Posts tagged ‘early music’

April 16, 2014

music for Holy Wednesday – Jan Dismas Zelenka: Lamentatio I pro Hebdomana sancta, ZWV 53

by ada

According to my own tradition I’m supposed to post something French today. Two years ago I wrote about the most beautiful Tenebrae music of all times, Troisième Leçon de Ténèbres pour deux voix composed by the 18th century royal harpsichord teacher François Couperin. Last year it was Leçon de Mercredi by another royal harpsichord teacher, Michel Delalande. I can’t make up my heart to leave my eternal love and longterm imaginary boyfriend, Jan Dismas Zelenka completely out of this year’s series though, so for Holy Wednesday let’s listen to one of his beautiful lamentations, Lamentatio I pro Habdomana sancta, based upon Prophet Jeremiah’s laments. While it’s definitely not French music, it fits the Tenebrae-tradition perfectly. 

April 16, 2014

music for Holy Tuesday – Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel: Brockes-Passion

by ada

I again feel overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful music composed for this special time of the year – I wish I could listen to the Bach-Passions all the time and call it done without missing out on everything that led to them: the smaller composers and their small steps on the way to Bach’s perfection. Fortunately I have a thing for small composers and their imperfect music that makes me happy without making me hate myself (which is the case if I listen to too much Bach at a time, haha). So for Holy Tuesday let’s have a so-called “small composer”, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, Bach’s contemporary who, before ending up as a Kapellmeister at the court of Gotha, travelled through Europe serving in cities like Rome, Prague and Wrocław, made friends with names like Vivaldi, Fasch and Bononcini and gained a reputation in the eyes of his peers as high as Johann Sebastian Bach himself. He even made it into Johann Mattheson‘s Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte*, a collection of contemporary musicians’ biographies. One of his compositions (Bist du bei mir) is included in the collection of small exercise pieces Bach edited together for his son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and that was later passed on to his second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach. Unfortunately only a small amount of Stölzel’s work survived his successor Jiří Antonín Benda‘s  ruthless selection process, who considered the majority of them simply as “useless junk”. 

After Barthold Heinrich Brockes published his libretto Der für die Sünde der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus in 1712, it became quickly a thing of fashion to set it to music. People like Händel, Telemann, Fasch and even Bach (in his Johannespassion) all made their versions of it and so did Stölzel in 1725. His Brockes-Passion has a stunning first and an airy, sweet last movement and some (quite uninteresting but very German Baroque) filling in between. Since it is one of all the twelve of his surviving works, it is really worth listening to.

* Well, he actually submitted himself, because he had a sense of business. But hey, that’s how the world of music works, even today. All you need is the ability to promote yourself in a shameless way and make as much superficial friendships as possible for future use. Being talented and/or a good musician is only an added plus, not the least mandatory.  

PS: in 2012 I posted something Early Italian: the Stabat Mater of Giovanni Felice Sances. In 2013 it was another version of the Brockes-Passion, that of Georg Philipp Telemann

April 14, 2014

music for Holy Monday – aria “Sventurati miei sospiri” from Giovanni Battista Ferrandini’s cantata “Il pianto di Maria”

by ada

The genre of “The Virgin’s Lament”, the passion story told from the perspective of Mary, originates from around the 5th century and has its roots in the Byzantine rite built on that particular teaching of the Council of Ephesus in 431 which declares Mary not only as the mother of Christ but also as the mother of God. It appears in various literary forms and musical settings throughout the centuries, but its purpose is always the same: to express the suffering of a mother who has to watch his son being unjustly killed. 

The aria Sventurati miei sospiri is part of the cantata Il pianto di Maria (Cantata sacra da cantarsi dinanzi al Santo Sepolcro) which, for a very long time was attributed to Georg Friedrich Händel but was actually composed by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini, an 18th century Italian composer. I really would love to share the intimate details of his life here but unfortunately the only sensational thing ever happened to him was having the 15-year-old Mozart play at his house while on one of his Wunderkind-tours in 1771.

Last year’s music for Holy Monday was the choir movement He smote all the first-born of Egypt from Georg Friedrich Händel‘s oratorio Israel in Egypt.

