Author Topic: Gurn's Classical Corner  (Read 502444 times)

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Offline Que

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #180 on: March 10, 2009, 01:37:57 PM »
Georg Benda (1722-1795) - Keyboard Sonatas w/ Sylvia Georgieva on harpsichord - just received this 4-CD set of 17 keyboard sonatas (he wrote around 50 or so) composed from 1757 and onward

Dave, I was puzzled by squaring the number of 50 that you mentioned with the claim with this set as giving the "complete" sonatas. The answer after seem googling seems to be that he did write 17 (18) sonatas, all included in this set, but also 35 sonatinas! :) (What's the difference between these terms? Gurn?)

BTW a nice Georg Benda discography to be found HERE.

Q
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 01:39:42 PM by Que »

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #181 on: March 10, 2009, 01:38:31 PM »
Jiří Antonín Benda is one of the great innovators in Classicism: he is father to another musical form, the melodrama, which essentially is music to accompany a spoken text. There are recordings to Ariadne auf Naxos, Medea and Pygmalion, his great creations in this genre.

Beethoven produced excellent examples of melodrama: for instance, in Fidelio, and (probably the most remarkable I know), the final spoken scene in Egmont.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #182 on: March 10, 2009, 01:46:57 PM »
Dave, I was puzzled by squaring the number of 50 that you mentioned with the claim with this set as giving the "complete" sonatas. The answer after seem googling seems to be that he did write 17 (18) sonatas, all included in this set, but also 35 sonatinas! :) (What's the difference between these terms? Gurn?)

BTW a nice Georg Benda discography to be found HERE.

Q

Thanks for the link, Q, I'll check it out this evening. :)

sonatina n. A sonata having shorter movements and often less technically demanding than the typical sonata. 

Hard to beat the definition for simplicity. Note the modifier "often". Some sonatinas are not particularly less technically demanding, just shorter in all their parts. Clementi springs to mind... :)

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Offline Valentino

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #183 on: March 10, 2009, 01:48:04 PM »
Glazunov?
Didn't he excel in emtying bottles?
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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #184 on: March 10, 2009, 02:39:56 PM »
While we're on this topic, I'd like to get people's impressions of Spanish composer Juan Arriaga.  Here's what I have of him...

Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga died really very young (20 years old) and yet he produced some works to assure him a place (and a very fine one indeed) in musical history. His three string quartets are excellent and have been widely recorded. But his best work is, to me, his extraordinary symphony: the pathos of the fourth movement, with its subtle Spanish reminescences, is simply unforgettable. The dramatic outbursts of the first movement are also memorable: it's like listening to a synthesis between a Sturm und Drang symphony by Haydn and the thematic contrasts of a symphony by Mozart, but composed half a century later. Great music.

For interested GMGers, to collect his essential works should not be a very expensive task. Paul Dombrecht has recorded for Fuga Libera 2 CDs in the last years: one contains the orchestral works (besides the symphony, the overtures op. 1 and op. 20, and the overture to the (lost) opera Los esclavos felices); the other one contains vocal works, both secular and religious. I recommend them completely: the performances are vibrant, the sound is pure as it can be. And as the string quartets fill another CD, you can get a very representative sample of Arriaga's production in 3 CDs (for precise recordings of the quartets, I'm sure there will be other members who know more versions than I know).

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #185 on: March 10, 2009, 03:02:50 PM »
Dave, I was puzzled by squaring the number of 50 that you mentioned with the claim with this set as giving the "complete" sonatas. The answer after seem googling seems to be that he did write 17 (18) sonatas, all included in this set, but also 35 sonatinas! :) (What's the difference between these terms? Gurn?)

BTW a nice Georg Benda discography to be found HERE.

