During the course of his life, Grieg had several unproductive periods due to a chronic illness.
The year 1880 marked the end of one of such periods, and the inspiration came from poet Aasmund Olafsson Vinje, a proud romantic Norwegian nationalist.
Grieg, whose sentiments perfectly aligned with Vinje’s, chose 12 poems to set to music as a song cycle. From those 12, Grieg transcribed two of them for string orchestra: Hjertesår (The Wounded Heart), and Våren (The Last Spring).
The Mass K257 falls in the stream of the so-called Credo-Masses. The name is derived from the long setting of the Credo, a practice adopted on many occasions, including, among others, Mozart’s own Kleine Credo Messe K192 and, later on, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
The Prelude to Fauré ‘s Pelléas et Mélisande is imbued with the gentleness and drama of the characters . Rich in orchestration, it’s a gorgeous page where the main challenge for a conductor lies in the subtleties of the constant push-and-pull
Embued in the richness of the folk tunes of Hungary, Bartók’s Rumanian Folk Dances are an orchestral miniature firmly set in the repertoire, often appearing in conducting auditions and competitions.
The painter Victor Hartmann was a close friend of Modest Mussorgsky and when he died, Mussorgsky was devastated. A couple of weeks after his passing, Hartmann’s friends and supporters organized an exhibition of his paintings at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg.
And about a year later, Mussorgsky channeled his pain into a new piano work, making his memories of his close friend immortal.
The only violin concerto by the great bohemian composer Antonín Dvořák was written in 1879 and cut its place out in the repertoire, especially because of its melodic lines, its folk references, and its sparkly finale
Franz Liszt’s interest in Goethe’s Faust was prompted by an illustrious mediation, that of Hector Berlioz, who dedicated his Damnation de Faust to Listz in 1846. The favor was returned by Liszt who dedicated to Berlioz the Faust Symphony.
Originally written for piano and transcribed for strings after its premiere, Grieg’s Holberg Suite is an example of 19th-century music containing a recovery of the form and musical style of previous centuries.
A dominant seventh chord that made history: this is how Beethoven’s first symphony begins.
With the opera Euryanthe, Weber, a contemporary of Beethoven, aimed at the close union of arts already advocated by Hoffmann. A concept largely inherited by Wagner.
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