Brahms: 16 Waltzes, op. 39

performed by Barry Douglas, or below by Anatole Kitain (cover image by Simon Matzinger) The sixteen waltzes of Brahms’ op. 39 are dedicated to Eduard Hanslick and were completed by 1866. They were originally written for piano-four-hands. There were two … Continue reading Brahms: 16 Waltzes, op. 39

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. 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

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,

Schubert Symphony no. 3 in D major, D. 200

performed, as always, by Neville Marriner and the ASMF, or below by Marriss Jansons and the Concertgebouw (apologies for the anime image, but it’s a nice performance) Mini-German: Part 2(I know he’s Austrian) Now for a slight change of pace. Sort of. While this work came a decade after last week’s Beethoven piece, it is… at least to my ears, not as far ahead of its time. That’s no criticism at all. Let me explain.For one, Eroica was just kind of a phenomenal thing. Beethoven was already into his thirties when this piece was written. Schubert was about half that … Continue reading Schubert Symphony no. 3 in D major, D. 200

Bruckner Symphony no. 4 in Eb major, ‘Romantic’ (Haas, 1881)

performed by the Vienna Philharmonic under Karl Böhm (1973 recording), or below with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Claudio Abbado So did I have that epiphany (from Tuesday’s post)? I think I may have. It seems there comes some point … Continue reading Bruckner Symphony no. 4 in Eb major, ‘Romantic’ (Haas, 1881)

Nerds (geeks?) and Classical Music

I couldn’t agree more with this article. I was giddy when I found it. Read it and then come back.  (Buckle up. The first few paragraphs are outrageously tangential, and then we get to the main point.) I am coming to have a closer relationship with classical music after realizing that it is perhaps the only thing that helps me enjoy or look forward to washing dishes. I don’t have a dishwasher, and I cook a ton (and I’m a messy cook), so there’s lots of washing up to be done in a very small kitchen, but instead of setting a … Continue reading Nerds (geeks?) and Classical Music

Mozart symphony no 7 in D, K. 45

Completed in 1768 after the family’s return to Vienna after a vacation and escape from smallpox. Parts of it were later refashioned into an opera (La Finta Semplice) and another entire symphony (K. 46a, the link for which on Wikipedia redirects to the aforementioned opera, but apparently the one I listened to, as the first movement is marked “Overture”) This one was likely premiered at a private performance. It’s a short one, but the two bits I enjoyed most were the first and fourth movements. The andante in 2/4 and the minuetto/trio are just fine, but didn’t much capture my … Continue reading Mozart symphony no 7 in D, K. 45