Bedřich Smetana (2 March 1824 – 12 May 1884) was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style that became closely identified with his country's aspirations to independent statehood. He has been regarded in his homeland as the father of Czech music. Internationally he is best known for his opera The Bartered Bride and for the symphonic cycle Má vlast ("My Homeland"), which portrays the history, legends and landscape of the composer's native country and contains the famous symphonic poem "The Moldau".
Smetana was naturally gifted as a composer, and gave his first public performance at the age of 6. After failing to establish his career in Prague, he left for Sweden, where he set up as a teacher and choirmaster in Gothenburg, and began to write large-scale orchestral works.
In the early 1860s, a more liberal political climate in Bohemia encouraged Smetana to return permanently to Prague. He threw himself into the musical life of the city, primarily as a champion of the new genre of Czech opera. In 1866 his first two operas, The Brandenburgers in Bohemia and The Bartered Bride, were premiered at Prague's new Provisional Theatre, the latter achieving great popularity. In that same year, Smetana became the theatre's principal conductor, but the years of his conductorship were marked by controversy. Factions within the city's musical establishment considered his identification with the progressive ideas of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner inimical to the development of a distinctively Czech opera style. This opposition interfered with his creative work, and might have hastened a decline in health that precipitated his resignation from the theatre in 1874.
During the summer of 1874, Smetana began to lose his hearing, and total deafness soon followed; he described the gradual, but rapid loss of his hearing in a letter of resignation to the director of the Royal Provincial Czech Theatre, Antonín Čížek. In July 1874 he began hearing anomalous noise and then a permanent buzzing. Not long after the onset he was unable to distinguish individual sounds. At the beginning of October he lost all hearing in his right ear, and finally on 20 October in his left. But freed from his theatre duties and the related controversies, he began a period of sustained composition that continued for almost the rest of his life.
In June 1876 Smetana, his wife Bettina, and their two daughters left Prague for Jabkenice, the home of his eldest daughter Žofie where, in tranquil surroundings, Smetana was able to work undisturbed. Before leaving Prague he had begun a cycle of six symphonic poems, called Má vlast ("My Fatherland"), and had completed the first two, Vyšehrad and Vltava, which had both been performed in Prague during 1875. In Jabkenice Smetana composed four more movements, the complete cycle being first performed on 5 November 1882 under the baton of Adolf Čech.
Smetana's contributions to Czech music were increasingly recognised and honoured, but a mental collapse early in 1884 led to his incarceration in an asylum and subsequent death.
Smetana's reputation as the founding father of Czech music has endured in his native country, where advocates have raised his status above that of his contemporaries and successors. However, relatively few of Smetana's works are in the international repertory, and most foreign commentators tend to regard Antonín Dvořák as a more significant Czech composer.
Vltava, also known by its English name The Moldau, and in German Die Moldau, was composed between 20 November and 8 December 1874 and was premiered on 4 April 1875 under Adolf Čech. It is about 13 minutes long, and is in the key of E minor.
In this piece, Smetana uses tone painting to evoke the sounds of one of Bohemia's great rivers. In his own words:
The composition describes the course of the Vltava, starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer's wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night's moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John's Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe (or Elbe, in German).
Vltava contains Smetana's most famous tune. It is an adaptation of the melody La Mantovana, attributed to the Italian renaissance tenor, Giuseppe Cenci, which, in a borrowed Romanian form, was also the basis for the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah. The tune also appears in an old Czech folk song, Kočka leze dírou ("The Cat Crawls Through the Hole"); Hanns Eisler used it for his "Song of the Moldau”; and Stan Getz performed it as “Dear Old Stockholm” (probably through another derivative of the original tune, “Ack Värmeland du sköna”).
Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 was composed by Max Bruch and the first version was completed in 1866 and the first performance was given on 24 April 1866 by Otto von Königslow, with Bruch conducting. The concerto was then considerably revised with help from celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim and completed in its present form in 1867. The premiere of the revised concerto was given by Joachim in Bremen on 5 January 1868, with Karl Martin Rheinthaler conducting.
Max Christian Friedrich Bruch, born as Max Karl August Bruch (6 January 1838 – 2 October 1920), was a German Romantic composer, teacher, and conductor who wrote over 200 works, including three violin concertos, and Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
is the most famous and the one piece he is mostly identified with, which he regretted a lot.
The Violin Concerto became very popular during the composer's life and since has become a staple of the violin repertory all around the world.
In 1996, it was voted the number one work in the Classic FM (UK) Hall of Fame by the station's listeners. In its profile of Bruch, Classic FM described the violin concerto as "one of the best works of the Romantic period".
