piece perfectly. Again Mozart is delving into Romantic territory here, while still very much in a classical idiom, there are glimpses of the future throughout the work.

The Piano concerto is often regarded as the medium in which Mozart was at his consistent best, and it is not hard to see why. Great stuff.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The famous second movement was featured in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan. The limpid sounds bring to mind a lazy boat ride on a placid lake, which was the imagery used in the movie. This has led to an anachronistic nickname of Elvira Madigan for the concerto. The use of this nickname has decreased in recent years as memories of the seldom-seen Swedish film have faded.

During Marcel Marceau's funeral this was played along with Bach's Cello Suite No. 5.

The Andante:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 2:29 pm

145. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto no. 22 (1785)



Recording


Title: The Piano Concertos
Performers: Malcolm Bilson, English Baroque Soloists
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1984
Length: 34 minutes

Review

While concerts 20 and 21 were very much a part of the same burst of inspiration, 22 is quite a different affair. The orchestration is different and the overall feel of the concert is different as well. It is, however, by no means worse than the two previous ones.

The main difference is the inclusion of clarinets which at times come across in solo sections giving the whole thing a very bucolic feel, this is particularly true of the last two movements which are also the highlights of the concerto.

The second movement is one of the most delicate, pastoral and beautiful pieces by Mozart and the third is supremely catchy. Surprisingly you will hardly find any of the two in "best of Mozart" compilations... well you shouldn't get those anyway because they are for people with no intellectual commitment who only want to have something to put on the background which will make them look middle-brow at their Islington dinner parties. For people who truly like classical music, however, this is strongly recommended. Oh and this recording is one of the best complete sets of Mozart Piano Concertos you can buy.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The slow second movement in C minor recalls similar slow C minor movements in other Mozart E-flat major concertos such as K.271 and K.364. Mozart's father, in a famous letter to Maria ("Nannerl"), expressed surprise that a call was made for the slow movement ("a rather unusual occurrence!") to be repeated.

Here's the catchy third movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 2:31 pm

146. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Horn Concerto no. 4 (1786)



Recording


Title: Horn Concertos Nos. 1-4, Quintet K.452
Performers: Dennis Brain, Philarmonia Orchestra
Director: Herbert Von Karajan
Year: 1953
Length: 16 minutes

Review

This is quite a short concerto for Horn, but truly a delightful one. A note must be made about the recording, however, Dennis Brain is renowned with good reason as the best Horn interpreter of Mozart, the recording however, in mono from 1953 makes it all feel pretty muffled. Also it isn't done in period instruments.

Still you get a great player in an historical recording with the mythical Von Karajan. The piece is great revealing a humorous side to the composition, particularly in the third movement.

It isn't as amazing as the piano concertos, but then what is? But this recording is a very good value piece of historical music-making by some of the greatest names in classical music in the mid 20th century and if only for that reason, worth listening to.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The manuscript was written with multicolored inks, perhaps in a jocular attempt to rattle the intended performer (Leitgeb).

Second and third movement, the kid is quite good:


JM

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 2:41 pm

147. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto no. 23 (1786)



Recording

Title: Piano Concertos Nos. 8, 23, 24
Performer: Wilhelm Kempff, Bamberger Symphoniker
Director: Ferdinand Letiner
Year: 1960
Length: 25 minutes

Review

Here is yet another Piano Concerto by Mozart, and each one of these keeps being a masterpiece in its own right. This one was possibly one of the most beautiful until now, with a perfect first movement, an emotional and truly delicate second and a jaunty third.

There is very little to point at here that isn't nearly perfect. Wilhelm Kempff is also one of the all time great pianists, so again it is very hard to point anything out to him when he fills the whole work with colour and feeling.

So this is probably one of my favourite Piano Concertos until now, and Mozart seems to be able to do no wrong, yes the genius category is apt, and we all knew that, but it is never too much to remind ourselves of the "why". And this is one of those pieces.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The first movement is mostly sunny with the occasion melancholic touches typical of other Mozart pieces in A major.

The second movement is impassioned and somewhat operatic in tone. Formally this is a sonata form, the piano entering immediately with a theme that has unusually wide leaps; and also as with many such minor-mode sonata movements with Mozart, we hear an effective device where the major-mode secondary material in minor in the end. It is the only movement by Mozart in F sharp minor.

