Wednesday, October 28, 2020

John Field - The Irish Mozart

One of the greatest and most popular composers of all time was the quintessential Classical Era composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  His popularity and acknowledged brilliance as a composer was so recognized by all, that it is no wonder we have other composers often compared to him.  There is Juan Arriaga, who is sometimes called, "The Spanish Mozart".  There is Adrien Boieldieu, who is known as "The French Mozart".

Those two composers were both covered on The Tales Classical Music Weekends.  Today we talk about another composer compared to Mozart - John Field born in Dublin in 1782.  He is sometimes known as the Irish Mozart.

John Field - The Irish Mozart [1782 - 1837]

From "The Irish post" web site there is this article entitled: "The Amazing Life of Forgotten Composer John Field - Ireland's Answer to Mozart" : "JOHN FIELD is Ireland's greatest composer and pianist, up there with the biggest names in classical music.  Yet despite being dubbed Ireland's answer to Mozart, and influencing greats such as Frédéric Chopin and Johannes Brahms, his name and achievements have largely been overlooked.  Field is credited with creating the [Romantic] nocturne, a musical composition inspired by the night.  A musical genius ... Field spent most of his life in Russia."

"In 1793, the Field family moved to London where Field secured an apprenticeship with acclaimed composer Muzio Clementi." ... "In 1802, he went with Clementi to Paris, Vienna and eventually St Petersburg.  He lived between Moscow and St Petersburg for 29 years."

"Field died in Moscow in 1837."

Like Chopin, Field composed almost all [if not all] his works that included piano-either solo or along with other instruments.  Oh, and while Field is sometimes referred to as the Irish Mozart, his Nocturnes below [and maybe because they are nocturnes] reminds me of Chopin - well, Chopin light- without all the wonderful frills and flourishes.  Or maybe I should say Chopin sounds like Field, since Field created the Nocturne genre. :-)  

To read the full article in "The Irish Post" please click here.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some beautiful music from the Irish Mozart - John Field. 

John Field:  Nocturne #2 in C minor:

John Field: Nocturne #5 in B Flat Major:

John Field: Rondo for Piano and Strings in A Flat Major

John Field: Piano concerto #2 in A Flat Major:

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Rubato - This Robbery Lends To Beautiful Music

Repeat post from Oct. of 2016

I'd like to go over again the technique of rubato, which was developed in the Romantic era of music.  Rubato means to "rob time".  I remember my daughter's classical music piano teacher when teaching the technique of rubato, saying, "remember, when you rob, you must give back."

The technique of rubato occurs when the soloist or the orchestra delays the timed playing of a note as written on the score.  It can be very subtle [with a very short delay], or very pronounced.  Either subtly or defined, this technique of delaying the playing of the note adds so much to the feeling and beauty of the music.  When the note is delayed it adds to the listeners anticipation; and when it is finally played it emphasizes that note in a beautiful way. While you might not recognize every time a note is delayed from the written score, you will certainly be able to hear that the piece is played with such great feeling by the artist - and that is helped by the effect from the technique of rubato.

Rubato is not noted by the composer.  It is up to the soloist or the conductor of the entire symphony to determine when it is used, and for how long the delay of the note will be. Many times rubato will be played at the end of a phrase.  Sometimes you will hear a certain phrase that is played as written, and then when that same phrase in the piece is repeated, rubato will be used the time it is repeated.  Then the listener, remembering how the phrase was played at first, will hear a distinct delay when rubato is used for that same phrase...and it will add to the beauty of the hearing.

When you hear rubato in a piece, you are most likely hearing a piece from the Romantic era of music.  No composer's music lends itself to the technique of rubato as much as the quintessential  Romantic composer, Frederic Chopin.
Frederic Chopin [1810 - 1849]  
Lets see if you can determine when rubato is used in these beautiful piano pieces [4 by Chopin, 1 by Grieg, and 1 by Robert Schumann].  Some of the rubato is very subtle, so don't worry if you don't pick it all up. 

Please turn up the volume and enjoy some beautiful piano music from these great pieces from the Romantic Era of classical music. 

NoteIn the final piece by Robert Schumann, because there is no break between the 2nd and final movement [only a bridge] I chose this video that has the 2nd and 3rd movement - even though it is the second movement that will contain most of the rubato.  And the 3rd movement is so great, I wanted you to enjoy that one too.  :-)

Chopin: Nocturne in B Flat minor, Opus 9 No. 1:

 Chopin: Nocturne in E Flat Major, Opus 9 No. 2:

Chopin: Nocturne in B Major, Op 9 No. 3:

Chopin: Piano Concerto #2 in F minor, Mov. 2, Larghetto:

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A-minor, Movement 2, Adagio:

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Movement 2, Intermezzo [Andantino Grazioso], 3rd movement, Allegro Vivace:

Friday, October 23, 2020

Tchaikovsky Serenade Featured At This HSO Concert

This Saturday night, Oct. 24, 2020, the fetching Mrs. Sheralyn B and I will be blessed again to be able to attend in person a Houston Symphony Orchestra Concert at Jones Hall in downtown Houston, TX.  I say blessed because only a small amount of patrons [of the 3,000 seat Jones Hall] will be able to attend.  We have attended a couple of other concerts in person and I can tell you all the safety precautions are taken, with complete social distancing and temperatures taken before entering Jones Hall, and then the seating is far apart and leaving the concert hall is done by rows so there isn't a lot of people leaving at the same time.  Even the symphony orchestra members have masks on, except, of course, for the wind instrument players.  

The feature piece will be Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. It is a soothing piece with luscious melodies and an exciting finish. 

Here is how the Houston Symphony Orchestra web site describes the concert: "This piece is from the heart,” wrote Tchaikovsky of his Serenade for Strings, and heartfelt sentiment shines forth in every moment of this beloved masterpiece, which includes some of his most memorable melodies. Gabriela Ortiz’s Tepito brings to life the color and energy of Mexico City’s Tepito neighborhood. Puccini’s expressive Chrysanthemums begins the concert."

Tchaikovsky's Serenade is scored in the bright key of C Major with 4 movements: 1. Allegro Moderato; 2.Valse: Moderato; 3.Elegie: Larghetto; and 4. Allegro con spirito. 

Please turn up the volume, play in full screen and enjoy, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's, Serenade for Strings. 

P.I. Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C Major