summary of classical music on this blog

 

 

The music I have posted here is from old LP’s of mine. There is some rare and wonderful music (among my all time favorites).

 

BARTÓK

Folk music for voice and piano: eight Hungarian folksongs (The music is simply stunning and the performance by a Hungarian singer and pianist superb. You never heard anything quite like it.)

 

BEETHOVEN

Late Quartets (I have never liked another performance as much.)

Mass in C major (A friend gave me this LP as a gift. I like this mass as much if not more than the “Missa Solemnis.”)

Moonlight, Appassionata and Pathétique sonatas (played beautifully on this LP with great restraint)

 

ALBAN BERG

“Lyric Suite” by Berg and some other pieces by Anton Webern

 

BERLIOZ

l’Enfance du Christ” (Oratorio; I love the piece and this performance. There is a wonderful soprano on this recording.)

 

FRANCESCO BISCOGLI

Concerto for trumpet, oboe, bassoon with two violins and basso continuo in D major (attributed to Biscogli)

 

CAMPION, DOWLAND, AND MORLEY (Elizabethan composers; this was an LP that was part of scholarly musical research and reconstruction. It consists of music for lute and voice by Thomas Campion, John Dowland, and Thomas Morley, composers of Shakespeare’s time. Beautiful, plaintive music.)

 

DVOŘÁK

Quartet #6 (“American”)

 

IRVING FINE (my father’s music professor)

Symphony (1962; an arresting piece. A premier performance of this work at Tanglewood, given less than two weeks before Fine’s death in his forties from a heart attack. Fine conducted the premiere.)

 

GEORGIAN CHANT (on four LP’s)

HANDEL

“Acis and Galatea”

“Alexander’s Feast” (a Handel work based on a poem of Dryden)

“L’Allegro ed il Penseroso” (A splendid performance of Handel’s enchanting setting of Milton’s poem. Does not include “il Moderato.”)

“Birthday Anthem for Queen Anne”

“Hercules”

“Israel in Egypt”

“Judas Maccabeus”

“Ode to the Foundling Hospital” (heart rending)

“Orlando”

“Samson” (a splendid work, right up there with “Messiah”)

“Semele”

“Serse”

“Sosarme” (awesome)

 

HAYDN

Symphony #6 (the charming “Surmise” symphony, on a rare old mono LP)

“Mass in Time of War”

“Schöpfungmesse” (Creation Mass)

“Teresienmesse”

(The late Hayden masses are nonpareil works.)

 

ALAN HOVHANESS

liturgical music on a single LP (Ave Maria, Easter Ode, etc.; haunting)

 

CHARLES IVES

Music for chorus. (“The Circus Band” alone is worth it, and there is some other good stuff — a Salvation Army hymn, “Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb?” for instance.)

 

GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT

La Messe de Nosrte Dame (It was a revelation to me on first hearing; work very old yet seemingly somewhat “modern.”)

 

MOZART

“Mass in F Major, k. 192 (a “sleeper”; an old recording of lesser known, charming mass)

“Complete Masonic Music.” (The music was a very pleasant surprise to me. Includes the splendid short piece “Ave Verum Corpus.”)

 

CARL NIELSEN

songs (I don’t understand why Nielsen is not better known. His output of songs was prolific and outstanding. There are twelve songs on this rare LP.)

“Springtime in Funen” (You’ve never heard a piece quite like “Springtime in Funen,” which is sort of a vocal piece for chorus and soloists celebrating life on a Danish island where the composer grew up.)

 

HENRY PURCELL

“The Fairy-Queen” (a splendid 1950’s recording of this masque/semi-opera)

“King Arthur” (a rare recording this semi-opera)

harpsichord suites (They are impressive and compelling.)

 

RENAISSANCE MUSIC

An LP of sacred music by Orlando di Lasso, Josquin des Prez, and Heinrich Isaac.

 

SCHUBERT

String quintet in C minor, op. 163

Mass #6 in E flat (a performance done with great restraint, which this beautiful setting of the mass leads itself to)

 

HEINRICH SCHUTZ

“Weihnachhistorie” (Christmas Story; I love the piece and the performance.)

 

SHOSTAKOVICH

symphony no. 11 (a rare early recording of a Shostakovich symphony that, while not neglected, deserves to be better known)

“Song of the Forests” (an arresting oratorio)

 

SIBELIUS

“Kullervo” (A wonderful symphonic suite with chorus based on the Finnish national epic. The last track includes some wonderful incidental music that was not composed as part of “Kullervo.”)

 

TCHAIKOVSKY

A capella settings for chorus by Tchaikovsky of poems (I find the music haunting; there is something incredibly pure and beautiful about the singing. Includes settings of poems by poets such as Lermontov and Pushkin.)

 

VIVALDI

“Juditha Triumphans” (I love this oratorio and this performance. I believe it is the only Vivaldi oratorio extant.)

“Stabat Mater”

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

     July 2016

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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