David Oistrakh – Mozart – Violin Concerto No 3 in G major, K 216
European Journey – The pulse of Europe: Austria
Slovenian Philharmonic String Quartet with guests
Oliver Dizdarević Škrabar – solo violin
Žiga Faganel – violin
Irina Kevorkova – violin
Maja Rome – viola
Gordana Keller Petrej – cello
Petar Brčarević – double bass
Slovenian Philharmonic – The Slavko Osterc Hall
September 23, 2012
Danse Macabre (first performed in 1875) is the name of opus 40 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns.
The composition is based upon a poem by Henri Cazalis, on an old French superstition: Zig, zig, zig, Death in a cadence, Striking with his heel a tomb, Death at midnight plays a dance-tune, Zig, zig, zig, on his violin. The winter wind blows and the night is dark; Moans are heard in the linden trees. Through the gloom, white skeletons pass, Running and leaping in their shrouds. Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking, The bones of the dancers are heard to crack— But hist! of a sudden they quit the round, They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.
According to the ancient superstition, “Death” appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle (represented by a solo violin with its E-string tuned to an E-flat in an example of scordatura tuning). His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.
The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, D, twelve times to signify the clock striking midnight, accompanied by soft chords from the string section. This then leads to the eerie E flat and A chords (also known as a tritone or the “Devil’s chord“) played by a solo violin, representing death on his fiddle. After which the main theme is heard on a solo flute and is followed by a descending scale on the solo violin. The rest of the orchestra, particularly the lower instruments of the string section, then joins in on the descending scale. The main theme and the scale is then heard throughout the various sections of the orchestra until it breaks to the solo violin and the harp playing the scale. The piece becomes more energetic and climaxes at this point; the full orchestra playing with strong dynamics.Towards the end of the piece, there is another violin solo, now modulating, which is then joined by the rest of the orchestra. The final section, a pianissimo, represents the dawn breaking and the skeletons returning to their graves.
The piece makes particular use of the xylophone in a particular theme to imitate the sounds of rattling bones. Saint-Saëns uses a similar motif in the Fossils part of his Carnival of the Animals.
Artwork:Remedios Varo,”Les Feuilles Mortes”.
Played by:National Philharmonic Orchestra,
Sonata No. 1 in G minor for solo violin, BWV 1001 (Live)
Concerto for two violins, strings and basso continuo in A minor (RV 522)
Elizabeth Wilcock (solo violin I)
Micaela Comberti (solo violin II)
Jaap Ter Linden (violoncello)
Simon Standage, Miles Golding (violin I & II)
Trevor Jones, Jan Schlapp (viola)
Amanda MacNamara (double bass)
Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord)
The English Concert / Trevor Pinnock (conductor)
Felix Froschhammer, violin
Alexander Mayer, conductor
Ensemble Symphonique Neuchâtel
11.11.2012, Temple du Bas, Neuchâtel
The concerto consists of three movements with the following tempo markings:
The concerto opens with an almost immediate entry of the solo violin, instead of an orchestral tutti, with the very tune in E minor that gave Mendelssohn no peace. Following a bravura of rapidly descending notes, the opening theme is then restated by the orchestra. Continue reading
Danse Macabre, Op. 40, is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874 by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based in an old French superstition. In 1874, the composer expanded and reworked the piece into a tone poem, replacing the vocal line with a solo violin.