gramarye1971: smiling UK justice amongst a sea of other justices wearing court wigs (Wig in a Box)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
I was rewatching my DVD of Beyond the Fringe the other day, and consequently felt a need to post links to British comedian and musician Dudley Moore's musical parodies over here at [community profile] classical_music:

- Benjamin Britten's "Little Miss Muffet" (as sung by Peter Pears) and Bertolt Brecht's "Ballad of Gangster Joe" (as sung by Kurt Weill)
- "European songs" by Gabriel Fauré and Franz Schubert
- Beethoven's "Colonel Bogey" Sonata

For your viewing and listening pleasure. ^_^
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
Here's the last 6 weeks of my Forgotten Masterpiece Friday series.

This month's pieces include a symphony occasionally referred to as "Mahler's Symphony No. 0" for the great influence it had on Mahler, a strong contender for greatest Op. 1 in music history in Dohnányi's first piano quintet, and a lovely extended symphonic poem following Aeschylus's Oresteia by a truly unknown Spanish composer for whom I am literally unable to find any biographical material published in English.

July 7: Nina Makarova, Symphony (1938, rev. 1962)
July 14: Hans Rott, Symphony No. 1 (1880)
July 21: Kurt Atterberg, Symphony No. 2 (1915)
July 28: Amy Beach, Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet (1916)
August 4: Ernő Dohnányi, Piano Quintet No. 1 (1895)
August 11: Manuel Manrique de Lara, La Orestiada (1890)
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
Just wondering because, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, June through August are usually the offseason for just about every concert series. What's everyone doing this summer, whether in terms of playing music or listening to it?

I normally do a lot of extra technical practice and work on solo repertoire during the summers, because I have more time for it when I'm not busy playing in two orchestras, but this summer I've taken about a month off from playing viola because I was struggling with tendinitis at the end of the concert season. I'm putting more time into composing instead -- working on a viola concerto and a choral piece. Both firsts for me: I've never written for solo string instrument with orchestra, or anything for voice. At the end of July, I'm going to the CalCap Chamber Music Workshop at Sacramento State University -- it'll be my first-ever summer chamber music workshop, and should be fun since it's five-and-a-half days of nothing but chamber music.
ghostwire: (Default)
[personal profile] ghostwire
What are some of your favorite works for violin and orchestra?

Here are mine:

Poeme op. 25- Ernest Chausson
The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Tzigane - Maurice Ravel
Scottish Fantasy - Max Bruch
Concertos by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Korngold, Brahms...
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
It's Forgotten Masterpiece Friday!

Curiously, though Germany has had a disproportionate influence on Western music over the centures, few well-known composers have hailed from Northern Germany: of those whose works are frequently heard in concert halls, only Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, and Carl Maria von Weber were born in the Baltic coastal plain. And so, in 2012, after hearing music by a relatively unknown woman from the Mecklenburg region, a critic for the regional newspaper Nordkurier felt the need to write: “The Norwegians have their Grieg, The Finns their Sibelius, the Poles have their Chopin. And we have Emilie Mayer – we just didn’t know it until now!”

Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) became a serious composer relatively late in life. She took piano lessons as a child and even composed a few short pieces, but she did not begin to study composition until her late twenties. The impetus was a sudden tragedy: in 1840, her father fatally shot himself 26 years to the day after burying her mother. Burying her grief in art, she moved to Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland) to study music under the prominent conductor Carl Loewe. Loewe, in turn, described Mayer as the most talented composer he had met; upon the premieres of Mayer's first two symphonies in 1847, he told her that he could teach her nothing more and advised her to further her studies in Berlin. There, Mayer was able to establish herself as perhaps the only woman in Europe to make a living as a full-time composer at the time. During her lifetime, she completed eight symphonies, an opera, a piano concerto, and a substantial number of chamber works. But like many other female composers of the time, she was completely forgotten after her death -- much of her music is now missing, including two of her symphonies.

