About this Recording

Night Music Vol 2
A Nocturnal Musical Tour of Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and France
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Fryderyk Chopin, Georg Philipp Telemann, Georges Bizet, Gabriel Fauré, Jules Massenet and George Frideric Handel



Czech Republic: Countryside near Vranov Castle

Vranov Castle, in southern Moravia, not far from the Austrian border, was built in the 11th century as a fortress but was converted, in the 17th and 18th centuries, into a palace by the Althan family. The castle stands on a rock overlooking the river and the surrounding countryside.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No 4, K. 495 – II. Romance: Andante cantabile

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) was born in Salzburg, travelled as a child prodigy and passed his adolescence in a search for better employment than he could find in the service of his father’s patron, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. In 1781 he took the occasion of a visit to Vienna in the entourage of the Archbishop to secure his dismissal. From then until his death ten years later he lived in independence of a patron and, incidentally, of the necessary advice and care of his father, who was obliged to remain in Salzburg. His four completed horn concertos were written during this final period in Vienna for an old Salzburg friend, now settled there and prudently married to a widow with a cheese-shop, Ignaz Leutgeb.


Italy: Lake Montiggel, Southern Tyrol

The Tyrol, now part of northern Italy, is predominantly German-speaking, leading to alternative Italian and German names for many places in the region. Lake Montiggel, a mountain lake, is near the picturesque Eppan (Appiano), with its centre at St Michael (San Michele), on the Weinstrasse.

Music Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op 50 – II. Larghetto

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) had been sent to Vienna by his employer, the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, to take lessons from Mozart, but the illness of Beethoven’s mother forced his return. When he finally settled in Vienna in 1792 Mozart was dead, but remained a strong early influence. At home in Bonn Beethoven had attempted a violin concerto, which remained incomplete. In Vienna, where he soon made a name for himself, he completed a new concerto in 1806, by which time increasing deafness had diverted him from virtuoso performance as a pianist to composition. The concerto was first performed by the young violinist Franz Clement, who gave a further demonstration of his abilities on that occasion by playing some variations with the violin upside down.


Switzerland: Museo Vela, Ligornetto

The sculptor Vincenzo Vela (1820–1891) spent much of his career in Turin, where he taught at the Accademia Albertina. In 1867 he returned to his native Ligornetto, where, in the immediately preceding years, he had built a villa and studio. The Museo Vela now houses a variety of works, including gesso models of figures in the ground floor sculpture gallery, examples of Vela’s preoccupation with realism.

Music Chopin: Prelude in A minor, Op 28, No 2

Fryderyk Chopin (1810–1849), the son of an émigré French father and a Polish mother, was born in Poland and had his early musical training in Warsaw, before leaving to find fuller scope for his abilities. In 1831, after an unproductive winter in Vienna, he moved to Paris, the centre of his activities as a performer, composer and teacher, for the rest of his life. Most of his compositions are for the piano, the poetic nuances of which he was able to explore with great sensitivity. His 24 Preludes were written during a period that found him, with his mistress George Sand and her two children, on the island of Mallorca, where the high winds of winter seriously affected his health. It was the same illness, tuberculosis, that brought about his death in Paris in 1849.


Germany: Glass Factory, Frauenau, Bavaria

The Bavarian forest, in one area at least, is a centre for glass-blowing, an industry strengthened in the second part of the 20th century by the craftsmen coming from Bohemia, with its own traditions in glass manufacture.

Music Telemann: Recorder Suite in A minor – III. Air à la italienne

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681–1767) was as prolific as any composer of his generation. He spent the greater part of his career in Hamburg, where he was eventually succeeded by his godson, the second son of JS Bach. Telemann provided music of all kinds for church, theatre and the home, writing in an accessible style that developed, over the years, as the baroque merged with the pre-classical.


Spain: Seville and Spanish Dancer

Among the outstanding buildings in Seville, the capital of Andalucía in southern Spain, is the great cathedral built in the 15th century on the site of a former unfinished mosque. The cathedral incorporates French Gothic influences. The Torre d’Oro (Golden Tower), built in 1220, stands in a strategic position, overlooking the River Guadalquivir.

Music Bizet: Carmen – Suite No 2: III. Nocturne

Georges Bizet (1838–1875) had a career of variable success in Paris. His last opera, Carmen, which was running at the time of his death in 1875, was later to enjoy the greatest success, although at first its treatment of criminal life in a Spanish setting did not win full approval. Two suites were later derived from the opera.


