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

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

Mensaje  JM el Miér Dic 01, 2010 1:47 pm

207. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no. 8 (1812)



Recording


Title: The Nine Symphonies
Performers: Staatskapelle Berlin
Director: Daniel Barenboim
Year: 1999
Length: 26 minutes

Review


The 8th symphony is a bit of a lull for Beethoven between the exuberance of the seventh and the sheer greatness of the ninth. Still there are things to like here, the aggressiveness of the first movement, the jokey second movement and just the general variety of styles.

The last Beethoven symphonies have all come in quick succession, now we will have to wait a bit for the next one, but Beethoven was really happy with this composition. I don't rally understand why he would cherish this eighth symphony over his previous ones, but hey, I'm not Beethoven.

So another great symphony by the man, but not as great as the last five, in my humble opinion. Maybe as great as the fourth... well they are still all amazingly good, they are symphonies by Beethoven, after all.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Critics immediately noted that the Eighth did not reach the heights of its predecessor, launching a long tradition of complaining that the Eighth Symphony is not something different (more heroic, more emotive) from what it is. However, many listeners seem to be able to enjoy the symphony anyway, and it appears frequently today on concert programs as well as on recordings. When asked by his pupil Carl Czerny why the Eighth was less popular than the Seventh, Beethoven is said to have replied "because the Eighth is so much better."

Again Karajan doesn't disappoint:


Beethoven Symphony No. 8 -- Herbert von Karajan

His Excellency the Honourary Jordanian Consulate | Myspace Video

JM

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

Mensaje  JM el Miér Dic 01, 2010 1:49 pm

208 Carl Loewe -
Ballads (1812-16)



Recording


Title: Balladen und Lieder
Performers: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Jorg Demus
Year: 1969,71,82
Length: 34 minutes

Review

From this very good double album of Lieder by Carl Loewe the guys who made the list selected the Ballads as a highlight. That they are, but there are also other good lieder to get from this recording. Still I'll stick to talking about the Ballads.

There are 8 Ballads here, all of which show a pretty interesting range of emotions, Fischer-Dieskau is also pretty great at giving the different emotional intonations to the songs.

I have always been a bit ambivalent about Lieder, they start off by boring me and as they sink in I start liking them, the same happens with Schubert lieder, they need some familiarity to really get under your skin. It is on occasions like this, however that I wish I knew German to understand what exactly is being sung here. But hey, still pretty good music. Loewe is interesting, not as good as Schubert, but we'll get there.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In his lifetime, his songs were well enough known for some to call him the "Schubert of North Germany", and Hugo Wolf came to admire his work. He is less known today, but a number of his 400 or so songs are still occasionally performed.

Hard to find, but here's a Loewe lied:


JM

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

Mensaje  JM el Miér Dic 01, 2010 1:51 pm

209. Gioachino Rossini -
Tancredi (1813)



Recording

Title: Tancredi
Performers: Ewa Podels, Sumi, Jo, Stanford Olsen, Pietro Spagnoli, Capella Brugensis, Collegium Instrumentale Brugense
Director: Alberto Zedda
Year: 1994
Length: 2 hours 27 minutes

Review


Here is the first of many Rossini operas on the list and interestingly it is not a comedy. Rossini is known first and foremost for his comical and farcical operas, this is, uncharacteristically, an opera seria.

This particular recording, which is great value for money as it is a cheap Naxos recording has the less common happy ending to the story. The version I saw on DVD had the quite revolutionary for the time sad ending of the revised edition by Rossini. Frankly I prefer the sad ending, but that is also because most of the characters are a bit annoying.

The plot is the same thing we have seen countless times, a drama based on mistakes which take far to long to be put right and could have been put right by one of the characters saying: "Uh, sorry, the letter was for you, not the other guy". Beyond that, however, Rossini is a composer of extremely attractive and catchy music, the arias of Amenaide in prison are great for example, the use of choirs is also great and is something that Italians would use and abuse throughout the 19th century. It feels quite new, which is possibly because there have been so many years since we've had an opera here. Still, if you compare it to Mozart's operas it has a very weak plot and the music, though beautiful, pales... but we can't compare the two. Rossini is still thoroughly enjoyable.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This opera is considered by Stendhal, Rossini's earliest biographer, to be Rossini's greatest masterpiece. The title role of Tancredi is so demanding that casting was a big problem. It requires a true contralto or mezzo soprano with strong lower register who possesses great vocal agility and endurance (Tancredi has 2 full arias and 4 duets). The opera premiered in 1813 at La Fenice in Venice with Adelaide Malanotte in the title role. Tancredi was usually performed with the Venice (happy) ending.

Di Tanti Palpiti:


JM

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

Mensaje  JM el Miér Dic 01, 2010 3:46 pm

210. Gioachino Rossini -
L'Italiana in Algeri (1813)



Recording


Title: L'italiana in Algeri
Performers: Jennifer Lamore, Raul Gimenez, John del Carlo, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne
Director: Jesus Lopes-Cobos
Year: 1997
Length: 2 hours 20 minutes

Review

Another Rossini opera, this one more in the tradition of opera buffa than seria, and it ends up being a particularly silly opera, in good Rossini style. The plot is pretty silly to the point of incredibly kitsch, peppered with xenophobia and Italian nationalism.

