Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” wins Grammy for Song of the Year

Updated 11/23/2018.

image from

That’s What I Like

Bruno Mars

Writer(s): Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Christopher Brody Brown (see lyrics here)

Released: 1/30/2017

First Charted: 12/10/2016

Peak: 11, 13 AC, 16 RB, 12 UK, 3 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 7.0 US, 0.6 UK, 8.86 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 1363.17

Streaming *: 835.00

* in millions


The 60th Annual Grammy Awards, held on January 18, 2018, proved to be Bruno Mars’ night when he won all six Grammys for which he was nominated. His 24K Magic won Album of the Year and R&B Album of the Year while the title track took Record of the Year. The big winner, though, was “That’s What I Like.” The song, which he’d performed at the Grammys the year before, walked away with honors for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance.

The song also won some other significant awards, including the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Song and the Soul Train Music Award for Song of the Year. Mars also performed the song at the 2017 Brit Awards and the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards. WK

Released as the second single from 24K Magic, “That’s What I Like” spent 24 weeks in the top 5 of the Hot 100, one of only five songs to do so. WK It also spent 20 weeks on top of Hot R&B Songs, which tied it with The Weeknd’s “Starboy” and Drake’s “One Dance” for most weeks at #1. WK It became Mars’ fifth #1 song as a lead artist and seventh time on top overall (he was featured on B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”). Mars was also on his way to another significant achievement – when the album’s fourth single, “Finesse,” went top 5 it made him only the second male artist in history (after Lionel Richie), to send at least three songs to the top ten from each of his first three albums.

Ray Romulus, who was part of the song’s production team, talked about Mars’ writing process. “When he was in the studio he was…dancing for us and showing us, like, ‘I can’t move like that to this chord or to this drum…change it.’” SF Jonathan Yip, also of the production team, said “We would just go back and forth and were messing around with rhythms” SF because, as Mars had said, “We need to make this bounce.” SF

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Top 100 Songs from 2000-2009

Originally as "The Top 100 Songs of the 21st Century." Changed to a list focused just on 2000-2009 on June 11, 2015. Updated 1/27/2018.

This list was originally posted in response to a VH1 countdown of The Top 100 Songs of the 2000s. That list and 64 others were consolidated into an aggregate DMDB list along with points in the overall Dave’s Music Database, sales figures, chart performances, and awards. It has been updated several times since.

When a title was recognized as the Song of the Year, it is noted with a code following the song. A key to the codes is at the bottom of the page.

1. Hey Ya!...OutKast (2003) DM, VF, Q, RS
2. Lose Yourself…Eminem (2002) AG, DM, VF, SS
3. Umbrella…Rihanna with Jay-Z (2007) DM, VF
4. Crazy in Love… Beyoncé with Jay-Z (2003) PC, SS
5. I Gotta Feeling…Black Eyed Peas (2009) DM, PC
6. Crazy…Gnarls Barkley (2006) DM, Q, RS, SS
7. Yeah!...Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris (2004) AG, BB, DM, VF, PC
8. Poker Face…Lady Gaga (2009) DM, VF
9. We Belong Together…Mariah Carey (2005) BB, DM
10. Viva La Vida…Coldplay (2008) G-S, SS

11. Can’t Get You Out of My Head…Kylie Minogue (2001) VF
12. Tik Tok…Ke$ha (2009) AG, BB
13. Boom Boom Pow…Black Eyed Peas (2009) AG, BB
14. In Da Club…50 Cent (2002) AG, BB
15. Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)… Beyoncé (2008) G-S, PC, RS
16. Bad Romance…Lady Gaga (2009)
17. Fallin’…Alicia Keys (2001) AG, DM, G-S
18. Clocks…Coldplay (2002) G-R
19. Gold Digger…Kanye West with Jamie Foxx (2005) AG
20. Irreplaceable… Beyoncé (2006) AG, BB

21. Hips Don’t Lie…Shakira with Wyclef Jean (2006) VF
22. Boulevard of Broken Dreams…Green Day (2004) G-R, SS
23. Bleeding Love…Leona Lewis (2007) VF
24. Beautiful Day…U2 (2000) G-R, G-S
25. Just Dance…Lady Gaga with Colby O’Donnis (2008)
26. Low…Flo Rida with T-Pain (2007) AG, BB
27. Stan…Eminem with Dido (2000) DM, Q
28. Take Me Out…Franz Ferdinand (2004) NME, Q
29. Seven Nation Army…The White Stripes (2003)
30. No One…Alicia Keys (2007)

