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Claudio Monteverdi – L’Orfeo

Recorded at Vienna, Casino Zögernitz, from 28.11 to 1.12, 1968.

About this Opera:
L’Orfeo (L’Orfeo, favola in musica, SV 318, or La Favola d’Orfeo, or The Legend of Orpheus) is one of the earliest works recognized as an opera, composed by Claudio Monteverdi with text by Alessandro Striggio for the annual carnival of Mantua. It was first performed before the Accademia degl’Invaghiti on 24 February 1607 in a now unidentifiable room in the ducal palace at Mantua, and was published in Venice in 1609. The work went unperformed for nearly 300 years, before it was rediscovered by composer Vincent D’Indy and revived in 1904. It continues to be regularly performed and its anniversary year of 2007 saw many productions.
L’Orfeo is marked by its dramatic power and lively orchestration. It is an early example of a composer assigning specific instruments to parts; while composers of the Venetian School had been doing this, with varying precision, for about two decades, the instrumentation in the case of L’Orfeo is unusually explicit. The plot is clearly delineated with musical contrasts, and the melodies are linear and clear; much of the writing uses the style of monody which was pioneered by the Florentine Camerata in the last decades of the 16th century. With this opera Monteverdi had created an entirely new style of music, the dramma per musica, or musical drama. This idea of theatrical works set to music was taken from the notion that the Ancient Greeks had sung their plays.
Monteverdi’s operas are usually labelled “early Baroque,” or sometimes “pre-Baroque.” Music in northern Italy at this time was in transition between the style of the late Renaissance and the early Baroque, and progressive composers such as Monteverdi combined the stylistic trends prevalent in the various musical centers such as Florence, Venice and Ferrara.

Orfeo, Orpheus, a shepherd (tenor)
Euridice, Eurydice, wife of Orfeo (soprano)
Silvia, friend of Euridice (soprano)
Speranza, Hope, Orfeo’s escort to Hades (soprano)
Caronte, a boatman at the crossing of the river Styx (bass)
Plutone, God of the Underworld (bass)
Proserpina, Wife of Plutone
Ecco, an Echo (tenor)
Apollo, Father of Orfeo
The Plot:
A spirit of music (La Musica) invites the audience to hear the story of Orfeo.
Orfeo is said to be capable of taming wild animals and the gods of the underworld with his music.
Act I:
Celebration of Euridice’s Marriage to Orpheus in the fields of Thrace.
Orfeo sings of Love and praise.
Orfeo is accompanied by a chorus of nymphs and shepherds into a temple with songs of love and joy
Act II:
Orpheus sings in the woods.
Silvia arrives to tell Orpheus that his wife, Euridice, has been bitten by a serpent and has died.
Orfeo is grief stricken.
Orfeo vows to bring Euridice back from Hell, or remain there himself, by using the power of love through song to convince the god Plutone to free her.
Act III:
Orfeo, led by Speranza, is taken to the gates of Hell.
At the river Styx, Orfeo sings to a boatman, Caronte.
Caronte feels sorry for Orfeo, but does not allow him to cross the river.
Orfeo continues to sing, and eventually Caronte falls into a deep sleep.
Orfeo steal the oars to the boat and crosses the river.
Act IV:
In Hades, Proserpina ask her husband, Plutone, to listen to Orfeo and grant him his wish to free Euridice.
Plutone agrees under the condition that Orfeo leads her out of Hades without once looking at her.
As Orfeo is leading her out of Hell, he begins to doubt that she is actually following him.
As he turns to see Euridice, she vanishes.
Orfeo cries out in song, lamenting his loss.
Act V:
Having returned to the fields of Thrace, Orfeo continues to lament the loss of his wife.
Orfeo’s cries are only answered by Ecco, a single voice.
Orfeo becomes angry at all women and vows never to take another.
Apollo, Orfeo’s father, descends from heaven to console his son.
The ascend together to heaven.

