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1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

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1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Jue Nov 25, 2010 4:10 pm

182. Ludwig van Beethoven -
String Quartets op.18 (1800)



Recording

Title: The Early String Quartets
Performers: Takács Quartet
Year: 2002-2003
Length: 2 hours 20 minutes

Review

Beethoven was something else. Quite literally something very different from Haydn or Mozart, this is most apparent here by his repeated use of sforzando to high emotional effectiveness.

It is this emotional punch that puts him rightfully in his place as the daddy of Romanticism. Just to have an idea you should listen to the Adagio of the first quartet and the last movement of the sixth quartet. They are both supremely effective emotionally and very visual.

The way in which Beethoven invokes the feeling of melancholy in the last movement of the last quartet on this recording is almost gothic in its ambience. This is an emotional depth that the rococo style was completely unaware that was possible. For that reason alone this is indispensable.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The fourth movement [of the sixth quartet] is the crux of the piece and possibly the highlight of Op. 18. It is marked "Questo pezzo si deve trattare colla più gran delicatezza" ("This piece is to be played with the greatest delicacy"). The first section, in 2/4 time is marked Adagio and on one reading matches the "Melancholy" of the title. The second section marked "Allegretto quasi allegro" is in 3/8 time and is more sanguine. It is a fast and simple evocation of a Viennese ballroom or German country dance. This proceeds in contrast to the first section but eventually grinds to a halt on a fortissimo diminished chord. There follows a brief return of section 1 (10 bars) followed by a briefer return of section 2 (5 bars) (in a minor) followed by an ever briefer return of section 1 (only 2 bars). This is followed by section 3, which is really a lengthier return of section 2, which starts in G and moves back to B♭.

Last Movement of the sixth quartet:



Última edición por JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 2:27 pm, editado 1 vez

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Jue Nov 25, 2010 4:13 pm

183. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no. 1 (1800)



Recording


Title: Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 6
Performer: Cleveland Orchestra
Director: George Szell
Year: 1964
Length: 26 minutes

Review

Of the nine Beethoven symphonies this one is probably the least impressive. This just goes to show, however, how great all of them are, because taken by itself it is a pretty amazing Symphony, it only pales in comparison.

Beethoven is one of those pivotal composers where the music world is measured in Before Beethoven and After Beethoven. Even if this is not one of his most innovative symphonies, it still sounds very much Classical, it is still very much a Beethoven composition, you can hardly mistake it for something else.

Beethoven just has an explosive sound which comes out here, even if the symphony owes much to Haydn, even the general mood of the music has a certain Haydn cheerfulness that is not as typical of Beethoven. So a minor Beethoven symphony, if such a thing exists, which means it is still excellent!

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The twelve-bar introduction of the first movement is often considered a musical joke, but it may simply be a result of Beethoven's experimentation: it consists of a sequence of dominant-tonic chord sequences in the wrong key, so that the listener only gradually realizes the real key of the symphony. There is a shortened recapitulation before the coda which closes the first movement. The andante (in F Major, the subdominant) of the second movement is played considerably faster than the general concept of that tempo, at what could be thought of as moderato. The third movement is remarkable because, although it is marked Menuetto, it is so fast that it is ostensibly a scherzo. The finale opens with another possible joke, consisting of partial scales played slowly before the full C-major scale marks the real start of the allegro.

A bit of the first movement conducted by Zubin Metha:


JM

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Jue Nov 25, 2010 4:22 pm

184. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Violin Sonata in F Major, op.24, "Spring" (1800)



Recording

Title: The European Busch-Serkin Duo Recordings Volume 1
Performers: Adolf Busch (violin), Rudolf Serkin (piano)
Year: 1933
Length: 20 minutes

Review


This is probably Beethoven's second most famous violin sonata, right after the Kreutzer sonata, and it is also the last composition in this list to be nominally a part of the Classical age. From here on out we will be in the Romantic age.

Although this sonata is clearly in the classical style, it is still an impressive piece, not only because of how positively catchy all the movements are, but also because of the perfect interplay of the instruments.

This great interplay of instruments is particularly apparent in this recording, that even if it is pretty old shows an almost telepathic communication between Busch and Serkin, brought about by a long collaboration between the two. So highly recommended, the sound might not be the best quality but it is perfectly acceptable.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Its dedicatee was Count Moritz von Fries, a patron to whom the fourth violin sonata, the string quintet of the same year, and the seventh symphony were also dedicated.

Ilya Itin & Igor Gruppman doing the Spring, part 1:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Jue Nov 25, 2010 4:30 pm

185. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, op. 27, no. 2 "Moonlight"(1801)



Recording


Title: Klaviersonaten
Performer: Stephen Kovacevich
Year: 1999
Length: 16 minutes

Review

This is possibly the most famous piano sonata in the history of piano sonatas, and with good reason. We are now, according to the parameters of the list, in the Romantic period, listening to the first and last movements of this sonata it is hard to disagree with this definition.

