Sonata No. 4 in E major, Op. 1, RV. 66 by Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi would have his first book of compositions published in 1703 under the title ‘Twelve Trio Sonatas’. The book contains 12 sonatas for violin and basso continuo. The book was published the same year Vivaldi became an ordained priest at a church in Venice. It would seem that Vivaldi was more focused on composition that on performing Mass, as, in 1704 he was given dispensation to withdraw from most liturgical duties to focus on music.

This sonata is comprised of four movements:
I. Largo
II. Allemanda. Allegro
III. Sarabanda. Largo
IV. Giga. Allegro

Humoresque No. 6 in G minor, Op. 89, No. 4 by Jean Sibelius

In 1916 Sibelius intended to compose a suite for orchestra in six movements. By 1917 he had finished the work and was preparing the piece for publication and performance, however due to an error with the preparation of the collection, they were considered as separate works instead of a combined suite. As such, the suite of six movements would become a collection of six ‘Humoresques’ for violin and orchestra. The first performance of the combined collection would take place in November of 1919 in Helsinki with Sibelius conducting.

The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II: Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 876 by Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach wrote two books of preludes and fugues, each containing a prelude and fugue in all 24 keys. The first book was likely completed in 1722, and the second book completed in approximately 1742. The purpose of this collection was, according to Bach, “for profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study”.

Études-Tableaux (Study Pictures), Op. 39, No. 3 by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff would complete the entire collection of his second ‘Study Pictures’ in 1916. An earlier collection also titled ‘Study Pictures’ was completed in 1911. As the name suggests, this collection is to serve as both a technical work (the study) but also as a collection for a pianist to perform (pictures).

The collection is partly influenced by the works of Alexander Scriabin, a fellow composer and friend of Rachmaninoff. Scriabin had died in April of 1915 due to a rare complication from an infected pimple on his upper lip. Rachmaninoff was practicing the works of Scriabin to perform at a memorial for the composer to be given in 1916.

Eighth Army March by Eric Coates

Coates completed this march for light orchestra in 1942 to honour the British victory over the combined forces of Germany and Italy in El Alamein, Egypt. Specifically, Coates would include a dedication in this work to Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery, the commander of the British forces in El Alamein.

The march became immediately popular, and was used by the BBC as the official signature tune at the beginning of its Middle East transmissions. The work would also be used as the theme song to the 1943 film ‘Nine Men’ by Ealing Studios. 'Nine Men' is a film which focuses on a group of nine British solders who become cut-off from a convoy in Libya and must hold out against a prolonged siege.

This work is comprised of a single movement.

Nocturne in G minor, Op. 37, No. 1 by Frédéric Chopin

Chopin complete two Nocturnes in 1839, which would be assigned to his Op. 37 No. 1 and No. 2 in 1840 when they were first published. Chopin composed both works while on holiday at the house of author Amantine Dupin (pen name George Sand) in Majorca. It was not a happy holiday, as the winter weather was unusually unpleasant for the location. Additionally, Chopin would fall severely ill with what is suspected to have been tuberculosis. The piano that Chopin had ordered to be delivered to him while on holiday was significantly delayed.

Caprice in E minor, Op. 1, No. 15: Posato by Niccolò Paganini

Between the years of 1802 and 1817, Paganini would complete his collection of 24 ‘Caprices for Solo Violin’. Unlike previous collections for solo instrument such as J.S Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, this collection is not intended to provide a composition in all 24 keys but rather to allow the performer to display a multitude of skills and techniques for the violin. The popularity of these ‘Caprices” have resulted in their adaption to multiple ensembles, and they remain a regular performance piece for soloists, chamber groups and orchestras

Capriccio in G flat major, Op. 8 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky completed this short work for piano in 1870 while living in Moscow. Tchaikovsky was professor of Harmony at the Moscow Conservatory at the time, a position he was awarded seven years earlier in 1863. While teaching at the Conservatory, Tchaikovsky would meet fellow composer Karl Klindworth, who took up the role of professor of piano at the Conservatory in 1868. The two went from colleagues to friends, with Tchaikovsky dedicating this piano composition to Klindworth.

This work is comprised of a single movement.

Lyric Pieces, Book VIII: Melancholy, Op. 65, No. 3 by Edvard Grieg

Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg wrote a 10-volume book of short pieces for piano between the years 1867 and 1901. There is no linking theme between these volumes, with some collections focusing on folk music and some on an actual folk story.

Symphony No. 26 in D minor ‘Lamentatione, Hoboken I/26 by Joseph Haydn

Haydn completed this symphony in 1768 for Easter week as part of his duties as the household musician to the Esterházy estate. It is the first symphony Haydn would compose in a minor key, and would be an early example of the ‘Sturm und Drang’ music that would become more popular for Haydn as well as other composers over the next few decades.

To incorporate the theme of the Easter week, Haydn included a melody from a plainsong chant of the Passion of Christ which would have been familiar to audiences of the day. The name ‘Lamentatione’ was not given to the work by Haydn himself. The name may have been given to the work by the publisher, and is a reference to the theme of the Easter and the resurrection.