The third movement is a rondo, shaded by moves into other keys as is the opening movement (to C major from E minor and back during the secondary theme in this case, for instance) and with a central section whose opening in F sharp minor is interrupted by a clarinet tune in D major, an intrusion that reminds us, notes Girdlestone, that instrumental music at the time was informed by opera buffa and its sudden changes of point of view as well as of scene

Horowitz plays Mozart piano concerto 23 first movement with orchestra 1986:



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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 2:45 pm

148. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
The Marriage Of Figaro (Le Nozze Di Figaro) (1786)



Recording

Title: Le Nozze Di Figaro
Performers: Alastair Miles, Nuccia Focile etc.
Director: Charles Mackerras
Year: 1994
Length: 3 hours 30 minutes (3 CDs)

Review


I can say with very little doubts that this is the best opera we have had on the list up until now, the only one that might rival it is the great Cesare by Handel and even so... this beats it hands down.

There are several reasons for this, the libretto is brilliant, with a level of plot complexity and a sense of fun unlike any before, the characters even if there are something like 11 singing parts are all well rounded, even if it is the longest opera we have had here it is never boring.

Then you have amazing music to complement it, some arias are very famous other aren't but are just equally as good, there is not a wasted moment in the whole thing. If I could point to one thing it is a certain excess of secco recitative, but that would be nit-picking. Fun, beautiful and pretty much near perfect.

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Lorenzo da Ponte wrote a preface to the first published version of the libretto, in which he boldly claimed that he and Mozart had created a new form of music drama:

In spite ... of every effort ... to be brief, the opera will not be one of the shortest to have appeared on our stage, for which we hope sufficient excuse will be found in the variety of threads from which the action of this play [i.e. Beaumarchais's] is woven, the vastness and grandeur of the same, the multiplicity of the musical numbers that had to be made in order not to leave the actors too long unemployed, to diminish the vexation and monotony of long recitatives, and to express with varied colours the various emotions that occur, but above all in our desire to offer as it were a new kind of spectacle to a public of so refined a taste and understanding.

Charles Rosen (in The Classical Style) proposes to take da Ponte's words quite seriously, noting the "richness of the ensemble writing", which carries forward the action in a far more dramatic way than recitatives would. Rosen also suggests that the musical language of the classical style was adapted by Mozart to convey the drama: many sections of the opera musically resemble sonata form; by movement through a sequence of keys, they build up and resolve musical tension, providing a natural musical reflection of the drama. As Rosen says:

The synthesis of accelerating complexity and symmetrical resolution which was at the heart of Mozart's style enabled him to find a musical equivalent for the great stage works which were his dramatic models. The Marriage of Figaro in Mozart's version is the dramatic equal, and in many respects the superior, of Beaumarchais's work.

Cecilia Bartoli and Renee Fleming in a duet from Mozart's, "The Marriage of Figaro".
Metropolitan Opera, 1998. Conductor: James Levin
e


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 2:49 pm

149. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto no. 24 (1786)



Recording


Title: Piano Concertos C Major KV 467 & c Minor KV 491
Performer: Clifford Curzon, Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Director: Rafael Kubelik
Year: 1970
Length: 31 minutes

Review


Another great Piano concerto by the classical master of piano concertos (Beethoven is the romantic master). This is with good reason considered the more integrated of Mozart's concertos, the piano and the Orchestra work in perfect harmony.

The first movement gives the Orchestra a superhuman sense of foreboding and epicness while the piano complements it with the truly human and emotional part of a fantastic movement.

The following movements aren't as marked in their dichotomy with the piano but are equally great. Even if this isn't one of the most accessible of Mozart concertos, it is damn near perfect. Highly Recommended.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Long considered to be one of Mozart's greatest works, Arthur Hutchings has described it to be the most "concerted" of all the concertos (i.e. the most integrated). Girdlestone has also effectively claimed it as the greatest. Ludwig van Beethoven took particular inspiration for his own music from this concerto.

The work has obvious musical antecedents in Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 78, also in C minor and from which the Concerto's opening statement is drawn. Jonathan Stock has analysed in detail Mozart's use of woodwind timbre in the instrumentation of the concerto's slow movement. Chris Goertzen has mapped the structure of the slow movement.

The concerto was first published in parts in 1800. The manuscript of the concerto resided in the 1960's at the Royal College of Music.

1st movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 2:53 pm

150. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Quartet in E flat major (1786)



Recording

Title: Piano Quartet in G minor K478; Piano Quartet in E flat K493
Performers: Paul Lewis, Leopold String Trio
Year: 2002
Length: 34 minutes

Review


By its nature the piano quartet has a more intimate feel than the piano concerto, somewhere between the violin sonata and the concerto, and is is quite a pretty thing. This is not as spectacular as any of the Mozart Concertos, but Mozart had a lot more practice with the concertos, he only wrote two of these.