The concerto is scored for solo violin and a standard classical orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, timpani, and strings.
And it is in three movements:
1. Vorspiel: Allegro moderato (in G minor)
2. Adagio (in E-flat major)
3. Finale: Allegro energico (in G major)
The first movement is unusual in that it is a Vorspiel, a prelude, to the second movement and is directly linked to it. The piece starts off slowly, with the melody first taken by the flutes, and then the solo violin becomes audible with a short cadenza. This repeats again, serving as an introduction to the main portion of the movement, which contains a strong first theme and a very melodic, and generally slower, second theme. The movement ends as it began, with the two short cadenzas more virtuosic than before, and the orchestra's final tutti flows into the second movement, connected by a single low note from the first violins.
The slow second movement is often admired for its melody, and is generally considered to be the heart of the concerto. The themes, presented by the violin, are underscored by a constantly moving orchestra part, keeping the movement alive and helping it flow from one part to the next.
The third movement, the finale, opens with an intense, yet quiet, orchestral introduction that yields to the soloist's statement of the energetic 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.
Bruch sold the score to the publisher N. Simrock outright for a small lump sum — but he kept a copy of his own. At the end of World War I, he was destitute, having been unable to enforce the payment of royalties for his other works because of chaotic world-wide economic conditions. He sent his autograph to the duo-pianists Rose and Ottilie Sutro (for whom he had written his Concerto in A-flat minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 88a, in 1912), so that they could sell it in the United States and send him the money. Bruch died in October 1920, without ever receiving any money. The Sutro sisters decided to keep the score themselves, but they claimed to have sold it, and sent Bruch's family some worthless German paper money as the alleged proceeds of the alleged sale. They always refused to divulge any details of the supposed purchaser. In 1949, they sold the autograph to Mary Flagler Cary, whose collection, including the Bruch concerto, now resides at the Pierpont Morgan Public Library in New York City.
The Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg in 1775 when he was only 19.
The piece is in three movements:
3. Rondeau, Allegro
The Allegro is in sonata form, opening with a brilliant G major theme, played by the orchestra. The main theme is a bright and happy discussion between the solo violin and the accompanist, followed by a modulation to the dominant D major, then its parallel key D minor. It experiments in other keys but does not settle and eventually heads back to the tonic, G major, in the recapitulation with the help of the cadenza.
The second movement is also in ternary form form, and in the dominant key of D major. The orchestra begins by playing the well known and beautiful main theme, which the violin imitates one octave higher. The winds then play a dance-like motif in A major, which the violin concludes by its own. After a conclusion in A, the violin plays the main theme again, remaining in the same key. When it should have sounded A natural, it sounds A sharp, and the melody switches to B minor, in a fairly tragic passage. It soon modulates back to A major, and to the home key of D major through the main theme. After the cadenza, and in a quite unusual thing for Mozart to do, the violin plays the main theme again, thus concluding the movement in D.
The third movement is a Rondeau Allegro, and opens with an orchestra theme which gave the concerto its nickname: "Straßburg". After a lonely, short passage by the oboes only, the solo violin enters with a different melody which modulates to D. A brilliant and high passage in D is soon followed by a descending arpeggio-like melodic line which eventually leads to the G string and repeats itself. After the second time, the violin plays the lonely oboe line from the introduction. A chromatic scale then leads to the "Straßburg" theme with the violin playing.
The orchestra imitates the violin and abruptly changes to B minor and a B minor violin theme: exactly the same theme as in the first violin solo, played in the relative minor key. As the theme itself repeats, it once again abruptly changes to E minor. The small E minor cadenza introduces the orchestra, which once again plays the "Straßburg" theme in G major. After a couple of bars in D major by the orchestra, the music goes from Allegro to an Andante in G minor, almost in the fashion of a scherzo-trio form. The strings play saltando quavers while the violin plays a note-rest small melodic line which repeats itself and eventually leads to a G major Allegretto.
The violin plays a crotchet-only playful theme, while the orchestra plays brilliant and fast threesome up-and-down notes, in a way that the solo violin's part acts as a background only. The parts switch and now the orchestra plays the playful theme, while the violin gets to show off by playing fast notes. The quick passages stop for the violin to play a more ceremonial theme played on the D and A strings, in the fashion of a Musette.