February 18, 2014

music of the week – Francesco Rasi: Ahi, fuggitivo ben

by ada

I have mentioned Francesco Rasi before: he was that wild, adventurous, and quite impetuous singer, who took the script of Claudio Monteverdi‘s opera L’Orfeo with him to Salzburg, where he, with the help of Archbishop Markus Sittikus, produced and sung the leading role of the first opera performance in the German world ever and became thereby responsible for that exaggerated Teuton love of operas, which, some 250 years later, resulted in Wagner‘s Götterdämmerung. I try really hard not to blame him for it.

Rasi was also on quite bad terms with his stepmother, and after murdering her servant who was in charge for her estate, he tried to kill her too. He didn’t succeed though and had to flee. He was condemned to death by the court of Arezzo so he took refuge at first in Prague and then in Salzburg. Apart of his murderous nature, Rasi was a very talented, virtuoso and well-known singer of his time, who was a student of Giulio Caccini and whom “not only Italy but even all Europe venerated.” * ** He also played various instruments and composed a few volumes of music, mostly short songs in the early seventeenth century style of pure monody. One of these songs is Ahi, fuggitivo ben from his 1608 collection Vaghezze di Musica per una voce sola, where he, from a perspective of the abandoned lover, complains about the misery of being a fugitive. The moral of the story? Don’t try to murder your relatives (or anybody, actually) if you want to lead a relaxed life and plan to retire at your birthplace.

* letter from Don Gregorio Rasi to his nephew Giulio Francesco Rasi around 1650

** He was also deeply impressed by the weapons of the Hungarian artillery which he encountered during his 1601 travels. Am I the only one to find this small detail of his life quite charming? Oh, those times when music was still real as life! Why, why do I have to live in this boring age of global warming, genetically modified food and tumblr aesthetics?

February 1, 2014

music of the week – Anton Cajetan Adlgasser: Sinfonia in E flat Major CatAd 15:10

by ada

Anton Cajetan Adlgasser, organist of the Salzburg Cathedral between 1750-1777 and composer of countless Schuldramas for the University of Salzburg, that are all forgotten by now, is remembered mostly for being the father of Maria Victoria Adlgasser, Nannerl Mozart‘s bff, and for writing the third, now missing part of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s first oratorio, Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots (the second part was composed by Michael Haydn) (fyi, Mozart was only eleven years old at the time when he finished it. What does your eleven years old child do with their life?) (Okay, I’m obviously kidding now. Mozart couldn’t write a sentence in proper German at the age of thirty. He clearly had his weak points too).

Adlgasser became a victim of Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach‘s generous policy of providing his staff with free wine, and suffered a deadly stroke  at the age of 48 while playing the organ. Being a musician is a dangerous profession. Remember Lully who died of blood poisoning after penetrating his own foot with his baton while conducting a march?

January 19, 2014

music of the week – Anton Diabelli: Grande Sonate Brillante Op. 102

by ada

Okay, so the times are tough and I’m pretty much stressed out, I guess this is the right moment for some Early Romantic salon music which I usually have no heart for, but let’s go the easy way today. A duo for guitar and fortepiano by Anton Diabelli, native of Mattsee, former student of Michael Haydn, virtuoso guitar player and famous music publisher. I guess I should mention Beethoven and his Diabelli variations here but I’m really not in the mood for all those heavy emotions Beethoven tries to push on his poor audience so let’s skip it and stick to Diabelli’s prettily empty tunes.

Living in Hungary really wears me out. I think I have culture dependent depression.

January 6, 2014

music of the week – Carl Heinrich Biber: Concerto a quattro per la chiesa

by ada

Altough I no longer live in Salzburg, I decided to carry on with the Salzburg Series, because I don’t like things unfinished. There are really not that many Baroque composers that have anything to do with Salzburg and have some surviving works, so it’s a real shame it took 18 months for me to cover only 8 of them. I’ll try to speed up and finish this project because I have already my next one in mind.

So for today I picked Carl Heinrich Biber, the sixth and most talented son of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern. There is not much to know about him except that he lived, worked and died in Salzburg and loved to compose for those excellent and virtuoso trombone players of the Salzburg court orchestra like Thomas Gschladt (although I know of no written evidence of them having been in contact, but hey, Salzburg is and were always the provinces a small town where everybody is the cousin of everybody, even in our most recent days, haha).

From all the four pieces of his work YouTube offers I chose Concerto a quattro per la chiesa for strings. It’s a disturbing piece of music which The Cat very much dislikes – I hope at least some of you appreciate Carl Heinrich’s courage of using dissonances so freely in a harmony worshiping era.

