|Valentine's Day Music|
Silent Woods (Czech: Klid) is the translated title of the composition by Antonín Dvoák initially published under the German title Waldesruhe. It is the fifth part of the cycle for piano four-hands, Ze Šumavy (From the Bohemian Forest) Op.68 / B.133, composed in 1883. The work is also transcribed by the composer for cello and piano (B.173) and for cello and orchestra (B.182).
The original piano cycle Op. 68 was composed in 1883 on demand of Fritz Simrock. As it was popular in the late nineteenth century to make arrangements of popular works for other instruments, on 28 December 1891 Dvoák made an arrangement for cello and piano of the fifth piece, for a farewell concert tour he gave with violinist Ferdinand Lachner and cellist Hanuš Wihan in the first months of 1892 before embarking for the New World. The arrangement became so popular that Dvoák made a new arrangement for cello and orchestra on 28 October 1893. The arrangements were first published in the fall of 1894 by Fritz Simrock, who changed the German title given by Dvoák – Die Ruhe (The Silence), a literal translation from the Czech Klid – to Waldesruhe (Silent Woods).
Like the other pieces in Op.68, Silent Woods is a lyrical character piece, bearing the tempo marking Lento e molto cantabile for the main, dreamy theme in D major, which is reprised (Lento. Tempo I) after a light intermezzo (Un pochettino più mosso) in C minor.
The Well-Tempered Clavier (German: Das Wohltemperierte Klavier), BWV 846–893, is a collection of solo keyboard music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. He first gave the title to a book of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, dated 1722, composed "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study." Bach later compiled a second book of the same kind, dated 1742, but titled it only "Twenty-four Preludes and Fugues." The two works are now usually considered to make up a single work, The Well-Tempered Clavier, or "the 48," and are referred to respectively as Books I and II. The Well-Tempered Clavier is generally regarded as one of the most influential works in the history of Western classical music
The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, it is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano.
The first edition of the score is headed Sonata quasi una fantasia, a title this work shares with its companion piece, Op. 27, No. 1. Grove Music Online translates the Italian title as "sonata in the manner of a fantasy".
The name "Moonlight Sonata" has its origins in remarks by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven's death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name "Moonlight Sonata" ("Mondscheinsonate" in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, it could be said that the sonata was "universally known" by that name.
Many critics have objected to the subjective, Romantic nature of the title "Moonlight", which has at times been called "a misleading approach to a movement with almost the character of a funeral march" and "absurd". Other critics have approved of the sobriquet, finding it evocative or in line with their own associations with the work. Gramophone founder Compton Mackenzie found the title "harmless", remarking that "it is silly for austere critics to work themselves up into a state of almost hysterical rage with poor Rellstab", adding that "What these austere critics fail to grasp is that unless the general public had responded to the suggestion of moonlight in this music Rellstab's remark would long ago have been forgotten."
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathétique, was written in 1798 when the composer was 27 years old, and was published in 1799. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. Although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named Grande sonate pathétique (to Beethoven's liking) by the publisher, who was impressed by the sonata's tragic sonorities.
Prominent musicologists debate whether or not the Pathétique may have been inspired by Mozart's piano sonata K. 457, since both compositions are in C minor and have three very similar movements. The second movement, "Adagio cantabile", especially, makes use of a theme remarkably similar to that of the spacious second movement of Mozart's sonata. However, Beethoven's sonata uses a unique motif line throughout, a major difference from Haydn or Mozart’s creation.
The Concerto for Clarinet, Viola, and Orchestra in E minor, Op. 88, by Max Bruch was composed in 1911 for his son, Max Felix Bruch, and received its first performance in 1912, with Willy Hess (viola) and Max Felix Bruch (clarinet) as the soloists. It consists of three movements:
Andante con moto
A typical performance lasts approximately 20 minutes.
The work is sometimes arranged and performed as a concerto for violin and viola.
Chopin composed his popular Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2 when he was about twenty.
This popular nocturne is in rounded binary form (A, A, B, A, B, A) with coda, C. The A and B sections become increasingly ornamented with each recurrence. The penultimate bar utilizes considerable rhythmic freedom, indicated by the instruction, senza tempo (without tempo). Nocturne in E-flat major opens with a legato melody, mostly played piano, containing graceful upward leaps which becomes increasingly wide as the line unfolds. This melody is heard again three times during the piece. With each repetition, it is varied by ever more elaborate decorative tones and trills. The nocturne also includes a subordinate melody, which is played with rubato.
A sonorous foundation for the melodic line is provided by the widely spaced notes in the accompaniment, connected by the damper pedal. The waltz like accompaniment gently emphasizes the 12/8 meter, 12 beats to the measure subdivided into four groups of 3 beats each.
