Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sunday Classics posts (updated 5/1/10)


by Ken

Amid the wonders of Gurre-Lieder, Schoenberg pushed tonality to its limits
music: excerpts from Gurre-Lieder, cond. Ozawa, Kubelik, Sinopoli, Mehta, Chailly, Krips, Rattle, et al. Video: Karita Mattila sings Tove at the Proms, 1994. [5/2/10]
Preview: "Tot ist Tove" -- Schoenberg's "Song of the Wood Dove"
music: "Song of the Wood Dove" sung by Lili Chookasian (cond. Leinsdorf) and (incomplete) by Ann Murray (cond. A. Davis, video). [5/1/10]

The Shostakovich 6th rises from brooding to joyous uplift (with notes on Shostakovich and Schoenberg)
music: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54, cond. (i.) Sanderling, Boult; (ii.) Ashkenazy, Slovák; (iii.) Haitink, Barshai; (complete) Mravinsky, Bernstein. Symphony No. 13, Op. 113: ii. Humor, sung by Peter Mikulaš (cond. Slovák) and Nikita Storojev (cond. Kamu). Wagner: Tristan und Isolde: Prelude, cond. C. Kleiber. Debussy: Sarabande (orch. Ravel), cond. Monteux; Ibéria, cond. Rosenthal. Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder: "Nun sag' ich dir zum ersten Mal,: sung by Gundula Janowitz (cond. Krips) and Jessye Norman (cond. Ozawa).
Previews: It's a Guess the Composer(s?) Quiz
video bonus: Stravinsky: Greeting Prelude (cond. de Leeuw) [4/23/10]
Three more mystery works are added to the Quiz
video bonus: Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin: Menuet; Rigaudon (cond. Salonen) [4/24/10]

Roaming the landscape (and seascape!) of the imagination -- the full orchestral splendor of Debussy
music: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Saxophone Rhapsody (both cond. Martinon and Masur); La Mer (cond. Boulez, Rosenthal, Martinon, Masur; video: 3rd mvmt, cond. Gergiev); Three Nocturnes (cond. Plasson). [4/18/10]
Previews: Debussy -- the man who heard the music in moonlight
music: various arrangements of "Clair de lune," "La Fille aux cheveux de lin," and "Golliwogg's Cake-walk," plus the piano originals played by Peter Frankl, Walter Gieseking, and Aldo Ciccolini. [4/16/10]
Debussy from "Syrinx" to "Afternoon of a Faun" -- or is it vice versa?
music:"Syrinx" (videos: played by Paula Robison and Jean-Pierre Rampal); the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (played with piano accompaniment by Julius Baker, and cond. Rosenthal); and a Baker-Rampal video bonus. [4/17/10]

In perfect balance -- Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto, where everything comes together just right
music: hybrid performance by Van Cliburn (cond. Reiner), Arthur Rubinstein (cond. Golschmann, 1946), and Byron Janis (cond. Dorati); complete concerto played by Krystian Zimerman (cond. Ozawa) and Rubinstein (cond. Reiner, 1956). Video: Rachmaninoff's 2nd Suite for Two Pianos played by Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire. [4/11/10]
Previews: Heart of the Piano Concerto, Part 2: Rachmaninoff's 2nd
music: Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: 1st mvmt, played by Arthur Rubinstein (cond. Reiner) and Sergei Rachmaninoff (cond. Stokowski); Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2, played by Rubinstein and Byron Janis. [4/9/10]
A peek at the "fifth" Rachmaninoff piano concerto
music: Paganini: Caprice No. 24, played by Itzhak Perlman and by guitarist Eliot Fisk (video). Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini: excerpts played by Nikolai Lugansky (cond. Oramo), Arthur Rubinstein (cond. Reiner), and Sergei Rachmaninoff (cond. Stokowski); played complete by Earl Wild (cond. Horenstein). [4/10/10]

In Schumann's case, obsession wasn't necessarily a bad thing
music: Piano Quintet (hybrid perf: Rubinstein/Guarneri Qt, Balsam/Budapest Qt, Serkin/Budapest Qt, Argerich et al.). Piano works: one more "Träumerei (Freire); excerpts from Kreisleriana and Symphonic Etudes, Arabeske, "Vogel als Prophet" (Horowitz, Argerich, Kempff, Arrau, Rubinstein, Freire, Demus). Songs: excerpts from Op. 39 Liederkreis (Lott, Partridge, Hagegard), Dichterliebe (Wunderlich, Fischer-Dieskau 1957 and 1985), "The Two Grenadiers" (Schmidt, Bär, Chaliapin) [4/4/10]
Previews: Schumann -- most romantic of the Romantics?
music: Piano Quintet: 1st-2nd mvmts (Gabrilowitsch/Flonzaley Qt, Sanromá/Primrose Qt); 2nd mvmt (video -- Grimaud, Capuçon, et al.) [4/2/10]
A taste of Schumann the obsessive, in his piano works and songs
music: "Träumerei" (Horowitz [video + 3 audio perfs], Argerich, Kempff, Arrau). Lotte Lehmann introduces and sings "In der Fremde" (from Op. 39 Liederkreis), also sung by Ian Partridge, Hakan Hagegard. [4/3/10]

