Saturday, September 28, 2013

A reconstruction of Beethoven's Macbeth Overture on a Synthesizer

Beethoven's unfinished overture for Shakespeare's Tragedy `Macbeth' -- Something wicked this way comes --- Beethoven's unfinished overture on the subject of `Macbeth' was reconstructed by a Dutch composer, Willem Holsbergen, using a computer program. It had its world premiere by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington twelve years ago. In 1810, Beethoven started working on the overture to Shakespeare's Macbeth with an Austrian librettist, Joachim Collin. It was complained to Beethoven that the music sounder rather gloomy. The project was abandoned by the ever moody Beethoven and shortly later, Collin died. Working with some Beethoven experts, Holsbergen took some sketches of the piece dispersed in Europe by few enthusiastic souvenir hunters after Beethoven's death. Holsbergen began with the help of some notes from a sketchbook found in Bonn. Using a special computer program, Holsbergen typed in notes from Beethoven's sketches that were then converted electronically into music. Leonard Slatkin conducted the National Symphony Orchestra for the premiere of this overture. Despite certain scholars running this overture down as a sketchy one, it is interesting to absorb the emotions felt by Beethoven concerning Macbeth.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Das Klagende Lied

Mahler's Das Klagende Lied is a fantasy `Songs of Lamentation' in which the bones of a victim of regal fratricide are used to make a magic flute which, when played by the murderer, reveals his guilt. It is scored for soli, mixed choir and orchestra. The orchestral song Cantata work is based on poems written by Gustav Mahler and was completed in 1880. It consisted of three movements: Waldmärchen (A Tale from the Woods) Der Spielmann (The Minstrel) Hochzeitsstück (Wedding Piece) "Waldmärchen", Part I from "Das klagende Lied" by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Susann Dunn, soprano Brigitte Fassbaender, mezzosoprano Markus Baur, boy-alto Werner Hollweg, tenor Andreas Schmidt, bass Städt. Musikverein Düsseldorf Radio Symphonierorchester Berlin Riccardo Chailly, conductor Das klagende Lied: / Song of lament /Complainte 1 - Waldmärchen / Forest Legend /Conte Sylvestre /Favola del Bosco (Langsam und träumerisch) 2 - Der Spielmann / The Minstrel / Le Ménestrel (Sehr gehalten) 3 - Hochzeitsstück / Wedding piece / Le Mariage /Chant de noce (Heftig bewegt) Grace Hoffman, alto Evelyn Lear, soprano Elisabeth Söderström, soprano Stuart Borrows, tenor Ernst Haefliger, tenor Gerd Nienstedt, bass London Symphony Orchestra Chorus Chorus master: Arthur Oldham London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Pierre Boulez 1970 Der Spielmann III Hochzeitstucke "Hochzeitsstück", Part III from "Das klagende Lied" by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Susann Dunn, soprano Brigitte Fassbaender, mezzosoprano Markus Baur, boy-alto Werner Hollweg, tenor Andreas Schmidt, bass Städt. Musikverein Düsseldorf Radio Symphonierorchester Berlin Riccardo Chailly, conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Das klagende Lied: / Song of lament /Complainte 3 - Hochzeitsstück / Wedding piece / Le Mariage /Chant de noce (Heftig bewegt) Grace Hoffman, alto Evelyn Lear, soprano Elisabeth Söderström, soprano Stuart Borrows, tenor Ernst Haefliger, tenor Gerd Nienstedt, bass London Symphony Orchestra Chorus Chorus master: Arthur Oldham London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Pierre Boulez 1970

Monday, September 23, 2013

Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg Herbert von Karajan

Full Opera Recording "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg". Theo Adam, René Kollo, Geraint Evans, Peter Schreier, Helen Donath, Ruth Hesse. Recorded by Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chorus of the Staatsoper Dresden Conducted by Herbert von Karajan (EMI, 1970). This is an opera in three acts. It is among the longest operas performed today, usually taking around four and a half hours. It was first performed at the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater in Munich on 21 June 1868. The conductor at the premiere was Hans von Bülow. The story is taking place in Nuremberg during the mid sixteenth century. It was an Imperial City and one of the Renaissance centres in Northern Europe. The story is about the real-life guild of Meistersinger (Master Singers), an association of amateur poets and musicians, from the middle class and master craftsmen. The Mastersingers developed a craftsmanlike approach to music-making with a complicated system of rules for composing and performing songs. One of the main characters, the cobbler-poet, Hans Sachs, is based on an actual historical figure: Hans Sachs (1494–1576), the most famous of the historical Mastersingers. This opera has a unique place in Wagner's works. It is the only comedy among his mature operas apart from Das Liebesverbot (based on Sakespeare's Measure for Measure)It is the only mature Wagner opera to be based on an entirely original story. It is also the only one of Wagner's mature operas in which there are no supernatural powers. Wagner compromised on the very theories that he had rallied against in his essays such as arias, choruses, a quintet, rhymed verses and a ballet too. Die Meistersinger is a composition in which music is a central part of the narrative. Wagner had the Bayreuth Festspielhaus built with many unique designs. It was here that the Ring and Parsifal received their premieres and where his most important stage works continue to be performed in an annual festival that are managed by his descendants. His thoughts on the contribution of music and drama in operas were to shift again and he reintroduced conventional forms into his stage work in this opera. After going through several versions of this opera, I have come to the conclusion that this is the definitive version followed by Horst Stein and Bayreuth Festpielhaus.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Till Eulenspiegel's Lustige Streiche

