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Romantic Era


Tsar Alexander II issues his proclamation emancipating Russia's serfs
  •  Abraham Lincoln takes office as the President of the United States. He tries to reassure southern states, announcing that he does not intend to interfere, directly or indirectly, with the institution of slavery. But southern politicians have allowed themselves exaggerations and panic. Some southern states proclaim secession. Shooting erupts in the South over who will possess federal forts •   Whale oil has been the primary fuel for lamps. In Pennsylvania an oil well has begun producing more than 3,000 barrels per day, and oil refining has begun, producing an alternative fuel for lamps. In the US Civil War, the Union is using whaling ships for naval blockades, contributing to the decline in whaling  •  China's Manchu emperor, Xianfeng, has been weakened by debauchery and drugs and dies at the age of thirty. The son of his consort succeeds him. The former consort, Cixi, becomes the boy's regent and acquires the title Dowager Empress  •  Telegraphy connects the west coast of United States to the east coast. Telegraphy is detaching communication from its dependency on transportation. A communications revolution has been underway. It brings an end to the Pony Express  •  In Germany, workers making mirrors have lost all of their teeth. A professor of medicine discovers they are victims of mercury poisoning. His findings lead to government regulations requiring alternative mirror making processes  •  In Britain a government commission begins to investigate non-textile industries employing children. Occupational diseases among children are discovered

In Prussia, the largest of the German states, a member of the landed aristocracy, Otto von Bismarck, becomes minister-president. Representing the king, he declares that his government is to rule without parliament
  •  In the king's court in Siam, women being taught English by Christian missionaries are turned off by their sermons. Anna Leonowens arrives in Bangkok to teach English in their place. She is the English woman to be depicted in The King and I  •  The Frenchman Victor Hugo has his historical novel Les Misérables published. It's about the rebellion in Paris that began in 1830 against King Charles X. The book is serialized in ten installments and a best seller across Europe and North America. Police are called in to control impatient crowds at bookstores. Conservatives see it as a dangerous work. Some see it as a manual for insurgency. Hugo favors revolution, but contrary to Karl Marx he was trying to unite revolution and religion. And unlike Marx (now in exile in London) who wants and end to the ruling class (as a class), Hugo wants to inspire them to humanitarianism and wants freedom and justice for all  •  Miners have begun invading the Rocky Mountains and plains and clashing with Indians. The Lakota Sioux massacre or capture almost 1,000 people on the Minnesota frontier  •  In the United States the first paper money is issued   •  Victor Hugo (France) -  Les Misérables

Thirty-eight Lakota Sioux are hanged before a crowd of angry whites in the town of Mankato, Minnesota
  •  President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation becomes law  •  Slavery ends in Dutch ruled Indonesia  •  Cambodia become a French protectorate, with the approval of its king, Norodom  •  In Britain, legislators respond to air pollution from the chemical industry by creating the Alkali Act for reducing hydrogen chloride emissions during alkali production  •  In London, the first underground (subway) passenger system opens  • 

The US civil war has cut Russia off from its primary source of cotton. Cotton growing in Central Asia has become of greater importance to the Russians, and Russia sends its military into Central Asia, where people are sparse, largely tribal, economically undeveloped, and Muslim  •  A devout Baptist, John D. Rockefeller, age 24, enters the oil refining business   •  Édouard ManetLe déjeuner sur l'herbe ("The Luncheon on the Grass" or "The Picnic") 

The Dutch in Java and Sumatra experiment with rubber cultivation
  •  An atronomer calculates the distance to the sun as 147 million kilometers – short 2.6 million kilometers  •  In China, the leader of the Taiping Rebellion, Hong Xiuchuan, proclaims that God will defend his city, Tianjin (southeast of Beijing). When government forces approach he swallows poison and dies. The monarchy re-establishes control over most areas of China. The Taiping rebellion is all but defeated  •  A few hand-cranked Gatling guns, designed by Richard Gatling in 1861, are in use in the US Civil War

Miners have been invading Colorado Territory, dislocating and angering Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. A Cheyenne-Arapaho war against whites has erupted. An Indian chief of a band of Cheyenne and Arapaho has chosen peace. They have settled temporarily at Sand Creek. A military commander, Colonel Chivington, is intent on killing Indians and leads 700 men in a massacre at Sand Creek that includes women and children
  •  The US Civil War ends with General Robert E. Lee and his officers surrendering their swords. President Lincoln is assassinated  •  The Winnebago Indians have been removed from Iowa, Minnesota and that part of Dakota Territory that is to be South Dakota. They are placed a reservation in Nebraska  •  The Central Pacific Railroad Company hires Chinese to work on the transcontinental railroad  •   In what today is Uzbekistan, Russians capture the city of Tashkent, which is to become a Russian administrative center  •  Over-reaction in crushing a rebellion in Jamaica produces an investigation in England. The island's governor is widely condemned and called to London. Some demand that he be tried for murder. He is removed from office but a grand jury refuses to indict him


Victor Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside of France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame .



Johannes Brahms – Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel

Johannes Brahms - Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op 24
Ivetta Irkha, piano

Alexander Borodin – Piano Trio in D major

Borodin - piano trio No.56
Allegro con bro
Romanza Andante 
Tempo di minuetto
Hong Kong piano trio:
Piano-Wang Aywen
Cello-Cheung Mingfai 
violin-Wilson Chu

Henri Vieuxtemps – Violin Concerto No. 5

Henri Vieuxtemps - Violin concerto Nº 5
Sarah Chang

1 January 
Stanislaw MoniuszkoVerbum Nobile

Verbum nobile (The word of a nobleman)
is a one-act comic opera by Polish national composer Stanisław Moniuszko written to a libretto by Jan Chęciński, and set in 18th century Poland before foreign partitions of the country. It was first performed at the Teatr Wielki, Warsaw, on 1 January 1861 to instant popularity.

St. Moniuszko: Uwertura do opery "VERBUM NOBILE", Dariusz Mikulski - Dirigent, Sudeten Filharmonie, Filharmonia Sudecka, Turniej Tenorow Polskich 2008

Serwacy Łagoda    bass    
Zuzia, (his daughter)    soprano    
Marcin Pakula    baritone    
Michal (his son)    baritone    
Bartolomiej, Marcin's servant    bass    
The plot is a rehash of a familiar operatic theme. Zuzia and Michal are promised to each other by their parents, without their having met; they meet accidentally and fall in love. Michal, having given his name as Stanisław, is refused Zusia's hand by her father, who has given his word to Serwacy, Michal's father, on the betrothal. All is explained, preventing a duel between Marcin and Serwacy, and the marriage can go ahead.

5 January 
Jacques OffenbachLa chanson de Fortunio 

La chanson de Fortunio (The Song of Fortunio) is a short opéra-comique in one act by Offenbach with a French libretto by Ludovic Halévy and Hector Crémieux.  The music was composed within a week, with a further week being spent in preparations for the production. Its success was welcome after the failure of Barkouf a fortnight earlier.

Offenbach - La chanson de Fortunio 
Recorded live in concert at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Downer's Grove, Illinois, on March 9, 2014. Performed by the Sinfonietta Bel Canto;
Dan Pasquale D'Andrea, Artistic Director,
Music Director/Conductor. 

Fortunio, a lawyer    baritone   
Laurette, his wife    soprano   
Landry, a clerk    soprano   
Guillaume, a clerk    soprano   
Saturnin, a clerk    soprano    
Sylvain, a clerk    soprano   
Valentin, second clerk to Fortunio    soprano 
Babet, Fortunio's cook    soprano 
Friquet, a junior clerk    tenor   
Place: The garden of Fortunio's house in Lorraine
Time: Seventeenth century

Maître Fortunio, an elderly lawyer, is married to a young and attractive wife (Laurette).

Many years ago, when he was a young clerk, Fortunio had seduced the wife of his employer with the help of a particularly alluring song which he used as a means of charming her. Fortunio still recalls this episode, and he begins to suspect that his own young wife might be carrying on a clandestine affair. And indeed, his second clerk Valentin has fallen deeply in love with Laurette, although the young man's timidity has so far prevented him from declaring his passion.

Fortunio accuses his wife of infidelity and resolves to dismiss Valentin from his service. In the meantime, however, the clerks have discovered the old song, and when they begin to sing it, Fortunio realises that his hypocrisy has been exposed. The song has lost none of its efficacy, as is proved when all the clerks suddenly and miraculously acquire new girl friends.


9 March  
Ferenc ErkelBánk bán

Bánk bán
is an opera in 3 Acts by composer Ferenc Erkel. The work uses a Hungarian language libretto by Béni Egressy which is based on a stage play of the same name by József Katona. (Bán is ban in English, similar to a viceroy, a duke or palatine.) The main storyline is based on the assassination of Queen Gertrúd, wife of Andrew II in 1213. The opera was first performed at the Pesti Nemzeti Magyar Szinház in Pest on 9 March 1861.

Bank Ban - Erkel Ferenc
English subtitles.
Eva Marton, Andrea Rost, Atilla Kiss B., Sandor Solymon-Nagy, Dénes Gulyás, Kolos Kovats

Ferenk Erkel - Bánk Bán
József Simándy (tenore: Bánk Bán) 
Karola Ágay (soprano: Melinda) 
Sándor Sólyom-Nagy (baritono: Endre II) 
Erzsébet Komlóssy (contralto: Gertrud) 
József Réti (tenore: Otto) 
András Faragó (bass-baritono: Petur bán) 
László Palócz (baritono: Biberach) 
Gyögy Melis (baritono: Tiborc) 
András Rajna (basso: Ranker) 

Coro dell'Opera di Stato Ungherese 
Philharmonic Orchestra 
direttore, Amadé Németh

Setting: Hungary in the year 1213

Act 1
King Endre II, the monarch of the country, is fighting abroad while Gertrúd, his queen, who is of Meranian birth, plays hostess to the leading members of the Court (in the first place foreigners) at prodigal feasts. Bán Bánk, the king's deputy, is touring the poverty-ridden country while Otto, the Queen's younger brother, is trying to seduce Bánk's beautiful wife Melinda. A group of angry Magyar nobles headed by Bán Petur are plotting a conspiracy against the queen, anxious for the fate of their homeland and the honour of Bánk's wife. Petur has sent for Bánk, hoping to recruit him for their cause. The Bán arrives, but is outraged that his old friend would dare threaten the throne. When Petur informs him of Otto's advances toward Melinda, however, Bánk promises that he shall attend their meeting.

Act 2
Bánk, distraught, prays over his nation and his good name. On the porch of the castle of Visegrád, Tiborc, an old peasant, tells Bánk about the desperate poverty of the entire country, a grave consequence of the wasteful extravagance of the foreigners, but Bánk is so overcome by the tragedy of his own position that he listens only halfheartedly. It is revealed that Tiborc, a vassal of the Bán, saved his life at a battle long ago; Bánk promises his aid. Otto, encouraged by the Queen's open approval, attempts to seduce Melinda, without success. He drugs and rapes her. The desperate woman staggers to her husband half insane with shame. In his bitter grief Bánk blasts a terrible curse at his own son, but then raises to himself the innocent little boy, giving solace to his wife. Finally, he asks Tiborc to escort Melinda and their little son to their home, a castle in East Hungary, beyond the River Tisza.

In the throne-room Bánk calls the Queen to account for plunging the country into poverty and for the honour of his betrayed wife. Gertrúd counters him with contemptuous scorn and draws a dagger. Bánk wrests the dagger from her hand, and in the scuffle, she is fatally stabbed. Bánk laments over the actions he has been forced to take.

Act 3
Tiborc reaches the bank of the Tisza River with Melinda and her little son. In a fit of insanity, Melinda throws herself into the waves together with her son, within view of the helpless old peasant.

Endre II returns. Standing by his queen's funeral bier, he calls to the nobles to account for the murder, who deny having had a part in the assault on the Queen. Bánk, however, admits that, convinced of her guilt which was known to all, he killed the Queen deliberately. King and Viceroy face each other with swords almost drawn when Tiborc arrives with the corpses of Melinda and the child. The sword drops from Bánk's grip, and he collapses over the bodies of his wife and son. The nobles and retainers pray for the repose of all the dead.

23 March 
Jacques Offenbach - Le pont des soupirs   

Le pont des soupirs (The Bridge of Sighs) is an opéra bouffe (or operetta) set in Venice, by Jacques Offenbach, first performed in Paris in 1861. The French libretto was written by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy.

