Category: classical music

mikrokosmos: Mozart – Symphony no.25 in g mino…


MozartSymphony no.25 in g minor (1773)

If you ever feel like you’re getting too full of yourself, look up what Mozart was doing around your age. That will probably take you down a notch or two. I say that because Mozart wrote this symphony when he was 17 years old. When I was 17, I went to school in pajama pants and had a handful of atrocious stories and poems to my name. Anyway, the symphony was one of only two that Mozart had written in a minor key [the other one, no.40, is also in g minor and is usually nicknamed “the Great” in comparison to this one which is sometimes called “little”]. It is written with “sturm und drang”, which is a proto-romantic trend a few late-Classical composers played around in, writing minor key music that pushed for fiery drama and deeper expression, alluding to the kinds of intensity we will see later in the 19th century. Since we like to think of adolescence as being the optimal time for going against “the man”, I think it’s kind of charming to think of a young wild Mozart itching to experiment with writing a symphony that wouldn’t be so charming for the aristocratic audience. It also feels fitting for autumn. Apparently Mozart wrote this in October, so now I can’t help think that he had changing leaves, chilly wind, and ghostly moonlight in mind as he wrote this one. Mozart’s symphony isn’t considered to be at the same quality as his later “greater” symphonies, but even so this work skyrocketed to popularity through the success of Forman’s Amadeus (1984). The opening is less of a “melody” and more of a syncopated rhythmic chord progression. We calm down, but only a minute into the piece we are pushing through with a kind of galloping horses celebration. The chamber-like size of the orchestration helps the sections work together to pull off interesting colors. The movement moves forward like rough ocean waves, playing with the two main ideas, changing the tone and density with each mutation. In an expected twist, the jubilant major key theme is twisted into the minor and really emphasizes the “strum”. With one final repeat of the main theme [including the minor-key twist of the B section], and with a stretto treatment of the opening motif, the movement ends in a sinister horn call. The slow movement is a breath of fresh air after the heart pounding opening. We follow a delicate melody that is like a call and response between the instruments. The sea has calmed. And then we get some of that lively “Mozartian” charm. The minuet start with a bit of a “swing”, calling back to its origins as a courtly dance. The first section has the sinister atmosphere of the opening, but the second is the expected contrast where the winds do most of the work. The last movement takes us back to the energy that dominated the opening, along with the syncopated rhythm that forces us to move forward. It doesn’t go overboard though, and the combination of drama and charm makes this feel like a mirror to the first movement. There are a few loud dissonant chords, but unlike Beethoven’s angsty teenage years, the teenage Mozart still holds onto a sense of grace.


1. Allegro con brio

2. Andante

3. Menuetto

4. Allegro

Weinberger Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy

Ouverture Carnevalesca, P. 99 ( Carnival Overt…

Ouverture Carnevalesca, P. 99 ( Carnival Overture )

By Composer Ottorino Respighi

Performed By Composer/Conductor Adriano And The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra


“Carnevale di Venezia” By Michael Cartellone

mikrokosmos: Brahms – Piano Trio no.1 in B Maj…


BrahmsPiano Trio no.1 in B Major, op.8 (1853, rev. 1889)

