About this Recording
2.110549 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - NIGHT MUSIC, Vol. 1 (NTSC)
English 

Night Music Vol. 1
A Nocturnal Musical Tour of Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, Benjamin Godard, Johann Pachelbel, Claude Debussy, Giuseppe Torelli, Fryderyk Chopin and Gabriel Fauré

 

CHAPTER 1

Italy: Venice

The remarkable city of Venice, built on some 117 small islands and shoals, has a hundred canals, of which the most significant is the Grand Canal. On each side are the palaces of leading families of the historical Republic and among the bridges the best known must be the Rialto, with its shops. Heading towards the sea, on the right is the great 17th century church of Santa Maria della Salute, then, out of the Grand Canal to the left is the Basilica of St Mark, the Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Square and the Campanile.

Music Mozart: Serenade No. 13 in G major, K.525, ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ – II. Romance

Mozart entered his Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night-Music) into his catalogue of compositions on 10 August 1787, a few months after his father’s death. In 1781 he had settled in Vienna, after an earlier career that had brought childhood success as a prodigy and less satisfactory adolescence in his native Salburg, where his father remained as Deputy Kapellmeister to the ruling Archbishop until his death. Vienna offered Mozart initial success but his dismissal from the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg deprived him of the security of a patron and the necessary daily advice of his father. The popular serenade, from which the Romance is taken, was originally designed for five solo strings.

CHAPTER 2

Switzerland: Maggia Valley, Tessin

The Maggia Valley is the largest of the Swiss valleys leading from Lake Maggiore. Above the pastures and characteristic villages of the region are higher mountains, becoming more impressive in the further reaches of the valley.

Music Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata in C sharp minor (Moonlight Sonata), Op. 27, No. 2 – I. Adagio

Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una fantasia, the so-called Moonlight Sonata, was written in 1801 in Vienna, where the composer had settled some nine years before. By now the composer’s career as a virtuoso performer was seriously threatened by increasing deafness, while his music grew, over the years, in innovative complexity. Born in 1770 in Bonn into the third generation of a family employed in the musical establishment of the Archbishop of Cologne, he had been despatched to Vienna by his patron, armed with useful introductions to members of the nobility, who continued to support him through the economic difficulties of the period, in spite of his increasing eccentricities. The popular title of the sonata came from the poet Rellstab, who compared the work to moonlight over Lake Geneva.

CHAPTER 3

Italy: Landscape, Southern Tyrol

The Southern Tyrol is a mountainous region of Northern Italy, bordering on Switzerland and Austria, with its own culture, lakes, vineyards, pastures and rivers.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 – II. Andante

The last few years of Mozart’s relatively short life brought remarkable compositions but inadequate reward to support himself, his young wife and their children. By the time of his death in 1791, at the age of 35, matters seemed to have taken a turn for the better. His last three symphonies, however, were written in the summer of 1788, perhaps for a planned series of subscription concerts, which, in the event, never took place. The second of these is the famous Symphony in G minor, K.550, from which the slow movement here included is taken.

CHAPTER 4

Germany: Chiemsee, Bavaria

The Chiemsee, the Bavarian Sea, lies at a height of 518 metres below the Alps of eastern Bavaria. The lake itself covers an area of eighty square kilometres, with a width varying from eleven to fourteen kilometres and a depth of as much as 75 metres. Of the islands in the lake, the best known is the Herreninsel, the site of an ancient monastery and of an elaborate palace built by Ludwig II in the 1870s and containing items connected with Wagner and his operas.

Music Tchaikovsky: Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 42 – III. Mélodie (orch. Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov)

Tchaikovsky was among the earlier musicians to benefit from the new Conservatory established in St Petersburg, moving from there to teach at the parallel institution in Moscow. An unfortunate marriage, from which he quickly distanced himself, came at a time when he was able to resign from teaching thanks to the intervention of a rich benefactress, Nadezhda von Meck, whom he was never to meet. Communicating with him by letter in a correspondence on which he came to rely, she was also able to offer Tchaikovsky moral support until shortly before his death in 1893. The Mélodie, originally for violin and piano, was written in the summer of 1878 and included in a group of three pieces under the title Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Memory of a Dear Place). This was intended for Mme von Meck as a token of gratitude for hospitality at her Ukrainian estate of Brailov, during her own absence.

CHAPTER 5

France: Port of Poussai

The Port of Poussai, on the south-western coast of France, provides an idyllic scene, as well as provision for small boats. The rocks stand out in the blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Music Godard: Berceuse from Jocelyn

Although endowed with great facility, the French composer Benjamin Godard is now chiefly known for the Berceuse from his opera of 1888, Jocelyn. He enjoyed an early reputation, which has faded with the years, although his lighter music had found a place in domestic repertoire and, apart from his operas, his more serious works were welcomed at the time by the Parisian public. Distinguished as a violist, Godard wrote particularly well for strings.