31. Hot in Herre…Nelly (2002)
32. Music…Madonna (2000) VF, RS
33. I’m Yours…Jason Mraz (2008)
34. Yellow…Coldplay (2000) NME
35. Empire State of Mind…Jay-Z with Alicia Keys (2009) SS
36. You’re Beautiful…James Blunt (2005)
37. Apologize…One Republic with Timbaland (2007)
38. Rehab…Amy Winehouse (2006) G-R, G-S, Q
39. I Kissed a Girl…Katy Perry (2008)
40. Get Ur Freak On…Missy Elliott (2001) RS

41. Need You Now…Lady Antebellum (2009) G-R, G-S
42. Sexyback…Justin Timberlake (2006) AG, PC
43. Mr. Brightside…The Killers (2004)
44. You Belong with Me…Taylor Swift (2008)
45. How You Remind Me…Nickelback (2001) BB
46. Use Somebody…Kings of Leon (2008) G-R
47. Toxic…Britney Spears (2004)
48. Hero…Enrique Iglesias (2001)
49. Chasing Cars…Snow Patrol (2006)
50. Since U Been Gone…Kelly Clarkson (2004)

51. Ms. Jackson…OutKast (2000)
52. Hot N Cold…Katy Perry (2008)
53. Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)…Fergie (2007)
54. Dilemma…Nelly with Kelly Rowland (2002)
55. Love Story…Taylor Swift (2008)
56. Bad Day…Daniel Powter (2005) BB
57. Hurt…Johnny Cash (2003)
58. I Hope You Dance…Lee Ann Womack (2000)
59. Independent Women…Destiny’s Child (2000)
60. I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor…Arctic Monkeys (2005) MJ, Q, RS

61. Foolish…Ashanti with Ja Rule (2002)
62. Complicated…Avril Lavigne (2002)
63. Hey, Soul Sister…Train (2009)
64. Lady Marmalade…Christina Aguilera with Lil’ Kim, Mya, & Pink (2001)
65. Promiscuous…Nelly Furtado with Timbaland (2006)
66. Don’t Cha…The Pussycat Dolls with Busta Rhymes (2005) VF
67. Kryptonite…3 Doors Down (2000)
68. Beautiful…Christina Aguilera (2002)
69. Lollipop…Lil Wayne with Static Major (2008)
70. Hey There Delilah…Plain White T’s (2007)

71. Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)…Train (2001)
72. Bring Me to Life…Evanesence with Paul McCoy (2003)
73. Paper Planes…MIA (2008)
74. Fell in Love with a Girl…The White Stripes (2001) MJ
75. Whenever, Wherever…Shakira (2001)
76. Where Is the Love?...Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake (2003)
77. Hollaback Girl…Gwen Stefani (2005) PC
78. Last Nite…The Strokes (2001) NME, Q
79. This Love…Maroon 5 (2002)
80. Without Me…Eminem (2002)

81. Work It…Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott (2002) RS
82. American Idiot…Green Day (2004)
83. Sex on Fire…Kings of Fire (2008)
84. 99 Problems…Jay-Z (2004) RS
85. Halo…Beyonce (2008)
86. Ignition (remix)…R. Kelly (2002)
87. Stronger…Kanye West with Daft Punk (2007)
88. Crank That (Soulja Boy)…Soulja Boy Tell’em (2007)
89. Disturbia…Rihanna (2008)
90. Telephone…Lady Gaga & Beyonce (2009)

91. Don’t Know Why…Norah Jones (2002) G-R, G-S
92. Wake Me Up When September Ends (2004)
93. Love Song…Sara Bareilles (2007)
94. Sexy Bitch (aka “Sexy Chick”)…David Guetta with Akon (2009)
95. Hung Up…Madonna (2005)
96. Right Round…Flo Rida & Ke$ha (2009)
97. Vertigo…U2 (2004)
98. Jesus Walks…Kanye West (2004)
99. Bye Bye Bye…N Sync (2000)
100. Get the Party Started…Pink (2001)