France: Corniche de l’Estérel • Sea at Cannes

While the Corniche runs along the side of the Estérel massif, the coast itself is characterized by the porphyry-coloured rocks that extend into the sea. The popular resort of Cannes, with its beaches and other amenities, can also be a centre for the exploration the coast, with its mysterious caves, to be approached only from the sea.

Music Fauré: Pavane, Op 50

Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) won recognition from the French musical establishment with difficulty. A pupil of Saint-Saëns, he finally joined the staff of the Paris Conservatoire after the death of the old director, implacably imposed to him, and ten years later became director of the Conservatoire, after the scandal surrounding the rejection of his pupil Ravel from the important Prix de Rome competition. In many ways the music of Fauré reflects the mood of
the period, often one of poignant nostalgia, expressed in his songs and in some of his instrumental compositions.


France: Chapel of St Sixtus, Eygalières

The 12th century Chapel of St Sixtus at Eygalières, which lies off the main road to St-Rémy, is in one of the most picturesque area of Provence.

Music Bizet: L’Arlésienne – Suite No 1: III. Adagietto

Bizet's L’Arlésienne, was a melodrama, written with Alphonse Daudet, and provoked criticism, largely as a result of the unusual form of the work, neither opera nor straight play. A suite was later derived from it.


Madrid by night

The streets of the Spanish capital Madrid assume a new dimension by night, in a country where nocturnal life has a traditional importance.

Music Massenet: Le Cid – II. Andalouse

Jules Massenet (1842–1912) had a relatively conventional musical training at the Paris Conservatoire and established himself as the leading French composer of opera in the generation before Debussy. His opera Le Cid, based on the play by Corneille, deals with events in the life of the legendary Spanish hero of the title.


Italy: Church of St Jakob, Tramin, Southern Tyrol

The old Church of St Jakob at Tramin (Termino), to the south of Bozen (Bolzano) lies in one of the most beautiful parts of the Italian Tyrol.

Music Handel: Concerto Grosso, Op 6, No 8 – Siciliana

George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) is a major figure in the music of the late baroque period. Born in Halle, he worked in Hamburg, spent some years in Italy, was appointed Kapellmeister to the Elector of Hanover and from the age of 27 made his career in England as a composer of Italian opera and then as creator of the English oratorio. His twelve Concerti grossi, Op 6, were written as a set and published in 1739. They follow the traditional form of the concerto grosso, contrasting a smaller solo group of instruments with the main body of the orchestra, scored so often, as here, for strings and harpsichord. The Siciliana is a pastoral dance movement, in a gently lilting rhythm.


Italy: Basilica of San Marco, Venice

The great Basilica of St Mark in Venice is one of the major churches in Christendom. Founded in 832 and owing much to the example of Constantinople in its architecture, it has been elaborately embellished over the centuries. The Sanctuary is separated from the nave and transepts by a 14th century rood screen, while above are gilded mosaics, with scenes based on the work of major artists, at first from Venice and then from Tuscany.

Music Mozart: Flute Concerto No 1 – II. Adagio non troppo

Mozart resigned, temporarily at least, from duties in Salzburg in 1777 in order to seek opportunities in Mannheim and then in Paris, but without success. It was in Mannheim that he met an amateur flautist who commissioned from him two concertos for the flute, a task that Mozart was slow to fulfil, producing a second concerto based on his earlier concerto for oboe.

Keith Anderson

Mozart Horn Concertos: Miloš Števove, French horn, Capella Istropolitana, cond. Josef Kopelman [Naxos 8.550148]
Beethoven Violin Concerto: Takako Nishizaki, violin, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Kenneth Jean [Naxos 8.550149]
Chopin Preludes: Irina Zaritzkaya, piano [Naxos 8.550225]
Telemann Recorder Suite: Jiři Stivín, recorder, Capella Istropolitana, cond. Richard Edlinger [Naxos 8.550156]
Bizet Carmen & L’Arlésienne Suites: Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. Anthony Bramall [Naxos 8.550061]
Fauré Pavane (‘French Festival’): Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Keith Clark [Naxos 8.550088]
Massenet Le Cid (‘Spanish Festival’): Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Keith Clark [Naxos 8.550086]
Handel Concerto Grossi: Capella Istropolitana, cond. Josef Kopelman [Naxos 8.550158]
Mozart Flute Concertos: Herbert Weissberg, flute, Capella Istropolitana, cond. Martin Sieghart [Naxos 8.550074]

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