In the piano concertos, we hear Beethoven in hard-fought sort-of-harmony with the universe
music: Concerto No. 3 played by Arthur Rubinstein (hybrid performance) and an all-star team (Perahia/Richter/Firkusny); No. 4 by Schnabel (hybrid) and all-stars (Fleisher/Kempff/Gilels); Choral Fantasy played by Rudolf Serkin x 3 (cond. Bernstein, P. Serkin, Ozawa). Video: P. and R. Serkin play Schubert's March in G. [3/28/10]
Previews: Beethoven and the "heart of the piano concerto"
music: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37: finale, Rondo, played by Krystian Zimerman (video, cond. Bernstein), Arthur Rubinstein (cond. Krips), and Evgeny Kissin (cond. C. Davis). Bonus: Moonlight Sonata, played by Rubinstein. [3/26/10]
Down in the basement with Beethoven
music: Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58: 1st mvmt, played by Claudio Arrau (video, cond. Muti), Artur Schnabel (cond. Stock), and Vladimir Ashkenazy (conducting himself). Plus Schnabel Beethoven bonus. [3/27/10]

Wagner, master of musical motion, Part 2 (yes, last night's preview was Part 1)
music: Tristan und Isolde: Act I Prelude (cond. Böhm, Mehta, Knappertsbusch, Pappano, Thielemann, Furwängler, Karajan), Act III Prelude and opening (cond. Böhm, Furwängler, Karajan). Prelude and Liebestod (Norman, cond. Tennstedt; Ludwig, cond. Knappertsbusch). Parsifal: Prelude and Good Friday Spell (cond. Jochum); Prelude and Act I opening (cond. Knappersbusch, Jordan, Jochum).
Previews: Musical motion, perpetual and otherwise
music: Video: Sorcerer's Apprentice (Dukas) sequence from Fantasia (cond. Stokowski). Rossini: Cenerentola and Semiramide overtures (cond. Giulini). J. Strauss II: Perpetuum mobile ( cond. Karajan [video] and Böhm); Pizzicato Polka and Emperor Waltz (cond. Böhm). [3/19/10]
Good Wagner conductors find what inside the music makes it move
music: excerpts from Die Walküre (including video: helicopter-attack sequence from Apocalypse Now with "Ride of the Valkyries"), Lohengrin, Parsifal. [3/20/10]

In Verdi's Don Carlos all paths lead back to the tomb of Charles V
music: Auto-da-fé scene beg. (video, cond. Karajan). First monastery scene (van Dam, Karajan; Labò, Santini; Domingo, Abbado; Margison, Haitink). Carlos's aria -- orig. vers. (Alagna, Pappano; Domingo, Abbado); revised vers. (Bjoerling, Stiedry; Tucker, Stiedry). Carlos-Rodrigo duet (Bjoerling-Merrill, 1950; Tucker-Bastianini, 1955; Corelli-Herlea, 1964). Elisabeth's aria (Steber, Adler, 1955; Callas, Rescigno). Conclusion of opera (cond. Karajan). [3/14/10]
Previews:DWT Opera Quiz -- Is this any way to start an opera? (Part 2)
music: introductions to most of the scenes of Verdi's Don Carlos (various perfs.). [3/12/10]
How Charles V became emperor of the world
music: Verdi: Ernani: "Oh, de' verdi'anni miei," sung by Hvorostovsky, Warren, MacNeil, Sereni; "O sommo Carlo," sung by Bruson (video), Warren, MacNeil, Sereni. [3/13/10]

Rhapsodies from Sweden and points south and east
music: Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 -- piano: Horowitz (video), Moiseiwitsch, Brendel, Cziffra; orchestra: cond. Stokowski, Ormandy. Alfven: Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (cond. Ormandy). Enesco: Romanian Rhapsodies -- cond. Stokowski (No. 1), Ormandy (Nos. 1-2). Chabrier: España (cond. Argenta, Paray, Ormandy). Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole (cond. Martinon; Stokowski, 1957 and 1974). [3/7/10]
Preview: Would you like to hear a decent performance of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2? Me too!
music: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 played by Hamelin (video), Dichter. [3/6/10]