Songs Which Won Year-End Awards But Didn’t Make the Top 100:
  • American Skin (41 Shots)…Bruce Springsteen (2000) SS
  • Cha-Cha Slide…Mr. C the Slide Man (2000) PC
  • Cupid Shuffle…Cupid (2007) PC
  • Dance with My Father…Luther Vandross (2003) G-S
  • Daniel…Bat for Lashes (2009) NME
  • Daughters…John Mayer (2004) G-S
  • Fire…Kasabian (2009) Q
  • Golden Skans…Klaxons (2007) NME
  • Hanging by a Moment…Lifehouse (2000) BB
  • Heavenly…Patty Griffin (2007) SS
  • Here We Go Again…Ray Charles with Norah Jones (2004) G-R
  • Hounds of Love…Kate Bush (2005) NME
  • I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow…The Soggy Bottom Boys (2001) SS
  • Maps…Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003) NME
  • A Moment Like This…Kelly Clarkson (2002) PC
  • Moment of Surrender….U2 (2009) RS
  • Not Ready to Make Nice…Dixie Chicks (2006) G-R, G-S
  • Over and Over…Hot Chip (2006) NME
  • Please Read the Letter…Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (2007) G-R
  • Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)…Jay-Z (2007) RS
  • The Scientist…Coldplay (2002) Q
  • Senior Twilight Stock Replacer…The Fall (2008) Q
  • Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own…U2 (2004) G-S
  • Time for Heroes…The Libertines (2002) NME
  • Time to Pretend…MGMT (2008) NME
  • Walk On…U2 (2000) G-R
  • We Can’t Make It Here…James McMurtry (2005) SS
  • Who Let the Dogs Out?...The Baha Men (2000) PC

Key to the Codes:

January 27, 1857: Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor performed publicly for first time

Last updated August 29, 2018.

Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178 (LW A179)

Franz Liszt (composer)

Composed: 1851-53

First Public Performance: January 27, 1857

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: “A pinnacle of Liszt's repertoire” – Wikipedia

Genre: classical > sonata


  1. Lento assai – Allegro energico
  2. Grandioso – Recitativo
  3. Andante sostenuto – Quasi adagio
  4. Allegro energico – Stretta quasi presto – Presto – Prestissimo – Andante sostenuto – Allegro moderato – Lento assai

Average Duration: 29:40


Liszt completed his Piano Sonata in B minor in 1953 – specifically on February 2, according to his notes on the sonata’s manuscript. It was published the next year with a dedication to Robert Schumann in return for that composer dedicating his Fantasie in C major to Liszt. WK He wrote the piece during his transition from performer to composer. WK It has been argued both that the piece is autobiographical and that it is related to the Faust legend. AMG It can be considered “the only work he wrote in an absolute sonata form.” AMG

The work wasn’t well received by some of Liszt’s peers; pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein criticized the work and Johannes Brahms reportedly fell asleep during a performance of the work by Liszt in 1853. Eduard Hanslick said, “anyone who has heard it and finds it beautiful is beyond help.” WK In the German newspaper Nationalzeitung, Otto Gumprecht called it “an invitation to hissing and stomping.” WK

The initial negative reception and the sonata’s technical difficulty meant it took a long time to become commonplace in concert repertoire. However, it became established by the early twentieth century and “has been a popularly performed and extensively analyzed piece ever since,” WK becoming “an enduring masterpiece even in the estimation of those listeners who tend to find Liszt’s music overblown.” AMG It is considered “his finest example of the musical technique of continuous ‘thematic transformation,’” AMG which would profoundly affect the future of music, especially later operas by Richard Wagner. AMG Wagner was one of Liszt’s peers who praised the sonata, calling it “sublime” and beautiful “beyond all conception.” AMG

It wasn’t until January 27, 1857, that the work was publicly premiered in a performance by Hans von Bülow in Berlin. WK

Review Source(s):


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Top 50 Heavy Metal Songs

image from

Heavy metal is rooted in the hard rock of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, most often attributed to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin, who all got their start in England in 1968. Distortion, extended guitar solos, and overall loudness characterized the genre and the lyrics are often stereotyped as having Satanic themes.

However one defines the genre, here are the top 50 heavy metal songs as determined by aggregating 24 best-of lists. Note: after the top 50 songs were determined, they were re-ranked based on overall points in Dave’s Music Database.

1. Black Sabbath…Paranoid (1970)
2. Metallica…Enter Sandman (1991)
3. AC/DC…Back in Black (1980)
4. Guns N’ Roses…Welcome to the Jungle (1987)
5. Black Sabbath…Iron Man (1970)
6. Metallica…One (1988)
7. Motorhead…Ace of Spades (1980)
8. Ozzy Osbourne…Crazy Train (1980)
9. Metallica…Master of Puppets (1988)
10. Van Halen…Runnin’ with the Devil (1978)