Beethoven starts this sonata with one of the most famous portrayals of what is essentially sadness or longing or something equally heart-achingly painful. The second movement is a little ray of sunlight and then he goes into the amazingly frustrated last movement, there's anger and frustration here, portrayed in a much more violent way than anyone before.

The work has the problem that comes with it being so famous. You've heard it a thousand times, but listening to it in chronological context discloses just how brilliant it really it, and why it deserves its fame. An amazing piece.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The work was completed in 1801 and rumored to be dedicated to his pupil, 17-year-old Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, with whom Beethoven was, or had been, in love. The name "Moonlight" Sonata derives from an 1832 description of the first movement by music critic Ludwig Rellstab, who compared it to moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne.

Beethoven included the phrase "Quasi una fantasia" (Italian: Almost a fantasy) in the title partly because the sonata does not follow the traditional sonata pattern where the first movement is in regular sonata form, and where the three or four movements are arranged in a fast-slow-[fast]-fast sequence.

Wilhelm Kempff plays the third movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Vie Nov 26, 2010 12:35 pm

186. Joseph Haydn -
The Seasons (1801)



Recording

Title: Die Jhareszeiten
Performers: Gundula Janowitz, Werner Hollweg, Walter Berry, Berliner Philharmonic
Director: Herbert von Karajan
Year: 1972
Length: 2 hours 20 minutes

Review

If the Creation is Haydns most famous oratorio, The Seasons is the second most famous. It is not as uniformly amazing as the Creation, partially because the theme does not give itself to the spectacle of the creation of the world. Still it has its moments.

It is of these great moments that this oratorio lives, whether it is the storm in Summer, a hunt in Autumn or a song sung around the fire in Winter. This means however, that there is quite a lot of filler here, the recitatives are often not that interesting.

This is the last Haydn piece on the list and one of his last compositions, so we bid farewell to a truly great and innovative composer which is now unfairly in the shadow of Mozart, even if the two were completely different composers, with completely different styles and interests. Haydn's joy is contagious and when he wants to go dark the contrast is immense. This is a good oratorio, but it does not match some of Haydn's amazing instrumental work.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Among the more rousing choruses are a hunting song with horn calls, a wine celebration with dancing peasants (foreshadowing the third movement of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony), a loud thunderstorm (akin to Beethoven's fourth movement), and a stirring ode to toil (or to "industry" in some translations):

The huts that shelter us,
The wool that covers us,
The food that nourishes us,
All is thy grant, thy gift,
O noble toil.

Haydn remarked that while he had been industrious his whole life long, this was the first occasion he had ever been asked to write a chorus in praise of industry.
Some especially lyrical passages are the choral prayer for a bountiful harvest, "Sei nun gnädig, milder Himmel" (Be thou gracious, O kind heaven), the gentle nightfall that follows the storm, and Hanne's cavatina on Winter.

The work is filled with the "tone-painting" that also characterized The Creation: a plowman whistles as he works (in fact, he whistles the well-known theme from Haydn's own Surprise Symphony), a bird shot by a hunter falls from the sky, there is a sunrise (evoking the one in The Creation), and so on.

The beginning of Spring:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Vie Nov 26, 2010 12:39 pm

187. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no. 2 (1802)



Recording

Title: Leonore Overture no. 3, Symphony no.2, Symphony no.5
Performers: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Rene Leibowitz
Year: 1961
Length: 29 minutes

Review

Not the most impressive of Beethoven's symphonies... probably the last one of his not overly impressive Symphonies, actually, here on out it is all pretty amazing. This is not to say that this isn't a thoroughly enjoyable Symphony, because it very much is.

Nitpicking Beethoven's symphonies is a pretty stupid endeavour, so the only way to properly judge them is comparatively to his other works. They are in a league of their own. This is a much more romantic symphony in feel than his first one, but is rightly overshadowed by his third, fifth, sixth and ninth symphonies.

Saying that this is Beethoven's "second worse" symphony is also a bit silly, because it is great in and of itself, it is just the superlative quality of his other compositions that cast a shadow over it. It's his own fault for being so good.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Beethoven's Second Symphony was mostly written during Beethoven's stay at Heiligenstadt in 1802, which was near the time that he began to realize he was becoming deaf. Beethoven wrote the Second Symphony without having a standard minuet; a scherzo took its place, which gave the composition even greater scope and energy. After the symphony's premiere, critics noted the absence of the traditional minuet, and claimed the composition had great strength, but was altogether too eccentric.