Mastering the fine art of Edvard Grieg
music: Piano Concerto in A minor played by Arthur Rubinstein with Eugene Ormandy (1942); 11 Lyric Pieces played by Rubinstein and Peter Katin plus Leif Ove Andsnes, Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Einar Steen-Nokleberg, Mikhail Pletnev, Josef Hofmann; String Quartet in G minor played by Chilingirian Quartet. [2/28/10]
Preview: More of Grieg's lovely little Lyric Pieces
music: Arthur Rubinstein plays four more Lyric Pieces. [2/27/10]

Glimpses of the musical depths of Richard Strauss
music: Salome revisited (Dohnányi, cond.). Die Frau ohne Schatten: Act I concl. (cond. Sawallisch, Sinopoli, Solti, Kempe, Böhm). Capriccio: Introduction (cond. Prêtre), Moonlight Interlude (cond. Prêtre, Karajan, Fischer-Dieskau). Der Rosenkavalier: Act II concl. (Berry, Ludwig); various suites (cond. Maazel, Kempe, Reiner). [2/21/10]
Previews: The lustiest musical "bad boy" of them all, Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel
music: Till Eulienspiegel's Merry Pranks (cond. Kempe, Solti, Blomstedt, Karajan). [2/19/10]
The "other side" of Richard Strauss
music: Capriccio: Introduction (cond. Previn), Moonlight Interlude (cond. Pappano [video], Previn). Die Frau ohne Schatten: Act I concl. (cond. Böhm -- 1953, 1977). [2/20/10]

More on Grieg: Advancing on Peer Gynt, and covering the A minor Piano Concerto
music: Peer Gynt: In the Hall of the Mountain King (cond. Fiedler, Masur); Solveig's Song and Cradle Song (sung by Elisabeth Grümmer). Piano Concerto played by Arthur Rubinstein (cond. Wallenstein [1961], Ormandy [1942], Dorati[1949]); 3rd mvmt (video cond. Previn [1975]). [2/14/10]
Previews: Marching trolls and other lyric subjects courtesy of Edvard Grieg
music: assorted Lyric Pieces and all of Book V played by Peter Katin plus video clip of "Trolls' March" and two pieces played by Arthur Rubinstein; Lyric Suite for orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli, Raymond Leppard, . [2/12/10]
"The Prophet has come!" Grieg and the world of "Peer Gynt"
music:Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1-2 conducted by Neeme Järvi (video clip of "Arabian Dance"), Herbert von Karajan, Arthur Fiedler, Ole Kristian Ruud, Jeffrey Tate. [2/13/10]

Super Bowl Special -- Finally we piece together the Mahler 2nd and 3rd Symphonies
music: Symphony No. 2: iii.-v. (Schäfer, DeYoung, Boulez-Vienna Phil, 2005; and Marton, Norman, Maazel-Vienna Phil, 1983); i.-iii. (Tennstedt-NDR Symphony, 1980). Symphony No. 3: iii.-vi. (Dernesch, Solti-Chicago, 1982; and Stutzman, Litton-Dallas Symphony, 1998); i.-iii. (Barbirolli-Hallé). [2/7/10]
Previews: "Prepare yourself to live!" -- Mahler and resurrection
music: Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection): final 4:44 (Alexander, van Nes, Haitink [video]); iv."Urlicht" and v. Finale (Ludwig-Hendricks-Bernstein, 1987; Baker-Armstrong-Bernstein, 1973-74). [2/6/10]
If we add a bit of Nietzsche, we're nearly ready to assemble (most of) the Mahler Third
music: Symphony No. 3, iv. "O Mensch! Gib acht!" (Larsson-Abbado, 2007 [video]; Forrester-Mehta, 1978; Ludwig-Neumann, 1981; Norman-Ozawa, 1993; and van Nes-Haitink, 1990); v. "Es sungen drei Engel" (Ludwig-Bernstein, 1987; also song version sung by Diana Damrau with piano, Evelyn Lear with orchestra). [2/5/10]

Still Mahler -- Warning: St. Anthony's preaching to the fishes has strong politico-religious importance
music: "Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt," sung by Walter Berry (video, cond. Bernstein; with two other Wunderhorn songs, sung by Ludwig and Berry), Christa Ludwig (with piano), Lucia Popp (cond. Bernstein), Maureen Forrester (cond. Prohaska), John Shirley-Quirk (cond. Haitink). Symphony No. 2: iii.-iv. (Janet Baker; cond. Klemperer). Symphony No. 3: iii. (cond. Jordan, Järvi). [1/31/10]
Preview: St. Anthony preaches to the fishes, as imagined by Mahler
music: "Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt," sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (with piano), Brigitte Fassbaender (with piano), Thomas Quasthoff (cond. Abbado). Symphony No. 2, iii. -- NY Phil, Bruno Walter; Chicago Sym, Bernard Haitink. [1/30/10]
Preview: Two gems from Mahler's early Wunderhorn settings
music: "Ablösung im Sommer" sung by Bo Skovhus (video), Diana Damrau, Anny Felbermayer, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Bernd Weikl. "Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald" sung by Christa Ludwig, Damrau, Fischer-Dieskau, Thomas Hampson. [1/29/10]