PS.: Okay, so it’s not allowed to embed this video, so go over there for it.

December 26, 2013

music for the 2. Day of Christmas – Grave and Vivace from Giuseppe Torelli’s “Concerto in forma di Pastorale per il Santissimio Natale”

by ada

My favourite interpretation* of Torelli‘s most famous Christmas Concerto, No. 6 from the twelve Concerti Grossi Op. 8, with the choreography of Jiří Kylián, performed by the Nederlands Dans Theater.

(The last 3 minutes of music is no Torelli anymore but the movement Lento from a contemporary composer, Lukas Foss‘ work, the Salomon Rossi Suite. Just because I couldn’t sleep if I’d let you think it still was.)

* Well, it’s not my favourite musical interpretation, because I’m very, very critical and picky if it comes to performing Baroque music (you don’t wanna know how many things can go wrong in a two minutes long minuet, haha); but this is definitely my favourite visual performance.

December 25, 2013

music for Christmas Day – Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Noëls pour les instruments, H. 351 & 354

by ada

French Christmas songs, in sweet, 17th century Théâtre-Français style.

December 22, 2013

music for the 4. Sunday of Advent – Georg Philip Telemann: Lauter Wonne, lauter Freude

by ada

Telemann wrote this cantata for the 4. Sunday of Advent in the liturgical year of 1725 and published it in his collection of church cantatas Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst. It’s a sweet little piece of music which I’ve played myself on numerous occasions. More info about Telemann here – sorry, I’m too sick with this new sort of coughing flu to use my brain for anything else than to drink coffee and pet The Cat.

December 15, 2013

music for the 3. Sunday of Advent – Edmund Pascha: Vianočná omša F-dur

by ada

During the last two days of pre-Christmas daze in Bratislava, I totally got in the mood for Slovakian Christmas carols. While I proudly claim to know a lot about the composers of the Czech Baroque and Classical era (Zelenka! Ryba! Brixi! And of course, the flute people like Wanhal and Benda), the only Slovakian composer I’ve ever heard of is Johann Nepomuk Hummel, who wasn’t even Slovakian. Fortunately, YouTube is an endless source of music if you’re vague enough with your search terms, so that’s how I found Edmund Pascha and his Christmas Mass in F Major. According to Wikipedia*, Pascha was a Franciscan monk and organist during the late Baroque period, who also run under the pseudonym Claudianus Ostern. His two manuscripts Harmonia pastoralis and Prosae pastorales compositae et conscriptae a Patre Claudiano Ostern Solnae, are included in the so-called Žilinský kancionál, a collection of liturgical texts and music, which was put together around 1770 but was discovered only two hundred years later, in 1967. The Vianočná omša F-dur (Christmas Mass in F major), was also arranged as a passion play by Pascha’s contemporary and fellow Franciscan monk, the Hungarian Zrunek György.

And the music – it’s Slovakian folk tunes orchestrated in pretentious Baroque manner. Pure fun, with shepherd’s flutes and all. Enjoy.

* I know, I know. Wikipedia is not a reliable source for scientific research. Shame on me. Fortunately none of my former, oh so very famous and dedicated Historically Informed Performance Practice teachers read this blog, haha**

** hopefully

December 8, 2013

music for the 2. Sunday of Advent – Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Magnificat à 3 voix sur la même basse avec symphonie H.73

by ada

In my opinion, there is no way to express some “typically Catholic” emotions more beautifully than French Baroque church music does.* I’ve already stated my undying love both for the French music of those few decades at the turn of 18th century and for the ostinato arias** in general, so let’s get the two genres mixed! Could music get ever better than that? (This is a rhetorical question.)

So for the 2. Sunday of Advent let’s have a real gem of all things French Baroque, one of the ten Magnificats composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier (you know, the guy who has written that oh so famous Te Deum everybody knows). It’s based on the four-bars ground of the descending tetrachord of a Passacaille, set in G minor which is, in Charpentier’s own words, a key that’s “Serieux et Magnifique“.***, ****, *****

* sorry people, I’m just simply no fan of either Gregorian music or Renaissance polyphony. Been there, done that and found something else that suits me better. No offense tough.

