Going back in time to the 18th Century

>> Sunday, September 27, 2009


Steph and I just returned from a recital given at Oklahoma State University by University of Missouri piano professor, Janice Wenger, on an exact reproduction of a Viennese instrument built by Anton Walter in about 1802.  The fortepiano was created in 2006 by Paul McNulty, an American working in the Czech Republic. The concert featured two pieces by Haydn, a Mozart and the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata.  I have to admit that the Beethoven was my favorite, as I've never heard this piece played on the instrument for which it was composed.  What a thrilling experience! 


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Mozart in the hands of youth

>> Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This is from a Manhattan School of Music performance of the finale of Mozart's Symphony no 40 in G minor. The young conductor's name is Brett Mitchell.  And notice the orchestra.  Some of them look like they couldn't be much older than 10 or 11 years old.  Fantastic performance by any standard! Bravo, kids!


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My favorite Mozart soprano sings Bach

>> Saturday, September 19, 2009

It wasn't until nearly five years after her death of a malignant brain tumor that I discovered this incredible soprano, Arleen Auger, however, since then I've listened to a number of her recordings and she is by far and away my favorite Mozart soprano.  I own two recordings of her, 1) Singing the Mozart Mass in C minor and on the same recording, the Mozart Exultate Jubilate, and  2) her last public performance, singing the soprano solo in Mozart's Requiem at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna on the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death, December 5th, 1991.

The recording I have posted here, isn't of Auger singing Mozart, but of her singing Bach's "Bist du bei mir".  Never have I heard such grace, warmth, and elegance combined in one voice as in Auger's. 


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The World's most beautiful music: Assad Brothers with Yo-Yo Ma: Menino

>> Sunday, September 13, 2009


There are few words to describe this performance.  Simple, gentle, stunning.



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So Euro: Via con me by Paolo Conte

>> Saturday, September 12, 2009

I heard this for the first time in the film "French Kiss" starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline and I fell in love with it. Thank goodness for YouTube or I would have never found it. Great stuff! Makes me want to sit in a Parisian cafe and drink wine.

Here's the English translation of the Italian lyrics:

Away with me
Away, away, get away with me
Nothing more binds you to these places
Not even these blue flowers
Let's get away, let's get away, not even this grey time
Full of musics and people that you liked

It's wonderful...

Away Away, let's get away
Enter this dark love, don't get lost for anything in the world
away, away, don't get lost for anything in the world
The art spectacle differs depending on someone who is in love with you

It's wonderfull ...

Away , away, let's get away.
Enter this dark love full of people
Away, away, enter and take a warm bath
There s a blue bath gown (nearby),
it rains a cold world outside


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In Remembrance

>> Friday, September 11, 2009

 
Lest we forget.




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His First Masterpiece: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E Flat Major, K. 271

>> Sunday, September 6, 2009


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed this concerto in Salzburg, 1777. Though only 21 years old, he displayed great maturity and originality in what is regarded by many as his first great masterpiece. Renowned pianist Alfred Brendel has referred to Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9, known as the Jeunehomme, as a "wonder of the world," going so far as to assert that Mozart "did not surpass this piece in the later piano concertos."

Countless beloved pieces of so-called classical music have a nickname, often one not given by the composer. Mozart would have no idea what the "Jupiter" Symphony is, Beethoven the "Emperor" Concerto or "Moonlight" Sonata, or Schubert the "Unfinished" Symphony. The names sometimes come from savvy publishers who know they can improve sales, or from impresarios, critics, or performers. The case of the Concerto we hear today is particularly interesting, and only recently explained. Little is known of the genesis or first performance of the E-flat Concerto. Twentieth-century accounts usually stated that Mozart composed it for a French keyboard virtuoso named Mademoiselle Jeunehomme, who visited Salzburg in the winter of 1777. Nothing else was known, not even the woman's first name.

In 2006, the Viennese musicologist Michael Lorenz, a specialist in the music of Mozart's and Schubert's time and a brilliant archival detective, figured out the mystery. The nickname was coined by the French scholars Théodore de Wyzewa and Georges de Saint-Foix in their classic early-20th-century study of the composer. As Lorenz explains, "Since one of their favorite names for Mozart was 'jeune homme' (young man), they presented this person as 'Mademoiselle Jeunehomme.'"

In a September 1778 letter Mozart wrote to his father, he referred to three recent concertos, "one for the jenomy [K. 271], litzau [K. 246], and one in B-flat [K. 238]" that he was selling to a publisher. Leopold later called the first pianist "Madame genomai." (Spellings were often variable and phonetic at the time.) Lorenz has identified her as Victoire Jenamy, born in Strasbourg in 1749 and married to a rich merchant, Joseph Jenamy, in 1768. Victoire was the daughter of the celebrated dancer and choreographer Jean Georges Noverre (1727-1810), who was a good friend of Mozart's. He had choreographed a 1772 Milan production of Mozart's opera Lucio Silla and later commissioned the ballet Les Petits Riens for Paris. Although we still know little about Victoire Jenamy—she does not appear to have been a professional musician, though clearly Mozart admired her playing—Mozart's first great piano concerto can now rightly be called by its proper name: "Jenamy."


Mitsuko Uchida plays piano and Jeffrey Tate conducts the Mozarteum Orchestra in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 "Jeunehomme", in E flat major, K. 271.
A Salzburg Festival performance, recorded in the Mozarteum, Salzburg, 1989








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For an old friend: Mozart's Sonata in C major for piano & violin, K. 296

>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009



Josepha Barbara Auernhammer (also Aurnhammer) was born in Vienna on September 25, 1758 to Johann Michael Auernhammer and Elizabeth Timmer. Her first music teachers were Georg Friedrich Richter (or Joseph Richter) and the Bohemian pianist Leopold Anton Kozeluch. In 1781 her family took in a border, newly arrived in Vienna, named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and she became one of his first students in this city. In Mozart’s many letters to his father this year he frequently mentioned her. It seems that she had a sound technical facility, but he noted “in cantabile playing she has not got the real delicate singing style”. Soon, though, he declared that he was thoroughly pleased with her progress and delighted with her keyboard skills.

During the summer of 1781 Mozart prepared for publication a set of six sonatas for piano and violin, what he called his “Opus 2” and are now labeled K.376, 296, and 377-380. These he dedicated to Josepha and they have become known as the “Auernhammer sonatas”.

Link to information source.

I've featured the 3rd movement of the Sonata in C major, K. 296. Welcome home, dear friend.

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