We continue stitching together bits of big Mahler symphonies
music: "Das irdische Leben," sung by Christa Ludwig (cond. Leonard Bernstein); "Das himmlische Leben," sung by Diana Damrau (with piano), Barbara Bonney (cond. Riccardo Chailly), Lisa della Casa (cond. Fritz Reiner), Patricia Rozario (cond. Wyn Morris); Symphony No. 4: iii.-iv. (cond. Klaus Tennstedt, Pierre Boulez, Paul Kletzki); i.-ii. (cond. Tennstedt). Symphony No. 2: iv. "Urlicht," sung by Christa Ludwig (cond. Zubin Mehta). [1/24/10]
Previews: "Earthly Life" is just one of the treasures Mahler found in Des Knaben Wunderhorn
music: "Das irdische Leben," sung by Christa Ludwig, Maureen Forrester, Janet Baker, Matthias Goerne. [1/22/10]
Before The Youth's Magic Horn, there was Goethe and the Erl King
music: Schubert's "Erlkönig," sung by Alexander Kipnis, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (3 performances with Gerald Moore), Wolfgang Holzmair, Matthias Goerne, plus "dramatized" version [1/23/10]

Gluck confronts the basic life principle that when you're dead, you're dead
music: video clip of Marilyn Horne singing "Divinités du Styx" from Gluck's Alceste. R. Strauss: Salome excerpt (Terfel, Riegel, et al., cond. Dohnányi). Gluck: Orfeo: performances of Opening Scene and Dances of the Furies and Blessed Spirits, cond. Pierre Monteux, John Eliot Gardiner, Marc Minkowski; and "Che farò," sung by Vesselina Kasarova, Richard Croft, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. [1/17/10]
Previews: Gluck: Alceste: "Divinités du Styx," sung by Jessye Norman (video), Janet Baker, Christine Brewer, Maria Callas, Marilyn Horne, Anne Sofie von Otter, Dolora Zajick. [1/15/10 and 1/16/10]

Bruckner's 4th Symphony -- 4 stories for 4 movements
music: Symphony No. 4 in E-flat major, cond. (i) Walter and Sanderling, (ii) Kempe and Jochum, (iii) Klemperer and Abbado, (iv) Wand and Sinopoli. [1/10/10]
Preview: More of tomorrow's featured work
music: Bruckner: Symphony No. 4: 1st mvmt and Scherzo -- Walter-NBC SO (1940); Scherzo -- Walter-Columbia SO (1960). [1/9/10]
Preview: The list (finally) updated, plus a (mono) preview
Can you identify the conductor? (A: Furtwängler, 1951) [1/8/10]

Adagio -- moving slowly from Beethoven through Bruckner to Mahler
music: Slow movements of Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 (Morris-London SO), No. 7 (Stokowski-New Philharmonia), No. 9 (Giulini-Berlin Phil and Zinman-Tonhalle O Zürich). Bruckner: Symphony No. 7: Adagio -- Blomstedt (plus video clip of part 1, Jochum-Concertgebouw). Mahler: Symphony No. 3: finale -- Bernstein-N.Y. Phil (1987); "Es sungen drei Engel" (sung by Maureen Forrester) and Finale -- Mehta-L.A. Phil [1/3/10]
Preview: You'll recognize the music. Now if I tell you . . .
music (identified in UPDATE): Beethoven: Eroica Symphony: Funeral March. Bruno Walter-Symphony of the Air, performed 2/3/57 in memory of Toscanini. [1/2/10]

The younger Prokofiev could be quite a cut-up
music: video clip of opening of The Horse's Mouth (with Lt. Kijé music); complete Kijé Suite -- Tennstedt-London PO. The Love for Three Oranges: performances of March repeated from 12/26/09; Act II, Scene 1 in French (Gautier, Viala, Nagano-Lyon) and Russian (Pluzhnikov, Akimov, Gergiev-Kirov); Suite played by Skrowaczewski-Minneapolis SO. Classical Symphony played by Martinon, Ormandy, Gergiev, Maazel (composite). [12/27/09]
Preview: It's no disrespect to call Prokofiev's "Love for Three Oranges" March his most wonderful music
music: video clip from Glyndebourne Love for Three Oranges including part of March. March arr. for solo piano and played by Arthur Rubinstein; arr. for violin and piano by Jascha Heifetz, played by Heifetz and by Gil Shaham; orchestral version played by Saraste-Toronto SO; also complete Love for Three Oranges Suite -- Saraste-Toronto SO. [12/26/09]