Hungarian State Orchestra
Cond.: Kobayashi Ken-Ichiro:





Última edición por JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:24 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Vie Nov 26, 2010 1:00 pm

188. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Concerto no. 3 (1803)




Recording


Title: Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4
Performers: Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Concertgebouw
Director: Kurt Sanderling
Year: 1994
Length: 37 minutes

Review

Beethoven produced a small amount of Piano Concertos, only 5 (or six if we consider the 0 concerto which has no orchestral part extant). But of those five three are amazing pieces of music, and they only get progressively better.

Concerto no. 3 is the first truly significant one, and therefore is the first one to make its appearance on this list. And it is something amazing, Beethoven is in full romantic swing here, from the martial tone of the first movement to the emotive nature of the second and the playfulness of the third movement, the exploitation of emotion is very successful indeed. Not Beethoven's best piano Concerto but a great one nonetheless.

Honestly there is nothing wrong with you just getting a good collection of all the concertos, and you could go worse than getting this. The Concertgebouw is always recommendable and Mitsuko Uchida is one of the most emotive pianists out there. If you want to get a full set, I would also recommend the Alfred Brendel, Simon Rattle, Wiener Philharmonic collection.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

[It was] first performed on April 5, 1803 with the composer as soloist. The Second Symphony and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives also received their first performances during the concert. The composition was dedicated to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.

Brendel and Abbado, third movement:






Última edición por JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:29 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Vie Nov 26, 2010 1:17 pm

189. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no.3 "Eroica" (1803)



Recording

Title: Symphonies nos. 3 "Eroica" & 4
Performers: Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique
Director: John Eliot Gardiner
Year: 1993
Length: 46 minutes

Review

Is this the best orchestral work by Beethoven? That is debatable. Is it his most significant work in historical terms? Undoubtedly. It is with this piece that most musical historians mark the beginning of the Romantic period, and one hearing of the Symphony is enough to tell you why.

This is very different from all that came before, Classical elements are almost absent, the Symphony is very long, the emotional content of it is unbridled. The first movement is explosive, the second both mournful and hopeful in turns, there is dissonance throughout.

It is hard to imagine what an audience listening to this at the time might have thought, but it was certainly a shock to the system. Unlike anything in scope or sound that came before, it shows a composer that has finally completely come onto his own. Beethoven creates his own distinct style here, moving away from his teachers and ancestors to something revolutionary and brilliant. Essential.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The second movement, a funeral march, is frequently performed on memorial occasions. Serge Koussevitzky performed it to commemorate the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Bruno Walter did the same for Arturo Toscanini. It was also performed at the funeral of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in 1847.

The second movement was also used as a funeral dirge during the memorial service following the "Munich massacre" terrorist attacks during the 1972 Summer Olympics. It was played by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

Part 1 by Karajan:






Última edición por JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:34 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Vie Nov 26, 2010 1:26 pm

190. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Violin Sonata in A major, op.47, "Kreutzer" (1803)



Recording

Title: Violinsonaten Nos. 9 & 10
Performers: Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich
Year: 1994
Length: 38 minutes

Review


This is probably the most famous violin sonata in existence, Beethoven seems to be a popular guy, the Moonlight Sonata being the most famous piano sonata, Symphonies 5 and 9 fighting it off for number one in popularity and the Kreutzer violin sonata. This is a testament to the sheer quality of the work.

The Kreutzer sonata is a terribly impressive work. Firstly it is quite long, secondly it is a real roller-coaster of emotions, from the frenzy of the first movement to the meditation of the second and the joy of the third.

The interplay between the two parts is so amazing, the sounds that they make so innovative and the whole thing so revolutionary, on par with the Eroica, that its place up there in the fame stakes is well deserved indeed. Amazing.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower (1779–1860) who performed with Beethoven at the premiere in 1802 at an 8:00 am concert. However, after the performance, while the two were drinking, Bridgetower insulted the morals of a woman who turned out to be Beethoven's friend. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating the piece instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer, considered the finest violinist of the day. Ironically, Kreutzer never performed it, and considered it unplayable, even though his name is now attached to it.

Milstein and Pludermacher play the first movment (minus the final repeat):








Última edición por JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:39 pm, editado 2 veces

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Vie Nov 26, 2010 2:03 pm

191. Johan Nepomuk Hummel -
Trumpet Concerto (1803)



Recording

Title: Trumpet Concertos
Performers: Hakan Hardenberger, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Director: Neville Marriner
Year: 1986
Length: 18 minutes

Review

After a couple of completely revolutionary Beethoven works Hummel can do little but disappoint. It sounds like a throwback when compared with Beethoven's work and you can tell by both the structure and the length of the piece that it is looking back to the classical age that is now dying. The exception is the quite expressive second movement.

Still, it is a good Trumpet concerto, even if both Telemann and Haydn had better ones. It explores the capabilities of an instrument that was seeing quick development, and Hummel opts to explore the lower registers of the valved trumpet.

This is therefore, nothing particularly special but it is also not horrible, but a but safe really. Hummel was a famous composer of his time, but in hindsight, next to his contemporaries there is not much to recommend him.

