1886 in Music

Music reviews I’ve written for music published in 1886.

1. Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov after Modest Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain (9/10)

No doubt there are russophiles and “classical” music snobs who think that this piece of music is a giant sacrilege. (It is an adaptation of one of the parts of a larger piece Mussorgsky wrote.)  But for once I am on the side of the populists: this is a fantastically moody piece of music tailor-made for Halloween and spooky cartoons. Along with that other bastardized Mussorgsky piece, Pictures at an Exhibition, it’s what got me into “classical” music.”

2. Cesar Franck: Sonata in A major for violin and piano (9/10)

I have heard the Franck sonata before but perhaps didn’t appreciate it enough as it was set next to his String Quartet, which I really like. It really appeals to me because it has a continuity (for lack of a better word) that you don’t necessarily hear in most violin sonatas. I feel like it’s one of those you really, really have to listen to a lot to fully grasp how wonderful it truly is.

3. Gabriel Faure: Barcarole No. 4 in A-flat major, Op. 44 (7/10)

This one is quite pretty, which makes sense why it is more famous than the others. It does feel a little less substantial but it’s so catchy that I think I can overlook that. It’s pretty High Romantic to my ears.

4. Edward Elgar: “Enina Valse” (7/10)

I heard the piece totally out of context, paired with Elgar’s string quartet and piano quintet. And I think the main thing I didn’t like about it was that it was so oddly included in a collect which didn’t warrant it.

Erik Satie: Ogives (???/10)

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