1899 in Music

Music reviews I’ve written for music published in 1899.


1. Frederick Delius: Paris: the Song of a Great City (9/10)

This has so much more life to it than so much of Delius’ work. Honestly, you’d wonder if it’s by the same composer of some of his super lush idylls that just wash over you with “isn’t this pleasant.” Maybe my favourite thing by him.


2. Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations (7/10)

The so-called “Enigma Variations” are disappointing if only because one thinks that maybe they will be weird (or at least mysterious). They are not weird. They are tuneful and crowd-pleasing.


3. Erik Satie: Jack in the Box (7/10)

Only Satie would write a 7 minute “ballet.”  Jauntier than most of his music from this time. Not his best work in my mind, though you can see why he was attracted to ragtime.


4. Gustav Holst: “Walt Whitman” Op. 7 (7/10)

“Walt Whitman” is one of those overtures without a main piece. It’s jaunty but, not knowing about Whitman the man or his writing, I have no idea whether or not that is appropriate. The music itself is pretty typical early Holst – late Romantic music that doesn’t really challenge but pleases the ear and, at times, appears to flirt with classicism. It’s fine.


5. Maurice Ravel: “Pavane pour une infante defunte” (7/10)

I would prefer to hear the piano version of “Pavane pour une Infante d’efunte” but this is exactly the type of music I think of when I think of early Ravel (excepting “Bolero” of course.)

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