Relayed from the National Museum of Wales
National Orchestra of Wales
Handel's Great Concertos ('Concerti Grossi') are not Concertos in the modem meaning of works for (usually) one Soloist and an Orchestra.
Handel generally used an Orchestra of Stringed instruments and one or two Harpsichords, and divided it into groups of players. One group consisted of two Violins and a Violincello. and the other comprised the remainder of the Orchestra. One Harpsichord supported each group.
These groups are played off one against another, all through the work, having alternate cuts at the music, so to speak; and sometimes they are combined.
This Concerto is in three Movements: (1) Moderately quick; (2) Slow; (3) Quick.
The 'surprise' in the Haydn Symphony may perhaps have lost its vividness nowadays, for the work is so often played that listeners are becoming very familiar with it. That one loud chord, early in the Second Movement, which gave the Symphony its name, was never a very startling surprise, it must be admitted, though Haydn said it was 'sure to make the ladies jump'.
There are four Movements: (1) Slow Introduction, followed by a lively Movement; (2) a gentle, but steadily moving Air with Variations, with the 'Surprise 'in the sixteenth bar; (3) a bold and happy Minuet, alternated with a quieter and more flowing one; (4) a quick, jolly Movement. Note the many instances of Haydn's playful use of alternating Wind and Strings.
National Orchestra of
Isaac J. Williams
Frank Thomas (Violin), Ronald Harding (Violoncello), Hubert Pengelly (Pianoforte)
When Schumann took a special interest in some form of composition, he sometimes concentrated on it for a year or so, to the exclusion of almost all other kinds of music. The year of his marriage, for instance, inspired him to write some of his finest songs. Two years after that he had a spell of chamber music composition. Then, a few years later, he had another chamber music period, in which he wrote some Trios for Pianoforte, Violin, and Violoncello, along with several other works for strings.
We are to hear the first of these Trios. It is in four Movements. The First is energetic and fervent. The Second is a brisk Scherzo, with a quieter middle part.
The Third Movement is slow; Schumann himself describes it by asking that it shall be played 'with intimate feeling'. The Last Movement, he directs, is to be 'performed with fire'.
In this there are three Movements:
The First Movement is one of those brisk, comfortable pieces that perhaps show, on the surface, more of sound and musicianly, if rather routine, construction, than of ingenuity or subtlety. These latter qualities, however, almost always come out somewhere in a Haydn work, and we find them here in the early part of his 'development' of the two main tunes.
Then follows a sweetly song-like Second Movement.
In the last Movement abounding gaiety is the chief characteristic. Those opening leaps of the melody are like the prancing of a child, delighted to be off for some 'treat'. But to this innocent grace and joy Haydn adds elegance and artifice, making an extremely trim and taut Movement that is as enjoyable for its workmanship as for its melodic charm and exuberance.
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