Still, it is quite entertaining, the music is at times pretty great, although you can hear Rossini recycling himself again and again and at times even borrowing from Mozart with whose Die Entführung aus dem Serail this opera shares great plot and musical similarities. Actually Mozart's opera is smarter, depicts foreigners much more kindly and is of course more original.

In the end it is very enjoyable, however. I am not sure I could call it great art, but it is catchy, funny at times and very immature in its humour. At times it seems like it was written by a prepubescent boy, particularly the whole Pappataci scene. Still, it entertains.

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Rossini composed L'Italiana in Algeri when he was 21. The opera was composed in either 18 or 27 days, depending on which source one believes (Rossini, not surprisingly, pegged it at 18). It was a notable success and he made progressive changes to the work for later performances in Vicenza, Milan and Naples, during the following two years. The opera is notable for Rossini's mixing of opera seria style in opera buffa. The overture is widely recorded and performed today, known for its distinct opening of slow, quiet pizzicato basses, leading to a sudden loud burst of sound from the full orchestra. This "surprise" hearkens an early admiration for Joseph Haydn, whose Symphony No. 94 in G major "The Surprise Symphony" is so named for the same shocking, semi-comic affect.

The very silly, albeit musically impressive end of the first act:


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

Mensaje  JM el Jue Dic 02, 2010 12:53 pm

211. Louis Spohr -
Nonet in F Major (1813)



Recording

Title: Wiener Oktett Testament
Performers: Wiener Oktett
Year: 1952
Length: 33 minutes

Review


Louis (or Ludwig) Spohr is not a household name today, in his time however he was as big as Beethoven, in fact throughout the 19th century he was a pretty big name. This nonet shows us why.

Spohr is a composer of very attractive music, which is also pretty complex and quite beautiful, the fact that he is overshadowed by Beethoven and Schubert is, however, quite justified.

Spohr seems to lack that ineffable quality of genius present in those other composers and even though the music is very attractive and beautiful it seems to lack that certain something. Still, it is a great piece even if it ends up being somewhat more of a curiosity. Worth listening to, however.

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Spohr was a noted violinist, and invented the violin chinrest, about 1820. He was also a significant conductor, being one of the first to use a baton and also inventing rehearsal letters, which are placed periodically throughout a piece of sheet music so that a conductor may save time by asking the orchestra or singers to start playing "from letter C", for example).

In addition to musical works, Spohr is remembered particularly for his Violinschule, a treatise on violin playing which codified many of the latest advances in violin technique, such as the use of spiccato. In addition, he wrote an entertaining and informative autobiography, published posthumously in 1860. A museum is devoted to his memory in Kassel.

Spohr's best works are his wistful, elegiac minor-mode first movements, hailed by many of his contemporaries as quintessentially Romantic and inherited by Mendelssohn; his deft scherzos whose influence was felt as late as Brahms; his expressive slow movements with their chromatic alterations which, on occasion, become cloyingly sentimental; and his light-hearted finales which are able to avoid the trap of trivial thematic material

The PRIZM Ensemble, based in Memphis, TN, performs the first half of the first movement of Louis Spohr's "Grand Nonetto" at St. George's Episcopal Church in Germantown, TN on May 7, 2010:


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

Mensaje  JM el Jue Dic 02, 2010 12:57 pm

212. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Fidelio (1814)



Recording

Title: Fidelio
Performers: Christa Ludwig, Jon Vickers
Director: Otto Klemperer
Year: 1962
Length: 1 hour 50 minutes

Review

The plot of this, the only Beethoven opera, is mildly interesting, a rescue opera where the hero is saved by his disguised wife. There is an interesting political content to it, being about political prisoners and freedom of speech, a level of plot not apparent before in opera. Other than that we can kind of forget about the plot.

What really matters in this opera is the music, and the music is amazing. This is none of your italianate operas, the music is pure Beethoven, no compromises are made here to fit the style of Opera popular at the time. It is daring, innovative, powerful and beautiful.

When you start listening to the opera you immediately notice how different it is, the duets and particularly the first quartet are immediately impactful, and from then on it just gets more and more musically interesting. The orchestral use is as good as in any of Beethoven's orchestral works, the instruments reinforce the feelings expressed by the singers, there is no compromise here. The chorus of the prisoners seeing the sunlight is an amazing piece, full of tenderness and power. This is a new kind of opera, and something pretty unique, it makes you think what Beethoven could have done as an opera composer, had he decided to spend more time in it.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Beethoven struggled to produce an appropriate overture for Fidelio, and ultimately went through four versions. His first attempt, for the 1805 premiere, is believed to have been the overture now known as Leonore No. 2. Beethoven then focused this version for the performances of 1806, creating Leonore No. 3. The latter is considered by many listeners as the greatest of the four overtures, but as an intensely dramatic, full-scale symphonic movement it had the defect of overwhelming the (rather light) initial scenes of the opera. Beethoven accordingly experimented with cutting it back somewhat, for a planned 1807 performance in Prague; this is believed to be the version now called Leonore No. 1. Finally, for the 1814 revival Beethoven began anew, and with fresh musical material wrote what we now know as the Fidelio overture. As this somewhat lighter overture seems to work best of the four as a start to the opera, Beethoven's final intentions are generally respected in contemporary productions.