Track List:
01. Toccata (2:22)
02. Prologo – Ritornello “Dal mio Parnasso” [La Musica] (4:55)
03. 1. Akt “In questo lieto e fortunato giorno” [Pastore II] (1:56)
04. Vieni, Imeneo – Coro di ninfe e pastori (1:03)
05. “Muse, onor di Parnasso” [Ninfa] (1:01)
06. “Lasciate i monti” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (1:50)
07. “Ma tu, gentil cantor” [Pastore I] (0:49)
08. “Rosa del ciel” [Orfeo] (1:59)
09. “Io non dirò qual sia” [Euridice] (1:02)
10. “Lasciate i monti” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (0:55)
11. Vieni, Imeneo – Coro di ninfe e pastori (1:02)
12. “Ma se il nostro gioir” [Pastore II] (0:52)
13. Alcun non sia che disperato – Pastore I – IV, Ninfa (3:36)
14. “Ecco Orfeo” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (0:50)
15. 2. Akt – Sinfonia – Ecco pur ch’a voi ritorno (1:31)
16. Ritornella – In questo prato – Pastore II + III, Coro di ninfe e pastori (1:56)
17. Ritornella – Vi ricorda – Orfeo (2:40)
18. Mira, deh mira – Pastore II, La Messagera (1:18)
19. Lassa, dunque debb’io (La Messagera) (1:36)
20. Donde vieni? (Orfeo, La Messagera) (3:41)
21. “Ahi, caso acerbo” [Pastore II, Pastore III] (1:21)
22. “Tu se’ morta” [Orfeo] (2:02)
23. “Ahi, caso acerbo” [Coro di ninfe e pastori] (1:08)
24. Ma io, che in questa lingua – La Messagera (1:18)
25. Sinfonia (1:03)
26. Chi ne consola, ahi lassi? . Pastore II + III, Coro di ninfe e pastori (4:29)
27. Ritornello (0:31)
01. 3. Akt – Sinfonia (0:44)
02. Scorto da te, mio nume – Orfeo (1:27)
03. Ecco l’atra palude – La Speranza] (2:42)
04. Dove, ah dove ten’ vai – Orfeo (1:05)
05. O tu, ch’inanzi morte – Caronte (1:44)
06. Sinfonia (0:39)
07. Possente spirto (Orfeo) (9:00)
08. Ben mi lusinga – Caronte (0:44)
09. Ahi, sventurato amante – Orfeo (1:21)
10. Sinfonia (0:36)
11. Ei dorme, e la mia cetra – Orfeo (2:11)
12. Sinfonia (0:42)
13. Nulla impresa per uom – Coro di spiriti (2:12)
14. Sinfonia (0:45)
15. 4. Akt – Signor, quell’infelice – Proserpina (2:32)
16. Benché severo – Plutone (1:57)
17. O de gli abitator – Spirito I, Spirito II (1:10)
18. Quali grazie ti rendo – Proserpina (0:55)
19. Tue soavi parole – Plutone (0:43)
20. Pietade, oggi, e amore – Coro di spiriti (0:43)
21. Ritornello – Quale onor di te fia degno – Orfeo (3:12)
22. Rott’hai la legge – Spirito III (0:13)
23. Ahi, vista troppo dolce – Euridice (1:34)
24. Torna a l’ombre – Spirito I (0:24)
25. Dove ten’vai – Orfeo (0:52)
26. Sinfonia (0:44)
27. E la virtute un raggio – Coro di spiriti (1:57)
28. Sinfonia (0:41)
29. 5. Akt – Ritornello (0:31)
30. Questi i campi di Tracia – Orfeo, Eco (6:57)

The Players:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 265.76 Mb, 1 hour 49 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–  Part2 —–  Part3

