Archives for April 2012

Mahler “Symphony No. 1 in D Major”

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 in D Major “Titan” (1887-1896) Mahler’s first symphony was originally premiered in 1889 as a five movement symphonic poem in two parts, but the lukewarm response from both critics and the public nearly doomed it to oblivion. In an effort to make the work more accessible, Mahler made a […]

Mozart “Clarinet Concerto in A Major”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622 (1791) Since Mozart’s Requiem was left unfinished at the time of his untimely death at the age of thirty-five, the Clarinet Concerto is actually the last major work he completed. For those who imagine from listening to the Requiem that Mozart spent his last […]

Fauré, “Requiem”

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) Requiem, op. 48 (1893 version) Fauré is not well known for his orchestrational technique—his duties as an organist and teacher often precluded the creation of any large-scale works—which might explain the long gestation of his Requiem, a traditional Catholic death Mass. The compositional process began in 1877, when he composed the “Libera […]

Debussy, “Danses sacree et profane”

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Danses sacree et profane for harp and string orchestra (1904) Debussy’s music often heavily emphasized the harp–his inclination towards transparent textures and blurry, unconventional harmonies seemed to draw him towards the instrument. So when Pleyel et Cie, the instrumental manufacturing company, wished to commission a work to highlight their new chromatic harp, […]

Ravel “Le tombeau de Couperin”

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Le tombeau de Couperin (1918) The outbreak of World War I in 1914 affected Ravel as much as most young men of the time. Ravel was already thirty-nine, but he desperately wanted to fight for his country. His lifelong frailty eliminated any possibility of serving in the infantry, but he was able […]