Friday, 28 December 2012

'Pur ti miro', by Claudio Monteverdi

Musical version:

Duet version:

From Wikipedia:

Pur ti miro is a duet from the opera L'Incoronazione di Poppea by the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi and Francesco Busenello . The duet act opera when Poppaea and Nero sing of their love for each other, and is a crucial dramatic climax, although it is virtually certain that the piece was written not by Monteverdi but by Benedetto Ferrari .

Pur Ti Miro, Pur ti stringo,
pur ti godo, pur t’annodo
più non peno, più non moro,
O mia vita, o mio tesoro.
Io son tua, speme mia
dillo dí l’idol mio,
tu sei pur, si mio ben,
Si mio cor, mi a vita

I adore you, I embrace you,
I desire you, I enchain you,
no more grieving, no more sorrow,
O my dearest, O my beloved.
I am yours, O my love,
tell me so, you are mine,
mine alone, O my love.
Feel my heart, see my love, see.

Masquerade Suite (Waltz), by Aram Khachaturian

From Wikipedia:

The Incidental music to Masquerade was written in 1941 by Aram Khachaturian for a production of Russian poet and playwright Mikhail Lermontov's play of the same name. It premiered on 21 June 1941 in the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow. It is better known in the form of a five-movement suite.

Later, in 1944, Khachaturian extracted five movements to make a symphonic suite. The movements are:

  1. Waltz
  2. Nocturne
  3. Mazurka
  4. Romance
  5. Galop.

Love Actually - Glasgow Theme

From Wikipedia:

Love Actually is a 2003 British Christmas themed romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. The ensemble cast is composed predominantly of British actors.

Set primarily in London, the film begins five weeks before Christmas and is played out in a weekly countdown until the holiday, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Islamic nasheed: 'Your Beauty' by Hamza Robertson


Brighter than the sun
Fairer than the moon
Your beauty is so dazzling

Bigger than the sea
Higher than the clouds
Your soul is so enlightening

What Id give to see your face
Beaming with so much grace

Brighter than the sun
Fairer than the moon
Your beauty is so dazzling
Bigger than the sea
Higher than the clouds
Your soul is so enlightening (x2)

Ya Mawlay, ya Mawlay Salli 'ala Taha (x2)
husnu Ahmadal Bashir
Akhjalal badral munir

Will I be from those
You welcome with a smile
As you call your nation
Come to my side

Or will I see you frown
And then turn away
I did let you down
I forgot this Day

What Id give to see your face
Beaming with so much grace

Brighter than the sun
Fairer than the moon
Your beauty is so dazzling

Bigger than the sea
Higher than the clouds
Your soul is so enlightening


Ya Habiba Allah
Ya Safiyya Allah
'Alayka Salatu Allah
Wa Salamu Allah

Your smile is so bright
It lits up the dark night
Brought mercy and light
To my waiting heart

I know that Im weak
Of my sins I can speak
Your mercy I seek
Though Im not worthy

What Id give to see your face
Beaming with so much grace

Brighter than the sun
Fairer than the moon
Your beauty is so dazzling

Bigger than the sea
Higher than the clouds
Your soul is so enlightening

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Carnival of the Animals, Aquarium by Camille Saint-Saëns

According to Wikipedia:

The Carnival of the Animals (Le carnaval des animaux) is a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Written for private performance by an ad hoc ensemble of two pianos and other instruments, the work lasts around 25 minutes.

I dont like most of them, but Aquarium is a well known one.

Here is a classic Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals:

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Elizabethan Serenade, by Ronald Binge

From Wikipedia:

Elizabethan Serenade is a light music composition by Ronald Binge. When it was first played by the Mantovani orchestra in 1951, it was simply titled "Andante cantabile", although the original orchestral manuscript parts in Ronald Binge's own hand show the title "The Man In The Street" (possibly the title of an early television documentary). The name was altered by the composer to reflect the optimism of the new Elizabethan age beginning with the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

The piece won Binge an Ivor Novello award and it also had chart success in Germany (recorded by the Günther Kallmann Choir) and in South Africa. A version with lyrics by poet Christopher Hassall called Where the Gentle Avon Flows was released and the work also had lyrics added in German, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, Danish and French. The piece was used as the signature tune to Music In Miniature on the BBC Light Programme.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Aaja Meri Jaan (1993) and Saagar (1985) - Theme Music and song