This pattern sounds two more times until the violin concludes the fast theme with a low G, and switches to Tempo 1. After a few bars, the first solo theme that the violin played is played as a variation in A minor. The violin plays the "Straßburg" theme in G minor, and the orchestra imitates it in the usual form of G major. After the typical first solo variation, this time in the tonic key. The violin plays another small cadenza which leads to the last "Straßburg" theme played in two octaves. The orchestra plays it one third time in the lower octave.
Instead of ending the concerto in a pompous way, Mozart chose to end it instead with the lonely oboe theme in G major played by piano, adding the feeling of a musical "disappearing".
This Violin concerto is also called "Straßburg Concerto" (Strasbourg) in Mozart's letters, because of a so called "Strasbourgeoise" theme (some sort of French pot-pourri very popular at the time) he used in the finale.
K. 216 is thought to be Mozart’s most popular violin concerto. Compared with his previous concertos, the third concerto has become larger in scale, demanding a more exquisite technique, and exhibits Mozart’s development as a composer. It is perhaps the first time that Mozart succeeds in filling the outlines of the three-movement Classical chamber concerto with the smart, colorful melodies that shows his unique style. Mozart likes to use the technique of implying a connection of folk-like tune, which is also very common in the creation of the 18th century concerto. In his violin concerto, especially in the final movement, we could often figure out the melody inspired by folk songs or dance music, which makes his violin concerto very similar to his serenade.
According to a recent study at the University of Helsinki, classical music like Mozart's Violin Concerto No.3 can activate the release of Dopamine that controls our brain's reward and pleasure centres, but can also physically change our genes.
Vittorio Monti est un compositeur et chef d'orchestre italien né à Naples le 6 janvier 1868 et mort dans la même ville le 20 juin 1922.
Vittorio Monti est né à Naples où il a étudié le violon et la composition au Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella. Vers 1900 il devint le chef de l'Orchestre Lamoureux à Paris, pour lequel il a écrit plusieurs ballets et opérettes.
Sa seule œuvre connue est Csárdás. Elle fut initialement composée pour violon, mandoline ou piano. Elle fut rapidement arrangée pour toutes sortes d'ensembles, cet air rappelant aux gens les vieilles danses hongroises avec la juxtaposition de passages rapides et lents. D'après le site Musicalics, il aurait composé deux opéras-comiques en français, donc sans doute à Paris, vers 1900.
Vittorio Monti (6 January 1868 – 20 June 1922) was an Italian composer, violinist, mandolinist and conductor.
He was born in Naples, where he studied violin and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella. Around 1900 he received an assignment as the conductor for the Lamoureux Orchestra in Paris, where he wrote several ballets and operettas, for example, Noël de Pierrot. He also wrote a method for mandolin Petite Méthode pour Mandoline, 98049, in which he included some of his own works, Perle Brillante, Dans Una Gondola, and Au Petit Jour.
Csardas(Czardas), meaning hungarian dance, is a theme used by many composers. Vittorio Montit's csardas was his most famous work, which was composed around 1904, and possible in Paris where he had been appointed the conductor of Lamoureux orchestra since 1900.
The Nocturnes, Op. 9 are a set of three nocturnes written by Frédéric Chopin between 1830 and 1832, published that year, and dedicated to Madame Marie Pleyel. The second nocturne of the work is regarded as Chopin's most famous piece and is regularly featured in films, television programs and video games.
Nocturne Op. 9 No.1 b-flat minor
This nocturne has a rhythmic freedom that came to characterise Chopin's later work. The left hand has an unbroken sequence of eighth notes in simple arpeggios throughout the entire piece, while the right hand moves with freedom in patterns of seven, eleven, twenty, and twenty-two notes.
The opening section moves into a contrasting middle section, which flows back to the opening material in a transitional passage where the melody floats above seventeen consecutive bars of D-flat major chords. The reprise of the first section grows out of this, followed by a Picardy third ending.
Nocturne Op. 9 No.2 e-flat major
Chopin composed his best-known Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2 when he was around twenty years old.
This well-known nocturne is in rounded binary form (A, A, B, A, B, A) with coda, C. The A and B sections become increasingly ornamented with each recurrence. The penultimate bar utilizes considerable rhythmic freedom, indicated by the instruction, senza tempo (without tempo). Nocturne in E-flat major opens with a legato melody, mostly played piano, containing graceful upward leaps which becomes increasingly wide as the line unfolds. This melody is heard again three times during the piece. With each repetition, it is varied by ever more elaborate decorative tones and trills. The nocturne also includes a subordinate melody, which is played with rubato.
A sonorous foundation for the melodic line is provided by the widely spaced notes in the accompaniment, connected by the damper pedal. The waltz-like accompaniment gently emphasizes the 12/8 meter, 12 beats to the measure subdivided into four groups of 3 beats each.