Ludwig Van Beethoven – Concerto Et Romances Pour Violon Et Orchestre

Ludwig Van Beethoven – Concerto Et Romances Pour Violon Et Orchestre

About these Works:
Beethoven wrote his Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806), at the height of his so-called “second” period, one of the most fecund phases of his creativity. In the few years leading up to the violin concerto, Beethoven had produced such masterpieces as the Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 (1803), the Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 58 (1805-1806), and two of his most important piano sonatas, No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 (“Waldstein,” 1803-1804), and No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata,” 1804-1805). The violin concerto represents a continuation — indeed, one of the crowning achievements — of Beethoven’s exploration of the concerto, a form he would essay only once more, in the Piano Concerto No. 5 (1809).
By the time of the violin concerto, Beethoven had employed the violin in concertante roles in a more limited context. Around the time of the first two symphonies, he produced two romances for violin and orchestra; a few years later, he used the violin as a member of the solo trio in the Triple Concerto (1803-1804). These works, despite their musical effectiveness, must still be regarded as studies and workings-out in relation to the violin concerto, which more clearly demonstrates Beethoven’s mastery in marshalling the distinctive formal and dramatic forces of the concerto form.
Characteristic of Beethoven’s music, the dramatic and structural implications of the concerto emerge at the outset, in a series of quiet timpani strokes that led some early detractors to dismiss the work as the “Kettledrum Concerto.” Striking as it is, this fleeting, throbbing motive is more than just an attention-getter; indeed, it provides the very basis for the melodic and rhythmic material that is to follow. At over 25 minutes in length, the first movement is notable as one of the most extended in any of Beethoven’s works, including the symphonies. Its breadth arises from Beethoven’s adoption of the Classical ritornello form — here manifested in the extended tutti that precedes the entrance of the violin — and from the composer’s expansive treatment of the melodic material throughout. The second movement takes a place among the most serene music Beethoven ever produced. Free from the dramatic unrest of the first movement, the second is marked by a tranquil, organic lyricism. Toward the end, an abrupt orchestral outburst leads into a cadenza, which in turn takes the work directly into the final movement. The genial Rondo, marked by a folk-like robustness and dancelike energy, makes some of the work’s more virtuosic demands on the soloist.
At the prompting of Muzio Clementi — one of the greatest piano virtuosi of the day aside from Beethoven himself — Beethoven later made a surprisingly effective transcription of the violin concerto as the unnumbered Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 61a, famously adding to the first movement an extended cadenza that employs tympani in addition to the piano.
Beethoven’s reputation as a pianist often obscures the fact that he was a very capable violinist. Although not an accomplished master, he possessed a profound love for and understanding of the instrument, evident in his ten violin sonatas, the violin concerto, and numerous quintets, quartets, and other chamber works. The two Romances for violin stand out because they are single-movement works in concerto settings. The Romance in G major was published in 1803 by Hoffmeister & Kühnel in Leipzig; the date of its first performance is not known. Despite the lower opus number, it was composed at least five years after the Romance in F, Op. 50, which was published in 1805. He retained the early Classical orchestra he employed for his earlier Piano Concerto in B flat, Op. 19: one flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, and strings. Often described as a “preparation” for the Violin Concerto, Op. 61, of 1806, the Romance in G stands as a fine work in its own right, clearly demonstrating Beethoven’s mastery of the high-Classical style of Mozart and Haydn. Furthermore, Beethoven creates subtle connections between disparate sections of a work.
Cast in a two-episode rondo format (ABACA coda), the Romance in G is not imbued with sonata-form characteristics, as are many of Beethoven’s later rondo movements. The rondo theme (A) is in two parts, each performed first by the soloist then repeated by the orchestra. Descending sixteenth notes in the solo part mark the beginning of B, in which the orchestra is relegated to a purely accompanimental role, creating unity by including figures from the rondo. Section B spends a significant amount of time on the dominant (D major); however, this does not represent a modulation but a preparation for the return of the rondo in G major. Again, the soloist performs both segments of the A section alone, this time including a running eighth note accompaniment under each of the literally repeated themes. Beethoven set the second episode, C, in E minor. The minor mode, dotted rhythms, and staccato passages give the section a “gypsy” music tinge. The foray into a new key area ends with the return of the G major rondo theme, again played by the soloist, but with accompaniment by the orchestra. Beethoven forgoes the repetition of each of the two parts of the rondo and ends the work with a brief coda featuring a lengthy trill in the solo violin. The three fortissimo chords that close the piece seem oddly, possibly comically, out of place in this generally quiet work, but they do resemble the orchestral string parts at the end of each rondo section.
Not published until 1805 (Bureau des Arts et d’Industrie, Vienna), the Romance in F was probably first performed in November 1798; so, although it bears the designation, “Romance No. 2, ” and a later opus than its G major sibling, it is actually the earlier of the two compositions. The orchestral scoring Beethoven chose for the Romance in F major is the same as that for his early Piano Concerto in B flat, Op. 19 (one flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, and strings). Possibly because of its early conception, the Romance in F is less adventurous in conception than the later Romance in G, Op. 40, and still includes lengthy transitions between sections. However, the Romance in F contains a richer harmonic vocabulary than its later counterpart.
As he would for his Romance in G, Beethoven chose a two-episode rondo format (ABACA coda) for the brief, lyrical Romance in F. The rondo section (A) features an antecedent-consequent theme performed first by the soloist, with orchestral string accompaniment, then by the entire orchestra. The melody itself is highly decorated, with numerous trills, turns and grace notes. A forceful, dotted-rhythm figure that closes each appearance of the rondo acts as a transition to the ensuing episode. Episode B maintains the lyric character of the rondo theme, adding large, dramatic leaps followed by descending scales and arpeggios. A glimpse of F minor precedes a literal return to the rondo, this time performed with a lighter accompaniment. The minor mode at the end of episode B proves to be portentous, as episode C begins in the tonic minor. Beethoven makes full use of the “flat” key area by presenting the rondo theme on D flat major, initiating an extended transition back to F major for the final return of the rondo theme. The coda, while never venturing from the tonic, acts as something of a summation when the soloist borrows the triplet motion prominent in episode C and performs a dramatic, trilled figure from the end of episode B.

