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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 Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:29 pm

232. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Diabelli Variations (1823)




Recording


Title: Diabelli Variations
Performers: Piotr Anderszewski
Year: 2000
Length: 1 hour

Review

The last great set of variations we've had here was all the way back with Bach and his Goldberg Variations. An equally essential set, some would argue more essential, is this one by Beethoven.

The Diabelli variations are endlessly inventive transmogrifications of a quite trite piece by Mr. Diabelli. The variations based on crap pieces are always the best because they just show off the brilliance of the composer when compared to his source to a great extent.

Beethoven gives a master class of piano composition throughout this. If you know how to play the piano, which I don't, I can only imagine how educative these are, they were for me. Beethoven never loses the sight of making some great music and these mostly short variations are each a little treasure. Highly Recommended.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The distinguished music writer Donald Francis Tovey has called it "the greatest set of variations ever written." Pianist Alfred Brendel has described it as simply "the greatest of all piano works." It also comprises, in the words of Hans von Bülow, "a microcosm of Beethoven's art." Or, as Martin Cooper writes in Beethoven: The Last Decade 1817 - 1827, "The variety of treatment is almost without parallel, so that the work represents a book of advanced studies in Beethoven's manner of expression and his use of the keyboard, as well as a monumental work in its own right."

Pollini plays the Diabelli's variations by Beethoven: Fuga and last variation


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:36 pm

233. Juan Crisostomo de Arriaga -
String Quartets (1824)



Recording

Title: Complete String Quartets
Performers: Voces String Quartet
Year: 1985
Length: 1 hour 14 minutes

Review


These three string quartets by the very unknown, at least outside Spain and particularly the Basque country, Juan Arriaga, a Basque composer that died at the age of 19, are actually pretty great pieces.

Unlike most Spanish music that we have had and will have, it's character is not particularly Spanish, being integrated in a internationalist style, even if it does have some Spanish echoes, particularly in the first quartet. However I was looking for them while listening to it, if you weren't it would be hard to find them.

The three quartets are a bit backward looking, sharing more with the classical than with the romantic, but they are very much integrated in the transition, and the slow movements show the young Arriaga had a good sense of the Romantic. All in all they are delightfully light pieces of great beauty by a composer that would have shown great promise, had he not contracted a severe case of the deaths.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

According to Grove, Arriaga's death "before he was 20 was a sad loss to Spanish music." Following his early death, with the only reliable biographical material being some reports by Fétis, Arriaga's life story was fictionalized to play into rising Spanish nationalism. A public theatre in his home city of Bilbao carries his name.

The Quiroga Quartet plays in Espace Saint Rémy, Bordeaux, 9th May 2008 the String Quartet No.3 in E flat major:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:40 pm

234. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Symphony no. 9, "Choral" (1824)



Recording


Title: Symphony No. 9 "Choral"
Performers: Bayreuth Festival,
Director: Wilhelm Furtwangler
Year: 1951
Length: 1 hour 14 minutes

Review

So we reach the apotheosis of Western music with the last symphony of Beethoven. There was never such a renowned, revolutionary, astonishing and simply original work before or after this. Freebird eat your heart out.

The influence is such that even the CD format is as it is because of this piece. In fact, curiously because of this particular recording. The standard for the physical size of a CD was one which could fit the longest recording of the Ninth, this one. 74 minutes. Bet you didn't know that.

Furtwangler gives us a messy performance of the Ninth, it is all over the place, but it also manages to convey an incredible sense of power in the sound, even in its grainy 1951 live recording technology. What is lost in perfection is more than made up for in sheer feeling. And nothing could be more appropriate than the great explosion of Romantic aesthetics composed by an old deaf man, this recording excites the feeling rather than the perfectionist, and that is what you want from Romantic music. This isn't Bach, this is power itself. And what an astonishing piece of music it is.

From the beginning where it seems the performers are tuning their instruments to the last movement where the Ode to Joy shifts constantly like some kaleidoscope this is unprecedented music. The central work in the canon, and for excellent reasons.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

There are a number of anecdotes about the premiere of the Ninth. Based on the testimony of the participants, there are suggestions that it was under-rehearsed (there were only two full rehearsals) and rather scrappy in execution. On the other hand, the premiere was a big success. In any case, Beethoven was not to blame, as violist Josef Bohm recalled, "Beethoven directed the piece himself; that is, he stood before the lectern and gesticulated furiously. At times he raised, at other times he shrunk to the ground, he moved as if he wanted to play all the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus. All the musicians minded his rhythm alone while playing".