This is quite a long quartet, slightly longer than any of his Piano Concertos, again the comparisons are appropriate, this is very much a concerto for four instruments, the piano part is the dominant one and the trio does the same job as the orchestra.

The more intimate feel of the four instruments makes the whole thing feel more delicate than epic, and in that sense it works extremely well in the slow movement, a very beautiful moment.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Mozart received a commission for three quartets in 1785 from the publisher Franz Anton Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister thought the G minor Quartet was too difficult and that the public would not buy it, so he released Mozart from the obligation of completing the set. Nine months later, Mozart composed this quartet anyway.


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:11 pm

151. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto no. 25 (1786)



Recording

Title: Piano Concertos 21 & 25
Performers: Stephen Kovacevich, London Symphony Orchestra
Director: Colin Davis
Year: 1972
Length: 31 minutes

Review

Yet another Piano concerto by Mr. Mozart, don't worry there's only two left on the list, and if they are all as good as this one I don't really mind. But there has been a bit of monotony on the list, they could just have gotten a good complete recording and made me review that, but no.

So this is a pretty interesting one, it sounds quite grand at the beginning but much like in number 24 there is an element of delicacy added by the piano itself, it is almost fighting the orchestra here, trying to convince it not to be so pompous.

Again, we have a wonderful Mozart concerto, this is no surprise and honestly you should just get them all. The new Barenboim collection is quite cheap if you are wondering, less than 20 pounds on Amazon UK for 10 CDs.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

K.503 has long been neglected in favor of Mozart’s more “brilliant” concertos, such as K. 467. Though Mozart performed it on several occasions, it was not performed again in Vienna after Mozart’s death until 1934, and it only gained acceptance in the standard repertoire in the later part of the twentieth century. However, it is now regarded as one of Mozart’s greatest works.

The first 9 minutes of the first concerto:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:14 pm

152. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Symphony no.38 "Prague" (1786)



Recording

Title: Symphonies Nos. 35-41
Performers: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Herbert Von Karajan
Year: 1977
Length: 26 minutes

Review

With Symphony no. 38 we start an uninterrupted sequence of some pretty great symphonies by Mozart, up until his last one, No.41. This one starts ominously, and it isn't hard to see that just a year later he would put out Don Giovanni, there are similarities in the beginning here. It soon goes on to a brilliant allegro and some very attractive music indeed.

The first movement here is really the stand-out movement of the whole thing, but the slow movement is beautiful and the last one is a fast, light and airy Presto which complements the whole thing very well.

The scope of the symphony feels much larger than that of the piano concertos, there is none of the delicate humanity of the piano, and so the music becomes much more epic and grandiose, at times joyous and other times menacing. Pretty great.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Although Mozart’s popularity among the Viennese waxed and waned, he was consistently popular among the Bohemians and had a devoted following in Prague. A piece appearing in the Prager Neue Zeitung shortly after Mozart’s death expresses this sentiment: "Mozart seems to have written for the people of Bohemia, his music is understood nowhere better than in Prague, and even in the countryside it is widely loved." The Prague Symphony was written in gratitude for their high esteem. It had its premiere in Vienna, on December 6, 1786, and was performed in Prague a month later.

Bohm conducts the allegro of the first movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:16 pm

153. Joseph Haydn -
Seven Last Words (1787)



Recording


Title: The Seven Words
Performer: Rosamunde Quartet
Year: 2000
Length: 1 hour 5 minutes

Review


This is an interesting recording of some peculiar sacred music. Firstly it is sacred music played by a string quartet, although originally it was for full orchestra, but there are no choirs or vocals at all.

Then it is a sequence of seven slow movements with a slow Intro and a chaotic conclusion. It is a testament to the brilliance of Haydn that he manages to keep your interest for what are essentially 8 adagios which last between 6 and 10 minutes each and a 2 minute explosion.

