About this Recording

A Musical Visit to Gardens and Parks of Europe
With music by various composers



FRANCE Paris: Jardin de Luxembourg

The Palais de Luxembourg and its gardens were created for Marie de Médicis in the early 17th century, after the death of her husband, Henri IV, and in a style that recalled that of her native Florence. The gardens have long provided a popular park, with their plane-trees, diversions for children and boating lake.

Music Fryderyk Chopin: Nocturne in E flat major, Op 9, No 2 – Andante

She son of a French émigré father and a Polish mother, Fryderyk Chopin left Warsaw in 1830 to make his home, for the greater part of his life, in Paris. His Nocturne in E flat, the second of a group of three such pieces, written between 1830 and 1832 and dedicated to the pianist Marie-Félicité Pleyel, née Moke, follows the example of the Irish-born pianist John Field. [8.552107–08]


FRANCE Versailles: Jardin du Roi Soleil

The formal gardens of the Château de Versailles were the work of André Le Nôtre and were laid out in the 17th century for the Sun King, Louis XIV, with further elements added by his successors. The gardens include avenues, artificial lakes and more intimate buildings, affording some refuge from the great palace itself.

Music Jean-Baptiste Forqueray: Suite No 3 in D major – La Angrave

The son of the viol-player and composer Antoine Forqueray, Jean-Baptiste Forqueray enjoyed an uneasy relationship with his cruel and odd father, some of whose compositions he seems to have arranged for harpsichord. The third of five Suites includes two pieces by Jean-Baptiste, one of which is La Angrave, its title a reference to a contemporary. [8.553407]


FRANCE Chenonceau: Jardin du Château

In 1547 the Château of Chenonceau was given by Henri III to Diane de Poitiers, who had the bridge built joining the château to the other bank of the River Cher. When the king died, it was taken by Catherine de Médicis in exchange for Chaumont. The gardens are laid out in the formal style of the period.

Music Fryderyk Chopin: Prélude in A major, Op 28, No 7 – Andantino

Chopin dedicated his 24 Préludes to Camille Pleyel, the Paris publisher and piano manufacturer, and to a Warsaw patron, Józef Kessler. He completed the set of Préludes during the winter of 1838–39, spent with George Sand (Aurore Dudevant) in unhappy circumstances on Majorca. [8.554536]


SPAIN Córdoba: Palacio de Viana

Gallen-Kallela’s first important large-scale painting was his Boy and Crow of 1894. Spring includes his two children, who watch, while Kullervo’s Curse, based on an episode in the Kalevala, depicts the unfortunate fate of the young man, destined never to succeed at any task, and angry when given a loaf of bread holding a stone, on which he breaks his knife.

Music Jules Massenet: Le Cid – Andalouse

Massenet was the leading French opera composer of his time. His opera Le Cid is based on the play by Corneille and was first performed in 1885. Today it is known mainly for the Spanish dances of the second act, a scene of popular rejoicing, after the tragedy that had ended the first act, in which the hero, Rodrigue, kills the father of his beloved Chimène. The first dance is an Andalouse. [8.550086]


SPAIN Seville: Parque de María Luisa

The Parque de María Luisa in Seville was originally the garden of the Palacio S. Telmo and was given to the municipality of Seville in the late 19th century by the Infanta María Luisa Fernanda. The large number of doves has earned it the title of Parque de las Palomas (Park of the Doves).

Music Georges Bizet: Carmen Suite No 1 – Intermezzo

Bizet’s opera Carmen was first staged in Paris in 1835, shortly before the composer’s early death. The gypsy girl of the title seduces Don José, a soldier, but deserts him for the toreador Escamillo, leading Don José to kill her, in jealous revenge. The Intermezzo from the first of the two suites posthumously derived from the opera depicts the peace of the mountains, where Carmen and her smuggler friends are seeking refuge. [8.550061]


SICILY Taormina: Parco Villa Comunale

Taormina preserves remains of its original Greek identity, transformed by later Roman occupation, and is set on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea. From the garden of the Villa Comunale there is a fine view over the bay below and the water.

Music Gioachino Rossini: String Sonata No 6 in D major – II. Andante assai

Rossini’s String Sonatas, most of which give prominence to the double bass, were written when he was twelve for a patron whose expertise lay with that instrument. The slow movement of Sonata No 6, however, contents itself with more usual string orchestration, for an ensemble in which Rossini himself played second violin, a part often more demanding than that provided for the first violin. [8.550622]


ITALY Montecatini Terme: Parco Comunale

Montecatini Terme, in Tuscany, is the leading spa town in Italy. The spa buildings are surrounded by a large park in which visitors may relax. From the park there is a funicular leading to the old town, seen on the hill above.