When the audience applauded - testimonies differ over whether at the end of the scherzo or the whole symphony - Beethoven was several measures off and still conducting. Because of that, the contralto Caroline Unger walked over and turned Beethoven around to accept the audience's cheers and applause. According to one witness, "the public received the musical hero with the utmost respect and sympathy, listened to his wonderful, gigantic creations with the most absorbed attention and broke out in jubilant applause, often during sections, and repeatedly at the end of them." The whole audience acclaimed him through standing ovations five times; there were handkerchiefs in the air, hats, raised hands, so that Beethoven, who could not hear the applause, could at least see the ovation gestures. The theatre house had never seen such enthusiasm in applause.

At that time, it was customary that the Imperial couple be greeted with three ovations when they entered the hall. The fact that five ovations were received by a private person who was not even employed by the state, and moreover, was a musician (a class of people who had been perceived as lackeys at court), was in itself considered almost indecent. Police agents present at the concert had to break off this spontaneous explosion of ovations. Beethoven left the concert deeply moved.

Karajan conducts the 4th movement:


JM

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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:47 pm

235. Franz Schubert -
Octet in F major, D803 (1824)



Recording

Title: Octet in F, D803
Performers: Nash Ensemble
Year: 2003
Length: 1 hour 3 minutes

Review

Schubert is, in my humble opinion, the best composer for small ensembles and chamber music in general. His quartets are without pair, as are his songs and this octet is also a wonder.

Beautiful, light and supremely catchy like so much of Schubert's chamber music, it is just a joy to listen to. The addition of clarinet, bassoon and horn to the string quartet + another violin, gives the whole thing focus. Almost like a small scale symphony.

This comparison with a symphony seems to not be completely off the mark, it is very long for a chamber piece and it is reported that Schubert was working on a symphony at the time, from which this octet might have sprung. Great music, and an appropriately light counterpoint to Beethoven's 9th we had just yesterday.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Around the time he composed this Octet, Schubert informed his friends he was working on a new "Grand Symphony". As none of Schubert's surviving scores written in this epoch matches a "symphony" properly speaking, it was sometimes assumed that this Octet and/or the Grand Duo in C major (D.812, op. 140) might have been preliminary versions of the "Grand Symphony" Schubert mentioned in 1824.

First Movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:49 pm

236. Franz Schubert -
String Quartet in D minor, D810, "Death and the Maiden" (1824)



Recording


Title: The Late String Quartets, String Quintet
Performers: Emerson Quartet
Year: 1987
Length: 37 minutes

Review

Another great chamber piece by Schubert, but this one marks a turning point in Schubert's life and career. Shortly before composing this he had learned that he suffered from syphilis, so he was not in the best of moods.

There clearly is something very dark in this piece, frustrated and desperate but of great power. This is sad Schubert, nothing could contrast more with the Schubert Fifth Symphony or the Trout quintet.

The bucolic quality is replaced by a sense of impending doom here, very expressionist in feel, it feels fully Romantic in tone. An amazing piece of music which ties in with Schubert biographical facts perfectly.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The second movement is a theme — taken from his macabre song Der Tod und Das Mädchen (D 531 in Deutsch's catalog) — and five variations, with coda

First part of the first movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:55 pm

237. Franz Schubert -
Arpeggione Sonata (1824)



Recording


Title: Arpeggione Sonata
Performers: Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexandre Tharaud
Year: 2005
Length: 24 minutes

Review

Here's one I didn't know. And now I know, and I'm happier for knowing, because frankly it is one of the most achingly beautiful pieces by Schubert. All you need to hear is the first 10 seconds of the piece to be completely hooked.

If Death and the Maiden is rage, this is bitter-sweetness in its full glory. The first movement is really something else, but it does not flag through the next two movements, the second is beautiful and slightly dark towards the end and the third is a perfectly peaceful finale.

Interestingly the piece is composed for piano and Arpeggione, an instrument which has completely fallen into disuse, being, therefore substituted for the Cello. This is also the only piece for the Arpeggione in existence. Fascinating.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

By the time the sonata was published posthumously in 1871, the enthusiasm for the novelty of the arpeggione had long vanished, together with the instrument itself. Today, the piece is heard almost exclusively in transcriptions for cello and piano or viola and piano that were arranged after that time, although versions that substitute other instruments, including the double bass, the flute, and the clarinet, or the guitar for the piano part are also performed. Transcribers have attempted to address the problems posed by the smaller playing range of these alternative instruments, in comparison with the arpeggione, as well as the attendant modifications in articulation (4 versus 6 strings).

Arpeggione Sonata, D 821 1. Allegro moderato (part 1)
Miklós Perényi, cello & András Schiff, piano:




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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 4:59 pm

238. Ludwig van Beethoven -
Late String Quartets (1825-26)



Recording

Title: Late String Quartets
Performers: Takacs Quartet
Year: 2003-04
Length: 3 hours 20 minutes

Review

We finally come to the last compositions by Beethoven and it will be a pity to see him leave. No other single composer was as responsible for a complete revolution in the music world, and these Quartets are another great example of this.