He manages to keep the listener interested because of the sheer variety of slowness that he produces and the heart-achingly beautiful quality of them. It is also an interest throwback to Baroque sacred music without ever losing classical sensibility. A very interesting piece indeed.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The composer later explained to his amanuensis G.A. Griesinger:

"Some fifteen years ago I was requested by a canon of Cádiz to compose instrumental music on the seven last words of Our Savior on the Cross. It was customary at the Cathedral of Cádiz to produce an oratorio every year during Lent, the effect of the performance being not a little enhanced by the following circumstances. The walls, windows, and pillars of the church were hung with black cloth, and only one large lamp hanging from the center of the roof broke the solemn darkness. At midday, the doors were closed and the ceremony began. After a short service the bishop ascended the pulpit, pronounced the first of the seven words (or sentences) and delivered a discourse thereon. This ended, he left the pulpit and fell to his knees before the altar. The interval was filled by music. The bishop then in like manner pronounced the second word, then the third, and so on, the orchestra following on the conclusion of each discourse. My composition was subject to these conditions, and it was no easy task to compose seven adagios lasting ten minutes each, and to succeed one another without fatiguing the listeners; indeed, I found it quite impossible to confine myself to the appointed limits."


The Earthquake at the end:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:20 pm

154. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1787)



Recording

Title: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Performers: Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Director: Neville Marriner
Year: 1987
Length: 17 minutes

Review

Few pieces of music are as famous as the four movements in what is probably Mozart's most famous Serenade and piece in general. That is at the same time the great thing about it, the way it is instantly recognisable and you can sing along to all of it, but also its major problem.

This is so popular that it is hard to come to it with fresh ears, it has long ago reached the state of banal music, too much success for its own good, by far. But if you try you can get good things from it.

It is not only fun, but the capacity of Mozart to make such endurable music over 200 years ago that every 5 year old can sing today is quite astonishing. Mozart is a master of immediately attractive music when he wants to leave complexities aside and this is a perfect example of that. Populist music at its best.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Mozart listed this work as having five movements in his own catalogue of his works. ("Allegro - Minuet and Trio. - Romance, Minuet and Trio and Finale.") The second movement in his listing, a minuet and trio, was long thought lost and no one knows if it was Mozart or someone else who removed it. Musicologist Alfred Einstein has suggested, however, that a minuet in Piano Sonata in B-flat, K.498a, is the missing movement. The sonata's minuet has been recorded in an arrangement for string quartet,although music scholars are not certain that Einstein is correct.

First Movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:28 pm

155. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Don Giovanni (1787)



Recording

Title: Don Giovanni
Performers: Eberhard Watcher, Joan Sutherland, Giuseppe Taddei
Director: Carlo Maria Giulini
Year: 1959
Length: 3 hours

Review

This is often and widely considered the best opera of all time, and honestly it might just be. It really depends however on what you consider to be most important in opera, but on balance this is still amazing. The music is the best of any Mozart opera I have listened to, extremely effective emotionally.

The libretto might, in my opinion be slightly inferior to that of Nozze di Figaro as it is not sustained as well throughout, the beginning of the second act is not that exciting and the end after the death of Giovanni feels superfluous. The thing is the Death of Giovanni just before the end is one of the most riveting moments in any opera, the Commendatore dragging him to hell is a moment of extreme power.

The main character is a psychopathic sex-addict, rapist and murderer, which is uncommon to say the least and there is a perverse pleasure to the whole thing, he does get his comeuppance at the end, but still... Amazing stuff indeed, Mozart is just something else.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Of the many operas based on the legend of Don Juan, Don Giovanni is thought to be beyond comparison. Da Ponte's libretto was billed like many of its time as dramma giocoso: "giocoso" meaning comic, and "dramma" signifying an operatic text (an abbreviation of "dramma per musica"). Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an "opera buffa". Although often classified as comic, it is a unique blend of comic (buffa) and drama (seria). Subtitled "dramma giocoso", the opera blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote a long essay in his book Enten/Eller (Either/Or) in which he argues, quoting Charles Gounod, that Mozart's Don Giovanni is “a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection.” The finale, in which Don Giovanni refuses to repent, has been a captivating philosophical and artistic topic for many writers including George Bernard Shaw, who in Man and Superman parodied the opera (with explicit mention of the Mozart score for the finale scene between the Commendatore and Don Giovanni).

Ferruccio Furlanetto as Leporello. 1990:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:30 pm

156. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Piano Concerto No. 26, "Coronation" (1788)



Recording

Title: Piano Concertos No.21 "Elvira Madigan", No.26 "Coronation"
Performers: Robert Casadesus, Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Director: George Szell
Year: 1962
Length: 29 minutes

Review

Weirdly enough this was one of the most loved Mozart piano concertos in the 19th century and has now come to the point where it is really looked down on as one of the least good ones from his amazing sequence of final concertos.