Le Pont des Soupirs  - Offenbach
Michel Hamel (Malatromba)
Aimé Doniat (Cornarino)
Claudine Collart (Catarina)
Monique Stiot (Amoroso)
Joseph Peyron (Baptiste)
René Lénoty (Cascadetto)
Gaston Rey (le chef des Dix)
Jacques Gillet (Astolfo)
Michel Jarry (Franrusto)
Pierre Saugey (Paillumido)
Michel Fauchey (Magnifico)
Régine Vallier (Colombine/Une gondolière)
Jacqueline Marier (Arlequin/Une gondolière)
Christiane Chateau (Isabelle)
Janine Lindafelder (Laodice)

Place: Venice          Time: 1321
Cornarino Cornarini, the Doge of Venice and admiral of the Venetian fleet, has deserted the navy in fear of defeat in a sea battle, and so is under a cloud of disgrace. He and his squire Baptiste return in disguise to his palace to find his wife, Catarina, being serenaded, first by the page Amoroso, then by his villainous and ambitious cousin, Fabiano Fabiani Malatromba. Malatromba has Amoroso arrested. Cascadetto and a mob enter denouncing Cornarini. Cascadetto sings a lament on the cowardice of the doge; Cornarini and his squire are obliged to buy a copy of it with the doge's portrait in order to hunt him down. Malatromba returns and enters the Cornarini palace to seduce Catarina. The doge and Baptiste try to enter also but as the mob return they climb onto the balcony.

Catarina is telling Laodice of her love for Amoroso when two cloaked henchmen enter her rooms. When the women retire to the boudoir, Cornarini and Baptiste now enter, still in disguise, and a dagger quartet for the four men ends with the doge and his companion prevailing over the two Council spies, taking their uniforms and hiding the two bodies in a clock and a barometer. Catarina suddenly returns and pleads with her disguised husband to save her from the advances of Malatromba. When she faints Malatromba tells the supposed spies to hide in the clock and barometer; as Malatromba tries to drag Catarina off, Amoroso, who has escaped prison, suddenly appears and draws his sword. Fights break out in the hiding places; the four men emerge and in the confusion the room fills with soldiers, spies, squires and Catarina's female servants. Cornarini and Baptiste get arrested but claim to have proof of the Doge's demise, which they will reveal to the Council of Ten.

At the Council of Ten most of the councillors are asleep and only awake with the entry of a delegation of female gondoliers. Malatromba requests that the Council hear the testimony of the two men (Cornarini and Baptiste) about the disgraced doge. They claim to have killed Cornarini; they hope this will allow them freedom and Malatromba hopes he can now become doge. Catarina and Amoroso now appear disguised as knights, claiming that Cornarini is alive. Suspicious of the other men, Amoroso tears off their eye patches, and Cornarini and Baptiste are exposed; Cornarini admits who he is and is led off for execution for cowardice against the enemy as the Council of Ten proclaim Malatromba the new Doge. The head of the Council belatedly reads a scroll which had been delivered earlier. This reports that the admiral's flight from battle was a ruse to fool the Matalosses who have suffered a devastating naval defeat. With the Council believing they have two doges, Malatromba is temporarily thwarted.

The final scene is on the Lido, and the carnival is in progress. Cascadetto announces that to decide which of the two doges should rule, the Council will make them joust on the Orfano canal near the piazza San Marco. Cornarini and Malatromba enter on their individual floats and in the joust the latter loses (due to Amoroso arranging for Malatromba's boat to be scuttled). In the second version (1868) the two doges have to collect a cup from a mast, Malatromba winning and becoming doge. As consolation Cornarini is sent as Venetian ambassador to Spain, with Amoroso as his secretary (to the pleasure of Catarina), and the opera ends with a boléro.


31 May 
Jacques Offenbach  - M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le …  

M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le... (Mr. Cauliflower will be at home on... ) is an opéra bouffe, or operetta, in one act by Jacques Offenbach and the Duc de Morny (under the pseudonym "M. de St Rémy"). The French libretto is also credited to Morny, though Ludovic Halévy, Hector-Jonathan Crémieux, and Morny's secretary Ernest Lépine probably contributed to the text as well.

Jacques Offenbach - M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le...

Balandard: Michel Hamel
Choufleuri (Pitzelberger): Jean-Philippe Lafont
Chrysodule Babylas: Charles Burles
Ernestine: Mady Mesplé
Madame Balandard: Emmy Greger
Petermann: Michel Trempont

Chorus: Ensemble Vocal Jean Laforge

Orchestra: Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo

Conductor: Manuel Rosenthal

Place: Paris
Time: January 24, 1833

The newly-rich but culturally ignorant M. Choufleuri invites the upper crust of Paris to a private party and "musical soiree" (at his bourgeois drawing-room, furnished in vulgar taste) by celebrated real life Italian opera singers: soprano Henriette Sontag, tenor Giovanni Battista Rubini, and baritone Antonio Tamburini. All three become indisposed at the last minute.

In the meantime, Choufleuri's daughter, Ernestine, has been secretly seeing a young basoonist, composer and singer, Chrysodule Babylas. When she asked her father to invite the young man to the soiree, Choufleuri had refused, saying that a poor musician is not a worthy suitor for her. Now, Ernestine saves the day by impersonating Sontag and insisting that Babylas impersonate Rubini, and that Choufleuri himself masquerade as Tamburini (after all, the young couple explain, baritones don't need to speak much, they just oom-pah-pah – but Choufleuri should try to stay on key).

Despite Choufleuri's lazy and incompetent Flemish servant, Petermann, the deception works – the guests are impressed by the great "Italian" singers (who all speak in Italian accents and sing in pig-Italian), and Choufleuri rewards Babylas with his daughter's hand in marriage (especially since Babylas has demanded this, plus 50,000 Francs dowry, in order to keep quiet about the fraud).

14 December  
Heinrich Marschner, composer, dies.



Camille Saint-Saëns – Mazurka No. 1 for piano in G minor, Opus 21

Camille Saint-Saens - Mazurka No.1 in G minor, Op.21
Bernard Ringeissen, piano (1975)

Johannes Brahms - Cello Sonata No. 1

Johannes Brahms - Cello Sonata nº 1 Op. 38

Jacqueline du Pré, cello
Daniel Barenboim, piano

I. Allegro non troppo (00:00)
II. Allegretto quasi minueto (12:23)
III. Allegro (18:14)

Joachim Raff – Piano Quintet, Op. 107 in A minor

Joachim Raff - Grand Quintuor, for piano quintet in A minor, Op. 107
Ensemble "Il Trittico":
Jan Schultsz (piano), Jonathan Allen (violin), Anahit Kurtikyan (violin), David Greenlees (viola), Daniel Pezzotti (cello)

00:00 - I. Allegro mosso assai 
10:37 - II. Allegro vivace, quasi presto 
16:05 - III. Andante, quasi larghetto mosso 
26:56 - IV. Allegro brioso, patetico

Alexander Borodin – Piano Quintet in C minor

Alexander Borodin - Piano Quintet in C Minor
Stuart Malina, Piano
Peter Sirotin & Blanka Bednarz, Violin
Michael Stepniak, Viola & Fiona Thompson, Cello

1. Andante
2. Scherzo: Allegro non troppo
3. Finale: Allegro moderato

29 January  
Frederick Delius
, composer, born.

30 January  
Walter Damrosch
, conductor, born.

28 February 
Charles GounodLa reine de Saba

La reine de Saba (The Queen of Sheba)
is a grand opera in four or five acts by Charles Gounod to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré inspired by Gérard de Nerval's La Reine de Saba, in Le voyage en Orient. It was premiered at the Salle Le Peletier by the Paris Opera on February 28, 1862.

​Charles Gounod – La reine de Saba

00:00 Introduction
03:18 Acte Premier
25:04 Acte Deuxème
42:52 Acte Troisième
1:05:56 Acte Quatrième
1:35:34 Acte Cinquième

Balkis - Suzanne Sarroca
Solimans - Gérard Serkoyan
Adoniram - Gilbert Py
Bénoni - Yvonne Dalou
Amrou - Jean-Paul Caffi
Phanor - Henri Amiel
Méthousael - Jean Tezanas
Sadoi - Gérard Blatt
Sarahil - Claudia Noves

Chœurs et Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse
Michel Plasson - 
Capitole de Toulose, 1969

17 March  
Fromental Halévy, composer, dies.


26 April 
Franz von SuppéDie Kartenschlägerin "Pique Dame"

Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades)
is an operetta in two acts by Franz von Suppé to a German-language libretto very loosely based on Alexander Pushkin's short story "The Queen of Spades". The author of the libretto is unknown. Pique Dame was a revised version of Suppé's 1862 operetta Die Kartenschlägerin ("The Fortune Teller") and premiered in June 1864 at the Thalia Theater in Graz.

Franz von Suppé - Pique Dame - Overture
Overture from the operetta "Pique Dame" (revision of "Die Kartenschlägerin"

Judith, a fortune teller    mezzo-soprano 
Emil, an army officer and composer, Judith's foster son    baritone    
Hedwig, in love with and loved by Emil    soprano    
Fabian Muker, Hedwig's guardian    tenor    
Madame Duplesis, Hedwig's mother, a wealthy widow    speaking role  
Henriette, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Emma, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Fanni, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Bertha, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Clara, Hedwig's girlfriend    mezzo-soprano    
Gebhardt, Emil's friend    bass    
Felix, Emil's friend    tenor    
The story concerns the tribulations of the young lovers, Emil, an impoverished composer, and Hedwig, the daughter of a wealthy widow. Hedwig is in turn pursued by her guardian, Fabian Muker, who is also in love with her (and her fortune). Through the efforts of Judith, a fortune-teller and Emil's foster mother, all ends happily with Emil and Hedwig able to marry, and Hedwig's guardian revealed to be Emil's uncle.

9 August 
Hector BerliozBéatrice et Bénédict

Béatrice et Bénédict (Beatrice and Benedick)
is an opéra comique in two acts by Hector Berlioz. Berlioz wrote the French libretto himself, based closely on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

Berlioz - Béatrice et Bénédict 

Béatrice: Joyce DiDonato 
Bénédict: Charles Workman
Héro: Nathalie Manfrino
 Ursule: Elodie Méchain
 Claudio: Jean-François Lapointe
Somarone: Jean-Philippe Lafont
Don Pedro: Nicolas Cavallier
Léonato: Christophe Fel

Orchestre National de France. Colin Davis, conducting. Live performance 7 February 2009, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris.

Time: The 16th century.          Place: Messina, Sicily.
Act 1
Don Pedro, prince of Aragon, is visiting Messina after a successful military victory over the Moors, which is celebrated by all of Sicily. He is joined by two friends and fellow soldiers, Claudio and Bénédict. They are greeted by Léonato, governor of Messina, together with his daughter, Héro, and niece, Béatrice.

Héro awaits the return of her fiancé, Claudio, unwounded and rewarded for his valour. Béatrice inquires about and scorns Bénédict. They trade insults, as they have in previous meetings, and tease each other. Bénédict swears to his friends that he will never marry. Later, Claudio and Pedro scheme to trick Bénédict into marrying Béatrice. Knowing that he is listening, Léonato assures Pedro that Béatrice loves Bénédict. Upon hearing this, Bénédict resolves that Béatrice's love must not go unrequited, and so he decides to pursue her. Meanwhile, elsewhere, Héro and her attendant, Ursule, manage to play a similar trick on Béatrice who now believes that Bénédict is secretly in love with her.

Act 2
To celebrate the pending wedding of Claudio and Héro, Léonato hosts a masquerade party. A local music teacher, Somarone, leads the group in song and everybody enjoys themselves except Béatrice who realizes that she has fallen in love with Bénédict. With Héro and Ursule she sings of the happiness of a bride about to be wed. As she turns to leave she is met by Bénédict, prompting an exchange in which they both attempt to conceal their love for each other. A notary solemnizes the marriage of Claudio and Héro, and, as arranged by Léonato, produces a second contract, asking for another couple to come forward. Bénédict summons the courage to declare his love to Beatrice; the two sign the wedding contract, and the work ends with the words "today a truce is signed, we'll be enemies again tomorrow".

22 August  
Claude Debussy, composer, born. 


10 November 
Giuseppe VerdiLa forza del destino

La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny) is an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on a Spanish drama, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas, with a scene adapted from Friedrich Schiller's Wallensteins Lager. It was first performed in the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 10 November 1862.

Frederick Delius

Frederick Delius

(b. Bradford, January 29, 1862; d. Grez-sur-Loing, France, June 10, 1934)

English composer of German parentage. As the son of a well-to-do wool merchant, he was able to travel widely in his youth, and his exposure to different locales profoundly influenced both his personal outlook and his development as a musician. In his early 20s he persuaded his father to lend him the money to go to Florida and put himself in business as an orange grower; there he met Thomas Ward, a teacher from Jacksonville, who gave him a six-month course in technique that was the foundation of his musical education. He also came into contact with the music of American blacks, which would figure in several of his early scores, including the Florida Suite (1887), a rhapsodic tribute to his year on the plantation, and the opera Koanga (1895-97). In 1886 he made his way to Germany for study at the Leipzig Conservatory. It was in Leipzig that he met Edvard Grieg—who encouraged him to continue composing, and, more important, persuaded Delius’s father to keep supporting him.

