Mozart Piano Concerto no. 5 in D, K175

performed by the English Chamber Orchestra under Jeffrey Tate, Mitsuko Uchida, piano Finally something original. So it’s been 24 hours since our last Mozart concerto, and a few years since our little composer put his pen to paper for another concerto. This one, however, is original. I’ll make mention that I’m not including the three unnumbered concerti orchestrated from sonatas of J.S. Bach, mostly because they’re not numbered and because I didn’t know they existed (because they aren’t included in any of the box sets I’ve been browsing), mostly the latter. I might get around to them eventually, but then … Continue reading Mozart Piano Concerto no. 5 in D, K175

Mozart Piano Concerto no. 4 in G, K41

performed by Philharmonia/Ashkenazy, or below by Perahia/English Chamber Orchestra Maybe I’ve figured out what it is. I would say confident! This piece feels even more confident than the third. I feel better about thinking of that word. Why? Well, think of a composer who changed throughout his career. That shouldn’t be hard. Sibelius comes to mind, for no particular reason. His first two symphonies (taking them as an example) are quite traditional in their Romantic-ness, but then with the third, things change. It’s pared down and almost neo-classical. And then he becomes even more unique, all the way up to … Continue reading Mozart Piano Concerto no. 4 in G, K41

Mozart Piano Concerto no. 3 in D, K40

performed by either Ashkenazy/Philharmonia, or below by Perahia/English Chamber Ochestra Number three. The year is (still) 1767, and our little composer is still eleven years old. Everything is the same, except we get trumpets in addition to keyboard, strings, horns and oboes. Again, three movements, but none of which based on Raupach. Wikipedia says: The first movement is based on the initial movement of Honauer’s Op. 2, No. 1. The second on one by Johann Gottfried Eckard (op. 1, no. 4 ), the most famous keyboardist of his day. The third movement is based on C. P. E. Bach‘s piece … Continue reading Mozart Piano Concerto no. 3 in D, K40

Mozart Piano Concerto no. 2 in Bb, K39

by Ashkenazy/Philharmonia or below, as usual, by Perahia/English Chamber Orchestra Yesterday’s piece was K37, and this is K39. It seems the young, ambitious, precocious Mozart took a break from his string of piano concertos for his K38. He wrote an opera. At eleven years old. And then he came back to piano concertos, and that’s where we are today. Following the circle of fifths for flats, we come from F major yesterday to Bb major today. This concerto was written only a few months after yesterday’s K37, and uses the same forces. It is a few minutes shorter, and also … Continue reading Mozart Piano Concerto no. 2 in Bb, K39

Mozart Piano Concerto no. 1 in F, K37

performed by The Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy, (or the below with Murray Perahia and the English Chamber Orchestra) As mentioned yesterday, we’re starting a very long stretch of almost-daily posts, with lots of piano works by some very important composers.  For future reference, all Mozart concertos will be taken from the above-mentioned Ashkenazy/Philharmonia set. We begin today with the first of five Mozart piano concertos. This one was written when the young composer/pianist was eleven years old. It turns out these works were long considered to be original, but later found to be orchestrations of other German works. A … Continue reading Mozart Piano Concerto no. 1 in F, K37

Haydn Symphony no. 5

Horns. The fifth in A major has its date between 1760 and 1762. Wikipedia refers to it as a sonata da chiesa and states that this is the reason for its four-movement form, unlike its cousin the third. It also says that because of the very high horn parts, this is some of the most difficult writing for the instrument in Haydn’s oeuvre. And yes, they are high. As a kite. It’s the most striking thing about the symphony at first listen. In the past, the winds (of any kind) had only gotten much smaller kind of background parts, but this is the … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 5

Haydn Symphony no. 4

The fourth in D major takes us back perhaps to 1757 up to 1761, as well as back to a three-movement form. Presto, 6/8 Andante in D minor, 2/4 Tempo di Menuetto, 3/8 The finale is marked as a minuet, but in 3/8 not 3/4 and lacks the typical trio section. The first movement sounds somewhat like the contrapuntal passages that stood out in the third symphony, even if this one may have been written earlier. It’s what jumped out about the first movement. It has a darker second subject, but it’s still all relatively crisp and delightful, but there is really … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 4

Haydn Symphony no. 3

The third in G major was written (it is believed) between 1760 and 1762. It shares its orchestration with its predecessors, (two oboes, bassoon, two horns, strings, continuo) but is Haydn’s first symphony to be written in four movements, and one of the earliest in general to do so. The winds in this symphony are also absent from the slow movement, as in the previous symphony. This symphony is more ‘complex’ no only for its four-movement structure, but also for the structure of two of the movements: the minuet is a canon between high and low voices, and the finale … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 3

Haydn Symphony no. 2

Gonna try to keep this one shorter. The second symphony is believed to have been written between 1757 and 1761. It has the same orchestration as number one from yesterday, and is also in three movements. There’s also something kind of… comforting at the possibility that something this brief (a nine minute symphony!) may have taken him four years to write. Not that he devoted every waking hour (or any regular attention) to the piece, but for any aspiring composer, it’s nice to know that speed isn’t necessarily important. The second is also unique in Haydn’s symphonic repertoire in that … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 2

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony no. 1

So the thirty-seventh symphony wasn’t the thirty-seventh. The first symphony might also not be. Haydn certainly isn’t the only (or first) composer to switch around the orders of his compositions, or to have begun a piece earlier than another but published it later. As we have also already seen, the cataloguing and numbering and organizing of such a large body of work from so long ago has also proven to be somewhat troublesome. To me, it isn’t terribly important. We’re covering these earliest symphonies together. It’s not like they would be decades apart, so I’m not terribly susceptible to being … Continue reading Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony no. 1

Haydn Symphony no. 37

again, and as always, for Haydn’s symphonies, we’ll be using the performances by the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra under Adam Fischer (older brother of the also fantastic Iván Fischer) It’s older than that. As I said in yesterday’s article, there are some cataloguing and numbering issues in Haydn’s works, at least the symphonies. But then again, how could there not be when trying to order and organize works from two and a half centuries ago? Symphony no. 37 is one of the earliest of Haydn’s symphonies, dated 1758, but you might not know it immediately. We’re going to start our more … Continue reading Haydn Symphony no. 37

Schubert Symphony no. 4 in Cm, D. 417, ‘Tragic,

performed by the ASMF under Sir Neville Marriner, or below by the Vienna Philharmonic under Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Muskverein Mini-German part 3 I’ve never really cared much for nicknames or monikers for pieces… They are often not chosen by the composer, sometimes not even approved of, and sometimes not even coined until long after the composer is gone.At least in the instance of Schubert’s Tragische, the name was of his own devising. My other gripe with names like this is that I don’t always (in fact, rarely do I) agree with them. ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Titan’ come to mind. ‘From … Continue reading Schubert Symphony no. 4 in Cm, D. 417, ‘Tragic,