Author Topic: Gurn's Classical Corner  (Read 391625 times)

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Brünnhilde forever

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #60 on: February 22, 2009, 05:31:57 PM »
Two more Grétry for you to get acquainted with, Dear Freund Gurn:


Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #61 on: February 22, 2009, 05:35:05 PM »
Two more Grétry for you to get acquainted with, Dear Freund Gurn:



Ooh, that Suites & Overtures disk looks like just the right place for me to start. Amazon must have that, and so shall I. :)

Gracias, Seńorita!

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karlhenning

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #62 on: February 22, 2009, 05:38:19 PM »
Thanks, Karl, you were the 21st century exception I mentioned. :)  maybe that will make you give us a post here and there, like on early Russians, maybe?  :)

8)

The only pre-Glinka Russians I turn up offhand are Dmitri Bortnyansky, Maksim Berezovsky & Yevstigney Fomin, Gurn . . . .

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #63 on: February 22, 2009, 05:51:19 PM »
The only pre-Glinka Russians I turn up offhand are Dmitri Bortnyansky, Maksim Berezovsky & Yevstigney Fomin, Gurn . . . .

Umm, you forgot Ivan Khandoshkin... ;)

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karlhenning

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #64 on: February 22, 2009, 05:54:53 PM »
Ah, Vanya!

karlhenning

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #65 on: February 22, 2009, 05:56:05 PM »
Two more Grétry for you to get acquainted with, Dear Freund Gurn:

Grétry is one of those names I first ran across in Poe . . . .

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #66 on: February 22, 2009, 05:56:09 PM »
Here is another composer of the Classical Era. This bio is from the Naxos website, so the references are to the 3 Naxos symphony disks that are out there. They are first-rate, and give a good view of Vanhal as a symphonist. In addition, he wrote a superior set of Oboe Quartets (oboe & string trio) and many concertos. His double bass concerto is available on Hyperion with 2 by Ditters. The oboe quartets are on Helios. I really like his music, it embodies Viennese Classical style very nicely, but also has that touch of exoticism that comes from his Bohemian background. A fine example of a composer that repays handsomely in the time invested in seeking out his works. 

Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739 - 1813)

Johann Baptist Vanhal was born in 1739 to a Bohemian peasant family, and received his early training from a local musician. From these humble beginnings he was able to earn a living as a village organist and choirmaster. It was a Countess, who heard him playing the violin, that took him to Vienna where she arranged lessons in composition with the great Dittersdorf. Further patronage helped him to travel and gain further knowledge of music. Though a temporary mental breakdown happened at the age of 35, he was now moving in exalted musical company, and it is reported he played quartets with Haydn, Mozart and Dittersdorf.

So famous did he become that he was probably the first musician to earn a living entirely from composing without any other appointment. He had to be a prolific writer to meet the demands made upon him he, and attributed to him are 100 quartets, at least 73 symphonies, 95 sacred works, and almost countless instrumental and vocal works. He often had a tendency to explore, but his greatest gift was an unending flow of memorable melodies.

Such was his success that within a few years of his symphonies being written, they were being performed around the world, and as far distant as the United States. In later life, however, he rarely moved from Vienna where he was also an active teacher.

His music has a more vivacious and rustic quality than Haydn. The four Sinfonias (or symphonies) included on this disc (Disk 1 of the Naxos series) were in three movements. In that sense he had not moved to Haydn's four movement format, and they are all in a conventional fast - slow - fast configuration. Where he did experiment was in the bold colors he created in the outer movements, the major role in the Presto finale of the AE 97 Sinfonia containing a major role for two horns. At the other extreme, there is a very fine cello solo in the second movement of the A major symphony. There is an equally gorgeous oboe solo in the second movement of the D major symphony. His 'Comista' Sinfonia is a most imposing work, the equal of anything Haydn was to compose in his earlier years, the stately central movement a creation of particular delight.

