Number of videos: 567
Three days were enough for Shostakovich to compose his String Quartet No. 8. Shocked after visiting the ruins of Dresden in 1960, the Soviet composer wrote a moving work that he dedicated “to the victims of fascismo and war” and which uses the notes D, E flat, C and B as its main motive, forming the anagram DSCH (his musical signature) in German notation. A short time later, Rudolf Barshai, who was very close to Shostakovich, converted the piece into a Chamber Symphony.
Barbershop music is a style of singing without instrumental accompaniment in which the melody is not performed by the highest voice. Made famous in the United States between 1895 and 1930, in subsequent decades its popularity declined in favour of jazz. Nevertheless, these specialised vocal quartets never disappeared from the American market.
Although Mozart and Beethoven composed works for piano, 4 hands, it was Franz Schubert who raised the aesthetic category and artistic ambition of this genre. In this case, the Dúo del Valle perform his Fantasia D 940 together with a selection from Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances WoO 1, original pieces for this musical combination, although better known in their orchestral version.
Franz Schubert is situated in a historical position of transition between the Viennese Classics and the German Romantics, a period in which certain genuinely pianistic genres took shape, such as the impromptu or the moment musical. In this case, this transience is exemplified with a program combining his piano music with that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Gabriel Fauré composed his Violin Sonata Op. 13 during a period of great joy, after announcing his engagement to Marianne, the daughter of Pauline García-Viardot (though they would never marry). The work was premiered in 1877 by the violinist Marie Tayau with Fauré himself at the piano, and consolidated his reputation as a composer. Acclaimed by Camille Saint-Saëns, who had been his teacher, it contains some of the composer’s most beautiful melodies.
The musicologist Fernando Delgado presents the first concert of the series Muscal clichés. Visions of Spain and unlocks the keys to the success of the virtuoso piano repertoire of Spanish inspiration during the nineteenth century. The institution of the public concert, the improvement in communications, the existence of a bourgeois audience and the evolution of the modern piano, combined with the exotic perspective, are some of the factors that explain the Spanish forays of Liszt, Gottschalk and Oscar de la Cinna, pianist-composers who also travelled around the Iberian Peninsula.
Beethoven inevitably cast a shadow over Schubert’s career. Schubert professed a deep admiration for him, although they barely had the opportunity to meet. The influence of Beethoven could be seen in Schubert’s works, particularly his piano sonatas, but it didn’t prevent him from developing his own language.
Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) is based on a work from the sixteenth century. The sound of the dialogue between different groups of instruments imitates the different registers of an organ and, in its form, the piece evokes the fantasias of the Elizabethan period. Here, it is coupled with La oración del torero (1927), one of Joaquín Turina’s best-known works, originally composed for lute quartet.
The fantasia and the moment musicaux are two genres whose musical language is closer to improvisation, as opposed to the formal structure of the sonata, demonstrating the creative ability of their composers. Mozart and Schubert were two of the Viennese composers who used them the most, the former’s Fantasia in C Minor KV 475 and the latter’s Moments musicaux D 780 standing as two paradigmatic examples of these kinds of works.