Gustav Mahler introduced the practice, common until the middle of the twentieth century, of performing Leonore No. 3 between the two scenes of the second act, and some conductors eg Leonard Bernstein still perform it there. In this location, it acts as a kind of musical reprise of the rescue scene that has just taken place. A new, modern-styled production that premiered in Budapest in October 2008, for example, features the Leonore 3 overture in this location.

The first quartet of the opera:


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

Mensaje  JM el Jue Dic 02, 2010 1:03 pm

213. Franz Schubert -
Lieder (1814-28)



Recording

Title: An Die Musik
Performers: Bryn Terfel, Malcolm Martineau
Year: 1994
Length: 1 hour 10 minutes


Review

If you want a representative collection of Schubert's songs you could go much worse than this collection. Bryn Terfel does a great job of portraying the necessary emotion, in the days before he went all pop/classical, the downfall of so many classical singers.

The selection of song here is great, and if we previously saw Loewe as the "Schubert of North Germany", this is the real Schubert, no one is as good as him in Lieder in the 19th century.

The songs here run the gamut from very still and beautiful like Litanie auf das Fest Allerseelen to the horrific like Erlkonig and even the joyful such as Die Forelle. Each song is a little gem here, it is a pity I don't know enough German to enjoy the tracks completely but the musical content is more than enough to excite.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Four characters — narrator, father, son, and the Erlking — are all sung by one vocalist normally, but the work has been performed by four separate singers on occasion. Schubert has placed each character in largely a different vocal range and each has his own rhythmic nuances; in addition, most vocalists endeavor to use a different vocal color for each one.

The Narrator lies in the middle range and is in minor mode.

The Father lies in the low range and sings both in minor mode and major mode

The Son lies in a high range, also in minor mode, representing the fright of the child.

The Erlking's vocal line undulates up and down to arpeggiated accompaniment resulting in striking contrast and is in the major mode. The Erlking lines are typically sung pianissimo, portraying a sneaky persuasiveness.

Fischer Dieskau does Erlkonig:



Última edición por JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 12:53 pm, editado 1 vez

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

Mensaje  JM el Jue Dic 02, 2010 1:08 pm

214. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Cello Sonatas, op. 102 (1815)



Recording


Title: Complete Music for Piano and Violoncello
Performers: Miklos Perenyi, Andras Schiff
Year: 2001-02
Length: 32 minutes

Review


These two last Cello sonatas are quite impressive pieces, but really the whole recording of the complete works for Cello and Piano is worth listening to. Of the five Cello Sonatas that Beethoven composed the third is probably the best but as a set op. 102 is really something impressive.

The performances are great as always here, the interplay between the instruments being quite impressive. Traditionally Cello sonatas were a showpiece for the Cello while the Piano worked as more of a continuo instrument, but with Beethoven the Piano obviously gets a more prominent place.

So you should really listen to this and moreover you should listen to all the pieces in this album, the other Cello sonatas and the quite fun variation on Mozart's Zauberflote songs are also pretty impressive and worthy of anyone's time.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

A cello sonata usually denotes a sonata written for cello and piano, though other instrumentations are used, such as solo cello. The most famous Romantic-era cellos sonatas are those written by Johannes Brahms and Ludwig van Beethoven. Some of the earliest cello sonatas were written in the 18th century by Francesco Geminiani and Antonio Vivaldi.

Miklós Perényi, cello & András Schiff, piano perform Beethoven:


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

Mensaje  JM el Jue Dic 02, 2010 2:14 pm

215. Nicollo Paganini -
Violin Concertos nos. 1-6 (1815-30)



Recording


Title: Accardo Plays Paganini, Complete Recordings
Performers: Salvatore Accardo, London Philharmonic Orchestra
Director: Charles Dutoit
Year: 1974-76
Length: 3 hours

Review


Here's the violin concertos by Paganini. If Paganini is famous for something it is his extremely complex and show-offy violin technique and these concertos put it to great use. The violin playing by Accardo is exceptional.

With show-offy pieces comes some criticism about technique over music, in this case however, Paganini manages to marry both pretty well and the music is constantly interesting even if the highlights are the solo parts.

