ClassicalRap is a forum for discussion and information on classical music genres from the Baroque through the 20th Century eras in particular. Information will be provided on the various genres of classical music in these eras, and discussions will involve the lives of composers, their works, and standard and new recording releases. This is not a blog about Rap music.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beethoven Symphonies (Almost) Live (Part Three)

Musikverein, Vienna, Austria (Exterior)
For our third installment on a YouTube exploration into the best live performances of Beethoven's 9 symphonies, I give you once again the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with once again, Christian Thielemann conducting Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Opus 55 "Eroica".  For information on this great orchestra, see the links in the previous post here.  This performance is from April of 2010.

Along with Symphony Nos. 6 an 9, this is one of Beethoven's longer symphonies.

I: Allegro con brio (Part 1) and (Part 2)

II: Marcia funebre: Adagio assai (Part 1) and (Part 2)

III: Scherzo: Allegro vivace

IV: Finale: Allegro molto

For more information on this symphony go herehere and here.

More information on Musikverein, Vienna.

Beethoven Symphonies (Almost) Live (Part Two)

Vienna's Musikverein Golden Hall
For the next installment of the best YouTube video live performances of Beethoven's symphonies we go to Vienna (Wien), Austria (Ă–sterreich) for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of Symphony No. 2 in D major, Opus 36, conducted by Christian Thielemann b. 1959.

How about that magnificent hall for a venue?  Also, in this performance we get a good closeup of the conductor, who in my view is terrific.

I: Adagio molto - Allegro con brio

II: Larghetto

III: Scherzo: Allegro

IV: Allegro molto

For more information on this symphony go here (NPR got the opus number wrong in this article, which is not at all suprising), here and here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Costa Rica: Beaches, Sun and...

Classical Music.  The Credomatic Music Festival is underway in this idyllic Central American country.

For more information go here.

Beethoven Symphonies (Almost) Live

Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820.
OK, since I can find several live performances of all Beethoven's 9 symphonies on YouTube, I'm going to post the best I can find here.  We'll of course go in order, so with Symphony No. 1 in C major, Opus 21, here's Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie from Bremen, Germany conducted by Paavo Jarvi in a performance from 2006.  These videos are particularly good in that they include an exposition throughout provided by Robert Greenberg's Teaching Company Wordscore guide. 

I: Adagio molto - Allegro con brio

II: Andante cantabile con moto

Movements III: Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace and IV: Finale: Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace are included in the same video here.

For more on this symphony go here, here and here.

For an interesting blog dedicated to Beethoven go here.

More of Liszt's Beethoven With Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould, the great Canadian pianist has long past, but has left us a legacy in his recordings.  He is most well-known for his interpretations of JS Bach.  But he also apparently loved the Liszt transcriptions of Beethoven's 9 symphonies:

Glenn Gould statue in Toronto
Here's some more samplings:

Symphony No. 5 in C major, Opus 67 or for Liszt: S463a - I: Allegro

II: Andante con moto (1)

II: Andante con moto (2)

III: Allegro (1)

III: Allegro (2)

Just in Case You Think Classical Music is Highbrow...

I give you this.  Yeah, it's a government sponsored program, but one that I would support.  I find it quite a shame that many public schools have done away with music programs.  Somewhere somehow, someone's got to pick up the slack.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kennedy Center Honors

Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

This from the Washington Post Entertainment section reminded me to do a post about the Kennedy Center Honors, an event which will take place later this year.

 Honorees from 2009 in the White House Blue Room [l-r - Michelle Obama, Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and President Barack Obama]

While this is an event that honors people in all areas of the arts, quite often classical performers and composers are honored.  The event takes place in early December at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.  The honorees are not announced until late summer or early fall.

For more on the event see here and here.

Past honorees in the area of classical music, opera and ballet have included:

Composer Jerry Herman - 2010
Pianist and composer Dave Brubeck - 2009
Modern dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp - 2008
Pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher - 2007
Conductor Zubin Mehta - 2006
Dancer Suzanne Farrell - 2005
Singer Joan Sutherland - 2004
Composer and conductor John Williams - 2004
Violinist Itzhak Perlman - 2003
Stage director and producer Mike Nichols - 2003
Conductor James Levine - 2002
Stage dancer, actress and singer Chita Rivera - 2002
Stage actress and singer Julie Andrews - 2001
Pianist Van Cliburn - 2001
Singer Luciano Pavarotti - 2001
Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov - 2000
Singer Plácido Domingo - 2000
Stage actress and singer Angela Lansbury - 2000

For a complete list of honorees since 1978, go here.

Two Things: Windy City, Tchaikovsky

Coming July 31 in Chicago, a "Tchaikovsky Spectacular."

From the website: Classical Music

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
James Conlon conductor
Miriam Fried violin
Perhaps more than any other composer, Tchaikovsky has earned the epithet “Master of Melody.” His music has achieved the rare distinction of pleasing both mass audiences and the most erudite critics and scholars. His valedictory Sixth Symphony runs the emotional gamut from tragic anguish to lilting lyricism to triumphant ecstasy and cosmic resignation. His Violin Concerto rivals that of Felix Mendelssohn as one of the two most popular and tuneful celebrations of the violin of all time. And his uniquely celebratory “1812” Overture— accompanied by live cannons—never fails to get hearts racing and spirits soaring.

If you're in that area and you catch this concert, feel free to write a short review below.

The Land That Time Forgot?

Is classical music in a a land that time forgot?

Or are we classical music aficionados simply time travel embassadors for a genre that can only get better with time like a fine bottle of wine?

In the above linked article the author states:

With track titles like “string quartet in D major, op 2, part one, III adagio”, and concerts that involve knowing the right time to clap, classical music sometimes looks like it comes from a land that time forgot.
That is the argument of BBC Radio 1 DJ Kissy Sell Out, who on Thursday night will be proposing a motion at the Cambridge Union that “this house believes classical music is irrelevant to today’s youth”.
“In the context of modern culture, classical music just doesn’t speak the same language,” he says.

Maybe I'm one of the snobs of classical music, but I rather like the title "string quartet in D major, Opus 2, part one, III adagio."  It gives a rather comfortable reference so I can look it up and find a recording of it if I happen to know the composer.  I enjoy a good rock concert now and again, but I go to concerts to hear the music, not the cheers from my annoying neighbor, so knowing when to clap is important.  It's also a long held tradition with this sort of music.

So, by all means, take me back to the land that time forgot!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sleepless In Seattle? Alone in San Antone?

If You're sleepless in Seattle, turn your radio dial to 98.1 FM for KING FM Seattle.  Seattle's classical and opera channel.

I'm not at all saying it will put you to sleep.  Well, it may, but take it from me.  When I have classical music playing I rarely fall asleep to it.  I want to hear it all the way through.  But then again, it depends on what is playing.

Or if you're alone in San Antone: KPAC - 88.3 FM

If you can suggest other classical stations in your part of the globe, please post them below.

Upcoming Changes to ClassicalRap

I'm going to go in a few additional directions with this blog in the upcoming weeks.  I will be writing fewer informational posts of my own and directing you to places I've found on the internet for interesting information on classical music.

I will be setting up some pages for artists and performers to post their original work as either mp3s, links to web pages or Pdf.  I think it will help get the blog underway with some discussion.  Please do not post any material for which you do not own a copyright.  If it's recorded work by a 3rd party, chances are you do not own the copyright.  If it's your own original recording or composition, chances are you do.

I try to find information on classical performances in areas around the world.  Whatever information I find I will post in a thread entitled: "Performances Around the Globe."  Hopefully we can have some discussion on how these performances went.  I encourage you to post your input.

Also, a few policy issues:

If you become a "follower" of this blog you may elect to include whatever personal information Blogger requires.  I'm not certain if I as the administrator have access to such information, but as policy, no personal information will ever be shared with outside parties.  This includes email addresses, first and surnames, addresses, phone numbers or any other type of information.  I encourage viewers to use a pseudonym when posting here.  If you elect to use your own name, please be careful about the potential for linking by onlookers or other participants.  I can't be held responsible for the actions of others.

Posting is open on this blog.  This means that anyone may post here.  This also means that everyone must remain extra careful with the use of language and with their general attitude towards others.  I reserve the right to delete posts, which I find inflammatory or offensive to our readers or myself.  With that said, this will remain an open blog with minimal moderation.  Please remember that there may be children present and we need to keep things family oriented.

Off topic discussion:  If you have something to say that is not on topic, please post in a thread that is headed "Off Topic."  I will post at least one "Off Topic" thread per week.  This will allow the discussion in other threads to flow better.

This post will remain as a permanent page on the blog and will be updated as needed.

If You're Up Wisconsin Way....

...check this out.  It's Gilbert & Sullivan's Utopia Limited (1893).  This was one of their last operas, and is described by Wikipedia as one of their "Penultimate" operas.

Here is a G&S archive that I will add to the "Classical Links" section at the bottom of this page.

Here is their very interesting write-up on Utopia Limited.

If by chance any onlookers happen to show up to this performance, I wouldn't mind you writing a short review below.

A Garage Band Turned Classical Trio

I found this interesting.  A group of young kids who decided to form a classical trio.  If you're in the midwestern United States you might want to look up their next performance and show them some support.

When I was a kid I didn't want to be known as a classical performer, so I didn't practice much.  These kids are to be admired for not only carrying on a tradition that goes back centuries, but not allowing modern culture to dictate what direction to take musically.  Garage bands are a dime a dozen.  Young classical trios are a rare breed.

Violin Workshop Panorama

I found this rather interesting.  It's just a photo, but if you click on it you can move your cursor around to see a panorama of a violin workshop - i.e., where violins are made.  It looks like a rather traditional workshop, which in my estimation, would mean that if you were to purchase one from them, you'd be out of pocket; well, let's just say "a lot of dough" and leave it at that.

BTW.  I have a friend who's a violinist.  He's retired now, but he keeps his one treasure (a 1700s era violin made in Italy) in good and safe keeping.  Value?  It's up there.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Off Topic

   II: Adagio (you may have to wait for the player to load).

Here's the the 2nd movement of my own Concerto No. 1 in D major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 12.

This was created using MuseScore (c) notation software.  It has a playback feature, and I converted the playback file first to a WAV file, then I used a free downloaded mp3 converter.  I then found a file upload site that costs $5.00/month and they feature this player for music, which I can place pretty much in any post; so, I'll be using this player frequently.

Addendum:  for an updated and better sounding version of this go here.  Click on "play" and another page will emerge containing a player similar to the one above.  You will need to turn up the volume on the player.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

MuseScore (C) ClassicalRap Composition Competition

A new group forming on the MuseScore (C) website features a music composition competition.  The winner may elect to have her/his composition linked to this blog.

MuseScore is a free and open source music notation software that can be downloaded to Mac OS, Windows or Linux systems.  The software features playback and compositions can be uploaded to the MuseScore website.

If you would like to participate in the first competition you must be a member of the MuseScore website and have downloaded the software.

Competition Information

Write a short piano piece and submit it to this group [ClassicalRap Composition Competition - click on groups from the main website]. Everyone who joins gets to vote on the best piece. Only you can't vote on your own work. The winner gets a great prize - accolades from all of us, and the opportunity to choose the subject for the next competition.

Rules for submission

Piece must be no longer than 5 minutes.
Judgment is on musicianship and notation, not one or the other.
The one you choose you must enter a post on the page for that composition stating "My Vote" and a brief explanation why you chose that piece.
Compositions can be in any style from classical, jazz, modern &c.


Deadline for submissions: August 15, 2011
Deadline for voting: August 31, 2011
Date winner announced: September 15, 2011

The MuseScore software can be downloaded from here.