The term ‘Sturm und Drang’ (Storm and Anxiety) is based on a German literary movement of the latter half of the 18th century, which saw several novels and poems that displayed intense action and rousing emotional conflict. This artistic movement would also begin to appear in music, and is contributing factor to the rise of the Romantic period in music at the start of the 19th century.

This symphony is comprised of three movements:
I. Allegro assai con spirito
II. Adagio
III. Minuet e Trio

Fantasy in Three Parts Upon a Ground, Z. 731 by Henry Purcell

English composer Henry Purcell likely completed this short work for two violins and basso continuo in 1680 at the age of 21. The year before, Purcell had been appointed organist of Westminster Abbey. Upon taking up this appointment, Purcell would focus his efforts on the composition of sacred music. This Fantasy is an example of the secular music Purcell composed during this time that was for neither the church or the theatre.

This work is comprised of a single movement.

Symphony No. 27 in G major, K. 199/161b by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart completed this symphony in April of 1773 at the age of 17. This is the same month Mozart began his new role as court musician to Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo, a position with a stable income and prestige. While at first Mozart was excited for the opportunity to work for a royal court, he would soon find Colloredo a stifling employer who showed little appreciation for Mozart’s music.

This symphony is comprised of three movements:
I. Allegro
II. Andantino grazioso
III. Presto

Quintet in A minor, Op. 3, H. 11 by Gustav Holst

Holst completed this work for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano in 1896 at the age 22. The year before, Holst had met the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the two became lifelong friends. Holst would later say of his relationship with Vaughan Williams that:

“What one really learns from an Academy or College is not so much from one’s official teachers as from one’s fellow-students”

This quintet is comprised of four movements:
I. Allegro moderato
II. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
III. Adagio – Poco animato – Piu mosso – Tempo 1
IV. Allegro con brio

Cello Sonata in B flat major, G. 8 by Luigi Boccherini

Boccherini likely completed this sonata for Cello and basso continuo at some point in 1768. This would be another of the many works Boccherini completed after moving to Madrid and entering the service of the Infante Luis Antonio of Spain.

This sonata is comprised of three movements:
I. Allegro
II. Andante affettuoso
III. Allegro

Piano Sonata No. 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 2 by Johannes Brahms

Brahms completed this piano sonata in 1852 with the first public performance being given in December of 1855 in Frankfurt. This sonata was completed before the piano sonata in C major No. 1, which was completed in 1853. The reason for the sonata in F sharp minor being titled the sonata No. 2 was at the request of Brahms and Robert Schumann.
Both composers believed the sonata in C major to be a higher quality work of more technical brilliance, and as such the publishers Breitkopf und Härtel published the sonata in F sharp minor as No. 2.

This sonata is comprised of four movements:
I. Allegro non troppo, ma energico
II. Andante con espressione
III. Scherzo: Allegro – Poco piu moderato
IV. Finale: Sostenuto – Allegro non troppo e rubato

Fantasy-Polonaise in C major, Op. 5 by Josef Suk

Suk completed this short work for piano in 1892 at the age of 18, with the first publication being released in 1894 by the Czech music publisher František Augustin Urbánek. Suk had graduated from the Prague Conservatory in 1891, and had begun further training in chamber music with Hanus Wihan, and in composition with Antonin Dvorak.

This work is comprised of a single movement.

String Quartet No. 5 in F minor, Op. 9, B. 37 by Antonín Dvořák

Dvorak completed this quartet for two violins, viola and cello in October of 1873. Dvorak had intended for the work to have a premiere performance by the Bennewitz Quartet, a string quartet originally founded by the German violinist Friedrich Wilhelm Pixis, but taken over by the Bohemian violinist Anton Bennewitz in 1876.

Despite Bennewitz accepting the quartet to be performed as part of their concert cycle, the Bennewitz quartet would refuse to perform the work, citing that it was due to a “lack of quartet style”. Dvorak would reportedly tear out the first page of the manuscript bearing a dedication to Bennewitz, and he would not pursue having the work performed at any later date.

The first public performance of the quartet would not occur until 1930 in Prague.

This quartet is comprised of four movements:
I. Moderato – Allegro con brio
II. Andante con moto quasi allegretto
III. Tempo di valse
IV. Finale: Allegro molto

Piano Sonata No. 7 in D major, Op. 10, No. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven would compose the three piano sonatas that would eventually comprise his Op. 10 collection between the years 1796 and 1798. Beethoven was living in Vienna at this time, and had already gained some popularity by performing his own works in the city and gaining patronage from various nobles.

A brigadier general named Johann Georg von Browne would take note of the incredible talent that Beethoven would show in performance and composition. Von Browne was the son of an Irish officer named George Browne who enlisted in the Russian army in 1730. In 1794, Von Brown would move from Russia to Vienna and would invite Beethoven to perform at their estate several times.