** everybody loves ostinato arias, even those who aren’t aware of it. Ostinato grounds are the roots of the pop (and sometimes rock and death black heavy metal) of any musical era. Even that of ours, right now.

*** Règles de Composition par Monsieur Charpentier, written around 1690

**** although in 1806 the characteristics of the G minor key are already described by Daniel Schubart as “bad-tempered gnashing of teeth”. Poor key seems to have lost a great deal of its magnificence throughout the years.

***** I’m getting crazy with all these stars and footnotes. Maybe I should stop using them at all.

December 1, 2013

music for the 1st Sunday of Advent – Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland”, BWV 62

by ada

The great success (ha! ha! two whole page views per day!) of the Holy Week Series inspired me to expand my musicology writer career to another part of the liturgical year: Advent and Christmas. You’re welcome.

Before the depression I had a thing for no-name German composers that didn’t really make it into the musical canon, like Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer or Cajetan Anton Adlgasser. Well, it’s over.* I’m all “all we need is Bach” nowadays. So for now, Johann Sebastian Bach it is, the cantata he’s composed for the first day of Advent in 1724; on the German translation of the ancient Ambrosian hymn Veni Redemptor Gentium.

* My interest in early music also seems to vanish very quickly. I hope, I will recover someday. Having spent 8 years of my life with something I can’t even enjoy anymore would be sort of tragic.

April 1, 2013

music for Easter Monday – Aria “Süß und rein muß der Christen Passah seyn” from the Easter Cantata “Weg mit Sodoms gift’gen Früchten”, TWV1:1534 by Georg Philipp Telemann

by ada

Telemann wrote a whole cycle of cantatas for the liturgical year and published them in a two-bands collection, under the title Der Harmonische Gottesdienst. I chose this aria from the cantata written for Easter Sunday in 1725 for my last post of the Easter series, because I think Telemann was a genius and I like how this short piece of music shows the purity of the new life after the feast of the Resurrection.

P.S.: I don’t really like the singer’s voice, but well, nothing is perfect on Earth. I’ve already learnt to accept the need of making compromises in life.

March 31, 2013

music for Easter Sunday – Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 by Johann Sebastian Bach

by ada

Today’s music is the first choir, Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret from the cantata of the same title, written by Johann Sebastian Bach for the Easter Sunday of the year 1715, during his Weimar years. I wish I could identify myself with its jubilant atmosphere but well, neither the Heaven laughs nor does the Earth exult, because it actually snows again and I’m already so sick of this winter, it really feels like giving up, lying down and dying. Not exactly that brassy resurrexit-feeling one would like to have on Easter Sunday.

P.S.: Last year’s post was something Hungarian: Surrexit Christus hodie by Esterházy Pál. You can listen to it  here.

March 30, 2013

music for Holy Saturday – Jan Dismas Zelenka: Miserere in с, ZWV 57

by ada

For Holy Saturday (or Great Saturday as we call it in Hungary) is a music that was never intended to be part of the Easter liturgy: the first movement of Jan Dismas Zelenka‘s Miserere, my favourite Miserere of all times. Zelenka is the man I’m seriously planning to marry ever since I’ve first heard his music (that tells a lot about how stormy my love life lately is) (well, at least it isn’t an imaginary affair, because he definitely did exist) (some three hundred years ago, ehem). He was also highly valued by Johann Sebastian Bach who even asked him for some professional advice on composing. And that means something, I dare say. So it’s not just some girly crush – Zelenka was really that cool.

P.S.: Last year’s post about the cantatas Boi Beshalom and Kol HaNeshama by Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti.

March 29, 2013

music for Good Friday – Aria “Es ist vollbracht” from Passio Secundum Johannem, BWV 245 by Johann Sebastian Bach

by ada

Today’s music ist the aria Es ist vollbracht from the St. John’s Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach. It doesn’t need any comments.

P.S.: Find last year’s Good Friday post, Maria (sopra la Carpinese) here.

March 28, 2013

music for Maundy Thursday – Francesco Antonio Rosetti: Jesus in Gethsemane

by ada

Today’s music is the oratorio Jesus in Gethsemane by Francesco Antonio Rosetti, also called Franz Anton Rösler, a Classical era composer of Bohemian origin who was found worth of mentioning beside names as Mozart and Haydn by Charles Burney, the famous English travelling music historian of the late 18th century. Rosetti’s life bears a slight resemblance with that of Mozart: they both were successful (yes, Mozart was successful during his lifetime, everything else you hear is nothing but urban legend), didn’t have the less feeling for money and died young.

