Classical

Claude Debussy : Clair de Lune, for Piano (Suite Bergamasque No. 3), L. 75/3

Claude Debussy was born on 22 August 1862 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, the eldest of five children. His father, Manuel-Achille Debussy, owned a china shop there; his mother, Victorine Manoury Debussy, was a seamstress. The family moved to Paris in 1867, but in 1870 Debussy’s pregnant mother fled with Claude to his paternal aunt’s home in Cannes to escape the Franco-Prussian war. Debussy began piano lessons there at the age of seven with an Italian violinist in his early 40s named Cerutti; his aunt paid for his lessons. In 1871 he drew the attention of Marie Mauté de Fleurville,[7] who claimed to have been a pupil of Frédéric Chopin. Debussy always believed her, although there is no independent evidence to support her claim.[8] His talents soon became evident, and in 1872, at age ten, Debussy entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he spent the next 11 years. During his time there he studied composition with Ernest Guiraud, music history/theory with Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray, harmony with Émile Durand,[9] piano with Antoine François Marmontel, organ with César Franck, and solfège with Albert Lavignac, as well as other significant figures of the era. He also became a lifelong friend of fellow student and noted pianist Isidor Philipp. After Debussy’s death, many pianists sought out Philipp for advice on playing his pieces.

Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

The Moonlight Sonata was composed in the summer of 1801 in Hungary, on an estate belonging to the Brunswick family. The composition was published in 1802 and was dedicated to Beethoven’s pupil and passion, 17 years old Countess Giulietta Gucciardi.

moonlight-2

The Sonata is one of the most popular piano sonatas from Beethoven’s creation. It is also named The Moonlight Sonata by poet Ludwig Rellstab who, in 1832, had this inspiration on a moon lit night on the banks of the Lucerna River. Some biographers make the connection between the unshared love the composer held for Giulietta Guicciardi and the sonorities of the first part. Even more so, this sonata was dedicated to Giulietta, the musical theme of the first part being borrowed from a German ballad as Wyzewa observed.

moonlight-1

moonlight-3

Frederick Francois Chopin

Frédéric François Chopin 22 February or 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849), born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, who wrote primarily for the solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as one of the leading musicians of his era, whose “poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation.”[1] Chopin was born in what was then the Duchy of Warsaw, and grew up in Warsaw, which after 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed many of his works in Warsaw before leaving Poland, aged 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising.

At the age of 21 he settled in Paris. Thereafter, during the last 18 years of his life, he gave only some 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon. He supported himself by selling his compositions and teaching piano, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his musical contemporaries, including Robert Schumann. In 1835 he obtained French citizenship. After a failed engagement to a Polish girl, from 1837 to 1847 he maintained an often troubled relationship with the French writer George Sand. A brief and unhappy visit to Majorca with Sand in 1838–39 was one of his most productive periods of composition. In his last years, he was financially supported by his admirer Jane Stirling, who also arranged for him to visit Scotland in 1848. Through most of his life, Chopin suffered from poor health. He died in Paris in 1849, probably of tuberculosis.

Chopin Nocturne No.20

Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes offer a rich array of depth and emotion for both the pianist and listener. Written between 1827 and 1846, they consist of 21 short pieces. The genre was developed by the Irish composer John Field, but Chopin expanded on this original conception producing what are generally considered to be among the finest short pieces ever written for the instrument. The Nocturne typically constitutes a romantic, dreamy character suggestive of the night. The main feature of most Nocturnes is a beautiful song-like melody, often with melancholic overtones accompanied by a rolling unobtrusive bass. Ornament passages and filigree in the melody are commonplace, and the importance of the sustaining pedal cannot be overestimated bestowing the overall dramatic effect. There are variations on this idea, however, this formula has produced some of the most haunting, emotional and beautiful piano music. Melanie Spanswick

The Prelude op 20 no 15, one of Chopin’s 24 Preludes in every major and minor key, is a miraculous example of Chopin’s amazing virtuosity in translating human emotions to piano music. It is better known as the Raindrop Prelude, due to the repeating A-flat that appears throughout the piece and sounds like raindrops to many listeners.