Q - thanks for the above information and the link; I just 'lumped' them together, I guess - sorry for any confusion; the description in the booklet notes w/ the Georgieva set is "He left some fifty sonatas and sonatinas for keyboard in a style that is often....."; I assumed that 'sonatina' was just a piece that was likely shorter and possibly simpler (perhaps, depending on the audience performing the works?); interestingly from your link, the Mozarts subscribed to these Benda works -  :)

Gurn's statement about the Benda family still being around was intriguing - just ordered the other volume of his Sinfonias on Naxos; the conductor of the Prague Cham Orch is 'Christian Benda', a descendent!   8)

At home now and checking out that other disc I own of the sonatas, i.e. performed by Andras Szepes, also on harpsichord (and shown several posts back) - these are labeled as 'sonatas' w/ various keys, and in () the term Sammlung I to VI w/ dates from 1780 to c. 1787.  Also from the Georgieva notes, the sonatas from No. 7 and on were from the same years w/ matching keys (although the movement descriptions vary) - bottom line, is that Benda composed 17 Keyboard Sonatas, actually 18 w/ one being a 'variant', and all are on the 4-CD set, and 6 of the same latter ones from the 1780s are also on the Szepes disc; so, do I need that single CD?  Will be of interest to play each and compare - Dave 

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #186 on: March 10, 2009, 05:11:32 PM »
Dave, I was puzzled by squaring the number of 50 that you mentioned with the claim with this set as giving the "complete" sonatas. The answer after seem googling seems to be that he did write 17 (18) sonatas, all included in this set, but also 35 sonatinas! :) (What's the difference between these terms? Gurn?)

BTW a nice Georg Benda discography to be found HERE.

Q

Well, thanks, Q, I used your handy little link to locate and purchase this:



It is very true that these were probably written especially for the harpsichord, but you know, I am a fortepiano man from the first, and especially with homophonic music. Can't beat Bach on a harpsichord, but... :)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #187 on: March 10, 2009, 05:31:45 PM »
Well, thanks, Q, I used your handy little link to locate and purchase this:



It is very true that these were probably written especially for the harpsichord, but you know, I am a fortepiano man from the first, and especially with homophonic music. Can't beat Bach on a harpsichord, but... :)

Gurn - I would strongly encourage that BRO purchase (if still available) - I've never been a great harpsichord 'man' but these are quite enjoyable, and you get all of the Sonatas - now I don't need any more of the sonatas, but are there any offerings of the Sonatinas (and if so, are they worth owning, being likely written for 'beginners' maybe?) - Dave  :D

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #188 on: March 10, 2009, 05:46:37 PM »
Gurn - I would strongly encourage that BRO purchase (if still available) - I've never been a great harpsichord 'man' but these are quite enjoyable, and you get all of the Sonatas - now I don't need any more of the sonatas, but are there any offerings of the Sonatinas (and if so, are they worth owning, being likely written for 'beginners' maybe?) - Dave  :D

Well, I just sent in a BRO order yesterday, so I needed to hold off a bit... :-\  However, one of my purchases is one of those Wölfl/Colladant disks that we discussed earlier, so that was a nice little acquisition. The Benda I bought as a download, so no waiting, it will be here in another 15 minutes or so... :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #189 on: March 10, 2009, 05:50:56 PM »
You might try Q's link, it has some really nice disks listed. Meanwhile, I got 2 of the sonatinas on this lovely little disk:



which is available even new on Amazon for $12.95, and used for half that. It has works by Mozart, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Christian Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Georg Anton (Jiri Antonin) Benda and Frantisek Xaver Dussek on it. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #190 on: March 10, 2009, 06:37:04 PM »
What's the proper keyboard instrument for classical sonatas?