After completing his studies in 1888, Delius moved to Paris, where he joined the circle of Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch, and August Strindberg, living a bohemian life through the artistically vibrant 1890s. Late in the decade he met the painter Jelka Rosen, whom he married in 1903. With his opera A Village Romeo and Juliet (1899-1901), in which the tale of two star-cross’d young lovers is given a Swiss setting, Delius reached maturity as a composer.

In the decade that followed, Delius continued his celebration of the idyllic with a pair of pieces for small orchestra, Summer Night on the River (1911) and On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring (1912), that were first performed in Leipzig under the baton of Arthur Nikisch.

The latter mimics the cuckoo’s distinctive two-note call and also quotes the tune “In Ola Valley, in Ola Lake” from Grieg’s Norwegian Folk Songs.

The outbreak of World War I forced Delius to return temporarily to England. After the war, the syphilis he had contracted in Florida began to attack his nervous system, eventually leaving him blind and paralyzed. With the help of an English amanuensis, Eric Fenby, he was able to complete a handful of scores during his final years, among them the beautiful Irmelin Prelude (1931). By that time, his music had found a steadfast champion in Sir Thomas Beecham, who had first come under its spell in 1907. Beecham organized a Delius festival in London in 1929, and between 1934 and 1938 undertook to record most of the orchestral works for Columbia (two decades later he re-recorded some of them in stereo, with the Royal Philharmonic, for EMI). Delius’s death, following those of Holst and Elgar earlier in 1934, marked the end of an era in English music.


Frederick Delius - Florida Suite (1888)
Conductor: William Boughton
English Symphony Orchestra, 1989

Delius - Orchestral works

00:00 A Walk To The Paradise Garden
10:11 Brigg Fair
24:59 On Hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring
32:16 Summer Night On The River
13:52 A Song Before Sunrise
44:26 La Calinda
48:37 Summer Evening
54:17 In A Summer Garden

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Barry Wordsworth

Frederick Delius - Requiem
00:00 1. Our days here are as one day (Chorus, Baritone)
08:43 2. Hallelujah (Chorus, Baritone)
14:00 3. My beloved whom I cherish was like a flower (Baritone, Chorus)
18:00 4. I honour the man who can love life, yet without base fear can die (Soprano, Chorus)
22:43 5. The snow lingers yet on the mountains (Baritone, Soprano, Chorus)

Rebecca Evans, soprano
Peter Coleman-Wright, baritone

Bournemouth Symphony Chorus
Waynflete Singers
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Richard Hickox, 1997

Frederick Delius - Piano Concerto in C minor, 1906 

Justin Bird, Piano
Nick Hersh, Conductor
IU Adhoc Symphony Orchestra
, 2012

The best of Frederick Delius
ITS Philharmonic Orchestra, Louis Jullien

0:00 Dance Rhapsody No.1 
14:42 Dance Rhapsody No.2 
23:33 Fantastic Dance 
27:25 Prelude to Irmelin
33:00 A Song of Summer
43:06 A Late Lark
49:19 La Calinda
53:20 Suite for violin and orchestra - I. Pastorale 
58:42 - II. Intermezzo
1:01:46 - III. Elegie
1:07:45 - IV. Finale


1:12:06 Two Aquarelles - No.1
1:14:34 - No.2
1:16:48 Two pieces for cello and orchestra - I. Caprice 
1:20:16 - II. Elegy
1:24:54 Legende for violin and orchestra
1:33:12 The Walk to the Paradise Garden
1:44:05 Prelude and Idyll - I. Prelude 
1:47:56 - II. Idyll ("Once I pass’d through a populous city")
2:07:36 Violin Concerto 
2:33:43 Songs of High Hills - I. With quiet easy movement
2:44:45 - II. Slow and solemnly

Walter Damrosch

Walter Damrosch

Walter Damrosch, in full Walter Johannes Damrosch, (born Jan. 30, 1862, Breslau, Prussia [now Wrocław, Pol.]—died Dec. 22, 1950, New York, N.Y., U.S.), Prussian-born American orchestral conductor and composer whose activities spanned more than half a century of American musical life.


Damrosch studied with his father, Leopold Damrosch (1832–85), German violinist and conductor, who settled in New York City in 1871. Upon his father’s death in 1885, Walter Damrosch assumed the conductorship of the New York Symphony Society and the Oratorio Society of New York, founded by his father, and also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera Company (from 1885 to 1891). In 1898 his brother Frank Damrosch (1853–1937) took over as conductor of the Oratorio Society of New York. Later, Walter Damrosch organized the Damrosch Opera Company (1894–1900), specializing in German operas. In 1903 he reorganized the New York Symphony Society and conducted it until 1927, when it was combined with the Philharmonic Society.
A competent composer, Damrosch wrote several operas that were performed in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, including The Scarlet Letter (1896), Cyrano de Bergerac (1913), The Man Without a Country (1937), and The Opera Cloak (1942). He also composed incidental music to plays and published an autobiography, My Musical Life (1923; 2nd ed., 1930).


The Man Without a Country is an opera in 2 acts by composer Walter Damrosch. Arthur Guiterman wrote the English language libretto which was based on Edward Everett Hale's 1863 short story of the same name.  The work premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on May 12, 1937.

Walter Damrosch - The Man Without a Country 
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Wilfred Pelletier. Premiere Cast, May 24,1937
Lieutenant Philip Nolan -  Arthur Carron (tenor)
Mary Rutledge - Helen Traubel  (soprano)
Harman Blennerhassett - George Rasely (tenor)
Aaron Burr - Joseph Royer  (baritone)
Colonel Morgan - John Gurney (bass)
Parke - Nicholas Massue (tenor)
Fairfax - Lodovico Oliviero (tenor)
Lieutenant Pinckney - Wilfred Engelman (baritone)
Lieutenant Reeve - George Cehanovsky  (baritone)
Negro Boatman - Donald Dickson (baritone)



Franz Liszt:
Salve Polonia;
Rhapsodie espagnole (S 254);
'Venezia e Napoli' – Tarantella;
No. 1: St. Francis of Assisi's sermon to the birds;

No. 2: St. Francis of Paola walking on the waves

Liszt: Christus - 1.Weihnachts-Oratorium

I. Weihnachts-Oratorium
1. N°. 1 Einleitung /Introduction (Orch.) 0:00
2. N°. 2 Pastorale und Verkündigung des Engels (S,T,chorus,organ) 15:48
3. N°. 3 Stabat Mater speciosa (Hymn) chorus,organ 24:56
4. N°. 4 Hirtenspiel an der Krippe (orchest) 40:27
5. N°. 5 Die heiligen drei Könige (March) orchestra 52:38

Sándor Sólyom-Nagy, baritone
Veronika Kincses, soprano
Klára Takács, mezzo-soprano
János B. Nagy, tenor
László Polgár, bass
Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus
(chorus master: Ferenc Sapszon)
The Nyíregyháza Children's Chorus
(chorus master: Dénes Szabó)
András Virágh, harmonium
Bertalan Hock, organ
Hungarian State Orchestra
Conducted by Antal Doráti, 1985

Liszt: Christus - 3.Passion und Auferstehung
III. Passion und Auferstehung/ Passion & Resurrection
1. N°. 11 Tristis est anima mea (baritone,orchestra) 0:00
2. N°. 12 Stabat Mater dolorosa (S,MS,T,Bass,chorus,orchestra,harmonium,organ) 14:35
3. N°. 13 O filii et filiae (Easter Hymn) (children chorus,harmonium) 20:08
4. N°. 14 Resurrexit (S,MS,T,Bass,chorus,orchestra,organ) 

Liszt : Salve Polonia for orchestra S.113 (Interludium aus dem Oratorium St. Stanislaus) 

The Deux légendes (Two legends) are a pair of pieces for solo piano, (S.175 in the catalogue compiled by Humphrey Searle) by Franz Liszt, written in 1863.

No. 1: St. Francis of Assisi's sermon to the birds
St. François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, S.175/1 is based on a story of St Francis of Assisi. It is said that, one day, while Francis was travelling with some companions, they happened upon a place in the road where birds filled the trees on either side. Francis told his companions to "wait for me while I go to preach to my sisters the birds." The birds surrounded him, intrigued by the power of his voice, and not one of them flew away. The key of the piece is A major, often associated by Liszt with religious sentiment. The piece contains representations of birdsong, one of the few examples in Liszt's works of onomatopaeia.

No. 2: St. Francis of Paola walking on the waves
St. François de Paule marchant sur les flots, S.175/2 is based on a legend of St. Francis of Paola, according to which he was refused passage by a boatman while trying to cross the Strait of Messina to Sicily. He reportedly laid his cloak on the water, tied one end to his staff as a sail, and sailed across the strait with his companions following in the boat. The piece was inspired by a picture owned by Liszt of St. Francis of Paola (who was Liszt's name saint), drawn by Eduard von Steinle. Liszt described it in a letter of 31 May 1860 to Richard Wagner: "On his outspread cloak he strides firmly, steadfastly, over the tumultuous waves - his left hand holding burning coals, his right hand giving the sign of blessing, His gaze is directed upwards, where the word 'Charitas', surrounded by an aureole, lights his way!"

Liszt - St Francis of Paola walking on the waves -
Legend no. 2

Liszt - St Francis of Paola walking on the waves -
Legend no. 2

Liszt: Christus - 2.Nach Epiphania /After Epiphany)
II. Nach Epiphania / After Epiphany
1. N°. 6 Die Seligpreisungen /The Beatitudes (baritone,chorus,organ) 0:00
2. N°. 7 Das Gebet des Herrn: Pater noster (chorus,organ) 10:28
3. N°. 8 Die Gründung der Kirche/Foundation of the Church (chorus,organ,orchstr) 20:08
4. N°. 9 Das Wunder / The Miracle (baritone,chorus,orchest.) 25:20
5. N°. 10 Der Einzug in Jerusalem/Entry into Jerusalem (S,M-S,T,Bass,chor,orchestr) 34:30

Franz Liszt - Rhapsodie espagnole, S.254 
Raúl da Costa

Franz Liszt - Venezia e Napoli: Tarantella
Luca Mennella, pianist

Anton BrucknerStudy Symphony in F minor

Bruckner - "Symphony in F minor"  (Study Symphony) 
1. Allegro molto vivace
2. Andante molto
3. Scherzo: Schnell-Trio: Langsamer
4. Finale: Allegro
Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt
Eliahu Inbal, conductor

11 July​ 
Jacques OffenbachIl signor Fagotto

Il signor Fagotto
is a one-act opérette by Jacques Offenbach to a French libretto by Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter and Étienne Tréfeu, first performed in 1863. The story of a father outwitted and true love winning is set within “a burlesque of musical styles”

Offenbach - Il Signor Fagotto 
Opéra de Barie 2013

Bertolucci, a music lover    baritone  
Clorinda, Bertolucci's daughter    soprano  
Fabricio, Clorinda's lover    soprano 
Bacòlo, servant to Bertolucci    tenor   
Moschetta, servant to Bertolucci    soprano   
Caramello, an antiques dealer    baritone  
Time and Place
A bourgeois salon in the 19th century

Music lover Bertolucci wants his daughter Clorinda to marry the old antique dealer Caramello, who is knowledgeable about classical music, and also a member of the 'National Academy of Amphorae of Pompeii'. Bertolucci has had framed and hung around his salon all the letters sent to him by his musical idol the great Signor Fagotto. Caramello arrives to woo her, the lyre of Pindar under his arm. However, Clorinda is in love with her music tutor Fabricio, a young composer whose work is not music to Bertolucci's ears, but whom Clorinda hopes to wed with the help of her maid Moschetta.

Fabricio arrives and gives Clorinda her music lesson. Bertolucci's servant Bacòlo spots an opportunity for him to win the heart and hand of Moschetta, who has spurned him so far, by assisting with a plot to outwit their master and musical snob. This very day Fagotto has consented to be witness at the signing of the marriage contract between Clorinda and Caramelo. Fagotto appears wearing an eccentric costume; he then displays some especially gymnastic skills and his talent in imitative music including animals and fireworks. Fagotto of course is not the real maestro but Bacòlo in disguise; Bertolucci overwhelmed by his artistry and his admiration knows no bounds.

When Caramelo declaims an ode, this is met with scorn by Fagotto, who lauds the music of young Fabricio, whose talent – as revealed by the great Fagotto – is now praised in turn by Bertolucci. Having previously treated him with contempt, with Fagotto’s imprimatur Bertolucci would now consent to him marrying his daughter. Caramello is furious and attacks Fagotto, and in the confusion Bacòlo loses his wig and the scheme is revealed. Bacòlo admits that he was the author of the letters received by Bertolucci from his idol. The marriage of Clorinda and Fabricio is agreed and Moschetta, impressed by Bacòlo’s work, agrees she will have him in the end.