Of the six concertos the first two are the highlights, they are stupendously impressive pieces that deserve to be enjoyed. Paganini has quite a good grasp of melody, and the things he does with that violin are pretty novel.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The first exhaustive exploration of violin technique was found in the 24 caprices of Pietro Locatelli (1693-1746) which, at the time of writing, proved to be too difficult to play, although they are now quite playable. Rudimentary usage of harmonics and left hand pizzicato could be found in the works of Auguste Durand, who allegedly developed the techniques. While it was questionable whether Paganini pioneered many of these violinistic effects that defined his music, it was certain that his mastery of these techniques was instrumental in popularizing their use in regular compositions.

Another aspect of Paganini's violin techniques concerned his flexibility. He had exceptionally long fingers and was capable of playing three octaves across four strings in a hand span, a feat that is still considered impossible by today's standards. His seemingly unnatural ability might have been a result of Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Shlomo Mintz performed on Paganini's violin "Il Cannone" from Violin concerto nº1:


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

Mensaje  JM el Jue Dic 02, 2010 2:18 pm

216. Gioachino Rossini -
The Barber of Seville (1816)



Recording

Title: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Performers: Cecilia Bartoli, Enrico Fissore
Director: Giuseppe Patanè
Year: 1989
Length: 2 hours 30 minutes

Review

Rossini is the master of the recycled music, and this being his third opera on the list you start to notice it more and more. He is pretty good at it, however. Still, his operas always feel a bit to "lowest common demoninator" for true greatness.

If you compare with with Mozart's Nozze di Figaro, of which this is a prequel, the level of the humour and musical composition is pretty inferior here, even taking into account the musical evolution between the two.

Still this is a perfectly enjoyable opera with some big stand out moments, Rossini is actually better in the solo arias here than in the ensemble pieces, hence the great Largo al Factotum or Una Voce poco fa. Good, but not amazing in any particular way.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The overture and Largo al factotum have been famously parodied in animated cartoons starring Woody Woodpecker (The Barber of Seville), Bugs Bunny (Rabbit of Seville and Long-Haired Hare), Porky Pig and Daffy Duck (You Ought to Be in Pictures), Tom and Jerry (The Cat Above and the Mouse Below), and The Simpsons ("The Homer of Seville"), as well as in Tex Avery's Magical Maestro and Warner Bros.' One Froggy Evening.

Largo al factotum is sung by a moustached baritone, a stop-motion animated clay figure, in the opening credits of the 1991 film Oscar, and by an animated bird in the opening credits of the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire.

This is a flawless performance for "Il barbiere di Siviglia - John Rawnsley sings Largo al factotum":


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 12:22 pm

217. Franz Schubert -
Symphony no. 5 (1816)



Recording

Title: Symphonien nos. 5 & 9
Performers: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Director: Eugen Jochum
Year: 1957
Length: 40 minutes

Review

This is the first Schubert symphony on the list and it is also a lovely one. Schubert by putting aside all instruments which make harsh sounds, from timpani to brass makes a whole work of delightful lightness.

It is easy to see Schubert as a continuation of Beethoven when it comes to symphonic music, but his bucolic strain is much stronger than that in Beethoven. This symphony is a complete delight particularly the two first movements.

The famous first movement is playful and catchy and the second is a long movement of immense melodic beauty. Slow and romantic without being maudlin, it invokes a sense of bucolic peace. And Schubert was only 19!

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Scored for a pair of each woodwind instrument, except clarinet, along with two horns in B♭ and E♭ and strings, the instrumentation is light as clarinets, trumpets and timpani are not called for. The first movement is a slightly unusual sonata form since the recapitulation begins, as in the first movement of Mozart’s sonata facile, in the subdominant, not in the main key of the piece as is more usual.

First Movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 12:36 pm

218. Nicolo Paganini -
Twenty-four Caprices (1817)



Recording

Title: 24 Caprices for Solo Violin
Performer: Massimo Quarta
Year: 2002
Length: 1 hour 19 minutes

Review


The name Paganini is synonymous with virtuoso violin playing, a lot of that fame really rests on these 24 caprices and it is easy to see why. Each of the pieces is a masterclass in violin playing.

This means however, that sometimes the composition and the melody are sacrificed on the altar of virtuosism, making about half the caprices not very interesting. Fortunately the other half marry extremely impressive playing with beautiful music.

The last caprice is by far the most famous, nut not the only amazing piece here, the 3rd, 5th and 21st are up there on my list as well. It ends up in the end being slightly hit and miss, although I like virtuosism it is a pity that at times the collection is not more than that, but when it is it is truly impressive.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Caprice No. 24 in A minor is the final caprice of Niccolò Paganini's 24 Caprices, and a famous work for solo violin. The work, in the key of A minor, consists of a theme, 11 variations, and a finale.
It is widely considered one of the most difficult pieces written for the solo violin. It requires many highly advanced techniques such as parallel octaves and rapid shifting covering many intervals, extremely fast scales and arpeggios including minor scales in thirds and tenths, left hand pizzicato, high positions, and quick string crossing. As a result, most violinists even after studying for many years still lack the technique required for such a demanding piece.

