Do you write about classical music? Are you a blogger? Want to team up with Classical Connect? Send us a message, let's talk!

Welcome to our free classical music site
Name: Password: or

New Liner Notes:
Read and Listen

Robert Muczynski
Time Pieces, Op. 43
Time Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 43 Robert MuczynskiI. ...
Sergei Prokofiev
Piano Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op.8
Prokofiev's 'War Sonatas' (Nos. 6-8) comprise ten separate movements...
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D minor, K. 32
Today's concert will present sonatas from two composers, who are pos...
Domenico Scarlatti
Sonata in D minor K. 141
Today's concert will present sonatas from two composers, who are pos...
Francis Poulenc
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in B-flat, FP 184 Francis PoulencI. ...
Marc Delmas
Fantaisie Italienne for Clarinet an
French Expressionist composerand writer Marc Delmas studied at the P...
Franz Schubert
Wanderer Fantasy, Op. 15
Live from Vienna: Sophia Agranovich performs Fantasie in C Major, op...
    URL:     
Browse by instrument Browse by composer Upload your performances! Browse by performer

Welcome to Classical Connect - the free classical music site!

If you like classical music, you’ve come to the right place! Classical Connect is your virtual concert hall, featuring thousands of recordings of classical music. If you love piano music, just go to the Browse by Instruments section and access the thousand-plus piano recordings available in our library. If you prefer the violin or the flute, you won’t be disappointed either – in fact, we have music for practically every instrument! If, on the other hand, you’re interested in a particular composer, you can Browse by Composer and select your favorite.

Where do we get our music? Our site allows independent musicians to upload their own recordings, or we may do it on their behalf. Musicians value the special opportunity Classical Connect offers because it allows for their music to be heard around the world. Several hundred musicians have already joined our site. We also have arrangements with several labels, festivals, programs and orchestras, allowing us to use some of their material.

As a visitor to our site you can listen to the first three minutes of any recording. However, by joining our site you’ll have access to all full-length performances. Joining is easy and has many great benefits. You’ll be able to create playlists, comment and vote on recordings, share music with friends, listen to our special programs, and more.

The music you hear upon entry was randomly selected from our library - what we call our Serendipity list. You can always pause it or jump to the next piece. You’ll be able to change the content of these initial selections once you’ve signed in.

To help you navigate the site and use its features, we’ve also created a Help page.

In the meantime, enjoy the music!

The Classical Connect team

July 27, 2015.  Brahms’s Intermezzi op. 117.  Enrique Granados and Hans Werner Henze were born this week, Granados on July 27th of 1867 and Henze – on August 1st of 1926.  Both are very interesting, each in his own way, and we’ve commemorated them on previous occasions.  Today, Johannes Brahmsthough, we’ll continue the traversal of the late piano works of Johannes Brahms, moving to his Intermezzi op. 117.  We’ll illustrate them with the performances by thee young pianists: the Israeli Yael Kareth and two Americans, Lucille Chung and Evan Mitchell.   ♫

 In contrast to the neighboring opp. 116 and 118, Brahms comprised op. 117 of only three intermezzi. However, these three works are of an unmistakably greater import than the similar works of those two collections (excepting, of course, the grim E-flat minor Intermezzo). Despite their subdued tone, they carry a weight that could be hardly found within either op. 116 or op. 118, yet together form a fulfilling whole. The outer pieces span complete ternary forms, while the middle piece traces a terse, yet rich, sonata design. They also hearken back to the earlier Ballades in the weight and manner of their discourse, with the first taking its cue from an actual Scots lullaby.