This week's piece is Mayer's 7th Symphony, composed in 1855-56 and premiered in 1862. The disc from which this recording is taken, by Kammersymphonie Berlin under the baton of Jürgen Bruns, mislabels the symphony as her 5th (which is in fact one of her two lost symphonies).

I. Allegro agitato
II. Adagio (10:50)
III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (20:57)
IV. Finale: Allegro vivace (27:42)

drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
It's Forgotten Masterpiece Friday!

I'm sure we've all heard music by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) -- but have you heard anything by Sullivan without Gilbert?

Sullivan was not always known as a composer of light opera; it was only after he met W.S. Gilbert in 1870 that his focus turned to musical theater. Before that, he composed a number of critically acclaimed pieces for the concert hall, including his Irish Symphony, a cello concerto, and his best-known concert work, his Overture di Ballo, in 1870. Interestingly, in the years after Sullivan's death, a number of critics argued that his shift to musical theater was a waste of his talents. One, Fuller Maitland, wrote in 1901 that Sullivan's early work "at once stamped him as a genius" who would never fulfill his promise as he produced fewer and fewer serious concert works. This seems an unkind assessment of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, but certainly Sullivan's early concert works deserve more attention than they have received.

Arthur Sullivan was persuaded to compose a cello concerto in April 1866. At the same concert where his only symphony premiered, Italian cellist Alfredo Piatti played the Schumann cello concerto. Sullivan was impressed by Piatti's playing, and Piatti was evidently impressed by Sullivan's symphony; after that concert Sullivan immediately set to work on a new concerto for Piatti. Sullivan's concerto, first performed by Piatti in November of the same year, filled a large gap in the repertoire at the time. In the 1860s, there were few cello concerti in the standard repertoire: Schumann's has never been frequently played, and none of the Romantic concerti in today's standard repertoire had yet been composed, so cello soloists of the time tended to stick largely to Vivaldi, Haydn, and Boccherini.

Eventually, the likes of Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, and Elgar came to dominate the cello concerto repertoire, and early Romantic cello concerti such as Sullivan's fell into neglect. After Sullivan's death in 1900, his cello concerto would only be performed twice before the 1980s: once a few years after the composer's death, and once in 1953. The score and parts were never published, but remained in storage at the offices of music publisher Chapell & Co, where they were destroyed in a fire in 1964. But two copies of the solo part survived, with indications of orchestral cues written in. In the early 1980s, Charles Mackerras, who had conducted the 1953 performance, used these two copies, along with his own memory, to produce the reconstruction of the concerto that we know today. Appropriately enough, at the premiere of the reconstructed version, the cello soloist was also someone closely connected to musical theater: Julian Lloyd Webber, younger brother of musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber!

The structure of Sullivan's cello concerto is rather unusual. The first movement, the most substantial in most concerti, is instead the shortest here, serving as a brief introduction before a cadenza segues into the second movement. The opening theme from the first movement ends up serving as a second theme in the finale, which is in sonata allegro form rather than a more traditional rondo.

I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante espressivo (3:20)
III. Molto vivace (10:17)

For those interested, there's also a video of Julian Lloyd Webber playing the concerto -- unfortunately not the best audio quality, but maybe worth seeing just for the musical theater connection:

lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
[personal profile] lilacsigil
Chopin's Preludes (op. 28) have been recorded many, many times, but I am looking for one in particular. The very short Prelude no. 7 reaches a climax with the following chords:

excerpt from Chopin's Preludes op. 28 no. 7

I'm sure, though, that I have heard a version where instead of the repeated C-sharp, the top note in the final chord is the E above that. Has anyone else heard this, or know which recording it is? It would have been before about 1995, as I didn't play after that until recently.

It's not: Ashkenazy, Joao Pires, Argerich, Pogorelich or Schiff.
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
Starting this week, I'm reposting directly here by popular request.

It's Forgotten Masterpiece Friday!