Always a point of contention among period instrument enthusiasts. Just like with nearly everything else to do with music, there is no hard and fast date when a transition took place. Music that was unquestionably written for the fortepiano exists from as early as 1765. Boccherini (a string man, of all people!) was the first to publish accompanied sonatas that stated on the cover page "6 Sonatas for Fortepiano & Violin - Op V" in Paris in 1767. It goes without saying that he was trying to impress a lady (the dedicatee was a prominent fortepianist in the City). And also in Paris, Johann Eckard arrived a few years earlier (1761) as a fortepiano salesman for Steiner and wrote a series of sonatas for the fortepiano. However, that doesn't mean that the day of the clavicembalo (harpsichord) was over. Obviously, not everyone could afford to immediately throw out their old instruments and buy new. So in the interest of selling sheet music, publishers continued even into Beethoven's time to put on the front "For the Pianoforte or Harpsichord". However, it isn't as difficult as all that to tell what was what. A dead giveaway was the use of dynamic markings, especially crescendos and decrescendos, but also pp and fff and the like. Why a giveaway? Well, harpsichords couldn't follow those markings. They played in virtually the same dynamic all the time because they relied on plucking of the strings. It's true that different registers could produce different volume levels, but that doesn't help much with a big, arpeggiated crescendo! :)

It is thought that Mozart first encountered a fortepiano in <>1772, and probably had one in his hands by 1775. So that date is used (albeit tentatively) for Mozart's music, anyway. Any keyboard music post 1775 is probably piano music. Other composers are not so well documented, so it takes reading the original score (publishers added the markings later on, so only the original will do) to find the dynamics. A bit more difficult.

Oh, and let's not overlook the fact that many, many composers spent the long evenings in their rooms with the clavichord, and a lot of solo works are written just for it. If you haven't heard a clavichord, it's way past time... :)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #191 on: March 10, 2009, 07:07:45 PM »
Gurn - nice post above about keyboard instrumentation in this fascinating 18th century.  Of course, Cristofori HERE is credited w/ the invention of the piano, i.e. an instrument that could produce 'volume dynamics' unlike the harpsichord; this Italian instrument maker died in 1731, so the origins of his invention were in the early 18th century - thus, what is of real interest that no longer exists is the 'cornucopia' of keyboard instruments available to the composers of that century, and obviously the confusing issue for us now as to 'what' instrument the music was meant to played upon, if not one or several?  ;)

Each of these keyboard instruments, i.e. harpsichords, fortepianos, clavichords, et al, have their unique features and the music written was likely meant to be played on one or the other types of keyboards; my problem has been in obtaining this music is often related to the instruments used, the specific performers/performances, and the engineering of the recordings - I used to not like a lot of harpsichord music, but recent purchases have changed my mind; thus, one has to explore these various options - in the early 'classic' period, the harpsichord might be the best choice, if played & recorded well; as the 18th century progressed, a choice between the fortepiano & earlier instruments becomes an option (again, a personal decision often), and then into the latter part of that century, the fortepiano into more modern pianos seems to be the better option.

Not making a lot of sense here, I guess, but the point is that this was a dynamic evolution of keyboard instruments in the 18th century, and that composers may have written their music for a specific type of instrument but w/ the hope for more dynamics and a 'future' for a different type of performance or interpretation -  :)

Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #192 on: March 10, 2009, 10:46:49 PM »
Very interesting post, Gurn.  I have often wondered about this...  When do you stop using harpsichord and start using piano?  The practice seems to be any "Classical" work, but - as you have aptly pointed out - this runs into problems.  What about volume indications or the lack thereof?  Take Haydn's keyboard concerto in D, H. 23:11 - Pinnock and Koopman both seem to be of the notion that this is a harpsichord piece.  I assume this is do to a lack of crescendos/decrescendos and volume indications?

I'm also curious about Mozart's early piano concerti, 5-9: would these have been performed regularly on harpsichord during this time?  I remember reading a commentary by Professor Zaslaw that said that No. 5 was designated 'For fortepiano or harpsichord.' 