The first of the triptych of intermezzi is in E-flat major (here). Heading this gentle Andante is the opening lines of “Lady Anne Bothwell’s Lament,” taken from Johann Herder’s German translation: “Schlaf sanft mein Kind, schlaf sanft und schön! Mich dauert’s sehr, dich weinen sehn” (“Sleep sweetly my child, sleep sweetly and beautifully! It grieves me much to see you weep”). The opening melody, presented in a middle voice and cradled between gently rocking octaves, could not be a more apt fit for Herder’s lyric. After an initial statement, Brahms begins to restate the melody. However, as the harmonies begin to change so does the melody. The cadence in the fourth measure is changed, passing briefly into the key of the dominant, before returning to the tonic of E-flat in the next. Instead of proceeding with the rest of the melody, Brahms presents a varied statement of the melody’s first four measures, which is now accompanied by gently syncopated chords in a 3/4 meter against the melody’s 6/8. Though the rhythmic disturbance evaporates in the next cadence, the music modulates without warning into the key of A-flat minor, and the opening phrase of the melody is the presented in austere octaves. This sudden melancholic passage serves as a transition into the doleful central episode. The minor key is maintained, yet the tempo slackens somewhat. Arpeggios in the low register of the piano accompany a melodic motif cleverly extracted from the second measure of the principal melody. During the course of the episode, the melody’s initial stepwise descent also returns against eerie harmonies that suggest a return to E-flat, but maintain the shadowy hues of the minor by the obstinate presence of D-flat. Four times this head motif returns of which the last once again ever so slightly disturbs the rhythmic feel of the music and inevitably brings about the reprise of the opening section. While the form of the opening is followed, the reprise is varied. The melody first appears in octaves and is passed between hands, as the accompanying chords pass from the resonant low register to the ethereal treble, but then later is embellished modestly with sixteenth notes. Interestingly, the rhythmic disturbance of contrasting meters is, in the reprise, nearly eliminated, appearing only in a single measure before a brief coda. In place of the austere minor statement that presaged the episode, the major key is maintained as Brahms makes use of the melody’s memorable cadential figure to bring the lullaby to a close. (Continue reading here).

Permalink

Welcome to our Virtual Concert Hall

We started Classical Connect with a mission to provide independent musicians with a new venue for their performances. Hundreds of classical musicians have taken advantage of this opportunity, sharing their music with listeners across the world.

We encourage you to join and upload your performances. Once signed in, you’ll be able to create a personal page with your bio, photo and other promotional materials. Since all the recordings on our site are streamed, your performance cannot be downloaded without your permission. In the future, you may also benefit from our plan to introduce fees for certain downloads. These fees will be shared with you, the musician.  If you have a video of your performance on YouTube, you can link it to your personal page: go to Upload or Link Your Performance and paste the YouTube URL in the appropriate field.  Your video will play on Classical Connect alongside your audio recordings.

Also, we have created a new feature called Concert Schedules, which allows you to enter your future concerts. Once your event has been entered, two things should happen. First, the concert is displayed on your personal page, below the bio. Second, the concert appears on the combined front-page Concerts Calendar. Moreover, for two days – the day before the concert and the day of the concert itself – there will be a message announcing your concert on the front-page News and Updates tab. This is the very first tab presented to all logged-on users.

On the technical side: our site accepts MP3 and MP4 files, so if you have a CD recording, you can rip and upload it in this format. For better quality, we recommend using a bit rate of 128 kbps, an audio sample rate of 44 kHz, and a two-channel (stereo) format.

To upload, enter the complete title of the piece, including its key, number, opus, etc. For example, the title of Beethoven's Sonata No. 21 would be identified as Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53. "Waldstein" is optional.  Also, we encourage you to leave comments about your performance or the composition.

If your performance was recorded on several tracks, then upload each one with a different title. For example, Sonata No. 21, part 1, Sonata No. 21, part 2 and so on. Please let us know and we’ll merge these different movements into one complete performance with the appropriate title.

Please do not upload parts of a composition. Think of Classical Connect as your virtual concert hall: only upload the things you would play in a real one.

If you have any questions, please contact us by clicking here and sending us an e-mail. We'll make every effort to respond as quickly as possible.

The Classical Connect team

Benefits of Joining Classical Connect

There are many advantages to joining Classical Connect. The first, and most obvious, is the ability to listen to complete performances. We have more than 2,000 different pieces of classical music, some of them as long as an hour and 50 minutes (yes, that’s how long Mahler’s Third Symphony is!). Once you’re logged in, you can listen to every one of them from start to finish – that’s if you like the performance, of course.

You can also create personal playlists. There’s no limit to how many pieces each playlist can include. You can read more about playlists here. In addition, you can comment and vote on any piece of music in our library. The grades / rankings go from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), but please only reserve 10s for the truly great performances and use 1s sparingly!

Another advantage includes sharing performances with your friends. Click the Share button on the Player and send a message to your friend on Classical Connect, or simply copy/paste the link into an e-mail. Your friends don’t even need to be members of Classical Connect; they can simply click on the link and listen to the complete performance the same way you do.

Also, you can actively participate in Forums only if you’ve joined the site.

Finally, as you set up your profile, you can select the content of the initial musical selection or omit it entirely.

Joining is easy. Just click here and follow the instructions.

Enjoy!

