1883 in Music

Music reviews for music published in 1883.

 

1. Gabriel Faure: Élégie, Op. 24 (9/10)

Faure’s Elegy is totally out of place on the compilation I listened to it on, but it’s a strong piece that I feel is a classic for the instrument (cello).

 

2. Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (8/10)

  • Allegro con brio (F major, in sonata form)
  • Andante (C major, in a modified sonata form)
  • Poco allegretto (C minor, in ternary form A–B–A′)
  • Allegro — Un poco sostenuto (F minor → F major, in a modified sonata form)

Written and first performed in 1883, but revised a few times and published in 1884.

This is apparently one of Brahms’ most popular symphonies. I first listened to this symphony years ago, when I was listening to a fair amount of Brahms. But in the interim, not only have I not listened to Brahms in a while, I haven’t listened to composers of his era in rather a long time. and I must say my new first impression is that it is rather subtle at times, something that, I must confess, is not my favourite thing.

But it grows on me with time, and I understand, at some level, why it is popular, even if it does seem more traditional than most of the music I associate with this particular decade.

 

3. Gabriel Faure: Impromptu No. 3 in A-flat major, Op. 34 (8/10)

I didn’t write individual reviews of these pieces, so this is one to revisit.

 

4. Henri Duparc: “Testament” (8/10)

This is downright lively compared to some of Duparc’s music, with soaring high notes, a bit of a faster tempo, and cascading piano.

 

5. Gabriel Faure: Impromptu No. 2 in F minor, Op. 31 (7/10)

I didn’t write individual reviews of these pieces, so this is one to revisit.

 

6. Gabriel Faure: Mazurka in B-flat major, Op. 32 (7/10)

I didn’t write individual reviews of these pieces, so this is one to revisit.

 

7. Leo Delibes: Lakme (7/10)

This is one of the “great” French operas. And right there we have a problem, at least for a music snob like me. French opera (with a few notable exceptions) feels like the forerunner of pop-music. They are so “big tune” oriented. They are easy to like more often than musically interesting. And I find myself feeling towards Lakme as I feel towards Carmen: meh. It’s fine and all, but it’s hardly changing what I think about French opera (like Debussy does, for example).

 

7. Henri Duparc: “Lamento” (7/10)

As you might expect from the title, this is a plodding piece in terms of tempo. But the mood is suitably funereal. It picks up at the end.

 

8. Emmanuel Chabrier: España (6/10)

I have been spoiled by Ravel, but this doesn’t sound very Spanish to my ears. Maybe I lack the context, but I have a hard time associating the sounds in this piece with what I know of Spanish music or Spain more so than, say, France. It sounds like French music to me until the castanets come in. And they just feel like an accent.

 

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