Joseph Haydn ‘Symphony No.20’: Festive Fun!
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
9M ago
Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.20 Context Often known as the ‘Father of the Symphony’, Joseph Haydn’s legacy as a symphonist stays strong today. Haydn composed 104 symphonies over the course of his long and fruitful life, and we at Classicalexburns want to help you discover the stories and music behind all of them. In numerical order we will cover each symphony in the new #Haydn104 project, so look out for new ones by checking the ‘Projects’ page on our website, or by engaging with us on social media.   The Music The first four-movement symphony since No.15, Joseph Haydn’s twentieth symphony w ..read more
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Gustav Mahler ‘Symphony No.2’: Movement V
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.2 (Movement V)   Movement V At Mahler’s funeral on 22nd May 1911, fellow composer and friend J.B. Fӧrster recalled that, although Mahler had requested no music to be played at the service, nature had its own ideas:   “Only somewhere in a tree a bird sang a disjointed springtime melody, and I was inevitably reminded of the final movement of Mahler’s Second Symphony. There, above a world shaken to its very foundations by the horrors of the Last Judgement, a solitary bird soars aloft, as high as the clouds themselves, the last living creature, and its song, fr ..read more
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Gustav Mahler ‘Symphony No.2’: Movement IV
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.2 (Movement IV) Movement IV Although added very late in the compositional process, the fourth movement plays a key role in the dramaturgy of the symphony. After the riotous Scherzo, this movement calmly opens, not with the orchestra, but with a human voice. The movement is composed for solo alto voice and orchestra and acts as a bridge between the Scherzo and Finale movements.  Similarly to the Scherzo, the fourth movement also uses Des Knaben Wunderhorn for literary inspiration. The short poem, entitled Urlicht (‘Primeval Light’), answers questions raised in pr ..read more
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Gustav Mahler ‘Symphony No.2’: Movement III
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.2 (Movement III)   Movement III Also composed in the summer of 1893, the third movement was originally labelled as the second movement, as it bears many similarities to Todtenfeier. This movement is the first of the symphony to take musical and literary inspiration from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn collection. For the Scherzo, Mahler uses the song ‘Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt’ from ‘The Humoresken’ collection of songs. Similarly to the funeral march based on the nursery rhyme Bruder Martin, the satire Mahler instils in this movement is of a similar sty ..read more
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Gustav Mahler ‘Symphony No.2’: Movement II
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.2 (Movement II) Movement II Once Mahler had completed the Second Symphony, he became troubled as to where the Andante movement should be placed. Completed in the summer of 1893, the Andante was originally labelled as the third movement as Mahler initially felt that “the power of the opening movement and the gentleness of the Andante was too extreme.” Out of all three inner movements, the Andante was moved around the most, going from third to fourth, before finally settling in second.  Vastly different in character from the First Movement, the second is light in ..read more
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César Franck ‘Piano Quintet in F minor’: Emotional Five
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
César Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor Context César Franck’s highly emotional Piano Quintet sits strongly beside the French composer’s most popular works. Premiered in 1880 by the Marsick Quartet and Camille Saint-Saëns at the piano, the quintet was dedicated to Saint-Saëns. Although now regarded as one of Franck’s best musical achievements, scandal broke out at the premiere when Saint-Saëns finished performing and walked out straight away, leaving the music open and the piano lid. This was a sign that marked disdain towards the music. Franck kept the work dedicated to Saint-Saëns even after ..read more
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Judith Weir ‘Piano Concerto’: Halfway House
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Judith Weir: Piano Concerto Context Judith Weir was born in 1954 in Cambridge, and at a young age she began learning the oboe. Weir in her youth performed regularly with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. She studied composition whilst at school with none other than John Tavener. From here she then earned her place at Cambridge University, where she continued her composition studies. After she graduated she became heavily involved in music education in both the south of England and then Scotland. During this period she still composed, and it was mainly operas that allowed her to ma ..read more
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Jean Sibelius ‘Andante Festivo’: A Farewell to Music
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Jean Sibelius: Andante Festivo Context Originally scored for string quartet in 1922, Sibelius’ poignant work Andante Festivo is also known for its re-orchestration for string orchestra and timpani. For the purposes of references in this blog, I will be referring to the original string quartet version. Although now fondly remembered and respected for his orchestral music, Sibelius also composed many works for chamber groups, especially in his youth. The ideals and artistry of chamber music was often frowned upon by his tutor Martin Wegelius, and so Sibelius ended up keeping a lot of this music ..read more
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Tor Aulin ‘Violin Concerto No.3’: Swedish Maestro
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Tor Aulin: Violin Concerto No.3 Context Although his output as a composer is small, Tor Aulin (1866-1914) wrote three fantastic violin concertos. After working as a conductor and professional violinist, Aulin composed his Third Violin Concerto in 1896. By this point in his life, Aulin had become physically ill and found it difficult to perform for long periods of time, which is perhaps why he composed his three violin concertos in just seven years.    The Music Cast into three movements, Aulin’s Third Violin Concerto offers a flavour of Sweden like never heard before from the compose ..read more
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Eric Fogg ‘Merok’: Nordic Inspiration
Classicalexburns
by Alex Burns
1y ago
Eric Fogg: Merok Context Although much of his music has been lost since his untimely death in 1939, Eric Fogg’s tone poem Merok has been the recipient of recent orchestral recordings. Composed in 1929, Merok is based on a Norwegian folk song that refers to a village in Norway at the head of the Geiranger Fjord. The atmosphere created by Fogg in Merok gives the listener an insight into his style and his influences at the time.    The Music Opening with the main folk theme, Fogg creates a cascade of wind instruments playing the theme. A duet between the flute and oboe plays out, which ..read more
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