15 September  
Horatio Parker, composer, born.

30 September 
Georges BizetLes pêcheurs de perles 

Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers)
is an opera in three acts by the French composer Georges Bizet, to a libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. It was premiered on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris

Les Pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) - Georges Bizet
Leïla - Natália Achaladze - Romanová
Nadir - Valerij Popov
Zurga - Richard Haan
Nourabad - Jan Hladík
Dirigent Jan Štych

Place: Ceylon         
Time: Ancient times

Act 1
The scene is a desolate seashore, with the ruins of a Hindu temple in the background. A chorus of pearl fishermen sing of the dangerous tasks that lie ahead ("Sur la grève en feu"), and perform ritual dances to drive away evil spirits. They then elect one of their number, Zurga, as their leader, or "king". Nadir enters, and is hailed by Zurga as a long-lost friend. Left alone, the pair reminisce about their past in the city of Kandy, where their friendship was nearly destroyed by their mutual love of a young priestess whose beauty they had glimpsed briefly. They had each renounced their love for this stranger and had sworn to remain true to each other. Now, reunited, they affirm once again that they will be faithful until death ("Au fond du temple saint").

A boat draws up on the beach bearing the veiled figure of Leila, the virgin priestess whose prayers are required to ensure the safety of the fishermen. Although neither of them recognises her, she is the woman from Kandy with whom Nadir and Zurga had been in love. As Zurga is explaining her duties, she recognises Nadir, but she says nothing and shortly afterwards is led up to the temple by the high priest Nourabad. Zurga and the fishermen go down to the sea, leaving Nadir alone. In a troubled soliloquy before he sleeps he recalls how, in Kandy, he had broken his vows to Zurga and pursued his love for the veiled woman ("Je crois entendre encore"). It was the rumour that she might be found in this place that brought him here. Alone in the temple, Leila prays and sings. Nadir wakes and, recognising the voice of his long-desired lover, traces it to the temple. Leila briefly draws her veil aside, he sees it is she and the pair declare their renewed passion. On the beach, the fishermen plead with her to continue protecting them, but she tells Nadir she will sing for him alone ("O Dieu Brahma").

Act 2
In the temple with Nourabad, Leila expresses fear at being left alone, but Nourabad exhorts her to be brave and to fulfil her vows to Brahma on pain of her own death. She tells him of the courage she once displayed when, as a child, she had hidden a fugitive from his enemies and refused to give him up even when threatened with death ("J'étais encore enfant"). The fugitive had rewarded her with a necklace that he asked her always to wear. She had kept this promise, as she would her vows. On the priest's departure, Leila quietly muses on the former times when she and Nadir would meet together secretly ("Comme autrefois dans la nuit sombre"). Nadir then enters; in her fear of Nourabad's threats Leila begs him to leave, but he remains and the two declare their love in a passionate duet ("Léïla! Léïla!...Dieu puissant, le voilà!"). He goes, promising to return next night, but as he leaves he is captured by the fishermen and brought back to the temple. Zurga, as the fishermen's leader, at first resists the fishermen's calls for Nadir's execution and advocates mercy. However, after Nourabad removes Leila's veil, Zurga recognises her as his former love; consumed by jealousy and rage, he orders that both Nadir and Leila be put to death. A violent storm erupts, as the fishermen unite in singing a hymn to Brahma ("Brahma divin Brahma!").

Act 3
In his tent on the beach, Zurga notes that the storm has abated, as has his rage; he now feels remorse for his anger towards Nadir ("L'orage est calmé"). Leila is brought in; Zurga is captivated by her beauty as he listens to her pleas for Nadir's life, but his jealousy is rekindled. He confesses his love for her, but refuses mercy ("Je suis jaloux"). Nourabad and some of the fishermen enter to report that the funeral pyre is ready. As Leila is taken away, Zurga observes her giving one of the fishermen her necklace, asking for its return to her mother. With a shout, Zurga rushes out after the group and seizes the necklace.

Outside the temple, Nadir waits beside the funeral pyre as the crowd, singing and dancing, anticipates the dawn and the coming double execution ("Dès que le soleil"). He is joined by Leila; resigned now to their deaths, the pair sing of how their souls will soon be united in heaven. A glow appears in the sky, and Zurga rushes in to report that the fishermen's camp is ablaze. As the men hurry away to save their homes, Zurga frees Leila and Nadir. He returns the necklace to Leila, and reveals that he is the man she saved when she was a child. He recognises now that his love for her is in vain, and tells her and Nadir to flee. As the couple depart, singing of the life of love that awaits them, Zurga is left alone, to await the fishermen's return ("Plus de crainte...Rêves d'amour, adieu!").

(In the revised version of the ending introduced after the opera's 1886 revival, Nourabad witnesses Zurga's freeing of the prisoners and denounces him to the fishermen, one of whom stabs Zurga to death as the last notes sound of Leila and Nadir's farewell song. In some variations Zurga meets his death in other ways, and his body is consigned to the pyre.)

Johannes BrahmsVariations on a Theme of Paganini

Johannes Brahms - Paganini Variations Op. 35
(Books I and II).


Camille Saint-Saëns:
Piano Trio No. 1 in F major opus 18;
Spartacus overture in E♭ major;
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso Op. 28

Saint-Saens Piano Trio No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18
00:00 Allegro vivace
07:45 Andante
16:14 Scherzo
20:03 Allegro

Livia Sohn, violin
Luigi Piovano, cello
Bernadene Blaha, piano

Camille Saint-Saëns - Spartacus Overture 
Conductor: Jean-Jacques Kantorow
Ensemble Orchestral de Paris

Camille Saint-Saëns - Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso op. 28.
Danae Taamal (violin)
Symphony Orchestra of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, conductor Paul Mägi

4 November 
Hector BerliozLes Troyens

Les Troyens (The Trojans)
is a French grand opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz. The libretto was written by Berlioz himself from Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid; the score was composed between 1856 and 1858.


7 December  
Pietro Mascagni
, composer, born.

Horatio Parker

Horatio Parker

Horatio William Parker (September 15, 1863 – December 18, 1919) was an American composer, organist and teacher. He was a central figure in musical life in New Haven, Connecticut in the late 19th century, and is best remembered as the undergraduate teacher of Charles Ives while the composer attended Yale University.


He was born in Auburndale, Massachusetts. His earliest lessons were with his mother. He then studied in Boston with George Whitefield Chadwick, Stephen A. Emery and John Orth. He finished his formal education in Europe, a common destination for a young American composer in the 1880s, where he studied in Munich with Josef Rheinberger. His fellow students at the Royal Music School in Munich included Arthur Whiting and H. H. Huss. In Munich Parker composed his first significant works, including a symphony and a dramatic cantata.

After his return to the United States in 1885, he was for two years professor of music in the Cathedral School of St. Paul in Garden City, Long Island. From 1888 to 1893, he was organist of Trinity Church, New York City, and from 1893 to 1901 organist of Trinity Church, Boston. In 1893, Parker became Battell Professor of the theory of music at Yale University. He was appointed Dean of Music at that school in 1904, a position which he held for the rest of his life. The University of Cambridge bestowed on him the honorary degree Doctor of Music (Mus.Doc.) in May 1902. On December 30, 1915, he was elected as a national honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the national fraternity for men in music. Parker died in Cedarhurst, New York.


Horatio Parker - Organ Concerto in E Flat Minor, Op. 55
Gordon Turk, Organ
Jason C. Tramm, Conductor
MidAtlantic Opera Orchestra

Horatio Parker - A Northern Ballad
Albany Symphony Orchestra
Julius Hegyi, Conductor

Horatio Parker - Vathek - Symphonic poem
Karl Krueger

Pietro Mascagni

Pietro Mascagni

(b. Livorno, December 7, 1863; d. Rome, August 2, 1945)

ITALIAN COMPOSER. Against his father’s wishes, he contrived to study music by enrolling secretly in the Instituto Luigi Cherubini, the discovery of which led to a family blowup that was resolved when an uncle agreed to adopt the boy.

His musical education continued, and positive notice of his early compositions facilitated a reconciliation with his father and his acceptance at the Milan Conservatory, where he was sponsored by Count Flores-tano Larderel, a wealthy musical amateur. Mascagni studied with Pon-chielli, who encouraged his talent, and he became friends, then roommates, with Puccini, whose fascination with the music of Wagner he shared. Impatient with the tedium of conservatory training, and anxious to make a name for himself in the professional world, Mascagni left Milan without receiving a diploma. After a year as conductor of a touring opera troupe he settled into the life of a municipal music teacher in Cerignola in southeastern Italy. In 1889 he entered and won a competition for new one-act operas sponsored by the publishing house of Sonzongo. His winning entry, Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), produced in 1890 at Rome’s Teatro Costanzi, was a sensation, turning its 26-year-old composer into an overnight celebrity. It immediately entered the standard repertoire, a position it retains today, usually sharing the bill with its stylistic first cousin, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. In fact, “Cav and Pag,” as the double bill is affectionately known, proved to be the high-water mark of the verismo style in opera. Mascagni’s popularity faded after Cavalleria rusticana, the one true hit of his career. He would subsequently compose a handful of songs, some choral-orchestral music and 15 additional operas, only three of which— L ’amico Fritz (1891), Zanetto (1896), and Iris (1898)—had any success. Mascagni was also active as a conductor, holding the directorship of the Liceo Rossini in Pesaro from 1895 until 1903. From then until 1911 he directed the Scuola Musicale in Rome, where he resided for the rest of his life.


Cavalleria rusticana (17 May 1890 Teatro Costanzi, Rome)

L'amico Fritz (31 October 1891 Teatro Costanzi, Rome)

I Rantzau (10 November 1892 Teatro La Pergola, Florence)

Guglielmo Ratcliff (16 February 1895 Teatro alla Scala, Milan), composed between 1885 and the early 1890s

Silvano (25 March 1895 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)

Zanetto (2 March 1896 Liceo Musicale, Pesaro)

Iris (22 November 1898 Teatro Costanzi, Rome) 

Le maschere (17 January 1901 Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa - Teatro Regio, Turin - Teatro alla Scala, Milan - Teatro La Fenice, Venice - Teatro Filarmonico, Verona - Teatro Costanzi, Rome)

Amica (16 March 1905, Monte Carlo, in French) 

Isabeau (2 June 1911 Teatro Coliseo, Buenos Aires)

Parisina (15 December 1913 Teatro alla Scala, Milan)

Lodoletta (30 April 1917 Teatro Costanzi, Rome)

Il piccolo Marat (2 May 1921 Teatro Costanzi, Rome)

Pinotta (23 March 1932 Casinò, San Remo), adapted from the cantata In filanda (1881)

Nerone (16 January 1935 Teatro alla Scala, Milan), with music written between the 1890s and the 1930s


Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry)

Cavalleria rusticana is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from an 1880 short story of the same name (it) and subsequent play by Giovanni Verga.

L'amico Fritz is an opera in three acts by Pietro Mascagni, premiered in 1891 from a libretto by P. Suardon (Nicola Daspuro) (with additions by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti), based on the French novel L'ami Fritz by Émile Erckmann and Pierre-Alexandre Chatrian.

Mirella Freni (Suzel)
Gianni Raimondi (Fritz)
Rolando Panerai (Rabbi David)
Biancamaria Casoni (Beppe)
Piero De Palma (Federico)
Virgilio Carbonari (Hanezò)
Mirella Fiorentini (Caterina)
Orchestra & Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala
Gianandrea Gavazzeni conductor, 1963

Time: indefinite; sometime in the 19th century
Place: indefinite; probably somewhere in Alsace

Act 1
The dining room of Fritz Kobus’ house

Fritz Kobus, a wealthy landowner is in discussion with his friend David, the local rabbi. Despite his disdain for marriage Fritz agrees to provide the dowry for a young couple. Fritz’s friends join him to celebrate his birthday. He is presented with a bouquet by Suzel, the daughter of one of his tenants. She joins the birthday celebration and is moved when the gypsy Beppe enters playing his violin. When Suzel leaves David comments that she will make a good bride and that he will find her a husband. Fritz protests that she is too young. They argue about marriage and Fritz bets David one of his vineyards that he will never marry.

Act 2
The courtyard of a farm

Suzel is preparing to pick cherries as the farmers go out to the fields. Fritz approaches and helps her. They sing of the enchantment of the spring and the flowers. Fritz’s friends arrive and Fritz leaves to look over the farms. David stays behind to talk to Suzel. When he suggests that she might be a bride, she becomes embarrassed and leaves. Fritz returns and David mentions that he thinks he has found the right man for Suzel to marry. Fritz becomes visibly upset and, left alone, realizes that he is in love with the girl.

Act 3
The dining room of Fritz Kobus’ house

Fritz cannot banish thoughts of Suzel. Beppe enters and attempts to cheer him up with a song, but Fritz becomes even more depressed. David arrives and tells Fritz that Suzel is engaged to a fine young man and her father will soon ask for Fritz’s blessing. Enraged, Fritz says that he will refuse and leaves. Suzel enters sadly but David insists that everything will be all right. He leaves her alone and she voices her despair and love for Fritz. Fritz enters and asks about her engagement. He quickly senses that she does not love her intended. Fritz reveals his feelings for her and the two admit their love. David enters and declares that he has won his wager with Fritz, telling him that he is going to give his winnings, Fritz’s vineyard, to Suzel as a wedding present.

