Beethoven – Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31/2 “Tempest” III. Allegretto (Kempff)

Allegretto, third movement from Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31/2

Wilhelm Kempff, piano (Live)

The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801/02 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is usually referred to as “The Tempest” (or Der Sturm in his native German), but this title was not given by him, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime; instead, it comes from a claim by his associate Anton Schindler that the sonata was inspired by the Shakespeare play. However, much of Schindler’s information is distrusted by classical music scholars. Renowned British music scholar, Donald Francis Tovey, in his authoritative book A Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas, states that “The story that Beethoven connected this sonata with The Tempest is evidently one of many such inventions by his biographer Anton Schindler”. The third movement, in the key of D minor, is very moving, first flowing with emotion and then reaching a climax, before moving into an extended development section which mainly focuses on the opening figure of the movement, reaching a climax at measures 169-173. The recapitulation is preceded by an extensive cadenza-like passage of sixteenth notes for the right hand and the coda which follows is quite substantial, reaching what can be considered the climax of the movement at measure 381, a fortissimo falling chromatic scale.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

The music is featured in the movie CALL ME BY YOUR NAME:

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Deok-Vin Lee – #####d[^_^]b##### (2016)

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Deok-Vin Lee (b. 1986) is a Korean composer, currently based in Berlin. He graduated from music college of Kyunghee University, Seoul (2012) and is studying at Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden under Mark Andre and Manos Tsangaris. He had been awarded Ad Infinitum scholarship from Ad Infinitum Foundation, Lübeck (2013-2014). He was selected by the Fourth International Young Composer Academy, Tchaikovsky city and presented his piece (2014). His piece was performed in Donaueschinger Musiktage (Next Generation Off-Concert, 2014). His works had been performed by ensemble recherche (Freiburg), Auditivvokal (Dresden), Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble (Moscow), Vertigo Ensemble (Bern), Absolut Trio (Bern).

List of works:
Music for water and glasses for 11 performers (2011)
Sonnets for string quartet (2012)
Prufrock for ensemble (2013)
Immanente Zeit for quartet (2014)
Klavierstück for electronic (2014)
Immanente Zeit II for four voices (2014)
Added for quartet (2014)
#####d[^_^]b##### (2016)

Daniel Barenboim: promoting peace through classical music

Exploring how classical music contributes to peaceful coexistence in crisis regions around the world has helped define Daniel Barenboim’s life work.

‘Barenboim or the Power of Music’ is a documentary that examines Barenboim as not only one of the most outstanding conductors and pianists of our time but as a deeply political man as well. Barenboim has said that every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity. In November 2017 this progressive thinker and free spirit turns 75.

The film begins with the opening of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin in the spring of 2017. The concert hall named after Barenboim’s close friend Pierre Boulez and designed by star architect Frank Gehry seats 700 people. The oval shaped space located in the heart of Berlin is more than just a spectacular new venue for classical and contemporary chamber music; young musicians from the Middle East – Jews, Christians and Muslims – are given the opportunity to study and play music together here. The idea behind the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin grew out of a project that Barenboim and his friend, the intellectual Edward Said realized in 1999 when they founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra made up of Israeli and Arab musicians. The viewer gets a vivid sense of Barenboim’s lifelong view that any solution to political conflicts, such as those in the Middle East, can only be cultural and personal, and not decreed by policy-makers.

Ravel’s ‘Pavane pour une infante défunte’

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Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Infanta) is a well-known piece written for solo piano by the French composer Maurice Ravel in 1899 when he was studying composition at the Conservatoire de Paris under Gabriel Fauré. Ravel also published an orchestrated version of the Pavane in 1910; it is scored for two flutes, oboe, two clarinets (in B-flat), two bassoons, two horns, harp, and strings. A typical performance of the piece lasts between six and seven minutes. It is widely considered a masterpiece.

Conductor: Andre Previn
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
Recording: 1980.

Stravinsky’s ‘Suite For Small Orchestra No.1 and No.2’ recorded in Italy in 1953

The Suite For Small Orchestra No.1 was composed between 1917 and 1925. This miniature work, comprising an introduction and three national dances, is notable for its prominent rhythms and rich orchestral colouring.