I understand why it isn't loved as much now, it is a very easy concerto, almost a caricature of Mozart, it sounds extremely Mozartean. That said, however, it is a pretty beautiful one, particularly the amazingly romantic slow movement.

Still, it isn't one of the most original of Mozart's pieces, but his final piano concertos are all so good that it is hard to blame him for having one which seems a bit like going through the motions. They are great motions anyway.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The traditional name associated with this work is not Mozart's own, nor was the work written for the occasion for which posterity has named it. Mozart remarks in a letter to his wife in April 1789 that he had just performed this concerto at court. But the nickname "Coronation" is derived from his playing of the work at the time of the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor in October 1790 in Frankfurt am Main. At the same concert, Mozart also played the Piano Concerto No. 19, K. 459. We know this because when Johann Andre of Offenbach published the first editions of both concertos in 1794, he identified them on their title pages as being performed on the occasion of Leopold's coronation. Alan Tyson in his introduction to Dover Publications' facsimile of the autograph score (which today is at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York) comments that "Although K. 459 has at times been called a 'Coronation' concerto, this title has nearly always been applied to K. 537"

Gulda playing the second movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:34 pm

157. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Symphony No.39 (1788)



Recording

Title: Symphonies No,38 "Prague" & No. 39
Performers: English Baroque Soloists
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1990
Length: 32 minutes

Review


Now we have the three later great Mozart Symphonies in a row here, and we start with 39, probably the least famous of the big three, but a great one nonetheless. It starts in a truly grand way, and Gardiner's interpretation makes it very plain that it is a magisterial beginning to the first movement.

It follows on to a beautiful Andante and a jaunty Menuetto before the real highlight of the whole thing. The Finale is just extremely playful and fun, Mozart at his best.

So the first and last movement bookend in perfection this great symphony. This is really, together with the next 2 Symphonies the pinnacle of Classical Orchestral music, and therefore unmissable.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It seems to be impossible to determine the date of the premiere of the 39th Symphony on the basis of currently available evidence; in fact, it cannot be established whether the symphony was ever performed in the composer's lifetime. According to Deutsch (1965), around the time Mozart wrote the work, he was preparing to hold a series of "Concerts in the Casino", in a new casino in the Spiegelgasse owned by Philipp Otto. Mozart even sent a pair of tickets for this series to his friend Michael Puchberg. But it seems impossible to determine whether the concert series was held, or was cancelled for lack of interest. In addition, in the period up to the end of his life, Mozart participated in various other concerts whose program included an unidentified symphony; these also could have been the occasion of the premiere of the 39th (for details, see Symphony No. 40 (Mozart)).

The fourth movement by Karl Bohm, the whole thing is on-line in the same concert so just look for it:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:39 pm

158. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Symphony No. 40 (1788)



Recording


Title: The Symphonies
Performers: The English Concert
Director: Trevor Pinnock
Year: 1994
Length: 33 minutes

Review

The first movement of this Symphony is probably one of Mozart's most famous pieces of music, interestingly it is one which is usually used by itself disregarding the rest of the Symphony, even if the last movement is quite famous as well.

This is the middle symphony in the triumvirate of Mozart's last great symphonies, and rivals only No.41 in terms of fame. It is again an amazing piece of music, Mozart at his best.

It is actually a pretty dark piece, but Mozart is always pretty good at making dark music, Don Giovanni and the Requiem being prime examples of how good he is. Still there are plenty of moments where the light shines through here, making it all the better for it.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This work has elicited varying interpretations from critics. Robert Schumann regarded it as possessing “Grecian lightness and grace”. Donald Francis Tovey saw in it the character of opera buffa. Almost certainly, however, the most common perception today is that the symphony is tragic in tone and intensely emotional; for example, Charles Rosen (in The Classical Style) has called the symphony "a work of passion, violence, and grief."

Although interpretations differ, the symphony is unquestionably one of Mozart's most greatly admired works, and it is frequently performed and recorded.

Karl Bohm conducts the Wiener Philarmoniker Orchestra:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 22, 2010 3:47 pm

159. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Symphony No.41 (1788)



Recording


Title: Nos. 40 & 41 "Jupiter"
Performers: Wiener Philarmoniker
Director: Leonard Bernstein
Year: 1984
Length: 38 minutes

Review

The greatest and most majestic of all of Mozart's symphonies is his last one, just another indication of the greatness he could have achieved had he lived long enough to keep composing. Mozart's Symphony 41 is aptly named Jupiter after its grandiosity.

