1884 in Music

Music reviews I’ve written for music published in 1884.

1. Gabriel Faure: Nocturne No. 5 in B-flat major, Op. 37 (9/10)

The fifth nocturne is even dreamier and impressionistic than the fourth. It’s the kind of piece which really anticipates what was about to happen in piano music, while still sounding familiar enough to audiences to not sound as radical as that later music would be.

2. Gabriel Faure: Nocturne. No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 36 (9/10)

The fourth nocturne starts beautifully. It’s one of those pieces that manages to both sound fairly classical but also leans towards impressionism in its dreamy quality. I really like this.

3. Edvard Grieg: “Seks Songs” Op. 48 (8/10)

The “Six Songs” (op. 48) are compelling as well, but a little less obviously wonderful (to my ears)¬† than some of his other work. I still like them and would recommend them even if you are not into lieder.

4. Erik Satie: Allegro (8/10)

Publishing a 20 second long “allegro” in 1884 takes all kinds of guts. I’d rank it higher, only it is way too damn short.

5. Gabriel Faure: Valse-Caprice No. 2 in G-flat major, Op. 38 (7/10)

The beginning of this waltz feels considerably more in line with Faure’s style near the end of the century until it bursts into waltz-ness maybe 20-somethign seconds in. I still like it more than the first one.

6. Henri Duparc: La vie antérieure (7/10)

For a piece about reincarnation there is at least some forward momentum to the beginning of this. Honestly, I was kind of dreading this given its title, but it’s got more drama than most of Duparc’s songs for women.

7. Edvard Grieg: From Holberg’s Time: Suite in olden style Op. 40 [Orchestrated Version] (7/10)

  1. Praeludium (Allegro vivace)
  2. Sarabande (Andante)
  3. Gavotte (Allegretto)
  4. Air (Andante religioso)
  5. Rigaudon (Allegro con brio)

This “Holberg” is the orchestral version, so I just have to throw my music snobbery out and say “Gol, I wish it was the original.” That being said, and even though I am not really into classicism, I see a kind of bravery in making such unabashedly traditional music at the height of the romantic era.

Cesar Franck: Nocturne [orchestrated version] (???/10)

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