11. Black Sabbath…War Pigs (1970)
12. Scorpions…Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984)
13. AC/DC...Hells Bells (1980)
14. Iron Maiden…Hallowed Be Thy Name (1982)
15. Judas Priest…Breaking the Law (1980)
16. Iron Maiden…The Number of the Beast (1982)
17. Kiss…Detroit Rock City (1976)
18. Black Sabbath…Black Sabbath (1970)
19. Iron Maiden…Run to the Hills (1982)
20. Judas Priest…You’ve Got Another Thing Coming (1982)

21. Slayer…Angel of Death (1986)
22. Deep Purple…Highway Star (1972)
23. Iron Maiden…The Trooper (1983)
24. Black Sabbath…Children of the Grave (1971)
25. Megadeth…Symphony of Destruction (1992)
26. Rainbow…Stargazer (1976)
27. Ozzy Osbourne…Mr. Crowley (1980)
28. Metallica…Fade to Black (1984)
29. Dio…Holy Diver (1983)
30. Judas Priest…Painkiller (1990)

31. Megadeth…Holy Wars – The Punishment Due (1990)
32. Dio…Rainbow in the Dark (1983)
33. Slayer…Raining Blood (1986)
34. Megadeth…Peace Sells (1986)
35. Judas Priest…The Hellion/Electric Eye (1982)
36. Megadeth…Hangar 18 (1990)
37. Iron Maiden…Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1984)
38. Black Sabbath…Heaven and Hell (1980)
39. Pantera…Cowboys from Hell (1990)
40. Diamond Head…Am I Evil? (1980)

41. Metallica…For Whom the Bell Tolls (1984)
42. Judas Priest…Beyond the Realms of Death (1978)
43. Pantera…Walk (1992)
44. Iron Maiden…Fear of the Dark (1992)
45. Judas Priest…Victim of Changes (1976)
46. Accept…Balls to the Wall (1983)
47. Judas Priest…Screaming for Vengeance (1982)
48. Pantera…Cemetery Gates (1990)
49. Anthrax…Caught in a Mosh (1987)
50. Metallica…Seek and Destroy (1983)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top 50 Songs by Hair Bands

image from

Ah, the hair bands. This much-maligned genre was a mix of rock and pop wrapped up in big hair and leather pants. The bands – almost all white men – were known for lifestyles filled with debauchery and depravity. It was no wonder teens in the ‘80s flocked to the bands like moths to a flame.

Regardless of these bands lack of critical acclaim, some of these bands (Bon Jovi, Def Leppard) when on to become some of the biggest rock bands in the world – even after they cut their hair and opted for more sensible jeans. Here – love ‘em or hate ‘em – are the top 50 songs from hair bands. Note: 25 best-of lists were aggregated to come up with a top 50 and then those songs were ranked in order of their overall DMDB points.

1. Guns N’ Roses…Sweet Child O’ Mine (1987)
2. Van Halen…Jump (1984)
3. Bon Jovi…Livin’ on a Prayer (1986)
4. Guns N’ Roses…Welcome to the Jungle (1987)
5. Def Leppard…Pour Some Sugar on Me (1987)
6. Guns N’ Roses…Paradise City (1987)
7. Whitesnake…Here I Go Again (1987)
8. Bon Jovi…You Give Love a Bad Name (1986)
9. Poison…Every Rose Has Its Thorn (1988)
10. Def Leppard…Photograph (1983)

11. Ratt…Round and Round (1984)
12. Bon Jovi…Wanted Dead or Alive (1986)
13. Twisted Sister…We’re Not Gonna Take It (1984)
14. Europe…The Final Countdown (1986)
15. Quiet Riot…Cum on Feel the Noize (1983)
16. Scorpions…Rock You Like a Hurricane (1984)
17. Quiet Riot…Metal Health (Bang Your Head) (1983)
18. Def Leppard…Rock of Ages (1983)
19. Motley Crue…Dr. Feelgood (1989)
20. Motley Crue….Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)

21. Motley Crue…Kickstart My Heart (1989)
22. Warrant…Cherry Pie (1990)
23. Poison…Talk Dirty to Me (1986)
24. Poison…Nothin’ But a Good Time (1988)
25. Tesla…Love Song (1989)
26. Skid Row…18 and Life (1989)
27. Cinderella…Nobody’s Fool (1986)
28. Lita Ford…Kiss Me Deadly (1988)
29. Warrant…Heaven (1988)
30. Great White…Once Bitten Twice Shy (1989)

31. White Lion…Wait (1987)
32. Def Leppard…Bringin’ on the Heartbreak (1981)
33. Scorpions…No One Like You (1982)
34. Skid Row…I Remember You (1989)
35. Autograph…Turn Up the Radio (1984)
36. Bon Jovi…Runaway (1983)
37. Motley Crue…Shout at the Devil (1983)
38. Whitesnake…Still of the Night (1987)
39. Cinderella…Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone (1988)
40. Poison…Fallen Angel (1988)