Christmas Day edition: "For unto us a child is born" -- the Prince of Peace (Handel's Messiah)
music: "For unto us a child is born" -- Westenberg-Musica Sacra. Part I: Comfort ye, my people -- Vickers, Beecham-Royal PO. Part II: "He was despised," sung by Marjana Lipovsek (with Harnoncourt) and Monica Sinclair (with Sargent); "Hallelujah Chorus" -- Royal PO, Hughes. Part III: "I know that my Redeemer liveth" -- Sylvia McNair (with Marriner); "The Trumpet Shall Sound" -- Samuel Ramey (with Andrew Davis). "Hallelujah Chorus" encore -- Beecham/Royal PO. [12/25/09]

Christmas Eve edition: A Christmas miracle, courtesy of Hector Berlioz
music: L'Enfance du Christ: Narration (from Introduction, Part II, Part III, and Epilogue) performed by four tenors -- Jean-Luc Viala (with J.-C. Casadesus), Cesare Valletti (with Munch-Boston SO), Anthony Rolfe-Johnson (with Ledger), Michel Sénéchal (with Dervaux). Also Part II: Overture and Farewell of the Shepherds from the same four recordings. [12/24/09]

Our 2nd Annual "Very Tchaikovsky Christmas"
music: "None but the Lonely Heart," played by Joshua Bell, violin, later sung by Pavel Lisitsian, baritone. Nutcracker Suite played by Bernstein-N.Y. Phil. The Queen of Spades: Paulina-Lisa scene (Ciesinski, Freni, Ozawa-Boston), Prince Yeletsky's aria (Lisitsian); Act II: Countess's scene (Irina Arkhipova, Gergiev-Kirov). Symphony No. 4: finale -- Zinman-Baltimore SO; Symphony No. 6: finale -- Monteux-Boston SO. Symphony No. 4 (complete) -- Szell-London SO; Symphony No. 6 (complete) -- Markevitch-LSO. [12/20/09]
Preview: Speaking of Tchaikovsky, can there be Russian music without soul?
music: Andante cantabile from String Quartet No. 1: arr.-played by Kreisler; original played by Keller Quartet. Complete quartet played by St. Petersburg Quartet. 12/19/09]
Preview: Easing our way back to Tchaikovsky
music: 1812 Overture, played by Elder-Hallé (2nd half, video), Reiner-Chicago, Dorati-Minneapolis (with spoken commentary by Deems Taylor), Ormandy-Philadelphia. Beethoven: Wellington's Victory, Op. 91, played by Dorati-London SO (with spoken commentary by Deems Taylor) [12/18/09]

More musical funny business with Béla Bartók
music: "Bear Dance" performances from 12/10-11/09 repeated. "Evening in Transylvania" (from Ten Easy Pieces, played by Bartók; from Hungarian Sketches played by Reiner-Chicago. Concerto for Orchestra: ii. Game of Couples, played by Mehta-L.A. Phil. (video) and Intermezzo interrotto played by Leinsdorf-Boston. Complete Hungarian Sketches played by Reiner-Chicago and Dorati-Minneapolis. Complete Concerto for Orchestra played by Leinsdorf-Boston and Solti-World Orchestra for Peace. [12/13/09]
Preview: Our composer -- and pianist -- is Béla Bartók
music (repeated from 12/11/09): Bartók: "Bear Dance." No. 10 of Ten Easy Pieces for piano, played by the composer. No. 2 of Hungarian Sketches for orchestra played by the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner. [12/12/09]
Preview: Another "Guess the Composer" quiz
music: piano and orchestral version of mystery work [12/11/09]

Puccini: Is this any way to start an opera? (He thought so)
music: the openings of all the Puccini operas from Manon Lescaut through Turandot. Lots 'n' lots of performers. [12/6/09]

Preview: An old Tchaikovsky hand holds up
music: Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66: Introduction: Act III: Pas de quatre; Swan Lake, Op. 20: Act II: Pas d'action; Act IV: Mazurka. Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy. The Nutcracker, Op. 71: Overture; Waltz of the Snowflakes (Act I finale). Ambrosian Singers, Philharmonia Orchestra, John Lanchbery. [12/5/09]

Preview: Musical funny business from two great composers and a great conductor
music: Kodály: Háry János Suite: i. Prelude: The Fairy Tale Begins. Prokofiev: Lt. Kijé Suite: i. The Birth of Kijé. London Philharmonic, Klaus Tennstedt. [12/4/09]