Zanetto is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci.

Mascagni - Zanetto - English subtitles
Savona Astor Theatre, November 2003 
Produced by Teatro dell'Opera Giocosa  - Savona 

Orchestra Sinfonica di Savona 
Conductor Bruno Aprea 

Silvia - Denia Mazzola Gavazzeni (soprano) 
Zanetti - Romina Basso (mezzo-soprano) 

Setting: the Tuscan countryside during the Renaissance

Silvia is the rich and beautiful hostess of a country hotel, who has been besieged by lovers of almost every description, she repulses them all, because although they may be well-to-do and even wealthy and powerful, they have not pleased her fancy or awakened her heart. At last she forswears love entirely, being convinced that her destiny is to remain single.
Still, she remembers a youth she once saw, and believes that he lives near by, in Florence, toward which city she idly looks out in the summer evening from the veranda of her hotel, placed on the side of a steep mountain.
As she looks she hears the voice of a roving minstrel who is approaching. She conceals herself. He comes near, and not venturing to enter the hotel, lies down to sleep on a bench. He is soon asleep; and Silvia comes near to see him. She recognizes in him her ideal; and at once loves him. She wakes him up, and he sees in her the madonna of his dreams.
He is fond of his freedom, and of his own way of living; but thinks it would be nice to have a home, and a sister. This does not suit Silvia; who then conceals her identity; and says that she is a widow, and very poor; and cannot possibly entertain a wandering poet. After several refusals, he tells her that he has heard of Silvia, who is also beautiful, as well as rich, and liberal. He asks his newly-beloved to help him find her. She advises him not to go, that she would do anything to save him from his danger. Although both love each other she is unwilling to let herself be known. He believes in her sincerity; and offers to go in any direction she may point out. She points toward the dawn; he dashes toward it; she watches him till out of sight; then burying her face in her hands exclaims:
"Blessed art thou, O Love! Now can I weep again!"

Iris  is an opera in three acts by Pietro Mascagni to an original Italian libretto by Luigi Illica. It premiered on 22 November 1898 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. The story is set in Japan during legendary times.

Mascagni - Iris 1996
Osaka - José Cura 
Iris - Daniela Dessí 
Il cieco - Nicolai Ghiaurov 
Kyoto - Roberto Servile 
Una guècha - Michiè Nakamaru 
Un cenciaiulu - Ezio di Cesare

Iris, the naive daughter of a blind old man, lives happily enjoying the simple things of nature. Osaka, a young lord in search of adventures, plans to kidnap her with the help of the brothel-keeper Kyoto. During a puppet show, the libertine enters disguised as a child of the sun, singing a serenade. He conquers the heart of Iris and carries her off. Iris is conducted to the Yoshiwara, a place of perdition, and she wakes up under the illusion of being in Paradise. Osaka tries to seduce her but fails to make her yield to his advances. Tired and annoyed by the simplicity of the girl, Osaka leaves her at the mercy of Kyoto, who exposes her on a balcony of the house. There, she is found and cursed by her father, who does not know about the abduction. Overwhelmed by shame, Iris throws herself into an abyss.



Niels Gade – Fantasie pieces for clarinet and piano, Op. 43

Niels Wilhelm Gade - Fantasiestücke, Op. 43

1- Andantino com moto (0:06)
2- Allegro vivace (2:09)
3- Ballade (4:35)
4- Allegro molto vivace (8:57)

Clarineta: Márcio André Castro Carmo
Piano: Rafael Passos Silva

Peter TchaikovskyThe Storm

Tchaikovsky - The Storm, Op. 76 (Overture in E minor)
Conductor: Antoni Wit
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra

Johannes Brahms – Piano Quintet Op. 34

Johannes Brahms - piano quintet in F minor, op. 34
La Gaia Scienza, on period instruments:

Federica Valli [fortepiano]; 
Stefano Barneschi [violin]; 
Carlo De Martini [violin]; 
Marco Bianchi [viola];
Paolo Beschi [cello]

Allegro non troppo - 00:00
Andante, un poco Adagio - 14:46
Scherzo: Allegro - 23:09
Finale. Poco sostenuto — Allegro non troppo - 30:37

Louis Gottschalk  - "The Dying Poet"


Louis Gottschalk The Dying Poet

Anton Bruckner – Symphony in D minor ("Die Nullte")

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 0, in D minor ("Die Nullte"), WAB 100
1. Allegro
2. Andante (14:37)
3. Scherzo. Presto - Trio. Langsamer und ruhiger (27:44) 4. Finale. Moderato (34:26)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink

19 March  
Charles GounodMireille

is an 1864 opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Michel Carré after Frédéric Mistral's poem Mireio.

Gounod - Mireille

Mireille : Fabienne CONRAD - Soprano
Vincent : Bruno ROBBA - Ténor
Taven : Marianne CHANDELIER - Mezzo Alto
Maître Ramon : Marc SOUCHET - Baryton
Ourrias : Régis MENGUS - Baryton
Vincenette : Elena GLAZYRINA - Soprano
Ambroise : Guillaume DUSSAU - Basse
Clémence, Une voix céleste : Angeline LE RAY - Soprano
Andrelaoun : un enfant

Orchestre Symphonique Bel Arte - Direction Richard BOUDARHAM

Place: Provence          Time: 19th Century
Act 1
A mulberry grove on Midsummer night (Fête de la Saint-Jean).

Girls sing as they pick the leaves to feed to silkworms. Taven, an old woman who lives in nearby caves, joins them and comments on their jollity, but they laugh at "the witch" and Clemence voices her wish for a rich husband. Mireille however wants to marry for love, even if her husband be poor and shy, but is teased by the other girls who know that she has set her heart on a poor basket-weaver, Vincent. Taven shares her forebodings with Mireille. Vincent passes by and Mireille gets him to confess his love. As they part, they swear to meet in the church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer if anything befalls one of them. The girls are heard singing the opening chorus in the distance.
Act 2
In front of the Arles Amphitheatre the same afternoon.

The crowd is singing and dancing a farandole as it waits for the start of a race. Mireille and Vincent arrive separately but they are greeted joyfully and sing the Song of Magali. After the race, Taven takes Mireille aside and tells her that she has just seen three young men, Ourrias, Alari and Pascoul arguing who should claim Mireille's hand. Alone, Mireille swears that nothing will part her from Vincent. Ourrias enters and forces his boastful attentions on her but Mireille politely rejects his advances. Mireille's father Ramon enters, followed shortly by Ambroise, the father of Vincent. Ambroise asks for advice on what to do about his son who is in love with a rich heiress; Ramon suggests beating the boy to cure him. Shocked, Ambroise is reminded by Ramon of a father's prerogative which used to extend even to life and death over his children. At this, Mireille comes forward crying "Kill me!" - she is the one Vincent loves. Ramon is outraged, orders Mireille to go home then turns on Vincent and Ambroise.

Act 3
First Tableau: The Val d'Enfer in the country outside Arles. Night

Ourrias and some friends are in the wild spot, supposedly peopled by spirits. Ourrias wants to buy a potion from Taven. Alone, Ourrias vents his fury and jealousy and lies in wait for Vincent, who soon appears. Ourrias insults him but although Vincent tries to calm him down, Ourrias strikes him with his trident, and thinking he has killed him, runs off. Taven hears cries and curses Ourrias as he rushes off, then tends to the unconscious Vincent.

Second Tableau: The banks of the Rhône

Full of remorse, Ourrias hurries to the river bank and calls the ferryman. An echo greets his call and moans sound with ghosts floating above the water. The ferryman (Passeur) arrives and Ourrias impatiently gets aboard. The waters swell, and as the boatman reminds Ourrias of his crime, the boat sinks beneath the waves.

Act 4
First Tableau: Ramon's farm late the same night

While the harvesters celebrate, Ramon is sad and knows that by denying Mireille's love he has destroyed his dream of a happy old age. From her window Mireille sees a young shepherd singing, and envies his carefree life. Unseen, Vincenette, Vincent's sister, comes to tell her that Vincent is wounded: Mireille resolves to set off at once to Saintes-Maries.

Second Tableau: The Crau desert

Mireille, staggers in already tired, and dazzled by the sun, faints as she hears shepherd's pipes in the distance. She makes a last effort to continue her journey.

Act 5
In front of the chapel of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Midday

Pilgrims are singing. Vincent is there, looking for Mireille, and she arrives, exhausted and collapses in his arms. Ramon arrives with Vincenette, and forgives her, but Mireille dies and is called to heaven by a celestial voice.

10 April 
Eugen d'Albert
, composer, pianist, born.

Bedřich Smetana - symphonic poem Hakon Jarl

Bedřich Smetana - Hakon Jarl, Op. 16 (Poema Sinfonico)
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale Della Rai - Dir. Jakub Hrůša

2 May  
Giacomo Meyerbeer, composer, dies.


8 February
Jacques OffenbachDie Rheinnixen (The Rhine Fairies)

Die Rheinnixen (The Rhine Nixies) is a romantic opera in four acts by Jacques Offenbach. The original libretto by Charles-Louis-Etienne Nuitter was translated into German by Alfred von Wolzogen.

Jacques Offenbach - Die Rheinnixen
Vienna Philharmonic, 2010

Conrad von Wenckheim, leader of the elector of the Palatinate's mercenaries    baritone
Franz Waldung, a mercenary captain, originally from the locality    tenor    
Gottfried, a hunter    bass  
Hedwig, tenant of a Sickingen farm on the Rhine    mezzo-soprano    
Armgard, her daughter    soprano  
A fairy    soprano    
First mercenary    tenor  
Second mercenary    baritone   
A farmer    tenor
Place: In and around the castle of Franz von Sickingen, near Kreuznach on the Rhine
Time: During the wars of the 16th century

Act 1
Hedwig's farmhouse

Peasants return from the vineyards near Bingen on the Rhine, singing of the fertility of the land. Gottfried leads a thanksgiving prayer as they approach the house of Hedwig. Hedwig tells Gottfried that she fears for the safety of their lands: she curses war, and worries about her daughter Armgard’s melancholy frame of mind. Armgard sings constantly to conceal a hidden grief, and Hedwig recounts a ballad of the fate of young women who sang too much. By refusing to cease her singing, she gives her mother cause to worry that she too will succumb like the spirits in her ballad. Gottfried declares his love for Armgard, an attachment supported by Hedwig. Armgard is, however, unable to accept his devotion, as she reveals that Franz Baldung, her true love, has joined a troop of mercenaries led by the violent Conrad von Wenckheim. Gottfried offers to help bring Franz back, but the peace is broken by the news that plundering mercenaries have attacked nearby farmsteads.

The pillaging troops led by Conrad enter, singing of wine and women, along with Franz, delirious, having lost his memory after a blow to his head, and recalling little of his previous existence. Discovering that the soldiers have arrived on Armgard’s name day, Conrad threatens to kill the family unless she sings for them. As Armgard sings she notices Franz among the soldiers. Franz begins to recover his memory, slowly awakens to his past and wants to intervene. Having sung the 'Vaterlandslied' Armgard faints, and Franz recognizes her.

Act 2
Inside Hedwig's farmhouse

Gottfried and the women lament the death of Armgard. The folk legend decrees that Armgard’s ghost will go off at dusk to join elves at the enchanted stone in the forest. Hedwig reveals to Gottfried that she was abandoned by the father of Armgard. She hurries to the forest, hoping to find Armgard’s shadow, swiftly followed by Gottfried. Franz enters and sings of his love, then Conrad also arrives, forcing Franz to come away to attack Ebernburg Palace. Gottfried has been captured and will be bribed to guide them to it. At nightfall Armgard, alive but in a trance, passes through the scene, wanting to save Franz.

Act 3
The Elfenstein in the forest: rocks, waterfalls, pines – moonlight

Elves and spirits dance and sing in the forest, where Hedwig appears. Armgard tries to pretend to her that she is a spirit, then hides. The men now arrive, expecting to be at the palace, and Conrad boasts of the licentious escapades of his youth. They then realize the trick Gottfried has played on them. He is tied up to be executed next day. Conrad is however sent into a trance by the song of the elves, and Hedwig cries out for revenge.

Act 4
Kreuznach castle surrounded by rocks. Arms, gunpowder, cannons. Night.

Soldiers prepare for an attack. After Franz has threatened suicide unless he sees Armgard, whom he thinks is now a fairy, she enters, explains all that has happened, and they are reconciled in their love. She tells him that their troubles have been a dream and their suffering will give way to renewed love. They leave. Hedwig is dragged in by soldiers. After interrogation she and Conrad recognize each other and she reveals that he is Armgard’s father; he thinks he has killed her by forcing her to sing. Gottfried is brought in chains, but once his captors have gone Conrad frees him. Armgard, Franz, Hedwig, and Conrad decide to flee together, but the mercenaries rush in. The elves cast a spell after which some fall into a ravine, while others go off into the next valley. The palace, the local people and local fatherland are all saved.