The Classical Connect team


July 20, 2015.  Pietro Ottoboni.  In the late 17th – early 18th centuries Rome there were no Ministries of culture or National Endowments for the Art; nonetheless, the musical scene flourished, together with Venice and Naples, Rome was one of the three Pietro Ottoboniworld music centers. It was partly a natural development, with the Baroque maturing and a new art of opera gaining popularity.  Still, music would probably never have attained such an exceptional level and wide audience were it not for several extraordinary patrons.  Queen Christina of Sweden was one, and after her death in 1689, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni became the most important benefactor in Rome.  Pietro Ottoboni was born in Venice on July 2nd of 1667 into a noble family.  His granduncle, also Pietro Ottoboni, became Pope Alexander VIII in 1689.  The Pope made his 22-year-old nephew cardinal and vice-chancellor of the Church.  The role of the Chancellor was to collect money for the papal army, so one can imagine that the young cardinal came into a very lucrative position.  Cardinal Ottoboni was also a cardinal-bishop of a number of places, and his annual income from different sources was estimated at 50,000 scudi, an enormous sum.  A Roman scudo of the time contained approximately 3.3 grams of gold.  If we convert it into the current price of gold, the cardinal’s income amounts to about six million dollars.  But even that was not enough: Ottoboni was a musical fanatic and spend every penny and them some to satisfy his passion.  He was constantly in debt, and when he died in 1740, his estate, with its great collection of paintings and a large music library, had to be liquidated. 

Ottoboni resided in the Palazzo della Cancelleria; there he maintained the best singers in town and one of the finest orchestras.  In 1689 he reopened the palace theater, which had stayed closed for the previous 15 years.  Around 1710 Ottoboni’s court architect, Filippo Juvarra, rebuilt it into the most technically advanced opera theater in Rome, capable of staging lavish productions.  This theater saw premiers of operas by Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Caldara and many other popular composers of the day.  Ottoboni spread his patronage far and wide: he was also the major benefactor of Congregazione di S Cecilia (now the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Italy’s premier conservatory), and Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna.  But even that was not all: the Cardinal was also a very prolific librettist.  As a church hierarch he couldn’t publish them under his own name, especially considering that in 1701 Pope Clement XI banned all public opera performances, but many librettos, whether to operas or oratorios and cantatas, are attributed to him.  Ottoboni was full of vigor, and if music was the main love of his life, it was definitely not the only one: he’s said to have fathered 60 or 70 children.

Many Italian composers benefited from Ottoboni’s generosity, among them Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Caldara and Tomaso Albinoni.  The first three are very popular, so we’ll present the works of Caldara and Albinoni.  Antonio Caldara was born in Venice in 1670.  Here’s an aria from his opera Il Martirio di Santa Caterina , which was premiered in Ottoboni’s theater in 1708.  Cecilia Bartoli is the mezzo, with Les Musiciens du Louvre; Marc Minkowski conducting.  Albinoni, also a Venetian, was one year younger than Caldara.  In his time he was also famous as an opera composer, but most of his operas were lost and are practically never performed today.  “Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor” became a pop phenomenon, except that it is a fake, written by Remo Giazotto!  Here is a real Albinoni: Trio sonata op. 1, no. 1.  The cycle of 12 trio sonatas opus 1 was dedicated to Pietro Ottoboni.  The performers in this recording are Parnassi Musici.

Permalink

July 13, 2015.  Chopin’s Nocturnes, part I.  With a paucity of memorable anniversaries this week, we’ll turn again to one of our incidental longer articles, this time on Chopin’s Frédéric Chopin, 1835 by Maria WodzińskaNocturnes.  Chopin wrote 21 of them; we’ll discuss ten here, and the rest in the follow-up article.  As always, when we can, we illustrate the music with performances by the young artists in our library.  Nocturne op. 9, no. 1 is performed by the young Russian pianist Anastasya Terenkova; no. 2 from the same opus – by the Mexican pianist Mariusz Carreño; and no. 3 – by Jingjing Wang (China).  The Nocturne op. 15, no. 3 is played by the Serbian-American pianist Ivan Ilić.  Nocturnes op. 27 are performed by the British pianist of Nigerian descent Sodi Braide (no. 1) and the Chinese pianist Ang Li (no. 2).  Opus 32, no. 2 is played by the South-Korean pianist Angela Youngmi Choi.  We had to “borrow” three performances: Maurizio Pollini plays the nocturne op. 15, no. 1, while Arthur Rubinstein performs the second piece from that opus.  The nocturne op. 32, no. 1 is by Vladimir Ashkenazy.  The 1835 watercolor portrait above is by Maria Wodzińska, who became engaged to Chopin in 1836.  The engagement was dissolved a year later on the insistence of Maria’s father because of Chopin’s poor health. 