Track List:
1. Concerto pour violon et orchestre en ré majeur op.61 / Allegro (25:39)
2. Concerto pour violon et orchestre en ré majeur op.61 / Larghetto (10:19)
3. Concerto pour violon et orchestre en ré majeur Op.61 – Rondo – Allegro (9:47)
4. Romance pour violon et orchestre – No.1 Romance en sol majeur (6:44)
5. Romance pour violon et orchestre – No.2 Romance en fa majeur (8:14)

The Artists:
Orchestra Philarmonica Slovenia
Alberto Lizzio: conductor
Alexander Pervomaisky: violin

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 142.96 Mb, 60:43 minutes. Covers included.

Part1 —– Part2

Giacomo Puccini – Il Tabarro

Giacomo Puccini – Il Tabarro

Recorded in The Concert Hall of The Belgian Radio & Television in Brussels from the 16th to the 19th March 1994.

About this Opera:
Il tabarro (The Cloak) is an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami, based on Didier Gold’s La Houppelande. It is part of the trio of operas known as “Il Trittico”. The libretto is from Giuseppe Adami and the sttings are set in Paris in the late 19th century. The Main Characters are Michele owner of a barge, aged 50 (baritone), Giorgetta, Michele’s wife, aged 25 (soprano) and Luigi, a stevedore, aged 20 (tenor).
The basic plot can be sumarize as:
Michele and his wife Giorgetta live on a barge in the river Seine. Michele watches as the stevedores finish their work for the day. As they walk past the barge, Giorgetta has a private conversation with Luigi. (a stevedore with whom she is having an affair) Giorgetta plans a secret meeting for late that night. Michele watches, but says nothing. He is convinced that his wife is having an affair. Later that evening, Luigi mistakes the light from Michele’s pipe as a sign from Giorgetta. As Luigi boards the barge, he encounters Michelle who strangles him to death. After he has killed Luigi, Michele hides the body under a cloak. (un tabarro) When Giorgetta comes home, Michele removes the cloak, revealing her lover’s dead body.

Track List:
01. O Michele? Michele? (7:29)
02. Dunque, che cosa credi? (3:41)
03. O eterni innamorati, buona sera! (3:18)
04. To’! guarda la mia vecchia! (1:21)
05. Hai ben ragione (2:36)
06. Ho sognato una casetta (6:26)
07. O Luigi! Luigi! (2:49)
08. Dimmi: perché gli hai chiesto (3:52)
09. Come è difficile esser felici! (9:58)
10. Nulla! Silenzio! (3:03)
11. T’ho colto! (1:54)
12. Avevo ben ragione (2:00)

The Players:

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 117.83 Mb, 48:27 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Les Indes Galantes

Jean-Philippe Rameau – Les Indes Galantes

Recorded at Studio 103 of Maison de Radio France in June, 1983.