Brahms was a notorious perfectionist who held himself to incredibly high standards. The downside of this is that many early works were dropped into his furnace, so who knows how many hours of music we’ll never get to hear. The upside is that what Brahms did save and publish were some of the greatest pieces of music from the 19th century, so perhaps we should trust his judgment that the early stuff wasn’t as important. Somehow, the first piano trio didn’t get the same treatment, even though he had considered subtracting it from his published oeuvre. Instead, he revised it decades later, brushing, rearranging, and polishing the work. And I’m glad that he didn’t get rid of it, because this trio is one of my favorite pieces that is full of gorgeous moments. The opening melody is among the more beautiful melodies I know. Slow, songlike, and pastoral, the piano plays it over a simple accompaniment. Then, the cello joins in harmony. The two play around until the violin joins in, and the three restate this main theme with as much exuberance as you can imagine. The accompaniment in the following rush of joy is built out of fragments of the main melody, a device that Haydn and Beethoven used for most of their works, and one that will later become an obsession for Brahms. The next section is a bit more shadowed and mysterious, a strange gloom compared to what we just heard. Difficult passages keep the texture dense, until we break out into a stormy third melody (!). Then, after a pause, the repeat takes us back to the opening, making the exposition surprisingly long. After the repeat, the development shifts us into a meandering transition with an emphasis on rising scales, before bringing the stormy melody again. This transitions into a revision of the main melody that makes it more mournful over restless piano notes. More drama comes through, and finally the sun breaks out and we get a mighty restatement of the joyous opening. After the recapitulation, the main theme is stated one more time in a very peaceful and dreamlike haze, until the coda finishes with strong optimism. The scherzo is fun, based on a jittery theme, and we hear the piano do a lot of impressive runs and figures. The ‘trio’ section is more peaceful, a theme that is pushed to an intensity before coming back to the opening. The movement ends peacefully, which helps set the mood for the slow movement. It opens with a choral like passage in the piano. The keyboard is in dialogue with the strings until they come together. The cello sings out an autumnal melody. Through repeats, the piano starts to become idiosyncratic, and then it plays slight elaborations under the strings restating the melody. It passes by in a dreary mood until a more resolved coda. The last movement takes us into b minor, a strange shift, and the cello plays a chromatic melody over fleeting piano arpeggios. Again we get the intensity with rapid chords and a deep sonority as it develops. A second melody helps contrast the darkness by being thinner and more relaxed. After the repeats, the main dramatic theme is thinned out over more arpeggios, but we soon come back to the slamming chords, and in a stormy rush we are thrown into the final bars, emphatically ending in the minor. It isn’t common for works in this era to start major and end minor, so that kind of touch may have been something the young Brahms decided to do out of novelty. Either way, the revision makes the work more “to-the-point” and its youthful intensity remains. Despite the joy in the opening movement, most of the piece has a darker, more disturbed atmosphere. It is strange to pin down.


1. Allegro con brio

2. Scherzo

3. Adagio non troppo

4. Finale: Allegro molto agitato.

Maria João Pires, piano
Augustin Dumay, violin
Jian Wang, cello

karolkurpinski: In 1829 there was a coronation…


In 1829 there was a coronation of Nicholas I Romanov for the king of the Kingdom of Poland and composers Kurpiński, Soliva and Elsner had to write Te Deum, Veni Creator, and Great Mass. During the premiere of the work, on 24th May 1829, the violin solo was played by Niccolo Paganini.

Recording from 2011, Kraków Festival Orchestra and Kraków Philharmonic Choir, conducted by Kaspar Zehnder.

Claude Debussy on the banks of the river Marne…

Claude Debussy on the banks of the river Marne, near Luzancy in June 1893 whilst staying with composer Ernest Chausson

lesser-known-composers: Carl Philipp Stamitz (…


Carl Philipp Stamitz (1745~1801)

Piano Concerto in F major

00:00  I. Allegro
10:16  II. Andante moderato
16:12  III. Rondo : Allegro

Piano : Felicja Blumental
Württemberg Chamber Orchestra / Jörg Faerber

Piano Trio In G Minor, Op.3 – II. Vite

Piano Trio In G Minor, Op.3 – II. Vite

By Composer Ernest Chausson 

Performed By The Yuval Trio


Chamber Trio 1 By Hyatt Moore

gasparodasalo: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) – …


Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) – String Quintet Op. 39 № 1 B-flat Major, G. 337 – II. Allegro vivo. – Tempo di minuetto. – Tempo I, performed by La Magnifica Comunità on period instruments.



Beau Soir or “Beautiful Evening” a song by Claude Debussy transcribed for violin and piano. I always love these types of transcriptions, the violin lends itself perfectly to the mellow lyricism of many romantic era songs.

lesser-known-composers: Symphony Overture  –  …


Symphony Overture  –  Josef Mysliveček

Concerto KÖln