Beethoven would dedicate his piano sonata No. 5, 6 and 7 to Count Anna Margaretha von Browne, the wife of Johann von Browne.

The sonata No. 7 is the longest of the three Op. 10 sonatas, and the only one with four movements:
I. Presto
II. Largo e mesto
III. Menuetto: Allegro
IV. Rondo: Allegro

Six Promenades for wind Quintet, Op. 6.1, No. 2 ‘Madame Taussaud’s’ by Sir Edward Elgar

In 1878, Elgar would complete a collection of 6 works for a wind ensemble comprised of two flutes, clarinet, oboe and bassoon. Each individual composition within the collection is short, indicating the work was designed to be performed in its entirety.

Organ Concerto in B flat major, Op. 7, No. 3, HWV. 308 by George Frideric Handel

Between 1740 and 1750, Handel completed a collection of six concertos for organ and orchestra, most of which had their premiere performance in London. Much like the concerti grossi Op. 6, these organ concertos were designed to be performed between other musical works, in this case Handel’s oratorios.

This work is comprised of four movements:
I. Allegro
II. Organo (adagio e Fuga) ad libitum
III. Spiritoso
IV. Menuet 1 and 2

Overture in C major “In the Italian Style”, D. 591 by Franz Schubert

Schubert completed this overture in 1817. During the first few decades of the 19th century, opera was one of the most popular forms of musical entertainment. This led to a great deal of debate, particularly in Vienna, as to what was the ‘better’ style of opera. The two main contenders of operatic style were the Germanic and the Italian. This debate is sometimes called the ‘Opera Wars’.

The Germanic style of composers such as Carl Maria von Weber and later Richard Wagner, was usually based on folklore and the supernatural. The Italian style of composers such as Giaocomo Rossini and later Giuseppe Verdi focused more on the machinations of the nobility and their interaction with the working class. It is important to note that while this distinction in opera style was widespread, there are several examples of Germanic opera focusing on stories about the aristocracy, and Italian operas including elements of the supernatural.

By 1817, the 20-year-old Schubert was eager to reach further fame through opera. In an attempt to demonstrate his potential, he would compose two operatic overtures ‘In the Italian style’ and presented them to theatres around Vienna to gauge their reception.

This work is comprised of a single movement.

Symphony No. 5 by Arnold Bax

English composer Arnold Bax completed his fifth symphony in 1932 with the premiere performance being given in 1934. The work is dedicated to friend and fellow composer Jean Sibelius, with Bax noting that this work is meant to evoke the ‘Norse’ sounds reminiscent of the works of Sibelius.

Bax had first met Sibelius while on a visit to Scandinavia in 1932, with the Finnish composer impressing Bax to such a degree that Bax would say he incorporated the style of Sibelius into a number of works, including the fifth symphony, the piano concerto ‘Winter Legends’ and tone poem ‘The tale the pine trees knew’.

This symphony is comprised of three movements:
I. Poco lento – Allegro con fuoco
II. Poco lento – Molto tranquillo
III. Poco moderato – Allegro - Epilogue

King Lear Overture, Op. 4, H. 53 by Hector Berlioz

Berlioz completed this short work for orchestra in 1831, with the premiere performance being given in December of 1833 at the Paris Conservatoire. The work is based on the Shakespeare play of the same name, written at some point between 1603 and 1606, with the first confirmed performance being given in December of 1606 for James I.

Berlioz was 28 at the time of composing this overture, and was returning to France after a trip to Italy. Berlioz had been awarded the ‘Prix de Rome’ in 1830, a scholarship for French artists founded by Louis XIV. A component of this scholarship would be for the winner to study at the ‘Villa Medici’, a French art academy in Rome.

This work is comprised of a single movement.

Waltz in D flat major, Op. 70, No. 3 by Frédéric Chopin

Chopin completed this short waltz for piano in 1829, but the Op. 70 collection would not be published until 1855, six years after the death of the composer. Ironically, the third waltz in the Op. 70 collection was the first to be completed, with the No. 2 waltz being written in 1842, and the No. 1 waltz being written in 1832.

Chopin was living in Warsaw in 1829, and based on correspondence written at the time, the inspiration for this waltz was the unsuccessful marriage proposal between himself and a Polish singer named Konstancja Gładkowska.

This waltz is in a single movement.

Symphony in C major, H. 659 by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

CPE Bach completed this symphony in 1773 while working as Kapellmeister in Hamburg. Bach was given this role in 1768 after lengthy negotiations with his previous employer, the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin. His new position in Hamburg came with a generous patronage from Princess Anna Amalia, the sister to Frederick.

The freedom awarded to Bach in his role in Hamburg allowed him to completed 21 settings of the Passion and over 70 cantatas, litanies, motets and other liturgical works. Additionally, Bach would complete an autobiography in 1773, making him one of the first composers to do so.

Bach would dedicate this symphony to Gottfried van Swieten, the Austrian ambassador to Prussia and patron of many musicians.

This symphony is comprised of three movements:
I. Allegro assai
II. Adagio
III. Allegretto


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