About this work:
Les Indes galantes is an opéra-ballet consisting of a prologue and four entrées (acts) by Jean-Philippe Rameau with libretto by Louis Fuzelier. The première, including only the first three entrés, took place in Paris at the Académie Royale de Musique et Danse on 23 August 1735 with Mlle Pélissier as Emilie, Mme Petitpas as Fatima, Mme Antier as Phani, Jelyotte as Valère and don Carlos, de Chasse as Huascar and Tribou as Tacmas. Dupré provided the choreography, which was danced by Mlles Mariette, LeBreton, Sallé, and Messieurs Dupré, Maltayre, DuMoulin, Javillier and Corps de Ballet. Chéron conducted. The Third “Entrée”, known as the Entrée des Fleurs, was not well received and was revised after the fourth performance with Mlles Petipas as Fatima, Eremans as Atalide and Bourbonnais as Roxane, and Triadou as Tacmas.
At the revival of Les Indes galantes on 10 March 1736, the 30th performance of the work, a Fourth entrée was added, with Mme Pélissier as Zima, Jelyotte as Damon and Dun as don Alvar. The complete work was played for the 185th and last time in 1761.
Nevertheless, parts of it were revived from time to time: the Prologue in 1762 (20 performances) and 1771 (26 performances); the Entrée des Incas in 1771 (11 performances) and the Entrée des Sauvages in 1773 (22 performances). Thereafter, the Académie Royale (Paris Opéra) abandoned this work for 179 years. Nevertheless, the Opéra-Comique did present the Third entrée, the Entrée des Fleurs, with a new orchestration by Paul Dukas, on 30 May 1925, with Yvonne Brothier as Zaïre, Antoinette Reville as Fatima, Miguel Villabella as Tacmas and Emile Rousseau as Ali, and Maurice Frigara conducting.
Finally, there was a reprise at the Opéra itself, the Salle Garnier of the Académie Nationale de Musique et Danse, with the Dukas orchestration supplemented for the other entrées with music by Henri Busser, the 186th performance, on 18 June 1952, with sets by Arbus, Jacques Dupont, Wakhévitch, Carzou, Fost, Moulène and Chapelain-Midy for a production by the Académie’s own director, Maurice Lehmann. In the 1st Entrée (“The Gracious Turk”), the lovely and adorable Jacqueline Brumaire sang Emilie, Jean Giraudeau was Valère and Huc-Santana (the Puerto-Rican baritone Hugo Santana) was Osman. The dances were choreographed by the legendary André Aveline and danced by Mlle Bourgeois and M Legrand. In the 2nd Entrée, (“The Incas of Peru”), Marisa Ferrer was Phani, the elegant Georges Noré was don Carlos, and René Bianco was a rather gruff Huascar. Serge Lifar, no less, choreographed what he himself danced, unforgettably, with Vyroubova and Bozzoni. The 3rd Entrée, (“The Flowers”) had Janine Micheau as the unutterably elegant and seductive Fatima, side by side with Denise Duval as Zaïre! Giraudeau was totally eclipsed (literally!) as Tacmas and Jacques Jansen, the famous Pelléas, was Ali.
Harald Lander choreographed this act, with Mlle Bardin as the Rose, Mlle Dayde as the Butterfly, Ritz as Zéphir and Renault as a Persian. The 4th Entrée, (“The Savages of America”), had the most seductive soprano ever seen at the Opéra, Mme Géori Boué, as Zima, with José Luccioni as a loud Adario, Raoul Jobin as a lumbering Damon and Roger Bourdin a dry-voiced don Alvar. Lifar again choreographed the dancing for this act, executed by Mlles Darsonval, Lafon and Guillot and Messieurs Kalioujny and Efimoff. Louis Fourestier conducted. There were no less than 246 performances of this gorgeous revival by the end of 1961 which finally included an imposing array of singers and dancers of all kinds.

The album presented here contains only the orchestral suite.