This "Aaja Meri Jaan" song was popularised in the 1993 movie

But it was not actually for the movie Aaja Meri Jaan. It was released as a part of the album, based on the 1985 movie Saagar theme music. See below:

The actual theme song from Aaja Meri Jaan movie is as follows:

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Boléro, by Maurice Ravel

From Wikipedia:

Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel (1875–1937). Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel's most famous musical composition.[2] Before Boléro, Ravel had composed large scale ballets (such as Daphnis et Chloé, composed for the Ballets Russes 1909–1912), suites for the ballet (such as the second orchestral version of Ma Mère l'Oye, 1912), and one-movement dance pieces (such as La Valse, 1906–1920). Apart from such compositions intended for a staged dance performance, Ravel had demonstrated an interest in composing re-styled dances, from his earliest successes (the 1895 Menuet and the 1899 Pavane) to his more mature works like Le tombeau de Couperin (which takes the format of a dance suite).

Boléro epitomises Ravel's preoccupation with restyling and reinventing dance movements. It was also one of the last pieces he composed before illness forced him into retirement: the two piano concertos and the Don Quichotte à Dulcinée song cycle were the only compositions that followed Boléro.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

JalPari: Kuch is Tarah

Hary Janos Suite part 5/6: Intermezzo by Zoltan Kodaly

From Wikipedia:

Háry János is a "Hungarian folk opera" (that is, a spoken play with songs, in the manner of a Singspiel) in four acts by Zoltán Kodály to a Hungarian libretto by Béla Paulini (1881-1945) and Zsolt Harsányi, based on the comic epic The Veteran (Az obsitos) by János Garay. The first performance was at the Royal Hungarian Opera House, Budapest, 1926. The sub-title of the piece is Háry János kalandozásai Nagyabonytul a Burgváráig - János Háry: his Adventures from Nagyabony to the Vienna Burg. The UK stage premiere was at the Buxton Festival in 1982 conducted by Anthony Hose with Alan Opie in the title role.

The story is of a veteran hussar in the Austrian army in the first half of the 19th century who sits in the village inn regaling his listeners with fantastic tales of heroism (in the tradition of Miles Gloriosus). His supposed exploits include winning the heart of the Empress Marie Louise, the wife of Napoleon, and then single-handedly defeating Napoleon and his armies. Nevertheless, he finally renounces all riches in order to go back to his village with his sweetheart.

Kodály wrote in his preface to the score: "Háry is a peasant, a veteran soldier who day after day sits at the tavern spinning yarns about his heroic exploits... the stories released by his imagination are an inextricable mixture of realism and naivety, of comic humour and pathos." He also comments that "though superficially he appears to be merely a braggart, essentially he is a natural visionary and poet. That his stories are not true is irrelevant, for they are the fruit of a lively imagination, seeking to create, for himself and for others, a beautiful dream world." Háry János embodies the poetic power of folklore to go beyond political frustrations; Kodály intended to bring his national folk music to an operatic setting.

The opera, and the suite, begin with an orchestral 'musical sneeze', best explained in Kodály's own words: "According to Hungarian superstition, if a statement is followed by a sneeze of one of the hearers, it is regarded as confirmation of its truth. The Suite begins with a sneeze of this kind! One of Háry's group of faithful listeners … sneezes at the wildest assertions of the old tale-spinner."

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor-Allegro energico-Presto (3rd mvt.) by Max Bruch

From Wikipedia:

The third movement, the finale, opens with an extremely intense, yet quiet, orchestral introduction that yields to the soloist's statement of the exuberant theme in brilliant double stops. It is very much like a dance that moves at a comfortably fast and energetic tempo. The second subject is a fine example of Romantic lyricism, a slower melody which cuts into the movement several times, before the dance theme returns with its fireworks. The piece ends with a huge accelerando, leading to a fiery finish that gets higher as it gets faster and louder and eventually concludes with two short, yet grand, chords.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Les Beautes du Diable, Francois Dompierre

From Youtube:

Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà's music video for "Les Beautés du diable" from their 2003 album Infernal Violins. 

This particular piece, composed by François Dompierre, was written for La Pietà.

Although critically praised, I believe they may be the most under-appreciated gem in today's classical music industry. And having met Angele and some of the current performers, they are very gracious and kind as well!

