Vivaldi is back this year with his opus 4 entitled La Stravaganza translated as ‘Extravagance’ – another brilliant set of violin concertos. I have chosen 6 of these but if you listen to one then listen to the superb Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in B Flat Major, Op.4, No.1, RV383: III. Allegro. Also brilliant is Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, Op.4, No.4, RV357: III. Allegro
For all the Vivaldi I find in this decade though it is Corelli who plays the trump card with his Concerto grosso No. 4 in D Major, Op. 6: I. Adagio – Allegro. This exhilarating piece of music is my favourite of all the music so far going right back to the dawn of time. I am going to go further and say that no human being has bettered this before or since. Equalled may be but not bettered. Now that will teach Handel not to make a mockery of the great Corelli! I would highly recommend it to anyone. Opus 6 is considered Corelli’s best work and I have chosen 7 pieces from which also include two of the Christmas concertos which are Corelli’s most well known works today. Corelli had been working on these concertos for several years before his death in 1713. His opus 6 was a great way for one of the most influential composers in history to sign off.
As for Handel, he thankfully takes time out from opera writing to come up with a few lazy sounding tuneful oboe sonatas.
There are also in this year a couple of violin sonatas – one from Albinoni which is decent and one from Bach, not unlike his famous organ toccata from 1708 which provides plenty of fuel to the idea that Bach the composer is pure genius. However in 1714 Bach was not yet really known as a composer but more as an organist. It was 1714 when Bach was asked to improvise on the organ for Prince Friedrich of Sweden. The prince showed his great appreciation for Bach’s playing simply by taking off a ring from his finger and giving it to the great maestro. An observer wrote of Bach that ‘his feet flew over the pedal-board as if they had wings and the ponderous and ominous tones pierced the ears of the hearer like a flash of lightning or clap of thunder; and if the skill of his feet alone earned him such a gift what would the prince have given him if he had used his hands as well’!
So here's the best from this year........
So here's the best from this year........
Vivaldi: "La Stravaganza" Concertos for Violin & Orchestra, Vol. 1
Andrew Watkinson & City of London Sinfonia (better than the versions on the you tube link)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A Minor, Op.4, No.4, RV357: III. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in B Flat Major, Op.4, No.1, RV383: I. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in B Flat Major, Op.4, No.1, RV383: III. Allegro
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op.4, No.2, RV279: I. Allegro first 4 min
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op.4, No.2, RV279: III. Allegro from 7.38
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in G Major, Op.4, No.3, RV301: I. Allegro
From Corelli: Concerti grossi, Op. 6, Nos. 7-12 by Anna Holbling, Capella Istropolitana, Daniela Ruso, Jaroslav Krček, Ludovit Kanta & Quido Holbling
Concerto grosso in C Major, Op. 6, No. 10: V. Allegro from 1.21 to 3.47
Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6, No. 9: II. Allemanda. Allegro 1.15 to 3.27
Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6, No. 9: IV. Gavotta. Allegro 5.14 to 6.07
Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 6, No. 9: VI. Minuetto. Vivace 6.40 to end
Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6, No. 8, "Christmas Concerto": IV. Vivace 7.22 to 8.24 keep listening on same clip for
Concerto grosso in G Minor, Op. 6, No. 8, "Christmas Concerto": V. Allegro (from 8.24 to 10.24
Concerto grosso No. 4 in D Major, Op. 6: I. Adagio - Allegro (first 3.22 min of this clip)
Sonate en Fa Majeur Pour Hautbois Et Basse (continue, HWV 363 - Allegro)
Sonate en Fa Majeur Pour Hautbois Et Basse (continue, HWV 363 - Bourrée)
Sonate en Fa Majeur Pour Hautbois Et Basse (continue, HWV 363 - Menuetto)
Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Continuo, BWV 1023: I. Allegro by James Ehnes
Albinoni: Concerto per violino & Sinfonie a 4 Sinfonia a 4 in D Major, Si 4: II. Allegro by L'Orfeo Ensemble
Leibniz is back with his other key work entitled ‘Monodology’. In this he argued against the commonly held view at the time that objects were inanimate and that an external force would be needed to animate them. Instead he believed that the energy came from within the object itself because they contained what he called a ‘monad’. A monad was an entity, the energy in every object and the intensity of the monad depended on the nature of the object. The monad in inorganic matter was at the bottom of the scale, while in living beings the monad was the soul and God at the very top of the scale was a monad so intense it needed no physical form. We now know that in one sense at least Leibniz was right because all matter is reducible to energy (so I am told!).
In the world of science Dante Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) invented the Mercury thermometer while on the political front…..
The war of Spanish succession that had been rumbling on throughout the whole of the last decade mainly overseas and in Spain and parts of northern Italy finally came to an end. This good news contributes to the youthful optimism that characterizes the music and art of this decade.