The French word “nocturne,” and its Italian equivalent “notturno,” mean “pertaining to the night.” The term itself is quite old. Since the Middle Ages it has pertained to divisions in the canonical hours of Matins. As the name of a type of musical composition, it is also older than popularly thought. It was first applied in the 18th century to compositions of a lighter character and in several movements to be performed at night, much in the same manner as the serenade. Examples of this type of piece include works by Haydn and the Serenata Notturno, K.239 by Mozart. The nocturne as a miniature for piano, however, did not appear until the early part of the following century when the Irish composer, John Field, first used the term in this sense and pioneered an entirely new genre of compositions. Field’s nocturnes featured an expressive, song-like melody over an accompaniment of broken chords. Their construction and expression was simple, and it would take a more profound genius to reveal the full potential of Field’s creation.

As a young man, Chopin greatly admired John Field, and was strongly influenced by the Irishman’s piano and composition techniques. Others perceived Field’s influence on Chopin. Friedrich Kalkbrenner even once inquired if Chopin was a pupil of Field. Indeed, the affinity between the two was enough that Field even began to be described as “Chopin-esque” (much to his chagrin as he once described Chopin as a “sickroom talent”).

Following in Field’s footsteps, Chopin wrote his first pair of nocturnes while still in Poland, though they were not published until well after his death. His first published essays in the genre were composed in the early years of the 1830s, surrounding his departure from his native Poland, brief stay in Vienna and ultimate voyage to Paris. As one might expect, these early essays owned much to Field, though already offered glimpses of Chopin’s burgeoning genius. During his lifetime, Chopin published eighteen nocturnes, the last appearing in 1846. Three more appeared after his death: the early E minor Nocturne, alluded to above, in 1855 as op. posth. 72, and two other works in 1870 that were not assigned opus numbers.

Like his waltzes and mazurkas, Chopin’s treatment of the nocturne progressed far beyond the conventional expectations of the form. With the dances, Chopin transformed them into compelling concert miniatures; with the nocturne, he raised it to a level of artistry far beyond the Fieldian prototype and wrung from it emotions of peaceful serenity and poignant melancholy. Chopin maintained the defining elements of the genre established by Field: a vocal-like melody, often finely ornamented, allotted to the right hand, an accompaniment of broken chords in the left, and frequent use of the pedal. To this model Chopin added the influences of Italian and French operatic arias, a freedom and complexity of rhythm taken from Classical models, and a keen use of counterpoint.  (Continue reading here).

Permalink

July 6, 2015.  Gustav Mahler.  A friend traveling around Central Europe writes from Melk, famous for its castle: “We’re sitting in a café on the main square, surrounded by the locals.   The sun is shining, a wind band is playing, everybody seems to be enjoying themselves.  Gustav Mahler in 1892It could be the early 1900s, or 1939, right after the Anschluss – things don’t change much in Austria.” He then adds, “Mauthausen is right over the hills, but would anybody care?”  He’s going to visit Maiernigg next.  Even though Mahler’s name hasn’t been mentioned, this short description is full of allusion to the composer’s life: his childhood fascination with military bands, his birth in one of the provinces of a great empire, his habit of composing in a remote cabin by a lake, and, also, for good measure, Austrian historical anti-Semitism.  Gustav Mahler was born on July 7th of 1860 in a small town of Kaliště (then Kalischt), near Jihlava (Iglau) in Bohemia, at that time a part of Austria-Hungary, into an assimilated Jewish family.  We followed his life around the time he composed his First (here) and Second (here) symphonies.  By 1893, the year Mahler started working on his Third Symphony, he had assumed the position of the Chief conductor at Hamburg State theater, having left the more prestigious Royal Hungarian Opera.  Mahler would’ve stayed in Budapest longer (he mounted several very successful opera productions, and his Don Giovanni was hailed by Brahms himself) but an ongoing conflict with management made his departure inevitable (anti-Semitism also played a role).  In Hamburg his relationship with the director Bernhard Pohl (or Pollini, as he preferred to be known) was much more amicable.  During his maiden season Mahler conducted several highly acclaimed productions of Wagner operas: Siegfried, Tannhäuser and Tristan (somewhat surprisingly, he also staged Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin).  At that time he established a pattern, which he would follow for the rest of his life: conducting during the season and composing in the summer.  He built himself a small one-room cabin in Steinbach, on lake Attersee in the Salzkammergut.  There he composed the Second and Third symphonies (the cabin was just for composing – Mahler lived in an inn in the village).  In 1894 the young Bruno Walter joined Mahler at the State Theater and soon became a friend and an acolyte.  The Third Symphony was completed in 1896.  By then Mahler was tired of Hamburg and ready to move on.  He started a campaign for a position at the Vienna Hofoper, the main opera theater in all of the empire.  In the Vienna of the day a Jew couldn’t be appointed to a significant post at the imperial theater; Mahler, never a practicing Jew, removed that barrier by converting to Roman Catholicism.  That happened in February of 1897.  Two months later he was appointed a Kapellmeister, and in September of that year – the music director of the opera.