If you listen to much NPR, you've heard a tune by Louise Farrenc (1804-1875), at least in some sense. I'm not about to accuse Don Voegeli of plagiarizing the theme music he wrote in 1976 for NPR's All Things Considered from Farrenc's second piano quintet, because that quintet had been out of print since 1895 and was not recorded until the 1990s. But the main melody in the catchiest of all radio themes is identical, note for note, to one of the main themes in Farrenc's quintet.

During her lifetime, Louise Farrenc was known mainly as a pianist; she achieved considerable fame on the concert stage by 1830 and in 1842 won an appointment as professor of piano performance at the Paris Conservatory, becoming only the Conservatory's second-ever female professor. But she was arguably an even better composer than performer, producing a considerable number of great chamber works and three symphonies, and was one of only a handful of women who succeeded in having their compositions performed outside their home countries. Unfortunately, even though Farrenc overcame prejudice against women composers to the extent that she became a favorite of many musicians, her music never gained traction among the wider public. Gender was not the only reason; she had the extra handicap of being a French composer who primarily wrote instrumental music at a time when the French public was totally fixated on opera. As her contemporary Saint-Saëns complained at one point, anyone who wrote instrumental music in Paris had to put on concerts themselves and invite friends and the press! Like many other 19th century French composers of instrumental music, her music fell out of the repertoire by the turn of the 20th century and only began to return to concert halls in the 1990s.

Farrenc composed two piano quintets in 1839-40, both using the "Trout" scoring of violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. This week's piece is the first of those quintets. Perhaps not surprisingly, the quintet features a virtuosic piano part, but this is no mere piano show piece! In fact, it may be even more striking how completely the piano is integrated into the ensemble -- Romantic chamber music at its finest. Don't miss the absolutely breathtaking scherzo!


I. Allegro
II. Adagio ma non troppo (11:27)
III. Scherzo: Presto (17:46)
IV. Finale: Allegro (21:19)

drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
It's probably a little unwieldy to copy all my past Forgotten Masterpiece Friday posts into this group, but I'll start posting them here in the future. For now, I thought I'd link directly to a few favorites on my journal. I can also now confirm that all the Forgotten Masterpiece Fridays on my DW journal are visible to the public.

Howard Hanson, Symphony No. 1 ("Nordic")

Wang Xilin, Symphony No. 1
* An early work from a still-active composer sometimes known as the Chinese Shostakovich.

George Bristow, Symphony No. 3
* A very early American symphony that was well ahead of its time in orchestration.

Ethel Smyth, Double Concerto
* Interesting combination of solo instruments: horn and violin!

Walter Rabl, Clarinet Quintet

Sheng Lihong, Ocean Symphony
* Literally the composer's only composition for which he received sole credit; but for a first and last effort, what a piece!

Amanda Maier, Violin Sonata
* Mutually influential with Brahms's 3rd violin sonata; the two composers simultaneously sent one another early drafts!

Kunihiko Hashimoto, Symphony No. 1
* The second movement is essentially a Japanese Bolero that ends with taiko drums being used in the percussion section.

Intro post

May. 13th, 2017 12:36 pm
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
Hi, everyone! I'm a violist and composer based in Sacramento, California, USA. Music isn't my primary job, but I play viola in a semi-professional orchestra and am principal violist in a community orchestra. I also play violin occasionally, played piano through college, played low brass in high school, and have done a fair bit of choral performance (true bass, definitely not baritone).

If I had to pick three favorite composers, both to play and to listen to, it would be Brahms, Schumann, and Shostakovich; you can probably fill in a lot of my other favorites from there. I enjoy music from all eras from Renaissance to 21st century, though.

I also like exploring lesser-known composers from all eras. I've been fortunate in that the directors of both of my orchestras similarly enjoy going off the beaten path. One of the things I post every week on my own page is "Forgotten Masterpiece Fridays," where I present an unjustly neglected piece, usually by a lesser-known composer. (I think most of those posts should be visible to the public; if any are not, it's because I had to manually change permissions to public when I imported from LiveJournal and may have missed one or two.)

