Listen to TRACK 7: Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas form an unparalleled canon, remaining one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges for pianists to this day. These three sonatas represent Beethoven’s Early, Middle and Late periods but are united in the key of C – minor, for the dramatic and stormy intensity of mood in the Pathétique, and major for the radiant and poetic Waldstein sonata. In his sonata Op. 111 the cycle is completed with music of utmost dramatic tension and the deepest spirituality.
A period of twenty-one years separates Brahms’ two Cello Sonatas. Suffused with lyricism and expressive ardour, theFirst has become one of his most popular chamber works. The Second is more sober and succinct than the earlier work, yet strikingly original not least for the wide range required of the cellist to reach unusually high notes from the very low register. Chosen to suit the cello’s particular colour and articulation, the six songs are heard in idiomatic and sensitive arrangements which stay as close as possible to the originals.
Listen to Track 6: Svanevits moder (Swanwhite’s mother) –
Lento – Comodo – Lento – Allegro
So great was the effect of Sibelius’s incidental music for Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande that August Strindberg, whose wife had performed the rôle of Mélisande, agreed that he should write the music for his as-yet unperformed play Svanevit (Swanwhite). Composing for an orchestra of thirteen he wrote in a style reminiscent of Grieg, and both play and music were very well received by critics and audiences alike. The play Ödlan (The Lizard) inspired Sibelius with its dreamlike atmosphere, while Ett ensamt skidspår (A Lonely Ski Trail) and Grevinnans konterfej (The Countess’ Portrait) show his skill in writing for drama on a miniature scale.
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