Aaron Copland: Clarinet Concerto

performed by Martin Frost and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra So here we are in our final installment of a brief but surprisingly enjoyable miniseries on the clarinet.  What’s left? Well, we haven’t had a concerto yet, and this week’s piece brings us solidly into the modern era, with a piece written within the lifetimes of some people still around today.  Copland’s clarinet concerto was written shortly after his third symphony. I feel like this shouldn’t be the piece we use to first represent Copland on the blog, as he has lots of other stuff worth talking about, but in the … Continue reading Aaron Copland: Clarinet Concerto

Schumann’s Drei Fantasiestücke, op. 73, for clarinet and piano

performed by two separate teams:the clarinet and piano duo here or a truly splendid performance by Capucon and Argerich (cello, not clarinet) Welcome to part two of our three (and a half?) part clarinet series. Today’s piece was originally written for clarinet and piano, but it seems that it is more often performed on cello. That isn’t against the composer’s wish, though, as he’d directed that the clarinet part could be played either on violin or cello as well.Schumann is a composer I’m not terribly familiar with, as evidenced by my poor attention to his symphonies I wrote about a … Continue reading Schumann’s Drei Fantasiestücke, op. 73, for clarinet and piano

Centenniel Music Post: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in Dm, op. 30

performed by the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin under Riccardo Chailly; Martha Argerich, piano //player.vimeo.com/video/63725542 This is intimidating. I guess everything about this piece is except for listening to it, and sometimes even that. There’s so. much. to. say. about this piece that I almost don’t want to try. There are so many theses, recordings, liner notes, program notes, concert talks and everything else about this piece that it would be ludicrous for me to think I have anything else to add but my own opinion and feelings of the piece, so that’s pretty much all I’m going to share, aside from some basics. For the technical bits … Continue reading Centenniel Music Post: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in Dm, op. 30

If a tree falls in the forest…

…. and there isn’t a music critic around to… anyway.I have been in various series of discussions with various series of people in what is essentially a dead-end, highly subjective and rather useless dialogue with a few different people about… “what is art?”The ‘tree in the forest’ thought experiment is just kind of what comes to mind when you (‘you’ as in ‘I’) begin to think about defining something based solely on a person’s or people’s perception of it.I would embed this video in the actual post itself, but it wasn’t what actually started the debate, and it has nothing … Continue reading If a tree falls in the forest…

Prokofiev piano sonata no. 1 in Fm, op. 1

performed by Yefim Bronfman https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/z2EDk2Zsdik&source=uds It’s funny how life is. I’d planned the writing of this piece at least a month ago as a lead-in to another set of works for piano (the actual lead in was last week’s Satie piece, but this one sets up for what is to come later), and it was for a few reasons that now seem… less important than some others that have since surfaced. This piece is perhaps not as exciting to many as his other, later, more substantial works, but in a lot of (perhaps intentional, contrived ways), may have a lot to say about … Continue reading Prokofiev piano sonata no. 1 in Fm, op. 1

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, op. 26

performed by the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, Yefim Bronfman, piano (while I mention Wang below, and Argerich many times, I do quite enjoy Bronfman’s performance here. It’s a new album for me and I was pleased enough to listen to it instead of the other Argerich recordings and Wang’s with Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra; they’re all great) https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/KDfGBmbNbMw&source=uds The above is of the wonderful Yuja Wang and the Concertgebouw, under their (soon-to-be) new maestro, Daniele Gatti.  https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/NOybfjTRCdo&source=uds The above is of Ms. Martha Argerich herself. The first recording I had of this piece was of her and … Continue reading Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, op. 26

What is music?

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/6wDreAmNgHQ&source=uds That sounds like such a vague, stupid question to ask, but I love Krystian Zimerman’s (whose name I always manage to spell wrong) description of how music is more than just sound. Watch, listen and enjoy.  Aside from Zimerman’s incredible talent, and his incredible musicality, he has a really nice voice (not to mention the beautiful Schubert impromptu in the background). I have featured his performance of a Chopin ballade here, and he is truly a musician and artist of the highest order, and therefore, as you will see, incredibly in touch with his craft.  He makes a wonderful … Continue reading What is music?

The ensemble: the harp

An interview with Viktor Hartobanu image courtesy Andreas Labes I would like to work my way through the entire orchestra, getting interviews with an actual performer of each instrument and talk about its history, role in the ensemble and as a solo instrument, etc. This may only be a monthly (or bimonthly or quarterly) feature, but I am excited about starting this up, and firstly, we’re going to have a look at an instrument that I know almost nothing about aside from one of my favorite modern musicians who is part folk, part Appalachian, part indie, but 100% genius, Joanna … Continue reading The ensemble: the harp

Why I love the piano sonata

I tend to vacillate between the simple, straightforward sonata, and the heavy-hitting, drawn out, intense Romantic-era hour-long symphony in my listening habits. For me, it’s either a huge, monumental work like a 90-minute Mahler symphony (or something slightly less overwhelming like Sibelius or Tchaikovsky) or something pared down, simple, straightforward, an exquisite example of form, structure and style like a piano sonata.  Truth be told, I haven’t even gotten much into anything between these two extremes, things like quartets or other instrument sonatas (violin, viola, cello, etc.) that are often accompanied by piano. Part of the reason that the recent … Continue reading Why I love the piano sonata

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

Maurice Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand

performed by Pascal Rogé (from the two-disc Ravel: Piano Works from Decca) (link to a YouTube version, also a superb interpretation played by the fantastic Martha Argerich, whom I talk about below: 1. Ondine 2. Le Gibet 3. Scarbo AND … Continue reading Maurice Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand