Trumpet Concertos (2008) by Alison Balsom, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

Categories: 1710s, 1760s, 1790s, 1803, 2008, and Music.

This is a collection of Classical and Baroque trumpet concerti, and it’s a good selection of these pieces, giving a good idea of how the music progressed…only the sequencing is, um, kind of backwards. I’ve heard both the Hummel and Haydn before and so won’t be commenting on them. They’re both classics, though. The oldest concerto here, the Torelli (sometimes called a “sinfonia”), which dates from the 1710s or earlier (he died in 1709 and I can find no record of when he actually wrote anything), is sequenced third. That’s odd. I’m not sure why. Anyway, from it’s opening notes, Read More

Classic Trumpet Concerti of Haydn/Hummel (1992) by Gerard Schwarz, Y Chamber Symphony of New York

Categories: 1992 and Music.

The trumpet has always been a jazz instrument for me. I guess that’s in part because I came to jazz before I came to concertos and solo pieces from the classical repertoire and because there really aren’t many trumpet pieces out there. It’s an under-utilized instrument, for sure. The trumpet always sounds regal or martial to me in Classical and Romantic music and I don’t particularly go for that. Prior to 1770, the trumpet couldn’t hit a wide range of notes. The keyed trumpet was invented around then and allowed for the instrument to express a greater range. The result Read More

Haydn: London Symphonies (2010) by Les Musiciens du Louvre conducted by Marc Minkowski

Categories: 2010 and Music.

This is an excellent collection of Haydn’s final symphonies, the “London symphonies”. The first (93rd overall) begins with a downright Romantic movement and that first movement plays around with tonality a little bit more than the average classical symphony. A later movement plays with the theme. Very interesting. One of the better of the bunch. It’s worth noting that he didn’t write it first. The second (94th overall) starts off very conventionally. But there’s a reason it’s known as the “Surprise” symphony, and that reason has got to be one of the most shocking moments in the Classical era, perhaps Read More

Missa in Angustiis aka Nelson Mass (1987) by Margaret Marshall, Carolyn Watkinson, Keith Lewis, Robert Holl, Rundfnkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Neville Mariner

Categories: 1987 and Music.

This is widely considered to be the greatest of Haydn’s masses and, according to some people, the greatest of Haydn’s compositions. For reasons that escape me, I have (mostly) struggled with masses compared to other forms within the classical tradition. Masses always seem more dense to me, more impenetrable. (And this is someone who loves operas and many oratorios, so go figure.) And so find myself kind of now knowing what to do here. It’s far from the first 18th century mass I’ve heard – though it’s probably the only one outside of Bach’s masses, if I hazard a guess Read More

Symphonies Nos. 104, 88, 101 by Joseph Haydn (2011) performed by Philharmonia Baroque conducted by Nicholas McGegan

Categories: 2011 and Music.

The so-called “London” symphony starts off with such a modern opening I almost thought I was listening to the wrong work – it’s practically Romantic. But the music soon settles in to what we would expect. Still, as first experiences with “The Father of the Symphony” go, it was quite shocking. Otherwise I guess it’s just a “High Classical” symphony, albeit a stellar example of that, but that intro is something special. The 88th symphony is exactly what I was expecting from a Classical era symphony. I guess that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. I’m sure it’s Read More

Die Schopfung (1798, 1997) by Joseph Haydn, performed by The Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Conducted by John Eliot Gardiner

Categories: 1790s, 1997, and Music.

This appears to move the great oratorios or Handel into the classical era. The immensity of this is on par with his music but there’s no escaping how much more modern this work sounds in comparison. I thought I had a distaste for the classical era, but Haydn’s music is making a huge impression on me so far. It’s a lot more complicated than I would have thought, given the era’s reputation for relative simplicity. This is an incredible work – I would (will?) be shocked to discover a greater classical-era oratorio. 10/10 Read More

The Young Maverick (2007 Compilation) by Glenn Gould et al.

Categories: 2007 and Music.

This is a collection of radio broadcasts Gould made for the CBC. It’s got a lot of his major performances, but these versions aren’t as good as the studio recordings if only because the sound quality isn’t very good. And that’s kind of annoying because I stumbled on this because I was looking for Gould’s performances of some Beethoven stuff and some more modern stuff. It’s a good survey of his talent and his idiosyncrasy (though knowing the pieces ahead of time helps, and I can’t say I know more than half to 2/3rds of them), but the sound quality Read More