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Ludwig van Beethoven

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


My Classical Notes

Yesterday

Piano Daydreams

My Classical NotesThis is a wonderful collection of solo piano compositions played by different artists, such as Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Lang Lang, and more. Here is a long list of the selections that are recorded for your enjoyment: Bach, J S: Prelude & Fugue Book 1 No. 1 in C major, BWV846: Prelude Hélène Grimaud (piano) Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’: Adagio sostenuto Daniel Barenboim (piano) Brahms: Intermezzo in E flat major, Op. 117 No. 1 Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Chopin: Nocturne No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9 No. 2 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Nocturne No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Prelude Op. 28 No. 4 in E minor Martha Argerich (piano) Prelude Op. 28 No. 7 in A major Martha Argerich (piano) Debussy: Préludes – Book 1: No. 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin Dino Ciani (piano) Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque) Alexis Weissenberg (piano) Grieg: Lyric Pieces Op. 43: No. 6 – To Spring Mikhail Pletnev (piano) Lyric Pieces Op. 54: No. 4 – Nocturne Andrei Gavrilov (piano) Liszt: Consolation, S. 172 No. 3 in D flat major Daniel Barenboim (piano) Liebestraum, S541 No. 3 (Nocturne in A flat major) Yundi Li (piano) Mendelssohn: Song without Words, Op. 19b No. 1 in E major ‘Sweet Remembrance’ Daniel Barenboim (piano) Song without Words, Op. 30 No. 6 in F sharp minor ‘Venezianisches Gondellied No. 2’ Daniel Barenboim (piano) Rachmaninov: Prelude Op. 23 No. 4 in D major Lazar Berman (piano) Prelude Op. 32 No. 12 in G sharp minor Lilya Zilberstein (piano) Satie: Gymnopédie No. 1 Jean-Marc Luisada (piano) Schubert: Impromptu in G flat major, D899 No. 3 Daniel Barenboim (piano) Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op. 15: Traümerei Lang Lang (piano)

Beauty of Classical Music

July 24

PSO Classical Mixer

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra hosted a summer event called 'Classical Mixer' this last weekend. Since I haven't heard live orchestral music much lately since the conclusion of the regular season, I made sure to attend. I'm glad I did, it was a treat. During the mixer portion, in the outdoor garden, Carolyn Edwards introduced herself and asked if I'd fill out a form to possibly win a chance to sit with the orchestra for one of the selections. It was very kind of her and the other musicians of the PSO who hosted the events before the concert. The ultimate winner indeed got to sit for the 1812 Overture. In fact, PSO Cellist Mikhail Istomin joked that the winner might need earplugs, or she might go deaf, that's how loud the horns are for the ending. In the lobby three more members of the Cello section of the PSO played as a trio. The part I like best was the overture to Magic Flute by Mozart. These were Charlie Powers, Alexandra Thompson and Michael DeBruyn. I spoke to Michael after they played and he gave me the name of a few of the selections. All of the musicians are very friendly and gracious. Jennifer Orchard and Craig Knox came out between selections to announce one of winners of the evening. It was entertaining and funny. The winning selection was inside Craig's Tuba which at one point he joked weighed 75 pounds as he held it over his head. See the photos I took below... Ludwig Van Beethoven - Overture to Egmont Leading off with Beethoven is always a grand idea in my opinion, and usually the audience is very receptive. Wolfgang Mozart - Symphony No. 38 (Prague), 3rd mov. Presto Mozart's Prague Symphony is one of his best! The third movement is very rhythmic. Even if you've never experienced this, the first time hearing this charming music brings an instant smile. Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 3, 3rd mov. Poco allegretto This movement elicits moderate tempo and uniquely Brahms style. I like Brahms, but my favorites are the classical styles of Mozart and Beethoven. Sergei Prokofiev - Classical Symphony (No. 1) 3rd and 4th mov. We were told that this symphony was composed in an attempt to emulate the style of Joseph Haydn. After this Prokofiev selection, Conductor Andres Franco asked the audience if they have a favorite so far. Not too many responded, but for me, this is it. In fact, I wished they had played they entire symphony. This is the first time I heard it played live by a symphony orchestra. I'll be looking forward to an upcoming performance of the Prokofiev Classical Symphony soon! Leonard Bernstein - Overture to Candide Another crowd favorite. American composer Bernstein was at his very best with this Overture. So many elements and wrapped together in a brisk package which seems almost too short, we want more. James Macmillan - One Conductor Andres Franco indicated that this composition is a single line of music that is transferred between sections of the orchestra until the end. I liked it very much. Edward Elgar - Enigma Variations E.D.U. Finale Elgar Enigma Variations contain themes from two variations are echoed: 'Nimrod' and 'C.A.E.' The one part has a very distinctive and recognizable melody. All in all a very enjoyable selection. Piotr Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture solennelle Mikhail Istomin, Cello, introduced this piece. He's from Russia, and apparently he never played this piece over there, yet he joked that it's always played here on the 4th of July and that this piece seemingly has nothing to to with our Independence Day. The beginning is a slow and quiet section of Cellos which is what I like best. But I'm certain the ending with the fireworks and verve might be the crows favorite. I like the begging so much, I use it as an alarm. I hear it every day and never grow tired. But to be sure, to hear this music in person at Heinz Hall with the world famous Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is treat that should never be missed! As an encore, the PSO played music from  Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld The "Infernal Galop" from Act 2, Scene 2, is famous outside classical circles as the music for the "can-can" (to the extent that the tune is widely, but erroneously, called "can-can")




