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

Friday, 27 January 2012

Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

From Wikipedia:

The Nutcracker is one of the composer's most popular compositions. The music belongs to the Romantic Period and contains some of his most memorable melodies, several of which are frequently used in television and film. (They are often heard in TV commercials shown during the Christmas season.) The Trepak, or Russian dance, is one of the most recognizable pieces in the ballet, along with the famous Waltz of the Flowers and March, as well as the ubiquitous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The ballet contains surprisingly advanced harmonies and a wealth of melodic invention that is (to many) unsurpassed in ballet music. Nevertheless, the composer's reverence for Rococo and late 18th century music can be detected in passages such as the Overture, the "Entrée des parents", and "Tempo di Grossvater" in Act I.

Another version:

Persischer-Marsch op. 289 - Johann Strauss II

From Wikipedia:

Persischer Marsch (Persian March), Op. 289, is a march composed by Johann Strauss II in the autumn of 1864. The composer conducted the first Viennese performance of the march in December 1864 at a festival concert in the Vienna Volksgarten, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut as a composer.

Braveheart Theme Music: For the Love of a Princess

Also known as "A Gift of a Thistle"

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Die Fledermaus Overture, by Johann Strauss II

From Wikipedia:

Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is an operetta composed by Johann Strauss II to a German libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée.

The original source for Die Fledermaus is a farce by German playwright Julius Roderich Benedix (1811–1873), Das Gefängnis (The Prison). Another source is a French vaudeville play, Le réveillon, by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. This was first translated by Karl Haffner into a non-musical play to be produced in Vienna. However, the peculiarly French custom of the réveillon (a midnight supper party) caused problems, which were solved by the decision to adapt the play as a libretto for Johann Strauss, with the réveillon replaced by a Viennese ball. At this point Haffner's translation was handed over for adaptation to Richard Genée, who subsequently claimed not only that he had made a fresh translation from scratch but that he had never even met Haffner.

Tom & Jerry uses this music in one of the classic episodes

The Land of the Mountain & the Flood, by Hamish MacCunn

From Wikipedia:

The Land of the Mountain and the Flood is an overture for orchestra, composed by Hamish MacCunn in 1887. Often cited as the archetypal Scottish overture, it is frequently likened to the works of Sir Walter Scott in its unashamedly lyrical, romantic view of the Scottish landscape. The title is in fact taken from Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto vi, stanza 2. After its first performance at Crystal PalaceGeorge Bernard Shaw said witheringly of it:
Mr MacCunn’s Land of the Mountain and the Flood, a charming Scotch overture that carries you over the hills and far away, was much applauded. I object, by the bye, to the “working out” section, which Mr MacCunn would never have written if his tutors had not put it into his head. I know a lady who keeps a typewriting establishment. Under my advice she is completing arrangements for supplying middle sections and recapitulations for overtures and symphonies at twopence a bar, on being supplied with the first section and coda.
In the 1970s it enjoyed renewed popularity as the theme for the BBC television series Sutherland's Law.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Les Biches, by Francis Poulenc

There are 3 parts to this music:

1- Rondeau (3.32)
2- Adagietto (3.45)
3- Rag-Mazurka (6.16)

From Wikipedia:

Les biches is a ballet by Francis Poulenc, premiered by the Ballets Russes in 1924. The composer, who was at the time relatively unknown, was asked by Serge Diaghilev to write a piece based on Glazunov'sLes Sylphides, written seventeen years earlier. Poulenc, however, chose to base his work on the paintings of Watteau that depicted Louis XV and various women in his "Parc aux biches"; the word bicheusually translated as hind, or a female deer. Poulenc described his work as a "contemporary drawing room party suffused with an atmosphere of wantonness, which you sense if you are corrupted, but of which an innocent-minded girl would not be conscious." Diaghilev recognized the great potential of the ballet and produced it for the 1924 Ballet Russes season, bringing Poulenc into the forefront of French music.Les biches was well received by critics, with Henri Malherbe of Time calling it "very attaching and original". Poulenc continually revised the music up through the 1940s, eventually reducing it to an orchestral suite in five movements.
The ballet, written in a light and frothy style, is in turns reminiscent of MozartScarlattiTchaikovsky, and Stravinsky, mirroring the style of Saint-Saëns's private composition The Carnival of the AnimalsLes biches, alongside the pit orchestra, uses a hidden chorus, found before in Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé. The work was choreographed by the famous Bronislava Nijinska and its set and costumes designed byMarie Laurencin. It was reset for New York City Ballet's Jazz Concert by Francisco Moncion, the other three dances being Todd Bolender's Creation of the World, John Taras' Ebony Concerto and George Balanchine's Ragtime (I); the City Ballet premiere took place on December 7, 1960, at City Center of Music and Drama.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Dil Ka Kya Kasoor: Aashiqui Mein Har Aashiq