Julia Fischer's presentation of her album "Paganini : 24 caprices":


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 12:45 pm

219. Franz Schubert -
Violin Sonata in A major (1817)



Recording

Title: The Intimate Schubert
Performers: Josef Suk, Jan Panenka
Year: 1962
Length: 18 minutes

Review

Schubert is a master of the chamber work, this will be particularly obvious later in his unfortunately short career. Still you can see the beginning of his amazing chamber compositions here.

This is a light and delightful Violin sonata, playful and unpretentious. In this way it reminds me of his fifth Symphony. This is Happy Schubert, before Syphilitic Schubert which is just before Moribund Schubert. Of the three stages he was feeling chirpier at the Happy stage.

Schubert innovates here as well, however, the Scherzo comes right after the first movement and before the Andantino! Shock! Well, it may seem a small thing but it alters the sound structure of the whole piece, and any thing going against convention is interesting.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In the last year of his life he began to receive wider acclaim. He died at the age of 31, apparently of complications from syphilis. Bummer.

First Movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:05 pm

220. Giochino Rossini -
La Cenerentola (1817)



Recording


Title: La Cenerentola
Performers: Cecilia Bartoli, William Matteuzzi
Director: Riccardo Chailly
Year: 1992
Length: 2 hours 30 minutes

Review

Of all the Rossini operas we've had here this was by far the most satisfying until now. It is strange to see how much more popular the Barber of Seville is when this opera has better and more original music and is actually funny.

In his time this was as popular as the Barber, but has slowly fallen from grace in comparison. I find this to be pretty unfair. There are some lovely moments here and many funny moments.

Some of the songs are up there with the best Rossini ever did, such as Cinderella's song Una volta c'era un Re, or the amusing Don Magnifico arias. All in all a pretty fun opera both to listen to and to watch. If you are watching it you would do well to get Jean Pierre-Ponelle's film production, although this is a better recorded version... for some reason the visual of Bartolli as Cinderella escapes me.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

At the first performance, the opera was received with hostility, but it soon became popular throughout Italy and beyond; it reached Lisbon in 1819, London in 1820 and New York in 1826. Through most of the 19th century, its popularity rivalled that of the Barber, but as the coloratura contralto, for which the role was originally written, became rare it fell slowly out of the repertoire.

However, from the 1960s onward, as Rossini enjoyed a renaissance, a new generation of Rossini mezzo-sopranos and contraltos such as Agnes Baltsa, Cecilia Bartoli, Teresa Berganza, Bernadette Cullen, Joyce DiDonato, Vivica Genaux, Marilyn Horne, Della Jones, Patricia Kern, Kathleen Kuhlmann, Jennifer Larmore, Susanne Marsee, Ann Murray, Ewa Podleś, Lucia Valentini Terrani, and Frederica von Stade ensured the renewed popularity of the work.

There are changes from the traditional fairy tale in La Cenerentola because Rossini opted for having a non-magical resolution to the story (unlike the original source), due to obvious limitations in the "special effects" available.

Don Magnifico becomes the official wine taster:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:15 pm

221. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Sonata in B flat major, op. 106 "Hammerklavier" (1818)



Recording


Title: Piano Sonatas, Hammerklavier, Pathertique, op. 49 no.1
Performer: François-Frédéric Guy
Year: 2005
Length: 46 minutes

Review


Well that's a long sonata, but fortunately it is more than worth it. It is not one of Beethoven's most immediately identifiable pieces of music, but this is not to say that it is not one of his best, because that is exactly what it is. It is also, however not easy music, to play or to listen to.

This is a sonata that is not given to short snippets of easily identifiable tunes but to the whole development of it. The last two movements are the great highlights here, the 20 minute adagio being one of Beethoven's most beautiful and sad pieces and the finale being a work of truly impressive counterpoint.

I can honestly say that this is my favourite Beethoven Sonata, but it is also one which demands constant attention and dedication by the part of the listener. This is Beethoven at his most cutting edge, and what a great thing it is.

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The work, particularly the last movement, had more or less to wait until the twentieth century before its significance was realised (possibly due to the difficulty of gaining a technically competent performance). Even as progressive a musician as Wagner, who appreciated the work and fully admired the late string quartets, held reservations for what he perceived as a lack of succinctness in its composition.

First movement by Brendel:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:38 pm

222. Franz Schubert -
Piano Quintet in A major, "Trout" (1819)



Recording

Title: Trout Quintet, Death and the Maiden
Performer: Clifford Curzon, Members of the Vienna Octet
Year: 1958
Length: 35 minutes

Review

This is probably my favourite chamber music piece with more than two instruments and again we get happy Schubert. The whole work is of an extreme lightness and delicacy while at the same time being very expressive and beautiful.

A great thing about this piece is that Schubert is not taking himself too seriously, it is clearly a very well humoured piece and the composition is also amazing. The piano has a great part throughout the piece and the other four instruments complement it perfectly.