Just for fun -- American treasures
music: Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue (Bernstein, video), An American in Paris (Ormandy). Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite (Hanson, Bernstein, Ormandy). Copland: Four Dance Episodes from "Rodeo" (Abravanel, Slatkin, Bernstein, Copland). Ives: Symphony No. 2 (Järvi, Litton, Bernstein). Gottschalk: "La Gallina," Grande Tarentelle, La Nuit des tropiques (List et al.) [11/29/09]
Previews: Copland Fanfare for the Common Man (organ and Copland, cond.); "I Bought Me a Cat" and "At the River" from Old American Songs (two versions -- Warfield, Copland, piano and cond) [11/27/09]
Gershwin "I Got Rhythm" excerpt (Gershwin, video); "I Got Rhythm" Variations (Wild, Fiedler); Girl Crazy excerpts including "I Got Rhythm" (Mauceri, cond.); "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess (Price, Karajan) [11/28/09]

"Lo! An angel called him out of heaven" -- another peek at the sound world of Benjamin Britten
music: Offertorium of the Requiem as set by Mozart (cond. Solti), Verdi (cond. Reiner), Berlioz (cond. Munch), Fauré (cond. Boulanger); Offertorium of War Requiem performed by Fischer-Dieskau, Pears, and Britten, and Finley, Griffey, and Masur; end of Prologue to start of Act I of Peter Grimes performed by Jon Vickers and Heather Harper, cond. Pritchard, and Peter Pears and Claire Watson, cond. Britten; Third String Quartet played by Endellion (i), Britten (iii), and Amadeus (i.-v.) Quartets. [11/22/09]
Previews: Our second peek at Britten begins with the Peter Grimes Sea Interludes and Passacaglia. N.Y. Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein [11/20/09]
"It is a curious story" -- the Prologue to The Turn of the Screw, sung by tenors Edmundas Seilius (video), Ian Bostridge, Philip Langridge, and Peter Pears [11/21]

Mr. Mendelssohn explains it all for us
music: Andante of the E minor Violin Concerto played by Sarah Chang with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic (video); Octet for Strings in E-flat major played by the Smetana and Janáček Quartets; Midsummer Night's Dream incidental music played by Otto Klemperer (Bavarian Radio Symphony) and George Szell (Concertgebouw); "On Wings of Song" sung by Margaret Price and Wolfgang Holzmair; complete Violin Concerto played by Yehudi Menuhin with Efrem Kurtz and the Philharmonia Orchestra [11/15/09]
Previews: (1) Five mystery performances of the Andante of the Violin Concerto [11/13/09]
(2) The violinists identified as Johanna Martzy, David Oistrakh, Arthur Grumiaux, Jascha Heifetz, and Yehudi Menuhin; a video clip of the MSND Wedding March; plus the finale of the First Piano Concerto played by Rudolf Serkin with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra [11/14/09]

It's not for nothing that Smetana was dubbed "the father of Czech music"
music: Smetana: The Bartered Bride: Polka (Act I) and March and Dance of the Comedians (Act III), performed by the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Jaroslav Krombholc; Overture and Dances, performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic; Overture conducted by Leopold Stokowski, Dance of the Comedians conducted by Eugene Ormandy. String Quartet No. 1, From My Life, performed by the Prazak Quartet and (orch. Szell) by the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. Má Vlast performed by the Czech Philharmonic under Václav Smetáček, Jiří Bělohlávek, and Václav Neumann (with bonus Vltava conducted by Leopold Stokowski [11/8/09]
Previews: Before "Prague Spring" was a political reawakening, it was a music festival. music: Rafael Kubelik conducts The Moldau in Prague, 1990, and the complete Má Vlast with the Chicago Symphony, 1952 [11/6/09]
A man, a river, and music that makes us all Czech. music: Karel Ancerl rehearses and performs The Moldau with the Toronto Symphony [11/7/09]

Jan Sibelius -- An intrepid voice from the rugged North
music:Sibelius: Finale of the Violin Concerto played by David Oistrakh with the Moscow Radio Symphony under Gennady Rozhdestvensky (video), complete concerto played by Oistrakh with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy and by Ginette Niveu with the Philharmonia under Walter Süsskind; Finlandia and The Swan of Tuonela (with English hornist Louis Rosenblatt) played by Ormandy and the Philadelphians; finale of Symphony No. 5 played by the Swedish Radio Symphony under Esa-Pekka Salonen (video); Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite played by the Göteborg Symphony under Neeme Järvi [11/1/09]

So why is this fellow William Tell so angry anyways?
music: Rossini: William Tell: "Resta immobile," sung by Tito Gobbi (again!). Act I quartet, with Charles Burles (t), Fisherman; Gabriel Bacquier (b), Tell; Jocelyne Taillon (ms), Hedwige; Mady Mesplé (s), Jemmy; Royal Philharmonic, Lamberto Gardelli, cond. Act II finale, with Giorgio Zancanaro (b), Tell, et al.; La Scala Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, cond. Overture, played by the Chicago Symphony, Fritz Reiner, cond. [10/25/09]
Previews: Hiyo, Silver, and away! How many of our William Tells can you identify? and Continuing the countdown to Rossini's William Tell
music:: Rossini: William Tell: Overture, conducted by Neville Marriner (10/23) and Arthur Fiedler (10/24); Tell's "Sois immobile" ("Resta immobile"), sung by Giorgio Zancanaro, José van Dam, Giuseppe Taddei, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Tito Gobbi, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Gabriel Bacquier [10/23 and 24/09]