Deewana (1992): Aisi Deewangi

Vishwatma: Saat Samundar Paar

Elevazione, by Domenico Zipoli

Scene Unseen, by John Barry

Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993): Tere Dar Par Sanam

Male Version

Female version

Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee - Wikipedia

The original song is from old Pakistani movie Neend (1959) sung by none other than the famous Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan.

Dharam Karam: Ek Din Bik Jaayega Mati Ke Mol

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

Baraka Allahu Lakuma - Maher Zain

The Chosen One - Maher Zain

My Ummah - Sami Yusuf

In Every Tear, He Is There - Sami Yusuf

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Libertango, by Astor Piazzolla

I am not able to find the slight variation that I heard on radio but here are two different versions:

Version 2:

From Wikipedia:

Libertango is a composition by tango composer Ástor Piazzolla, recorded and published in 1974. The title is a portmanteau merging "Libertad" (Spanish for liberty) and "Tango", symbolizing Piazzolla's break from Classical Tango to Tango Nuevo.[1]
Grace Jones's song I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango) uses the same music, as does Jazz Mandolin Project's song "Jungle Tango",Guy Marchand's song "Moi je suis tango" and Kati Kovács's song Hívlak.
In 2002, a re-recording of Libertango appeared on Australian/British classical crossover string quartet Bond second album "Shine".
Also Libertango was played by the famous guitarist Al Di Meola in his 2000 album The Grande Passion and by the world-renowned cellist,YoYo Ma, in his 1997 album, Soul of the Tango: The Music of Ástor Piazzolla.
A section of Libertango constituted the backing music for the Tarot advert for Volvo's S60 compact executive saloon.[2]
The music was also well known previous to this advert from the Roman Polanski movie Frantic (1988)
In the Prince of Tennis anime series, Atobe Keigo and Sanada Genichirou attended a performance of this song. They used it later to set the beat for their Doubles match. In the fandom, this pairing of characters is known as the "Tango Pair" because of this.

Beyondness by John Barry

From Filmtracks:

The Beyondness of Things: (John Barry) The twilight of one's own career is a time for reflection and celebration. John Barry's farewell to film scoring came in the late 1990's, and after four decades of extreme popularity, his career was drained away in unceremonious fashion with several rejected scores and fewer offers for work. Barry handled this decline by examining his career with far more reflection than celebration. His scores became more introverted and predictable in their melancholy consistency, and it was partly because he was no longer able to infuse his work with true creativity that the offers for work declined and scores were rejected. At some point in a successful man's life, does he really need to adapt to the world? Or should he be allowed to live out his years in the glory of an identity he feels comfortable leaving the party with? Barry embodied all of that stubborn attitude in the waning days of his career, attempting to force his scoring assignments into that comfortable mold. The clearest evidence of this defiance against change came in 1998, when Barry recorded a concert piece of almost an hour for release early in 1999. With The Beyondness of Things, Barry accomplished several goals. First, he reaffirmed to the world that he was so comfortable with the deliberate style of harmonic writing that had dominated his later years in scoring that he was willing to put it forth on a solo album. Second, he used the opportunity to provide some heavy reflection into his own life, writing about his childhood and favorite places in a tribute format. Third, the album allowed Barry to share with the public several of his ideas for the score for The Horse Whisperer, a much anticipated Barry work that Robert Redford chose to throw out. This last element is more of a side note to The Beyondness of Things, though detractors of Barry's later works will easily recognize that while the music in The Beyondness of Things is nothing less than pleasant, it has none of the authentic heartland style that Thomas Newman captured for the film. So while Barry fans will likely remain somewhat peeved at Redford for firing Barry on such a high profile film, the fact remains that Newman's replacement score for The Horse Whisperer is more than adequate, and likely more appropriate.

The Horse Whisperer: The Rhythm of the Horse