41. Winger…Seventeen (1988)
42. Kiss…Lick It Up (1983)
43. Dokken…In My Dreams (1985)
44. Twisted Rock…I Wanna Rock (1984)
45. Skid Row…Youth Gone Wild (1989)
46. Cinderella…Gypsy Road (1988)
47. Dokken…Alone Again (1984)
48. Motley Crue…Home Sweet Home (1985)
49. Cinderella…Shake Me (1986)
50. Slaughter…Up All Night (1990)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January 20, 1941: Bartók's last string quartet debuts

Last updated August 31, 2018.

The String Quartets

Béla Bartók (composer)

Composed: 1908-1939

Debut of Final Quartet: January 20, 1941

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > chamber music > quartet for four strings

Quartets/Duration/Year(s) Composed/Debuted:

  1. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Sz. 40, BB 52 (1908) [29:40] (1909, 3/19/1910)
  2. String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Sz. 67, BB 75 (Op. 17) [27:00] (1915-17, 3/3/1918)
  3. String Quartet No. 3 in C sharp major, Sz. 85, BB 93 [15:10] (1927, 2/19/1929)
  4. String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Sz. 91, BB 93 [22:50] (1928, 3/20/1929)
  5. String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Sz. 102, BB 110 [30:30] (1934, 4/9/1935)
  6. String Quartet No. 6 in D major, Sz. 114, BB 119 [29:00] (1939, 1/20/1941)


Bartók’s six string quartets, written “for the usual forces of two violins, viola and cello” WK have “become part of the mainstream repertoire” AZ and cited as influences for numerous composers, including Benjamin Britten and King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. WK The Juilliard Quartet, formed at the Juilliard School of Music in 1946, have much to do with the quartets’ success, having “presented the complete cycle publicly in New York for the first time” AZ in 1949. Their recording of the quartets the next year was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987.

String Quartet No. 1:
Bartók was unrequitedly in love with violinist Stefi Geyer, for whom he developed a musical portrait with his 1908 violin concerto. This quartet was the culmination of him dealing with his rejection. He described the opening movement in a letter to Geyer as his “funeral dirge.” MS1 Indeed, “sadness and despair are the prevailing sentiments in this work” MS1 and the three movements “plainly trace a course from the…anguish of the convoluted first movement to the heady, forceful finale.” MS1

String Quartet No. 2:
During World War I, Bartók lived in seclusion outside Budapest and that “isolation may have made its way into” MS2 this quartet. Like “other works from the era, especially the yet-to-come violin sonatas, Bartók’s…melodies…have clear and easily comprehended shapes [which] intertwine…in ways that produce great…harmonic tensions; yet…also yield gem-like moments of diatonic triads, all the more beautiful for their rarity.” MS2

String Quartet No. 3:
Bartók’s single-movement third quartet “is the most concentrated in thematic material and structure,” MS3 lasting just over fifteen minutes. With his native Hungary losing “two-thirds of its land and population under” MS3 the terms of the Treaty of Trianon, Bartók’s primary source of folk music was cut off, leading him to “a more cosmopolitan style, such as he had encountered during his tours of post-war Europe.” MS3 He “subjected folk-style themes and motifs to a technique he called ‘expansion in range,’ wherein melodic shape and intervallic relations were stretched to produce themes that develop freely without compromising musical unity.” MS3 “The mood is desolate, though the folk-like themes are clear and immediately comprehensible.” MS3

String Quartet No. 4:
“A dark, nocturnal mood…prevails through the entire work.” MS4 The fourth quartet “represents both an intensification and relaxation of elements present in Bartók’s previous quartet…While the radically dissonant harmonic language and rigorous motivic development found in the third string quartet are intensified…the third’s tightly interwoven single-movement structure is…‘opened out’ into a more easily comprehended, five-movement span arranged in Bartók’s characteristic ‘arch’ form. The composer did point out, however, that the five movements functioned collectively according to the template of sonata form.” MS4

String Quartet No. 5:
Bartók wrote comparatively less music in the six years between his fourth and fifth quartets, but the work he did “pointed to his mature style of the 1930s and 1940s, in which directness of compositional technique is coupled with a new concern for clear communication.” MS5 They paved the way for his fifth quartet “easily Bartók’s most virtuosic essay in the form.” MS5 Here he again uses “the five-movement arch form, this time employing a more distinctive variation technique in which the first and fifth movements, and the second and fourth, closely mirror each other.” MS5