Music Antonio Vivaldi: Oboe Concerto in D minor, Op 8, No 9, RV454 – II. Largo

Amazingly prolific as a composer, Antonio Vivaldi spent the greater part of his life in his native Venice, where, for may years, he was associated with the musical establishment of the Ospedale della Pietà, a school for orphan, indigent or illegitimate girls. At the same time he was busy in the opera house and as a virtuoso violinist. His Oboe Concerto in D minor, RV454, is the ninth in a set of twelve concertos published in 1725 as Opus 8. [8.550859]


ITALY Verona: Giardino Giusti

The Giusti Gardens in Verona were laid out in the 16th century on a hillside. The formal gardens include a tower and a staircase affording access to the terraces above.

Music Anon. 14th Century: Bellicha

Bellicha, the war-like woman, is taken from a collection of pieces from the time of Boccaccio’s Decamerone of 1353, suggesting the kind of music that would have provided entertainment to the young noblemen and noblewomen of Florence, as they sought refuge in the country from the plague in the city. The music is played on instruments of the period. [8.553131]


AUSTRIA Salzburg: Schloss Hellbrunn Garden

Schloss Hellbrunn was built in the early 17th century for the ruling Archbishop, Markus Sitticus. The gardens contain various statues, obelisks, unicorns, formal figures and grotesques, with grottoes, fountains and a display of moving automata.

Music Ludwig van Beethoven: Mödlinger Tanz No 9 – Menuett

In 1819 Beethoven had moved out of Vienna to the countryside at Mödling, in order to concentrate on the composition of the Missa Solemnis for his patron and pupil Archduke Rudolph. He is said to have responded to a request from local musicians at the Zu den drei Raben inn for a set of eleven dances, rediscovered in 1905 and since then known as the Mödlinger Tänze. If they are the work of Beethoven, they represent unusual generosity on his part at a period when he was both stone-deaf and generally in ill-humour. [8.550433]


AUSTRIA Vienna: Schönbrunn

At one time lying outside the city of Vienna, the Palace of Schönbrunn was once the summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family. The palace was completed in 1730 and underwent various changes in the course of history. The gardens were laid out in the early 18th century, overlooked from the Gloriette of 1775, an open portico.

Music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Serenata Notturna, K.239 – I. Marcia: Maestoso

Mozart completed his Serenate Notturna, K 239, in January 1776. Written in Salzburg, which Mozart was to leave the following year, in unsuccessful pursuit of his fortune elsewhere, the serenade was presumably intended for some social occasion. The work is scored for a group of solo strings, two violins, a viola and a double bass, and a body of orchestral strings and drums. It duly opens with a March. [8.550026]


GERMANY Schloss Linderhof

Schloss Linderhof, modelled on the palace at Versailles, is the smallest of the three palaces built by Ludwig II of Bavaria. The only one completed in Ludwig’s lifetime, Linderhof, with its formal gardens and statuary, has Wagnerian references, reflecting the King’s obsession with Richard Wagner, and reminiscences of the French monarchy, of Louis XIV and of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. There is an impressive Neptune Fountain, a Naiad Fountain and a temple with a statue of Venus.

Music Robert Schumann: Romanze for oboe & piano, Op 94, No 1 – Nicht schnell

Schumann wrote his Three Romances for oboe and piano, Op 94, in 1849, towards the end of his time in Dresden. The pieces were published, with possible alternative instrumentation, in 1851, after he and his family had moved to Düsseldorf, where, in 1854, he had a serious mental break-down, leading to two final years spent in an asylum at Endenich. The first of the set is, like its companion pieces, lyrical, suggesting a song in Schumann’s deft handling of the two instruments. [8.550599]


GERMANY Kassel: Schloss Wilhelmshöhe

Schloss Wilhelmshöhe was completed in 1801, built for Landgrave Wilhelm IX, the future Elector Wilhelm II. The park has impressive fountains and cascades, and includes statues, notably a massive figure of Hercules on a high column. The park extends up the hill, opposite the building, and affords an impressive view of the whole scene.

Music Johannes Brahms: Serenade No 1 in D major, Op 11 – V. Scherzo: Allegro

Brahms wrote his Serenade No 1 in D major, Op 11, in the early years of his career, when he spent time at the court in Detmold, where it seems at least to have been played through by the musicians available there. The fifth of the six movements is a second Scherzo, introduced by the French horn and suggesting a pastoral mood, matched by the picture shown. [8.553227]


GERMANY Berlin: Schloss Charlottenburg

The Palace of Charlottenburg dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. It was built for Sophie Charlotte, wife of Friedrich III, Elector of Brandenburg and given its present name in her memory, after her death in 1705. In common with a number of other royal buildings of the period, the architect had an eye on Versailles, which was to serve as an ambitious model for so many. In 1788, under King Wilhelm Friedrich II, a Belvedere was built in the grounds, a tea-house, following popular custom of the time. The palace remains a monument to the former rulers, the Hohenzollern dynasty, a number of whose members are buried in the Mausoleum in the grounds.