By this time, Beethoven is, of course completely deaf, and one has to ask if that is part of the reason why he is so willing to explode the conventions on "how things should sound". These quartets are anything but traditional, full of dissonance and hard to get used to. They are properly challenging music, probably the most challenging music by Beethoven.

The whole musical genre is pushed forward by leaps and bounds with this work. Music has stopped being solely about auditory pleasure and it starts being conceptual as well. Much of the music here is beautiful because Beethoven is such a master, but it is mainly concerned with experimentation and creation. They take some effort but it is very worth it.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

Together, all five quartets comprise the last major, completed compositions by Beethoven, and are widely considered to be among the greatest musical compositions of all time, though they are also notoriously difficult for audiences to digest. Musicologist Theodor Adorno, in particular, thought highly of them, and composer Igor Stravinsky is reputed to have believed the Grosse Fuge to be the greatest piece of music ever written. Wagner, when reflecting on Op. 131's first movement, said that they contained some of the saddest music he knew.

Beethoven String Quartet in C# minor Op 131:



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

Mensaje  JM el Vie Dic 10, 2010 5:03 pm

239. Felix Mendelssohn -
Octet (1825)



Recording


Title: Octet in E-flat for Strings, op.20 & Sextet in D for violin, 2 violas, cello, bass and Piano Op.110
Performers: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Year: 2002
Length: 30 minutes

Review

Felix Mendelssohn is 16, his life is an idyll of arts, music, frolicking, whatever, and he manages to compose a piece which really funnels that into an explosion of joy. The first movement is particularly exemplary of this.

This is that rare form of an octet, and in this case only for strings, basically it is little more than a double string quartet, but it does sound fuller because of it, and it is almost symphonic in character.

This is really fun to listen to, even if next to Beethoven's string quartets we had yesterday these do sound like the works of a 16 year old boy. But because of this they have an innocence ad a sheer disarming simplicity that is great.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The scherzo, later scored for orchestra as a replacement for the minuet in the composer's First Symphony at its premiere, is believed to have been inspired by a section of Goethe's Faust entitled "Walpurgis Night's Dream." Fragments of this movement recur in the finale, as a precursor to the "cyclic" technique employed by later 19th-century composers. The entire work is also notable for its extended use of counterpoint, with the finale, in particular, beginning with an eight-part fugato.

A documentary on Emerson Quartet playingthe Octet:

Part 1:




Part 2:



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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 12:34 pm

240. Felix Mendelssohn -
Songs Without Words (1825-45)



Recording

Title: Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Songs Without Words.
Performers: Andras Schiff
Year: 1986
Length: 35 minutes

Review

The format of these little songs for piano is particularly enlightening as to their originality, they are three minutes long and self contained. Essentially the format which would become the norm for popular music in the 20th century.

These are songs all about the melody, this is not experimental in the least. It is in fact quite beautiful and melodious, and also quite relaxing music. Schiff plays them with a particular lightness which emphasises their delicate nature.

The structure of the songs and their emotionality has led many to think them inferior works, but they are just little songs, beautiful and each perfectly formed as an independent element. Great stuff.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The eight volumes of Songs without Words were written at various points throughout Mendelssohn's life, (two of the volumes being published posthumously). The piano became increasingly popular in Europe during this era, where it became the focal point of many middle-class households. The pieces are within the grasp of pianists of various abilities and this undoubtedly contributed to their popularity. This great popularity has caused many critics to under-rate their musical value.

The works were part of the Romantic tradition of writing short lyrical pieces for the piano, although the specific concept of 'Song without Words' was new. Felix's sister Fanny Mendelssohn wrote a number of similar pieces (though not so entitled) and she may have helped inspire the concept according to some music historians.

Mendelssohn himself resisted attempts to interpret the Songs too literally, and objected when his friend Souchay sought to put words to them to make them literal songs:

What the music I love expresses to me, is not thought too indefinite to put into words, but on the contrary, too definite.

Other composers who were inspired to produce similar sets of pieces of their own included Charles Valentin Alkan (the five sets of Chants, each ending with a barcarolle), Anton Rubinstein, Ignaz Moscheles and Edvard Grieg.

Song without Words in G minor Op. 53 No. 3:


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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 12:36 pm

241. Franz Schubert -
Piano Sonata in D major, D850 (1825)



Recording

Title: Piano Sonatas in D major, D850 & A minor,D784
Performers: Mitsuko Uchida
Year: 1999
Length: 39 minutes

Review

This is Schubert's happiest piano sonata, and it is a quite bubbly one. But this might not be his emotional element. The sonata just isn't as emotionally convincing as most other Schubert works.