More on François Dompierre here.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Finlandia Op.26, by Jean Sibelius

From Wikipedia:

Finlandia, Op. 26 is a symphonic poem by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The first version was written in 1899, and it was revised in 1900. The piece was composed for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire, as the last of seven pieces, each performed as an accompaniment to a tableau depicting episodes from Finnish history.[2]

The premiere was on 2 July 1900 in Helsinki with the Helsinki Philharmonic Society conducted by Robert Kajanus.[3] A typical performance takes anywhere from 7½ to 9 minutes.

A recurrent joke within Finland at this time was the renaming of Finlandia at various musical concerts so as to avoid Russian censorship. Titles under which the piece masqueraded were numerous, a famously flippant example being Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish Spring.

Most of the piece is taken up with rousing and turbulent music, evoking the national struggle of the Finnish people. But towards the end, a calm comes over the orchestra, and the serenely melodic Finlandia Hymn is heard. Often incorrectly cited as a traditional folk melody, the Hymn section is of Sibelius's own creation.[4]

Although initially composed for orchestra, in 1900 Sibelius arranged the entire work for solo piano.[3][5]

Sibelius later reworked the Finlandia Hymn into a stand-alone piece. This hymn, with words written in 1941 by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi, is one of the most important national songs of Finland(though Maamme is the national anthem). With different words, it is also sung as a Christian hymn (Be Still, My Soul), and was the national anthem of the short-lived African state of Biafra (Land of the Rising Sun).

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Khoon Bhari Maang (1988): Main Teri Hoon Janam

In case you are wondering about the music, its a rip off from Chariots of Fire, Theme song.

Chariots of Fire - Theme Song

From Wikipedia:

Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.

The film was written by Colin Welland and directed by Hugh Hudson. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture. It is ranked 19th in the British Film Institute's list of Top 100 British films.

The film's title was inspired by the line, "Bring me my chariot of fire," from the William Blake poem adapted into the popular British hymn "Jerusalem"; the hymn is heard at the end of the film. The original phrase "chariot(s) of fire" is from 2 Kings 2:11 and 6:17 in the Bible.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Csárdás (or Czardas), by Vittorio Monti

From Wikipedia:

Csárdás (or Czardas) is perhaps the most famous composition of Vittorio Monti. A rhapsodical concert piece written in 1904, it is a well-known folk piece based on a Hungarian csárdás. It was originally composed for violin, mandolin or piano. Nowadays, it is usually played on the violin, but can also be played as a piano solo, saxophone solo, on the accordion, as an orchestral arrangement, as a Tuba solo, or on glass bottles. The duration of the piece is about four and a half minutes.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Symphonie Espagnole Opus 21 (5), by Edouard Lalo

From Wikipedia:

The Symphonie espagnole in D minor, Op. 21, is a work for violin and orchestra by Édouard Lalo.

The work was written in 1874 for violinist Pablo de Sarasate, and premiered in Paris in February 1875.

Although called a "Spanish Symphony" (see also Sinfonia concertante), it is considered a violin concerto by musicians today. The piece has Spanish motifs throughout, and launched a period when Spanish-themed music came into vogue. (Georges Bizet's opera Carmen premiered a month after the Symphonie espagnole.)

The Symphonie espagnole is one of Lalo's two most often played works, the other being his Cello Concerto. His "official" Violin Concerto in F, and his Symphony in G minor, written thirteen years later, are neither performed nor recorded as often.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Light Cavalry Overture, by Franz von Suppé

From Wikipedia on Light Cavalry Overture:

Light Cavalry Overture is the title of the overture to Franz von Suppé’s operetta Light Cavalry (German: Leichte Kavallerie), premiered in Vienna in 1866. Although the opera is rarely performed or recorded, the overture is one of Suppé's most popular compositions, and has achieved a quite distinct life of its own, divorced from the opera of which it originally formed a part. Many orchestras around the world have the piece in their repertoire, and the main theme of the overture has been quoted numerous times by musicians, cartoons and other media.

From Wikipedia on Franz von Suppé:

Franz von Suppé or Francesco Suppé Demelli (April 18, 1819 – May 21, 1895) was an Austrian composer of light operas who was born in what is now Croatia during the time his father was working in this outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A composer and conductor of the Romantic period, he is notable for his four dozen operettas.