Music Ludwig van Beethoven: Kontretanz, WoO 14, No 6

Beethoven wrote his Twelve Contredances, WoO 14, in 1802, re-using some earlier compositions of the same kind. He dedicated the dances to Johann Baptist Friedrich, assistant to Dr Johann Schmidt, the composer’s doctor, who at this time was still giving hope of a cure to Beethoven’s deafness. His ministrations proved ineffective. [8.550433]


CZECH REPUBLIC Konopiště Castle: Estate Park

The present castle at Konopiště dates largely from the 19th century, although the original building was erected in the 13th century, then to be altered to suit baroque taste. In the late 19th and early 20th century the castle became a favourite residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It is surrounded by grounds that vary from the natural to the more formal.

Music Leoš Janáček: Suite for Orchestra, Op 3 – II. Adagio

For many years Janáček’s work remained largely unknown beyond the bounds of his native Moravia and he was 62 before his music came to the attention of a wider public with a performance in Prague of his opera Jenůfa. His Suite, Op 3, was completed in 1891 but not performed until after Janáček’s death in 1928. In it the composer makes use of material associated with the opera he was then working on, the unrealised The Beginning of a Romance. The Adagio makes use of a characterically Moravian melody. [8.555245]


CZECH REPUBLIC Troia Palace (Trojský Zámek)

The Troia Palace, summer residence of Count Sternberg, was built in the later years of the 17th century and based on the model of an Italian villa. The formal gardens were planned by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey, who also designed the palace itself.

Music Antonín Dvořák: Humoresque in G flat major, Op 101, No 7 – Poco lento e grazioso

Dvořák wrote his set of Eight Humoresques, Op 101, between 1892 and 1895, and it was natural that these piano pieces should reflect something of what he had experienced during the period in the 1890s that he spent in America as director of the newly established National Conservatory of Music. The seventh Humoresque has become one of his best known compositions, familiar as a piano piece or in various other instrumental forms. [8.557388]


UKRAINE Yalta: Vorontsov Gardens

The palace and park built for the anglophile Count Mikhail Vorontsov was built in the second quarter of the 19th century on a site overlooking the sea, some ten miles west of Yalta. The entrance to the house is guarded by Italian marble lions.

Music César Cui: Suite Miniature, Op 40 – I. La petite guerre

César Cui was the son of a French officer in Napoleon’s army, who had stayed behind after the retreat from Moscow, married a Lithuanian and taken employment as a teacher of French. Study at the Academy of Military Engineering found Cui eventually as Professor of Military Fortification, combining this with his activities as a composer and critic, an important figure in the new Russian nationalism. His Suite, A Argenteau, orchestrated in 1887, is based on pieces from a piano suite of the same date, both a tribute to the Countess Mercy-Argenteau in return for her encouragement. In the fourth piece a fanfare leads into a battle for toy soldiers, one of a series of delightful vignettes, pieces in a miniature form of which Cui was a master, here colourfully orchestrated. [Marco Polo 8.223400]


RUSSIA Klin: Tchaikovsky’s Garden

Tchaikovsky occupied a house at Klin, fifty miles or so from Moscow, during the last years of his life, writing here his last symphony, first heard shortly before his death in 1893, and his ballets Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. His house, later bought by his brother Modest, is kept as a memorial to the composer.

Music Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky: The Seasons – March: The Song of the Lark

Throughout his life Tchaikovsky wrote music for the piano. The Seasons consists of twelve pieces, one for each month of the year, written in 1875 and 1876 in response to a commission from a periodical, Nouvelliste. Each monthly issue was to contain an appropriate piece by Tchaikovsky. March suggests the coming of spring. [8.570787]


RUSSIA Lomonossov: Park of Prince Menshikov

A leading courtier to Peter the Great, Alexander Menshikov had a palace built for himself at Oranienbaum, a resort near St Petersburg. On the death of the Tsar Menshikov was exiled and the palace was take by Tsar Peter III and then, when he had been disposed of, by his wife, Catherine the Great. After World War II it was later renamed Lomonossov, after the poet-scientist of that name.

