Category: classical music

senfonikankara:Verdi | La forza del destino, &…


Verdi | La forza del destino, "La Vergine degli angeli"

Barbara Frittoli, soprano
Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice – Roberto Abbado, director



Romance in D Minor – Edward Elgar, performed by Julian Lloyd Webber

Symphony No. 1 in A-flat, “Afro-American…

Symphony No. 1 in A-flat, “Afro-American” (1930) by William Grant Still was the first symphony written by an African American and performed for a United States audience by a leading orchestra. It was premiered in 1931 by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. It is a symphonic piece for full orchestra, including celeste, harp, and tenor banjo. It combines a fairly traditional symphonic form with blues progressions and rhythms that were characteristic of popular African-American music at the time. This combination expressed Still’s integration of black culture into the classical forms. Still used quotes from four dialect poems by early 20th-century African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar as epigraphs for each symphonic movement.

mikrokosmos: Beethoven – String Quartet no.1 …


BeethovenString Quartet no.1 in F Major (1801)

The String Quartet is one of the major genres Beethoven wrote in, and like his symphonies and sonatas, his quartets push the boundaries of musical convention and become transcendental later in his career. And like the other genre, his early period quartets are comparatively ignored. We are so taken in by the extremities he emphasizes in the middle period, that we take for granted the roadway he had paved to get there. And op.18 is a great example of this. Six quartets published in one set, already it is caught up in the same tradition that Haydn started and Mozart had also written in, and we can hear their influences [especially that of Haydn’s] in these quartets. However we also can see these influences filtered through the personality of a young Beethoven who was confident but also still growing and learning so did not yet go into the revolutionary mindset that would soon take over his life and legacy. The first numbered quartet was actually the second written [op.18 no.3 was the first]. The opening movement is a conventional classical sonata that follows Haydn’s standard of short motifs being developed to the extreme, and throwing in curveballs to confuse the audience’s expectations. It’s a strongly written movement, with a development section that really punches unstable chords… but the heart of the work, the one that convinced me to write a blog piece, is the second movement. It is a long slow movement [affectionate, passionate], that starts off with an atmosphere like a funeral march. The quartet was dedicated to Beethoven’s friend, Karl Amenda, and in the first version he showed Amenda the score and told him that he was trying to depict the tomb scene from Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare? In an abstract string quartet? Do the rest of the movements have anything to do with the play or with Shakespeare in general? No, this is a single movement from the average string quartet but being used as a tone poem. While this program did not stay with the work’s ultimate publication, it is still a glimpse into the mentality behind Beethoven’s writing. Already he was interested in combining literature, human emotion, and narratives into abstract music. The movement shifts from gloomy, to hopeful with a gorgeous texture, and back to the intensity of the drama, two young and confused lovers forced to be a part of a tragic fate. It is an ambitious thing to tackle and very unorthodox to throw into a string quartet [which is probably why this program didn’t stick], but still it is a gorgeous work of musical poetry. The third movement is a charming scherzo that lightens the mood a bit. And the last movement is driven by a quick buzzing motif that is played around with contrapuntally while also developed a bit, again a nod to Haydn and using the last movement as a more substantial musical exploration instead of a charming rondo that is merely charming.  


1. Allegro con brio

2. Adagio: affettuoso ed appassionato

3. Scherzo: Allegro molto

4. Allegro

Afiara String Quartet

Piano Quintet No.2 In A Major, Op.81 – I. Alle…

Piano Quintet No.2 In A Major, Op.81 – I. Allegro, Ma Non Tanto

By Composer Antonín Dvořák

Performed By Pianist Jonathan Biss And The Elias String Quartet 

Dvorak was in the twilight of his life when he signed this image in 1897, the same year that his daughter married a former pupil of the composer, Josef Suk. A year earlier, he visited London for what was to be the final time to attend the premiere of his Cello Concerto in B minor. An absolutely amazing portrait signed by the great composer whose work was celebrated across the globe during his lifetime. Provenance: The Barry Hoffman Collection.

mikrokosmos: mikrokosmos: Stravinsky – L’Hist…



Stravinsky L’Histoire du Soldat

This is an…interesting work, to say the least. Part ballet, part spoken melodrama, it is a setting of a Russian folktale. The story follows a soldier who is tricked by the devil to sell his fiddle for three years of his life, and a book that can tell the future. After he finds out he’s been cheated out of time, the devil encourages him to use the book to gain a fortune. Which he does, but no amount of money can bring back the joy he had in life with his family and friends, who are all convinced he’s died. He comes across the devil, and buys back his old fiddle, only to find he’s forgotten how to play. He tears up the book, and now he has no family, no wealth, and no joy. He later learns that a nearby princess is looking for a man to marry. When he gets to the castle to offer for her hand, he finds the devil has disguised himself as a great fiddle player. The narrator tells the soldier that the devil still has his hold on him because he still has the devil’s money. So the soldier challenges the devil to a card game, and loses, and the devil is happy at first until he realizes the soldier is the real winner now that he is free of the devil’s grasp. Now that he has his violin skills back, the soldier wards off the devil by challenging him to a violin contest and playing better and more aggressively than the devil could even try. He marries the princess. But it isn’t a happy ending, because the devil promises that if the soldier ever leaves the castle, then the devil will take his soul again. He lives with the princess, but still misses his first girlfriend, and his mother, since he was taken away from both at the beginning of this mess. He is tricked by this temptation to leave the castle, and the devil wins. The moral is that the soldier’s downfall has everything to do with his greed, the inability to satisfy the desire to have more. Musically, the work is pretty intense. Bitonality, chamber orchestration, and time signatures that seem to change with each bar…it has every Stravinsky-ism one could wish for. Personally, I wish this tale had less…”tale”, but the suite feels a bit empty without the voices rhythmically telling the story over the music. Like anything by Stravinsky, it’s a bit of a shock on the ears, something that is a good hundred years old yet sounds as fresh as ever.

I had to put in a new video because the old one was deleted. This is also the suite version so, no tale here. But the music is still fun.

Arvo Pärt – Fratres for Cello and Piano.

Arvo Pärt – Fratres for Cello and Piano.

la-nero-maestro: Leonore Prohaska, WoO 96 – IV…


Leonore Prohaska, WoO 96 – IV. Trauermarsch In B Minor (Funeral March)

Composition Year : 1815

Related Works : The Trauermarsch is an orchestration of the third movement from Piano Sonata No.12, Op.26

By Composer Ludwig Van Beethoven

Performed By Conductor Douglas Bostock And The Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra

hollywoodparty: Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata in…


Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata in fa minore K 466

Emilia Fadini, fortepiano



Classical music has always been widely used in films, both as simple background music and as a key element. Here are the most “used” composers in cinematic history:

  1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1327 films)
  2. Richard Wagner (1222 films)
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven (1219 films)
  4. Johann Sebastian Bach (1208 films)
  5. P. I. Tchaikovsky (944 films)
  6. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (904 films, mostly in reference to the Wedding March)
  7. Frederick Chopin (875 films)
  8. Johann Strauss II (870 films)
  9. Franz Schubert (690 films)
  10. George Gershwin (673 films)
  11. Gioacchino Rossini (667 films)
  12. Giuseppe Verdi (652 films)

Note: the list is dated May 31st 2017 and may not be perfectly accurate in regard to the number of films per composer. Source: IMDb