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RoundTheBend
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis



Location: Ground Control
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#391 | Posted: 08/13/2019 04:08 | Post subject: Reply with quote

Haydn: The Paris Symphonies Nos. 82-87 ...the-Fields

Era: Classical
Year: 1786 (basically for all)
Form: Symphony
Score: 86

So... I wish I loved Haydn more. These symphonies are pleasant and do have some unique character, but I did not find any of them as top shelf/best works. Hard to say if I liked these better than the Esa-Pekka Salonen recordings.

Wikipedia never lies:
Quote:
The Paris symphonies are a group of six symphonies written by Joseph Haydn commissioned by the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, music director of the orchestra the Concert de la Loge Olympique, on behalf of its sponsor, Count D'Ogny, Grandmaster of the Masonic Loge Olympique. Beginning on January 11, 1786 the symphonies were performed by the Olympique in the Salle des Gardes du Corps of the Tuileries, conducted by Saint-Georges.


Also of interest:
Quote:
Today the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is best remembered as the first classical composer of African ancestry; he composed numerous string quartets and other instrumental music, and opera.


Symphony No. 82 in C major ("The Bear"), H. 1/82
Quote:
In 1784, the Board of Directors of the Concerts de la Loge Olympique in Paris asked Haydn to write six symphonies for their concert series; this was the composer's first foreign commission, having spent most of his professional life in service at the Esterházy court. The Loge Olympique concerts, instituted in 1780, were among the most prestigious in France; Marie Antoinette was an occasional attendee, as were various officials from the court at Versailles. Over the next two years Haydn composed the Symphonies Nos. 82 through 87, now known collectively as the "Paris" Symphonies, for the large orchestra -- the largest Haydn ever had at his disposal, featuring up to 40 violins, ten double basses, and as many as four of each woodwind -- of the Loge Olympique. Despite its numbering as the first of the six, the Symphony No. 82 was in fact the last of these works to be written; it was completed in 1786.

The first movement (Vivace assai) alternates between the festive, extroverted mood of its opening theme, and the more thoughtful, graceful tone of the second (which makes its first appearance in the strings over a quiet drone from the bassoon). Development section and recapitulation are especially inventively blurred, even by the high standards of this period of Haydn's career. The second movement isn't a true slow movement but rather an Allegretto -- a theme and variations based on a theme in two parts, the first flowing, the second with a tinge of agitation.

The Menuetto third movement opens and closes with pomp and ceremony; this music frames a playful, graceful trio section in which Haydn's colorful woodwind scoring comes to the fore. The final movement is the one that provides this work its nickname, "The Bear." It features a rustic tune played over a comical drone, which suggested to its early listeners the sound of bagpipes and the dancing bears which frolicked to their sound at village fairs. Haydn moves from these rustic sounds into some exciting contrapuntal development that builds up to a false ending, giving him the opportunity for one last exciting drive to the real conclusion. Description by Chris Morrison



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Symphony No. 83 in G minor ("The Hen"), H. 1/83
Quote:
Haydn's six "Paris" Symphonies (Nos. 82-87) mark a turning point in the composer's career. At the time of their composition (1785-86), Haydn was experiencing a sort of compositional monotony in his works for the Esterházy court, while commercial considerations made it difficult for him to experiment in the works he wrote at the behest of publishers. It isn't difficult to see why the composer jumped at the commission for these symphonies, which gave him a chance to stretch his musical wings and create something personal and original. All six of the "Paris" Symphonies are are scored for one flute and two each of oboes, bassoons, and horns, plus strings; Nos. 82 and 86 are augmented with timpani and two trumpets.

The Symphony No. 83 in G minor (1785) is not as well known as its five brethren, and yet Haydn's genius is no less in evidence in this work than elsewhere. Haydn opens the first movement directly, sans introduction, with a main theme that slowly outlines an unsettling diminished triad that resolves to a descending dotted-rhythm figure. After the arrival of the light, detached secondary theme in the first violins, Haydn combines it with the earlier dotted rhythm played by a single oboe, a figure that gave rise to the work's nickname, "La Poule" (The Hen). Throughout the development, which is nearly as long as the exposition, the rising triad, the dotted figure, and the secondary theme each undergo various permutations. Haydn provides all-new transitional material in the recapitulation and resolves the secondary theme to G major, whereupon G minor has breathed its last in the work.