Within this rather short piece – even if it is one of the longest of the preludes – Chopin manages to build up two entirely different atmospheres, using the same obsessively repeated note. The C-sharp minor section begins rather suddenly in measure 28, and with it the piece changes from something peaceful and serene into something much darker. Listeners and music historians have likened it to a beautiful dream that turns into an oppressive nightmare, which is a very appropriate description for this work. The feeling of uneasiness present in the middle part is made even stronger by the serene calm and beauty of the first 27 measures. The first theme is reintroduced towards the end of the prelude, giving it a peaceful ending. The repeating A-flat (written as G-sharp in the middle, ominous section) never stops throughout the piece. – See more at: http://www.pianostreet.com/chopin-sheet-music/preludes/prelude-raindrop-op-28-15.htm#sthash.9Hj9w0Ek.dpuf

score_0

 

Arthur Rubinstein – Chopin Nocturnes, Op. 9 – Op. 72

chopin_nocture_9_2full1

This nocturne, of the Op. 9 set composed between 1830-32, has a rhythmic freedom that came to characterise Chopin’s later work. The left hand has an unbroken sequence of eighth notes in simple arpeggios throughout the entire piece, while the right hand moves with freedom in patterns of seven, eleven, twenty, and twenty-two.

The Nocturnes Op 9 are a set of three nocturnes written by Frédéric Chopin. Chopin wrote this particular nocturne at the age of 20! Nocturne Opus 9, No. 2 has a time signature of 12/8 meaning that there are 12 quaver beats per bar. The nocturne opens with a legato melody. Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 9, No.2′s song structure is a rounded binary form with coda. In music, the binary form consists of two sections, A and B. Section A is often played with variation and is normally rounded off with a part from section A. This is known as rounded binary form. However section B is usually played longer then section A and is often in a different key. It is usually in the dominant key or in the relative major keys in case of minor keys. As sections A and B re-occur they become more expressive and beautiful.

Chopin’s piano playing is undeniably gorgeous because of the way he expressed the notes when he played. The nocturne is reflective in mood until it suddenly becomes passionate near the end. The new melody that concludes the nocturne begins softly then ascends to a high register and is forcefully played in octaves eventually reaching the loudest part of the piece (fortissimo). After a brilliant trill-like passage, the excitement subsides and the nocturne ends calmly.

Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2 in E Flat Major is one of the most famous pieces by Frédéric Chopin. By looking at the complexity of this composition you are able to admire and acknowledge why Chopin was one of the greatest composers of his time. Chopin was innovative and he was definitely a composer that ‘wrote poems on the piano’.rockhaq.com

Schubert “Serenade”

Schubert’s immortal “Serenade” was written in 1826. it is so familiar that it needs no analysis, nor is one necessary from any point of view. It is simply a lovely melody from first note to last, written upon the inspiration of the moment, and yet characterized by absolute perfection of finish and a grace and beauty of which one never tires. It was originally composed as an alto solo and male chorus and was subsequently rearranged for female voices only. The circumstances of its composition as told by Schubert’s biographer, Von Hellborn, are of more than ordinary interest. Von Hellborn says:

“One Sunday, during the summer of 1826, Schubert with several friends was returning from Potzleinsdorf to the city, and on strolling along through Wahring, he saw his friend Tieze sitting at a table in the garden of the ‘Zum Biersack.’ The whole party determined on a halt in their journey. Tieze had a book lying open before him, and Schubert soon began to turn over the leaves. Suddenly he stopped, and pointing to a poem, exclaimed, ‘such a delicious melody has just come into my head, if I but had a sheet of music paper with me.’ Herr Doppler drew a few music lines on the back of a bill of fare, and in the midst of a genuine Sunday hubbub, with fiddlers, skittle players, and waiters running about in different directions with orders, Schubert wrote that lovely song.”

 

The original words of Ave Maria (Hail Mary) were in English, being part of a poem called The Lady of the Lake, written in 1810 by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). The poem drew on the romance of the legend regarding the 5th century British leader King Arthur, but transferred it to Scott’s native Scotland. In 1825 during a holiday in Upper Austria, the composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) set to music a prayer from the poem using a German translation by Adam Storck. Scored for piano and voice, it was first published in 1826 as “D839 Op 52 no 6.” Schubert called his piece “Ellens dritter Gesang” (Ellen’s third song) and it was written as a prayer to the Virgin Mary from a frightened girl, Ellen Douglas, who had been forced into hiding.

