Monday, June 27, 2016
This recording brings us two great orchestral works by Johannes Brahms. Brahms: Serenade No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 Variations on a theme by Haydn for orchestra, Op. 56a ‘St Anthony Variations’ Performed by The Hague Philharmonic, Jan Willem de Vriend conducting. The Serenade No.1 and the Haydn Variations are also among the most “classical” of Brahms’ orchestral works. This is the first instalment in a series of CD’s that de Vriend devotes to Brahms. The next one will be the Deutsches Requiem. Here is Gustavo Dudamel, conducting a performance of Brahms’ Bariation on a Theme by Haydn:
Cappella Murensis/Les Cornets Noirs/Strobl (Audite) The recent discovery of Alessandro Striggio’s huge 40-part Mass has whetted the appetite for other multi-choir works: Georg Muffat’s late 17th-century piece in 24 parts is modest in terms of size, but musically rather more interesting. The writing is subtle and expressive, and this recording using the four galleries of the abbey church in Muri mirrors well the probable original setting in Salzburg cathedral. The autograph score was owned by Joseph Haydn, who surely appreciated Muffat’s eloquent twists and turns of phrase. Johannes Strobl’s ensemble is sometimes unfocused but always energetic. They complement Muffat’s vocal music with rich, well-chosen instrumental sonatas by Heinrich Biber, Antonio Bertali and Johann Schmelzer: shining, skating sounds. Continue reading...
Barbican, London The luminous beauty of Perahia at his best was missing in a performance that struggled on its way to the biggest piano sonata of allNext season at the Barbican, Murray Perahia will devote himself to Beethoven, playing all five piano concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, as well as giving a solo recital devoted to the composer. The main work in his latest appearance was by Beethoven, too – the biggest of all the piano sonatas, the Hammerklavier Op 106.When Perahia is at his best, one can only wonder at the polish and luminous beauty of his playing, even when some of his interpretative details are less convincing. But this never became one of those occasions. As if to counteract the major-key assertiveness of the Hammerklavier to follow, the first half had been made up of works in which minor keys and introspection predominated. Haydn’s F minor Variations sounded as wistfully Schubertian as ever, but the performance of Mozart’s A minor Sonata K 310 was a fierce, almost intimidating exercise in Sturm und Drang, and Brahms’ final set of piano pieces, Op 119, never evoked the confessional intimacy they can in the early numbers, or became convincingly affirmative in the final rhapsody, which sometimes seemed to take Perahia out of his technical comfort zone, too. Continue reading...
Every year, during the summer, the resident string quartet at Stanford University holds a Chamber Music seminar. This year, the seminar runs from June 19th to the 26th. I attended a terrific concert this afternoon, at which the Quartet performed the following: Haydn: String quartet Op. 20, number 2 Richard Strauss: Sextet from the Opera Capriccio Darius Milhaud: Scaramouche for duo pianos I enjoyed the concert thoroughly. There was music for every taste, dating from the 1700 for Haydn, 1942 for Strauss, and 1937 for the Scaramouche by Milhaud. For me, the Haydn was at the very top. I am always amazed by the originality, innovation, and creativity of chamber music by Haydn. The Op. 20 quartet begins with solo cello, and later movements continue to feature a lovely warm melody for violin. Yet something occurs in Haydn’s music that foreshadows the emergence of revolutionary quartets by Beethoven very late in Beethoven’s life. THAT is the mark of amazing genius. Haydn was Beethoven’s teacher, and when Beethoven died in 1827, one could hear the amazing impact that Haydn had on his student. Here is a section of the Hadn Quartet Op. 20 number 2:
My grandson called me on Saturday. As usual we talked about music. He told me that he had recently played for a well-known person at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. I asked my grandson if he would briefly sing the opening of the piece he had played at the Colburn School. He sang it, and of course it seemed quite familiar to me. In fact, it was the Beethoven Sonata Op. 2 number 1. Beethoven composed this sonata in 1795 and dedicated it to Joseph Haydn. Beethoven was 25 years old at that time. In the years that followed, Beethoven composed 31 additional piano sonatas that were published. My favorite among these is the Op. 110. Listen now to the Sonata number 1 in F-Minor, Op. 2, number 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven, as played by Andras Schiff:
Bridgewater Hall, Manchester The composer’s A Brief History of Creation runs riot through 14 billion years of history with Hallé Children’s Choir giving voice to big bangs, galumphing dinosaurs and the first tiny cellChancing across one of James Turrell’s epic light shows in an art gallery in Bremen, composer Jonathan Dove began to hear voices – children’s voices, to be precise, blended into the sound of a newborn galaxy. It inspired Dove to become the first composer since Haydn to base a choral work on the entire history of everything. Whereas Haydn’s Creation amalgamated the Book of Genesis with Paradise Lost, Dove and his librettist Alasdair Middleton have taken the scientific route. Their evolutionary oratorio, A Brief History of Creation, is not particularly brief, as it encompasses an hour’s worth of material. But Dove has a remarkable aptitude for writing music that is challenging to sing, stimulating to listen to, yet simple to remember. The outstanding Hallé Children’s Choir covered almost 14 billion years entirely from memory. Continue reading...
Joseph Haydn (31 March 1732 - 31 May 1809) was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms. He was also instrumental in the development of the piano trio and in the evolution of sonata form. A life-long resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Hungarian aristocratic Esterházy family on their remote estate. Isolated from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his long life, he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". At the time of his death, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe. Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn, himself a highly regarded composer, and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a close friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a teacher of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Great composers of classical music