Bernstein does not shy away form that grandiosity in this recording, he plays the Symphony with all its repeats making it longer than might sometimes be heard, he makes it slightly slower than most other recordings as well, but that contributes to the sense of deliberateness.

The first movement is a great shinning piece but the real highlight is the last movement with its five themes coming together in a huge bang in the coda. Mozart at his best here, and therefore essential.

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Four additional themes are heard in the "Jupiter's" finale, which is in sonata form, and all five motifs are combined in the fugal coda. In a 1906 article about the Jupiter Symphony, Sir George Grove wrote that "it is for the finale that Mozart has reserved all the resources of his science, and all the power, which no one seems to have possessed to the same degree with himself, of concealing that science, and making it the vehicle for music as pleasing as it is learned. Nowhere has he achieved more." Of the piece as a whole, he wrote that "It is the greatest orchestral work of the world which preceded the French Revolution."

Last movement without repeats, by Bohm:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 23, 2010 3:32 pm

160. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
"Prussian" String Quartets (1789-90)



Recording


Title: 3 "Preussische" Quartette
Performers: Petersen Quartet
Year: 1991
Length: 1 hour 10 minutes

Review

These three quartets are kind of a mixed bag for Mozart, one is amazingly good, another one is just good and another one is kind of unimpressive. Let's have the bad news first. The first concerto is nothing special, K. 575 doesn't really impress.

The second concerto K. 589 is quite good but it didn't really blow me away, the dance movement is very nice indeed. Now the big highlights here is the third concerto, K. 590. This is the really good one, and Mozart definitely saved the best for last.

K. 590 is a little gem, the Andante is particularly beautiful and the Menuetto is ahead of its time. The whole thing is worth the price of admission for this concerto only, but the other ones are also welcome. However, of the three only one is truly impressive, bringing this record down.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Mozart's last three quartets, dedicated to the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm II, are noted for the cantabile character of the parts for cello (the instrument played by the king himself), the sweetness of sounds and the equilibrium among the different instruments.

Mozart String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K590 'Prussian No. 3' IV. Allegro by ELYX Quartet:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 23, 2010 3:37 pm

161. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Clarinet Quintet (1789)



Recording


Title: Sabine Meyer Plays Mozart
Performers: Sabine Meyer, members of Vienna String Sextet
Year: 1988
Length: 34 minutes

Review


The clarinet is a beautiful instrument and Mozart had a real touch for it, it is hard to find two more beautiful pieces of music than the Larghetto here and the Adagio in the Clarinet Concerto that we will have in the nearish future.

Even if the plaintive quality of the Clarinet is better explored in the slow movements, the faster ones are equally impressive. This is also extremely influential music up until today. It sounds in fact quite modern, again the Larghetto is a particular example of this, it sounds like the soundtrack for The English Patient, something made for a Merchant Ivory film.

The whole thing is delicate, beautiful and delightful and above all immensely touching. A truly indispensable piece of Mozart music and, for one of the earliest pieces for solo clarinet, amazingly developed in its exploration of its capabilities.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

There are a number of similarities between this quintet and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. Both are in the same key of A major and were written for the same soloist, Anton Stadler. Both pieces are written for the basset clarinet which has an extended lower range. Also, the first theme of the first movement of each piece begins with a falling major third. Also, both the second movements are in the same key (D major) and have similar character, although they have different tempo markings. There is a direct quotation of two bars in the clarinet line in the second movement of the Concerto of that in the Quintet.

Sabine Meyer plays the Minuetto:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 23, 2010 3:42 pm

162. Joseph Haydn -
String Quartets Op. 64 (1790)



Recording

Title: String Quartets Op. 64
Performers: The Lindsays
Year: 1999
Length: 2 hours (2 seperate CDs, each with three quartets)

Review

Mozart is becoming progressively darker and more emotive in his compositions, such is not the case with Haydn. Haydn is retaining his lighter touch, his humorous point of view on music, while still composing some great music.

This set of six quartets is a delight. My particular highlight goes to the second quartet, which even if it is less well known than the fifth is a great piece, using what sound like Hungarian folk music influences to great result.

