Archive for October, 2005

Dvořák, String Quintet in G major, Op. 77

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Antonín Dvořák, 1841-1904

String Quintet in G major, Op. 77, c. 1875

Antonín DvořákDvořák wrote a vast amount of chamber music: 14 string quartets, 2 piano quintets, 3 string quintets, 4 piano trios, 2 piano quartets, a string sextet, a string trio and numerous incidental pieces. The majority is well featured in the modern performance repertoire for good reason: Dvořák’s remarkable consistency of quality and style, the hallmarks of which are endless melody, clear form, master craftsmanship, rhythmic vitality and a poignant expressiveness. Always Dvořák, Dvořák is always fresh. Like other composers for whom chamber music came naturally, Dvořák played the viola putting him right in the very middle of the chamber ensemble texture. (more…)

Villa-Lobos, Assobio a Játo (The Jet Whistle)

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Heitor Villa-Lobos, 1887-1959

Assobio a Játo (The Jet Whistle) for flute and cello, 1950

Heitor Villa-Lobos studied music through a diversity of sources: café music in Rio de Janeiro, folk music throughout Brazil, an impressionable exposure to Debussy, Ravel and Bach, followed by a lengthy stay in Paris in the 1920’s, where he encountered the likes of Poulenc, Milhaud and Stavinsky. He returned to his native Brazil where he introduced the European repertoire and wrote volumes of strikingly original music in myriad and novel forms. Villa-Lobos became a national treasure, an international celebrity and the most highly esteemed Brazilian composer to date. His chamber output is daunting, including seventeen string quartets written over a period of forty-two years. It is fair to say that Villa-Lobos is terribly under-represented by current chamber music programming. (more…)

Rossini, Duetto per violincello e contrabasso

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Giacchino Rossini, 1792-1868

Duetto per violincello e contrabasso, 1824

Giacchino RossiniBy his mid-thirties, Giacchino Rossini was an internationally famous opera composer commanding enormous sums for musical services. By the age of 37, he essentially retired from composing though he continued to lead a lavish and notorious life to well into his seventies. Known primarily for his operas with their tear-off symphonic overtures, Rossini nonetheless penned a small cache of chamber works, notably his precocious string sonatas (at the age of thirteen), and various commissioned works sprinkled throughout his life. (more…)

Mozart, Flute Quartet in D Major, K. 287

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791

Quartet for Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello in D major, K. 285

Mozart’s genius as chamber composer rests on his mature masterworks for string quartet and quintet, but his total oeuvre comprises a rich diversity of ensembles. Several compositions feature strings and a guest from the wind family: the flute, clarinet, oboe or horn. Primarily dating from an early period before the first “Haydn Quartets”, the chamber music for winds offers perfect and colorful delicacies with exquisite chamber textures and superbly idiomatic part-writing sensitive to the innate characteristics of each featured guest. While the unemployed Mozart traveled around Europe with his mother seeking opportunity (more…)