CHAPTER 6

Italy: Lagoons, Venice

The Venetian lagoon is protected from the open sea by two narrow islands, the Lido and Pellestrina. Half of the area is known as the Laguna morta (the Dead Lagoon), which is covered by the sea only with the spring tides. There are a number of islands, some inhabited, others now deserted, including the cemetery island of San Michele, an island of the dead.

Music Johann Pachelbel: Canon

Born in 1653 in Nuremberg, Johann Pachelbel is an important figure in German music in the generation before that of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose elder brother, Johann Christoph, was his pupil. Pachelbel occupied various positions, in Eisenach and then in Erfurt, before his return to Nuremberg in 1695. He remained there until his death in 1706. His Canon has enjoyed great popularity in recent years. Written originally for three violins, over a bass line, decorated by the harpsichord, it allows each instrument or instrumental group to enter in imitation of the other, offering 28 variations, at the same time, over a short repeated pattern of notes in the bass.

CHAPTER 7

France: Port of Camargue

The Camargue is a large area of wild land between two branches of the Rhône, as it comes down to the Mediterranean. The coast itself, with its fishing-villages, offers facilities to visitors.

Music Debussy: Suite bergamasque – III. Clair de lune

Claude Debussy is a figure of great importance in the development of music into the 20th century. His career centred on Paris, where he died in 1918. Originally intending a career as a pianist, Debussy turned instead to composition, creating, through technical innovations, a musical world that seems characteristic of his time. Among his most popular compositions is Clair de lune (Moonlight), part of his Suite bergamasque, written in 1890 and revised and published in 1905. The suite and the piece in particular reflect the world of Watteau, as conjured up by the poems of Verlaine, also set to music by Debussy.

CHAPTER 8

Switzerland: Engadine

The Engadine valley stretches for a 100 kilometres, from the Maloja Pass to Martina. It holds some of the finest and most characteristic scenes in Switzerland. Through the valley flows the river En, better known in its Austrian form as the Inn, the river that passes through Innsbruck in its course.

Music Torelli: Sonata a 5 in D – I. Andante

Giuseppe Torelli, a native of Verona, where he was born in 1658, was intermittently associated, throughout his career, with the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna and its famous musical establishment. He is a figure of importance in the development of the concerto. The presence of a virtuoso trumpet-player in Bologna seems to have inspired him to write a number of works for the instrument.

CHAPTER 9

France: Seaside Camargue

The Camargue is separated from the Mediterranean by sand-dunes. It covers some 70,000 hectares and includes within it a nature reserve.

Music Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 – II. Larghetto

The son of a French father and Polish mother, Fryderyk Chopin was born in Poland and inherited from his father a strong feeling of patriotism for the latter’s adopted country. Nevertheless Chopin spent his professional career as a composer, pianist and teacher in Paris, where he died in 1849. Before he left Warsaw in 1830 he had provided himself with suitable virtuoso repertoire for piano and orchestra, including two piano concertos, the second of which was the first to be written and heard in Warsaw, early in 1830. The slow movement is in the manner of a nocturne.

CHAPTER 10

France: Landscape, Camargue

The Camargue has its own breeds of sheep and bull, and the white horses that roam there are said to be of Arab origin, a relic of earlier Saracen invasions.

Music Fauré: Sicilienne, Op. 78

Gabriel Fauré at first seemed an outsider to the French musical establishment, although eventually he was appointed to the staff of the Paris Conservatoire, of which he became director in 1905. In style he may be perceived as the direct precursor of Debussy, bridging the transitory period between romantic and modern. His notable gift for melody is evident in his Sicilienne that had its origin in incidental music for Molière’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme in 1893, to be used again five years later for performances in London of Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande.


Keith Anderson

 

Recording

‘Night Music 1’ [Naxos 8.556815]

Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Capella Istropolitana conducted by Wolfgang Sobotka
Beethoven: ‘Moonlight’ Sonata. Jenő Jandó, piano
Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Capella Istropolitana conducted by Barry Wordsworth
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir d’un lieu cher. Mariko Honda, violin, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Keith Clark
Godard: Berceuse & Fauré: Sicilienne. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ondrej Lenárd
Pachelbel: Canon & Torelli: Sonata a 5. Capella Istropolitana conducted by Richard Edlinger
Debussy: Clair de lune. Péter Nagy, piano
Beethoven: ‘Moonlight’ Sonata. Jenő Jandó, piano
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2. István Székely, piano, Budapest Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gyula Németh


Close the window