1
The song cycle proved to be one of Schubert’s most financially successful works, the Austrian composer being paid by his publisher 20 pounds sterling, a sizable sum for a musical work in the 1820s. Though not written for liturgical services, the music proved to be inspirational to listeners, particularly Roman Catholics, and a Latin text was substituted to make it suitable for use in church. It is today most widely known in its Latin “Ave Maria” form.
In a letter from Schubert to his father and step-mother he writes about “Ave Maria” and the other songs in his “Lady of the Lake” cycle: “My new songs from Scott’s Lady of the Lake especially had much success. They also wondered greatly at my piety, which I expressed in a hymn to the Holy Virgin and which, it appears, grips every soul and turns it to devotion.” (song facts)

Adagio in G Minor (Albinoni)

Tomaso Albinoni (Composer)

Born: June 8, 1671 – Venice, Republic of Venice, Italy
Died: January 17, 1751 – Venice, Republic of Venice, Italy

Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni was a Venetian Baroque composer. While famous in his day as an opera composer, he is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music, some of which is regularly recorded. The “Adagio in G minor” attributed to him (actually a later reconstruction) is one of the most frequently recorded pieces of Baroque music.

Born to Antonio Albinoni, a wealthy paper merchant in Venice, Tomaso Albinoni studied violin and singing. At an early age he became proficient as a singer and, more notably, as a violinist, though not being a member of the performers’ guild he was unable to play publicly so he turned his hand to composition. Relatively little is known about his life, especially considering his contemporary stature as a composer, and the comparatively well-documented period in which he lived. His first opera, Zenobia, regina de Palmireni, was produced in Venice in 1694, coinciding with his first collection of instrumental music, the 12 Sonate a tre, Op.1, dedicated to the fellow-Venetian Pietro, Cardinal Ottoboni (grand-nephew of Pope Alexander VIII); Ottoboni was an important patron in Rome of other composers, such as Arcangelo Corelli. Thereafter Albinoni divided his attention almost equally between vocal composition (operas, serenatas and cantatas) and instrumental composition (sonatas and concertos). Albinoni was possibly employed in 1700 as a violinist to Charles IV, Duke of Mantua, to whom he dedicated his Op. 2 collection of instrumental pieces. In 1701 he wrote his hugely popular suites Op. 3, and dedicated that collection to Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Until his father’s death in 1709, Tomaso Albinoni was able to cultivate music more for pleasure than for profit, referring to himself as Dilettante Veneto – a term which in 18th century Italy was totally devoid of unfavourable connotations. Under the terms of his father’s will he was relieved of the duty (which he would normally have assumed as eldest son) to take charge of the family business, this task being given to his younger brothers. Henceforth he was to be a full-time musician, a prolific composer who according to one report, also ran a successful academy of singing.

A lifelong resident of Venice, Tomaso Albinoni married in 1705 an opera singer, Margherita Raimondi (d 1721); Antonino Biffi, the maestro di cappella of San Marco was a witness, and evidently was a friend of Albinoni’s. Albinoni seems to have no other connection with that primary musical establishment in Venice, however, and achieved his early fame as an opera composer at many cities in Italy, including Venice, Genoa, Bologna, Mantua, Udine, Piacenza, and Naples. He composed as many as 81 operas, of which 28 were produced in Venice between 1723 and 1740. Several of his operas were performed in northern Europe from the 1720’s onwards.

See more at http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Albinoni-Tomaso.htm

The Adagio in G minor for violin, strings and organ continuo, is a neo-Baroque composition popularly attributed to the 18th-century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but actually composed by the 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto, purportedly based on the discovery of a manuscript fragment of Albinoni.

The Adagio was used:

as an underlying score for Orson Welles’ 1962 film adaption of Kafka’s The Trial
in the 1962 film Sundays and Cybele (original title Les dimanches de Ville d’Avray)
in the 1963 Italian documentary film La rabbia, in the Part 1 directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
in the 1974 Werner Herzog film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
in the original 1975 version of the film Rollerball
in the 1979 film Une femme spéciale
in the 1981 Peter Weir film Gallipoli
in the 1981 film Dragonslayer and many more featuring on TV , Films

Much of his work was lost during the latter years of World War II with the bombing of Dresden and the Dresden State library. In 1945, Remo Giazotto, a Milanese musicologist travelled to Dresden to complete his biography of Albinoni and his listing of Albinoni’s music. Among the ruins, he discovered a fragment of manuscript. Only the bass line and six bars of melody had survived, possibly from the slow movement of a Trio Sonata or Sonata da Chiesa. It was from this fragment that Giazotto reconstructed the now-famous Adagio, a piece which is instantly associated with Albinoni today, yet which ironically Albinoni would doubtless hardly recognise.

Raindrops Chopin

52acea5d20e44_159585n

2 thoughts on “Classical

  1. Wow, there are so few people who know about Albinoni, I am really glad to find somebody who appreciates him! Though it is true that most of his work got destroyed in WW2, what remained is simply divine, especially his Adagio!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s