The nocturne is reflective in mood until it suddenly becomes passionate near the end. The new concluding melody begins softly but then ascends to a high register and is played forcefully in octaves, eventually reaching the loudest part of the piece, marked fortissimo. After a trill-like passage, the excitement subsides; the nocturne ends calmly.
The Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra, K. 261, was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1776. It was probably a replacement movement for the original slow movement of his Violin Concerto No. 5 in A. It is believed that Mozart wrote it specifically for the violinist Antonio Brunetti, who complained that the original slow movement was "too artificial." The work is scored for solo violin, two flutes, two horns and strings.
Kinderszenen (German pronunciation: [kndstsenn]; original spelling Kinderscenen, "Scenes from Childhood"), Opus 15, by Robert Schumann, is a set of thirteen pieces of music for piano written in 1838. In this work, Schumann provides us with his adult reminiscences of childhood. Schumann had originally written 30 movements for this work, but chose 13 for the final version. Robert Polansky has discussed the unused movements.
Nr. 7, Träumerei, is one of Schumann's best known pieces; it was the title of a 1944 German biographical film on Robert Schumann. Träumerei is also the opening and closing musical theme in the 1947 Hollywood film Song of Love, starring Katharine Hepburn as Clara Wieck Schumann.
Schumann had originally labeled this work Leichte Stücke (Easy Pieces). Likewise, the section titles were only added after the completion of the music, and Schumann described the titles as "nothing more than delicate hints for execution and interpretation". Timothy Taylor has discussed Schumann's choice of titles for this work in the context of the changing situation of music in 19th century culture and economics.
In 1974, Eric Sams noted that there was no known complete manuscript of Kinderszenen.
Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525, is a 1787 composition for a chamber ensemble by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German title means "a little serenade," though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as "a little night music." The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras.
The serenade was completed in Vienna on 10 August 1787, around the time Mozart was working on the second act of his opera Don Giovanni. It is not known why it was composed. Hildesheimer (1991, 215), noting that most of Mozart's serenades were written on commission, suggests that this serenade, too, was a commission, whose origin and first performance were not recorded.
The traditionally used name of the work comes from the entry Mozart made for it in his personal catalog, which begins, "Eine kleine Nacht-Musik." As Zaslaw and Cowdery point out, Mozart almost certainly was not giving the piece a special title, but only entering in his records that he had completed a little serenade.
The work was not published until about 1827, long after Mozart's death, by Johann André in Offenbach am Main. It had been sold to this publisher in 1799 by Mozart's widow Constanze, part of a large bundle of her husband's compositions.
Today the serenade is widely performed and recorded; indeed both Jacobson (2003, 38) and Hildesheimer (1992, 215) opine that the serenade is the most popular of all Mozart's works. Of the music, Hildesheimer writes, "even if we hear it on every street corner, its high quality is undisputed, an occasional piece from a light but happy pen."
The Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, was completed on March 9, 1785 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, four weeks after the completion of the previous D minor concerto, K. 466. There are three movements.
Allegro maestoso; in common time. The tempo marking is in Mozart's catalog of his own works, but not in the autograph manuscript.
Andante in F major. In both the autograph score and in his personal catalog, Mozart notated the meter as Alla breve.
Allegro vivace assai
The opening movement begins quietly with a march figure, but quickly moves to a more lyrical melody interspersed with a fanfare in the winds. The music grows abruptly in volume, with the violins taking up the principal melody over the march theme, which is now played by the brass. This uplifting theme transitions to a brief, quieter interlude distinguished by a sighing motif in the brass. The march returns, eventually transitioning to the entrance of the soloist. The soloist plays a brief Eingang (a type of abbreviated Cadenza) before resolving to a trill on the dominant G while the strings play the march in C major. The piano then introduces new material in C major and begins transitioning to the dominant key of G major. Immediately after an orchestral cadence finally announces the arrival of the dominant, the music abruptly shifts to G minor in a passage that is reminiscent of the main theme of the Symphony No. 40 in that key. A series of rising and falling chromatic scales then transition the music to the true second theme of the piece, an ebullient G major theme which Mozart had previously used in his Third Horn Concerto. The usual development and recapitulation follow. There is a cadenza at the end of the movement, although Mozart's original has been lost.
The famous Andante is in three parts. The opening section is for orchestra only and features muted strings. The first violins play with a dreamlike melody over an accompaniment consisting of second violins and violas playing repeated-note triplets and the cellos and bass playing pizzicato arpeggios. All of the major melodic material of the movement is contained in this orchestral introduction, in either F major or F minor. The second section introduces the solo piano and starts off in F major. It is not a literal repeat, though, as after the first few phrases, new material is interjected which ventures off into different keys. When familiar material returns, the music is now in the dominant keys of C minor and C major. More new material in distant keys is added, which transitions to the third section of the movement. The third section begins with the dreamlike melody again, but this time in A-flat major. Over the course of this final section, the music makes it way back to the tonic keys of F minor and then F major and a short coda concludes the movement.