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #67 on: February 22, 2009, 06:26:15 PM »
And finally for tonight, one of my personal favorites. :)

Franz Krommer (1759-1831)
He was baptized Frantisek Vincenc, but used the Germanized version of his name, Franz Vincent. Krommer was born in Kamenice in Moravia on November 27th 1759, as son of an innkeeper and later mayor of the town, Jirí Kramár, now part of the Czech Republic. He studied the violin and organ with his uncle Antonín Matthias Kramár in Turán from 1773 to 1776. He became organist in Turán in 1777.  Krommer moved to Vienna in 1785 but soon found employment as a violinist in the orchestra of the Duke of Styrum in Simontornya, Hungary; In 1790 Krommer was appointed Kapellmeister of the Cathedral at Pécs (Western Hungaria) and later as Kapellmeister in the service of a certain Duke Karolyi and Prince Antal Grassalkovich de Gyarak. Krommer returned to Vienna in 1795, and in 1798 he was appointed Kapellmeister to Duke Ignaz Fuchs; after 1810 he was employed as Ballet-Kapellmeister at the Hoftheater. In 1813, he became the last director of chamber music and court composer to the emperors, following Leopold Kozeluch. He remained on this post to his death in Vienna on January 8th 1831.

Franz Krommer was a very successful and influential composer, with an output of some 300 works. These included approximately ten symphonies (some of them lost), numerous violin concertos, and a large quantity of chamber works including 26 string quintets published between 1797 and the mid-1820s (second in number only to his string quartets, of which more than 70 are known)

One of the genres where he was quite prolific, as well as very talented, was in the production of wind quartets and quintets. These featured a wind instrument (oboe, clarinet, flute or bassoon) in company with a string trio or quartet. They are exceedingly fine and entertaining.

Here are a few recommended recordings:

Wind Serenades

4 Octet-Partitas, Op. 57, 71, 76 & 78/EMI CDC7543832
    Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble
4 Partitas, Op. 45/Etcetera KTC1141
    Jeroen Weierink /Josef Triebensee Ensemble

Wind Concertos

3 Clarinet Concertos, Op. 35, 36 & 86/Claves CD50-8602
    Thomas Friedli & Anthony Pay (clarinets)/English Chamber Orchestra
2 Oboe Concertos in F major, Op. 37 & 52/Hyperion CDA66411
    Sarah Francis (oboe), Howard Shelley/London Mozart Players

Oboe Quartets & Quintets

 2 Oboe Quartets & 2 Oboe Quintets
     Sarah Francis (oboe) & the Tagore String Trio (Barritt - 2nd viola on Quintets)
     Regis  RRC 1201

Bassoon Quartets

2 Quartets for Bassoon & String Trio (Op 46 # 1 & 2)
     Hübner, Lüthy, Eaton & Latzko
     CPO 999 297
Includes the Sonata in Bb for Cello & Bassoon K 292 - Mozart


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Offline Herman

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #68 on: February 23, 2009, 01:37:45 AM »
So famous did [Vanhal] become that he was probably the first musician to earn a living entirely from composing without any other appointment.


Obviously this is very interesting. Big part of the Mozart story is that WAM was one of the first composers to strike out on his own.

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #69 on: February 23, 2009, 05:50:48 AM »
On the old forum, SonicMan and I started many threads on Classical Era composers. Some of these became very popular, a few didn't. In any case, the initial posts nearly always contained a brief biography and perhaps a few music recommendations to be getting on with. Rather than restart those threads, I thought to go back and copy and paste that original post so that the composers will be discussed in their context with each other. :)


For those just getting into these composers, a wealth of material can be found in two current threads:  1) Sara's Composer's Index; and 2) Classic-Early Romantic Composers - A Cornucopia!, a thread that I started and linked to the old forum, and now functioning again after Rob's resusciatation!   :D

Offline sTisTi

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #70 on: February 23, 2009, 08:29:45 AM »
And finally for tonight, one of my personal favorites. :)
Franz Krommer (1759-1831)
My favourite Krommer:
Symphonies op. 40 & op. 102,  Matthias Bamert / London Mozart Players

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #71 on: February 23, 2009, 04:49:56 PM »
Well, of course that I hadn't noticed this thread before, dear Gurn! Otherwise there would be already some posts from this fellow classicist! ;)

On Russian music during classicism, there's not much that I can add to the remarks already done. Anyway, the most outstanding figure from this period is, no doubt, Bortniansky, whose religious music has a very powerful emotional content. His simultaneously Russian, religious and classical sound is quite impressive. His secular works are to me less impressive, but written very competently.

Other composers active in Russia during that period were Sarti and Martín y Soler; curiously, both of them were quoted by Mozart in the Tafelmusik in Don Giovanni.