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Although Hummel died famous, with a lasting posthumous reputation apparently secure, his music was quickly forgotten at the onrush of the Romantic period, perhaps because his classical ideas were seen as old-fashioned. Later, during the classical revival of the early 20th century, Hummel was passed over. Like Haydn (for whom a revival had to wait until the second half of the 20th century), Hummel was overshadowed by Mozart. Due to a rising number of available recordings and an increasing number of live concerts across the world, it seems admirers of his music are now growing again in number.

Second and third movements:







Última edición por JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:43 pm, editado 1 vez

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:33 pm

192. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Sonata in F minor, op.57, "Appassionata" (1805)



Recording

Title: The Complete Piano Sonatas
Performer: Daniel Barenboim
Year: 1966
Length: 27 minutes

Review

With this sonata we complete the great triumvirate of extremely famous sonatas by Beethoven which started with the Pathetique, moved on to the Moonlight and ends here in the Appassionata. Interestingly they all represent different stages in Beethoven's development.

Even if these three are the most famous sonatas by Beethoven, this is not to say that there are no amazing sonatas still to come, fame is not the only criteria for quality, actually I would argue that fame is no criteria for quality whatsoever. People, in general, have crap taste. Still the Appassionata deserves its fame, despite its tacky moniker, not attributed by Beethoven.

In fact the erotic passion that the title seems to suggest is conspicuously absent from this, this is more of a rage-filled passion, it is passion in its wider sense, not in its common sense. This is the most aggressive Beethoven sonata up until now, he would become even more aggressive later, but the Appassionata is a work of turmoil first and foremost. The whole ambience of the thing is oppressive, depressive and angry, peppered with a lot of beautiful moments. Two years after the Eroica symphony the Romantic style is set in stone. This is indispensable.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Maxim Gorky recorded that Vladimir Lenin once said, “I know the Appassionata inside out and yet I am willing to listen to it every day. It is wonderful, ethereal music. On hearing it I proudly, maybe somewhat naively, think: See! people are able to produce such marvels!” He then winked, laughed and added sadly: “I’m often unable to listen to music, it gets on my nerves, I would like to stroke my fellow beings and whisper sweet nothings in their ears for being able to produce such beautiful things in spite of the abominable hell they are living in."

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, writer-director of the 2006 film The Lives of Others, has said that his movie was inspired by the anecdote that Lenin loved the "Appassionata" but refused to listen to it because it deterred him from the Communist revolution. (The film tells the story of a Stasi agent who has a moral awakening when coming into contact with music and art.) The characters in the movie even discuss the Appassionata/Lenin story.

Barenboim plays a bit of the Appassionata:




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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:37 pm

193. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Triple Concerto (1805)



Recording

Title: Beethoven - Triple Concerto, Brahms - Double Concerto
Performers: David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sviatoslav Richter
Director: Herbert von Karajan
Year: 1969
Length: 37 minutes

Review

This is not only a great piece of music by Beethoven, it is also a great recording which joins together four absolute legends for one of the best recordings of this work. I was lucky enough to see Richter about 6 months before he died but I won't get to see any of the other ones, so I have to listen to them in stuff like this great recording.

Beethoven's Triple concerto goes back to the idea of Concerti Grossi, concertos for several soloists, in this case for the piano, cello and violin, and the distribution of the parts is amazingly well balanced, for the orchestra and each of the different soloists. Listening to this is a joy, the interplay between the several soloists and the orchestra is amazing.

All the interpretations are, as you would imagine, beyond reproach and all of them give real oomph to this work. The triple concerto needs this kind of players to come off as exciting as it is on the page, otherwise it might feel a little flat, fortunately here it feels anything but flat.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Beethoven's early biographer Anton Schindler claimed that the Triple Concerto was written for Beethoven's royal pupil, the Archduke Rudolf (Rudolf von Habsburg-Lothringen). The Archduke, who became an accomplished pianist and composer under Beethoven's tutelage, was only in his mid-teens at this time, and it seems plausible that Beethoven's strategy was to create a showy but relatively easy piano part that would be backed up by two more mature and skilled soloists. However, there is no record of Rudolf ever performing the work -- it was not publicly premiered until 1808, at the summer "Augarten" concerts in Vienna – and when it came to be published, the concerto bore a dedication to a different patron: Prince Leibkowitz.

Part one of of the concerto, Oistrakh, Rostropovich, Richter but no Karajan Sad


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:42 pm



194. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Concerto no. 4 (1806)



Recording


Title: Piano Concertos 4 & 5 "Emperor"
Performers: Emil Gilels, Philharmonia Orchestra
Director: Leopold Ludwig
Year: 1957
Length: 33 minutes

Review

The penultimate Piano Concerto by Beethoven is also one of the greatest ones, possibly second only to his last concerto. From the great and quite catchy melody of the first movement to the joyous last movement there is no moment which is less than brilliant here.

