This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
This column has absolutely nothing to do with the dreadful series of records that came out some time ago with that name. I played these for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and asked her what I should call the column and that was her reply.
There's no linking theme today; these are just some pieces I've saved over time that I thought might interest you, or appeal to you. I liked them, that's why I saved them.
I was lying in bed listening to the radio this morning (when I wrote this) wondering when would be a good time to get up (not for a while, I decided) when they played this next piece of music.
"Gee, that's nice," I thought. My facility with words is not at its peak at that time of day. The announcer said that it was GIOACHINO ROSSINI.
I was somewhat taken aback as I haven't been a fan of that composer. I might have to start listening to some of his other works (that don't involve themes for imaginary western characters).
They played the entire piece but I'm only going to give you the first movement, the one that really took my fancy. Wind Quartet No 1 in F major.
Henrik Ibsen wrote his famous work Peer Gynt initially as a verse drama, but then he decided to turn it into a play. He contacted his old mate EDVARD GRIEG and asked him if he'd like to write some music for it.
Eddie was enthusiastic about the idea but after a while, as time went on and the work dragged on as well, it became a real chore for him. He finished it but kept rewriting it over the years.
The finished work is not only for orchestra but for a chorus and solo singers as well. Because it's so long and requires a whole bunch of people, it's seldom performed in its entirety.
Eddie himself pulled out what he thought were the best tunes and turned them into short orchestral suites (Peer Gynt No 1 and 2). These became hugely popular and are still so today.
However, I thought I'd go back to the original and play a part of it with the full trappings. This is Arabisk Dans (Arabian Dance) from Peer Gynt, Op. 23, with Barbara Bonney and Marianne Eklöf singing.
JIŘÍ DRUŽECKÝ, also known as Georg Druschetzky (and various other spellings of his name) was a Czech composer, drummer and oboe player.
He studied the oboe in Dresden and then joined the army where he became a handy drummer. Later he moved to Vienna which was where he started composing proper music (he created some drum stuff when he was in the army).
His work mainly centred around the oboe and other blowing instruments although there were some operas and ballets. This is the first movement of his Quintet in C Major for Oboe, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello.
ALESSANDRO ROLLA was an Italian virtuoso on both the viola and violin.
He also wrote music, mainly for those instruments, and he was a teacher as well. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that he taught Paganini how to play. He obviously taught him well.
He was chief conductor at La Scala for some time and besides conducting operas, he played the works of Haydn and Mozart as well as introducing new compositions from Beethoven. All the while writing his own music.
This is a bit of that, the third movement of Duo for Violin and Cello in B flat major.
Speaking of BEETHOVEN, here he is with something unusual. Actually, there are a number of unusual things in his canon that seldom get played.
In 1806, Ludwig was somewhat lacking in the loose scratch department so he trawled through his old works to see what he could put out there to earn him a bit of loot.
One of the things he found was his Trio for 2 Oboes and Cor Anglais in C Major. This was something he wrote many years earlier when he was still under the influence of Haydn and Mozart.
Of course, if you're going to be influenced by anyone those two are at the very top of the tree; Ludwig wouldn't admit that influence, of course.
Naturally, he was dissatisfied with his youthful work so he tinkered with it before it was published. Here's the finished product, the second movement.
People often take the music of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH and put their own stamp on it, or try to anyway.
This was initially a sonata for harpsichord and violin but we have the piano instead (the piano wasn't around back when old J.S. was performing). I'm including it because of a new album with MICHELLE MAKARSKI and KEITH JARRETT that I really like.
Keith is a jazz pianist but he was classically trained and has released several classical albums in the past. It's interesting to get a jazz player's interpretation as J.S. was essentially a jazz musician himself. He was renowned as one of the finest improvisers of his time, particularly on the organ but other instruments as well.
Michelle plays the violin and as far as I know doesn't play jazz. They perform the second movement of the Sonata for Violin and Piano No 1 in B minor, BWV 1014.
Continuing with the baroque, GEORG TELEMANN was a composer almost the equal of the great J.S.
Actually, they not only knew each other, they were good friends. Georg was the godfather of one of J.S.'s sons (C.P.E. Bach, probably the best known of the sons). He was also a friend of Mr Handel who will appear a little further down.Georg was one of the most prolific composers in history with more than 3,000 known works (and his awful wife destroyed many others besides taking lovers and spending all of Georg's money).
Out of his many compositions, I've gone with the third movement of the Sonata in D for Trumpet, strings and continuo. This is essentially a trumpet concerto as far as I'm concerned.
I rather agree with MOZART when he once said, "I become quite powerless whenever I'm obliged to write for an instrument which I cannot bear.”
Okay, I don't compose music; it was about the particular instrument he had in mind. He was talking about the flute. However, he couldn't help himself and wrote an exquisite piece.
Similarly, I think, "Well, that's not too bad at all". Okay, it is Mozart. Make up your own mind while listening to the Andante for Flute and Orchestra C major K315.
SLAVA and LEONARD GRIGORYAN are the best guitarists to come out of Australia since John Williams.
From their album of various baroque guitar works I've chosen something from GEORGE HANDEL.
That something is the first movement of his Concerto in B-flat for two guitars.
IGNAZ PLEYEL was the most successful and popular composer of his time, and considering that his time overlapped with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven that's a big call.
He was also a music publisher and because of that, he was easily the richest composer of the era. Besides that, he made and sold pianos. This man was a serious workaholic.
Unfortunately, since then he has rather dropped below the radar, undeservedly so, I think. His compositions didn't match those of the previously mentioned composers but they are pretty good and really should be played more often.
Here is one of them, the first movement of the Octet in E flat-Major.