A composer to consider, nevertheless, is Alexander Alyabiev, whose music, a very peculiar blend of Russian, German and Italian influences, is highly enjoyable (I would say he's the direct predecessor to Glinka). There is a recent CD (2006 or 2007) released by Fuga Libera, that shows his skills as instrumental composer (many opera overtures, a group of orchestral variations and even a Symphonic Picture).

Krommer/Kramár would deserve a decent post from my part, and as I'm quite sleepy right now, I guess I will leave it for tomorrow. I will add just one comment now, for the sake of intrigue: in my very humble opinion, his concerto for oboe op. 52 is the most beautiful composed for that instrument during the classical period. If it had been composed by Haydn or Mozart, it would be performed regularly in the standard repertoire.

I will try to complete your recommended discography, Gurn... ;)

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #72 on: February 23, 2009, 05:27:26 PM »
Obviously this is very interesting. Big part of the Mozart story is that WAM was one of the first composers to strike out on his own.

And indeed he was. He came to Vienna in 1781 for just that purpose. Vanhal, however, had been there already. I can't remember where I read it, but I believe it was 1772 or 1773.

That is not to say that Mozart was entirely successful at it, but he was much more successful than history has given him credit for. During most of his 10 years in Vienna, he and Constanze were doing very well indeed. And if he had lived, he was finally in a position where success was on his doorstep.

But Vanhal was immensely popular in his own time. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #73 on: February 23, 2009, 05:30:18 PM »
My favourite Krommer:
Symphonies op. 40 & op. 102,  Matthias Bamert / London Mozart Players

That's a nice disk. Symphonies weren't a major part of Krommer's oeuvre, but he did them in a very entertaining manner.

For those of you who like the music of this time, and haven't gotten any of the Chandos "Contemporaries of Mozart" series, you should give one or two of them a try. This Krommer and the Carl Stamitz (and the Vaclav Pichl, too) are all good choices. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #74 on: February 23, 2009, 05:42:34 PM »
Well, of course that I hadn't noticed this thread before, dear Gurn! Otherwise there would be already some posts from this fellow classicist! ;)

Well, you're forgiven, Gabriel, since we just all met on this corner for the first time yesterday. I figured you would soon saunter by, in your classic cut leather jacket, smoking a Gauloise and listening to Haydn on your iPod... ;D

Quote
On Russian music during classicism, there's not much that I can add to the remarks already done. Anyway, the most outstanding figure from this period is, no doubt, Bortniansky, whose religious music has a very powerful emotional content. His simultaneously Russian, religious and classical sound is quite impressive. His secular works are to me less impressive, but written very competently.

Other composers active in Russia during that period were Sarti and Martín y Soler; curiously, both of them were quoted by Mozart in the Tafelmusik in Don Giovanni.

A composer to consider, nevertheless, is Alexander Alyabiev, whose music, a very peculiar blend of Russian, German and Italian influences, is highly enjoyable (I would say he's the direct predecessor to Glinka). There is a recent CD (2006 or 2007) released by Fuga Libera, that shows his skills as instrumental composer (many opera overtures, a group of orchestral variations and even a Symphonic Picture).

Ah, interesting info, and thanks for it. You'll even have Karl listening to Classical if you keep that up. :)  Of course, Mozart had his own reasons for choosing Martín y Soler: his opera, Una Cosa Rara supplanted Le Nozze di Figaro as the Viennese favorite a year or 2 earlier. And Sarti was famous in his own right. I think that Tafelmusik scene in DG is one of the wittiest little bit of current events in all of Mozart. I invariably enjoy it.

Quote
Krommer/Kramár would deserve a decent post from my part, and as I'm quite sleepy right now, I guess I will leave it for tomorrow. I will add just one comment now, for the sake of intrigue: in my very humble opinion, his concerto for oboe op. 52 is the most beautiful composed for that instrument during the classical period. If it had been composed by Haydn or Mozart, it would be performed regularly in the standard repertoire.