The Wasps, by Ralph Vaughan Williams

From Wikipedia:

The Wasps is incidental music composed by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1909. It was written for a production of Aristophanes' The Wasps at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was Vaughan Williams' first of only two forays into incidental music.

Vaughan Williams later arranged parts of the music into an orchestral suite, in five parts:

March Past of the Kitchen Utensils
Ballet and Final Tableau.

Home away from home, by Phil Coulter

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Piano - The Heart asks Pleasure First, by Michael Nyman

From Wikipedia

The Piano is a 1993 drama film about a mute pianist and her daughter, set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater on the west coast of New Zealand. The film was written and directed by Jane Campion, and stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin. It features a score for the piano by Michael Nyman which became a bestselling soundtrack album. Hunter played her own piano pieces for the film, and also served as sign language teacher for Paquin, earning three screen credits. The film was an international co-production by Australian producer Jan Chapman with the French company Ciby 2000.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Disco Deewane - Nazia Hasan

A very old song, sung by Pakistani singer Nazia Hasan who also sang some really popular Bollywood songs. This song is from early 1980's.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Intermezzo from Fedora, by Umberto Giordano

From Youtube:

This beautiful Intermezzo,from the opera,Fedora,by Umberto Giordano 1867-1948. Fedora is an opera based on the play Fedora by Victorien Sardou.

This is one of the most notable works of Giordano.It was first performed in Milan 1898, with Gemma Bellincioni in the role of Fedora, and Enrico Caruso as her lover Loris Ipanov.

El Noi de la mare, by John Williams

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Adagio of Spartacus & Phrygia, by Aram Khachaturian

Ballet version:

From Wikipedia:

Spartacus, or Spartak, is a ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903–1978). The work follows the exploits of Spartacus, the leader of the slave uprising against the Romans known as the Third Servile War, although the ballet's storyline takes considerable liberties with the historical record. Khachaturian composed the ballet in 1954, and for this was awarded a Lenin Prize that year.[1] It was first staged, with choreography by Leonid Yakobson, in Leningrad 1956,[2] but only with qualified success since Yakobson abandoned conventional pointe in his choreography.[3] The ballet received its first staging at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow in 1958, choreographed by Igor Moiseev; however it was the 1968 production, choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich, which achieved the greatest acclaim for the ballet.[2] It remains one of Khachaturian's best known works and is prominent within the repertoires of the Bolshoi Theatre and other ballet companies in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Opus 43 (18), by Sergei Rachmaninov

From Wikipedia:

The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43, (Russian: Rapsodiya na temu Paganini) is a concertante work written by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is written for solo piano and symphony orchestra, closely resembling a piano concerto. The work was written at Villa Senar, according to the score, from July 3 to August 18, 1934. Rachmaninoff himself, a noted interpreter of his own works, played the solo piano part at the piece's premiere at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 7, 1934 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Rachmaninoff, Stokowski, and the Philadelphia Orchestra made the first recording, on December 24, 1934, at RCA Victor's Trinity Church Studio in Camden, New Jersey.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Raga Yaman - Amjad Ali Khan

Another evening raga, another epic composition & rendition!

I'd once attended an Amjad Ali Khan concert, with the Scottish Philharmonic, the day after I'd done an Iron Maiden concert! Iron Maiden, in my book, are one of the greatest rock bands of all time, due to the harmonic influences in their music. But within 10 minutes of listening to the Ustad weave his magic, the only feeling I had was how shallow my tastes were!

This performance isn't from that concert, but it summarizes my feelings from that day very aptly!

From wiki: "Yaman is supposed to be one of the most fundamental ragas in Hindustani Classical Music. It is usually one of the first ragas taught to the serious classical music student." It is derived from the Carnatic classical raga Kalyani.

It starts off very slowly - it's over 30 mins in length - building up momentum gradually. However, within a few short minutes, it pulls you in. You get lulled into a rhythm, before the climax takes you over completely, much like a crescendo in western classical.

PS: This is another one of those pieces that mandates a smoky wine, like a Shiraz ;-)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Flower Duet (Lakmé), by Leo Delibes

From Wikipedia on Léo Delibes:

Clément Philibert Léo Delibes (21 February 1836 – 16 January 1891) was a French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage. His most notable works include ballets Coppélia (1870) and Sylvia (1876) as well as the operas Le roi l'a dit (1873) and Lakmé (1883).