I intended to post his other oratorio, Der sterbende Jesus, which was a big hit in Rosetti’s days, but, well, it seems that YouTube is not the place where one goes for historical performance practice research. I should better look for videos with titles like “Adorable 6 Year Old playing Jingle Bells on the recorder while belly dancing in a living room in Oklahoma city” if I need some sense of achievement.

P.S.: You can listen to last year’s Maundy Thursday post, Agonia di Cristo (Le Ultime Sette Parole) from Niccolò Jommelli, here.

P.S.2.: Just a reminder: whether Jommelli’s nor Rosetti’s music fits my own category of high Baroque. Maundy Thursday makes me crave Classical harmonies.

March 27, 2013

music for Holy Wednesday – Michel-Richard Delalande: IIIe Leçon du Mercredi Saint, S. 118

by ada

Last year I posted the world’s most beautiful Tenebrae musicTroisième Leçon de Ténèbres pour deux voix from the harpsichord teacher and court composer of Louis XIV, François Couperin. It’s a piece that’s really difficult to outbid. Fortunately French Baroque church music is overloaded with great compositions (so much that it makes me feel overwhelmed and troubled, actually). Originally I wanted to write about Michel Lambert, the composer of countless airs de cour, who wrote the first Leçons de ténèbres ever, as soon as 1662, but unfortunately YouTube is totally ignorant of the unique importance of his work so I just randomly picked one from another royal harpsichord teacher, Michel-Richard Delalande, who is famous for winning a composers’ competition that’s judge was XIV Louis, only and alone. Let’s speak about the role of totalitarian regimes in the evolution of music, haha.

March 26, 2013

music for Holy Tuesday – Georg Philipp Telemann: Brockes Passion TWV 5:1

by ada

I have to admit, to pick out only one piece a day from all the beauty that was composed for the Holy Week  is very difficult indeed, even if I restrict myself to those approximately 60 years we call “high Baroque”. I was never good at making decisions and it rapidly got worse with the depression – it’s a pain every time, actually. Mostly I just let things pass and I go with what remains, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. So after a day of hesitation I gave in and chose another famous composer. This time it’s Georg Philipp Telemann, a musician whom I really admire. I wrote about him earlier, so I don’t do it now – writing about music makes me nervous right now, and it’s nothing I was really prepared for. Hope this mood will pass till tomorrow, because Holy Wednesday is French Lamentation Day, and I would  regret if I missed it because of some stupid depression issues.

So for today is an excerpt from Telemann’s Brockes Passion, named after the librettist Barthold Heinrich Brockes. It’s the virtuoso recorder part that made me post it.

P.S.: You can find last year’s music for Holy Tuesday, Stabat Mater from Giovanni Felice Sances, here.

March 25, 2013

music for Holy Monday/Seder Evening – “He smote all the first-born of Egypt” from Georg Friedrich Händel’s Oratorio “Israel in Egypt” HWV 54

by ada

I seem to stick to Big Names this year, for today’s music is written by nobody else than Georg Friedrich Händel, who is considered to be the most important person if it comes to English Baroque music – even if he was actually a German. Well, that’s how things worked in the 18th century – the most important person in the history of French Baroque music; the man who called the famous French style that ruled the music scene of the 18th century, to life; the man who got the idea of synchronizing the bow movements of the violins in the orchestra first; the man who was smart enough to secure the publishing rights in whole France for himself alone, the man who is known as Jean-Baptiste Lully was, in fact, an Italian. So, if it comes to style, nationality plays never that big role we like to imagine.

Händel spent most of his musically active years in England. His music is as English, as it can be – biblical stories set in pompous orchestral style with heavy choir settings and lots of brass and drums. This oratorio, Israel in Egypt, tells the Passover story – and this aria (well, it’s actually no aria, it’s a choir movement) is about the last of the ten plagues. Enjoy the nice Quintfallsequenz starting at 1:35 :o)

March 24, 2013

music for Palm Sunday – Johann Sebastian Bach: Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (Cantata BWV 182)

by ada

During the Holy Week I will do a music post every day just like I did last year; let’s call it tradition. I will stay strictly Baroque, because that’s where I feel comfortable even if I didn’t touch my instruments since the outbreak of my depression, and that means already one and a half years without playing. I sometimes wonder if I ever will get back to my real life of libraries and awesome music. It seems so far away now.