String Quartet No. 6:
“Bartók’s last completed quartet exemplifies the composer’s continuing search for new forms, even as he sought to distill and clarify his mode of expression. The form he devised for the String Quartet No. 6 is ingenious: each movement is preceded by an introductory section marked ‘Mesto’ (‘sadly’), with increasing complexity at each appearance. The ‘mesto’ theme functions both as a motto and as the source of much of the quartet’s thematic substance. In the fourth movement, rather than giving way to a lively finale (the original plan as indicated by Bartók’s sketches), the motto continues on to become the conclusion itself.” MS6

Review Source(s):


Related DMDB Link(s):

Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15, 1791: Mozart completed his final concerto

Last updated August 27, 2018.

Piano Concertos (27)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)

Composed: 1773-1791

Last Concerto Completed: January 15, 1791

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > piano concertos

Concertos/Year of Completion/Approximate Time:

  1. No. 1 in F major, K. 37 (April 1767) [16:00]
  2. No. 2 in B flat major, K. 39 (April 1767) [15:00]
  3. No. 3 in D major, K. 40 (April 1767) [13:00]
  4. No. 4 in G major, K. 41 (April 1767) [14:00]
  5. No. 5 in D major, K. 175 (December 1773) [22:00]
  6. No. 6 in B♭ major, K. 238 (January 1776) [21:00]
  7. No. 7 in F major, K. 242 for three pianos (February 1776) [25:00]
  8. No. 8 in C major, K. 246 (April 1776) [23:30]
  9. No. 9 in E♭ major, K. 271 (January 1777) [33:30]
  10. No. 10 in E♭ major, K. 365/316a for two pianos (1779) [25:00]
  11. No. 11 in F major, K. 413/387a (1782–1783) [22:30]
  12. No. 12 in A major, K. 414/385p (1782) [26:30]
  13. No. 13 in C major, K. 415/387b (1782–1783) [28:30]
  14. No. 14 in E♭ major, K. 449 (9 February 1784) [22:30]
  15. No. 15 in B♭ major, K. 450 (15 March 1784) [25:30]
  16. No. 16 in D major, K. 451 (22 March 1784) [22:30]
  17. No. 17 in G major, K. 453 (12 April 1784) [29:45]
  18. No. 18 in B♭ major, K. 456 (30 September 1784) [29:00]
  19. No. 19 in F major, K. 459 (11 December 1784) [27:45]
  20. No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (10 February 1785) [29:00]
  21. No. 21 in C major, K. 467 (9 March 1785) [26:00]
  22. No. 22 in E♭ major, K. 482 (16 December 1785) [35:00]
  23. No. 23 in A major, K. 488 (2 March 1786) [27:00]
  24. No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 (24 March 1786) [29:45]
  25. No. 25 in C major, K. 503 (4 December 1786) [32:30]
  26. No. 26 in D major, K. 537 (24 February 1788) [30:45]
  27. No. 27 in B♭ major, K. 595 (5 January 1791) [29:30]


Mozart wrote his 27 original concertos for piano and orchestra over a span of 25 years. He composed many of them to play himself in the Vienna concert series of 1784-86. WK They are recognized as “among his greatest achievements.” WK

The first four concertos were based on piano sonatas composed by others, a common practice in operas of the day. They were arranged in 1767 when Mozart was eleven. The next six, known as the Salzburg concertos, were written from 1773-79. No. 5 “was his first real effort in the genre, and one that proved popular at the time.” WK No. 6 was the first “introduce new thematic material in the piano's first solo section.” WK The seventh and eight concertos “are generally not regarded as demonstrating much of an advance, although No. 7 is quite well known.” WK

“Nine months after No. 8, however, Mozart produced one of his early masterpieces,” WK the ninth concerto, known as the “Jenamy” (formerly “Jeunehomme).” WK “This work shows a decisive advance in organization of the first movement, as well as demonstrating some irregular features.” WK No. 10, the end of his Salzburg period, was written for two pianos, the presence of which “disturbs the ‘normal’ structure of piano-orchestra interaction.” WK

Nos. 11-13 are known as the Early Vienna concertos. Mozart wrote them in the autumn of 1782, about 18 months after his arrival in Vienna, “for his own use in subscription concerts.” WK He described the trio of concertos in a letter to his father as “a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult; they are very brilliant, pleasing to the ear, and natural, without being vapid.” WK They “are all rather different from one another and are relatively intimate works despite the mock grandeur of the last one.” WK That one, No. 13, “is an ambitious, perhaps even overambitious work, that introduces the first, military theme in a canon in an impressive orchestral opening.” WK