Léo Delibes was born in Saint-Germain-du-Val, now part of La Flèche (Sarthe), France, in 1836. His father was a mailman, his mother a talented amateur musician. His grandfather had been an opera singer. He was raised mainly by his mother and uncle following his father's early death. In 1871, at the age of 35, the composer married Léontine Estelle Denain. His brother Michel Delibes migrated to Spain; he was the grandfather of Spanish writer Miguel Delibes.

From Wikipedia on Lakmé:

Lakmé is an opera in three acts by Léo Delibes to a French libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille. Delibes wrote the score during 1881–82 with its first performance on 14 April 1883 at the Opéra Comique in Paris. Set in British India in the mid 19th century, Lakmé is based on the 1880 novel Rarahu ou Le Mariage de Loti by Pierre Loti. The opera includes the famous and popular Flower Duet (Sous le dôme épais) for sopranos performed in Act 1 by the lead character Lakmé, the daughter of a Brahmin priest, and her servant Mallika.[1] Another famous aria from the opera is the Bell Song (L'Air des clochettes) in Act 2.

Like other French operas of the period, Lakmé captures the ambiance of the Orient that was in vogue during the latter part of the nineteenth century in line with other operatic works such as Bizet's The Pearl Fishers and Massenet's Le roi de Lahore.[2] The subject of the opera was suggested by Gondinet as a vehicle for the American soprano Marie van Zandt.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams

From Wikipedia:

The Lark Ascending is a work by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, inspired by George Meredith's 122-line poem of the same name about the skylark. The work was written in two versions: violin and piano, written in 1914; and violin and orchestra, written in 1920. The orchestral version is the one that is almost always heard now. It is one of the most popular pieces in the Classical repertoire among British listeners.

Vaughan Williams sketched the work while watching troop ships cross the English Channel at the outbreak of the First World War. A small boy observed him making the sketches and, thinking he was jotting down a secret code, informed a police officer, who subsequently arrested the composer.The war halted his compositional activities, but the work was revised in 1920 with the help of the English violinist Marie Hall, during their stay at Kings Weston House near Bristol.

The Lark Ascending was dedicated to Marie Hall, who premiered both versions. The piano-accompanied premiere was in December 1920, in conjunction with the Avonmouth and Shirehampton Choral Society. This was followed by the first London performance, and first orchestral performance, on 14 June 1921, under conductor Adrian Boult. The critic from The Times said of that performance, "It showed supreme disregard for the ways of today or yesterday. It dreamed itself along".

The use of pentatonic scale patterns frees the violin from a strong tonal centre, and shows the impressionistic side of Vaughan Williams' style. This liberty also extends to the metre. The cadenzas for solo violin are written without bar lines, lending them a sense of meditational release.

In 2011 it was chosen as Britain's all-time favourite 'Desert Island Disc' in a poll of listeners to chose the nation's Desert Island Discs.

From 2007 to 2010, the piece was voted number one in the Classic FM annual Hall of Fame poll, over Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto, Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and another work of Vaughan Williams', the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. In 2011 it was usurped by Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2. In 2011, in a poll to find what music New Yorkers would like to hear on the radio for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, The Lark Ascending came second.

Le Onde, by Ludovico Einaudi

From Wikipedia:

Le Onde is an album released in 1996 by the Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi. The album is based on the novel The Waves by British writer Virginia Woolf, and was Einaudi's first solo piano album. The album enjoyed mainstream success, particularly in Italy and the UK.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Raga Hansadhwani - Shiv Kumar Sharma

Indian classical is different from Western Classical in that there is no concept of written notes that govern a recital. A raga, which is the basic framework for a performance, provides a skeleton. The performer is then at complete freedom to stretch it's definition per his/her imagination.

From Wiki: A raga uses a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is constructed. However, it is important to remember that the way the notes are approached and rendered in musical phrases and the mood they convey are more important in defining a raga than the notes themselves. In the Indian musical tradition, rāgas are associated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rāga. Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs and ghazals sometimes use rāgas in their compositions.

In this rendition, you can see how some notes have been stretched on for minutes on end, that it's almost like a jam session!