The Well-Tempered Ear

July 23

Classical music: Maestro Gustav Meier has died at 86. UW-Madison choral conductor Beverly Taylor pays tribute to him.

By Jacob Stockinger The Ear has some catching up to do on several fronts. Well, that is what happens in a city with such a busy musical life and in a year with so many news items. And it also happens when you give priority to previews, then reviews and then trend stories, as The Ear likes to do. Plus, there are only seven days in the week, which usually means just seven posts. Anyway, one neglected or belated item is a generous piece — a recollection homage — that was kindly sent to The Ear by Beverly Taylor, the longtime director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music and the assistant music director of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Her remarks concern the death at 86 in late May of Swiss -born conductor Gustav Meier (below, in a photo by Doug Elbinger), who trained several other Madison-area musicians as well as her. Born in Switzerland, Meier was a quiet celebrity who trained many students at Yale University , the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and who led the Lansing Symphony Orchestra for 27 years. (You can see and hear Gustav Meier conducting the Greater Bridgeport Symphony in the slow movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff ‘s Symphony No. 2 in the YouTube video at the bottom.) Taylor (below) writes: “Did you know Gustav Meier died in this year of losing so many? “Maybe the others were more famous, but he was my teacher, mentor and friend from 1990 on, and we visited regularly. I even coached the Beethoven Ninth with him a year ago, before our performance here. “I wanted you to know how many people he influenced. I wouldn’t have had the life I’d had without his help. He was a GENEROUS musician and he was beloved.” Here is a link to a fascinating obituary, one that is well worth reading, in the Lansing, Michigan newspaper that Taylor shared: http://lansingcitypulse.com/article-13267-%E2%80%98tchaikovsky-turns-me-on%E2%80%99.html Tagged: Aaron Copland , Arts , Beethoven , Beethoven's Ninth , Beverly Taylor , Bridgeport , choral music , Classical music , conductor , Connecticut , Eastman School of Music , Gustav Meier , Jacob Stockinger , Lansing , Leonard Bernstein , Madison , Madison Symphony Orchestra , Maestro , Music , Ninth Symphony , Orchestra , Overture Center , Rachmaninoff , Rachmaninov , Swiss , Switzerland , symphony , United States , University of Michigan-Ann Arbor , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , Wisconsin , Yale University , YouTube



Iron Tongue of Midnight

July 22

LA Phil Press Department Needs a Macro.