So it is a welcome break from the progressively doomier and gloomier Mozart, and even if the spark of genius is not as bright in Haydn, it is always a joy to listen to one of his compositions.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

Listing of the Quartets from Wikipedia:

* Quartet No. 48 in C Major, Op. 64, No. 1, FHE No. 31, Hoboken No. III:65
* Quartet No. 49 in B Minor, Op. 64, No. 2, FHE No. 32, Hoboken No. III:68
* Quartet No. 50 in B♭ Major, Op. 64, No. 3, FHE No. 33, Hoboken No. III:67
* Quartet No. 51 in G Major, Op. 64, No. 4, FHE No. 34, Hoboken No. III:66
* Quartet No. 52 in E♭ Major, Op. 64, No. 6, FHE No. 36, Hoboken No. III:64
* Quartet No. 53 in D Major ("The Lark"), Op. 64, No. 5, FHE No. 35, Hoboken No. III:63


The Lark, quartet number 5:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Miér Nov 24, 2010 1:52 pm

163. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Cosi Fan Tutte (1790)



Recording

Title: Cosi Fan Tutte
Performer: Carol Vaness, Dolores Ziegler, John Aler, et al.
Director: Bernard Haitink
Year: 1986
Length: 3 hours 10 minutes

Review


Cosi Fan Tutte is the third and last of the great operas that Mozart did with the collaboration of Lorenzo de la Ponte, the same guy who did the libretto for Le Nozze Di Figaro and Don Giovanni. So we know it is another interesting exploration of social status and erotic love.

So it is, Mozart creates a quite strange opera, with a libretto that could easily be turned into a light comedy Mozart transforms it into a kind of sadistic absurdist work.

The opera is so inconclusive and the music so emotional that it is either about a weird swinger's club or about entrapment. It is these levels of interpretation that the Ponte-Mozart association creates that make the operas so interesting. So it it an essential end to a trilogy of operas looking at the depths of human erotic feeling, even if it is not as amazing as the previous two.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The subject matter did not offend Viennese sensibilities of the time, but throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries it was considered risqué. The opera was rarely performed, and when it did appear it was presented in one of several bowdlerised libretti.
After World War II, it regained its place in the standard operatic repertoire. It is frequently performed and appears as number fifteen on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America

Soave Sia Il Vento:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Miér Nov 24, 2010 3:11 pm

164. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
Ave Verum Corpus (1791)



Recording


Performers: Wiener Sangerknaben, Chorus Viennensis
Director: Peter Marschik
Year: 1994
Length: 2 minutes 46 seconds

Review


Wow, this is probably the tiniest pieces of music that we have had on this list yet. Shorter than three minutes it doesn't even get to pop-music length. That said it isn't size that matters, or else Couperin's 27 Ordres would be beating this list hands down, and they aren't.

Ok, so it is a lovely piece of Choral music. It is very lovely, very short, and very classical. We have had few chances to listen to classical sacred music here, and this short choral piece is a true gem.

There is just such emotion crammed into this short little song, it is difficult to stick so many different feelings in such a short place, from sadness to hopefulness it is all here. It is a tribute to Mozart's emotional skill.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's setting of Ave verum corpus (K. 618) was written for Anton Stoll (a friend of his and Haydn's) who was musical co-ordinator in the parish of Baden, near Vienna. It was composed to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi and the autograph is dated 17 June 1791. It is only forty-six bars long and is scored for choir, stringed instruments, and organ. Mozart's manuscript itself contains minimal directions, with only a single sotto voce at the beginning.
Mozart composed this motet while in the middle of writing his opera Die Zauberflöte, and while visiting his wife Constanze, who was pregnant with their sixth child and staying in a spa near Baden. It was less than six months before Mozart's death.

Bernstein conducts a slightly longer version of the Ave Verum Corpus:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Miér Nov 24, 2010 3:15 pm

165. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-
Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) (1791)



Recording

Title: The Magic Flute
Performers: Peter Schreier, MArgaret Price, Kurt Moll
Director: Sir Colin Davis
Year: 1984
Length 2 hours 10 minutes

Review

This a really fun opera. OK the writing is not to the standard of Da Ponte, but the story is also quite a different one to anything he would have written making it quite interesting. The story is essentially a fairytale with esoteric and masonic overtones.

The fact that it was composed to a more general audience than most other Mozart operas also makes for some great catchy vaudeville tunes. This is particularly true of the arias by Papageno, all of which are memorable. On the other side of the scope of the opera you have the properly high opera arias of the Queen of the Night which are just as equally memorable.

The music is amazing here, this is a singspiele, so the recitatives are just people speaking, no continuo or accompaniment, and for that reason the CD version does away with them. If you know the story and have seen it before and don't understand German you really don't need the recitatives, they are just distracting. So this CD is a great option.