Franz von Suppe - "Pique Dame" 

Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) is an operetta in two acts by Franz von Suppé to a German-language libretto very loosely based on Alexander Pushkin's short story "The Queen of Spades". The author of the libretto is unknown. Pique Dame was a revised version of Suppé's 1862 operetta Die Kartenschlägerin ("The Fortune Teller") and premiered in June 1864 at the Thalia Theater in Graz.

Franz von Suppe - "Pique Dame" Overture
Conducted by Takeshi Ooi

Sumida Triphony Hall (Tokyo), 2009

Judith, a fortune teller    mezzo-soprano 
Emil, an army officer and composer, Judith's foster son    baritone    
Hedwig, in love with and loved by Emil    soprano    
Fabian Muker, Hedwig's guardian    tenor    
Madame Duplesis, Hedwig's mother, a wealthy widow   speaking role   
Henriette, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Emma, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Fanni, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Bertha, Hedwig's girlfriend    soprano    
Clara, Hedwig's girlfriend    mezzo-soprano    
Gebhardt, Emil's friend    bass    
Felix, Emil's friend    tenor    
The story concerns the tribulations of the young lovers, Emil, an impoverished composer, and Hedwig, the daughter of a wealthy widow. Hedwig is in turn pursued by her guardian, Fabian Muker, who is also in love with her (and her fortune). Through the efforts of Judith, a fortune-teller and Emil's foster mother, all ends happily with Emil and Hedwig able to marry, and Hedwig's guardian revealed to be Emil's uncle.

11 June  
Richard Strauss, composer, born.


12 July 
Jacques Offenbach Le Fifre Enchanté

Offenbach - Le Fifre Enchanté 
Opérette en un acte de Jacques Offenbach jouée à Barie  en Gironde le 12 août 2016 avec Les Deux aveugles et Pomme d'Api.

Rigobert - Audrey Hostein
Mr Robin - Christian Lara
Popelinet - Michel Ballan
Mme Robin - Brigitte Farges
Coraline - Magali Klipffel

Les Fifres - Michele Da Souza, Astrid Dupuis, Chloé Leruth, Damien Féral, Jean-François Dickstein

Mise en scène - Cyril Fargues. Piano - Arnaud Oreb

17 December
Jacques OffenbachLa Belle Hélène 

Eugen d'Albert

Eugen d'Albert

Eugen d’Albert, in full Eugen Francis Charles d’Albert, Eugen also spelled Eugène, (born April 10, 1864, Glasgow, Scot.—died March 3, 1932, Riga, Latvia), naturalized German composer and piano virtuoso best remembered for his opera Tiefland (1903) and his arrangements and transcriptions of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.


After receiving his basic musical training in London, where he enjoyed his first triumphs as a pianist, d’Albert went for further study to Vienna, where he became a friend of Franz Liszt. D’Albert toured widely and successfully and taught for many years in Berlin, but his chief interest lay in composition. He wrote 21 operas, 2 piano concerti, chamber music, lieder, piano pieces, and a few orchestral works.

In 1881, Hans Richter invited d'Albert to play his first piano concerto, which was "received with enthusiasm". This seems to have been d'Albert's lost concerto in A major, not the work published three years later as his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B minor, Op. 2. In the same year d'Albert won the Mendelssohn Scholarship, enabling him to study in Vienna, where he met Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt and other important musicians who influenced his style. D'Albert, retaining his early enthusiasm for German culture and music ("hearing Tristan und Isolde had a greater influence on him than the education he received from his father or ... at the National Training School for Music") changed his first name from Eugène to Eugen and emigrated to Germany, where he became a pupil of the elderly Liszt in Weimar.
In Germany and Austria, d'Albert built a career as a pianist. Liszt called him "the second Tausig", and d'Albert can be heard in an early recording of Liszt works. He played his own piano concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 1882, the youngest pianist who had appeared with the orchestra. D'Albert toured extensively, including in the United States from 1904 to 1905. His virtuoso technique was compared to that of Busoni. He was praised for his playing of J. S. Bach's preludes and fugues and of Beethoven's sonatas. "As an exponent of Beethoven, Eugen d'Albert has few, if any, equals." Gradually, d'Albert's work as a composer occupied his time more and more, and he reduced his concert playing. He was the recipient of a number of dedications, most notably of Richard Strauss's Burleske in D minor, which he premiered in 1890.
D'Albert was a prolific composer. His output includes a large volume of successful piano and chamber music and lieder. He also composed twenty-one operas, in a wide variety of styles, which premiered mostly in Germany. His first, Der Rubin (1893) was an oriental fantasy; Die Abreise (1898), which established him as an opera composer in Germany, was a one-act domestic comedy; Kain (1900) was a setting of the biblical story; and one of his last operas, Der Golem, was on a traditional Jewish theme. His most successful opera was his seventh, Tiefland, which premiered in Prague in 1903.Tiefland played in opera houses throughout the world and has retained a place in the standard German and Austrian repertoire, with a production at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in November 2007. According to biographer Hugh Macdonald, it "provides a link between Italian verismo and German expressionist opera, although the orchestral textures recall a more Wagnerian language."Another stage success was a comic opera called Flauto solo in 1905. D'Albert's most successful orchestral works included his cello concerto (1899), a symphony, two string quartets and two piano concertos.


Eugen D'Albert - Piano Concerto No. 1
Joseph Banowetz (piano),
Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky

Eugen d'Albert: String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 7
Sarastro String Quartet

Eugen d'Albert - Cello Concerto in C Major, Op. 20

I. Allegro moderato - Animato - Allegro - Molto tranquillo  0:00
II. Andante con moto  9:07
III. Allegro vivace - Allegro molto  17:15

Antonio Meneses, cello
Basler Sinfonie-Orchester
Ronald Zollman, conductor

Eugen d´Albert - Symphony in F Major,Op.4 (1886)
I.Massig bewegt:16:19
II.Langsam,aber nicht schleppend:12:06
III.Sehr schnell:11:35
IV.Massig langsam-Belebt:11:55
Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra- Jun Markl        

Die toten Augen (or The Dead Eyes) is an opera with a prologue and one act by Eugen d'Albert to a libretto in German by Hanns Heinz Ewers and Marc Henry (Achille Georges d'Ailly-Vaucheret) after Henry's own 1897 play Les yeux morts. Premiere Cast, 5 March 1916.

Eugen d'Albert - Die toten Augen

00:00 Vorspiel
22:16 Haupthandlung

Dagmar Schellenberger – Myrtocle
Hartmut Welker – Arcesius
Norbert Orth – Aurelius Galba
Margaret Chalker – Arsinoe
Anne Gjevang – Maria von Magdala
Lothar Odinius – Hirt
Olaf Bär – Schnitter / Die Stimme Jesu
Eberhard Büchner – Ktesiphar
Cornelia Wosnitza – Hirtenknabe / Rebecca / Zweite Stimme aus dem Brunnen
Angela Liebold – Ruth / Eine sieche Frau
Barbara Hoene – Esther / Erste Stimme aus dem Brunnen
Sabine Brohm – Sarah
Gerald Hupach – Ein Jude
John Maxham – Ein anderer Jude
Eberhard Bendel – Ein alter Jude

Philharmonischer Chor Dresden
Dresdner Philharmonie,  Ralf Weikert, 1997

Set in Biblical times, Die toten Augen is a tragic drama involving a Roman envoy called Arcesius, his beautiful but blind wife Myrtocle and Aurelius Galba, a handsome Roman captain.

A review by Michael Oliver in The Gramophone enlarges upon this: "The plot, set in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, concerns the beautiful Myrtocle, blind since birth, who longs for sight mainly so that she may see her deeply loved husband Arcesius, whom she believes to be as handsome as Apollo. She is given her sight by Christ who (his single, off-stage line) predicts that before the sun sets she will curse him. A man as handsome as Apollo indeed appears, and Myrtocle falls into his arms: it is Galba, her husband's friend, who has loved her for years. Arcesius kills him and Myrtocle, realising his love and his suffering, blinds herself again by staring at the sun. The action is framed by a Prologue and Epilogue in which a Shepherd goes in search of a lost lamb and, in the Epilogue, finds it.

Tiefland (The Lowlands) is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Eugen d'Albert, to a libretto in German by Rudolph Lothar. Premiere Cast 15 November 1903

d'Albert - "Tiefland" 

Marta, a servant and ward of Sebastiano, loved by both Sebastiano and Pedro    soprano 
Pedro, a shepherd in Sebastiano's service    tenor  
Sebastiano, a rich landowner    baritone   
Tommaso, an elderly man in the district    bass   
Nuri, a servant of Sebastiano and Marta's friend    soprano   
Pepa, a servant of Sebastiano    soprano  
Antonia, a servant of Sebastiano    mezzo-soprano 
Rosalia, a servant of Sebastiano    contralto  
Moruccio, a miller in Sebastiano's service    bass   
Nando, a shepherd in Sebastiano's service    tenor 

Before the opera begins: Years earlier, Marta, the daughter of a strolling player, had been induced to live with Sebastiano, a wealthy landowner in exchange for the gift of a mill to her father. Sebastiano is about to marry a wealthy heiress. In order to keep his mistress, Marta, nearby and continue their affair, he plans to have her marry Pedro, one of his shepherds.


The Pyrenees Mountains. Pedro meets Nando, and tells him that he has dreamed of meeting a beautiful woman who will be his wife. Sebastiano, accompanied by Tommaso, brings Marta to Pedro and informs him that he must come down to the Lowlands to marry her and to become the miller. Marta is reluctant to even look at Pedro.

Act I

The interior of the village mill. Moruccio and the servants gossip about Marta, the girls hinting that Moruccio hoped to marry Marta himself. Nuri reveals that Marta is to be married to a shepherd and reveals that she has overheard a conversation between Sebastiano and Marta which she did not understand, but which the others clearly comprehend reveals their relationship. Pedro arrives at the mill, where his marriage is to take place. Not knowing that Marta is actually Sebastiano's mistress, he is puzzled as to why the villagers are making fun of him. Moruccio reveals the background to Tommaso, who is angered and seeks to confront Sebastiano. The confrontation in which Tomasso is backed by Moruccio leads to Moruccio's dismissal. After the wedding, Marta, who fears that Sebastiano will carry out his intention of coming to her that night, does not go to her chamber nor accompanies Pedro, which puzzles him even more.

Act II

The interior of the village mill. Marta is now beginning to fall in love with Pedro. However, unable to stand the teasing and persecution of the villagers, he tells her he is going back to the mountains. She begs him to take her with him and tells him the truth about her and Sebastiano. In a jealous rage, Pedro advances towards her with a knife, but, overcome by remorse and his love for her, decides to take her with him. Sebastiano enters with the villagers and makes advances to Marta. Pedro furiously objects and is dragged outside.


The interior of the village mill. Sebastiano has been rejected by the heiress whom he had hoped to marry and again makes advances to Marta. She calls Pedro for help. He rushes at Sebastiano with a knife, but seeing that he is unarmed, throws the knife down and strangles him. Carrying Marta in his arms, Pedro exclaims to the villagers: "Far up, far up in the mountains! To sunshine and freedom and light." He and Marta escape to the mountains.



Antonín Dvořák:
Cello concerto No. 1 in A major;
Symphony No. 2

Dvořák - Cello Concerto in A major sine op. B.10
1. Andante  0:00
2. Andante cantabile  24:32
3. Allegro risoluto  34:17
Jiří Bárta, Violoncello
Jan Čech, Piano
2002, Prague

Dvořák - Symphony No.2 in B flat major, Op. 4

00:00 Allegro con moto
13:11 Poco adagio
25:20 Scherzo. Allegro con brio
37:33 Finale. Allegro vivace

Czech philharmonic orchestra, Václav Neumann

28 April 
Giacomo MeyerbeerL'Africaine

L'Africaine (The African Woman) is a grand opera in five acts, the last work of the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer. The French libretto by Eugène Scribe deals with fictitious events in the life of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama – Meyerbeer's working title for the opera was in fact Vasco de Gama. The opera had its first performance by the Paris Opéra at the Salle Le Peletier on 28 April 1865.

9 June
Carl Nielsen, composer, born.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – Symphony No. 1

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Symphony No 1 in E minor

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Dmitri Kitajenko

Edvard Grieg:
Piano sonata Op. 7 in E minor;
Violin sonata No. 1 Op. 8

Edvard Grieg - Sonata for piano in E Minor, Op 7 No.1

Alexander Vaulin, piano

1.Allegro moderato
2.Andante molto
3.Quasi menuetto, ma poco pìù lento
4.Finale. Molto allegro.