I will try to complete your recommended discography, Gurn... ;)

My personal favorites of Krommer are the various wind & string 4tets and 5tets. I am particularly fond of this genre anyway (Mozart wrote several, as did Vanhal, Krommer, Reicha, Danzi and many others) and Krommer's are very nice indeed. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #75 on: February 23, 2009, 07:23:14 PM »
Well, since SonicMan is too humble to repost his own thread starters, I'll take the initiative and put one of my favorites here. :D

Antonio Rosetti (1746-1792), a.k.a. František Antonín Rössler (or confusingly by other names) was born in Bohemia of Czech origin, but chose to Italianize his name (leading to further confusion with other musicians).  He received his education in Prague and at a Jesuit college in central Bohemia, where he studied theology (intending to be a priest) and music, but in the early 1770s decided to pick music as his avocation.  Rosetti was a double bass player and a member of the Prince Ernst orchestra, of which he became director in 1785.  The Prince's orchestra had a fine group of wind players and musical events at the chateau occurred weekly, so a large part of Rosetti's compositional oeuvre comprises works of chamber music.

In 1781, he visited Paris, where his music was warmly received, an event repeated in other European cities.  Rosetti became orchestral conductor of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1789 at the peak of his reputation; symphonies and vocal works were commissioned further enhancing his reputation.  During that time, he was also summoned to the court of King Frederick William III of Berlin to present his Oratorio Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  However, Rosetti, who suffered from poor health most of his life, became seriously ill. and died in June of 1792 and was buried at Ludwigslust (debate exists about his age claiming his year of birth to be ca. 1750).

Rosetti's musical influences were primarily late Baroque-early Classic with Haydn having a major impact on his compositional direction.  In addition, his writing for smaller groups, especially wind instruments, was governed by his contact with the wind players in the orchestras of which he directed or was a member.  A partial listing of his works (comprising 400 or so) include 44 Symphonies, 4 keyboard concerti, 6 violin concerti, 1 viola concerto, 12 flute concerti, 7 oboe concerti, 4 clarinet concerti, 5 bassoon concerti, 17 horn concerti, 6 double horn concerti, 5 sinfonias concertante, 38 partitas/serenades, 12 string quartets, 11 keyboard sonatas, 13 keyboard trios, 13 masses, 4 requiems, 22 other church works and 82 lieder.

I highly recommend Rosetti to anyone interested in this period of music. His music is lively, interesting, well-orchestrated and really, given its quality, it deserves to be better known. :)

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #76 on: February 23, 2009, 07:32:59 PM »
And yet another favorite....

One of my great discoveries of 2004 (alright, someone else discovered him first and pointed him out) was Joseph Kraus. He was an excellent symphonist, and the 4 disks on Naxos of his symphonies are a treasure.  His 6 string quartets are from 1783 approximately, and sound to me quite reminiscent of Haydn's. There is also a funeral mass for Gustav III.  This is a top shelf classical era composer who was admired by his peers, and most likely slipped into obscurity not because he deserved it, but because he chose to work in Sweden. Poor career choice in terms of international fame, but that in no way affects his music, which is dramatic, concise, lively and with that wonderful combination of  depth and entertainment value.

JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792)
by Bertil van Boer

Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792) is one of the few composers of the eighteenth century to have been considered by both Joseph Haydn and Christoph Willibald von Gluck to be an original genius. He was a talented composer, a prolific correspondent, and a published author who during his youth produced a volume of poetry, a tragedy (Tolon), and one of the few music aesthetical treatises that can be associated with the literary Sturm und Drang movement.

The son of a regional civil servant, Kraus received his earliest education from the local schools in Büchen, a small town on the fringes of the Odenwald in central Germany.

At the age of twelve he was sent to the Jesuit Gymnasium and Music Seminar in Mannheim, where he received instruction in German literature from Anton Klein, the librettist of the first major German opera, Ignaz Holzbauer’s "Günther von Schwarzburg", and in music from members of the famous Mannheim court orchestra. Following university studies in philosophy and law at Mainz and Erfurt, he was forced to remain for a year in his home in Büchen while his father underwent prosecution for misuse of office. During this period he began to concentrate his efforts in the fields of literature and music. In 1776 he returned to school in law at the University of Göttingen, where he came into contact with the remnants of the famous Sturm und Drang literary group, the Hainbund.

