Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Eduard Tumagian, Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz|
Discover: Music of the Romantic Era
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
Listen to Samples
Super-Budget Way to Gain Some Understanding of Romantic Era
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 03/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2CD set from Naxos at super-budget price is a wonderful way for teens or adults to acquaint themselves with the Romantic Era of classical music. It contains complete movements from works ranging from Beethoven (the 'Eroica' Symphony that started the Romantic era) to Elgar (the Nimrod variation from the 'Enigma Variations'). And pegged to those selections is an extensive and clearly-written 100-page essay by David McCleery that gives all kinds of background information as well as blow-by-blow descriptions of the pieces being played [e.g., in Schubert's song, 'Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel', "when she imagines kissing him the piano stops its repetitive spinning motif, indicating that she is so overcome by the thought that she has stopped working."]. Accompanying the text are pictures of the composers as well a quotation from most of them, from the sober [Mahler: 'To write a symphony is, for me, to construct the world.'] to the humorous [Grieg: 'I am sure my music has the taste of codfish in it.']. Also, there are reproductions of historical documents that illustrate the social currents of each period of time, from the Declaration of Independence, illustrating the spread of the idea of democracy, to a letter from Dvorák to his music publisher taking him to task for his anti-Czech sentiments.
Composers represented by their music are Beethoven, Berlioz, Liszt, Chopin, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Glinka, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Dvorák, Fauré, Grieg, Mahler, Rachmaninov and Elgar. Among the musical selections are all sorts of music, from the Beethoven symphony movement, chamber music of Schumann, a song by Schubert, an operatic duet (from 'Don Carlo') by Verdi, Fauré's Romance for Violin and Piano, the first movement of Mahler's First Symphony, a Chopin polonaise, and a Liszt piano concerto. The recordings of all these works are excerpted from Naxos's huge library of releases of classical music, and the performances are universally quite acceptable and in good stereo sound.
Provided as a kind of background for the newcomer to classical music is a Timeline of the Romantic Era (music, history, art, literature) so they can place various composers and their works in a cultural context. There are extensive suggestions for further listening, a listing of Romantic era composers including many more than those whose works are included here, and a helpful glossary of musical terms written in everyday language.
This is a very thoughtfully done short-course in the Romantic era that will not only answer questions of casual classical music listeners but also stimulate interest in further exploration. I recommend it highly.
2 CDs TT=2hrs30mins and 161 page booklet in a slipcase