Dvořák's music isn't just music to love, it's music that loves you back
music: Dvořák: "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka, sung by Lucia Popp; Largo from Symphony No. 9 (From the New World), played by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Otto Klemperer, and by the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy; 1st and 2nd movements of the String Quartet in F, Op. 96 (American), played by the Janáček Quartet [10/18/09]
Preview 2: En route to Dvořák, we meet up with the father of Czech music, Bedřich Smetana
music: Smetana: From My Life Quartet, 2nd and 3rd movements, played by the Janáček Quartet; also orchestral arrangement by George Szell played by the London Symphony conducted by Geoffrey Simon [10/17/09]
Preview 1: No need to wait till Sunday to hear our mystery string quartet
music: Haydn: 1st movement of Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 32, No. 2; Serenade, 2nd movement of Quartet in F major, Op. 3, No. 5 (attributed to Haydn), both played by the Janáček Quartet [10/16/09]

Mystery revealed: Our composer is Antonin Dvořák
music: Dvořák: Humoresque (arr. Kreisler), played by Fritz Kreisler (1910); 3rd movement of the Violin Concerto, played by Nathan Milstein with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by William Steinberg, and by Josef Suk with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Karel Ancerl; Scherzo capriccioso, performed by the Oslo Philharmonic conducted by Mariss Jansons [10/11/09]
Preview 2: With these clues, you're sure to guess the mystery composer
music: Dvořák: Slavonic Dance in E minor, Op. 46, No. 2, played by the Bavarian Radio Symphony conducted by Rafael Kubelik; Humoresque, Op. 101, No. 7 (arranged for violin and piano by Fritz Kreisler), played by Jan Kubelik [10/10/09]
Preview 1: Can you identify the composer(s)?
music: Dvořák: Waltz in D flat major, Op. 54, No. 4, played by Kai Adomait; string quartet arrangement played by the Vlach Quartet Prague [10/9/09]

Surprise! With wizards like Bach and Mozart, you never know what you may hear next
music: Bach: 4th movement (Menuet et al.) of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, played by the Freiburg Orchestra. Mozart: 3rd movement (Andante) of Quartet No. 18 in A, K. 464, played by both the Alban Berg Quartet and the Smetana Quartet. [10/4/09]

Bach's faith rouses devotion, not ennui (or ridicule), in this nonbeliever -- his Jesus isn't the Right's "macho Jesus"
music: "Schlummert ein" from Cantata No. 82, sung by Matthias Goerne with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting; "Die Seele ruht in Jesu Häden" from Cantata No. 127, sung by Barbara Schlick, with Shalev Ad-El conducting. [9/27/09]

A sneak peek into the sound world of Benjamin Britten
music: "Dawn," first of the Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes," played by the Boston Symphony under Leonard Bernstein; three songs from the Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, performed by Jon Mark Ainsley, Danilo Stagni, and the Orchestra filarmonica della Scala under Jeffrey Tate [9/20/09]

follow-up to the above: Is Shostakovich overrated?
music: Symphony No. 7, 3rd movement, played by Leonard Bernstein and the Chicago Symphony; Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar), 1st movement, performed by Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theater Chorus and Orchestra with bass Mikhail Petrenko; Symphony No. 9, 1st movement, played by Georg Solti and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. [9/22/09]

Let's get ready to . . . polka!
music: J. Strauss II: Amid Thunder and Lightning, performed by Carlos Kleiber and the Bavarian State Orchestra. E. Strauss: Bahn frei!. Smetana: The Bartered Bride: Polka. Shostakovich: The Golden Age: Polka (arr. for string quartet), played by the Aurelia Quartet. [9/13/09]

From the Borodin Quartet to the Borodin Trio
music: Rachmaninoff: Trio élégiaque in D minor, beginning of 1st movement, played by the Borodin Trio. Shostakovich: Quartet No. 3, 4th movement, Adagio, played by the Borodin Quartet. [9/6/09]

The life force of a talented, well-grounded musician's musical instincts
music: Holst: The Planets: VII. "Neptune, the Mystic," conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Beethoven: Violin Concerto, beginning of 1st movement, with soloist David Oistrakh, conducted by Sir Adrian. [8/30/09]
[The conclusion of the Oistrakh-Boult performance of the 1st moevment of the Beethoven Violin Concerto appeared here, with a remarkable episode from Oistrakh's life recalled. 9/1/09]