It just doesn't hit that Shubertian place in me. However it is still a pretty great sonata. But then there is a reason why he is often seen as Beethoven's successor. The first and second movements are particularly good here.

Another interesting aspect of this sonata is its length. It is a very long sonata, even if he would eventually go to further lengths in composing. His late sonatas are even longer! Still, it is never boring and never feels overly long. So good, but not amazing.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The sonata is noticeably faster in tempo than many other of Schubert's sonatas. Whereas Schubert would regularly restrain an Allegro movement with markings such as moderato or ma non troppo, in this sonata, both the first and third movements are marked with vivace. Even the slower second movement is marked with con moto, meaning with movement.

First movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 2:26 pm

242. Gioacchino Rossini -
Il Viaggio a Reims (1825)



Recording

Title: Il Viaggio a Reims
Performers: Sylvia McNair, Samuel Ramey
Director: Claudio Abbado
Year: 1992
Length: 2 hours 10 minutes

Review

Yet another Rossini Italian opera, and his last Italian opera as from here on out he would be composing in French. Hopefully with a change in language he will stop recycling so much, but somehow I don't believe it.

The more Rossini you listen to the more you realise that there is endless repetition and recycling in his music. What is particularly sad is that when something new comes along it is actually pretty great! Just that he puts a couple of new songs in each new opera and recycles the rest.

This opera is particularly haphazard when it comes to plot, consisting of people of different nationalities at an Inn on their way to the coronation of Charles X of France. It serves as a display of European unity and harmony, etc. In the end there are so many characters that no real plot develops, only 6 or 7 micro plots. The music is quite good, when not recycled, and there is a 14 voice piece which is quite striking, and the final thing where each nationality sings their own song is quite amusing, is somewhat cheap as Rossini is now recycling from other composers. This is frankly non-essential Rossini.

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Rossini's last opera in the Italian language (all of his later works were in French), premiered under the title Le voyage à Reims, ou l'Hôtel du Lys-d'Or. Commissioned to celebrate the coronation of French King Charles X in Rheims in 1825, the work has been critically acclaimed as one of Rossini's finest compositions. It is a demanding work, requiring 14 soloists (three sopranos, one contralto, two tenors, four baritones, and four basses). At its premiere, it was sung by the greatest voices of the day.

Since the opera was written for a specific occasion, with a plot about European aristocrats, officers - and one poetess - en route to join in the French coronation festivities that the opera itself was composed for, Rossini never intended for the opera to have a life beyond a few performances in Paris. The composer later re-used about half of the music in Le comte Ory.

Rossini Opera Festival Orchestra del Comunale di Bologna conducted by Daniele Belardinelli:


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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 2:31 pm

243. Franz Schubert -
String Quartet in G major, D 887 (1826)



Recording


Title: String Quartets 14 "Death and the Maiden" & 15
Performers: Busch Quartet
Year: 1939
Length: 43 minutes

Review


Old recordings can be a good or bad thing. I really dislike them for vocal pieces, for me voice needs to be pretty clean, but in works like this string quartet it gets a certain charm. So I have no problem with this 1939 recording, even if it does not sound as clean as more recent ones, in fact the performance is full of life.

Schubert is a master at String quartets and this is his last one. It is a very long work and also a kind of bitter-sweet one. It goes through quite a number of emotional states, and as befits such a great romantic composer they are all superbly achieved through music.

This is probably not the best Schubert quartet, but it is still good enough to more than justify its inclusion on this list. The sound of the Busch quartet is also interesting enough to make this a really great recording indeed. Recommended.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

n the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors, parts of the Allegro molto moderato (including the dotted rhythm of the opening) are used as a dramatic measure during several scenes that form central parts of the plot.

Hungarian String Quartet plays II. Movement "Andante un poco moto":


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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 3:24 pm

244. Felix Mendelssohn -
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1826, 1843)



Recording

Title: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Performers: Seiji Ozawa, Kathleen Battle, Frederica von Stade, Judi Dench
Director: Seiji Ozawa
Year: 1992
Length: 58 minutes

Review

There are few pieces as evocative and delightful as Mendelssohn's overture to Midsummer Night's Dream. Composed when he was only 17 it evokes the sound of fairies feet near the beginning and it's chorus incorporates a sound very much reminiscent of donkey braying as a representation of Bottom. And it is very catchy, I've had it stuck in my head all day long.

But the composition does not end here, Mendelssohn also produced his most famous composition for this work, the Wedding March which has been used endlessly in weddings since this was composed. Unfortunately it is hard to separate the music from the function it has been used in, still, it is a pretty powerful piece of music.