It is a pity that there are so few Piano Concertos by Beethoven because they very clearly get progressively better and more innovative. This one starts with a deceptively simple motif on the solo piano only to develop in a truly grandiose movement which lasts for 18 minutes.

The second movement works perfectly as a bridge between the two larger movements which dominate the piece. The last movement is eminently hummable with all the majesty and emotional depth of Beethoven's great works. It is in this that Beethoven is particularly good, making something at the same time majestic and emotional, before him majestic movements were always a bit aloof, now they are absolutely humanised. Another essential piece of music.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Fourth Concerto was premiered by Beethoven himself at a private concert given in March, 1807 at the palace of his patron, Prince Lobkowitz. However, the public premiere was not until 22 December 1808 in Vienna at the Theater an der Wien. Beethoven again took the stage as soloist. This was part of a marathon concert which saw Beethoven's last appearance as a soloist with orchestra, as well as the premieres of the Choral Fantasy and the Fifth and Sixth symphonies. Beethoven dedicated the concerto to his friend, student, and patron, the Archduke Rudolph.

Krystian Zimmerman and Bernstein doing the first movement:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Lun Nov 29, 2010 3:57 pm

195. Ludwig van Beethoven -
String Quartets, op. 59, "Razumovsky" (1806)



Recording

Title: Op. 59 Nos. 1-3 "Razumovsky"
Performers: The Lindsays
Year: 1984
Length: 1 hour 30 minutes

Review

Beethoven produces these three quartets inspired by Russian themes at the suggestion of his patron who also gives the title to the quartets. I am not a particular fan of string quartets in general, I much prefer choral, vocal, orchestral or solo work to string quartets, don't ask me why... it's just the way I am. Chamber music in general leaves me a bit cold, there are, of course, exceptions.

However, these are some innovative pieces of work. They sound very unlike any other string quartet we have had up until now, including the previous ones by Beethoven. Since the last Beethoven quartets we have had here he has developed his own particular style and that is very noticeable here.

The use of Russian folk themes is one of the interesting things about these quartets, but this should not occlude the other movements in the three quartets which are equally as good if not better than the movements in the first and second quartet directly inspired by Russian themes. So yeah, pretty good quartets, even if I am not a big fan of the genre.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

A peculiarity of the Razumovsky set of quartets is that Beethoven uses a characteristically "Russian" theme in the first two quartets in honor of the prince who gave him the commission. In opus 59 no. 1, the "Thème russe" is the principal theme of the last movement; in opus 59 no. 2, the "Thème russe" is in the "B" section of the third movement, the scherzo (and happens to be a tune which Mussorgsky also used in Boris Godunov). In the quartet opus 59 no. 3, there is no "Thème russe" explicitly called out in the score, but many commentators have heard a "Russian" character in the subject of the second movement, the Andantino.

New Zealand string quartet plays the first movement of the second quartet:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 12:19 pm

196. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony No. 4 (1806)



Recordings

Title: Complete Symphonies
Performers: Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century
Director: Frans Bruggen
Year: 1990
Length: 32 minutes

Review

This is what Beethoven is really revolutionary at doing: orchestral works. Whether they are concertos or symphonies they are always, without an exception a joy to listen to. The fourth symphony even if it is sandwiched between two greater symphonies is no exception.

The piece starts with a mournful and slightly creepy adagio, only to explode in glorious joy. The slow movement is a great piece of romantic music and the last two, shorter movements return us to a bit of happiness.

In the general context of Beethoven's symphonies this is not one of the most amazing, it is probably just outside the top 5, but because they are all so completely amazing and as near to perfection as you can get it is still a pretty nifty piece of music.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Although all nine of Beethoven's symphonies are widely performed, the Fourth is less often performed than some of the others. Robert Schumann described Symphony No. 4 as a "slender Greek maiden between two Norse gods", referring to the 3rd and 5th Symphonies, both with towering reputations.

The whole thing with Karajan:


Beethoven Symphony No. 4 -- Herbert von Karajan

His Excellency the Honourary Jordanian Consulate | Myspace Video

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 12:29 pm

197. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Violin Concerto (1806)



Recording

Title: Violin Concerto
Performers: Itzhak Perlman, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Daniel Barenboim
Year: 1986
Length: 44 minutes

Review

Although not very popular in its day, Beethoven's Violin Concerto has now become a staple violin work, particularly the impressive third movement. This movement is much more famous than the other two, but that is not to say that they are not equally impressive.

The sheer length of the first movement makes it a piece of endurance for any violin player, not only for the solo work but because of the continued and complex relationship with the orchestra.

