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.
Here’s some more music that struck my fancy over the last few weeks.
For much of the 20th century ERICH KORNGOLD was probably best known as a composer of film scores (“Captain Blood”, “Robin Hood”, “The Sea Hawk” “King’s Row” and many others).
However, he was also a composer of “serious” music as those who like to think in these terms have a wont to say. He wrote sonatas, chamber music of various sorts, concertos and many other things including several operas, one of which is “Die Kathrin”.
From that opera, the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING presents Ich soll ihn niemals, niemals mehr sehn.
MICHAEL HAYDN was Joseph Haydn’s younger brother and has always lived in the shadow one of the greatest composers of all time.
Mike was no slouch at the composing biz; his style, not too surprisingly, is quite similar to his brother’s. Indeed, until recently, a number of his compositions were attributed to Jo.
Fortunately, evidence has shown that these works were really Mike’s. As far as I can tell, this isn’t one of those, it’s the second movement of his String Quintet in F Major, P. 112, MH 411.
KATIE MOSS was an English Composer, violinist, pianist and singer.
She wrote the words and music to The Floral Dance in 1911 after visiting the Cornish town of Helston, where she attended the town’s traditional Flora Day celebration.
The song has been recorded many times over the years, but most notably by the Australian bass-baritone PETER DAWSON, who was also a composer, in 1912.
FRANCESCO DURANTE was born in Naples in the latter half of the 17th century.
His father died when he was about 15, and his uncle, who was a musician, took over teaching young Frank. He later became a pupil of the great Alessandro Scarlatti. Frank later became renowned as a musical teacher, and many of his pupils went on to great things.
He is most noted for composing sacred music, but he did other things as well, including his Concerto No 2 G Minor (which seems to be for violin). This is the third movement.
Little is known of the life of GIOVANNI PANDOLFI MEALL other than he was born in Tuscany about 1630. Also, it seems there was no one was around to take a photo of him either.
Well, there is a bit more known: it seems that he murdered a castrato during an argument and he then decided to hightail it to France and then Spain. There he was employed in the Royal Chapel where, I assume, they didn’t care about his previous misdeeds.
All that survives of his compositions is about 30 violin sonatas. This is one of them, Sonata for violin & continuo, Op. 3 No. 1 'La Stella'.
JAMES OSWALD was a Scottish composer about whom we know little before he moved to London in 1741.
He composed a lot of short works, including minuets and Scottish folk songs. He was also a music publisher which is probably how we know these things. He caught the ear of mad king George, who appointed him chamber composer.
Here is a composition for cello called Steer Her up and Had Her Gaun (whatever all that means).
CLARA SCHUMANN was born Clara Wieck and she was a child prodigy on piano, violin and singing.
The piano became her main instrument and she toured extensively giving concerts throughout her life – she lived to 76 years old. Robert Schumann was a pupil of her father’s and when Clara was 18 they decided to get married. Dad was against the union and Robert and Clara sued dad to allow this to happen. They won the case.
Robert seems to have been a troubled lad, but they stayed together until he died. Clara outlived him by 40 years.
She composed quite a few pieces, mostly for piano and was held in high esteem for her playing. Here is one of her pieces for solo piano, one of Four Polonaises, Opus 1. It’s the second of those.
To me it seems to anticipate the compositions of Scott Joplin by many years.
Although often referred to as FRANCESCO LANDINI, that almost certainly wasn’t his name (as he wasn’t a member of the Landini family).
Nitpicking scholars usually refer to him as Francesco da Firenze. He’s also been called Francesco degli Organi, Francesco il Cieco or Francesco Cecus.
He was born in Florence sometime between 1325 and 1335, and was blind from childhood due to smallpox (thus one of the aforementioned names, for the Italian speakers among us).
He was the most famous composer in Italy in the 14th century and he wrote much sacred music, but none survives today. What have survived are some madrigals, ballads, and music for various combinations of voices. One of those is Sì dolce non sonò chol lir' Orfeo.
FRANZ KROMMER was a Czech composer who was contemporaneous with Mozart, although he outlived him by a considerable amount – even outliving Beethoven.
He was a really prolific composer, with over 300 compositions to his name in just about every field that composers of the time indulged in, except operas. He was especially prolific at chamber music, quartets, quintets, duos, trios, sonatas and the like.
We’ve already had some of those sorts of things today, so I thought I’d include his Concerto for Two Clarinets, Op 91, because I like it. This is the first movement.