But a great highlight is the Notturno with its dreamy feel and its use of brass in a completely beautiful way. And it is all surprisingly cinematic. This is highlighted in this recording by having Judi Dench contextualising the music in hte relevant parts of the play, and what Mendelssohn managed in terms of evocation is splendid.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Felix Mendelssohn composed an overture inspired by the play in 1826, intended for concert performance. In 1843, because of the fame of the overture, he was commissioned to write incidental music for a German stage production of the play. He added the Overture to it, and both were used in most stage versions through the nineteenth century. Among Mendelssohn's incidental pieces is his Wedding March, used most often today as a recessional in Western weddings. Between 1917 and 1939 Carl Orff also wrote incidental music for the play Ein Sommernachtstraum (performed in 1939). Since Mendelssohn was a Jew, his music had been banned by the Nazi regime, and the Nazi cultural officials put out a call for new music for the play: Orff was one of the musicians who responded.

Overture to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Op.21 Allegro di molto:



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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 3:42 pm

245. Franz Schubert -
Piano Sonata in G major, D894 (1826)



Recording


Title: Solo Piano Works
Performers: Arcadi Volodos
Year: 2001
Length: 39 minutes

Review

A beautiful piano sonata by Schubert which really stands out for its slowly developing and very affecting first movement. The structure of the piece is also somewhat uncommon. Instead of alternating moods the piece seems to become increasingly cheery as it goes on. From the slow and melancholy first to the allegretto at the end.

A thing that Schubert manages to do unlike anyone before him is to give a sense of unity to his multiple movement pieces, and this one is another good example of it. The whole sonata seems to be one big developing work, and a great one as well.

Now that Beethoven is dead the crown of the Sonata has appropriately been taken by Schubert, as have many other crowns in fact, he is for a short time the greatest living composer in Europe.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This sonata is often called the Fantaisie.

Svitoslav Richter playing Franz Schubert Sonata G major D. 894 Op. 78 in Aldeburgh 1977 1st mov.:


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

Mensaje  JM el Lun Dic 13, 2010 3:45 pm

246.Franz Schubert -
Piano Trio in B flat major (1827)



Recording

Title: Historical Recordings 1926 and 1927
Performers: Alfred Cortot, Jacques Thibaud, Pablo Casals
Year: 1926
Length: 31 minutes

Review


Talk about old recordings, this one is from the 20s, only 99 years removed from Schubert's composition, that is quite impressive in itself. Also all the members of this trio are real mythical characters of their time, and the playing is pretty good even with the different standards we have today.

The music is again some great Schubert chamber music. Each instrument really has its own voice and with such stellar performers it comes out beautifully even in such a muffled recording. In fact the muffling gives the album a certain charm, and while the clarity of sound might suffer the brilliance of the composition is perfectly discernible.

The great highlight for me here is the Andante. Schubert always seems to be at his consistent best in the slow movements, where his romantic spirit can come to full fruition. Not only a great piece but also a very interesting recording.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The composer finished the work in 1828, in the last year of his life. It was published in 1836 as Opus 99, 8 years after the composer's death.

First five minutes:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 12:44 pm

247. Franz Schubert -
Impromptus (1827)



Recording

Title: Le Voyage Magnifique
Performer: Maria Joao Pires
Year: 1996-96
Length: 71 minutes

Review


Schubert's Impromptus have been for a long time my favourite piano pieces, each sounds so perfectly whole and so modern as well as intricate that it grabs your attention throughout while not sacrificing a certain minimalism. In fact I would only compare them to Beethoven's sonatas in terms of greatness for the piano.

Like much classical music Schubert's Impromptus suffer from over-popularisation, making it harder for the aware listener to approach them with completely fresh ears, if some of that is achieved it is not hard to see them for the amazing pieces that they are.

Another bonus for me is to have a recording by Maria Joao Pires here, the greatest Portuguese pianist of all times which makes by Portuguese bones particularly happy. So I am back in Manchester for a while, finishing packing, I have got an amazing house in Portugal now and I can't wait to be back there settled in... being in the sun with 10 more degrees Celsius than here.

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Impromptus are often considered companion pieces to the Six Moments musicaux, and they are often recorded and published together.

It has been said that Schubert was deeply influenced in writing these pieces by the Impromptus, Op. 7, of Jan Václav Voříšek (1822) and by the music of Voříšek's teacher Václav Tomášek.

Pires Plays Op.90 no.3:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 12:49 pm

248. Franz Schubert -
Winterreise (1827)



Recording


Title: Die Schone Mullerin, Winterreise, Schwanengesang
Performers: Peter Schreier, Andras Schiff.
Year: 1991
Length: 71 minutes

Review


This is Schubert's most painful song cycle and also one of the hardest ones to listen to. It requires some habituation in order to really sink in. When I first heard it many years ago I profoundly disliked it. But you don't really like desolation as a child.