The Andante, in E flat major, is in slow-movement sonata form -- that is, it has no development section. Haydn does, however, indulge in some development at the reprise of the first theme. Detached repeated notes suggest an echo of the first movement, as do Haydn's use of grace notes and a secondary theme in B flat major.

The symphony's developmental tendencies continue in the G major Minuet and Trio, marked Allegretto. The stately, eight-measure opening theme is conventional enough, but the second part of the Minuet does not follow the traditional pattern of new material rounded off by the first theme. Instead, Haydn constructs the second part from fragments of the first while never actually stating the first theme in full. The texture lightens in the Trio, whose theme is played piano by a solo flute doubled by violins.

The monothematic 12/8 finale, marked Vivace, is a movement of boundless energy. The development section is a continuous series of triplet figures over changing harmonies, while real thematic development occurs in the recapitulation. -Description by John Palmer, AllMusic



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Symphony No. 84 in E flat major ("In Nomine Domini"), H. 1/84
Quote:


Claude-François-Marie Rigoley, Comte d'Ogny (1757-90) was one of the promoters of the Concert de la Loge Olympique in Paris. Sometime in either late 1784 or early 1785, he commissioned six symphonies from Haydn, agreeing to pay 25 gold louis d'or for each. Such a commission attests to Haydn's widespread fame at the time. The works were not composed in their present order: Nos. 83 and 87 (and possibly 85) date from 1785 while Nos. 82, 84, and 86 are from 1786. Haydn requested that his Viennese publisher, Artaria & Co., publish the works in the following order: 87, 85, 83, 84, 86, and 82. His wish was not granted. The Paris publication of 1788 uses the present order. Four of the "Paris" symphonies are scored for one flute and two each of oboe, bassoon, and horn, with strings; in Nos. 82 and 86 Haydn adds timpani and two trumpets. It is easy to see why Haydn jumped at the commission from Rigoley, which gave him a chance to experiment and create something on an altogether larger and more public scale than the works intended for the Esterházy court.

One of the three works in the group with a slow introduction, No. 85 begins in a profound manner, contrasting full-orchestra fortissimo chords with quiet, arching passages in the strings. The introduction takes on greater rhythmic drive and then halts on the dominant before the sprightly Allegro theme enters quietly in the strings. The main body of the movement pleasingly combines Haydn's monothematic economy with a graceful accessibility. We hear a full restatement of the first theme, with the addition of the flute, before a lengthy, highly energetic transition to the dominant, B flat. Once the new key is confirmed, the a version of the first theme sounds in the woodwinds, transposed to B flat. The same theme opens the development section, every measure of which contains an element of the theme as Haydn produces a dense wash of sound that lasts longer than the exposition. In the recapitulation, Haydn alters the transitional material and does not bother with a restatement of the original dominant-key section.

The second movement, an Andante in B flat major, is serious in mood, with an extended coda that develops previous material prior to a pianissimo close. Haydn expands the traditional proportions of the Minuet with long, motivically organized themes in both parts. His wit comes to the fore in the second part, in which a varied statement of the main theme is interrupted by three beats of rest before continuing at a much lower dynamic level. The trio is light and comical, its first theme played by a solo bassoon.

In an unusual move, Haydn begins the development section of the monothematic Finale with the theme on the dominant, later including an unusual, complete presentation on the subdominant (A flat major). Even more striking is the appearance of the theme on the dominant very near the end of the movement.
- Description by John Palmer



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Symphony No. 85 in B flat major ("La Reine"), H. 1/85
Quote:


Claude-François-Marie Rigoley, Comte d'Ogny (1757-90) was one of the promoters of the Concert de la Loge Olympique in Paris. Sometime in either late 1784 or early 1785, he commissioned six symphonies from Haydn, agreeing to pay twenty-five louis d'or for each. Such a commission attests to Haydn's widespread fame at the time. The works were not composed in their present order: Nos. 83 and 87 (and possibly 85) date from 1785 while Nos. 82, 84 and 86 are from 1786. Haydn requested that his Viennese publisher, Artaria & Co., publish the works in the following order: 87, 85, 83, 84, 86 and 82; his wish was not granted.

