Explore the Score- Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 1

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky seemed to be singularly unlucky in choosing the dedicatees of his great concertante works.  He wrote his evergreen Variations on a Rococo Theme for the cellist William Fitzenhagen. As always, Tchaikovsky invited Fitzenhagen to suggest improvements to the solo part, but Fitzenhagen went far further- he re-ordered the variations, cutting one entirely. […]

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Explore the Score- Schumann Symphony in D minor

It’s time for the third installment in our Explore the Score series on the Schumann symphonies. Our new recording of Gal’s 2nd Symphony and Schumann’s Fourth has just been released on Avie Records. Ordering via these links helps support these important recordings. Explore the score: Schumann Symphony no. 2. Explore the score: Schumann Symphony no. […]

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Explore the Score- Bobby Schumann busts out the Klangfarbenmelodie

Klangfarbenmelodie, or “tone colour melody” is one of those 2 dollar words we all learned in undergraduate music history class. Simply described, in Klangfarbenmelodie, a single melodic line jumps from instrument to instrument, creating a more-or-less constantly varied coloration of the melodic line. It’s a word we normally associate with the composers of the New […]

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Explore the Score- Gal Cello Concerto

“Whilst it may be a long road before the symphonies promoted by Kenneth Woods become regular concert fare (he can’t be everywhere !) the chances for this marvellous cello concerto to become part of “the repertoire” are far better, since soloists play a big part in publicising concertos which they favour…Meneses looks to students to […]

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Explore the score- Elgar Cello Concerto

Cellist Antonio Meneses and the Northern Sinfonia have just made a stunning recording of Elgar and Gal’s cello concerti with his longtime friend and collaborator, conductor Claudio Cruz. Although I wasn’t involved in the recording, Avie Records asked me to write the liner notes for the CD, which I was very happy to do.  The […]

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Explore the Score: Shostakovich- Symphony no. 5 in D minor

Welcome to a special edition of Explore the Score. I’ve told friends for years that some day I wanted to write a book about Shostakovich  5. Here’s the short version.     Dmitri Shostakovich- Symphony no. 5 in D minor opus 47 Genesis Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony would, at first glance, seem, on purely musical grounds, […]

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Explore the score- Gal Symphony no. 4 “Sinfonia Concertante”

(First time using “Explore the score?” Just click on the hyperlinks within the text to hear the musical excerpts.)   “Up to the present, however, Brahms has maintained his place as the “last classical composer,” for no one has yet come to replace him.” Hans Gál- writing in  his biographical study, “Johannes Brahms”   Hans […]

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Explore the score: Schumann- Symphony no. 2

(First time using “Explore the score?” Just click on the hyperlinks within the text to hear the musical excerpts.) “Here is something truly symphonic, a gesture worthy to introduce a great work…” Hans Gál, Schumann Orchestral Music “I sketched it at a time when I was ailing, and I may well state that it was, […]

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Program note archive: Bartok Viola Concerto

Béla Bartók- Concerto for Viola (1945) completed by Tibor Serly William Primrose, maybe the most important violist of modern times, asked the then-ailing Bartók to write a concerto for his use in 1945. Since emigrating from Hungary to the US in 1940, Bartók had endured a period of terrible neglect, poverty and homesickness. Howard Hanson, the reactionary and xenophobic president of the Eastman School of Music, […]

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Program Note Archive- Debussy (arr. Schoenberg), Prelude a l’apres midi d’un faune

The Verein für Musikalische Privataufführungen (Society for Private Musical Performances) was founded by Arnold Schoenberg and his friends and students in the second decade of the 20th century to provide composers an opportunity to hear important scores of the day in an environment that was conducive to developing a deeper understanding of the musical tools […]

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Explore the Score: Robert Schumann: Symphony no. 3 in E-flat Major

  To make the reading experience more engaging, we’ve linked to audio samples of the various musical examples discussed. Look for the highlighted text. Chances are, in most browsers a little box will pop up over the text where you can play the excerpt without leaving the page. If not, just click on it and […]

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Explore the score- Hans Gal: Symphony no. 3

  Of course, reading about music you’ve never heard (and this piece hasn’t been heard here in 55 years), can be off-putting. After all, much as I may try to describe what is going on in the score, you don’t yet know how it sounds. Here is where technology comes to our rescue- there exists […]

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