Track List:
01. Ouverture (2:56)
02. Entree des Quatre Nations (1:37)
03. Air Polonois (1:54)
04. Menuets (1:47)
05. Air pour les Guerriers portans les drapeaux (1:20)
06. Air pour les Amants qui suivent Bellone et pour les Amantes qui tachent de les retenir (1:17)
07. Gavotte (0:41)
08. Air pour les Amours (1:04)
09. Air pour les esclaves africains (1:42)
10. Rigaudons en Rondeau (1:17)
11. Tambourins (1:25)
12. Air des Sauvages (1:58)
13. Contredanses (1:53)
14. Ritournelle des fleurs (1:19)
15. Loure en Rondeau (1:39)
16. Gavotte (2:32)
17. Orage – Air pour Borée et la Rose (1:46)
18. Air pour Zéphire (2:16)
19. Marche des Persans (1:15)
20. Gavotte (0:55)
21. Air tendre pour la Rose (1:40)
22. Air grave pour les Incas du Pérou (1:41)
23. Adoration du Soleil (1:28)
24. Chaconne (6:22)

The Players:

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 102.79 Mb, 43:44 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–   Part2

Giacomo Puccini – Gianni Schicchi

Giacomo Puccini – Gianni Schicchi

Recorded in Belgium, 1993.

About this Opera:
Gianni Schicchi is an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, based on a story that is referred to in Dante’s The Divine Comedy. It is the third of the trio of operas known as Il trittico. Its first performance was at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918. The opera is best known for the soprano aria, O mio babbino caro (Oh, my dear papa), which has featured in a number of  movies and other works.
Gianni Schicchi was first performed at the Metropolitan Opera on December 14, 1918 with the other two operas of Il trittico. It premiered in Rome on January 11, 1919 and eventually became the most frequently performed of the three one-act operas that make up Il trittico.
In September 2008, film director Woody Allen made his operatic debut with Gianni Schicchi. The production starred baritone Sir Thomas Allen, soprano Laura Tatulescu and tenor Saimir Pirgu. The role of the deceased Buoso Donati was played by comic actor Brently Heilbron.

Track List:
01. Povero Buoso! (3:36)
02. O Simone? (3:47)
03. Ai mei cugini Zita e Simone (2:53)
04. Dunque era vero! (2:17)
05. E non c’é nessun mezzo (2:15)
06. Firenze e come un albero fiorito (2:35)
07. Quale aspetto sgomento e desolato! (3:29)
08. O Mio Babbino Caro (2:08)
09. Datemi il testamento! (1:54)
10. Nessuno sa che Buoso ha reso il fiato? (3:08)
11. Era uguale la voce? (2:51)
12. A me i poderi di Fuccechio (2:26)
13. Ecco la cappelina! (3:03)
14. Prima un avvertimento (2:15)
15. Ecco il notaro (8:43)
16. Ladro! (1:14)
17. Lauretta mia, staremo sempre qui (2:33)

The Players:

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 122.46 Mb, 51:076 minutes. Covers, info & synopsis included.

Part1 —–   Part2

Franz Schubert – Lieder

Franz Schubert – Lieder

Recorded at UFA-Ton-Studio, Berlin between 1966 and 1972.

About the author:
Franz Peter Schubert (January 31, 1797 – November 19, 1828) was an Austrian composer. He wrote some 600 lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous “Unfinished Symphony”), liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. He is particularly noted for his original melodic and harmonic writing.
Schubert was born into a musical family, and received formal musical training through much of his childhood. While Schubert had a close circle of friends and associates who admired his work (amongst them the prominent singer Johann Michael Vogl), wide appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited at best. He was never able to secure adequate permanent employment, and for most of his career he relied on the support of friends and family. He made some money from published works, and occasionally gave private musical instruction. In the last year of his life he began to receive wider acclaim. He died at the age of 31, apparently of complications from syphilis.
Interest in Schubert’s work increased dramatically in the decades following his death. Composers like Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn discovered, collected, and championed his works in the 19th century, as did musicologist Sir George Grove. Franz Schubert is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.

