Monday, February 22, 2021

Dave's Music Database Hall of Fame: Albums (Feb. 2021)

Originally posted 2/22/2021.

January 22, 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the DMDB blog. To honor that, Dave’s Music Database announced its own Hall of Fame. This month marks the ninth group of album inductees. These are the top ten classical works of all time, excluding previous inductees George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Johnann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and Monterverdi’s L’Orfeo (Orpheus).

See the full list of album inductees here.

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor (Fate) (1808)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

This is “one of the most popular and best-known compositions in all of classical music, and one of the most often played symphonies.” AZ In Howard’s End, E.M. Forster said the symphony satisfies “all sort and conditions” MJ while poet and composer E.T.A. Hoffman called it “one of the most important works of all time.” AZ It took Beethoven more than four years to compose. Read more.

Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major (Emperor) (1811)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

This was the last of Beethoven’s completed piano concertos. He never publicly played it. MR. It 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.” MR Read more.

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 7 in A major (1812)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

Beethoven began writing this in 1809, but didn’t finish the composition until 1812, by which time he was seriously deaf. This was “his definitive break with stylistic conventions practiced by Mozart, Haydn, and a legion of lesser mortals who copied them. He stretched harmonic rules, and gave breadth to symphonic forms that Haydn and Mozart anticipated.” RD Read more.

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Choral) (1824)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

This started as two separate works – a symphony with a chorale finale and a purely instrumental work in D minor. Beethoven had worked on the two pieces for almost ten years before deciding in 1822 to combine them. He famously includes Friedrich von Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” in the finale. “The finished work is of visionary scope and proportions, and represents the apogee of technical difficulty in its day.” AMG Read more.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) (1786)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

This four-part comic opera “tells how the servants Figaro and Susanna succeed in getting married, foiling the efforts of their philandering employer Count Almaviva to seduce Susanna and teaching him a lesson in fidelity. The opera is a cornerstone of the repertoire and appears consistently among the top ten in the Operabase list of most frequently performed operas.” WK Read more.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni (1787)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

This two-act opera was a mix of serious and comedic action, telling the story of the legendary Don Juan and how he is destroyed by his excesses. Mozart was commissioned to create the opera in 1787 and finished a day or two before it premiered on October 29 of that year. According to Operabase, it is the seventh most-performed opera worldwide. WK Read more.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Pope Marcellus Mass (Missa Papae Marcelli) (1565)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

“Arguably Palestrina’s best-known work,” NB this piece has been recorded often in the latter part of the 20th century. This is “primarily a six-voice mass, but voice combinations are varied throughout the piece.” WK He intentionally composed “in a simplified, easily understood style to please church officials” WK after Pope Marcellus II urged “musicians to strive for simplicity, clarity, and intelligibility in their compositions” in 1555. NB Read more.

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor (1875)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

Tchaikovsky composed his first piano concerto between November 1874 and February 1875. He played it for pianist Nikolai Rubinstein, who he hoped would play the piece, but he responded with a list of demanded changes before he would play it. Tchaikovsky was devastated, initially insisting he wouldn’t change a single note. He did, however, make some minor changes before it debuted in 1875 and revised it in 1879 and again in 1888. Rubinstein later retracted his criticisms and championed the work. WK Read more.

Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons (1725)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

This group of four violin concertos are centered around the four seasons of the year, inspired by the countryside around Mantua, where Vivaldi lived at the time. Within the pieces, he represented flowing creeks, singing birds, storms, and warm winter fires. Vivaldi also tied the music to texts from poems. The works stand as some of the earliest examples of program music, or music with a narrative element. Read more.

Richard Wagner Der Ring Des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) (1874)

Inducted February 2021 as “Top Classical Works.”

All told, this series of four operas, created over a quartet century, stretches to more than 15 hours. The first one is the shortest, running about two and a half hours, while the final one can run as long as five hours. The story follows three generations of protaganists from the Norse sagas. “Wagner wrote for an orchestra of gargantuan proportions;” WK “the music of the cycle is thick and richly textured and grows in complexity as the cycle proceeds.” WK Read more.

No comments:

Post a Comment