An interesting situation.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 10:57:29 PM by Sorin Eushayson »

Offline Valentino

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #193 on: March 10, 2009, 11:30:31 PM »
I have the recording of Mozart's Six German Dances K.507, with Staier and Schornsheim playing a Stein "harpsichord and fortepiano in one" from 1777 on Harmonia Mundi. It is of course a modern arrangement, but one could easily imagine a jolly Viennese chamber dance party hearing it.
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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #194 on: March 11, 2009, 03:45:25 AM »
However, one of my purchases is one of those Wölfl/Colladant disks that we discussed earlier, so that was a nice little acquisition.

Which one did you buy, Gurn?

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #195 on: March 11, 2009, 04:20:30 AM »
Which one did you buy, Gurn?

The 3 sonatas, Op 28. They also had one of the pianoforte and harp duets. I should have got that one too, although Dave probably will and will fill us in on it. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #196 on: March 11, 2009, 04:25:48 AM »
Very interesting post, Gurn.  I have often wondered about this...  When do you stop using harpsichord and start using piano?  The practice seems to be any "Classical" work, but - as you have aptly pointed out - this runs into problems.  What about volume indications or the lack thereof?  Take Haydn's keyboard concerto in D, H. 23:11 - Pinnock and Koopman both seem to be of the notion that this is a harpsichord piece.  I assume this is do to a lack of crescendos/decrescendos and volume indications?

I'm also curious about Mozart's early piano concerti, 5-9: would these have been performed regularly on harpsichord during this time?  I remember reading a commentary by Professor Zaslaw that said that No. 5 was designated 'For fortepiano or harpsichord.' 

An interesting situation.

I would say that #9 was certainly a fortepiano piece. I am not in a position to do any research right now, but IIRC he wrote this for a piano virtuoso (Mlle. Genamy) who was touring at the time. The earlier works including the #7 for 3 keyboards, are, AFAIK originally written for harpsichord.

As for Zaslaw's statement, it doesn't carry any weight at all, since 99% of all keyboard works at the time had that written on the front.

According to Geiringer, Haydn's D major concerto was almost certainly written for the piano, since the dynamic indications in the original manuscript would have been impossible to reproduce on a harpsichord. Any others before that were either written for the harpsichord or organ.

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #197 on: March 11, 2009, 04:29:04 AM »
I have the recording of Mozart's Six German Dances K.507, with Staier and Schornsheim playing a Stein "harpsichord and fortepiano in one" from 1777 on Harmonia Mundi. It is of course a modern arrangement, but one could easily imagine a jolly Viennese chamber dance party hearing it.

Now, that is something I would like to hear! Thanks for bringing my attention to this disk, I need to find it. And yes, the situation that you imagine is very likely to be one that could have taken place. If you like this sort of thing, you should really try to find the 2 disk set on Zig Zag called (in French) "An evening at the Jacquin's" which contains music that Mozart actually wrote for little parties like that. It is a superb set. :)

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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #198 on: March 11, 2009, 09:25:10 AM »
I would say that #9 was certainly a fortepiano piece. I am not in a position to do any research right now, but IIRC he wrote this for a piano virtuoso (Mlle. Genamy) who was touring at the time. The earlier works including the #7 for 3 keyboards, are, AFAIK originally written for harpsichord.

As for Zaslaw's statement, it doesn't carry any weight at all, since 99% of all keyboard works at the time had that written on the front.

According to Geiringer, Haydn's D major concerto was almost certainly written for the piano, since the dynamic indications in the original manuscript would have been impossible to reproduce on a harpsichord. Any others before that were either written for the harpsichord or organ.

Great answer, Gurn!  Are you sure you're not secretly a prominent Austrian musicologist???  ;)

Particularly interesting regarding the Haydn concerto... I have only heard this performed on harpsichord.  Do you happen to know of any recordings of it on fortepiano?  Or maybe of Mozart's early concerti on harpsichord?  Might be interesting!  :)

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #199 on: March 11, 2009, 09:38:27 AM »
Great answer, Gurn!  Are you sure you're not secretly a prominent Austrian musicologist???  ;)

I have wondered that same thing for some time now.  ;D

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