A Fine Messiah From Václav Luks and Collegium 1704by Jens F. Laurson
To say that there is no dearth of recordings of Handel’s Messiah is putting it mildly. Even granting that every generation needs its interpretations of the classics, there is a glut. On the downside, not all of them are very good. On the upside, choice is a beautiful thing and there is bound to be… Continue Reading
A Fine Messiah From Václav Luks and Collegium 1704by Jens F. Laurson
Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Franz Schubert.
It’s hard to think of a composer more gregarious than Schubert, and further removed from the image of the reclusive genius, closeted away in his artistic ivory tower, creating peerless masterpieces in splendid isolation. From his days at Vienna’s Stadtkonvikt, the Imperial Catholic boarding school that offered the best general and musical education in the Austrian capital, Schubert developed a wide and supportive network of highly cultured friends, with whom he explored art, politics, religion, literature, and, of course, music; frequented the odd tavern or three; and attended convivial social gatherings in the homes of well-heeled admirers, from which developed the tradition of the ‘Schubertiad’ – informal get-togethers devoted to the performance of Schubert’s music, and above all, his songs.
In this week’s episode, we’ll start by meeting Schubert’s friends, and then take a trip round Vienna in search of Schubert’s audience. Next, Donald gives us a whistle-stop tour of the jaw-droppingly productive year that’s been called Schubert’s annus mirabilis, 1815. We’ll also hear how Schubert faced the challenge of following in Beethoven’s footsteps, and about the posthumous discovery of much of his music, including many of his most-loved works.
‘An die Musik’, D547
‘Suleika I’ D720
Symphony No 8 in B minor (‘Unfinished’), D759
‘Über Wildemann’, D884
‘Das Zügenglöcklein’, D871
Gesang (‘An Sylvia’), D891
String Quartet in D minor, D 810 (‘Death and the Maiden’)
Mass in F, D105 (Sanctus)
Overture in D, D590 (‘In the Italian style’)
Der Zwillingsbrüder, D647 (No 3, Aria, ‘Der Vater mag wohl immer Kind mich nennen’)
String Quartet in A minor, D804 (‘Rosamunde’)
Psalm 92, D953
Piano Trio in E flat, D929 (Op 100)
Piano Sonata in E, D157
Mass in G, D167 (Agnus Dei)
String Quartet in G minor, D173
Der vierjährige Posten, D190
Symphony No 3 in D, D200
‘Gebet während der Schlacht’, D171
‘An die Nachtigall’, D196
‘Die Mondnacht’, D238
‘Das Rosenband’, D280
Beethoven: ‘Der Zufriedene’, Op 75 No 6
Schubert: ‘Der Zufriedene’, D320
Symphony No 4 in C minor (‘Tragic’), D417
‘Abschied’, D957 No 7
‘Der Atlas’, D 957 No 8
Octet in F for clarinet, horn, bassoon, string quartet and double bass, D803
‘Auf dem Strom’, D943
Liszt, after Schubert: Die Rose – Lied von Franz Schubert, S556/1
Symphony in C, D 944
Piano Sonata in A, D959
String Quintet in C, D 956
Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Wales
For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Franz Schubert https://ift.tt/312RF2M
And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q
With so many reasons to visit and so many cultural highlights on offer, it is no surprise to learn that Milan is also a great place to search for records. If you are as fortunate as I was to find yourself with a day to scour the streets for some wax, or you are thinking about where your next European trip is going to be, then this post is for you.
First stop; Massive Music Store. Alessandro the owner was there to talk me through the stock. The shop has a wide variety of music on CD and Vinyl, with the vinyl split into 5 main sections- Italian music, Jazz & Fusion, Soul/Funk/Reggae, Rock and Metal and- my personal favorite- the 5 Euro records. With both new and second-hand wax to browse, the stock was well priced, fairly graded and extremely varied. Don’t forget to check their comprehensive DVD collection as well!
Second stop for the day- Libraccio– is principally a bookstore but also has a large vinyl selection as well. Their stock is split 50-50 into Italian and Stranieri (foreign) music and is all second hand, though some new releases in there were very nearly mint. Again, an extremely varied selection to keep you interested, it took me about an hour and a half to go through all the racks there, definitely worth a visit.
I love a Cash Converters as a great place to find bizarre or rare records for a bargain, just by the nature of how they get their stock, and there was one nearby. The stock, though limited, did not disappoint.
I next went to visit the premises of SoundOhm records. Although they do not have a physical store, their Discogs store is a great place to find reissues of some Italian records that have recently been featured in our top 30 most expensive lists- I picked up 3 from last December’s list alone! They also specialize in Psychedelic, Italian Experimental, and Avant-Garde jazz. If you are in Italy, reach out to them to organize a special delivery to your accommodation to save on postage.
A good tip is to head central and see the famous Cathedral in the Duomo area, about a half-hour walk away. After admiring the craftsmanship, I recommend that you descend to the Metro station where, in one of the tunnels, is Mariposa. Mariposa specializes in Rock and Metal and has merchandise, posters, and CDs as well as racks of new records.
From there, ascend back to the main plaza and 50m away you encounter the kiosk Discovery Gigi, run by Gigi himself. An expert on Prog, Rock and Italian Jazz, Gigi’s stall may be small in size but he makes up for it in quality. He was more than willing to regale me with interesting facts about the area and the music scene in Milan over the years.
For the final stop, something special. A half-hour walk away from the plaza is the aptly-named store Vinile. This venue fits a tribute to Star Wars merchandise, 90s kitsch, record store, restaurant, AND cocktail bar into one location! Grab a cocktail, peruse the objets d’art on the walls, leaf through the books on music that are littered throughout the place or- like me- get your fingers dusty in the racks. With a DJ playing Northern Soul with gusto, an artisanal wine and beer list, and a salad named after Erykah Badu, you won’t regret making the effort to get there.
If you do find yourself in Italy, it is worth keeping an eye out for any soundtracks you find from the 70s- names to watch out for include Piero Umiliani and Giuliano Sorgini– but, in my experience, if it has an interesting cover, it is usually worth picking up. Good luck and happy searching!
Many thanks to all the stores for the records I picked up, the tips they shared and the conversations we had.