It is the great fourth movement that gives the piece its name, we have already had the song that gives the piece its name before here on the list in Schubert's version, the fourth movement consists of an amazing array of variations on that theme. But really even if interesting it would be hard to consider the fourth movement a highlight as the whole thing is just so stupendous.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Rather than the usual piano quintet lineup of piano and string quartet, Schubert's piece is written for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass. The composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel had rearranged his own Septet for the same instrumentation,and the Trout was actually written for a group of musicians coming together to play Hummel's work.

Documentary on the Trout performance by Metha, Perlman, Zuckerman, Barenboim and du Pre, part 1:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:42 pm

223. Frédéric Chopin -
Mazurkas (1820 - 47)



Recording

Title: Mazurkas
Performer: Garrick Ohlsson
Year: 1999
Length: 2 hours 30 minutes

Review

Mazurkas are traditional Polish dances and Chopin composed more of them than anything else in his life. It is therefore appropriate that those would be the first pieces of music by this revolutionary piano composer to show up on the list. In fact it will take a while for anything else by Chopin to appear here as he started composing Mazurkas when he was 9!

The music in this collection is surprisingly revolutionary, perhaps because it takes in a scope of 27 years, but even the earlier pieces are chromatic in a way not apparent before in piano music. This might have something to do with the folk influence but Chopin's sheer genius is obviously also a factor here.

Because these 57 Mazurkas are all in the same rhythm of 3/3 it can at times feel a bit samey, they is a result of the dance's format, still you can find enough pearls here and enough brilliant music for it to be well worth your time. This sounds different from anything here until now, at times the simplicity of the music is almost reminiscent of Satie, often the dances are of a great tenderness which is a very Chopin thing. Great music.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The mazurka is a stylized Polish folk dance in triple meter with a lively tempo that has a heavy accent on the third or second beat. Its folk origins are the slow kujawiak and the fast oberek. It is always found to have either a triplet, trill, dotted eighth note pair, or an ordinary eighth note pair before two quarter notes. The dance became popular at ballroom dances in the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century. The Polish national anthem has a mazurka rhythm but is too slow to be considered a mazurka.

Mazurka in Polish is mazurek, derived from the word mazur, which up to nineteenth century referred to an inhabitant of the Mazovia region of Poland, and which also was the root of the term Masuria). Mazurka is the genitive and accusative case of mazurek.

Several classical composers have written mazurkas, with the best known being the 57 composed by Frédéric Chopin for solo piano. Henryk Wieniawski wrote two for violin with piano (the popular "Obertas", op. 19), and in the 1920s, Karol Szymanowski wrote a set of twenty for piano and finished his composing career with a final pair in 1934.

Op. 50 no. 3:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:44 pm

224. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Sonata in E major, op. 109 (1820)



Recording


Title: The Late Piano Sonatas
Performer: Alfred Brendel
Year: 1975
Length: 21 minutes

Review


After the immense Hammerklavier Beethoven could hardly have gone on to bigger and more epic piano sonatas, so he opted to do the exact opposite and create sonatas which are about half the size of the Hammerklavier.

This is not to say that they are in any way, shape or form any worse than his bigger sonatas, in fact they show a clear progression of Beethoven as a composer. It is here that his technique of saving the weight of a piece until the end becomes most apparent. After two short movements he gives us a movement which is as large as the other two put together and doubled!

Much as in the 9th symphony everything seems like a preface to the finale so do the two first movements here, and the finale is a whopper! Clearly following what he did in Hammerklavier Beethoven leads the listener through a sequence of different counterpucntual themes which leave the listener nothing if not satisfied with the piece.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op.109 is the first of his late piano sonatas (Opus 109-111) composed between 1820–1822. This sonata (composed in 1820), like the other two, shows characteristics of Beethoven's last creative phase, including rich harmonic structures, a fascination with intricate counterpoint, and strict adherence to classical and baroque forms.

The Last Movement by Glenn Gould:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:48 pm

225. Carl Maria Von Weber -
Der Freischutz (1821)



Recording


Title: Der Freischutz
Performers: Endrik Wottrich, Berliner Philharmoniker
Director: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Year: 1995
Length: 2 hours 30 minutes

Review

We finally arrive at the first properly romantic opera, even if Beethoven's Fidelio already had plenty of elements of it Weber's Der Freischutz is distinguished by nationalist elements, use of folk tales and the supernatual which mark it out most definitely as a romantic work.

It is striking how influential this work is, throughout you can hear Wagner's future operas in the more bombastic scenes with particular incidence for the amazing overture and the fantastic scene of demon summoning at the Wolf's Glen.

The music is strikingly original even if not particularly catchy, in fact few operas could be further away from Rossini's comedies that we have had here recently. This opera is very definitely Teutonic, this marked difference in national styles will only intensify itself more as composers take further inspiration from their own national musical traditions. Thematically the opera is also a great change, use of folklore and the supernatural, set in an unknown age and heavily concerned with emotion more than plot. A true mark in musical history.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Its unearthly portrayal of the supernatural is especially poignant in the famous Wolf's Glen scene. Despite its daring innovations (and some scathing attacks by critics) it quickly became an international success, with some fifty performances in the first 18 months after its June 18, 1821 premiere at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Among the many artists influenced by Der Freischütz was a young Richard Wagner, who would come to be seen by many as Weber's successor.