Music Anatol Konstantinovich Liadov: Prelude, Op 40, No 3

Russian composer Anatol Liadov was a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and associated with the Five, the Russian nationalist composers gathered at first around Balakirev. Liadov went on to join the younger group of composers under the patronage of Belyayev. His varied compositions include a number of smaller piano pieces such as the present wistful Prelude. [Marco Polo 8.220416]


RUSSIA Peterhof: Garden of Peter the Great

The palace of Peter the Great at Peterhof was designed by Jean Baptiste Le Grand and underwent various later changes under subsequent rulers. There are French and English gardens, with a particularly lavish display of fountains and a grand cascade, the water finally flowing down to the sea.

Music Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty – Sarabande

Tchaikovsky’s second full-length ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, based on the tale by Perrault, was first staged in St Petersburg in 1890. The formal Sarabande is included in the last act, as the courtiers celebrate the wedding of Princess Aurore, now wakened from her sleep and united with her handsome Prince. [8.550490–92]


RUSSIA St Petersburg: Yelagin Park

The Yelagin Palace, built by an early courtier, was rebuilt in neo-classical style in the early 19th century for the mother of Tsar Alexander I. The whole of Yelagin Island became a popular scene for cultural events under the Soviet government.

Music Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty – Fée aux Miettes

The Prologue to The Sleeping Beauty finds the King and his courtiers celebrating the christening of his child, Princess Aurore, with good fairies bringing their gifts for the occasion. The bad fairy Carabosse has not been invited, but appears and curses the child, who will sleep a hundred years. The Fée aux Miettes (Bread Crumb Fairy) is the third to bring her christening gift. [8.550490–92]


FINLAND Helsinki: Sibelius Park

The Sibelius monument, consisting of six hundred hollow steel tubes, welded together, caused some public argument about the validity of abstract art in these circumstances, an intended evocation of the music of Sibelius. It was the work of Eila Hiltunen. The park, in the Tölö district of Helsinki, also has a more representational sculpture of Ilmatar and the Scaup, the winning entry, by Aarre Aaltonen, in a competition to provide a work based on the Finnish epic, the Kalevala. Ilmatar is the goddess of the air, and the scaup, a sea-bird, finds a nest with her for her brood, events related in the first book of the epic.

Music Jean Sibelius: Belshazzar’s Feast – II. Solitude

In 1906 the Finnish composer Sibelius wrote incidental music for the play Belshazzar’s Feast by his friend Hjalmar Procopé. From this Sibelius arranged an orchestral suite. The second movement, Solitude, was originally The Jewish Girl’s Song, delicately orchestrated, with an accompanying string ostinato. [8.570763]


ENGLAND Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, at Woodstock, near Oxford, is the only palace so named in England and not intended for royal residence. The palace building, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, was given by Queen Anne to John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, as a reward for his victory over the French in 1704 at Blenheim. The grounds were later laid out by Capability Brown, and various changes have been made over the years. To the east of the house is a parterre and to the west a water garden.

Music George Frideric Handel: Solomon – Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Born in Halle, Handel worked in Hamburg, in Italy and in Hanover, before establishing himself in England, where he became a British citizen in 1727. Solomon, an English oratorio, a form that he helped to create, was written and first performed in London in 1748. The third act starts with the arrival of the Queen of Sheba at Solomon’s court. [8.556665]


SCOTLAND Inverary: Private Gardens

Inverary Castle is the seat of the chief of Clan Campbell, the Duke of Argyll. The grounds of the castle include a formal garden, and further park land, generally benefitting from the relatively mild climate of the Western Highlands.

Music Edward Elgar: Salut d’amour, Op 12

Edward Elgar came to hold a leading position in British music during the first two decades of the 20th century. His Salut d’amour (Love’s Greeting), originally with the German title Liebesgruss, was written in 1888 and dedicated to his wife. Appearing in various arrangements, the piece won immense popularity and profit for Elgar’s publishers. [8.556672]


ENGLAND London: Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens, with its formal lay-out, adjoins Hyde Park and the former royal residence Kensington Palace, hurriedly adapted for King William and Queen Mary in 1689 by Christopher Wren.

Music Henry Purcell: Death of Queen Mary – March

Born in 1659, the year before the Restoration of the Monarchy and the accession of Charles II to the throne, Purcell prospered as a composer for the Chapel Royal and as a performer. On the defeat of James II and the accession of James’s Protestant daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange, he turned his attention more fully to music for the London theatre. The death of Queen Mary in December 1684 deprived Purcell of one source of active patronage and he wrote music for her funeral, part of which served for his own funeral in November 1695. [8.553129]

Keith Anderson


Naxos (or Marco Polo) recordings in which the music is included are given in brackets.

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