Nos. 14-25, written between 1784 and 1786, are known as the Major Vienna concertos. They represent “a period of creativity that has certainly never been surpassed in piano concerto production.” WK No. 14 “is the first instrumental work by Mozart that shows the strong influence of his operatic writing.” WK No. 15 “shows a reversion to an earlier, galant style.” WK No 16. “is a not very well known work…The first movement is broadly "symphonic" in structure and marks a further advance in the interactions between piano and orchestra.” WK

Nos. 17-19 “can be considered to form a group, as they all share certain features, such as the same rhythm in the opening.” WK No. 17 “was written for Barbara Ployer and is famous in particular for its last movement.” WK No. 18 “was for a long time believed to have been written for the blind pianist Maria Theresa von Paradis to play in Paris.” WK No. 19 “is sunny with an exhilarating finale.” WK

The year 1785 was “marked by the contrasting pair…[of Nos. 20 and 21] remarkably, written within the same month. These two works, one the first minor-key concerto Mozart wrote…and a dark and stormy work, and the other sunny, are among the most popular works Mozart produced.” WK No. 22 “is slightly less popular, possibly because it lacks the striking themes of the first two.” WK

“In 1786, Mozart managed to write two more masterpieces in one month.” WK No. 23 was “one of the most consistently popular of his concertos, notable particularly for its poignant slow movement in F♯ minor, the only work he wrote in the key. He followed it with No. 24…is a dark and passionate work, made more striking by its classical restraint.” WK “The final work of the year, No. 25…is one of the most expansive of all classical concertos, rivaling Beethoven's fifth piano concerto.” WK This “was the last of the regular series of concertos Mozart wrote for his subscription concerts.” WK

26-27 are referred to as the Later concertos. No. 26, “completed in February 1788, has a mixed reputation and possibly is the revision of a smaller chamber concerto into a larger structure.” WK No. 27, the last concerto, “was the first work from the last year of Mozart's life: it represents a return to form for Mozart in the genre.” WK

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

January 13, 1811: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 was performed for the first time

Last updated August 28, 2018.

Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major (“Emperor”), Op. 73

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

Composed: 1809-1811

First Performed: January 13, 1811

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > piano concerto


  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio un poco moto
  3. Rondo, Allegro

Average Duration: 38:40


This work is often known as the “Emperor Concerto,” so-named by Johann Baptist Cramer, the English publisher of the concerto. WK “There is hardly an adjective that could more aptly evoke the work’s impressive scale and majesty. Despite its considerable technical demands, the ‘Emperor’ Concerto handily transcends the typical role of the concerto as a mere virtuoso vehicle. Indeed, it is virtually symphonic in conception; its E flat major key (the same as that of the ‘Eroica’ Symphony), expansive form, and sometimes martial, always grand, character grant the concerto a place among the defining works in the composer’s heroic vein.” MR

“In the Piano Concerto No. 4, Beethoven made a striking break with convention in commencing the work with a piano solo. In the opening Allegro of No. 5, he takes this idea to an extreme, providing the soloist with an extended cadenza, punctuated by tutti chords from the orchestra, that outlines in miniature the entire 20-minute movement. The main theme is marchlike and assertive; the somewhat more relaxed second theme first appears cloaked in mystery, in a minor-key version that soon gives way to the expected statement in the dominant major. The grandeur of the movement is colored by excursions to remote keys that, however, never fully thwart the powerful forward drive.” MR

This piece was Beethoven’s last completed piano concerto. WK His advanced deafness, which eventually ended his own career as a pianist, may have stirred his “lost interest in concertante works.” MR Although he performed his four previous concertos, he never publicly played this one. MR

It was dedicated to Archduke Rudolf, his patron and pupil. It was first performed in Vienna at the Palace of Prince Joseph Lobkowitz with Rudolf serving as the soloist. A public concert was held in Leipzig at the Gweandhaus on 11/28/1811 with Friedrich Schneider serving as the soloist and Johann Philipp Christian Schulz as the conductor. WK

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Monday, January 1, 2018

January 1, 1948: Before the recording ban, a Carnegie Hall performance revives Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Last updated August 26, 2018.

Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons)

Antonio Vivaldi (composer)

Published: 1725

First Performed: ?