As time has gone on, each time I listen to it I like it a little bit more. The same has happened with most of Schubert's lieds, but none more so than Winterreise. Schubert is crossing a deep depression at this stage in his life, and it shows.

When the listener is able to do the epistemic shift from boring and desolate to beautiful desolation is when this album clicks in. It might take 100 listens but you get there, in this way it is a truly challenging set of songs to the listener, but one which pays off in the end.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In his introduction to the Peters Edition (with the critical revisions of Max Friedländer), Professor Max Müller, son of the poet, remarks that Schubert's two song-cycles have a dramatic effect not unlike that of a full-scale tragic opera, particularly when performed by great singers such as Jenny Lind (Die schöne Müllerin) or Julius Stockhausen (Winterreise). Like Die schöne Müllerin, Schubert's Winterreise is not merely a collection of songs upon a single theme (lost or unrequited love) but is in effect one single dramatic monologue, lasting up to an hour in performance. Although some individual songs are sometimes included separately in recitals (e.g. Gute Nacht, Der Lindenbaum and Der Leiermann), it is a work which is usually presented in its entirety. The intensity and the emotional inflexions of the poetry are carefully built up to express the sorrows of the lover, and are developed to an almost pathological degree from the first to the last note. It has been claimed that it would be impossible to write this work without having experienced similar emotions in reality.

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake perform:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:05 pm

249. Franz Schubert -
Piano trio in E flat major, D929 (1827)



Recording


Title: The Piano Trios
Performers: Beaux Arts Trio: Menahem Pressler, Isidore Cohen, Bernard Greenhouse
Year: 1985
Length: 44 minutes

Review

Schubert's second piano trio is a thing of real beauty. Much like Winterreise it is not an untroubled beauty like in his earlier works, it is very much a piece about inner conflict, and while the sun shines through on occasion it is mainly a cloudy piece.

Nothing exemplifies this better than the theme introduced in the second, slow, movement, which is then repeated until the end of the piece, so full of delicate beauty and pain and at the same time extremely catchy. It stays with you.

Schubert manages that most supreme of feats, to be melancholy without being maudlin, his pain is not a mockery of pain but truly heartfelt, and he manages to pass that though with all of its complexities in his music. This is not Rachmaninoff's kitsch romanticism.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Trio No. 2 in E-flat major for piano, violin, and violoncello, D. 929, was one of the last compositions completed by Franz Schubert, dated November 1827. It was published by Probst as opus 100 in late 1828, shortly before the composer's death. Unlike much of Schubert's late music, he actually heard this work performed before he died.

Dmitri Vinnik (piano), Sviatoslav Moroz(violin), Natalia Gutman(cello) play Piano Trio op.100 in E flat major, D.929, 2nd Movement in Kremlin (Moscow 2009):



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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:10 pm

250. Franz Schubert -
Fantasy in C, D934 (1827)



Recording

Title: The European Busch-Serkin Duo Recordings Vol. III
Performers: Adolf Busch & Rudolf Serkin
Year: 1931
Length: 22 minutes

Review

These very old recordings sometimes work better than others, but there is a constant in the violin playing: it is markedly different from more modern performances, it always sounds more gypsy-like, with a thinner sound.

This is particularly noticeable in the second movement of this recording, it gives the music an interesting flavour, however, and the muffled quality of the recording does give its own ambience to the music. In this sense it is not very faithful to Schubert's vision, he was surely not imagining the contingencies of recording technology when composing, but it is charming.

As a piece, this fantasy is not really in my top ten Schubert pieces, it is fun and all but it doesn't touch me in the way that Schubert so often does. Nonetheless it is a great bit of music with some quite flashy performances both in the piano and violin.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 1897, the 100th anniversary of Schubert's birth was marked in the musical world by festivals and performances dedicated to his music. In Vienna, there were ten days of concerts, and the Emperor Franz Joseph gave a speech recognizing Schubert as the creator of the art song, and one of Austria's favorite sons. Karlsruhe saw the first production of his opera Fierrabras.

First movement:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:14 pm

251. Franz Schubert -
Fantasy in F minor for Piano Duet, D940 (1828)



Recording

Title: Mozart: Sonata for 2 pianos in D Major, k.448, Schubert: Fantasy for Piano 4 Hands in f minor, D. 940
Performers: Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu
Year: 1984
Length: 19 minutes

Review

Another short piece by Schubert, who is now very near the end of his life. Schubert composed an immense amount of piano duets and these vary greatly in terms of quality, but this one is generally recognised as one of his best works for the genre.

It is a great work, in a single movement of 19 minutes, almost like a suite, Schubert travels the gamut of variations for the themes he selected for the fantasy. It starts very slow and builds up from there before eventually dwindling back down to the beginning theme.

