Thursday, 12 March 2015

On hold for a while

With a lot of things going on my life these coming weeks, I need to put this blog on hold for a while. I will resume posting some time in April.

EDIT: the blog will resume early June, albeit possibly with a lower posting frequency than achieved before the time out.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Anton Webern - Variations for orchestra

Webern (1883-1945) was an Austrian composer and prominent member of the second Viennese school, based on Schoenberg's 12-tone techniques. For lovers of conventional classical music, his works are not easy to crack, but repeated listening is very rewarding, and they have been highly influential. I have selected his variations for orchestra, op.30, from 1941. Relevant links below.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Ernest John Moeran - Cello concerto

Ernest John Moeran (1894 - 1950) was an English composer who had strong associations with Ireland. In my opinion he may be the most underrated composer of all time (his AllMusic page is limited to his name). His small repertoire is exquisite, featuring a fabulous symphony and one of the best violin concertos of the 20th century. His best work is for me his cello concerto from 1945, the most beautiful concerto for this instrument of all time, even outshining Dvorak, Elgar and Finzi. Relevant links below.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Charles Koechlin - Seven Stars Symphony

Koechlin (1867-1950) was a French composer, whose extensive output is still not fully valued by classical music lovers. His was a very original voice, which rewards exploring. I have selected the Hollywood inspired Seven Stars Symphony for orchestra, Op. 132, from 1933, a modern romantic masterpiece. Relevant links below.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Keiko Abe - Dream of the Cherry Blossoms

Abe (1937) is a Japanese composer and marimba player. Her compositions usually involve the marimba, often as a solo instrument. Perhaps her most famous work is Dream of the Cherry Blossoms for solo marimba from 1983. Relevant links below.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

John Luther Adams - Dark waves

John Luther Adams (1953) is an American composer, not to be confused with John Adams. The works of JL Adams are often inspired by the nature of Alaska, and are gaining popularity in classical music circles. I have selected Dark waves from 2007 in the version for orchestra and electronics. Relevant links below.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Rued Langgaard - The Music of the Spheres

Langgaard (1893-1952) was a Danish composer, whose unconventional works have been receiving more attention in recent decades. This highlight in his uneven repertoire is the bafflingly modern sounding Sfærernes Musik (The Music of the Spheres), for soprano, chorus, orchestra and distant orchestra, from 1918. Relevant links below.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - String quartet 1

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a romantic Russian composer, generally regarded as one of the all-time greats. Most people will know his later symphonies, concertos, and ballet music. I have selected the beautiful String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11, from 1871. Relevant links below.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

George Dyson - Violin concerto

Dyson (1883-1964) was a British composer, whose works were once described aptly as "skillful, sometimes deeply felt, but never forward-looking in idiom". I have selected his beautiful concerto for violin and orchestra from 1941. Relevant links below (YouTube in 4 parts, 1, 2, 3, 4).

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Reinhold Gliere - Symphony 3 "Ilya Muromets"

Gliere (1875-1956) was a late romantic Russian composer of German-Polish ancestry. His rather conventional style made life easy for him in Stalin's Russia, yet his compositions are well worth exploring. His best work is the monumental programmatic Symphony No. 3 in B minor ("Il'ya Muromets"), Op. 42, from 1911. Relevant links below.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Wilhelm Grosz - Afrika songs

Grosz (1894-1939) was an Austrian composer, who fled from the Nazis to the UK in 1934, and composed a number of pop songs there that became evergreens (such as Harbor lights and Red sails in the sunset). His earlier classical music works do not get the attention they warrant. In particular Afrika songs, for soprano, baritone and jazz chamber ensemble, Op. 29, from 1929, is a fascinating work. Relevant links below.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Toshio Hosokawa - Landscape 5

Hosokawa (1955) is a contemporary Japanese composer. His works are of a shimmering beauty that rewards repeated listening. I have selected Landscape No. 5, for sho and string quartet, from 1993. Relevant links below.