Nocturne Op. 9 No.3 b-major
It is in ternary form A-B-A. The first section is marked allegretto. The main theme is chromatic, but filled with nostalgic energy. The second contrasting section, Agitato in B minor, is a very dramatic one with a combined melody and counter-melody in the right hand and continuous 8th note arpeggios in the left, which requires an amount of virtuosity. The piece is full of coloratura ornaments, and ends with a wide chord in the left hand accompanied with right hand triplets in a high octave to lead to a legatissimo smorzando adagio (senza tempo).
Title: concierto de Aranjuez
Composer: Joaquin Rodrigo (22 November 1901 – 6 July 1999)
Performers: Regino Sainz de la Maza, Paco de Lucia
Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre, 1st Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez (22 November 1901 – 6 July 1999), was a Spanish composer and a virtuoso pianist.
Rodrigo composed many music pieces for guitar, and the most famous is his Concierto de Aranjuez which is considered one of the pinnacles of Spanish music.
The concerto was inspired by the Palacio Real de Aranjuez(Royal Palace of Aranjuez) and its garden, the spring resort built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century and rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI.
The concierto is a very unusual piece both in terms of its instrumentation, with guitar as the dominant part of the concerto, as well as the composer´s physical condition. Rodrigo was blind since three year old, and the piece was trying to evoke the beauty of the sounds of nature he heard in the gardens of Palacio Real de Aranjuez: "the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains".
And it is divided into three movements:
1 Allegro con spirito
3 Allegro gentile
According to the composer, the first movement is "animated by a rhythmic spirit and vigour without either of the two themes... interrupting its relentless pace";
The second movement "represents a dialogue between guitar and solo instruments (cor anglais, bassoon, oboe, horn etc.)"; but more profoundly, it was also the evocation of the composer's happy days of his honeymoon with his wife Victoria and his devastation of losing their first child.
The third and last movement "recalls a courtly dance in which the combination of double and triple time maintains a taut tempo right to the closing bar."
Rodrigo composed the concerto in Paris in 1939, and he dedicated it to Regino Sainz dla Maza(1896-1981), Spanish guitarist and composer.
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 467 "Elvira Madigan" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, was completed on 9 March 1785 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, four weeks after the completion of the previous D minor concerto, K. 466.
The second movement was featured in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan. As a result, the piece has become widely known as the Elvira Madigan concerto.
The concerto is scored for solo piano, flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns in C, two trumpets in C, timpani and strings.
The concerto has three movements:
1. Allegro maestoso;
2. Andante in F major;
3. Allegro vivace assai
The opening movement begins quietly with a march figure, but quickly moves to a more lyrical melody interspersed with a fanfare in the winds. The music grows abruptly in volume, with the violins taking up the principal melody over the march theme, which is now played by the brass. This uplifting theme transitions to a brief, quieter interlude distinguished by a sighing motif in the brass. The march returns, eventually transitioning to the entrance of the soloist. The soloist plays a brief Eingang (a type of abbreviated cadenza) before resolving to a trill on the dominant G while the strings play the march in C major. The piano then introduces new material in C major and begins transitioning to the dominant key of G major. Immediately after an orchestral cadence finally announces the arrival of the dominant, the music abruptly shifts to G minor in a passage that is reminiscent of the main theme of the Symphony No. 40 in that key. A series of rising and falling chromatic scales then transition the music to the true second theme of the piece, an ebullient G major theme, which can also be heard in Mozart's Third Horn Concerto. The usual development and recapitulation follow. There is a cadenza at the end of the movement, although Mozart's original has been lost.
The famous Andante, in the subdominant key of F major, is in three parts. The opening section is for orchestra only and features muted strings. The first violins play with a dreamlike melody over an accompaniment consisting of second violins and violas playing repeated-note triplets and the cellos and bass playing pizzicato arpeggios. All of the main melodic material of the movement is contained in this orchestral introduction, in either F major or F minor. The second section introduces the solo piano and starts off in F major. It is not a literal repeat, though, as after the first few phrases, new material is interjected which ventures off into different keys. When familiar material returns, the music is now in the dominant keys of C minor and C major. Then it modulates to G minor, then B-flat major, then F minor, which transitions to the third section of the movement. The third section begins with the dreamlike melody again, but this time in the relative key of F major's parallel key, A-flat major. Over the course of this final section, the music makes its way back to the tonic keys of F minor and then F major and a short coda concludes the movement.