This use of a single movement permits Schubert to make the work much more consistent throughout as a unified whole. This is something that he has been doing even in his multi-movement pieces and which is to me one of the great developments by Schubert, the notion of cohesion between several elements of a work. This is something that Beethoven had already done but which Schubert develops with great success.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Schubert began writing the Fantasia in January 1828 in Vienna. The work was completed in March of that year, and first performed in May. Schubert's friend Eduard von Bauernfeld recorded in his diary on May 9 that a memorable duet was played, by Schubert and Franz Lachner. The work was dedicated to Karoline Esterházy, with whom Schubert was in (unrequited) love.

Schubert passed away in November 1828. After his death, his friends and family undertook to have a number of his works published. This work is one of those pieces; it was published by Anton Diabelli in March 1829. The original manuscript resides at the Austrian National Library.

Maria Joao Pires and Ricardo Castro play the Fantasy (excerpt):


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:20 pm

252. Franz Schubert -
Symphony no. 9, "Great" (1828)



Recording

Title: BBC Legends: Boult
Performers: BBC Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Adrian Boult
Year: 1969
Length: 54 minutes

Review

Firsat two things: sorry about the tiny image, and the numbering of Schubert's Symphonies is very dodgy indeed, so it is possible to find this symphony with all kinds of numbers. The epithet of "Great" is constant however, and that is due not only to its length but first and foremost to the grandiosity of it all.

This is one of those symphonies which are effective in that most childish part of each of us which likes pomp, and excitement in their music, with its brass and percussion very prominent throughout and particularly in the grand finale.

That being said this is not a symphony solely made out of bombast, in fact it is its nuances that make it so good, the way that it goes down to more emotive subjects before jumping into powerful epicness and then returning to the softer parts. It is so contrasting at times that you keep fiddling with your sound volume, to listen to the quiet better and then not to wake up the neighbours. I hate neighbours.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


There continues to be some controversy over the numbering of this symphony, with German-speaking scholars sometimes numbering it as symphony No. 7, the most recent version of the Deutsch catalog (the standard catalogue of Schubert's works, compiled by Otto Erich Deutsch) listing it as No. 8, and English-speaking scholars often listing it as No. 9. Many American orchestras have dropped the numbering altogether since the mid-1980s and in printed programs merely title it the "Great" C-major Symphony.

Schubert, Symphony 9, 4th movement, played by the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra conducted by Frans Brüggen.:



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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:24 pm

253. Franz Schubert -
String Quintet in C Major (1828)



Recording

Title: The Hollywood String Quartet: Testament
Performers: The Hollywood String Quartet, Kurt Reher
Year: 1951
Length: 45 minutes

Review


We come to Schubert's last chamber work, a quintet which has lived on through time not only due to its quality but by being the last chamber work of the master of chamber music: Schubert.

In this way plenty of interpretations extraneous to the music have been made, trying to gauge Schubert's attitude before death, but that is material for other people, let's just talk about the music, as it is worthy without need for anything else.

This is yet another great chamber work by Schubert, the great highlight being the slow movement, a beautiful work of quiet desperation, so yet another Schubert essential to add to your classic music library.

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Schubert's string quintet was inspired by Mozart's third string quintet and Beethoven's Quintet op. 29, written in the same key, as well as similar quintets by George Onslow. The instrumentation is reminiscent of Onslow, who used a double bass in some of his quintets. The opening theme of Schubert's work has retained many of the characteristics of the Mozart quintet's opening theme, such as decorative turns, irregular phrase lengths, and rising staccato arpeggios (the latter appear only in Schubert's recapitulation).

See it all on youtube, first part:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:37 pm

254. Franz Schubert -
Schwanengesang (1828)



Recording

Title: Schwanengesang/Lieder
Performers: Diestrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gerald Moore
Year: 1972
Length: 51 minutes


Review

We're still with Schubert during his long drawn-out death. Now we get his last songs, which have been appropriately named "Swan Song", not by Schubert of course, these were published posthumously.

We had heard several of these before, right when Schubert first appeared on this list in a recording of his lieder. Interestingly some of his best songs are in this collection, such as Die Taubenpost or Der Doppelgänger, which make the death of Schubert all the worse, as he was just getting better at writing songs.

As always Schubert's songs are not the happiest of affairs, particularly at this point in his life, nonetheless they are each one beautiful. Unlike Die Schone Mullerin or Winterreise these songs do not form a cohesive narrative whole, at least they were never intended to, but this takes nothing away from the great works that they are.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Taubenpost ("Pigeon post"; the song that is often considered as a last lied that Schubert ever wrote. The song is included into a cycle by the first editor and is almost always included in modern performances too even though the song has no any relationship to others)

Hermann Prey sings Liebesbotschaft from Schwanengesang:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 1:41 pm

255. Franz Schubert -
Piano Sonata in C minor D958 (1828)



Recording


Title: 6 Moments Musicaux; Piano Sonata in C minor, D958
Performers: Radu Lupu
Year: 1981
Length: 31 minutes

Review

This is the first of the three last Schubert sonatas that we will have on this list. Then it's curtain for Schub. Syphilis is bad. These sonatas are well known for their introspective nature, for that same reason they are sometimes not as accessible as other works by Schubert.

