Music reviews of music published in 1906.
1. Alexander Glazunov: Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major, op. 83 (9/10)
This is absolutely my favourite thing of Glazunov’s that I’ve hear to date. It’s almost obnoxiously Russian-Romantic, and I love it. So ridiculously bombastic. Wonderful stuff.
It almost makes me want to listen to his entire cycle.
2. Gabriel Faure: Barcarole No. 8 in D-flat major, Op. 96 (8/10)
One of Faure’s more radical takes on the genre to my ears. (Not that I would know anything about that!) It’s a piece that reminds you he can do complicated and weird in addition to moody and dreamy.
3. Gabriel Faure: Impromptu No. 4 in D-flat major, Op. 91 (8/10)
There’s a huge gap between this one and the third and it is recognizable pretty much immediately. It almost sounds like a different composer at times. This one is much more in line with my idea of Faure than his earlier pieces in this genre and I like it considerably more than them.
4. Edward Elgar: The Kingdom (7/10)
Listening to the two completed parts of the proposed oratorio trilogy I find myself liking this one less than the first. It is simpler and less provocative. Apparently the choral writing is quite good but I don’t really see why I should listen to this over other oratorios (even Elgar’s own). It’s fine, but that’s it…like so much of his other work.
5. Erik Satie: Passacaille (7/10)
Not familiar with the form, I can’t tell if this is a parody or an attempt at the real thing. Satie’s music is rarely showy and this is, well, slightly showy… showy enough for Satie that you wonder about his motivations. It’s engaging stuff and almost utterly unlike anything else of his I’ve heard.
6. Erik Satie: Prélude en tapisserie (7/10)
Compared to the earlier preludes, this feels a little more ostentatious. I don’t know whether or not it has anything to do with the subject matter, as the early ones did not. This definitely feels more tied to something. (You know, an emotion or something.)
7. Maurice Ravel: “Cinq melodies populaires grecques” (5/10)
I can find virtually no record of the “Cinq melodies populaires grecques” anywhere and I can understand why they have disappeared from the canon. This is among Ravel’s less interesting work, and perhaps the fact that he didn’t even orchestrate these himself has something to do with it.