This raga is an evening raga, meaning it was meant to capture the mood of people in the evenings. Men coming home after a day of labour in the fields; women after slogging in the house all day - could both relax to this music. I'm not sure if beer was common in those days ;-), but Indians have always loved their wine!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Embraceable you, by George Gershwin

From Wikipedia:

"Embraceable You" is a popular song, with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. The song was originally written in 1928 for an unpublished operetta named East is West. It was eventually published in 1930 and included in the Broadway musical Girl Crazy. where it was performed by Ginger Rogers in a song and dance routine choreographed by Fred Astaire. Billie Holiday's 1944 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sevilla (Sevillanas), by Isaac Albeniz

War Horse Soundtrack: 02 - The Auction, by John Williams

Badinerie, by Johann Sebastian Bach

From Wikipedia:

The badinerie (also spelled 'battinerie'; from French 'jesting') is best known for its designation as the final movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor. The movement is light in mood, and is structured in a binary form; it is cast in a swift 2/4 metre beginning on the upbeat, much in the manner of a fast gavotte.
Badineries also appear in French ouvertures by Christoph Graupner and Georg Philipp Telemann, also in fast tempos and in 2/4 or alla breve metre. The presence of an upbeat is not a consistent feature; examples by Telemann include the upbeat (including one example which is essentially a gavotte), while Graupner's do not.
While the designation 'badinerie' is not common, its Italian counterpart 'scherzo' appears more frequently.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Banks of Green Willow, by George Butterworth

From Wikipedia:

This is a short orchestral piece by George Butterworth, probably the most played of his three works for orchestra. It has certainly been his most recorded orchestral work.
Described by its composer as an "Idyll", and written in 1913, it is scored for a small orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, one trumpet, harp and strings.[1] It is thus a belated companion to the Two English Idylls of 1910-1911. All three pieces are founded on folk melodies Butterworth collected in Sussex in 1907, each has a similar "arch" shape, and each lasts between 4½ and 6 minutes.[2]
Butterworth based The Banks of Green Willow on two folk song melodies that he noted in 1907 - "The banks of green willow" and "Green bushes". The first was noted from the singing of "Mr & Mrs Cranstone" of Billingshurst,[3] though a few bars from the end (after the flute and harp have played Green Bushes) a solo violin muses on a variant of the tune, recorded by Butterworth in 1909, using a phonograph, from the singing of David Clements in Basingstoke Workhouse.[4]Versions of the second tune were noted from at least ten different singers, though the tune as it appears in the Idyll is not any of them. Each use of each tune varies slightly, and it is likely that Butterworth created new variants based on features of all the various versions he collected. Green Bushes as it appears in the Idyll most closely resembles that sung by Ned Harding of Lower Breeding, Sussex, in June 1907.[5] It is interesting that the composer also noted a version from Mr Cranstone, though it is not much like the one in the Idyll. Green Bushes was a common tune, and there are notable uses of it in works by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Folk Song Suite, Movement 2) and Percy Grainger (Passacaglia: Green Bushesand The Lost Lady Found).
A solo clarinet and strings create a pastoral scene with the title theme, followed by a short development and restatement of the tune. The mood becomes more sombre and agitated as a new theme (Butterworth's own, on horns) is introduced. An animated motif leads to the main climax, which is surpisingly passionate for such a short work, before the music subsides to introduce Green Bushes hesitantly on oboe. This is repeated gently on flute, accompanied by harp, and the piece ends tranquilly with snatches of the variant title theme on violin solo, horn and oboe.
As the composer said this piece is a "musical illustration to the ballad of the same name",[6]it may be useful to realise that the folk ballad tells the tale of a farmer's daughter who falls in love with a young sea-captain, becomes pregnant and runs away with him to sea, having first stolen money from her parents. When her child is born on board ship, the labour is especially difficult and there is no "woman's help" available. Knowing she will die, she asks her lover to "bind a napkin round my head, then throw me overboard, both me and my baby"[7] Her lover does this and watches as she "quivers" - presumably in her death-throes - and he sings a lament to "my true love, whom I once loved so dearly" and who shall be buried on "The Banks of Green Willow" (Butterworth's capitalisation). It is a shocking tale, even more so in other collected versions, where it is the man who decides to throw the girl and baby overboard rather than risk the shame of taking them home (Mr & Mrs Cranstone's text is a little more palatable).
The premiere of The Banks of Green Willow took place on 27 February 1914, when Adrian Boult conducted a combined orchestra of forty members of the Hallé and Liverpool orchestras in West Kirby. This was, in fact, the 24-year-old conductor’s first concert with a professional orchestra (he also gave the British premiere of Hugo Wolf's Italian Serenadeat the same concert). The London premiere took place three weeks later, and seems to have been the last occasion Butterworth heard his own music.
Butterworth was killed on 5 August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 31, and was a Lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry.