Richard Strauss Till Eulenspiegel's Lustige Streiche Berlin Philharmoniker 1943 Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks Op. 28, is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, describing the misadventures and pranks of Till Eulenspiegel, the German folk hero. The two themes representing Till are played respectively by the horn and the clarinet in D Major. The horn theme is a lilting melody that reaches a peak, then falls downward. It culminates in three long notes which are lower in progression. The clarinet theme depicts the acts of a trickster.I must say that the timpani of Berlin Philharmonic lost its thunderous hold when Furtwangler moved out of the scene. Here is a 1950 performance with the Berlin Philharmonic

Friday, September 20, 2013

Saint Saens Requiem

Messe de Requiem, Op. 54. -- Coro della Radio Svizzera & Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana Diego FASOLIS The movements are Kyrie, Dies Irae, Rex Tremendae, Oro Supplex, Hostias, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. A friend of Saint Saens, Albert Libon, requested a Requiem to be played on his funeral. Libon died in 1877. Saint Saens composed the Requiem in Switzerland in a matter of eight days. It is a short Requiem that packs quite a punch. It was a Messe de Requiem to be performed in honour of Libon in a church mass. It was scored lushly for the orchestra, brass, choirand organ with a very effective use of harps.

B Minor Violin Concerto No. 3 of Charles Camille Saint Saens

The Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61, by Camille Saint-Saëns was written in 1880. Saint-Saëns dedicated the concerto to fellow composer-virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, who played the solo part at the premiere. The work is in three movements: Allegro non troppo; Andantino quasi allegretto; Molto moderato e maestoso. This is the last of Saint-Saëns' violin concertos.It has innovative melodies. The virtuoso demands are evident in the second movement and the chorale of the final movement. It is reminiscent of the conclusion of the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28. Gil Shaham New York Philharmonic Giuseppe Sinopoli

Sunday, September 8, 2013

John Williams Compilation

Thursday, September 5, 2013

La Traviata

The Complete Opera at the Glyndebourne Festival in 1988 London Philharmonic with Bernard Haitink Performances of La Traviata depend much on the principal soprano. Marie McLaughlin has all of the attributes needed for a role that is a virtuoso one. She mesmerises. Violetta is a socialite seeking love in Act One. She becomes a quiet and domestic woman in Act Two who sacrifices her love for Alfredo to the family values he has talked her into adopting, leading to the dying penitent of Act Three. Walter McNeil is a poetic Alfredo. He is excellent in Act Two, Scene Two. His public humiliation of Violetta is painful to watch; and this makes his repentance at her deathbed extremely moving. Brent Ellis is powerful as his father Germont. The duet in which he convinces Violetta into leaving his son and comes to value what he is destroying is one of the high points of the opera. Bernard Haitink is impressive in his reading with the London Philharmonic.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Mirror Crack'd Guy Hamilton 1980

This 1980 version of Agatha Christie's less-loved novels is very well directed by Guy Hamilton with brilliant performances by Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis,Angela Lansbury and Edward Fox. It is a narrative that tells of gentle rebuke. It is set in the English countryside of the nineteen fifties. The backdrop is filming of `Mary Queen of Scots' with Taylor and Kim Novak as two cats out to shred each other .When one of Ms. Rudd's fans is murdered at a reception given for her, Miss Marple (Angela Lansbury) and her nephew Inspector Delbert Craddock (Edward Fox) investigate the crime. There is a very young Pierce Brosnan doing a silent cameo in a film within this film and he gets to star opposite Elizabeth Taylor. It was quite an interesting baptism for him.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tchaikovsky G Major Concert Fantasia for Piano and Orchestra

Of all the works that Tchaikovsky wrote for piano and orchestra, this concert fantasy ia quie adventurous. It is not a one-movement fantasia as most people would think. No one can gauge what was in Tchaikovsky's mind when he wrote this. It was written after his G Major Second Piano Concerto. He was trying something different. It is actually a concert piece in two movements. It was written as a showcase for a virtuoso pianist who could play out a grand rhapsody. Eugen D'Albert had actually inspired him to write this fantasy. He was a rotege of Liszt. The honour for the premiere went to Sergei Taneyev who was also responsible for bringing wide success not only to this Fanatsy but also to both the piano concertos. The first movement is Quasi Rondo but it is not a traditional rondo. It is more an expansive sonata movement with a brilliant cadenza replacing the development section. The second movement is called `Contrasts'. It reminds people of the third orchestral suite. It makes a good finale to the Fantasy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two Serious Melodies for Violin and Orchestra Sibelius

1. Cantique 2. Devotion These two earnest pieces were also transcribed for cello and orchestra. They were written in 1914 and first performed on March 30, 1916 by cellist Ossian Fohström (to whom Sibelius dedicated them) and the Helsinki Orchestra conducted by Sibelius. The first, "Cantique (Laetare anima mea)" (the subtitle means "Rejoice, my soul") is scored for a pair of flutes, clarinet, two horns, timpani, harp and strings.The harp and the string textures recall the style of Ralph Vaughan Williams. The second, "Devotion (Ab imo pectore)" ("From my very heart") features a larger orchestral setting: two flutes, clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three trombones and strings. This opens with pulsating strings over which the soloist soars. Poignant dissonance marks the central section. Both these pieces use good tone color. Sibelius was a very good violinist himself. Dong-Suk Kang Gothenburg Symphony Neeme Jarvi

Spring Song 1895 Sibelius

Spring Song was composed as an improvisation for orchestra in D major. Sibelius recast it in F major and called the work in 1895,"The Sadness of Spring".It has an optimism which is rare among the works of Sibelius. It uses prominent bells at the end of the song. Lahti Symphony Osmo Vanska