All six of the "Paris" symphonies are scored for one flute and two each of oboe, bassoon, and horn with strings; the exceptions are Nos. 82 and 86, to which Haydn added timpani and two trumpets. Symphony No. 85 in B flat major is known as "La Reine" (The Queen).

The first movement is notable for its slow introduction -- typical of Haydn's processes at this point in his career -- and for its main theme, which is cleverly assembled from two different elements: a sustained tone that seems to suspend itself above the texture before eventually falling, and rapidly descending scale. These elements dominate the entire movement. The development section is one of Haydn's longest, taking the rising and falling arpeggio of the secondary theme through numerous harmonies.

Haydn set the slow movement in theme and variations form, choosing as a theme a contemporary French ballad, "La gentile et belle Lisette" ("The Kind and Beautiful Lisette"). The ensuing variations are generally decorative in nature, elaborating on rather than obscuring the recognizable theme; the theme finds its way into different instruments for variety of timbre.

The third movement, a Minuet and Trio, contains some humorous expansions on the traditional format. For instance, in the Trio we hear a humorously long melodic extension in the second half that separates the new phrase from the expected rounding return of the first phrase. Although the extension acts like a transition, it only serves to make us wait for what we know is coming.

The Finale is a mingling of ternary rondo and sonata forms. The theme, first played by a single bassoon, is alternated with contrasting episodes, as is typical of a rondo; however, the second, rather lengthy episode has a developmental quality to it, so that the return to the main theme afterwards feels recapitulatory.
-Description by John Palmer



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Symphony No. 86 in D major, H. 1/86
Quote:

Considered by some to be the best of the "Paris" symphonies, Haydn's Symphony No. 86 maintains an unprecedented intensity from beginning to end. The slow introduction to the first movement, although relatively brief, is unusually expansive. A great change in atmosphere occurs at the beginning of the Allegro spirituoso sonata-form movement, in which the first theme begins in an unsettling manner. An outburst from the full orchestra consisting of three eighth notes finally confirms the tonic; the same outburst later does the same for the dominant (A major). The secondary theme is marked by a series of syncopated accents.

Haydn chose G major for the slow movement, labeled Capriccio and in a Largo tempo. Such a combination -- a very slow tempo with a potential for profundity and a format that connotes complete structural freedom -- produce a movement with very curious and astounding effects.

Sonata form permeates the Minuet and Trio. While following the traditional pattern of the minuet, Haydn takes his material through the modulations and resolutions that characterize sonata-form movements. In its lightness and measured step, the Trio resembles an Austrian Ländler.

Much as in the first movement, a series of eighth notes marks the changes in sections in the Finale, (Allegro con spirito). Here we find a merger of sonata and rondo form in which the typical central section of the rondo acts as a development section, and material that departs from the tonic on first hearing returns before the close. -Description by John Palmer



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Symphony No. 87 in A major, H. 1/87
Quote:



While he was serving in the Esterhazy Court in Austria, Haydn, already highly revered throughout most of Europe, was commissioned to write six symphonies by a society known as the Concert de La Loge Olympique, headed by Claude-François-Marie Rigoley, Comte d'Ogny. The composer promptly satisfied the commission, producing his Symphonies Nos. 82-87. But despite its numbering in the series, the A major No. 87 was most likely the first of the group composed, not the last.

Like the other five Paris Symphonies, it is scored for a much larger orchestra than Haydn had written for in Austria, but does not employ trumpets or drums. Cast in four movements, it opens with a lively Vivace that lacks the usual slow introduction. The spirited, chipper main theme launches the movement with both a sense of energy and muscularity. The second subject, though it begins vigorously in the strings, is comparatively subdued and light, contrasting well with the main theme. After a repeat of the thematic materials, the development section begins with the second subject, now presented in a sterner vein, in A minor. The music works up some tension here before yielding to a delightful reprise of the main material.