The Wolf's Glen:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 1:53 pm

226. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Sonata in A flat major, op. 110 (1821)



Recording


Title: Klaviersonaten Nos. 27, 28, 30 & 31
Performer: Emil Gilels
Year: 1985
Length: 22 minutes

Review



Another beautiful little gem of a piano sonata by Beethoven. And one that is as emotive and beautiful as humorous, the two great long movements at the beginning and end sandwich a funny little scherzo in the middle which breaks the tension in a funny and endearing way.

The last movement, as in so many of Beethoven's works, is the real highlight here, again a contrapunctual work of the type he has been exploring since Hammerklavier, this one sounds more forward looking than his previous efforts, which were very much looking back at classical and even baroque forms of counterpoint, while still being modern.

The three great late sonatas, 30, 31 and 32 contrast beautifully with the long epic of Hammerklavier in a very deliberate way. And they should all really be seen together as part of one artistic effort. More than this they are amazing, experimental and virtuosistic works of great beauty.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

In the summer of 1819 Moritz Schlesinger, from the Schlesinger firm of music publishers based in Berlin, met Beethoven and asked to purchase some compositions. After some negotiation by letter, and despite the publisher's qualms about Beethoven's retaining the rights for publication in England and Scotland, Schlesinger agreed to purchase 25 songs for 60 ducats and three piano sonatas at 90 ducats (Beethoven had originally asked 120 ducats for the sonatas). In May 1820 Beethoven agreed, the songs (op. 108) already being available, and he undertook to deliver the sonatas within three months. These three sonatas are the ones now known as opp. 109–111.

Beethoven was prevented from completing all three of the promised sonatas on schedule by factors including an attack of jaundice; Op. 109 was completed and delivered in 1820, but correspondence shows that Op. 110 was still not ready by the middle of December 1821, and the completed autograph score bears the date December 25 1821. Presumably the sonata was delivered shortly thereafter, since Beethoven was paid the 30 ducats for this sonata in January 1822.

Very Young Glen Gould playing the end of the third movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:09 pm

227. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Piano Sonatas in C minor, op. 111 (1822)



Recording

Title: Maurizio Pollini Edition
Performer: Maurizio Pollini
Year: 1977
Length: 26 minutes

Review


We come at last to the final piano sonata by Beethoven, don't worry he'll keep us companied for a while still, as he goes progressively into a more transcendental part of his live, but the piano sonatas end here.

The sonata's structure is strange, being composed only of 2 movements. Those two movements are, however, more than enough to make this one of the most interesting piano sonatas by Beethoven, come on he even invents boogie-woogie jazz!

The second movement is again the most weighty and more interesting, and it has a couple of variations which sound modern to the point of pre-figuring jazz music. This is not only truly unexpected but also immediately recognisable when you are listening to it. In this sonata Beethoven is again exploring counterpoint to great success.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The final movement, in C major, is a set of variations on a 16-bar theme, with a brief modulating interlude and final coda. The third variation is remarkably jazzy and often referred to as the "boogie-woogie variation", and the last two are famous for introducing small notes which constantly divide the bar in 36 resp. 27 parts, which is very uncommon. Beethoven eventually introduces a trill which gives the impression of a further step (ie. dividing each bar into 81 parts), though this is extremely technically difficult without slowing down to half-tempo.

Barenboim plays the first movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:15 pm

228. Franz Schubert -
Symphony no.8, "Unfinished" (1822)



Recording

Title: Symphonien Nos. 5 & 8 "Unvollendete"
Performers: Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra
Director: Leonard Bernstein
Year: 1987
Length: 27 minutes

Review


What an amazing Symphony this is. It is known as the Unfinished symphony as it only has two movements, but it doesn't really feel like it needs that much more. It is a complete work in and of itself, there is no need to add anything to it. And maybe that is what Schubert thought when he decided to leave it like this instead of adding a Scherzo which he had already sketched.

The first movement is the particular highlight of this piece, with its instantly recognisable themes and with a sheer epic power at moments that it can really move you. With these characteristics Leonard Bernstein is a perfect conductor for it, it is a work which is full of colour and drama.

Schubert is clearly influenced by Beethoven when composing symphonies, but he is also able to be a true original and this work is proof of that. There are similarities but it feels Schubertian, a Schubert not as happy with his life as in previous works we've had here, the feeling here is more melancholy and at times almost angry. An amazing piece.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, commonly known as the Unfinished (German: Unvollendete), was started in 1822 but left with only two movements complete even though Schubert would live for another six years. A scherzo, nearly completed in piano score but with only two pages orchestrated, also survives. It has long been theorized that Schubert may have sketched a finale which instead became the big B minor entr'acte from his incidental music to Rosamunde, but all the evidence for this is circumstantial. One possible reason for Schubert's leaving the symphony incomplete is the predominance of the same meter (three-in-a-bar). The first movement is in 3/4, the second in 3/8 and the third (an incomplete scherzo) also in 3/4. Three movements in a row in exactly the same meter do not occur in any of the symphonies, sonatas or chamber works of the great Viennese composers.