Ignoring the technical difficulties of the performance it is a truly impressive piece at the pure level of musical enjoyment. The immense first movement is never dull, the second movement creates a beautiful bridge that meshes seamlessly with the joyous finale. Highly recommended indeed.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It is believed that Beethoven finished the solo part so late that Clement had to sight-read part of his performance. Perhaps to express his annoyance, or to show what he could do when he had time to prepare, Clement interrupted the concerto between the first and second movements with a solo composition of his own, played on one string of the violin held upside down.

The premiere was not a success, and the concerto was little performed in the following decades.

Third movement from this recording, live:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 12:47 pm

198. Ludwig Van Beethoven -
Symphony No. 5 (1807)



Recording

Title: Symphonien Nos. 6 & 7
Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Carlos Kleiber
Year: 1974
Length: 33 minutes


Review

In an alternate universe, where Symphonies are Mexican wrestlers, Beethoven's fifth and the ninth have the brightest masks and keep fighting it out for the title. It is hard to say which one is the best, it is almost impossible to say which one is coming more out of left-field, which is more original, but one thing we know... they are amazing.

The fifth starts with what is probably the most famous piece of classical music in the history of classical music... Ta-ta-ta-taaaa. See, you know it. If anything its fame takes away from the impact, which must have been nothing less than colossal.

If that was the only thing about the symphony it would still be one of the most easily recognisable pieces of music, but then that is not even my favourite movement. The slow movement is a thing of beauty, the first Allegro is bright and amazing but Beethoven has a talent of leaving the best bit to the end, and here the last movement is an allegro of unprecedented triumph and colour. It sounds astoundingly modern and exciting for every minute of it. An indispensable piece of music for anyone, and this recording is particularly good as it also contains a very recommendable version of the seventh... which I will review here later on.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

There was little critical response to the premiere performance, which took place under adverse conditions. The orchestra did not play well—with only one rehearsal before the concert—and at one point, following a mistake by one of the performers in the Choral Fantasy, Beethoven had to stop the music and start again.[6] The auditorium was extremely cold and the audience was exhausted by the length of the program. However, a year and a half later, another performance resulted in a rapturous review by E.T.A. Hoffmann in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung. He described the music with dramatic imagery:

Radiant beams shoot through the deep night of this region, and we become aware of gigantic shadows which, rocking back and forth, close in on us and destroy all within us except the pain of endless longing—a longing in which every pleasure that rose up amid jubilant tones sinks and succumbs. Only through this pain, which, while consuming but not destroying love, hope, and joy, tries to burst our breasts with a full-voiced general cry from all the passions, do we live on and are captivated beholders of the spirits.

Karajan, full symphony:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 12:53 pm

199. Ludwig Van Beethoven -
Piano Trio in D major, op. 70, no. 1, "Ghost" (1808)



Recording

Title: Complete Music for Piano Trio 1
Performers: Florestan Trio
Year: 2001
Length: 26 minutes

Review

This particular piano trio by Beethoven is particularly worth it for a great second, slow and haunting, movement. The first and last movement are, of course, pretty great but this is Beethoven we are talking about, so the standards are different.

The piano trio is a new thing on this list, it involves a piano, of course and, in this case, a cello and a violin. It seems very evident throughout, however, that the cello is playing a pretty much secondary part to the other two instruments.

As I said above the real highlight is the second movement here, the one that gives the Trio its ghostly name, it almost reminds me of Chopin in its romantically painful sound, particularly, of course, when it comes to the piano part. I still prefer Beethoven when he is going all out in his orchestral pieces but this second movement is something special. The rest of the piece does pale in comparison however which is a pity.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

These pieces are representative of Beethoven's "Middle" stylistic period, which went from roughly 1803 to 1812, and which included many of his most famous works. Beethoven wrote the two piano trios while spending the summer of 1808 in Heiligenstadt, Vienna, where he had completed his Symphony No. 5 the previous summer. He wrote the two trios immediately after finishing his Sinfonia pastorale, Symphony No. 6. This was a period of uncertainty in Beethoven's life, in particular because he had no dependable source of income at the time.

Barenboim, Du Pre and Zuckerman play the second movement:




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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 12:59 pm

200. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no. 6, "Pastoral" (1808)



Recording


Title: Decca Recordings 1949-1955
Performers: Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra
Director: Erich Kleiber
Year: 1953
Length: 41 minutes

Review

Of all Beethoven Symphonies if you had to file one under easy-listening this would be the one. It is remarkably cheery and positive in outlook, not nearly as challenging as the fifth and in fact it seems sometimes to look back at Classical composition for its bucolic feel.

It is also, however, a very brilliant piece. Musicians have been trying to mimic nature since the beginning of time, two notable antecedents to the Pastoral Symphony would be Vivaldi's four seasons and Haydn's oratorio The Seasons. None of them is as successful as Beethoven in evoking the emotions associated with the experience of the natural world.