The ensuing Adagio features a dreamy main theme where the strings are not so dominant, with flute, oboe, and bassoon sharing a good portion of the limelight. The melody varies somewhat throughout and its second subject, introduced by the oboe, is a bit livelier without breaking away from the peaceful serenity of the surrounding music. The ensuing Menuet is spirited and graceful in its outer sections, while the inner trio is playful and more intimate, and features a charming solo for oboe. The finale is a Rondo marked Vivace, its happy main theme and related material never losing their energy or color throughout. Haydn's writing divulges some imaginative contrapuntal features as he develops the main theme in the latter half of this brief movement. This A major symphony typically has a duration of 20 to 25 minutes. - Description by Robert Cummings, AllMusic



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All description quotes from AllMusic.
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Fischman
RockMonster, JazzMeister and ClassicalMaster


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Location: Rocky Mountain High
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#392 | Posted: 08/13/2019 12:38 | Post subject: Reply with quote
If it's any consolation, I do love Haydn more.... and even I never really warmed up to the Paris symphonies. I have this exact same recording, and I think it even a rather lackluster example of a group of symphonies that, for me, feel like Papa Haydn more less just going through the motions. The wit, charm, and innovation I hear in the best of Haydn seems to be absent in these symphonies, and this recording does nothing to bring out a little extra life. they are certainly not as compelling as the Sturm und Drang Symphonies that came earlier or his greatest symphonies that followed.

Of this group, the final one, #87 does show signs of life, and the one minor key symphony, #83 still grabs me, but overall, and surprisingly given my love for Haydn in general and his many symphonies in particular, I can generally take a pass on the rest.

Fear not, he gets back on it with #88 and pretty much from there on, with #98 being my all time favorite and #s 94 and 104 being about as great as anything out there.
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RoundTheBend
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis



Location: Ground Control
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#393 | Posted: 08/14/2019 03:58 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Fischman wrote:
If it's any consolation, I do love Haydn more.... and even I never really warmed up to the Paris symphonies. I have this exact same recording, and I think it even a rather lackluster example of a group of symphonies that, for me, feel like Papa Haydn more less just going through the motions. The wit, charm, and innovation I hear in the best of Haydn seems to be absent in these symphonies, and this recording does nothing to bring out a little extra life. they are certainly not as compelling as the Sturm und Drang Symphonies that came earlier or his greatest symphonies that followed.

Of this group, the final one, #87 does show signs of life, and the one minor key symphony, #83 still grabs me, but overall, and surprisingly given my love for Haydn in general and his many symphonies in particular, I can generally take a pass on the rest.

Fear not, he gets back on it with #88 and pretty much from there on, with #98 being my all time favorite and #s 94 and 104 being about as great as anything out there.


Cool - perhaps I'll need to check out his earlier works more and look forward to the latter ones coming up relatively soon. The only thing I've been wowed so far with is this (and what I mean with that is I do agree it's quality stuff, but I've yet to love a full symphony, rather just a couple of the movements, etc.): Haydn: Piano Concertos by Andreas Staie...korchester
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RoundTheBend
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis



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#394 | Posted: 08/14/2019 04:26 | Post subject: Reply with quote

Pleyel: Symphonies 1778-1786 by Uwe Gro...ropolitana

Era: Classical
Year: 1778-1786
Form: Symphony
Score: 86

These were actually pretty interesting for me. Great orchestrations/emotions/dynamics... pretty much what I'd want in a fantastic symphony. I mean it's not the best... there's a simplicity to it musically... which can be a pro and a con, but I love the many flavors given. I guess this dude was a friend of Haydn (whatever a friend means).