Sales: 0.6 in UK

Peak: 130

Quotable: “A cycle of the most popular works ever written” – Aaron Rabushka, All Music Guide

Genre: classical > concerto > violin

Parts/Movements and Average Lengths:

  1. Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E major ("La Primavera," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 1), Op.8/1, RV 269 [10:10]
  2. Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in G minor ("L'estate," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 2), Op. 8/2, RV 315 [10:30]
  3. Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F major ("L'autunno," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 3), Op.8/3, RV 293 [11:20]
  4. Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in F minor ("L'inverno," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 4), Op. 8/4, RV 297 [8:50]


On January 1, 1948, a recording ban was instituted in the United States. Before the ban, however, American violinist Louis Kaufman revived The Four Seasons, “the best known of Vivaldi's works,” WK with his performance at Carnegie Hall, the first American recording of the work. In 2002 it was elected to the Grammy Hall of Fame and the next year was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. WK

It “is a group of four violin concerti” WK “written around 1721 and were published in 1725 in Amsterdam.” WK Each “gives musical expression to a season of the year.” WK “The inspiration for the concertos was probably the countryside around Mantua, where Vivaldi was living at the time. They were a revolution in musical conception: in them Vivaldi represented flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species, each specifically characterized)…buzzing flies, storms…frozen landscapes, and warm winter fires.” WK The approach “imbued ‘The Four Seasons’ with an undimming freshness and propelled it to undiminished popularity.” R1

“Unusually for the period, Vivaldi published the concerti with accompanying sonnets (possibly written by the composer himself) that elucidated what it was in the spirit of each season that his music was intended to evoke. The concerti therefore stand as one of the earliest and most detailed examples of what would come to be called program music – i.e., music with a narrative element. Vivaldi took great pains to relate his music to the texts of the poems, translating the poetic lines themselves directly into the music on the page. For example, in the middle section of the Spring concerto, where the goatherd sleeps, his barking dog can be heard in the viola section.” WK

“Though three of the concerti are wholly original, the first, Spring, borrows motifs from a Sinfonia in the first act of Vivaldi's contemporaneous opera Il Giustino.” WK “The outer movements…are cast more or less in the traditional ritronello form that was the standard for baroque solo concerti. The opening Allegro gets off to a cheerful start, and subsequent episodes include depictions of bird calls, flowing brooks, rain and thunder. The Largo that follows projects three images at once: a sleeping goatherd (solo violin), rustling leaves (muted violins in the orchestra), and a barking dog (violas). The concluding Allegro returns to the cheery atmosphere of the beginning, rejoicing in the mellow merriment and security of a jaunting shepherds’ dance.” R1

“The first movement of the Summer concerto is orthodox in form, somewhat less so in feeling. It begins with a tutti that represents summery langour and stickiness from the heat. The solo violin speeds things up as it imitates the sounds of a turtle dove and a goldfinch as a cello accompanies with the sounds of a cuckoo. The opening tutti returns, and the stuffiness of summer winds slow and fast is projected in the subsequent solo passages. Some of the solos contrast strikingly in meter and texture with the tutti. The adagio second movement alternates slightly melancholy phrases from the violin with resolute repeated-note phrases from the orchestra that depict the swarming of summer insects. In the final Presto a summer rainstorm breaks loose, with furious repeated notes, scales and eventually fingered tremolos from the orchestral violins leading the way.” R2

“The Autumn concerto’s opening Allegro begins with a jubilant celebration of a harvest. Peasant dancing proceeds with full and abandoned happiness to a joyful foot-stomping (grape-stomping?) beat, and a few drunkards make themselves heard along the way. The subsequent adagio molto, which contains no solo passages, depicts sleeping drunkards in a mostly non-melodic stupor. The autumn rejoicing concludes in the final allegro, where we hear the sounds of a exhilirating hunt. Again the rhythm is unequivocally extroverted, and the sounds of horns (handily implied by the solo violin) and dogs (grumbling in the the low register of the orchestral violins) are unmistakable.” R3

“The opening Allegro non molto of the Winter concerto begins with repeated staccato chords vividly projecting the feel of wintertime chill. Several virtuoso passages for the violin represent the incisive winter winds, and a tutti rich in rapid repeated notes depicts people running and stamping their feet to ward off the cold. The subsequent Largo depicts winter raindrops with pizzicati in the orchestra over which the soloist spins a gorgeous singing theme representing those viewing the rain and ice from inside a warm home. The concluding Allegro opens with a depiction of precarious walking on ice, followed by the blasting of winter winds. Near the end there is a contrastingly mild tutti before some furious scalar passages and repeated notes take us out with a full blast of winter cold.” R4

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