Günter Wand directs the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:17 pm

229. Franz Schubert -
Fantasy in C major, "Wanderer" (1822)



Recording


Title: Wanderer-Fantasie
Performer: Maurizio Pollini
Year: 1973
Length: 22 minutes

Review


Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy in four movements is a beautiful and innovative piece of music. The innovation comes in part from the idea of making the four movements practically seamless, not only that but also sharing much of the thematic content between them.

This simple idea gives the whole work a great amount of cohesion, making it sound like one long movement with big shifts more than four independent tracks. This gives the whole piece a sense of oneness which works great here.

The music is beautiful, from the cheery first movement to the delicate second and the playful third, back to another allegro at the end, all the music is pretty much unforgettable, and being based as it is in a song it has a kind of almost pop-sensibility to it, with a hook running through the whole piece.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Wanderer Fantasy is considered Schubert's most technically demanding composition for the piano. Schubert himself said "the devil may play it", in reference to his own inability to do so properly.

Lang Lang plays first movement moving into second:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:20 pm

230. Franz Schubert -
Die schöne Müllerin (1823)



Recording


Title: Die schöne Müllerin/Lieder
Performers: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Jorg Demus
Year: 1968
Length: 1 hour

Review


I am slowly developing a great liking for Lieder, and I must tell you that it has been long in coming, but the more stuff like this I listen to the more I like it. Schubert is the undisputed king of lieder and this collection of narratively connected songs is the earliest song-cycle still performed frequently.

The most interesting thing about song cycles, for me at least, is the way in which the different songs shift emotion in the effort to tell a story. The story being a German Romantic one, the emotional shifts are quite strong and the emotions very pronounced.

If Schubert is the king of Lieder composition Fischer-Dieskau is the king of recorded lieder and his performance here if flawless. The piano is also excellent, and it never feels like a mere accompaniment to the voice, it is its own character in the tale.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

There are twenty songs in the cycle, around half in simple strophic form, and they move from cheerful optimism to despair and tragedy. At the beginning of the cycle, a young man wanders happily through the countryside. He comes upon a brook, which he follows to a mill. He falls in love with a beautiful girl who works there, the "beautiful mill-girl" of the title. He tries to impress her, but her response seems tentative. The young man is soon supplanted in her affections by a hunter clad in green, the colour of a ribbon he gave the girl. In his anguish he experiences an obsession with the colour green, then an extravagant death fantasy in which flowers sprout from his grave to express his undying love (see Adelaide (Beethoven) for a similar fantasy). In the end, the young man despairs and drowns himself in the brook. The last number is a lullaby sung by the brook.

The first four songs by Fischer-Dieskau:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:22 pm

231. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Missa Solemnis (1823)



Recording


Title: Missa Solemnis
Performers: Eva Mei, Marjana Lipovsek, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Robert Hall, Arnols Schonberg Choir, Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Director: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Year: 1992
Length: 1 hour 22 minutes

Review

Wow. This is probably the most impressive mass that we have had here and very likely that we will ever have. Interestingly it is not very popular, this is due to the fact that it is not only huge and sprawling but that it demands so much expertise to play that it will never be attempted by your school orchestra.

Beethoven really did not skimp on this one. There are very few repeats throughout, it sounds like a long ever changing piece of music and each bit is more impressive than the one that came before.

It just sounds so original and different than any other choral work we have had here, that it is a real joy to listen to. Beethoven experiments with the limits of the possible to perform with his distinctive disrespect for performers. He was just in it for the music, the fact that almost no one would be able to perform it was not his concern. Fortunately Harnoncourt manages and this is completely otherworldly.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The orchestration of the piece features a solo quartet, a substantial chorus, and the full orchestra, and each at times is used in virtuosic, textural, and melodic capacities. The writing displays Beethoven's characteristic disregard for the performer and is in several places both technically and physically exacting, with many sudden changes of dynamic, metre and tempo. This is consistent throughout, starting with the opening Kyrie where the syllables Ky-ri are delivered either forte or with sforzando, but the final e is piano. As noted above, the reprise of the Et vitam venturi fugue is particularly taxing, being both subtly different from the previous statements of the theme and counter-theme, and delivered at around twice the speed.

The orchestral parts also include many demanding sections, including the violin solo in the Sanctus and some of the most demanding work in the repertoire for bassoon and contrabassoon.

The difficulty of the piece combined with the requirements for a full orchestra, large chorus, and highly trained soloists, both vocal and instrumental, mean that it is not often performed by amateur or semi-professional ensembles, who otherwise perform a great deal of repertoire.

Benedictus:


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

Mensaje  Contenido patrocinado Hoy a las 11:12 pm


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