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Fischman
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Gender: Male
Location: Rocky Mountain High
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#395 | Posted: 08/14/2019 14:03 | Post subject: Reply with quote
With so many great composers out there, and my interests in music being so broad, there are no shortage of notable composers I'm not yet familiar with. But I've at least heard most of their names. I have to admit, Pleyel is completely new to me.

First listen was very nice. I'll probably have to give it a few more to settle on an assessment, but so far, i'm thinking I really like the guy. Thanks for another new to me discovery!

Upon looking him up, it turns out that in spite of my ignorance, he was rather prolific, composing 41 symphonies (coincidentally, the same number as Mozart). But he also managed a whopping 70 string quartets! As a lover of quartets, I'll definitely be looking into those as well.
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RoundTheBend
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis



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#396 | Posted: 08/15/2019 04:24 | Post subject: Reply with quote
You are welcome! Yeah, I thought he was pretty good. B+ for sure. This was another good find for me too:



Muzio Clementi: Trios Op. 21 And 22 For...o Vassilev

Era: Classical
Year: 1788
Form:
Score: 85

I thought the performances and the pieces here were pretty good. But nothing incredible either. B+


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Last edited by RoundTheBend on 08/16/2019 02:25; edited 1 time in total
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Fischman
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#397 | Posted: 08/15/2019 16:15 | Post subject: Reply with quote
Some delightful chamber music right there.
I may have to make that dinner music.
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RoundTheBend
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#398 | Posted: 08/16/2019 02:37 | Post subject: Reply with quote

Mozart: Clarinet Quintet, K. 581 & ...bre Du Roy

Era: Classical
Year: 1788
Form: Concerto
Score: 87

My first listen of this I didn't think much of it, but especially 581... I really fell in love. The clarinet has this bird/bubbly sound to it that turned me off at first, but actually was pretty nice. 581 has this dance between the strings and the clarinet that's infectious.

Quote:


The years 1789 and 1790 were the most difficult of Mozart's career; during this period his financial difficulties escalated, and his popularity as a performer waned with the fickle Viennese public. Not surprisingly given such circumstances, these years witnessed a dramatic decline in the number of works Mozart produced. However at some point late in the summer of 1789 Mozart received a commission for a new opera from the Emperor Joseph II. By the time he began composing the opera in question, Così fan tutte, he must also have been at work on what would become one of his most popular chamber works, the Clarinet Quintet in A. Not only does the quintet predominantly bask in that same golden warmth and mellowness that characterizes much of Così, but a sketch for its finale became "Ah lo veggio," one of Ferrando's arias from Act Two of the opera. The Quintet was completed by the end of September 1789 -- perhaps the 29th, as indicated in Mozart's thematic catalog.

It was composed for the outstanding clarinetist Anton Stadler (1753-1812), a member of the court orchestra in Vienna and a friend of Mozart's from the time the latter first settled in Vienna in 1781. Mozart had already composed a number of chamber works for Stadler and his brother Mathias, some of which were actually for basset horn. In addition this playing the lower pitched instrument, Anton Stadler was noted for his ability to exploit the low register of the standard clarinet; to enable his exploration of this so-called chalumeau range he devised an additional extension for the instrument. It was for this modified instrument that Mozart composed both the Clarinet Quintet and the famous Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622 -- one of his last works. Although playing the work on a modern clarinet requires less transposition of low notes than is the case with the Concerto, the work is still best heard on an instrument that allows the original pitch to be heard; several recordings have been made on clarinets that reconstruct Stadler's instrument.

The quintet is scored for clarinet, two violins, viola, and cello, and is cast in four movements. The opening Allegro, a discourse between all five instruments, is tinged with sadness; the exquisitely lovely Larghetto that follows brings the clarinet more into the limelight, its rapturous lines supported throughout by muted strings. The Minuetto is particularly notable for the first of its two trios. The final movement is a set of variations based on one of those innocent, almost childish-sounding themes Mozart so often employed in his finales. But, as is also typical of Mozart, the manner in which the composer develops a wide variety of moods and musical textures rings enormous richness from the material, and allows the clarinetist to display great virtuosity. -Description by Brian Robins, AllMusic



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#399 | Posted: 08/16/2019 02:45 | Post subject: Reply with quote

Mozart: Così Fan Tutte by René Jacobs...Kammerchor

Era: Classical
Year: 1790
Form: Opera
Score: 75

Sadly I found little that I liked about this opera... it's easily my least favorite opera I've listened to in the Classical era. Luckily he bounced back before he passed away and this wasn't his last work or something... idk, the commentary admits it's weaknesses, but tries to paint an interesting picture I guess I'm just not interested in compared to his other works.