About  “leader”:
Lied (plural Lieder), is a German word, meaning literally “song”; among English speakers, however, the word is used primarily as a term for European romantic music songs, also known as art songs. More accurately, the term perhaps is best used to describe specifically songs composed to a German poem of reasonably high literary aspirations, most notably during the nineteenth century, beginning with Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf. The poetry forming the basis for Lieder often centers upon pastoral themes, or themes of romantic love. Typically, Lieder are arranged for a single singer and piano. Some of the most famous examples of Lieder are Schubert’s Der Tod und Das Madchen (Death and the Maiden) and Gretchen am Spinnrade. Sometimes Lieder are gathered in a Liederkreis or “song cycle”—a series of songs (generally three or more) tied by a single narrative or theme, such as Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben or Schumann’s Dichterliebe. The composers Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann are most closely associated with this genre of romantic music.
For German speakers the term Lied has a long history ranging from 12th century troubadour songs (Minnesang) via folk songs (Volkslieder) and church hymns (Kirchenlieder) to 20th-century workers songs (Arbeiterlieder) or protest songs (Kabarettlieder, Protestlieder).
In Germany, the great age of song came in the 19th century. German and Austrian composers had written music for voice with keyboard before this time, but it was with the flowering of German literature in the Classical and Romantic eras that composers found high inspiration in poetry that sparked the genre known as the Lied. The beginnings of this tradition are seen in the songs of Mozart and Beethoven, but it is with Schubert that a new balance is found between words and music, a new absorption into the music of the sense of the words. Schubert wrote over 600 songs, some of them in sequences or song cycles that relate a story—adventure of the soul rather than the body. The tradition was continued by Schumann, Brahms, and Hugo Wolf, and on into the 20th century by Strauss, Mahler and Reutter.

Track List:
01. Auf dem Wasser zu singen (3:25)
02. Lachen und Weinen (1:45)
03. Du bist die Ruh (4:13)
04. Der Wanderer (5:49)
05. Standchen (3:54)
06. Der Einsame (4:15)
07. Im Abendrot (4:14)
08. An Silvia (2:45)
09. Standchen (Horch, Horch, Die Lerch’) (1:38)
10. Sei Mir GegruBt (3:51)
11. Seligkeit (1:52)
12. Der Lindenbaum (4:43)
13. Die Forelle (2:03)
14. Rastlose Liebe (1:25)
15. Heidenroslein (1:46)
16. An Schwager Kronos (2:52)
17. Wandrers Nachtlied I (Der du von dem Himmel bist) (1:52)
18. Erlkonig (4:18)
19. Der Konig in Thule (3:02)
20. Jagers Abendlied (2:41)
21. Der Musensohn (2:10)
22. Wandrers Nachtlied II (2:31)

The Players:
Gerald Moore: piano
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: bariton

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 161.64 Mb, 67:04 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–   Part2

Franz Liszt – Four Symphonic Poems

Franz Liszt – Four Symphonic Poems

About the author:

