Day 210: Music For Wind Ensemble I

BeethovenCD15Beethoven’s wind ensembles are fun, partly because I love the sound of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns playing together.

Octet in E Flat Op 103 is clever and lively. According to its entry on Wikipedia,

…it was written in 1792/1793, during Beethoven’s early period. Beethoven reworked and expanded the Octet in 1795 as his first String Quintet, Op. 4.

That means Beethoven was 22 or 23 when he composed this octet.

Rondino in E Flat Wo025 is more subdued, a pretty but somber composition. It was composed in 1793. Beethoven was 23.

Beethoven Sextet in E Flat Op 71 was composed in 1796. Beethoven was 26. I’ve heard this music before, probably on the local Classical music radio station. It’s pretty and clever and soothing and intriguing – especially Movement III (“Menuetto: Quasi allegretto”). The interplay between all of my favorite orchestral instruments is grand.

According to the IMSLP web site, Beethoven Three Duos Wo027 (No 1 in C, No 2 in F, No 3 in B flat), is

…of disputed authorship. Accepted as authentic in Kinsky, 1955, but but listed as ‘probably spurious’ in Kerman, 1983.

I must say this doesn’t sound like anything I’ve yet heard from Beethoven. It sounds bouncier, less textured.

What what do I know? I’m no musicologist.

All of the music on today’s CD was performed by Ottetto Italiano, which probably means Italian octet.

Just a hunch.

Day 108: Flute Not Included


Haydn CD 108 features another fantastic collection of Piano Trios…

…despite the fact that the flute is no longer one of the trio. (See yesterday’s post to know what that means.)

These compositions are lively, intricate, clever, nuanced, and brilliantly performed by the Van Swieten Trio, which consists of:

Bart van Oort fortepiano
Remy Baudet violin
Jaap ter Linden cello

Here’s a list of Haydn’s piano trios. The are referred to by their Hoboken catalog names, and their date of composition is not always certain. So I’ll Continue reading

Day 88: We Have a Winner!

HaydnCD88I know if I like something from the first two minutes.

And I like this.

Haydn String Quartet Op. 71 No. 1 in B Flat is terrific from the get-go. I don’t know why.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Same holds true for any kind of music. There’s not really an objectively good piece of music. Whether or not someone likes it depends on the person’s unique tastes, preferences. (Although I’m sure a few of Mozart’s compositions would be considered splendid by most people.)

Many of the things I’ve listened to in the last 88 days that I didn’t particularly care for, I’m sure were much loved by others.

Today’s first composition (Op. 71 No. 1) is just one of those things that I happen to like. Movement I (“Allegro”) is truly a lively, fascinating allegro. It’s the perfect way to begin Op. 71 No. 1.

Movement II (“Adagio”) slows things down a bit. But it’s still intricate and interesting enough to hold my attention.

Movement III (“Menuet: Allegretto”), oddly enough, isn’t a typical Haydn Menuet. It’s slower and less rondo-like than others I’ve heard. But it picks up around the 1:55 mark. That’s when the violins start their playful dance, weaving in and around the cello and viola. The latter part of this movement is better than the former.

Movement IV (“Finale: Vivace”) is as lively and wonderful as any finale could want to be. This is one of my Favorite Haydn String Quartets.

Now would be a good time to say that Continue reading

Day 31: Something Wicked

HaydnCD31There’s nothing wicked about this morning’s Haydn selection. It’s somewhat bland. But it’s hardly evil.

No. My title refers to a book, one of my very favorite books. Every year, around this time, I read Ray Bradbury’s superlative Something Wicked This Way Comes.

If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to do so. It’s truly scary. And written with such precision and verve that each word crackles with life. Some of Bradbury’s sentences are so well written that I often re-read them, in awe, savoring every syllable, before moving on to the next one.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.13.23 AMOh? You don’t believe me? Try this, the opening paragraphs, on for size:

THE SELLER of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm. He came along the street of Green Town, Illinois, in the late cloudy October day, sneaking glances over his shoulder. Somewhere not so far back, vast lightnings stomped the earth. Somewhere, a storm like a great beast with terrible teeth could not be denied.

So the salesman jangled and clanged his huge leather kit in which oversized puzzles of ironmongery lay unseen but which his tongue conjured from door to door until he came at last to a lawn which was cut all wrong.

Bradbury, Ray (2013-04-23). Something Wicked This Way Comes (Greentown) (Kindle Locations 101-105). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Not good enough? Hmm. Tough crowd. Okay. How about Continue reading