John Joubert’s Jane Eyre- A conductor’s perspective

John Joubert’s musical language is original yet familiar, subtle yet direct. Firmly rooted in tonality, his harmonic vocabulary is highly sophisticated and personal, and he seems to have a particular knack for energising traditional harmonies through clashes, bi-tonality and harmonic extension. Joubert’s Jane Eyre is the work of a melodist of the highest order who […]

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Explore the score- Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major

For me, it was musical love at first sight. The first time I heard the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto was on a cassette tape.  I loved it so much, I kept rewinding and replaying bits of the first movement (most often the big tutti at the end of the exposition- even then I had conductor tendencies). […]

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About Explore The Score

Ever wonder what makes music tick? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This series of illustrated blog posts helps bring the inner workings of great music to life with direct language, musical examples and historical context. Please note: If you would like to reprint, republish, reblog or otherwise use any of these essays on […]

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Explore the Score- Beethoven: Symphony no. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 55, “Sinfonica eroica”

Beethoven’s Third Symphony is a work of such monumental historic and artistic importance that it’s worth prefacing a discussion of it by reminding the reader that even if Beethoven had died before composing it, he would have already secured his place in the pantheon of the greatest composers who had ever lived. Although it was […]

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Explore the Score- Dvorak Stabat Mater

Antonin Dvorak- Stabat Mater, op. 58 Dvorak began and completed his great setting of Jacopone da Todi’s 13th century poem Stabat Mater under a cloud of great personal tragedy. In 1875 his oldest daughter Josefa died only days after her birth. The grieving Dvorak turned to the ancient text of the Stabat Mater, seeing in its evocation of Mary’s grief at the death […]

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Explore the Score- Hans Gál: Idyllikon

Hear it live for the first time in 25 years on the 31st of January here.  Idyllikon Four movements for small orchestra, Opus 79, (1958) Serenade, Badinerie, Sarabande, Villanelle Duration: 29” First performance: Vienna Radio, Aug. 1960 (Orchester des österreichischen Rundfunks/Etti) Hans Gál was born in the small village of Brunn am Gebirge, just outside Vienna. He studied […]

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Explore the Score- Schnittke String Trio

The new recording on Avie Records of Schnittke’s String Trio by Ensemble Epomeo is released on October 27th in the UK, November 10th in the USA, but available direct from the Downbeat Store via the link above. The disc also includes string trios by Penderecki, Kurtág and Weinberg Alfred Schnittke’s String Trio, composed in 1985, […]

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Explore the Score- Shostakovich (arr. Barshai): Chamber Symphony, opus 110a

  NEXT PERFORMANCE 13 May, 2015 7:30 PM English String Orchestra Kenneth Woods- principal conductor Elgar Concert Hall,  Birmingham University, B15 2T Shostakovich (arr. Barshai)- Chamber Symphony opus 110a (String Quartet no. 8) Shostakovich- Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings Clare Hammond-piano, Simon Desbruslais- trumpet Geoffrey Gordon- Saint Blue for Piano, Trumpet and Strings (World Premiere) […]

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Explore the Score- Brahms, Serenade No. 1 in D major (reconstruction of original version for nonet)

[Click here to Explore the Score of the companion work on this CD, Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht] The Brahms-Wagner rivalry was largely an affair of the press, whipped up by critics like the Brahmsian Eduard Hanslick and his pro-Wagnerian rivals. Brahms actually professed great admiration for Wagner’s music on many occasions. Nonetheless, there was a time […]

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Explore the Score- Arnold Schönberg, Verklärte Nacht

  [Click here to Explore the Score of the companion work on this CD- Brahms’s Serenade No. 1 in D major, Original Version for Nonet) The Brahms-Wagner rivalry was largely an affair of the press, whipped up by critics like the Brahmsian Eduard Hanslick and his pro-Wagnerian rivals. Brahms actually professed great admiration for Wagner’s […]

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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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