Here you see the birth of German opera as it would be, both in theme and music this is much closer to Wagner than Seraglio. Above all, however, this opera is fun! The most fun you can have, and for good reason it is the ideal opera to introduce children to the whole genre, songs to sing along, giant serpents, an evil queen and a bird-man... what more could you want?

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The opera celebrated its 100th performance in November 1792. Mozart did not have the pleasure of witnessing this milestone, having died of his illness on December 5, 1791.

Queen of the Night:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Miér Nov 24, 2010 3:19 pm

166. Joseph Haydn -
Symphony No.94, "Surprise" (1791)



Recording

Title: The London Symphonies, Vol.2
Performers: Amsterdam Concertgebouw
Director: Colin Davis
Year: 1981
Length: 23 minutes

Review


Haydn's constantly humorous approach to to his compositions is never as clear as in this particular symphony. The subtitle of "Surprise" is not here by accident, the second movement has a little musical joke, in the middle of a soporiferous slow movement, so simple as to sound almost like a lullaby, Haydn makes a loud crashing sound.

Is it meant just as a surprise or as a way to wake up the dozing audience? We will never know, but it is smart, funny and original. If the symphony consisted solely of this movement it would be interesting enough to include it here. Hell there have been entries here shorter than that movement.

The rest of the symphony is equally as bright spirited as that little joke in the second movement would make you believe, while Mozart is circling the drain of Romantism and death, getting progressively gloomier with only some bits of light shinning through, Haydn retains all his joviality, and that's nice.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

As with Haydn's England visits in general, the premiere was greatly successful. One reviewer wrote that the symphony was "equal to the happiest of this great Master's conceptions." In his feeble old age Haydn remembered the premiere with nostalgia, recounting to his biographer Griesinger:

...it was my wish to surprise the public with something new, and to make a debut in a brilliant manner, in order not to be outdone by my pupil Pleyel [who was leading a rival series of concerts] ...the first Allegro of my Symphony was received with countless bravos, but the enthusiasm reached its highest point in the Andante with the kettledrum stroke. Ancora, ancora! sounded from every throat, and even Pleyel complimented me on my idea.

Toward the end of his active career Haydn wove the theme of the second movement into an aria of his oratorio The Seasons (1801), in which the bass soloist depicts a plowman whistling Haydn's tune as he works.

Haydn - Symphony No.94 in G ('Surprise'), Hob.I:94, 2.Andante
Performance: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Mariss Jansons (cond):




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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  JM el Miér Nov 24, 2010 3:34 pm

167. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart -
La Clemenza di Tito (1791)



Recording


Title: La Clemenza di Tito
Performers: Anne Sofie von Otter, Julia Varady, English Baroque Soloists etc.
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1990
Length: 2 hours 10 minutes

Review

1791 was a busy year for Mozart, two operas, the small but beautiful Ave Verum Corpus, the 27th Piano Concerto, the Clarinet Concerto, the Requiem and DEATH make for a hectic year. It was also a year of pretty good production not only in terms of quantity but also of quality.

Of the Mozart operas we have had here this is probably the least great one, but not by very much. You can tell that Mozart was on a schedule here, composing for the coronation of Leopold II (Leopold with a Vengeance!). The recitatives are quite clearly delegated to some other composer, but that permitted Mozart to shine on a couple of pretty amazing arias.

Unfortunately the speed of composition made Mozart not make the amazing set pieces of uninterrupted music that he was famous for since Le Nozze di Figaro. The end of the first act here, with Rome burning in the background is the closest he gets to that. And it is still pretty great. So, yes it is worth listening to or watching, but I don't think it ranks up there in my top 5 Mozart operas.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Metastasio's libretto had already been set by nearly 40 composers; the story is based on the life of Roman Emperor Titus, from some brief hints in The Lives of the Caesars by the Roman writer Suetonius, and was elaborated by Metastasio in 1734 for the Italian composer Antonio Caldara. Among later settings was Gluck's, in 1752; there would be three further settings after 1791. Mozart was not the first choice of Guardasoni. Instead, he had approached Antonio Salieri, who, as the most distinguished composer of Italian opera in Vienna, would provide exactly the lustre which Guardasoni sought. But Salieri was too busy and he declined the commission.

The great end of Act I:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) III- 1751-1799

Mensaje  Contenido patrocinado Hoy a las 9:06 am


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