Tag Archives: classical music

Joseph Haydn’s Die Jahreszeit (The Seasons)

I’m always delighted and amused by what the eighteenth century — one of the most mannered and formal periods in Western history — considered “lacking in artifice.” However, whatever my personal opinion (coming, as it does, from a casual and … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Joseph Haydn’s Die Jahreszeit (The Seasons)

Arthur Fiedler’s Hi-Fi Fiedler

Arthur Fiedler has the distinction of being the best-selling classical conductor of all time, due in no small part to his immense popularity as the musical director of the Boston Pops, a post he held for fifty years. His recordings … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Arthur Fiedler’s Hi-Fi Fiedler

Benjamin Britten’s Death In Venice

Many consider Benjamin Britten the most important British composer since World War II; indeed, some think him the most important since Henry Purcell. Although often thought an uneven composer, most writers in the area concede that his operas Peter Grimes, … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Benjamin Britten’s Death In Venice

Lalezar Ensemble’s Music of the Sultans, Sufis & Seraglio, Vol. III: Minority Composers; Vol. IV: Ottoman Suite

Turkey is strategically located at one of the world’s major crossroads. This applies to religion, culture, government and the arts as well as its physical location along trade routes. And for several hundred years ending in the early 20th Century, … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Lalezar Ensemble’s Music of the Sultans, Sufis & Seraglio, Vol. III: Minority Composers; Vol. IV: Ottoman Suite

Lalezar Ensemble’s Music of the Sultans, Sufis & Seraglio, Volume I: Sultan Composers; Volume II: Music of the Dancing Boys

The Lalezar Ensemble is part of a current revival of classical Ottoman music under way in Turkey. The group — four instrumentalists and three vocalists — have created four CDs that give a sampling of some of the best and … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lalezar Ensemble’s Music of the Sultans, Sufis & Seraglio, Volume I: Sultan Composers; Volume II: Music of the Dancing Boys

Turkish Classical Music: An Overview

Ahenk: Turkish Classical Music (Golden Horn Productions, 1998) Ìhsan Özgen: Masterworks of Itri and Meragi (Golden Horn Records, 1998) Ìhsan Özgen: Remembrances of Ottoman Composers And Improvisations (Golden Horn, 1999) Various Artists: Ashiklar: For Those Who Are In Love (Golden … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Turkish Classical Music: An Overview

Arturo Toscanini, The Complete Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings 1941-42

There are vanishingly few twentieth-century conductors of classical music whose names have become household words. Perhaps foremost among those few is Arturo Toscanini. There will be objections, I’m sure — Stokowski has a strong following (as well as film credits), … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Arturo Toscanini, The Complete Philadelphia Orchestra Recordings 1941-42

George Frideric Handel’ Water Music/Royal Fireworks Music

This review was written by Huw Collingbourne for an earlier incarnation of Green Man Review. What the world really does not need, you might think, is yet another recording of Handel’s Water Music. Along with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the Water … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on George Frideric Handel’ Water Music/Royal Fireworks Music

Johannes Brahms’ Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Op. 34

Sony has taken the occasion of pianist Leon Fleisher’s eightieth birthday to re-release a number of his recordings of a wide range of music, which happily leads me back to some of my favorite territory with this disc, the music … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Johannes Brahms’ Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Op. 34

Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56A; Sonata in F Minor for Two Pianos, Op. 34B, Variations on a Theme By Haydn for Two Pianos, Op. 56B

Johannes Brahms was, to put it mildly, one of the more thoughtful composers in the history of Western music, as evidenced by the fact that, although he is known to have been working on a symphony in 1854 (never finished, … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56A; Sonata in F Minor for Two Pianos, Op. 34B, Variations on a Theme By Haydn for Two Pianos, Op. 56B

Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116; Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Sz. 110; Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 74

If you’ve been following our explorations of twentieth-century Western music, you already know a bit about Béla Bartók, one of the century’s most singular and prodigious talents. “Prodigious” because his career spanned the first half of the century, from the … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116; Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Sz. 110; Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz. 74

Leon Fleisher’s American Album: Aaron Copland, Piano Sonata; Roger Sessions, From My Diary; Leon Kirchner, Piano Sonata; Ned Rorem, Three Barcarolles

American music of the twentieth century, at least that variety that styles itself “serious” music, is inhabited by a range of highly independent composers. One of its most notable aspects, in fact, is its resistance to “schools” outside of the … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Leon Fleisher’s American Album: Aaron Copland, Piano Sonata; Roger Sessions, From My Diary; Leon Kirchner, Piano Sonata; Ned Rorem, Three Barcarolles

Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote, Sonata for Cello and Piano; Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 18; George Enescu’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, Op. 25

Richard Strauss, to me, is one of those protean composers who developed in the artistic ferment of Europe that stretched from the 1890s to the years encompassing World War I. He was, at least as much as any of his … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote, Sonata for Cello and Piano; Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 18; George Enescu’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, Op. 25

Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons

Terje Tønnesen, soloist and conductor on this recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, includes a liner note to the effect that the performance “represents a form of time travel in which we attempt a ‘correct’ reading of history while at … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons

Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14, Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17 (Part II: Love Scene); Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid: Suite; Waltz; Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite

The idea of “meaning” in music is a complex one, the pursuit of which can go all sorts of places I don’t want to go right now. Suffice it to say that most commentators feel that relating music to some … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14, Roméo et Juliette, Op. 17 (Part II: Love Scene); Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid: Suite; Waltz; Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite

Claude Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque; Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine, Valses nobles et sentimentales, Alborada del gracioso