Friday, 10 February 2012

633 Squadron Theme Music

From Wikipedia:

633 Squadron is a 1964 British film which depicts the exploits of a fictional Second World War British fighter-bomber squadron. It was based on a novel of the same name by Frederick E. Smith, published in 1956, which itself drew on several real Royal Air Force missions. The film was directed by Walter Grauman, produced by Cecil F. Ford for United Artists and stars Cliff Robertson and George Chakiris. 633 Squadron was the first aviation film to be shot in colour and Panavision wide screen.

Concerto for oboe, strings and basso continuo in D minor, by Alessandro Marcello

From Youtube:


Concerto for oboe, strings and basso continuo in D minor

2. Adagio

3. Presto

Performed by Concerto Italiano
Directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini

*Alessandro Marcello was an Italian nobleman and dilettante who dabbled in various areas, including poetry, philosophy, mathematics and, perhaps most notably, music.

A slightly older contemporary of Antonio Vivaldi, Marcello held concerts at his hometown of Venice. He composed and published several sets of concertos, including six concertos under the title of La Cetra (The Lyre), as well as cantatas, arias, canzonets, and violin sonatas. Marcello often composed under the pseudonym Eterio Stinfalico, his name as a member of the celebrated Arcadian Academy (Pontificia Accademia degli Arcadi).

Although his works are infrequently performed today, Marcello is regarded as a very competent composer. His La Cetra concertos are "unusual for their wind solo parts, concision and use of counterpoint within a broadly Vivaldian style," according to Grove, "placing them as a last outpost of the classic Venetian Baroque concerto."

Alessandro's brother was Benedetto Marcello, also a composer.

**This concerto is part of Marcello's "concerti a cinque" published in 1716. It is one of the most performed oboe concertos in the oboe repertory. In the past, and continuing to the present, it has been mistakenly attributed to both Benedetto Marcello and Antonio Vivaldi. J.S. Bach made the piece famous by writing a transcription of the piece in C minor for Harpsichord (BWV974).

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Piano Sonata No.14 in C# minor Opus 27 'Moonlight', by Ludwig van Beethoven

From Youtube:

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata (Mondscheinsonate in German), was completed in 1801. It is rumored to be dedicated to his pupil, 17-year-old Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, with whom Beethoven was, or had been, in love. The name "Moonlight" Sonata derives from an 1832 description of the first movement by music critic Ludwig Rellstab, who compared it to moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Beethoven included the phrase "Quasi una fantasia" in the title partly because the sonata does not follow the traditional sonata pattern where the first movement is in regular sonata form, and where the three or four movements are arranged in a fast-slow-[fast]-fast sequence. Instead, the Moonlight sonata possesses an end-weighted trajectory; the climax is held off until the third movement. To be sure, the deviation from traditional sonata form is intentional. In his analysis of the Moonlight sonata, German critic Paul Bekker states that The opening sonata-allegro movement gave the work a definite character from the beginningwhich succeeding movements could supplement but not change. Beethoven rebelled against this determinative quality in the first movement. He wanted a prelude, an introduction, not a proposition. By placing the most dramatic form (sonata form) at the end of the piece, Beethoven could magnify the drama inherent in the form. The first movement, in C-sharp minor is written in a rough, truncated sonata form. The movement opens with an octave in the left hand and a triplet figuration in the right. A melody that Hector Berlioz called a "lamentation", mostly by the right hand, is played against an accompanying ostinato triplet rhythm, simultaneously played by the right hand. The movement is played pianissimo or "very quietly", and the loudest it gets is mezzo-forte or "moderately loud". The movement has made a powerful impression on many listeners; for instance, Berlioz wrote that it "is one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify." The work was very popular in Beethoven's day, to the point of exasperating the composer, who remarked to Carl Czerny, "Surely I've written better things."