And so do I. Their latest press release, reproduced below, skipped the diacriticals in their Associate Conductor's name. ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR MIRGA GRAZINYTE-TYLA LEADS THE LA PHIL AND PIANIST JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET IN WORKS BY BEETHOVEN AND RAVEL AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 8PM Media Sponsor: KUSCWHAT: Los Angeles Philharmonic Associate Conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla returns to the Hollywood Bowl to conduct a concert featuring works by Beethoven and Ravel on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 8PM.  The LA Phil welcomes renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, sopranos Janai Brugger and Elizabeth Zharoff, mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, tenors Rafael Moras andKevin Ray, and bass Colin Ramsey for a performance of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  The program also includes Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé Suite No. 2 with the Master Chorale. Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla was a Dudamel Fellow with the LA Phil in the 2012/13 season, became an assistant conductor in 2014 and with the start of the 2016 Hollywood Bowl season becomes Associate Conductor.  At the age of 29, she has already made meaningful relationships with top orchestras around the world and gained a reputation for mesmerizing performances.  In addition to her responsibilities as the LA Phil's Associate Conductor, Mirga is Music Director of the Salzburg Landestheater.   Most notably, Mirga has been named Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra starting with the 2016 season.  In this position, Mirga follows in the footsteps of distinguished conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons.  Jean-Yves Thibaudet, hailed as one of the best pianists in the world, joins the LA Phil for this performance while embracing three significant residencies this season: with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and the Colburn School in Los Angeles.  At the latter, he continues a three-year engagement where his passion for education and fostering young musical talent is invested in masterclasses and performances with the students. Thibaudet's recording catalogue of more than 50 albums has received two Grammy nominations, the Diapason d'Or, Gramophone and Echo awards and the Edison Prize. He has also made a significant impact in the worlds of film, fashion and philanthropy - performing on the award-winning film soundtracks for Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and attired in a concert wardrobe designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood. Complete program: BEETHOVEN          Leonore Overture No. 3BEETHOVEN          Choral FantasyRAVEL                   Mother Goose SuiteRAVEL                   Daphnis and Chloé Suite No. 2WHEN: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 8PMWHO: Los Angeles PhilharmonicMIRGA GRAZINYTE-TYLA, conductorJEAN-YVES THIBAUDET, pianoJANAI BRUGGER, sopranoELIZABETH ZHAROFF, sopranoPEABODY SOUTHWELL, mezzo-sopranoRAFAEL MORAS, tenorKEVIN RAY, tenorCOLIN RAMSEY, bassLos Angeles Master ChoraleGrant Gershon, artistic director [There's obviously no way MGT will be mistaken for anyone else. I say they need a macro because I need one too: I have to look up the diacriticals in Gražinytė-Tyla every time. In fact, I'm not even sure what the diacritical over the e is. Sometimes, copy and paste is your friend.] [I can't tell you how shocked I was to see "Ravel" and "Jean-Yes Thibaudet" and then find that Thibaudet isn't playing one of the Ravel piano concertos.]

My Classical Notes

July 21

Sokolov Performs Beethoven

I always feel a sense of anticipation and excitement when I prepare to listen to Pianist Grigory Sokolov. This new recording is not an exception. Grigory Sokolov has gained an almost mythical status amongst music-lovers throughout the world. He is considered by many today to be the world’s greatest living pianist. Ever since his first recital in Leningrad, he has amazed everyone again and again with the enormous breadth of his repertoire and his huge, almost physical musical strength. Grigory Sokolov was largely unknown in the West, however, until the late 1980’s, but is now rightfully regarded as a giant of the piano. Sokolov’s concerts are anticipated with eagerness where ever he travels. He’s not been outside of Europe for several years now, preferring to tour Europe. His programs change twice a year, Sokolov mining the music he plays for every jewel before he feels ready to consider a new work. Sokolov prefers his CD’s to be recorded live because he likes to capture the sacred moments of a real, live concert and avoid the sterile atmosphere of a studio. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106 (known as the Große Sonate für das Hammerklavier, or more simply as the Hammerklavier) is a piano sonata widely viewed as one of the most important works of the composer’s third period and among the greatest piano sonatas. Completed in 1818, it is often considered to be Beethoven’s most technically challenging piano composition and one of the most demanding solo works in the classical piano repertoire. Here is Mr. Sokolov, performing the Hammerklavier sonata by Beethoven:

Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770 – 1827)

Ludwig van Beethoven (baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. The crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time. Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in present-day Germany, Beethoven moved to Vienna in his early 20s, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Beethoven's hearing began to deteriorate in the late 1790s, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf.



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