After I had gained a little background in what we call “classical” music (which is to say, Western art music of whatever era and style, whether it is truly classical or not), the customary juxtaposition of Claude Debussy and Maurice … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Claude Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque; Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine, Valses nobles et sentimentales, Alborada del gracioso

Piotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s The Three Piano Concertos; Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition; Mily Balakirev’s Islamey

Piotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky seems to have made a habit of writing concertos that were condemned as “unplayable” and then took their places near the top of the roster in the romantic canon. Like his Violin Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Piotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s The Three Piano Concertos; Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition; Mily Balakirev’s Islamey

Johannes Brahms, Piano Works

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15 [Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Levine, cond.]; Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 [Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink, cond.]; Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79, Three Intermezzos, Op. 117, Four Pieces … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Johannes Brahms, Piano Works

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Everyone has their national epic. The Greeks have the Iliad and the Odyssey, the French have Le Chanson de Roland, the British get to pick among Beowulf, The Mabinogion, and the tales of the Arthur Cycle, and the Germans have … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations

There is a place in the history of musical performance where that history becomes legend. This is pertinent here because we are talking about one of those legends, Glenn Gould performing J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. (There are other legendary … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Michael Davidson’s The Classical Piano Sonata from Haydn to Prokofiev; Vlado Perlemuter and Hèléne Jourdan-Morhange’s Ravel According to Ravel

Music, among the forms of art, is a rather strange beast. It is ephemeral, subjective, almost completely dependent on interpretation, and, looked at logically, has no intrinsic meaning unless paired with a text (which does not keep us from responding … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , | Comments Off on Michael Davidson’s The Classical Piano Sonata from Haydn to Prokofiev; Vlado Perlemuter and Hèléne Jourdan-Morhange’s Ravel According to Ravel

Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi’s Narrante

Narrante is an utterly fascinating album, and it’s like very little else that I’ve ever heard. Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi, who perform as Naqsh Duo, are Iranian musicians making their debut on the German jazz and classical label … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi’s Narrante

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

I love Mozart. His music is one of the things I’d insist on if I were going to be stranded on a desert island. Otherwise, I’d just refuse to be stranded. Among my favorite works by Mozart is The Magic … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

Apocalyptica’s Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos and Inquisition Symphony

How often is an album of cover tunes the most original, creative, and enjoyable CD imaginable? Well, how about when the self-styled “Four Bowmen of the Apocalypse” released Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos? Yes, that’s right, four classically trained … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Apocalyptica’s Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos and Inquisition Symphony

Lara St. John’s re: Bach

Craig Clarke  wrote this review for us. Sex sells, and I suppose it was time that someone in the classical music industry figured that out. Female violinists generally get the focus of this attention, so it should have been no surprise … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Lara St. John’s re: Bach

Talisman’s Music of Russian Princesses: From the Court of Catherine the Great

When one hears the phrase “Russian Classical Music”, one thinks perhaps of the ballets of Tchaikovsky with their searing drama and heartbreaking grace. One thinks of the piano concertos of Rachmaninov, with their wondrous lyricism and blazing virtuosic demands on … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Talisman’s Music of Russian Princesses: From the Court of Catherine the Great

Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies

Both Tim Page and Erik Ryding, in their essays accompanying this Sony reissue of Leonard Bernstein’s landmark cycle of the complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler, give Bernstein pride of place in Mahler’s “rehabilitation” in the 1960s. While I don’t want … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Gustav Mahler: The Complete Symphonies

Arnold Steinhardt’s Violin Dreams

I run across a fair number of musical biographies, autobiographies, reminiscences, and the like, all the way from Berlioz as seen by his contemporaries to Ned Rorem’s somewhat scandalous diaries. The common thread, of course, is that they are about … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Arnold Steinhardt’s Violin Dreams

Roger Norrington, conductor and The London Classical Players’ Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies 

Listening to these recordings of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, plus the overtures to “Creatures of Prometheus,” “Coriolanus,” and “Egmont,” I find myself right back in the middle of the “tradition versus innovation” argument. This is particularly entertaining, given that the subject … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Roger Norrington, conductor and The London Classical Players’ Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9 Symphonies 

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets

Beethoven Early String Quartets Beethoven Middle String Quartets Beethoven Late String Quartets Beethoven String Quartets Live (DVD) Mmm . . . two of my favorite things in one review: Beethoven and string quartets. I willingly confess to a weakness for … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets

Milos Forman’s Amadeus

The story of Amadeus is by now fairly well known. From a screenplay by Peter Shaffer based in turn on his original stage play, the film is told in flashback from the viewpoint of Italian composer Antonio Salieri, who lived and worked … Continue reading

Posted in Film | Tagged , | Comments Off on Milos Forman’s Amadeus

Hector Berlioz’s  Evenings with the Orchestra 

No honest discussion of the Romantic era in classical music can take place without making mention of Hector Berlioz, the great genius from France who seemed to typify Romanticism in casting almost all of his music in dramatic terms and … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Hector Berlioz’s  Evenings with the Orchestra 

Claude Debussy’s Noel des Enfants Qui N’ont Plus De Maisons (Christmas Carol for Homeless Children)

Though Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers, I hadn’t heard “Noel des Enfants Qui N’ont Plus De Maisons” (“Christmas Carol for Homeless Children”) until recently. It’s on soprano Carmen Balthrop’s lovely CD The Art of Christmas, Vol. 1.i ts’ … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Claude Debussy’s Noel des Enfants Qui N’ont Plus De Maisons (Christmas Carol for Homeless Children)