Grieg - Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major, op. 8
Ivan Ženatý (violin)
Antonín Kubálek (piano)

00:00 - I. Allegro con brio
09:57 - II. Allegretto quasi andantino
14:31 - III. Allegro molto vivace

Johannes Brahms:
String Sextet No. 2 Op. 36;
Cello Sonata No. 1 Op. 38;
Sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39;
Trio for violin, horn and piano Op. 40

Brahms - String sextet No. 2 in G major Op. 36
Allegro non troppo  00:00
Scherzo: Allegro non troppo – Trio: Presto giocoso  11:01
Poco adagio  19:07
Poco allegro  28:43

Giuliano Carmignola, Stefano Zanchetta, violins
Tommaso Poggi, Fabrizio Merlini, violas
Mario Brunello, Franco Rossi, cellos

Brahms - Cello Sonata No.1 in E minor, Op. 38
I. Allegro non troppo
II. Allegretto quasi Menuetto & Trio
III. Allegro

Jacqueline du Pre - cello
Daniel Barenboim - piano

Johannes Brahms -16 Waltzes Op. 39
No. 1 in B major 00:00
No. 2 in E major 00:55
No. 3 in G sharp minor 02:24
No. 4 in E minor 03:22
No. 5 in E major 04:38
No. 6 in C sharp major 05:59
No. 7 in C sharp minor 07:03
No. 8 in B flat major 09:15
No. 9 in D minor 10:50
No. 10 in G major 12:14
No. 11 in B minor 12:51
No. 12 in E major 14:37
No. 13 in B major 16:13
No. 14 in G sharp minor 16:54
No. 15 in A flat major 18:15
No. 16 in C sharp minor 19:51

Karin Lechner, piano

Johannes Brahms - Trio for violin, horn and piano in E flat major Op. 40 
Andante  00:00
Scherzo: Allegro  07:34
Adagio mesto  14:28
Finale: Allegro con brio  22:29

Hans Maile, violin
Radovan Vlaktovic, horn
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
Piano Sonata in C-sharp minor;
Quartet Movement in B-flat major

Tchaikovsky - Piano Sonata No. 1 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 80

Viktoria Postnikova, piano

Tchaikovsky - String Quartet Movement in B flat major
String Quartets & Souvenir de Florence
Borodin Quartet, Talalyan & Rostropovich

Gabriel FauréCantique de Jean Racine

Gabriel Fauré - Cantique de Jean Racine op.11

The Bach Choir & Orchestra of the Netherlands
Pieter Jan Leusink - conductor

Franz LisztMissa Choralis

Franz Liszt – Missa Choralis

Camille Saint-Saëns – Serenade in E flat major, Op. 15

Camille Saint-Saëns, Serenade for Piano, Organ, Violin and Cello
Yulia Zhuravleva, violin; Seong-Heui Jeon, cello
Sanghee Kim, piano; Malcolm Halliday, organ

10 June  
Richard WagnerTristan und Isolde

Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde, or Tristan and Isolda, or Tristran and Ysolt) is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the 12th-century romance Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered at the Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting. 

30 June 
Franz von Suppé Die schöne Galathee 

Die schöne Galathée (The Beautiful Galatea) is an operetta in two acts by Franz von Suppé to a German libretto by the composer and 'Poly Henrion' (the pseudonym of Leonhard Kohl von Kohlenegg (de)). The first performance was at the Meysels-Theater (de) in Berlin on 30 June 1865, with Anna Grobecker of the Vienna Carltheater as a guest star singing the role of Ganymed. 

Die schöne Galathee - Franz von Suppé
Renate Holm (Galathee)
Rudolf Schock (Pygmalion)
Erich Kunz(Ganymed)
Kurt Preger (Satrapos)
Albin Skoda (Ovid)
Erik Frey (Rousseau)
Ballett der Wiener Staatsoper
Orchester der Wiener Volksoper
Leitung: Làsló Várady

Die Overture wird gespielt vom:
Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Leitung: Siegfried Köhler

The sculptor Pygmalion has fallen madly in love with his statue of Galathée and accordingly does not want to sell it to Mydas, a patron of the arts. Instead he prays to Venus, the goddess of the love, that the statue be brought to life. The wish is granted but Galathée turns out to be a very independent-minded creature. She is unfaithful to Pygmalion with his servant Ganymed (because he is much more pleasing to her than Pygmalion) and does not reject Mydas, who offers her jewelry. When Pygmalion catches Galathée in a compromising situation, he successfully implores Venus to turn her back into stone. The jewelry offered by Mydas is also turned into stone, but the whole statue is sold to him.

10 August  
Alexander Glazunov
, composer, born.

28 September 
Stanislaw MoniuszkoThe Haunted Manor

The Haunted Manor (Straszny dwór)
is an opera in four acts composed by Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko in 1861–1864. The libretto was written by Jan Chęciński. 

Stanislaw Moniuszko – Straszny dwór

Miecznik, The sword-bearer    baritone  
Hanna, Miecznik's daughter and sister of Jadwiga    soprano   
Jadwiga, Miecznik's daughter and sister of Hanna mezzo-sop
Stefan, a hussar and brother of Zbigniew    tenor 
Zbigniew, a hussar and brother of Stefan    bass  
Cześnikowa, aunt of Stefan and Zbigniew    contralto  
Maciej, servant of Cześnikowa and her family    baritone  
Skołuba, Miecznik's head servant and gatekeeper    bass  
Pan Damazy, a foppish barrister    tenor   
Marta, a housekeeper    mezzo-soprano    
Grześ, a farm hand    baritone    
Old woman    mezzo-soprano    
Chłopiec, a house-boy    speaking role    
Act I

The two brothers Stefan and Zbigniew and their servant Maciej are returning home from war. While enjoying a parting drink with their comrades, the brothers swear to remain single and to live in a household free of women, in order to be ready to lay down their lives for their country when needed. "For if I married a lovely woman, how could I leave her to go to war?"

On arriving at the family home, the brothers are given the traditional welcoming offering of bread and salt, and they look forward to a life of peace and tranquillity. Their dream is soon shattered by the arrival of their aunt Czesnikowa, who immediately unveils her plans to marry them off to two girls she has chosen for them. The brothers explain their vow, and inform her that they are off to visit an old friend of their father's, Miecznik, (the “sword bearer”) to collect money due to them.

Miecznik lives in a manor at Kalinow, and he has two daughters with whom Czesnikowa is sure the brothers will fall in love, contrary to her own plans. She tries to put them off their visit by telling them that the manor is haunted.

Act II
It is New Year's Eve and, inside the “haunted” manor, Miecznik's daughters Hanna and Jadwiga are preparing for the customary fortune-telling to determine who will be their future husbands. Wax is melted, and they see the shapes of soldiers' helmets, pikes and chargers. Hanna is being courted by a foppish barrister, Damazy, who insists that he can see his wig and tail coat in the wax. Miecznik looks on indulgently and then explains to the assembled crowd that the type of husband he seeks for his daughters is brave, a soldier and a patriot, mindful of customs and traditions — a description that Damazy does not measure up to.

Czesnikowa arrives in advance of Stefan and Zbigniew, with the intention of portraying them as cowards in order to put Miecznik and his daughters off. At that moment, a hunting party led by Skoluba bursts in, and a heated debate concerning the killing of a boar ensues. Skoluba is adamant that he killed it, but it transpires that two strangers and their servant were seen at the time of the shooting and that one of the strangers actually shot the boar. Stefan and Zbigniew arrive with Maciej, and the two sisters decide to test out what Czesnikowa has told them by playing a trick on the brothers. Damazy, anxious to eliminate his rivals, has the same idea and involves Skoluba, who had hoped to take credit for killing the boar and now resents the brothers' presence, in his plan.

It is night. The visitors retire to bed, the brothers in one room and Maciej in another, where Skoluba points out two life-size portraits of fine ladies, and a clock, all of which have magic properties. In an aria with a splendid triple-time melody, he successfully manages to scare Maciej out of his wits, and then he leaves him alone.

Stefan and Zbigniew arrive and merely laugh at Maciej's superstitious fears. Zbigniew takes Maciej off to sleep, leaving Stefan alone. The clock mysteriously chimes and Stefan is reminded of his mother. Zbigniew, unable to sleep, joins him and the brothers admit to each other that they have fallen in love with Hanna and Jadwiga, despite their vows. They are completely unaware that the two girls are hiding behind the portraits, and that Damazy is in the clock. They decide to investigate the source of the strange sounds they hear. Damazy comes out from his hiding place and, to save his skin, invents a story (told to another fine tune) that the house is known as the `Haunted Manor' as a result of it having been built with the proceeds of some infamous acts. The rather moralistic brothers decide they cannot stay, and make plans to leave straight away.

Act IV
Discovering the boys about to leave, Miecznik believes them to be cowards after all; but Maciej repeats Damazy's story. Miecznik is about to reveal the truth about his house when a party of revellers and dancers burst into the house, one of whom is Damazy in disguise. When confronted, Damazy explains that he is in love with Hanna, and leaves hurriedly.

Miecznik then explains that his great-grandfather had nine beautiful daughters and that every man who came to the manor would propose to one of them. Envious mothers with unmarried daughters who lived nearby grew to refer to the manor as “haunted” as it obviously had magic powers. Stefan and Zbigniew apologise for their suspicions, and declare their love for Hanna and Jadwiga. Miecznik gives his blessing to his daughters and the brothers. Everyone is happy — except for the schemers Czesnikowa, Damazy, and Skoluba.

1 October 
Paul Dukas
, composer, born.

8 October  
Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, violinist and composer, dies.


8 December  
Jean Sibelius, composer, born.

Carl Nielsen

Carl Nielsen


(b. Sortelung, June 9, 1865; d. Copenhagen, October 3, 1931)

Danish composer. He emerged as one of the leading musical figures in Scandinavia at the beginning of the 20th century, an innovative thinker whose aesthetic was radically distinct from the dominant trends of Romanticism.

Rejecting voluptuousness and sentimentality, he clung to an intellectual pessimism that ran counter to the era’s prevailing optimism. His compositional language, while acknowledging contemporary developments in harmony and scoring, remained rooted in the rhythmic and melodic conventions of Classicism, emphasizing the reiteration and protean transformation of outwardly simple material.

Nielsen’s childhood, on the Danish island of Fyn, was modest but happy. Nielsen’s father, a house painter, earned extra money as a village musician and endowed his naturally talented son with a love of music making and folk song. Nielsen learned to play the violin and cornet, and in 1879, soon after he turned 14, became a regimental bugler in the Danish army. In 1884 he won admission to the Conservatory in Copenhagen— then under the supervision of Niels Gade—where he remained until 1886, studying violin and music theory. He spent three years in the capital as a freelance musician, during which he produced his first mature efforts as a composer, including several string quartets and the Suite for Strings in A minor, Op. 1 (1888).

From 1889 to 1905 Nielsen played second violin in the orchestra of the Royal Theater in Copenhagen. Less than a year after joining the orchestra, he won a travel scholarship that allowed him to take a nine-month leave of absence from the opera pit, during which he met and married the Danish sculptress Anne Marie Brodersen, who had received a similar scholarship to study in Paris. Shordy after the couple returned to Denmark, Nielsen completed his Symphony No. 1 in G minor, a vibrant if still fairly traditional work. Bolder and more distinctive works soon followed, beginning with the opera Saul og David (Saul and David -1902), finished in 1901, the Symphony No. 2, De fire temperamenter (The Four Temperaments), composed 1901-02, and the Sinfonia Espansiva

During the first decade of the 20th century, Nielsen’s overriding concern as a composer was dramatic characterization. This phase of his career culminated with one of his masterpieces, the comic opera Maskarade (1904-06). By the time of its premiere, Nielsen’s years of drudgery as a workaday orchestral player were over: He had begun receiving a state pension in 1901, and his publisher, Wilhelm Hansen, had started to pay him an j annuity in 1903. In 1908 he was named second conductor at the Royal Theater. When he was passed over for the post of first conductor, in 1914, Nielsen left the Royal Theater and once again became a free agent.

There had been strains in the marriage, and as World War I broke over the rest of Europe, Nielsen and his wife separated. A period of introspection and personal reappraisal followed, out of which emerged Nielsen’s strongest, most disturbing, and most valuable works, his Fourth and Fifth Symphonies. In the Fourth (1914-16), which he titled Det Uudslukkelige (The Inextinguishable), the spirit of the time is readily felt. Nielsen suggests in the symphony’s trajectory from discordant strife to hymnlike affirmation that life’s positive forces can triumph over destructive ones. The Fifth Symphony (1921-22) can also be understood as a response to violence and disorder, though on a more abstract and psychologically probing level. This score marked a turning point in Nielsen’s development, and afterward his works took
on more of the intimate character and quieter expressiveness of chamber music.

