Category: Program Notes

Webern: 5 Movements For String Quartet

Anton Webern (1883-1945) Five movements Op 5 (1909) Heftig bewegt, Tempo I Sehr langsam Sehr lebhaft Sehr langsam In zarter bewegung Anton Webern has the dubious distinction of being one of the last casualties of WWII. On September 15th 1945,…

Mozart: String Quartet In E Flat Major K428

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) String Quartet in E flat major K428 (1783) Allegro ma non troppo Andante con moto Menuetto: Allegro Allegro vivace K428 is part of a set of six quartets Mozart wrote in Vienna between 1783 and 1785….

Beethoven: String Quartet Op 95 ‘Serioso’

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Op 95 ‘Quartetto serioso’ 1810 Allegro con brio Allegretto ma non troppo Allegro assai vivace, ma serioso Larghetto espressivo – Allegretto agitato Beethoven is quoted as saying “The Quartet is written for a small circle of…

Haydn: String Quartet Op 54 No. 2

Franz Joseph Haydn (1723-1809) Op 54 No.2 (1788) Vivace Adagio Menuetto Adagio – Presto These quartets are part of a set of six (Op 54 & Op 64) published in 1790. They were dedicated to Johan Tost, the principal second…

Schubert: Piano Trio B flat major D898

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Piano Trio in B flat major D898 Allegro moderato Andante un poco mosso Scherzo: Allegro Rondo: Allegro vivace It is said that Stravinsky, when once asked if he were not put to sleep by the prolixities of…

Brahms: Piano Trio Op 8 B major [original version]

Often described as ‘autumnal’ by critics and musicologists, the Trio is melancholy and introspective, its expansive melodies rendered even more beautiful by an underlying sense of emotional agitation. Given the circumstances under which this piece was composed, the sense of unrest is even more poignant.

Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No.2 Op 66

Despite a vast gap in social class, Mendelssohn and Brahms enjoyed relatively similar upbringings. Both were born in Hamburg, were precocious pianists, and enjoyed a well-rounded education. Each of their music teachers instilled in them a love for the Viennese Classicists and both spent their teenaged years studying Bach.

Schubert: Symphony No.5 in B flat major D485

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Symphony No 5 in B flat major D 485 Allegro Andante con moto Menuetto: Allegro Molto – Trio Allegro Vivace In 1816, when Symphony No.5 was written, Schubert was 19 years old. He was a prodigious but…

Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Pulcinella Suite Overture: Sinfonia Serenata Scherzino – Allegro – Andantino Tarantella Toccata Gavotta – Variation I &II Vivo Minuetto – Finale Stravinsky’s early music was essentially Russian in inspiration but around 1920, he moved onto neo-classicism, a…

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.4 Op 58

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 4 in G major Op. 58 Allegro moderato Andante con moto Rondo – Vivace The Fourth Piano Concerto, dedicated Beethoven’s friend, student, and patron, the Archduke Rudolph, is introverted and thoughtful; a contrast…

Béla Bartók: Music For Strings, Percussion and Celeste

Béla Bartók Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste BB114 1936 Andante tranquillo Allegro Adagio Allegro molto Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste is one of his most well known pieces along with the Concerto for Orchestra and the 6…

Gyorgy Ligeti: Romanian Concerto

Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006) Romanian Concerto (1952) Andantino Allegro vivace Adagio, ma non troppo Molto vivace When he wrote this piece, Ligeti was a harmony and counterpoint professor at the Budapest Conservatory, the school from which he graduated in 1949. It…

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 ‘Leningrad’

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) Symphony No. 7 “Leningrad” Allegretto Moderato (poco allegro) Adagio Allegro non troppo There is great debate among musicologists regarding Shostakovich’s relationship with the Soviets. Some interpret his music as railing against Soviet cruelty while others have compiled…

Britten: Sinfonia da Requiem

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Sinfonia da Requiem Op 20 Lacrymosa: Andante ben misurato Dies irae: Allegro con fuoco Requiem aeternam: Andante molto tranquillo Britten’s largest work for symphony was born in rather curious circumstances. It was the result of a commission…

Louis Andriessen: The Nine Symphonies Of Beethoven

Louis Andriessen b. 1939 The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven for orchestra and ice cream bell (1970) Louis Andriessen was born into an extraordinarily musical family. His father and uncle were well-respected Dutch composers and his brother and sister also took…

Messiaen: Offrandes Oubliées

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) Offrandes Oubliées (1930) When asserting that Messiaen was one of the most influential composer of the 20th century, there is very little danger of overstating the matter. There is simply no other composer that had such a…

Program Notes Catalogue

Miss Mussel writes programme notes for orchestral and chamber music concerts in England and would be happy to create an original set of notes for your next concert. Her preferred method is to write an essay that links the whole…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 111

Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 Maestoso – Allegro con brio e appassionato Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile Beethoven still had five years left to live when he wrote this sonata but in many ways it…

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op 110

Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 Moderato cantabile molto espressivo Allegro molto Adagio ma non troppo Fuga: Allegro ma non troppo On paper, Op 110 is a traditional four-movement sonata. In reality however the work is…