In this last sense the work is almost impressionistic, it is not painting a scenery as much as making you feel the scenery. Therefore, in spite of the superficially non-challenging nature of the piece, it is still a work of refreshing originality. No composer before Beethoven was as attuned to human emotion as he is and that permits him to makes this work a really successful effort.

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The first sketches of this symphony appeared in 1802. The symphony has a plot, storyline, and programmatic titles; Beethoven remarked, "It is left to the listener to find out the situations ... Anyone that has formed any ideal of rural life does not need titles to imagine the composer’s intentions."

Karajan:


Beethoven Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral" -- Herbert von Karajan

His Excellency the Honourary Jordanian Consulate | Myspace Video

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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 1:50 pm

201. Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat major (1809)


Recording

Title: The 5 Piano Concertos
Performers: Alfred Brendel, Vienna Philharmonic
Director: Simon Rattle
Year: 1998
Length: 40 minutes

Review

I have had this collection of the 5 Beethoven piano concertos for a long time, about 9 years now. It is my favourite collection of the Beethoven concertos, if you can get it, do. An added bonus from this edition is the booklet which makes Brendel and Rattle look like a very strange gay couple in almost all pictures of them.

That being said this is definitely my favourite Beethoven piano concerto, it is a masterpiece and unfortunately the last one he would ever produce. He was by this time completely deaf and did not even play on the opening night.

The first movement is grandiose in all the possible senses of the word, it's long, majestic and beautiful, with constant changes of pace and ambience which make it constantly exciting to listen to during its 20 minutes. The second movement is a piece of sublime meditative beauty almost prefiguring Mahler's adagios and it immediately jumps in to the third movement with one of the greatest transitions in musical history. The third movement returns to the feel of the first powerful and joyous, if less martial. Amazing.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Popularly known as the "Emperor Concerto", [it] was his last piano concerto. It was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven's patron and pupil. The first performance took place on November 28, 1811, at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. In 1812, Carl Czerny, his student, gave the Vienna debut of this work.

This concerto is very well known, and rather popular. In October 2007, it was voted listeners' favourite in the ABC Classic FM Classic 100 Concerto poll.

Claudio Arrau Part 1, look for other parts on Youtube:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 2:04 pm

202. Fernando Sor -
Guitar Works (1810-30s)



Recording


Title: Guitar Music
Performer: Adam Holzman
Year: 1995
Length: 1 hour 41 minutes

Review

The classical guitar is the Spanish musical instrument par excellence, in fact it takes about 3 seconds to figure out the nationality of this composer, as soon as you put the CD on. The best thing about this collection is how original the sound of the guitar is, when you are used to Beethoven or what came before.

Unfortunately there are bad points to this as well. Sor sounds like a very conservative composer, most of the music seems to belong to an earlier age, more influenced by Mozart and Haydn than what else was happening in the world. So, it is not very exciting compositionally.

On the other hand, the music is very catchy... which is not necessarily a great thing, there is always the problem with classical guitar music that it might sound a bit kitsch, and unfortunately that happens often here... so not my favourite thing, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In Spain he is sometimes known as the "Beethoven of the Guitar".

Fernando Sor: Op. 35, No. 22 in b minor:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 3:36 pm

203. Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata in E flat major, op.81A, "Les Adieux" (1810)


Recording

Title: Beethoven Piano Sonatas
Performer: Arthur Rubinstein
Year: 1962
Length: 17 minutes

Review

This is a short and sweet sonata, with a very interesting programmatic theme that is perfectly suited to Beethoven's strengths. It is called "Les Adieux" because the first movement represents saying goodbye, the second the absence and the third the return of someone.

This allows Beethoven to be bitter-sweet in the first, almost despairing in the second and joyful in the third movement. If Beethoven was ever good at something it is in expressing emotion and the piano is the perfect instrument to do it in.

Even if this is less well known than other sonatas like the Moonlight or Appassionata it is just as good, if less melodramatic, which can actually be an advantage. Beethoven has become a much more skilled composer at expressing emotion since those earlier sonatas, sometimes less is more.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Yet, there is some uncertainty about this nature of the piece — or at least, about the degree to which Beethoven wished this programmatic nature would be known. He titled the three movements "Lebewohl," "Abwesenheit," and "Wiedersehen," and reportedly regarded the French "Adieux" as a poor translation of the feeling of the German "Lebewohl" (Kolodin, 1975). Indeed, Beethoven had written the syllables "Le-be-wohl" over the first three chords.

Dimitris Sgouros plays Andante expressivo (L'Absence) from Beethoven Sonata No 26 'Les Adieux' Op 81a:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Mar Nov 30, 2010 6:11 pm

204. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Trio in B flat major, op. 97, "Archduke" (1811)



Recording


Title: Trios "Archduke" & "Ghost"
Performers: Beaux Arts Trio
Year: 1965
Length: 39 minutes

Review

Piano trios are nice things, and this is one of the best. As I have repeatedly stated before chamber music is really not my favourite thing, I prefer solo or orchestral, the stuff in the middle doesn't click as much. But this is indeed a great trio.

