1894 in Music

Music reviews for music published in 1894.

1. Gabriel Faure: Nocturne No 6 in D♭ major, Op 63 (9/10)

A fair amount of time had passed since the 5th nocturne and you can hear it in the pace of this one – it’s slow and dreamy and almost hesitant or halting in comparison to his earlier pieces. It’s wonderful.

2. Gabriel Faure: Barcarole No. 5 in F-sharp minor, Op. 66 (9/10)

This is the first really standout piece in the series – seemingly very difficult to play while also varying subtly enough to make things pretty interesting.

3. Erik Satie: Prélude de la porte héroïque du ciel (8/10)

There version of this I’ve heard is apparently quite fast, which is hard to believe given that it doesn’t sound that fast. Very much in line with his earlier preludes, if a bit more ambitious perhaps.

4. Gabriel Faure: Valse-Caprice No. 4 in A-flat major, Op. 62 (8/10)

I’m not sure the waltz ever fit Faure so it makes sense that this was the last one. But on both the third one and this piece he really makes it his own, sounding little like previous waltzes I’m aware of. I still prefer his other piano pieces, but I appreciate what he’s doing here and it really sounds like him, rather than some waltz composer.

5. Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov: Caucasian Sketches, Suite No. 1 Op. 10 (8/10)

The first Caucasian Sketches is a moody late Romantic piece with strong melodies and lots of martial influences. It’s not Mussorgsky, but it does offer similar pleasures, in perhaps more muted doses. It’s not bad.

6. Alexander Glazunov: ‘Concert Waltz’ No. 2 in F major for orchestra, op. 51 (7/10)

I’m torn about this one: on the one hand it is very memorable, much more so than the first concert waltz. On the other, it sounds like something else and I cannot decide whether it’s because I heard it before or because it’s ripping off Strauss (or someone else).

7. Leoš Janáček: “Jealousy” (7/10)

“Jealously” is a typical bombastic Romantic overture to an opera. I’m not sure why it needed to be separated out as an individual piece, but that was the practice at the time. It’s fine…

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