After two years of study there, he accepted a proposition to travel to Sweden in order to focus his career on music at the court of Gustav III. He spent two years of relative hardship attempting to break into the Stockholm musical establishment. A commission for an opera, Proserpine, whose text was drafted by the King himself, won him the post as Deputy Musical Director in 1781. The following year he was sent on a grand tour by Gustav in order to observe the latest trends in music theater in continental Europe. This lasted four years and brought him into contact with major figures such as Haydn, Glück, Antonio Salieri, Padre Martini, and others. He published his first set of works, six string quartets as his Op. 1, with Hummel and associated himself with the Viennese firm of Johann Traeg, who disseminated his works in copy form throughout the continent. His journey also took him throughout Germany, Italy, France, and England, where he witnessed the Händel Centenary celebrations in 1785.

While in Paris, he experienced difficulty with cabals back in Stockholm that sought to prevent his return, but their resolution in 1786 made it possible for him to become the leading figure in Gustavian musical life. In 1787 he was appointed as director of curriculum at the Royal Academy of Music, and the next year he succeeded Francesco Antonio Uttini as Kapellmästare, eventually attaining a reputation as an innovative conductor, progressive pedagogue, and multi-talented composer. He began publishing regularly with the new publishing firm in Stockholm, Olof Ĺhlström’s Kongliga Priviligierade Not-Tryckeriet, and was a member of the Palmstedt literary circle, a group that discussed intellectual and cultural life in the Swedish capital.

Although he was a much sought after composer for stage music, his principal opera, Ćneas i Cartago, remained unperformed during his lifetime. In January of 1792 he was present at the masked ball wherein his patron, Gustav III, was assassinated, causing considerable turmoil in the cultural establishment that the monarch had nurtured. His own health deteriorated shortly thereafter, and he died only a few months later in December of 1792 from tuberculosis. He was buried in the Stockholm suburb of Tivoli following a ceremony where his coffin was carried across the ice of the Brunsviken by torchlight.

I am interested in any comment on his music. I have his symphonies, string quartets and solo piano music (Brautigam on BIS). I would particularly like to find his violin concerti. Anyone heard them?

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #77 on: February 23, 2009, 08:08:57 PM »
Gurn: Somebody has to congratulate you repeatedly to your super-successful new thread.

Congratulations, Gurn!  :-*

And somebody has to bust in and ask questions considered not only controversial, but also out of the ordinary, questions from a non-musician, a simple lover of good music.

Here we go: Why do you insist on creating a special class for compositions created at a certain period of time? Can't you just talk about music composed in such and such a year, why does it have to be called 'classical', 'baroque', 'renaissance', etc. I am sure there are music lovers who have no idea what years are covered by the 'classical' period, or renaissance, - maybe people who don't even know what 'renaissance' means, - but they sure love to listen to Marin Marais and his bells without a clue as to who composed it and what period he belongs to, according to you anyhow!

Still talking to me?  ???


Offline Herman

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #78 on: February 24, 2009, 02:06:25 AM »
My personal favorites of Krommer are the various wind & string 4tets and 5tets. I am particularly fond of this genre anyway (Mozart wrote several, as did Vanhal, Krommer, Reicha, Danzi and many others) and Krommer's are very nice indeed. :)

So a quick check of the available Krommer recordings shows there are 'partitas for winds'. Are these anywhere near the top of Krommer's output, so to speak?

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #79 on: February 24, 2009, 04:03:25 AM »
So a quick check of the available Krommer recordings shows there are 'partitas for winds'. Are these anywhere near the top of Krommer's output, so to speak?

If you are just concerned by "depth", you will probably have some problems to assimilate them. But if you enjoy excellently crafted, inventive and melodious wind music, you can't go wrong with them. They don't reach the level of Rejcha's quintets, but Krommer really knew how to write for wind instruments.

As far as I know, the most extensive compilation is the one released by Tudor and played by the Zurich Wind Octet(opp. 57, 67, 69, 71, 73, 76, 77, 78, and 79, plus some works without opus number). The three op. 45 partitas are not there, but there is a good Chandos recording.

Anyway, answering directly to your last question, I wouldn't consider them to be at the top of Krommer's output.

Unfortunately, the recordings of some of his very fine compositions are not easy to find, if they exist at all. There is, for example, a beautiful string trio in F major (op. 96) which I own in two versions (I ignore if there are other versions available). It is remarkably well written, with no hint of the typical difficulties for writing for this formation. For a sample of the string trio during classicism I would probably pick Mozart's 563 and this one (Beethoven's string trios have never been my cup of tea).

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