The fact that the sonata takes a little bit of getting used to should not be taken against it, in fact it is nothing if not beautiful, it just doesn't really have a hook to it.

The four movements go through a great variety of emotions, often conflicting but always deeply felt much like in any other Schubert work. So very good, but not as great and perfect as the impromptus.

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Sonata in C minor, D. 958

Allegro. The exposition shifts from the tonic to the relative major (E-flat major), touching midway upon its parallel minor (E-flat minor), all in accordance with Classical practice. The development section is highly chromatic, and is texturally and melodically distinct from the exposition. The recapitulation is once again traditional, staying in the tonic and stressing subdominant tonalities (D-flat, the lowered second degree – in the first theme). The coda returns to the material of the development section, but with stable tonality.

Adagio in A-flat major, A–B–A–B–A form. The unorthodox, chromatic harmonic structure of this movement is generated from a short progression that appears towards the end of the A section,leading to a plagal cadence in the subdominant key (D-flat), chromatically colored with its own minor subdominant chord (G-flat minor). This leads to the haunted atmosphere of the B section, which is full of chromatic modulations and 'frightening' sforzandos. In the second appearance of the A and B sections, almost the entire music is shifted a semitone up. The 'kernel' progression returns transformed at the end of the movement, with even subtler chromatic coloration and harsher modulations, leading from A-flat minor to C major. Throughout the entire movement, brisk modulations of a rising or falling semitone predominate.

Menuetto: Allegro – Trio. This is a somber movement, quite distinct from the typical atmosphere of dance movements. It is relatively conservative in its key scheme, moving to the relative major key and back to the tonic. In the B section, a sequence of hemiolas is interrupted by a dramatic interpolation in A-flat major. The second A section is a transformation of the first, interrupted every four bars by a silent bar, creating a mysterious atmosphere. The trio is in A-flat major, ternary form.

Allegro. This movement is written in 6/8 and in tarantella style, and is characterised by a relentless galloping rhythm. It employs the three-key exposition, a recurrent element in Schubert's style. The first theme shifts from C minor to C major – another Schubertian feature, and contains many allusions to D-flat major, which eventually becomes the key of the second theme. After a series of modulations, the exposition ends in the traditional relative major, E-flat. The development section begins in C-flat with a new theme, derived from the last bars of the exposition. Later on, additional material from the exposition is developed, gradually building up towards a climax. The recapitulation is also written in three keys, this time the second theme in B-flat minor and the closing section in the traditional tonic. The coda begins with a long anticipatory passage which stresses A-flat, the submediant, and then reintroduces the first theme, gradually building up tension towards the fortissimo ending.

Alfred Brendel plays Piano Sonata No. 16 in A Minor, D. 845: I. Moderato:


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

Mensaje  JM el Mar Dic 14, 2010 2:22 pm

256. Franz Schubert -
Piano Sonata in A major, D959 (1828)



Recording


Title: Klaviersonate D959
Performers: Leif Ove Andsnes
Year: 2001
Length: 39 minutes

Review

We come to Schubert's penultimate work on the list and to one of his most interesting sonatas. If there is a Schubert sonata where his internal turmoil is very clearly expressed, this is that sonata.

It starts off with a constantly shifting first movement only to give us one of the saddest slow movements of any of Schubert's sonatas. Now this slow movement explodes towards its end with what can only be the musical representation of frenzied frustration.

Schubert is perfectly aware of his imminent death, and has been for quite a while, syphilis being a long, drawn out disease. It is almost painful to listen to him, who started his career with such cheerful bonhomie as expressed by his earlier works, suddenly go deeper and deeper into depression. Well, maybe if he wasn't so cheerful he wouldn't have contracted syphilis in the first place.

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Schubert had been struggling with syphilis since 1822–23, and suffered from weakness, headaches and dizziness. However, he seems to have led a relatively normal life until September 1828, when new symptoms such as effusions of blood appeared. At this stage he moved from the Vienna home of his friend Franz von Schober to his brother Ferdinand's house in the suburbs, following the advice of his doctor; unfortunately, this may have actually worsened his condition. However, up until the last weeks of his life in November 1828, he continued to compose an extraordinary amount of music, including such masterpieces as the three last sonatas,

Alfred Brendel, Andantino:


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

Mensaje  Contenido patrocinado Hoy a las 5:25 am


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