Who can resist the "extravagant" and "elaborate" song of the lark?
music: Haydn: Quartet in D, Op. 64, No. 5 (Lark), 1st movement, played by the Lindsay Quartet. Nicolai: The Merry Wives of Windsor: "Horch', die Lerche singt im Hain," sung by Fritz Wunderlich. Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending, played by violinist Janine Jansen, with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth. [8/23/09]

Verdi looks evil square in the face
music: Verdi: Macbeth: Sleepwalking Scene, with Josephine Barstow as Lady Macbeth (Glyndebourne, 1972); Act I, Scene 2, announcement of the murder of the king (Met, 2008). [8/16/09]

In Handel or Wagner, the good old "A-B-A" form mirrors real-life experience
music: Handel: Rinaldo: "Lascia ch'io pianga," sung by Sumi Jo. Wagner: opening of Siegfried from Covent Garden 2007, with tenor Gerhard Siegel as Mime, Antonio Pappagno conducting. [8/9/09]

In the piano trios and piano quartets Brahms puts it all together
music: Piano Trio No. 1, 2nd movement, played by Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose, and Eugen Istomin; Piano Quaret No. 1, finale, played by Pierre-Laurent Aimard et al. [8/2/09]

More comfort music: I dream of Jussi singing "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair"
music: Foster: "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," sung by Jussi Bjoerling; Schubert: "Serenade," sung by Fritz Wunderlich; Brahms: "Lullaby," sung by Felicia Weathers. [7/26/09]

Just like there's comfort food, there's comfort music
music: Weber: Oberon Overture, played by Mariss Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic; Suppé: Poet and Peasant Overture, played by Alfred Wallenstein and the MGM Symphony Orchestra. [7/19/09]

Preview of Sunday's "comfort music" post
music: Nicolai: Merry Wives of Windsor Overture, played by Johnny Green and the MGM Symphony Orchestra. [7/18/09]

Fafner, patron saint of the banksters (from Wagner's Ring cycle)
music: from Scene 2 of Das Rheingold, the giants claim their payment, from the film of Rheingold directed and conducted by Herbert von Karajan; from Act II of Siegfried, the death of Fafner, from the Metropolitan Opera video Ring conducted by James Levine. [7/12/09]

Could Brahms be underappreciated?
music: First Symphony, 2nd movement, played by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic; "Vergebliches Ständchen," sung by Victoria de los Angeles, with pianist Gerald Moore. [7/5/09]

It wasn't easy being Brahms, but the composer has already done all the heavy lifting
music: Double Concerto, 2nd movement, played by Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Myung-Whun Chung conducting; Horn Trio, 1st movement, played by Adolf Busch, Aubrey Brain, and Rudolf Serkin. [6/28/09]

Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free: Aaron Copland on "Simple Gifts"
music: "Simple Gifts," "Long Time Ago," and "At the River" from Old American Songs, sung by Marilyn Horne; final section of Appalachian Spring, chamber version. [1/25/09]

Schubert: So much beautiful music from one mind, and in such a short lifetime
music: String Quintet in C, 2nd movement, played by the Alban Berg Quartet; "An die Musik," sung by bass-baritone George London [1/18/09]

Who was the world's greatest tunesmith?
music: Puccini: Tosca Act I duet, sung by Raina Kabaivanska (56) and Luciano Pavarotti (55) [1/17/09]

Puccini: Measuring the soul of his Girl of the Golden West
music: first 10 minutes of Gianni Schicchi (Met, 2007); "O mio babbino caro" (Renata Scotto, Met, 1983) [1/11/09]

Johann Strauss II and his family: There are good reasons why conductors bring their "A" game when they play their music
music: Johann Strauss I's Radetzky March; Johann Strauss II's On the Beautiful Blue Danube as used in 2001: A Space Odyssey) [1/4/09]

The Magic Flute: Mozart's spiritual testament
music: Pamina-Papageno duet from Act I, sung by Dorothea Roeschmann and Simon Keenlyside [12/28/08]

Berlioz' always-unexpected Childhood of Christ, for Christmas Day
music: "Farewells of the Shepherds to the Holy Family" from Part I, with Charles Munch conducting the Boston Symphony [12/25/08]

Handel celebrates the true miracle of Christmas, for Christmas Eve
music: the chorus "For unto us a child is born" from Messiah [12/24/08]

Maureen Forrester sings Mahler: It doesn't get more eloquent
music: "Urlicht" from Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, with Glenn Gould conducting -- left-handed! [12/21/08]

Tchaikovsky's ballets: Terrific recordings of all three for $20!
music: "Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker [12/14/08]

Leonard Bernstein's Candide Overture: Guess who conducts our mystery performance
music: Candide Overture [12/7/08]
The mystery conductor revealed, and further musings on Candide
music: "Oh, Happy We," Candide-Cunegonde duet from Candide [12/8/08]



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