Songs Without Words (Lieder ohne Worte) is a series of short, lyrical piano pieces by the Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn, written between 1829 and 1845. The eight volumes of Songs Without Words, each consisting of six "songs" (Lieder), were written at various points throughout Mendelssohn's life, and were published separately. The piano became increasingly popular in Europe during the early nineteenth century, when it became a standard item in many middle-class households. The pieces are within the grasp of pianists of various abilities and this undoubtedly contributed to their popularity. This great popularity has caused many critics to under-rate their musical value.
The first volume was published by Novello in London (1832) as Original Melodies for the Pianoforte, but the later volumes used the title Songs Without Words.
The works were part of the Romantic tradition of writing short lyrical pieces for the piano, although the specific concept of "Song Without Words" was new. Mendelssohn's sister Fanny wrote a number of similar pieces (though not so entitled) and, according to some music historians, she may have helped inspire the concept. The title Song Without Words seems to have been Felix Mendelssohn's own invention. In 1828, Fanny wrote in a letter "My birthday was celebrated very nicely ... Felix has given me a 'song without words' for my album (he has lately written several beautiful ones)."
The Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, by Ludwig van Beethoven, popularly known as the Emperor Concerto, was his last piano concerto. It was written between 1809 and 1811 in Vienna, and was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, Beethoven's patron and pupil. The first performance took place on 28 November 1811 at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the soloist being Friedrich Schneider. In 1812, Carl Czerny, another student of Beethoven's, gave the Vienna debut of this work.
The epithet of Emperor for this concerto was not Beethoven's own but was coined by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto. Its duration is approximately forty minutes.
Salut d’Amour, Op. 12, is a musical work composed by Edward Elgar in 1888, originally written for violin and piano.
Elgar finished the piece in July 1888, when he was engaged to be married to Caroline Alice Roberts, and he called it "Liebesgruss" ('Love’s Greeting') because of Miss Roberts’ fluency in German. When he returned home to London on 22 September from a holiday at the house of his friend Dr. Charles Buck, in Settle, he presented it to her as an engagement present. Alice, for her part, offered him a poem called "The Wind at Dawn" which she had written years before and which he soon set to music.
The dedication was in French: "à Carice". "Carice" was a combination of his wife's names Caroline Alice, and was the name to be given to their daughter born two years later.
It was not published (by Schott & Co.) until a year later, and the first editions were for violin and piano, piano solo, cello and piano, and for small orchestra. Few copies were sold until Schott changed the title to "Salut d’Amour" with Liebesgruss as a sub-title, and the composer’s name as 'Ed. Elgar'. The French title, Elgar realised, would help the work to be sold not only in France but in other European countries: Schott was a German publisher, with offices in Mainz, London, Paris and Brussels.
The first public performance was of the orchestral version, at a Crystal Palace concert on 11 November 1889, conducted by August Manns.
Sonata in E-flat major for flute or recorder and harpsichord, probably by J. S. Bach (BWV 1031), is a sonata in 3 movements:
The Marriage of Figaro is a continuation of the plot of The Barber of Seville several years later, and recounts a single "day of madness" (la folle giornata) in the palace of the Count Almaviva near Seville, Spain. Rosina is now the Countess; Dr. Bartolo is seeking revenge against Figaro for thwarting his plans to marry Rosina himself; and Count Almaviva has degenerated from the romantic youth of Barber into a scheming, bullying, skirt-chasing baritone. Having gratefully given Figaro a job as head of his servant-staff, he is now persistently trying to obtain the favors of Figaro's bride-to-be, Susanna. He keeps finding excuses to delay the civil part of the wedding of his two servants, which is arranged for this very day. Figaro, Susanna, and the Countess conspire to embarrass the Count and expose his scheming. He responds by trying to compel Figaro legally to marry a woman old enough to be his mother, but it turns out at the last minute that she is really his mother. Through Figaro's and Susanna's clever manipulations, the Count's love for his Countess is finally restored.
In spite of all the sorrow, anxiety, and anger the characters experience, only one number is in a minor key: Barbarina's brief aria L'ho perduta at the beginning of act 4, where she mourns the loss of the pin and worries about what her master will say when she fails to deliver it, is written in F minor. Other than this, the entire opera is set in major keys except the opening few bars of the duet between Susanna and the Count at the beginning of act 3 ("Crudel, perché finora") which are in the key of A minor; the duet then quickly modulate via C major to A major.
Mozart uses the sound of two horns playing together to represent cuckoldry, in the act 4 aria "Aprite un po quelli'ochi". Verdi later used the same device in Ford's aria in Falstaff.