If you’ve ever heard or sung in Thomas Morley’s madrigal Now is the month of maying, you may well have wondered –see the last verse – what on earth a ‘barley break’ is. The lyric tells us you play it, so that, I suppose, limits it to either a musical instrument or a game; and, given […]
Schumann’s 4th Symphony, as you might guess from the title of this post, has a rather checkered history. It’s one of the composer’s most original works – which might go some way toward explaining the rather chilly reception it got when first performed in 1841. The score languished on Schumann’s work desk for ten years; then, […]
Waldszenen, (Forest Scenes) Op. 82 is one of Schumann’s last piano works. It consists of nine short pieces all with (sometimes enigmatic) titles. This is no ordinary leaf-mold-under-foot, dappled-sunlight sort of forest but a magical one out of the fairy stories of Grimm and Perrault and; while many of the pieces are jolly evocations of […]
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 These mysterious groups of notes appear between the eighth (Replique) and ninth (Papillons) of Schumann’s Opus 9 collection of 21 piano pieces, Carnaval. If you remember, the Sphinx was famous for her riddles (What is that which has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?) And […]
or, to move it into a more easily readable range: This is what happens near the opening of the Schubert B-flat Sonata D. 960; firstly, the opening melody – beautiful, serene – comes to rest on a chord of F when suddenly, from the bottom left hand of the keyboard, comes a long grumbling growl (see […]
Any listing of Mendelssohn’s most popular works, would have his violin concerto somewhere near the top. His rethinking of the concerto form – started with his two piano concertos – here reaches its apogee; and the success of this remodelling can be measured by the plethora of famous near-imitations that followed it — the violin […]
Our logo/featured image for this term – based on an early Augener edition of Mendelssohn’s 48 Songs Without Words for piano – comes to us courtesy of the artistic skills of Bill Bytheway. Thanks Bill!