Suite No.2 is extremely witty and rhythmically varied. The employment of the piano obligato, tuba, and the colourful application of the percussion instruments are described as particularly original orchestral effects.

Conductor: Hermann Scherchen
Orchestra: Orchestra Sinfonica della Rai di Torino
Recording: November 6, 1953

Did you know that Verdi composed a string quartet?

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Giuseppe Verdi’s String Quartet in E minor was written in the spring of 1873 during a production of Aida in Naples. It is the only surviving chamber music work in Verdi’s catalogue.

Verdi’s production of Aida in early March, 1873 was delayed due to the sudden illness of soprano Teresa Stolz. Verdi focused his time in Naples on the writing of his first chamber work, the String Quartet in E minor. The work was premiered two days after the opening of Aida during an informal recital at his hotel on April 1, 1873. The names of the original performers survive only as Pinto brothers, violins, Salvadore, viola, and Giarritiello, cello.

Verdi commented on the work, saying “I’ve written a Quartet in my leisure moments in Naples. I had it performed one evening in my house, without attaching the least importance to it and without inviting anyone in particular. Only the seven or eight persons who usually come to visit me were present. I don’t know whether the Quartet is beautiful or ugly, but I do know that it’s a Quartet!”

The quartet also exists in a version for string orchestra.

The Quartet is scored for the usual string quartet complement of two violins, viola, and cello.

  1. Allegro
  2. Andantino
  3. Prestissimo
  4. Scherzo Fuga. Allegro assai mosso

 

Daniil Trifonov – Fantaisie-Impromptu In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66

Listen to Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu” played by Daniil Trifonov. Daniil Trifonov’s new album contains Chopin’s two beautiful piano concertos in fascinating new orchestrations by pianist-conductor-composer Mikhail Pletnev. Alongside the concerts Trifonov presents Chopin’s solo works and pieces by Mompou, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, and Barber paying homage to the genius who, in Trifonov’s words, “revolutionized the expressive horizons of the piano.”

Composer: Frédéric Chopin
Repertoire: Fantaisie-Impromptu In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66
Artist (Piano): Daniil Trifonov
Place: New York, USA
Produced by: Sid McLauchlan
Video Director: Michael Joseph McQuilken
Video Production: Jennifer Harrison Newman

Claude Debussy – La Demoiselle élue (1959 recording)

La Damoiselle élue (The Blessed Damozel), L. 62, is a cantata for two soloists, female choir, and orchestra, composed by Claude Debussy in 1887–1889 based on a text by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It premiered in Paris in 1893.

Nadine Saterereau, Giovanna Fiorini, soloists
Orchestra sinfonica e coro della RAI di Torino, orchestra
Sergiu Celibidache, conductor
30.01.59, recording date

Descent into Oboe Hell

Principal Oboe Olivier Stankiewicz is embarking upon the oboe solo at the end of last Sunday’s performance of The Damnation of Faust when he realises he has a water bubble in his keys.

Tapping to clear it, he accidentally splits his reed. In a heartbeat he leans over and grabs 2nd Oboe Rosie Jenkins’ oboe and continues the solo – Rosie’s oboe has a completely different fingering system to Olivier’s, which does not trouble him even for a moment.

What we didn’t capture on camera: Rosie cleans Olivier’s instrument, fits a new reed and hands it back to him, all in time for their next entries.

And meanwhile, none of the players around them bats an eyelid, and no one in the hall is any the wiser that there has been a drama.

The cameras were rolling because we live-streamed the whole concert which you can watch here:

Iannis Xenakis – Empreintes (For Orchestra) (1975)

Xenakis made use of the resources of the expanded modern orchestra throughout his composing career. Visceral gestures‚ prolonged in sequences of vibrant inner activity‚ typify Xenakis’s Pythagorean ballet for Balanchine‚ Antikhthon (1971). The procedure is fined down in 1974’s Noomena‚ whose chains of sound react against each other at a dizzying rate of velocity‚ while Empreintes (1975) heralds a new phase in its more sustained growth towards a laconic‚ Stravinskian close.

Orchestra – Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg
Conductor – Arturo Tamayo