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 is some more interesting and entertaining music.
MARIE JAËLL was born Marie Trautmann in Alsace and learned the piano when she was six.
She was only ten when she was admitted to the Paris Conservatory and within months she won first prize for piano. At 20 she married Alfred Jaëll, once a pupil of Chopin, and they performed together throughout Europe and Russia.
Marie also started writing music and getting it published. Her compositions weren’t just for piano, but covered the full range of music. An example of this is the third movement of her Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in F Major.
I’m not a fan of FRANZ LISZT’s rather bombastic compositions, which seems to be most of them as far as I’m concerned.
Check that picture, talk about the original rock star. Getting back to what I was saying, every now and then he came up with a beautiful, lyric piece and I have one of those today. It is Au lac de Wallenstadt (At Wallenstadt Lake). The pianist is Lazar Berman.
NICOLÒ CORRADINI was an Italian composer of the early Baroque era.
Not a great deal is known about him except that he was the organist of the Cremona Cathedral. He later became a Kapellmeister to a local noble who liked to put on music around town.
Nic wrote music suited to the times, mostly religious. What we have today is a motet called Spargite flores. It’s performed by BRUCE DICKEY, who plays the cornetto, which I know of as an ice cream, but in this context is an instrument totally unrelated to the modern cornet, as you’ll see below. Along for the ride is the soprano HANA BLAŽÍKOVÁ.
FRIEDRICH KALKBRENNER was born in a carriage traveling between Kassel and Berlin and because of that it caused all sorts of problems registering his birth.
But born he was. In spite of being German, he attended the Paris Conservatoire, and spent the rest of his life in France, mostly in Paris (well, who wouldn’t?) Although living mostly in the nineteenth century, he thought of himself as a throwback to the days of Haydn and Mozart, and he composed in the classical style, rather than the rather bombastic (to my ears) romantic that was the vogue at the time.
Besides being a composer, he was a teacher of piano and he made them as well. Getting back to his compositions, here is the third movement of the Piano Sextet in G major, Op. 58.
IGNAZIO ALBERTINI lived in the middle of the seventeenth century. Iggy doesn’t seem to have stood still long enough to have his photo taken.
As far as we know he was born in Milan but the first real mention of him was in Vienna. It was in this city that he spent the rest of his life, all 41 years of it, as he was murdered in suspicious circumstances (stabbed by persons unknown).
All that’s known of his music is a collection of twelve sonatas for violin. This is one of them, his Sonata for Violin & Bass continuo in F major.
FLORENCE PRICE was born Florence Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1887.
She was taught piano at a very young age and gave her first performance when she was only four and was publishing music when she was eleven. She was head of the music department at an Atlanta university where she married Thomas Price and they moved back to Little Rock.
After a number of nasty racial incidents in that city they decided to move to Chicago. After her divorce from Tom, Florence made ends meet by playing for silent films. She later won (monetary) prizes for some of her compositions, which helped a bit.
Florence was the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra. A lot of her compositions were thought lost, but a large number have been found in an abandoned house in Illinois. One of those is Tropical Moon, from a series called “Dances in the Canebrakes.”
Very little is known about NICOLA FIORENZA, who was from Naples.
He was a cellist in the Neapolitan Royal Chapel Orchestra. Later he was up for a job as the head of the string section at the local conservatory. There were four in the running and they drew lots. Nic won.
It seems that he wasn’t the best teacher around – he used to beat his students and otherwise mistreat them – so he was eventually fired from that position. Only about 30 of his compositions are known to exist. One of those is his Cello Concerto in B-flat major. This is the second movement.
GEORGES BIZET is best known for his operas (Pearl Fishers, Carmen and so on).
However, that’s not all he wrote – there were symphonies, many compositions for piano, vocal works and so on. Here is the third movement of his Symphony in C. I must admit that it does sound as if it wouldn’t be out of place in an opera.
CHRISTOPH GLUCK was a German composer who specialized in French and Italian operas.
Chris spent some time at university in Prague, but for a while after that he seemed to have vanished until he popped up in Vienna some years later. He traveled quite extensively: Italy, London, back to Prague and Paris.
He made radical changes to the prevalent opera style of the time – sort of left over from its Baroque origins – and turned it into the now familiar style. He spent some considerable time in Paris, but spat the dummy and returned to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life, when one of his operas received a poor reception.
From his most famous opera, Orfeo ed Euridice, Wq. 30, from Act 3 we have Orfeo singing “Che farò senza Euridice.” This is performed by countertenor PHILIPPE JAROUSSKY.
JOSEPH EYBLER was born in Schwechat, which is near Vienna.
His dad was in the music biz and the family was good friends with the Haydn family, indeed they were distantly related. It was through Joseph Haydn that he was introduced to Mozart, another of Haydn’s friends.
They got along famously, such that he was (eventually) asked by Mozart’s widow to complete Mozart’s unfinished Requiem. He thought that task was beyond him, but he did conduct that work (finished by Franz Sussmayr) some years later.
Alas, he suffered a stroke while he was doing that, but lived for another 13 years. He wrote about 250 works, one of which is the Clarinet Concerto in B-flat major, this is the third movement.