A work in progress – half serenade, half symphony

 

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Jubilant splendor. © Charles Thibo

“Sonnez cors et trompettes!” (Sound the horns and trumpets).  This French expression came to my mind when I listened to Johannes Brahms Serenade No. 1 in D, Op. 11, especially to the jubilant first movement. It has been recorded by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, back to back with Schumann’s Cello Concerto that I have presented in a post two days ago. I never had really cared to listen to Brahms’ serenade in D consciously before I began to study Schumann’s piece. An omission I later regretted! Because… because it is incredibly beautiful, rich, melodious – very much a reverence to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. It displays an overall sunny, optimistic mood, a piece that requires no effort to listen to and has no deeper meaning thant to give the audience 55 minutes of pleasure.

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Schumann, Menschenskind!

A happy hour with the cello. © Charles Thibo

Robert Schumann. This man causes me pain. This man gives me joy. All at the same time. You may wonder why. Because of a stupid obsession of mine, one of these senseless ideas man comes up with to torture himself. Some time ago I have decided that I like Franz Schubert better than Schumann. I know both men’s works fairly well by now, and I hate to admit it, but if I am honest, Schumann is equal to Schubert. It. Can. Not. Be. I will never admit that in public. No way.

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Liszt gives the “Young Italians” a voice

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La Fontana di Trevi – a Rome classic that withstood the times. © Charles Thibo

L’art pour l’art and brilliance as a proof of virtuosity is the law – Franz Liszt’s lifelong guiding principle. While he lived in Paris and Italy, he edited a collaborative piano work called “Hexaméron” with the subtitle “Grandes Variations de Bravoure sur la Marche des Puritains de Bellini. Liszt recruited upon a suggestion of Princess Cristina Trivulzio Belgiojoso five pianist-composers to write variations on a march from Vicenzo Bellini’s opera “The Puritans”, following Ludwig van Beethoven’s example who has written a little earlier the “Diabelli Variations”.

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Evening serenity with Langgaard’s string quartet

Nightfall. © Charles Thibo

All is well. I had a busy day, but my work was interesting and most of what I wanted to get done actually got done. And now… and now I enjoy doing nothing. Doing nothing without the hint of a bad conscience – that’s luxury. I sit in front of the house, the sun has set and I am waiting for the first stars to show up. The wind has died down and peace has descended upon the vineyards. The workers have left, the road is empty and it is quiet except for the birds. All is well. Continue reading!