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My Classical Notes
A Musician's List of Events & Artist Reviews
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I have recently been immersed in Haydn’s chamber music, amd I have told you my amazement at the creativity that he exhibited in the Opus 20 string quartets.

Now on this recording we come back to Haydn the symphonic master. The Haydn symphonies included in this collection are the numbers 19, 80, abd 81.

In this fifth volume of thisi series, Haydn is set in perspective with another composer, Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92):

Haydn said the following about Kraus:

‘Kraus was the first man of genius that I met. Why did he have to die? It is an irreparable loss for our art. The Symphony in C minor he wrote in Vienna specially for me is a work which will be considered a masterpiece in every century’

Though he long remained forgotten after his death, Kraus made an active contribution to the movement of poetic renewal called ‘Sturm und Drang’ or ‘Geniezeit’ (time of genius) because such artists as the young Goethe broke free of all tradition to follow their hearts alone. When Haydn called Kraus homme de génie, in French, he probably had this context in mind. The two composers had met in Vienna in 1783.

Here is the Symphony number 80 by Haydn:

16 hours ago |
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Erich Kleiber was a very well known conductor in Germany and in Austria during the early 1900’s. What is amazing to me is that after he married and had a son, he told most inquirers that his son has absolutely no capabilities in music. For that matter, he insisted that his son get educated in a non-musical profession.

In the 1930’s the family left Europe and settled in South America.

That is how the son was named Carlos, and he became even more famous than his father was many years earlier.

This recording contains the following:

Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor, performed by the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, conducted by Carlos Kleiber.

And also:

Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in B minor, performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Erich Kleiber.

That way, YOU can decide which interpretation you prefer.

Here is Carlos Kleiber conducting the Borodin symphony:

1 day ago |
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There are many things that come together in music: Expression, tempo, technique, rhythm, and more.

Think about this: Composer Franz Schubert died at age 31. Yet he left us over 600 songs, several symphonies and some totally amazing chamber  music. He was lonely, and he was very ill at the end. Much of this sadness is reflected in Schubert’ piano sonatas.

And here is another musician: Pianist Sviatoslav Richter, who explores the music that Schubert composed. Richter shows us what he  discovers in this music. Just listen…

2 days ago |
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I listened this morning to a recording of the String Quartets Opus 20 by Joseph Haydn. What amazing music this is! Haydn showed me a level of his creativity and ingenious ideas that were truly amazing.

The so-called ‘Sun’ quartets of Joseph Haydn are often said to represent an unprecedented development of his string quartet writing, which every other subsequent composer of quartets has been aspiring to achieve.

I listened to these masterpieces morning as performed by the Chiaroscuro Quartet.

These six quartets represent an amazing example for their flexibility, variety and unpredictability. Every bar is full of a sense of musical adventure, a feeling that Haydn is creating bridges between styles and ideas and forging a vision of four-part string writing that draws on every historical source that he knew as well as the furthest reaches of his musical imagination.

Here is some music from this recording:

3 days ago |
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Seven years after they triumphed with Dvorák’s quartets op. 96 “American” and op. 106, the Pavel Haas Quartet are back to Dvorák. For the occasion of recording his quintets, they have invited two guests: the pianist Boris Giltburg, as well as one of the group’s founding members, violist Pavel Nikl.

Antonín Dvorák composed his Piano Quintet No. 2 while staying at his beloved summer house in the late summer of 1887. The renowned critic Eduard Hanslick responded to its performance in Vienna enthusiastically by writing “It is one of his most beautiful works. A genuine Dvorák.“

The String Quintet op. 97, albeit only six years younger, presents a completely different Dvorák. After the Symphony from the New World and the “American” quartet, the string quintet is the composer’s third work written in America.

Besides drawing inspiration from the music of the Native American tribe of the Iroquois which he heard in Spillville in the summer of 1893, he built the third movement around a theme that he had previously considered using in a proposal for a new American anthem.

“The Pavel Haas Quartet is at home in Dvorák’s music – to quote the Sunday Times, “In this repertoire, they are simply matchless today.“

Here are Violinist Janine Jansen, with Cellist Mischa Maisky and friends, performing the Piano Quintet number 2 by Dvorak:

5 days ago |
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I enjoy sharing with you my “discoveries” of artists who are relatively new to the music arena, and who have excellent potential as being our entertainers in the years to come.

Today I want to tell you about Francesca Dego.

This album marks Italian violinist Francesca Dego’s first  orchestral recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

It features two Italian masterpieces: Wolf-Ferrari’s seldom-performed Violin Concerto, and Paganini’s renowned Violin Concerto Number 1, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.

Francesca recorded Wolf-Ferrari’s Violin Concerto live in March 2017, when she gave the UK premiere of the piece at Symphony Hall with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the renowned Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni.

Here is some music from this recording, coupled with comments by the soloist:

6 days ago |
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If you are like me, you may now be eager for Spring to come, although we need to await the blessings of Winter, first…

On this new recording we get to hear three works inspired by Spring – Stravinsky’s  revolutionary 1913 ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’ depicts Russian pagan tribes celebrating the emergence of Spring with frenzied dances and ritual sacrifice. The music has a rhythmic complexity and violence that caused a riot to break out at its premier in Paris.

Rachmaninov’s Spring Cantata tells the story of a husband who has struggled through the harsh Russian winter knowing his wife has been having an affair with a younger man. He swears he will kill them, but on seeing the wonder of spring all around him, relents and forgives them both.

Debussy’s early ‘Printemps’ of 1885 was said to have been inspired by Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’. Debussy was staying at the Villa Medici in Rome when he wrote this colorful and joyous work.

All of these compositions are performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus, conducted by Vasily Petrenko

7 days ago |
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Here is a concert in Los Angeles that has great promise:


Los Angeles Philharmonic
Zubin Mehta, conductor
Khatia Buniatishvili, piano


MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, K. 488
BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 9


Disney Concert hall, Los Angeles, CA


Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Jere is a recording of the wonderful concerto number 23 by Mozart:

8 days ago |
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One of my fond memories from the time when I was 14 is my membership in an excellent amateur orchestra. I learned a whole lot of the orchestral repertoire, and to this day, our performance of the second symphony by Robert Schumann is fresh in my mind. The slow movement is my great favorite.

Now a new recording is out in which Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony perform the complete symphonies of Robert Schumann.

Michael Tilson Thomas’ nuanced approach accentuates the tender, simple, and vulnerable side of Schumann’s symphonies, which MTT calls a “preserve for endangered emotions.” Recorded live, these performances of Schumann’s symphonies are hailed as “nothing short of magnificent” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Produced by the Symphony’s in-house record label SFS Media in the highest quality audio.

Here is Leonard Bernstein, leading the slow movement from the Schumann Symphony number 2:

10 days ago |
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Two stars from different generations, artists of the highest caliber, mark their first collaboration with an album devoted to one of the supreme landmarks of classical music.

Anne-Sophie Mutter, who in 2016 celebrated the 40th anniversary of her professional debut, and Daniil Trifonov, now in his mid-twenties, joined forces with three outstanding young string playing alumni of the Mutter Foundation at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus in June to perform Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A major, popularly known as the “Trout” Quintet.

They also explored the composer’s Notturno, a wonderful late work for violin, cello and piano, and arrangements of his songs Ständchen and Ave Maria for violin and piano.

Here is the opening of the amazing Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert:

14 days ago |
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