Saturday, November 15, 2014

Musical Musings Volume 8 - Symphonies Part Two

This 8thVolume in the Musical Musings series of articles about classical music continues with selected compositions in the genre of the symphony. As in Part One (Musical Musings Volume II – Symphonies Part One) there are well known works represented in addition to works that are less well known.

The symphony evolved over many years, and this volume includes a symphony by one of the first acknowledged composers who wrote in the form, Giovanni Sammartini, who began writing symphonies as early as 1732.  So the symphony as a form has been around for nearly 300 years.    

There are 50 works included from 26 different composers, including two women composers; the American Mrs. H.H.A Beach and the British Alice Mary Smith.  As with the rest of the volumes in the series, there are links to performances of the works that are discussed included at the end of each article.  I invite one and all to visit Musical Musings, the blog where these articles first appeared.  

Happy listening!
Alan Beggerow  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Musical Musings Volume 7 - Concertos Part Two

The history of concerted music for orchestra and one or more soloists is a long one, beginning with the early Baroque period (beginning roughly in 1600) to the modern contemporary period. The repertoire for one or more soloists and orchestra is huge in sheer number and variety of works, hence the Concerto category is the first category to have a second volume devoted to it.

The solo concerto really came into being in the early 18th century with the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi who made the concerto a vehicle for a soloist on one instrument with orchestra backing. He also steered music away from counterpoint and fugue and into the more accessible style gallant.  Vivaldi’s innovations in style and content led to the result in t he early 19th century of the performer/composer, virtuoso performers that wrote music for their own use that would show off their prowess on their given instrument. Many composers first made a name for themselves as performer/composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, and many, many more.
This 7th volume in a series of ebooks about classical music composers and their works is a collection of 50 concertos. Included are works by familiar and unfamiliar composers, as well as well-known and so not well-known compositions.  There are 37 different composers included, so this volume has the greatest variety of composers of any other of the seven current volumes.

As with the rest of the volumes in the series, there are links to performances of the works that are discussed included at the end of each article.  I invite one and all to Musical Musings, the blog where these articles first appeared. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Musical Musings Volume 6


This 6th volume of articles from my classical music blog Musical Musings deals with chamber music, which is by definition music written for a small group of musicians, most often with each instrument having its own individual part.  The term chamber music also refers to the size of the venue that the music is to be performed in, such as salons, parlors and small rooms in individual dwellings.  This sense still applies today, but chamber music can also played in larger venues such as concert halls.

There are many different combinations of instruments within chamber music.  Perhaps the most well-known chamber music combination is the string quartet, which consists of two violins, viola and cello.  But the combinations of instruments range from two instruments up to nine.

The articles contained in this ebook range from the 17th century to the 20th century, with well-known and not so well-known composers represented. 

Chamber music by its nature a very intimate form of music. There is beautiful, powerful and passionate music within the genre that is unique to chamber music. I hope this modest volume adds to the musical pleasure of the listener by giving some information about the composer and analysis of the specific works being discussed, as well as an internet link to a performance of the work.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Musical Musings Volumes 4 and 5

Two more ebooks of classical music analysis and performances:

Musical Musings Volume 4 - Music For Keyboard

This is the 4th volume in my series of articles about classical music. All of these articles originally appeared on my classical music blog Musical Musings. As with the other volumes in the series, there is a link to a performance of the musical work discussed in the article.

This volume contains works for keyboard; works for organ, clavichord, harpsichord and piano. There are examples of all 4 instruments in articles that begin with the Italian composer Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 - 1643) and end with the American composer Henry Cowell (1897-1965). By the way, the work by Cowell that is included, The Banshee, is to be played on the piano, but by using the fingers of the ‘pianist’ directly on the strings, so it isn’t actually for a keyboard per se. 

The repertoire for piano alone is enormous. Add the repertoire for other keyboard instruments and the number grows to gigantic proportions.  This collection is but a miniscule scratch in the vast repertoire of keyboard music, and as such it is hardly representative. The pieces contained herein are some of my favorites, some familiar, some not so much, and some have been added purely for their uniqueness.

This 5th volume in the series of ebooks taken from my music blog Musical Musings contains articles concerning works for orchestra that are not symphonies or concertos. This primarily means that that works in this volume are overtures from operas or concert overtures, and symphonic poems.

The most heavily represented composer in this volume is Franz Liszt. While Liszt was not the first composer by any means to write music inspired by other arts, he was the first to label them as symphonic poems. Nine of his thirteen symphonic poems are in this volume. Along with Liszt are 22 other composers from Beethoven (born in 1770) to Penderecki (born in 1933).

As with other volumes in this ebook series, there is a link at the end of each article to a performance of the work discussed.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Circle Bar Four

The second volume in the series Wyoming Territory sees the new ranch battling external problems created by Boss Katzman and internal troubles caused by partners in the ranch itself.


Gemstones And Jewelry

A new ebook consisting of a number of informative articles about gemstones and jewelry, including articles about precious metals used to make jewelry.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Origins Of Everyday Things

A new ebook,  a collection of articles containing facts, history and in some cases the folklore of everyday things.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recipe Ebook

From my recipe and cooking blog The Left Handed Chef, a collection of recipes and articles about cooking:

Musical Musings Volume 2 and 3

Link For This Book

From C.P.E Bach, one of the innovative composers that wrote some of the first symphonies that are meant to be played as works in their own right, to Dmitri Shostakovich, the 20th century’s most renowned symphony composer, this collection is a veritable history of the form.

As with Volume one, at the end of my comments and analysis of each work is a link to a performance of the work itself.  I hope my comments and any analysis I give of the work adds to the listening pleasure of the hearer.

Link For This Book
The Concerto as a form in music had beginnings in the Early Baroque period and originally designated works for voices and instruments that had independent parts from the voices. Earlier music had the instruments merely double the vocal lines.  The Late Baroque period saw the concerto transformed into the Concerto Grosso where a small group of instruments would play different music than the main body of the ensemble. This form gradually became the modern concerto for solo instrument and orchestra.

The concertos for various different solo instruments of the Late Baroque composer Vivaldi led to the development of the concerto for keyboard instrument, the harpsichord concerto by J.S. Bach and the organ concerto by Handel.  The concerto went through further refinement in the Classical period, with the 26 keyboard concertos of Mozart (with the later ones written for piano) being the outstanding example. Beethoven also did his part to expand and enrich the form. With the changes in music publishing and composers becoming independent artists instead of employees of royalty of the church, the arrival of the great pianist/composers of the early 19th century came about. And with the concertos of Paganini adding to the repertoire for the violin, the 19th century concerto became vehicles for audience-pleasing instrumental playing prowess.

The word ‘concerto’ itself may have been derived from Latin word that mean ‘to unite, to compete’, and that is a handy way to broadly categorize concertos. There are those concertos where the soloist becomes a part of the whole. These concertos can be thought more like symphonies for orchestra and soloist. Then there are those concertos where the soloist is definitely the star and the orchestra is more or less for backup. To my mind, the best concertos are a hybrid of the two categories. 

In this 3rd volume of Musical Musings I have included 51 concertos, with the majority being either for violin or keyboard.  But other instruments are also represented - viola, cello, organ, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, guitar, even the recorder. There are also pieces included that are concertos in everything but name. From J.S. Bach to Shostakovich, over two hundred years of music is represented. As before, at the end of each work discussed is a link to a performance.