Liszt was the only contemporary whose music Richard Wagner gratefully acknowledged as an influence upon his own. His lasting fame was an alchemy of extraordinary digital ability — the greatest in the history of keyboard playing — an unmatched instinct for showmanship, and one of the most progressive musical imaginations of his time. Hailed by some as a visionary, reviled by others as a symbol of empty Romantic excess, Franz Liszt wrote his name across music history in a truly inimitable manner.
From his youth, Liszt demonstrated a natural facility at the keyboard that placed him among the top performing prodigies of his day. Though contemporary accounts describe his improvisational skill as dazzling, his talent as a composer emerged only in his adulthood. Still, he was at the age of eleven the youngest contributor to publisher Anton Diabelli’s famous variation commissioning project, best remembered as the inspiration for Beethoven’s final piano masterpiece. An oft-repeated anecdote — first recounted by Liszt himself decades later, and possibly fanciful — has Beethoven attending a recital given by the youngster and bestowing a kiss of benediction upon him.
Though already a veteran of the stage by his teens, Liszt recognized the necessity of further musical tuition. He studied for a time with Czerny and Salieri in Vienna, and later sought acceptance to the Paris Conservatory. When he was turned down there — foreigners were not then admitted — he instead studied privately with Anton Reicha. Ultimately, his Hungarian origins proved a great asset to his career, enhancing his aura of mystery and exoticism and inspiring an extensive body of works, none more famous than the Hungarian Rhapsodies (1846-1885).
Liszt soon became a prominent figure in Parisian society, his romantic entanglements providing much material for gossip. Still, not even the juiciest accounts of his amorous exploits could compete with the stories about his wizardry at the keyboard. Inspired by the superhuman technique — and, indeed, diabolical stage presence — of the violinist Paganini, Liszt set out to translate these qualities to the piano. As his career as a touring performer, conductor, and teacher burgeoned, he began to devote an increasing amount of time to composition. He wrote most of his hundreds of original piano works for his own use; accordingly, they are frequently characterized by technical demands that push performers — and in Liszt’s own day, the instrument itself — to their limits. The “transcendence” of his Transcendental Etudes (1851), for example, is not a reference to the writings of Emerson and Thoreau, but an indication of the works’ level of difficulty. Liszt was well into his thirties before he mastered the rudiments of orchestration — works like the Piano Concerto No. 1 (1849) were orchestrated by talented students — but made up for lost time in the production of two “literary” symphonies (Faust, 1854-1857, and Dante, 1855-1856) and a series of orchestral essays (including Les préludes, 1848-1854) that marks the genesis of the tone poem as a distinct genre.
After a lifetime of near-constant sensation, Liszt settled down somewhat in his later years. In his final decade he joined the Catholic Church and devoted much of his creative effort to the production of sacred works. The complexion of his music darkened; the flash that had characterized his previous efforts gave way to a peculiar introspection, manifested in strikingly original, forward-looking efforts like Nuages gris (1881). Liszt died in Bayreuth, Germany, on July 31, 1886, having outlived Wagner, his son-in-law and greatest creative beneficiary.

About this work:
The Symphonic Poems (S.95-107) are a series of 13 orchestral works by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. The first 12 were composed in the decade 1848–58 (though some use material conceived earlier); the last, Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe (From the Cradle to the Grave), followed in 1882. They were enormously influential in establishing the genre of orchestral programme music—music written to illustrate an extra-musical plan derived from a play, poem, painting or work of nature—and they inspired the symphonic poems of Bedrich Smetana, Richard Strauss and others.
Liszt’s intent was for these single-movement works, according to Hugh McDonald in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), was for them “to display the traditional logic of symphonic thought.” That logic, embodied in sonata form as musical development, was traditionally the unfolding of latent possibilities in given themes in rhythm, melody and harmony, either in part or in their entirety, as they were allowed to combine, separate and contrast with one another. To the resulting sense of struggle Ludwig van Beethoven had added an intensity of feeling and the involvement of his audiences in that feeling, beginning from the Eroica Symphony to use the elements of the craft of music—melody, bass, counterpoint, rhythm and harmony—in a new synthesis toward this end.
Liszt attempted in the symphonic poem to extend this revitalization of the nature of musical discourse and add to it the Romantic ideal of reconciling classical formal principles to external literary concepts. Toward this end, he combined elements of overture and symphony with descriptive elements, approaching symphonic first movements in form and scale. While showing extremely creative amendments to sonata form, Liszt utilized compositional devices such as cyclic form, motifs and thematic transformation to lend these works added coherence. Their composition proved daunting, with a continual process of creative experimentation that included many stages of composition, rehearsal and revision to reach a version where different parts of the musical form seemed balanced.
Liszt also provided written prefaces for nine of his symphonic poems. Possibly knowing well how the public liked to attach stories to instrumental music in an attempt to explain the inexplicable, and feeling that since many of these works were written in new forms, some sort of verbal or written explanation would be welcome, he provided context before others could invent something to take its place. However, Liszt’s view of the symphonic poem tended to be evocative rather than purely pictorial, usually refraining from narrative and literal description in the music. In this regard he differed not only from contemporaries such as Hector Berlioz but also from many who would follow him in writing symphonic poems, such as Smetana, Dvorak and Richard Strauss.

Track List:
1. Les Préludes Poem No.3 (16:48)
2. Orpheus Poem No.4 (11:58)
3. Ungarische Rhapsodie No.5 (12:55)
4. Tasso-Lamento e Trionfo, Poem No.2 (20:21)

The Players:
Londoner Festival Orchestra
Alfred Scholz: conductor

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 143.76 Mb, 62:02 minutes. Covers included.

Part1 —–   Part2