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 another container to hold various things. Those things are some interesting classical music. Well, they’re interesting to me; I hope they are to you too.
When the name Water Music is mentioned most of us (including me) think of Mr Handel. However, that Georg wasn’t the only one who wrote music with that name. Another was GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN.
This Georg was a good friend of J.S. Bach and J.S. named one of his sons after him. Georg is generally considered to be the most prolific composer in history, and pretty much everything he wrote was of the highest order, and these aren’t short pieces – Table Music went on for hours.
This one’s a bit shorter, well the bit I have included is, the whole thing is quite lengthy. This is the Overture in C Major, TWV 55D3, from his Water Music.
Speaking of Mr HANDEL, here he is with something from his best known work.
That, of course, is “The Messiah”, these days mostly called Handel’s Messiah. From that we have How Beautiful are the Feet, sung by SIOBHAN STAGG.
I don’t know whose feet he was talking about. It could be my mum’s which were really splendid, and she complained that her best feature was generally covered up.
A double bass concerto is not something you hear every day. They’re pretty rare but there are examples. Some of the best were by Ditters Von Dittersdorf, a friend of Haydn and Mozart with whom he played string quartets.
Another is Johann Vanhal, who was the fourth member of the group. I can imagine the chat after they were done playing: “You know, nobody has written a double bass concerto”. “You’re right, why don’t you do it?” “No, you do it.” “No, you.” “Your turn.” And so on.
None of these folks are who we have today, it is GIOVANNI BOTTESINI.
Gio didn’t play music with any of the others because he was born too late. He was a double bass virtuoso though, something that really didn’t happen again until jazz occasionally put the instrument front and centre.
Gio was taught music by his father, who played the clarinet. I imagine that he kicked himself whenever he had to lug his instrument around that he didn’t follow dad’s lead.
Anyway, he wrote several dozen compositions for the instrument as well as more standard fare, like operas, string quartets, symphonies and the like. Getting back to his instrument, here is the first movement of his Double Bass Concerto No 2 in B Minor.
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH wrote his second piano concerto for the birthday of his son, Maxim.
Maxim played the premiere of the work at his graduation from music college. This is an uncharacteristically cheerful composition (although less so in this movement), unlike most of Dmitri’s output; well he had to satisfy Stalin, no mean enterprise.
As often happens with such works, the critics dismiss it and the public really likes it. I’m one of the public. Thus, here is the second movement of his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102.
I’ve devoted a whole column (I’ll finish it one day) to LUIGI BOCCHERINI but before I get to that, here’s a sample of his music.
Although Italian, Luigi spent much of his life in Spain. He was a cello player (as was his dad, who taught him) and he wrote many works that featured the instrument prominently. He also used the guitar quite a bit, probably due to the Spanish influence.
Today we’re back to his first love, along with a bunch of other instruments in his Concerto for Cello, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns and Strings in D No 10, G 483. The third movement.
JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL, what a splendid name, wasn’t the first to write a trumpet concerto for the new keyed trumpet, the sort we have today, but he came close.
At the time he was Kapellmeister at the Esterházy court, a post that Joseph Haydn held for 30 years before him. It was this Jo who pipped our Jo at the post with the first such concerto.
The instrument was designed by famed trumpeter Anton Weidinger who commissioned the work today. He was a friend of both of them and they both saw the possibilities in the new instrument. So, here’s Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E or E flat major, WoO 1, S. 49, the third movement.
PHILLIP WILCHER is possibly not generally known to most of the readers of this column, but just ask someone under 7 or 8 years old and they can probably tell you.
Phillip was an original Wiggle, but he didn’t have a distinctive colored shirt as he left the group before they adopted those. Others might say, “What’s a Wiggle?” That’s why you need to ask a young person.
Besides his Wiggling activities Phil is a composer of really fine music, including his Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello. This is the fourth movement.
RADAMÉS GNATTALI was a Brazilian composer, conductor and orchestrator of the 20th century.
Boyd & Metcalf are Australian classical guitarist RUPERT BOYD with American cellist LAURA METCALF, acclaimed soloists in their own right, and just happened to be married to each other.
They perform the first movement of Rad’s Sonata for Cello and Guitar.
Along with Mozart, GIACOMO PUCCINI is my favorite composer of operas.
One of his best known is La Bohème. From that we have the scene from the first act where Rodolfo and Mimi get to know each other. Here we have David Hobson (especially for Norma, The Assistant Musicologist) and Cheryl Barker (especially for me) from a performance staged by the Australian Opera a little while ago.