The final rondo movement begins with the full orchestra espousing a joyous "jumping" theme. After a short cadenza, the piano joins in and further elaborates. A "call and response" style is apparent, with the piano and ensemble exchanging parts fluidly. The soloist gets scale and arpeggio figurations that enhance the themes, as well as a short cadenza that leads right back to the main theme. The main theme appears one final time, leading to an upward rush of scales that ends on a triumphant note.
It was written in 1801 and originally named Quasi una fantasia.
The piano sonata was dedicated to his pupil Giulietta Guicciardi.
The third movement is believed to be inspiration of Frederic Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu, which is a tribute to Beethoven.
The Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846, is a keyboard composition written by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is the first prelude and fugue in the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, a series of 48 preludes and fugues by the composer. An early version of the prelude, BWV 846A, is found in the Klavierbüchlein für Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.
The prelude is 35 bars long and consists mostly of broken chords, and it ends with a single C major chord.
The fugue is 27 bars long and is written for four voices. It starts with a two-measure subject in the alto voice. The first voice to join is the soprano, which replies with the answer in the dominant key (G major).
The answer is repeated in the tenor and bass voices, respectively, when they enter. The piece then modulates through various related keys, with the subject being repeated in each of the four voices. The piece eventually ends up back in the home key. It ends with each voice stopping at a note and holding it until the end, forming a C-major chord.
Charles Gounod composed a melody that was designed to be based on the prelude; a setting of that melody to Ave Maria is popular. The edition of the prelude used by Gounod contains the Schwencke measure.
Johann Strauss II (born Johann Baptist Strauss; 25 October 1825 – 3 June 1899), also known as Johann Strauss Jr., the Younger, the son of Johann Strauss I, was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas. He composed over 500 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as several operettas and a ballet. In his lifetime, he was known as "The Waltz King", and was largely responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the 19th century. Some of Johann Strauss's most famous works include "The Blue Danube", "Kaiser-Walzer" (Emperor Waltz), "Tales from the Vienna Woods", and the "Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka". Among his operettas, Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron are the best known.
Composed in 1868, "Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald", Op. 325, was one of six Viennese waltzes by Johann Strauss II which featured a virtuoso part for zither. The title of Strauss' dance recalls the folk music of the inhabitants of the Vienna Woods.
The decorative first piano edition of Johann Strauss's evocative waltz Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald carries the composer's respectful dedication to his Highness Prince Constantin Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst (1828-1896), and the work was almost certainly given its world première at a private soirée in the prince's 16th-century palace in the Augarten, Vienna, during summer 1868.
An undated letter from that year, written to the composer by Princess Marie Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, reads: "Dear Sir, The performance of your beautiful waltz gave me such pleasure recently -- that I cannot help asking you kindly to accept a small memento of the unforgettable evening. It is to remind you of another of your finely-chiselled masterpieces, by the blue Danube -- whose sound reminds us all of happy hours. With repeated thanks and greatest respect. Fürstin zu Hohenlohe".
Since May 1867 Prince Constantin had held the position of First Master of the Royal Household and had lived in the Augarten residence with his wife Marie (née Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein), the daughter of Franz Liszt's long-term mistress Princess Carolyne Wittgenstein. Through Marie's connections the Augarten Palace, situated on the opposite side of the Danube Canal from the inner city of Vienna, became a focal point of cultural life in the Austrian capital. (After the Second World War it became, and has remained, the home of the Vienna Boys' Choir).
On 22 June 1868 Johann Strauss conducted a public performance of Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald before an audience of five thousand at the 'Sommerliedertafel' (Summer Song Programme) of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association) held in Karl Schwender's 'Neue Welt' entertainment establishment in the Vienna suburb of Hietzing. Yet this was no public première: three days earlier in the Volksgarten, at an 'Extraordinary Novelty Festival with Fireworks, for the Benefit of Josef and Eduard Strauss' on 19 June, Johann himself conducted the new work to great applause and was obliged to repeat it four times.
A particularly strong impression was made by the waltz's expansive Introduction of 122 bars, a rustic tone-poem evocative of the countryside of the Wienerwald, the wooded eastern foothills of the Alps, situated just north-west of Vienna.
Through the use of zither and Ländler-style rhythms in the Introduction and Coda, Strauss emphasises the close ties between the Viennese Waltz and the peasant music of Lower Austria.
The Kleist Prize-winning drama Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald (1931), by Ödön von Horváth, and the films Tales from the Vienna Woods (1928) and Tales from the Vienna Woods (1934) take their titles from this waltz.