In addition to his two operas and six symphonies, Nielsen composed concertos for violin, flute, and clarinet, many songs and choral pieces, a small number of keyboard works, several short orchestral pieces, and some outstanding chamber music, capped by the Wind Quintet, Op. 43, of 1922. Outside Denmark, his reputation rests squarely on the symphonies. Whereas Sibelius, Nielsen’s great contemporary, tried to make his symphonies as organic and tightly constructed as possible, Nielsen was interested in liberating the centrifugal elements of musical expression. He was not a great melodist—his melodies are rhythms, textures, arabesques —and in any case he was against making things too soft or easy on the listener. In fact, many of his scores have a sharp edge: In some, the music rings with irony and sarcasm, in others it produces a charged atmosphere in which one gradually becomes aware of troubling thoughts behind the pastoral surface of the notes. Yet in every work he wrote, Nielsen captured beauty, a muted, haunting beauty that is utterly Scandinavian.


Nielsen - Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 7, FS 16
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi, 1993

0:00 Allegro orgoglioso
8:18 Andante
14:48 Allegro comodo — Andante sostenuto — Tempo I
22:43 Finale. Allegro con fuoco

Nielsen - Symphony No. 2 "The Four Temperaments", Op. 16, FS 29
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Year: 1993

0:00 Allegro collerico (Choleric)
9:54 Allegro comodo e flemmatico (Phlegmatic)
14:41 Andante malincolico (Melancholic)
26:03 Allegro sanguineo — Marziale (Sanguine)

Carl Nielsen - Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia Espansiva 
Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
Michael Schønwandt, conductor.

I Allegro espansivo
II Andante pastorale - Inger Dam Jensen (soprano), Poul Elming (tenor)
III Allegretto un poco
IV Finale: Allegro

Carl Nielsen - Symphony No 4, Op 29 "The Inextinguishable"

1 Allegro
2 Poco allegretto
3 Poco adagio quasi andante
4 Allegro

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi, conductor

Nielsen - Symphony No. 5, Op. 50, FS 97
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi
Year: 1993

0:00  I. Tempo giusto
9:35 Adagio non troppo
18:26 II. Allegro-Un poco piu mosso
24:04 Presto
27:04 Andante un poco tranquillo
31:12 Allegro (tempo)

Carl Nielsen “Symphony No. 6, 'Sinfonia semplice'” Thomas Dausgaard - Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra

Alexander Glazunov

Alexander Glazunov


Aleksandr Glazunov, in full Aleksandr Konstaninovich Glazunov, (born July 29 [Aug. 10, New Style], 1865, St. Petersburg, Russia—died March 21, 1936, Paris, France), the major Russian symphonic composer of the generation that followed Tchaikovsky.


Glazunov’s mother, a piano pupil of Mily Balakirev, took her obviously talented son to her teacher, and on his advice the boy in 1880 began study with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1882 Balakirev conducted Glazunov’s First Symphony. A revised version of the piece was printed in 1886 by M.P. Belyayev, a millionaire timber merchant and founder of the famous Belyayev music-publishing firm that Glazunov later helped direct. Glazunov continued to compose, producing two string quartets, two overtures on Greek folk tunes, and the symphonic poem Stenka Razin. In 1886 he finished his Second Symphony. At that time he was the recognized heir of the nationalist group and composed according to their principles; he also absorbed the influence of Franz Liszt, whom he visited in Weimar, Germany, in 1884. Other influences, notably Wagner’s and Tchaikovsky’s, were later evident. Most of Glazunov’s best works—the fourth, fifth, and sixth symphonies and his ballets Raymonda, Ruses d’amour, and Les Saisons (“The Seasons”)—date from the 1890s. He finished his Violin Concerto in A Minor in 1904 and last complete symphony, the eighth, in 1906. In 1905 he became director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he had taught since 1899. He wrote few large-scale works after 1906: two piano concerti (1911 and 1917), two string quartets (1920 and 1930), the Concerto-Ballata for Cello and Orchestra (1931), and the Concerto for Saxophone, Flute, and Strings (1934). After the Revolution of 1917 he remained at his post until 1928, when, feeling isolated, he left the Soviet Union. After an unsuccessful tour of the United States (1929–30) he lived in Paris.


Aleksandr Glazunov - The Seasons
WINTER Four Variations 
FROST Ice Hail Snow Coda
Orchestra: Minnesota Orchestra -
Conductor: Edo de Waart

Glazunov - Symphony No 5 in B flat major, Op 55

00:00 Moderato maestoso - Allegro
12:01 Scherzo. Moderato
17:21 Andante
27:15 Allegro maestoso

Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Evgeny Mravinsky, conductor
. Tokyo, June 1979

Glazunov - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op 82

1 Moderato
2 Andante sostenuto
3 Allegro

Hilary Hahn, violin

WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln
Semyon Bychkov, conductor

Paul Dukas

Paul Dukas


Paul Dukas, (born Oct. 1, 1865, Paris, Fr.—died May 17, 1935, Paris), French composer whose fame rests on a single orchestral work, the dazzling, ingenious L’Apprenti sorcier (1897; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).


Dukas studied at the Paris Conservatory and, after winning a second Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata Velléda (1888), established his position among the younger French composers with the overture, first performed in 1892, to Pierre Corneille’s Polyeucte and with the Symphony in C Major (1896). The rest of his output (never large, owing to his own strict censorship of his works) was mainly dramatic and program music and compositions for piano. Dukas, a master of orchestration, was from 1910 to 1912 professor of the orchestral class at the Paris Conservatory, and from 1927 until his death he was professor of composition there. He also contributed musical criticism to several Paris papers, and his collected writings, Les Écrits de Paul Dukas sur la musique (1948), include some of the best essays ever published on Jean-Philippe Rameau, Christoph Gluck, and Hector Berlioz.

Dukas’s L’Apprenti sorcier (based on J.W. von Goethe’s “Zauberlehrling”) was a piece of descriptive music written at the same time and in much the same style as Richard Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel. Yet Dukas’s musicianship was of a considerably wider range than this brilliant period piece suggests. His Sonate (1901) is one of the last great works for piano that prolong the tradition of Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt; his Variations, interlude et final pour piano sur un thème de Rameau (1903) represent an elegant translation into French musical idiom and style of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, Opus 120. The ballet La Péri (1912), on the other hand, displays mastery of Impressionist scoring; and, in his opera Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (1907), on the play of Maurice Maeterlinck, the atmosphere and musical texture make up for the lack of dramatic impact.

After 1912 Dukas ceased publishing his compositions—except for a piano piece written in memory of his admirer Claude Debussy, the evocative La Plainte au loin du faune (1920), and a song setting, the charming “Sonnet de Ronsard” (1924). A few weeks before his death, he destroyed several of his musical manuscripts. Dukas collaborated with the Paris publishing firm of Durand in preparing modern editions of some of the works of Jean-Philippe Rameau, François Couperin, and Domenico Scarlatti and of the piano works of Beethoven.


Paul Dukas - La Peri
Texas Festival Orchestra - Perry So, Conductor

Paul Dukas - Piano Sonata in E-flat minor
Alexander Vaulin, piano.

Paul Dukas - Polyeucte, ouverture pour la tragédie de Corneille (1891)

Orchestra: Les Siècles Conductor: François-Xavier Roth

Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Conductor -- Michail Jurowski
Moscow International House of Music, 2012

Paul Dukas - Ariane et Barbe-Bleue
Opera in 3 atti per soli, coro e orchestra per orchestra (1899, rev. 1906)

Libretto: Maurice Maeterlinck e da "Barbe-Bleue" di Charles Perrault

Ygraine - Anne-Marie Blanzat, soprano
Mélisande - Jocelyne Chamonin, soprano
Bellangère - Michelle Command, soprano
Ariane - Katherine Ciesinski, mezzosoprano
La Nourrice - Mariana Paunova, mezzosoprano
Sélysette - Hanna Schaer, contralto
Barbe.Bleue - Gabriel Bacquier, baritono
Un vieux Paysan - Chris de Moor, basso
II. Paysan - André Meurant, tenore
III Paysan - Gilbert Chretien, basso
Alladine, mimo

Coro: Paysans, Foule

Chœurs et Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Rainer Altorfer e Jacques Jouineau, maestri di coro
Armin Jordan, direttore

Act 1
Scene: A vast, lavish semi-circular hall in Barbe-bleue's castle

Ariane is destined to be Barbe-bleue's sixth wife. As she and her nurse arrive at Barbe-bleue's castle, they are greeted (offstage) by a chorus of peasants clamouring for Barbe-bleue's death because they believe he has murdered his former wives. Ariane is convinced they are still alive. She declares: Il m'aime, je suis belle, et j'aurai son secret. D'abord il faut désobéir: c'est le premier devoir quand l'ordre est menaçant et ne s'explique pas. – Les autres ont eu tort et les voilà perdues pour avoir hésité. ("He loves me, I am beautiful, and I will discover his secret. First one must disobey: it's the primal duty when an order is menacing and unexplained. – The others were mistaken and now they are lost because they hesitated.")

Barbe-bleue has given her seven keys to his treasure chambers: the six silver ones she is permitted to use, but the seventh, golden key is forbidden. Ariane says this is the only key which matters and goes to look for the seventh door while her nurse opens the others. The nurse turns the lock in the first door and a cascade of jewels and other treasures spills out. The second door reveals a "shower of sapphires"; the third, a "deluge of pearls"; the fourth, a "waterfall of emeralds"; the fifth, "a tragic torrent of rubies". Ariane is unimpressed by the gems, although the contents of the sixth, "avalanches of gigantic diamonds", elicit a cry of wonder from her ("O mes clairs diamants!"). The sixth door also reveals the vault containing the seventh to Ariane. Ignoring her nurse's warning, she turns the golden key in the lock. At first it reveals nothing but darkness, then "the stifled sounds of far away singing rise from the bowels of the earth and spread across the hall." It is the voices of Barbe-bleue's other wives singing a folk song "Les cinq filles d'Orlamonde" ("The five maids of Orlamonde"). The nurse is terrified and tries to shut the door again but she is powerless to move it as the voices draw nearer. At the last words of the song, Barbe-bleue enters the hall. He accuses Ariane: Vous aussi... ("You too..."). She replies, Moi surtout ("Me above all"). He tells her that through her disobedience she is abandoning the happiness he has offered her. She tells him, "The happiness I want cannot thrive in the shadows." Barbe-bleue grabs her by the arm and tries to drag her towards the seventh door. As he does so, the furious peasants smash the windows and break into the hall to confront Barbe-bleue, who draws his sword in defence. But Ariane calmly turns to the crowd and asks them "What do you want? - He has done me no harm" before closing the door on them.

Act 2
Scene: A vast, underground hall, at first shrouded in almost complete darkness

The seventh door has shut behind Ariane and the nurse. They explore the darkness with the aid of a lamp. Ariane is not afraid and believes Barbe-bleue will free them of his own accord: Il est blessé, il est vaincu, mais il l'ignore encore... ("He is wounded, he is defeated, but he doesn't know it yet..."). She finds the other wives hiding in the darkness, dressed in rags and terrified, but alive. She embraces them and says she has come to free them. She asks them if they have tried to escape. One wife (Sélysette) replies: On ne pourrait pas fuir; car tout est bien fermé; et puis c'est défendu ("We couldn't; everything is barred and bolted; besides, it is forbidden.") She asks their names and they give them, except for Alladine who is a foreigner and unable to speak. Drops of water from the vault extinguish Ariane's lamp and they are plunged into darkness. But Ariane thinks she can make out a faint source of light and gropes towards it. She finds it is a stained-glass window covered in grime. Taking a stone, she smashes the panes one by one and is dazzled by the light flooding in. The wives follow her. They can hear the sound of the sea, wind in the trees and the singing of birds. They gaze on a green country landscape as a village clock strikes midday. Ariane tells them not to be afraid but to follow the stone steps which lead down into the outside world.

Act 3
Scene: The same as Act 1

The castle's magic defences have prevented the wives from escaping and they find themselves in the hall, but they are happy as long as they are with Ariane. Barbe-bleue is nowhere to be seen. Ariane is certain they will soon be liberated. She helps the other wives to decorate themselves with the jewels from the six doors. The nurse enters and tells them Barbe-bleue is on his way. They look through the windows only to see Barbe-bleue's carriage ambushed by rebel peasants. Barbe-bleue's bodyguard is cut down and he is badly beaten. Ariane pleads with them not to kill him but they cannot hear. The peasants break down the castle door and enter with Barbe-bleue roped up. They fall silent at the sight of his wives and willingly turn over their captive to Ariane so she can take "vengeance". She thanks them and persuades them to leave the castle. The wives delicately care for the wounded Barbe-bleue before Ariane cuts his bonds with a dagger. Barbe-bleue is free and silently gazes at Ariane. She bids him "Farewell". He makes a feeble attempt to stop her then relents. Ariane asks the other wives if they are going to follow her: La forêt et la mer nous appellent de loin et l'aurore se penche aux voûtes de l'azur, pour nous montrer un monde inondé d'espérance... ("The forest and the sea are beckoning from afar and dawn is spreading over the azure heavens and will reveal a world filled with hope..."). None of them accepts the offer and Ariane leaves alone with her nurse. The wives gaze at each other, then at Barbe-bleue, who slowly lifts up his head.


Édouard Manet
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe ("The Luncheon on the Grass" or "The Picnic") 

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