Quoted from Edmund Morris' "Beethoven: The Universal Composer"

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber

From Wikipedia:

Adagio for Strings is a work by Samuel Barber, arranged for string orchestra from the second movement of his String Quartet, Op. 11. Barber finished the arrangement in 1936, the same year as he wrote the quartet. It was performed for the first time in 1938, in a radio broadcast from a New York studio attended by an invited audience, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who also took the piece on tour to Europe and South America. It is disputed whether the first performance in Europe was conducted by Toscanini or Henry Wood. Its reception was generally positive, with Alexander J. Morin writing that Adagio for Strings is "full of pathos and cathartic passion" and that it "rarely leaves a dry eye."[1] The piece can be heard in many TV shows and movies.

It begins with a B flat played by violins, leading to the lower strings' entrance. The rhythm is mainly compressed with sustained notes, and Barber uses some unusual time signatures including 4/2, 5/2, 6/4, and 3/2.

Piano Concerto in A minor Opus 16 (1), by Edvard Grieg

From Wikipedia:

The Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, composed by Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) in 1868, was the only concerto Grieg completed. It is one of his most popular works[1] and among the most popular of all piano concerti.

The concerto is in three movements:
* Allegro molto moderato (A minor)
* Adagio (D flat major)
* Allegro moderato molto e marcato - Quasi presto - Andante maestoso (A minor -> F major -> A minor -> A major)

The first movement is noted for the timpani roll in the first bar that leads to a dramatic piano flourish. The movement is in the Sonata form. The movement finishes with a virtuosic cadenza and a similar flourish as in the beginning.

The second movement is a lyrical movement in D flat major, which leads directly into the third movement.

The third movement opens in A minor 4/4 time with an energetic theme (Theme 1), which is followed by a lyrical 3/4 theme in F Major (Theme 2). The movement returns to Theme 1. Following this recapitulation is the 3/4 A Major Quasi presto section, which consists of a variation of Theme 1. The movement concludes with the Andate maestoso in A Major (or in A mixolydian), which consists of a dramatic rendition of Theme 2 (as opposed to the lyrical fashion with which Theme 2 is introduced).

Performance time of the whole concerto is around 28 minutes.

Variations on an Original Theme Opus 36 (9), by Edward Elgar

From Youtube:

Variations on an Original Theme for orchestra ("Enigma"), Op. 36, commonly referred to as the Enigma Variations, is a set of a theme and its fourteen variations written for orchestra by Edward Elgar in 1898--1899. It is Elgar's best-known large-scale composition, for both the music itself and the enigmas behind it. Elgar dedicated the piece to "my friends pictured within", each variation being an affectionate portrayal of one of his circle of close acquaintances.

The work consists of the theme, followed by 14 variations. The variations spring from the theme's melodic, harmonic and (especially) rhythmic elements, and the extended fourteenth variation forms a grand finale. Elgar dedicated the piece to "my friends pictured within" and in the score each variation is prefaced with either a nickname or initials, a clue to the identity of the friend depicted. As was common with painted portraits of the time, Elgar's musical portraits depict their subjects at two levels. Each movement conveys a general impression of its subject's personality; in addition, most of them contain a musical reference to a specific characteristic or event, such as Dorabella's stutter, Winifred Norbury's laugh, or the walk in the woods with Jaeger. The sections of the piece are as follows:

Theme (Andante) 0:00
Variation I (L'istesso tempo) "C.A.E." 1:26
Variation II (Allegro) "H.D.S.-P." 3:06
Variation III (Allegretto) "R.B.T." 3:51
Variation IV (Allegro di molto) "W.M.B." 5:13
Variation V (Moderato) "R.P.A." 5:42
Variation VI (Andantino) "Ysobel" 7:38
Variation VII (Presto) "Troyte" 8:54
Variation VIII (Allegretto) "W.N." 9:52
Variation IX (Adagio) "Nimrod" 11:45
Variation X (Intermezzo: Allegretto) "Dorabella" 15:11
Variation XI (Allegro di molto) "G.R.S." 17:45
Variation XII (Andante) "B.G.N." 18:46
Variation XIII (Romanza: Moderato) 21:22
Variation XIV (Finale: Allegro Presto) "E.D.U." 23:53