 

The Third Symphony consists of six movements, which, according to Mahler himself, comprise two uneven parts: the first part consists of the long first movement, and the second one – of the remaining five.  The 1st movement (here) runs for more than 30 minutes, practically a symphony in itself.  (Depending on the performance, the complete symphony usually runs between one hour and 30 minutes to an hour and 40 minutes).  Mahler gave it an informal title "Pan Awakes, Summer Marches In."  This is where we can hear the military-band music that so affected the young composer. Some of it is almost unbearably vulgar (Mahler marked certain passages as “Grob!” – “coarse” or “gross” in German) and some is heavenly, in association with Pan.  The 2nd movement,  "What the Flowers in the Meadow Tell Me," as Mahler called it (here), is a short (about nine minutes) lyrical intermezzo in Tempo di Menuetto.  The 3rd movement, an about 16 minute-long Scherzando (here), Mahler called "What the Animals in the Forest Tell Me."  The 4th movement, Misterioso (or "What Man Tells Me," hear) introduces a contralto singing from Nietzsche's “Midnight Song” from Also sprach Zarathustra.  The Children’s choir joins in the 5th movement Cheerful in tempo, or, as Mahler called it "What the Angels Tell Me", is based on one of the songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn (here).  The majestic 6th movement (here) is one of the greatest symphonic pieces ever written.  Langsam – Ruhevoll – Empfunden (Slowly, tranquil, deeply felt), Mahler subtitled it "What Love Tells Me."  The late Claudio Abbado is inspiring as he leads the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.  Anna Larsson is the contralto.

Permalink

June 29, 2015.  The Tchaikovsky competition and several birthdays.   The XV Tchaikovsky competition is in full swing.  This year it was split between two cities, Moscow and St.-Petersburg (the pianists and violinists perform in Moscow, the cellists and Tchaikovsky Competitionsingers – in St-Pete).  Medici.tv does a great job broadcasting live performances; we highly recommend it.  For the pianists, this year is probably more challenging than ever: instead of the regular three rounds, the competition consists of five, if you include the preliminary hearings.  The second round is split in two: the performance of a large composition plus a piece by a Russian composer, followed by a Mozart concerto accompanied by a chamber orchestra.  Asiya Korepanova, who played Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata no. 1 so well at the Hess memorial concert last year, was not as successful during the first round (nerves, one has to assume) and didn’t make it to the 2nd round.  Lucas Debargue, a 24 year-old Frenchman, is the public’s favorite.  His 2nd round Gaspard de la Nuit was extremely good.  Another Lukas (this one with a “k,” though), with the last name of Geniušas, a Lithuanian born in Moscow who also happens to be the grandson of Vera Gornostayeva, is also playing very well.  (Gornostayeva, the famous Russian pianist and pedagogue, died less than half a year ago, on January 19th of this year).  A Russian-German Maria Mazo played Hammerklavier in the 2nd round and did a great job of it, but her Mozart concerto (no. 21) was rather subdued.  Still, we thought that she deserves to make it into the 3rd round, but the jury thought otherwise.  The violinists are also through to the 3rd round.  We have recordings of one of them, Clara-Jumi Kang.  Like the pianists, the violinists also had to play a Mozart concerto in the second part of the second round.  Clara played the concerto no. 5, and wonderfully so.   We’ll write some more about the Tchaikovsky competition soon.

 

Christoph Willibald Gluck, a great German opera composer, was born on July 2nd of 1714 in Erasbach, Bavaria. Last year we celebrated his 300th anniversary and played several arias and overtures from Orfeo ed Euridice and Iphigénie en Aulide. Two more of Gluck’s operas are still very popular: Alceste and Iphigénie en Tauride.Alceste was written in 1776, soon after Orfeo.  Calzabigi, the librettist, wrote a preface to Alceste, a manifest of sorts, which Gluck signed.  In the preface they spelled out some of the principles that Gluck pushed to make opera more natural: no da capo arias, no virtuoso improvisations, fewer recitatives, flowing melodic lines.  You can hear it all in "Divinités du Styx,” an aria from Act 1.  Jessye Norman is Alceste, The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Serge Baudo.

