Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nino Rota's Romeo and Juliet - 1968

Beautiful Composition for the Franco Zeffirelli Film with Leonard Whiting as Romeo and Olivia Hussey as Juliet.

Nino Rota (1911-1979). Talented Italian Composer. Versatile. Wrote five ballets, ten operas and many choral and orchestral works. He also wrote chamber music. His string concerto is beautiful. The work that he did for films is unforgettable with the Zeffirelli film ` Romeo and Juliet' and Coppola's `Godfather'.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Beethoven's Coriolan Overture is based on the play by Shakespeare as well as the one by Heinrich von Collin to whom the overture is dedicated. It is one of the last tragedies of Shakespeare that is known for its military and political themes. Caius Martius is a proud Roman General who does not hold himself back in displaying his outspoken and arrogant contempt of the Roman extremities. The Tribunes banish him and he raises an army to take his revenge on Rome. He is then given the cognomen or the third name of Coriolanus. He represented political honesty in a corrupt world. The play by Shakespeare was written in 1608.
Beethoven scored his overture brilliantly with all the subtleties included with a resigned ending on the contrabass pizzicato representing Coriolanus' suicide. The definitive performance of this overture is one attached here by Wilhelm Furtwangler with the Berliner Philharmoniker in the 1943 performance. The timpani accentuation and the crescendo effect has not been achieved by any other conductor after him. Karajan follows next with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the third goes to Otto Klemperer with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Die Ruinen von Athen

Op.113. Ludwig Van Beethoven. Overture and Incidental Music. Text written by August von Kotzebue. Die Ruinen von Athen depicts Athens under the Turkish rule and how Athene/Minerva finds a new refuge for the muses in the city of Pest. This is the place where Franz Liszt spent many of his days. It is a delightfully crafted overture and music played superbly by the Berliner Symphoniker and the Konzertchor under the direction of Hans Schonzeler.

Fantasia on Themes from the Ruins of Athens

On 4th March 1874, Franz Liszt delivered a stirring performance of his `Fantasia on Themes from Ruins of Athens' by Beethoven. S.122. This was a charity concert in Budapest and there were more than two thousand people present. The result was a pandemonium.The technical master of Liszt on the pianoforte astonished all who heard it.

This is a spectacular performance by Michel Beroff with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig conducted by Kurt Masur.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Konig Stephan

Andante con moto - Presto
King Stephen overture and incidental music by Ludwig van Beethoven belongs to Hungary for its dramatic setting. August von Kotzebue composed the text for this incidental music. The music was presented on the occasion of the opening of a German language theater in Pest, Hungary. It was written in August 1811. There are falling fourths that are heard at the opening of the overture and recur later at the recapitulation. A woodwind tune of Hungarian tones comes in dolce to introduce Hungary's national hero. In the overture, Beethoven uses a juxtaposition with a theme that comes again in his opening movement of the Choral Symphony.
The music is played brilliantly by Herbert von Karajan with Berliner Philharmoniker and choir.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Zur Namensfeier

A lovely overture by Ludwig van Beethoven. The Name day Overture. Op.115. Berliner Philharmoniker. Herbert Von Karajan. This overture was written in 1815. It was a general composition for any occasion of Name Keeping.It was played specially on the day of the Feast of St. Francis. In France, this overture became popular as the Name Day Hunt.