Possibly the most famous of all piano trios, the "Archduke" is also one of Beethoven's more playful compositions. By this time he was completely deaf, and although he played on the opening night reports tell us he was banging the keys extremely hard. So it wasn't the best performance.

The Beaux Arts trio is certainly not composed of deaf people, and while historical authenticity might be being sacrificed in the case of the pianist it does sound better this way. Deaf pianists are sooooo 1810s. The first movement is particularly great fun. In the "Ghost" trio I said that the Cello was very much a support instrument, kind of doing the bass of the thing, here it is much more evenly spread between the three instruments, which is another one of the reasons it is so good. Recommended.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The piece plays a significant role in Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore and in Elizabeth George's mystery novel A Traitor to Memory.

Amit Peled, Alon Goldstein and Ilya Kaler play Piano Trio Nº7 "Archduke" I.Allegro moderato:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Miér Dic 01, 2010 1:38 pm

205. Carl Maria von Weber -
Clarinet Concertos nos. 1 & 2 (1811)



Recording


Title: Weber/Crusell Clarinet Concertos
Performers: Antony Pay, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Year: 1987
Length: 44 minutes

Review


Carl Maria von Weber makes some flashy Clarinet concertos indeed and they are pretty great precisely because of that. He is not afraid of making a bit of a show off piece for the instrument, just look at the coda of the first movement of the first concerto, it's really exciting music.

It could, of course, be criticised for it's lack of subtlety, but Weber is also a really original composer and his music is perfectly integrated into the Romantic period and it is even forward looking.

This is how you do show off pieces, basically, you are good at composing, you make some original, interesting music, you have some great melodies and over that you put the virtuosistic playing, Weber doesn't make it live solely of virtuosism, that is just one more thing to excite the ears. I do love the clarinet as well, beautiful instrument.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

On the first movement of the first concerto:

This movement was very innovative for its time by sounding as if it were composed by a later composer, Felix Mendelssohn. It starts with the cellos playing the main theme later being followed with an explosion by the whole orchestra. The violins pick up the melody which eventually progresses, subsides, and clears the stage for the solo clarinet. The soloist begins with a painful song marked "con duolo". The clarinetist performs variants on that source which later results in a determined run played by the solo instrument. After that climax, the music dies off with the clarinet mourning a line marked "morendo". A grand pause enters which provides transition for the return of the cellos stating the main theme, but this time in the key of A-flat major rather than F minor. The soloist enters shortly afterward with a sweet response. The clarinet keeps playing a delicate melody then descends down towards the lower tones with a marking which reads "perdendosi", which tells the player to decrease in speed and sound. Then the tutti arrives singing a sweet, innocent melody. The clarinet reenters shortly after, still playing in a lighter mood than the beginning of the piece. Later, the soloist perform sets of playful triplets. After the triplets, the clarinet unleashes itself into the Baermann Kandenz, which was inserted by the dedacatee, Heinrich Baermann. This is a relatively short, lively, virtuosic passage that is played by most performers.


Sorry there's no better version, but this one is quite good anyway, movement 1, Concerto no. 1:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

Mensaje  JM el Miér Dic 01, 2010 1:42 pm

206. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no.7 (1812)



Recording


Title: Symphonien Nos. 6 & 7
Performers: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Carlos Kleiber
Year: 1974
Length: 39 minutes

Review

Possibly one of the cheeriest of Beethoven's symphonies, right next to the sixth, the seventh has a more dancy feel, particularly noticeable in the second part of the first movement.

One of the great things about Beethoven's works is the variety of emotion that they express and here you get that with the very famous and almost funereal second movement, following the exuberance of the first movement, the contrast is great.

So, this is Beethoven's great exploration of rhythm in music, as always it is a beautiful work and even if it does not rate in the top five of his symphonies it is still pretty amazing. This recording has been here before with the recommended recording for the fifth symphony, so you should really get it.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The work was premiered in Vienna on December 8, 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau, with Beethoven himself conducting and double featured with the patriotic Wellington's Victory symphony. The orchestra was led by Beethoven's friend, Ignaz Schuppanzigh, and included some of the finest musicians of the day: violinist Louis Spohr, Johann Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Antonio Salieri, Anton Romberg, and the Italian double bass virtuoso, Domenico Dragonetti, who Beethoven himself described as playing "with great fire and expressive power". The piece was very well received, and the allegretto had to be encored. Spohr made particular mention of Beethoven's antics on the rostrum ("as a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder ... at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air"), and the concert would inevitably be repeated due to its immense success.

Carlos Kleiber:


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Re: 1001 classical works (The best) IV- 1800-1828

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