I'd love to chat with any other string players, composers, and especially anyone else who likes exploring lesser-known classical music.
espresso_addict: Two cups of espresso with star effect on coffee pot (coffee cups)
[personal profile] espresso_addict
Hello, everyone! I stumbled across this comm at random and was surprised to find it's so new. Looking forward to interesting discussions, but meanwhile... My three favourite composers are JS Bach, Stravinsky & Steve Reich, and I also listen to a lot of contemporary classical, 20th century eg Bartok & a handful of earlier composers. I love contemporary opera, choral music, string quartets, cello, &c&c.

I've very recently started to play the piano again after a 30-year hiatus, but am finding it hard work on my own. I was also hoping to take up choral singing again, but find my voice -- always problematically placed between soprano & alto -- has shrunk to nearly nonexistence.
gramarye1971: a French horn resting on an open book of sheet music (French horn)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Hello, all -- I'm a piano, French horn, and organ player who has dabbled (with little success) in double reeds, had a brief fling with a harpsichord, and has daydreamed about buying a hammer dulcimer and being the coolest kid at parties. I've also done my fair share of choral performance, starting as a soprano but now more comfortably in the alto/contralto range.

One of the best classes I ever took in college for broadening my music horizons was a seminar on medieval and Renaissance music, which sparked my love for polyphony and composers like John Dunstable, Guillaume Du Fay, and Giovanni Perluigi de Palestrina. Primarily, I'm a sucker for baroque music, especially the organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude and J.S. Bach and the harpsichord work of François Couperin. In the classical period I look mostly to Beethoven and Haydn, and from the later years I gravitate towards Chopin (mainly his nocturnes), Elgar, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky. Operas of choice include Turandot, Cavallaria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, and Don Giovanni, and I'll always make time to listen to Carmina Burana or Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

Especially happy to chat with other organists, fans of early or late polyphony, or people who listen to something like Mozart's Requiem on a crowded bus and pretend that they're in an action movie right at the part where something epic is about to happen.
kotturinn: (Default)
[personal profile] kotturinn
Another clarinettist here. Also piano (rustily) and recorders. Fairly eclectic tastes mainly, I think, because I'll give anything a listen once - some do turn out to be just once.

Currently ear-wormed by a mix of Hindemith, Franck and Ravel. having played bass clarinet in pieces by the first two last night with Ely Sinfonia (

For anyone within range of Cambridge UK, with an interest in 20th and 21st century music, the upcoming Cambridge Philharmonic concert (Adès, Adams, Ives) looks rather a treat (
used_songs: (Skull colors)
[personal profile] used_songs
I play the clarinet. I'm trying to .learn to play the violin (and the banjo). My favorite composers to play are Hindemth, Poulenc, Shostakovich, Stravinski, Mozart, and Bach. As far as the classical music I usually listen to, it's a lot of fairly contemporary stuff. I like John Cage, John Adams, the Arditti Quartet, Maya Beiser, the Kronos Quartet, Mika Yoshida, yMusic,Bang on a Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, Caleb Burnham, Tarab Cello Ensemble, Steve Reich, Roomful of Teeth, and others. I also love opera.

I just really love music.
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
[personal profile] lilacsigil
Hi! I used to play piano and then took up the cello at age 12 so that I could play in ensembles, which I loved. Unfortunately psoriatic arthritis means I can't play the cello and had to take a very long break from piano. I've recently started playing piano again after almost 20 years not playing and it's a hard slog but it's so great to be making music again.

My favorite composers are Chopin and Bach, for a bit of variety, but I also love Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Hi! I'm a musician -- cellist and singer -- who loves classical music. Love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Strauss waltzes, chamber music. Not fond at all of Mendelssohn, because of how he treats cellists -- as if they're there only to do sound effects with sixteenth notes, causing repetitive motion injuries. But I'm open to other classical as well. Stravinski! Benjamin Britten! (bring it on!)
ghostwire: (Default)
[personal profile] ghostwire
Welcome to the community!

Please, feel free to introduce yourself.
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