 

The Czech composer Leoš Janáček was born on July 3rd, 1854 in a small village in Moravia, then part of the Austria-Hungary.  As a boy he studied the piano and the organ, but eventually became interested in composing.  In 1879 he enrolled in the Leipzig conservatory and later moved to Vienna to study composition there.  Like the Hungarian composers Béla Bartók and Zoltan Kodály a generation later, Janáček was interested in folk music and used peasant tunes in his symphonic and piano pieces.  His early compositions were mostly for the piano: he started a piano cycle, On an Overgrown Path, in 1901; it became one of his most popular compositions (you can listen to it in the performance by Ieva Jokubaviciute).  Eventually, he turned to operas – that’s what he’s most famous for these days.  His first one, Jenufa, was written in 1904 and acquired the status of the “Moravian national opera.”  Two more operas followed, Katia Kabanova and The Cunning Little Vixen; they rightly are considered among the most interesting operas of the 20th century.  Janáček also wrote a number of significant orchestral pieces and chamber music.  Here is his Quartet no. 2 subtitled “Intimate Letters,” performed by Pacifica Quartet.

 

Two things are interesting about Louis-Claude Daquin, a French composer and virtuoso keyboard player, who was born on July 4th of 1694.  One is that he was of  Jewish descent: there were very few Jewish composers during that time.  And he probably would not have become one had his Italian ancestors not converted to Catholicism.  The event took place in the city of Aquino, thus the original name, D’Aquino, (which was later frenchified to Daquin).  Of his considerable output, one piece is famous, The Cuckoo, from a suite for the harpsichord.  Here it is, performed by the wonderful British harpsichordist George Malcolm.

Permalink

June 22, 2015.  Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Part II.  In the absence of any significant birthdays this week we decided to publish the second part of the article on Robert Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love).  The first part was published here.  As a reminder, Dichterliebe, oRobert Schumannn texts by Heinrich Heine from his Lyrisches Intermezzo, was written in 1840.  That was the year Schumann married Clara Wieck; it also turned into his Liederjahr – the year of songs: he wrote almost 140 of them in a tremendous creative spurt.  Dichterliebe is probably the best known.  To illustrate the cycle, we used recordings made by Fritz Wunderlich.  All but the one were made in Salzburg in 1965.  The recording of Die alten, bösen Lieder was made during a concert in Usher Hall, Edinburgh, on August 4th of 1966.  Wunderlich tragically died just one month later; he was 35 years old.  

 

The poet’s state becomes even more pitiful in “Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen” (“There is fluting and fiddling,” here) as he witnesses the joyous festivities of the marriage of his beloved to another man. He gazes upon the merriment, watching her dance (“Da tanzt wohl den Hochzeitreigen / Die Herzallerliebste mein”) to the sound of flutes, fiddles, shawms, and drums. Betwixt the sounds of the instruments, the angels weep for the lonely poet (“Dazwischen schluchzen und stöhnen / Die guten Engelein”). Schumann’s setting portrays the dance of the beloved and her wedding guests. However, its D minor tonality and chromatic harmonies undoubtedly identify that the listener is viewing the scene through the prism of the poet’s broken heart.

 

Utter despair sets in the following song, “Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen” (“I hear the dear song sounding,” here). Pained by watching his beloved married to another, the poet now hears the sweet song she once sang, a symbol that her love is forever no longer his. In his desolation, he seeks the solace of nature, wandering deep into the forest to weep. Schumann’s setting is through-composed in the key of G minor. The doleful vocal melody closes first in the key of the subdominant at the conclusion of the first stanza, poignantly affected by a Neapolitan sixth. The second stanza then slowly descends back to the tonic of G minor. Against the vocal melody is an accompaniment of descending arpeggios, which with the song’s slow tempo depict the falling tears of the poet. As with many of Schumann’s song, the climax comes as the vocalist exits. Shadowing the final notes of the melody, the piano begins a heartrending coda which culminates as chromatically ascending harmonies beneath a tonic pedal suddenly break into a descending passage of sixteenth notes through almost three octaves. Here, the listener beholds the poet’s heart bursting with pain (“So will mir die Brust zerspringen / Vor wildem Schmerzendrang”). (Continue reading here)

Permalink
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9>