The Classical mixtape #007

Notes about update #007 of The Classical mixtape.

Talking about Jean-Philippe Rameau. The true classical recording of his piano music is probably the one that Marcelle Meyer did in 1953 and 1946. She worked with Lex Six and they had her as their favourite pianist. She also made a number of recordings and the one with music by Jean-Philippe Rameau is legendary. I usually find it difficult to appreciate really old albums but this is really good.

You don’t hear the the symphonies of Villa-Lobos that often. Naxos is currently making a series of albums with them. The eleventh, for instance, is really good.

Lastly I must mention Valery Gargiev’s recording of the sixth symphony by Tchaikovsky. Such power.

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The Early mixtape #001

Notes about update #001 of The Early mixtape.

I really like the keyboard music of Jean-Philippe Rameau. For me he is one of the most important composers for the keyboard during the baroque era and on par with both  François Couperin and Domenico Scarlatti. He wrote three collections of keyboard music where Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin is the last one.

Another very good collection of chamber music by Rameau is the Pièces de clavecin en concerts for harpsichord, violin and viol.

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The Modern mixtape #005

Notes on update #005 of The Modern mixtape.

Regarding Le Déluge d’après Poussin by Hugues Dufourt. It’s like a spectral variant of Morton Feldman. Brian Eno compares ambient music with a river that is floating by. It is always evolving and moving but from your point of view, as a observer, it is standing still. I find these qualities in both Morton Feldman and John Cage music. Le Déluge d’après Poussin is constantly changing, with new harmonies and timbres but standing still at the same time. Very beautiful.

The pianist Sabine Liebner has a atmospheric and dreamy way of playing the piano. She have done very nice recordings of both of Feldman’s late piano pieces and Cage number pieces for solo piano. Here is Tilbury by Christian Wolff.

In the second movement of Voyage into the Golden Screen Per Nørgård uses his infinity series melody for the first time. It is a fractal way that constructs a never ending infinite melody. In the second symphony it is explored even more with a tone row that consists of over 4000 notes. The result is a strange and beautiful piece of music.

Neptuni Åkrar is an orchestra piece by the Swedish composer Henrik Strindberg. The basic idea is arpeggios of natural harmonics played on string instruments. You can read a detailed description about the structure and techniques used in the piece in Swedish here. It won the Christ Johnson prize in 2007.

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The Classical mixtape #006

Notes on update #006 of The Classical mixtape.

Valses nobles et sentimentales is a piano/orchestra piece by Maurice Ravel. He first published the piano version 1911 and one year later the version for orchestra. It is dedicated to Schubert and his two collections with waltzes Valses nobles and Valses sentimentales. 

Karol Szymanowski is one of the most notable Polish composers from the 20th century. Impressionistic and modern. A favourite.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was both a very talented classical composer and a famous and influential film music composer. The style is late romantic with a modern touch and a lyric tone.

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The Early mixtape

The Early mixtape is a playlist with music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque era.

Some highlights.

Domenico Scarlatti is one of my favourite composers. A very good interpreter of his sonatas is Pierre Hantaï who have recorded four albums with Scarlatti’s sonatas.

Membra Jesu Nostri is seven cantatas, each one dedicated to one of Jesu crucified limbs, by Dieterich Buxtehude.

Graindelavoix astonishing recording of Guillaume de Machaut Messe de Nostre Dame.

Claudio Monteverdi stands between the Renaissance and Baroque Era. The music is both bold beautiful.

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The Classical Boost mixtape

Yet another mood playlist. This time a sort of energy boost playlist. A bit cheesy but I think it serves it’s purpose.

The tricky thing with mood / moment playlists is that the purpose is to accompany an activity, and not take overhand. I am therefor trying a technique both in this playlist and The Classical Dinner mixtape where I work with a large pool of similar tracks and then do a random selection out of that pool.

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The Classical mixtape #005

Notes on update #005 of The Classical mixtape.

Ernst Krenek is one of the twelve tone composers that followed and was inspired by Schoenberg and the second Vienna School. Originally from Austria but later moved to America. I really like the lyric qualities and almost romantic tone of his music. One very nice work is the Lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae which combines twelve tone techniques and Renaissance style counterpoint.

Tapiola was Sibelius last orchestral work. It is a truly astonishing work. The general feeling is that the music doesn’t move forward. One reason is the beautiful harmony and orchestration. It is quite impressionistic. Like a darker variant of Debussy with the forest instead of the sea. Another reason is the form. The music is rolling back and forth with a few outbursts that really doesn’t lead forward.

The seventh part of Schumann’s Waldszenen, Vogel als Prophet, is really a fantastic piece. Thoughtful and almost Jazzy. Reminds me a bit of Prélude by Ravel.

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The Modern mixtape #004

Notes about update #004 of The Modern mixtape.

Polymorphia by Krzysztof Penderecki is a modernist classic from 1961. It is scored for 48 strings and Penderecki uses a lot graphical notation to build clusters of sounds. The result is brutal and harsh. The ending C major chord is quite surreal. It was used in the soundtrack of both The Exorcist and The Shining.

Another modern classic is Gruppen by Stockhausen. It is scored for three orchestras and each orchestra is conducted by a separate conductor. The idea is that Stockhausen had is that you have groups of notes that have characteristics in common. It can be the timbre or if all notes have high pitch. In Gruppen each group also share the same tempi. Thats why there are three orchestras with individual conductors. Another reason is the spatial possibilities that you can explore when you place the orchestras at different places. Stockhausen made a lecture serie in England 1972 where he among other things explains the theories around groups and point. It is available on youtube here.

The flutist Clair Chase is one the great champions for contemporary music. Both as a solist and as the founders of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).

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The Classical mixtape #004

Notes about update #004 of The Classical Mixtape.

Haydn is one of my favourite composers. He has a way to work and develop musical material that makes him one the greatest. The way he develops a small but dramatic motif of four notes in the first movement of the 83rd Symphony for instance.

I also think his music often has maturity and afterthought. Often with rough edges, but with great sense of humour and a big heart. The second movement in the 31th piano sonata for instance is a great example of that. Emanuel Ax recording with Haydn piano sonatas, especially the late album, must be one of my favourite albums with Haydn piano music. He reflects this maturity and afterthought in a light and fluent way of playing.

William Alwyn was English composer that died 1985. He wrote a lot of film scores but also symphonies, concertos and string quartets.

Concerto in E-flat “Dumbarton Oaks” is a chamber concerto by Igor Stravinsky that was written during his Neoclassical period and completed in 1938. It was premiered on Dumbarton Oaks in 1938 with Nadia Boulanger as the conductor.

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