For Palm Sunday let’s have the king of everything Baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote this Cantata almost exactly 300 years ago and it is still more beautiful than most of the music others managed to create during those past 300 years.

February 19, 2013

music of the week – Berchtesgadner Musik from Edmund Angerer

by ada

I should seriously consider renaming this series from “music of the week” to “music once in a while”, haha. Well, that’s life, I guess. But since I’m planning to leave in a few months and still have a lot to say about early music in Salzburg, I need to hurry up with it a little.

This time I chose a very well-known piece – a bit too well-known, I would say. I’m sure you all already have heard about the Toy Symphony written by Joseph Haydn? Or at least, the Toy Symphony written by Leopold Mozart? Well, forget everything you’ve heard about it. Because Toy Symphony, as a phenomenon, simply just doesn’t exist. This music is called Cassatio ex G or Berchtolds-Gaden Musick (in modern German Berchtesgadner Musik), and was composed by the Benedictine monk Edmund (originally Johann Nepomuk) Angerer. He, during his lifetime, was a renowned organ player and the composer of numerous pieces of both religious and secular music, of which, unfortunately only a few survived the fire that ruined the monastery of Fiecht in the year 1868.

Angerer fell quickly into oblivion after his death but his music became enormously popular already during the 18th century. It got its “nickname”, Kindersinfonie (Toy Symphony) due to the (in the province Berchtesgaden commonly produced and used) toy instruments it was composed for.

I prefer this video to other (better) ones because I like the way the performing musicians are enjoying themselves (if only in a very Eastern European way) (well, at least I feel at home while listening to it, haha), even if the guy with the recorder headpiece has clearly never been told that it is in fact possible to keep a recorder in tune. Even if you have only the headpiece of it to work with.

November 20, 2012

Prague – The Czech Museum of Music (České muzeum hudby)

by ada

Untitled 1

October 4, 2012

music of the week – Dies irae from Missa pro Defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismondo, MH 155 of Michael Haydn

by ada

After a big, big break caused by computer troubles and serious time deficit due to my horrible work schedule, I’m back with my Salzburg Early Music Composers Series. This time it’s all about Michael Haydn, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn, who, according to his contemporaries, was an even more talented boy soprano than Joseph and who loved Salzburg enough to turn down Prince Esterházy’s offer about a job as vice-Kapellmeister at the Eisenstadt court.

This Requiem is the perfect funeral music, so that its function was recognised even by my musically totally untalented mother.* Michael Haydn wrote it for the death of his employer, Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach, but it has also a more personal note: his only child, Aloisia Josefa died at the same year, short before her first birthday. Wether Haydn, nor his wife, Magdalena Lipp, a famous soprano of the time, have recovered again from the sorrow. Actually, poor Magdalena went quite mad, wearing strange robes and beating herself in public as self-punishment, and Haydn started drinking.

It’s a well-known fact that this Requiem was a source of inspiration for Mozart when writing his own, famous one. He, at the age of fifteen, played the third violin at the funeral of Schrattenbach. The Mozart family was on good terms with Haydn and both Leopold and Wolfgang respected his talent and works, despite of the fact that, in his letters to his son, Leopold (“Daddy”) Mozart heavily criticised Haydn’s love of good wines.

I chose the video from pure patriotism. We could argue about nationality and could remember all the numerous injustice the Habsburg dynasty did to us, Hungarians in the past, but nothing will annul the almost 500 years in which we shared history. Even if the present life and politics of Austria is completely different than that of Hungary, their past remains also our past forever and their culture became ours (well, actually was forced on us, if we want to be precise). That’s why my patriotic soul was hurt so deeply when I came to know that, from the whole European nobility, only the Habsburg people weren’t invited to the Royal Wedding a year ago. Such a shame. Well, William and Kate, you can be famous,  rich and pretty but you have no manners. That’s quite clear.

* I know that criticising your parents isn’t that polite, but well, truth is truth, and it was not my mother I inherited my musical talent from. I guess it has something to do with the mathematician genes of my father. Or it’s just simply the blood of my Ukrainian great-grandfather, who was reported to sing (and, ehm, also to drink) on every day of his life.