Quote:


Così fan tutte (All women act that way) is the last of Mozart's three "da Ponte" operas -- those composed to libretti by Lorenzo da Ponte (the other two are Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni). Long neglected and misunderstood, Così emerged from obscurity in the twentieth century and has come to be regarded as among the composer's finest, if also most problematic, works.

It has been assumed that the opera was commissioned by Emperor Joseph II, probably sometime during the summer of 1789. Coming as it did during a fallow period in Mozart's output, the work was a financial boon to him and allowed for the repayment of some debt. Little is known about the creation of the work, but the first rehearsal took place in Mozart's apartment on January 21, 1790, and the first performance was at the Burgtheater in Vienna five days later. This initial run was extremely brief, due to Joseph II's death after only five performances had been mounted; the closing of the Viennese theaters prevented any further performances until June.

Da Ponte's libretto is presumed to be an original work, but its numerous literary precedents included episodes in Ovid's Metamorphosis as well as da Ponte's own libretto for Martin y Soler's L'abore di Diana; the latter was written coincidentally with Così. Suggestions that the plot was based on actual events within Viennese society have not been substantiated. Two friends, Ferrando and Guglielmo, wager with Don Alfonso that their lovers, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, will remain constant in their absence. To prove the point, they depart under false pretenses and return as "Albanians" who try to woo the women away.

The libretto has long been considered flimsy, misogynistic, immoral, and dramatically unresolvable. However, any judgement of the opera as a whole must take account of Mozart's exceedingly fine and deeply interesting score. Through music, Fiordiligi transcends her role as the victim of cruel manipulation, revealing a complex personality that is sincere, capable of growth, and inarguably sympathetic. In contrast, Guglielmo never progresses beyond concern for his own ego and interests; his music, fittingly, remains within the stock traditions of opera buffa. Each of the six characters receives an equally insightful portrait, and the ambigous nature of the ending (who actually loves whom?), while vexing to directors and audiences, can be seen as appropriate, given the emotional issues aired during the drama.

The marriage of Mozart's score and da Ponte's libretto represents the apotheosis of the opera buffa genre (making its setting in Naples -- the birthplace of the genre -- all the more appropriate) and embodies the best of the Classical era. Moments that, at first glance, seem transparent, formulaic, and impersonal become instead clarifying, organic, and genuinely inspired.

There is an unusually large number of vocal ensembles in the score, far more than are found in either Don Giovanni or Figaro. All of these highlight Mozart's unique fusion of symphonic techniques with lyrical expression. The best-known ensemble is undoubtedly the trio "Soave sia il vento," sung by Fiordiligi, Dorabella, and Don Alfonso, in which farce, grief, and the musical depiction of gentle waves are seamlessly combined to form one of opera's brightest gems. The finales of both acts are typically Mozartean in their complexity, ambition, and symphonic logic, and, especially in the case of the Act One finale, they are arguably finer than those composed for any other of his operas. The combination of logical, restrained structure and lyrical outpouring in these finales encapsulates Mozart's unique operatic voice. -Description by Allen Schrott



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RoundTheBend
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#400 | Posted: 08/16/2019 03:10 | Post subject: Reply with quote

Clementi On Clementi by Peter Katin

Era: Classical
Year: 1790
Form: Piano Trio
Score: 82

This was an interesting listen with some stellar piano pieces at the end. If there were a fantastic history bit, it'd be this one... Clementi made pianos in the classical era, and then wrote piano music, and so this recording is of one of his pianos playing his music. You can tell the high end has a unique timbre.


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