June 16, 2012

music of the week – Monteverdi: Sì dolce è ‘l tormento

by ada

This song is on the Top Ten Forever-list of mine, and I am able to force it even into my Salzburg Early Music Composers series, despite of the fact that all Monteverdi has to do with Salzburg is that his opera L’Orfeo was performed here several times between 1614 and 1619, thank to Francesco Rasi, a famous tenor singer of the time, who sung its leading role at the first performance in 1607 in Mantua, and who brought the scores with him, when he fled to Salzburg in 1612 (after trying to murder his stepmother, ahem, those were the days, my friend, those were the days).

June 6, 2012

music of the week – Johann Joseph Vilsmayr: Partita V. from Artificiosus Concentus pro Camera à Violino Solo Con Basso bellè imitate

by ada

I admit I don’t know more about Johann Joseph Vilsmayr than Google does and that’s not much; but I have a heart for no-name Baroque composers with only one or two surviving works (or, better, only some fragments); and his music is hilarious.

And, well, he is also from Salzburg.

May 14, 2012

music of the week (month, haha) – Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: Sonata representativa for violino solo

by ada

Well, it was quite a time since my last music post, but blogging becomes somewhat difficult in the lack of own internet connection.

I was really tempted to put some Mozart here but it would be only too obvious. Luckily the Salzburger Hof always served as a center of music, so there are plenty of composers to choose from. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern was a very famous composer and violin virtuoso of his time, and got quite unjustly forgotten. Now he is only known in early music and musicology circles. If I mention Mozart, the average people go Oooohh!!!; if I mention Biber, the usual reaction is only some Heh? (if not something like Oh, Justin is sooo cuuute! which makes me want to kill everybody around me).

Again I was tempted to show one of the Mysterien– or Rosenkranz-Sonaten (Rosary Sonatas), as The Work of Biber, but he composed so many other music that are worth for listening, that it was really easy to resist this temptation. I chose the Sonata representativa (Representatio Avium) instead, which is a funny piece that mimics animal sounds. All the animals and their musical manifestations are taken from Athanasius Kircher’s famous music treatise, Musurgia universalis, published in 1650. If you are interested in such obscure musical ideas of the 17th century as how to play piano with cats’ tails or how to compose music with logarithms (well, Kircher could easily be considered as the first composer of computer music, haha), or just want to know why do parrots say hello in ancient Hebrew, I really recommend you to read this book. It’s written in Latin but, being the bestseller of the era, was (partly) translated to German as soon as in 1662. Kircher himself gained an enormous popularity through writing this compendium, he received emotionally loaded fan letters from enthusiastic nuns from all over the world. I don’t know if Biber ever met him but it’s clear that he read and appreciated his book.

April 21, 2012

music of the week – Jean-Baptiste Barrière: Trio Sonata for alto recorder, cello and basso continuo in D minor, Livre II No. 2

by ada

This piece is sort of extraordinary because of the use of the cello as an obbligato instrument. In Baroque chamber music written originally for recorder, violoncello or viola da gamba are mostly used for playing the continuo line, and rarely have an own obbligato part. There are of course some exceptions, like the Telemann double concerto for recorder and gamba (its autograph you can find on my gravatar profile) and the F-major  trio sonata from Essercizii musici, also from Telemann, but I personally don’t know any other examples (at least from the high Baroque period).

April 14, 2012

music of the week – Telemann: Modéré from Quatuor Parisien N°12

by ada

I definitely enjoyed posting and writing about music during the Holy Week (even if no one else liked to read it, haha), so I decided to do it on a regular basis. Maybe it helps me get back to my real life and become again the person I was before the depression.

The music of this week is the sixth movement of the sixth quartet of Georg Philipp Telemann‘s collection Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites, published in 1738 in Paris (well, that’s why it’s usually called Paris Quartet). Telemann was an amazing composer and a very interesting character, if you have the opportunity to read his three autobiographies, don’t miss it. He studied music in a completely autodidact way and mastered all the important instruments of the era. This made his compositional style quite extraordinary: he completely understood the requirements, advantages and boundaries of every instrument he wrote for, so his compositions are just perfectly set. And that’s something you can’t tell even of Bach himself.

This is one of my favourite videos of this piece ever. It has an air of spring and happiness I never get bored with.

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