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More Suite Española

Isaac Albéniz’s Suite Española is full of different Spanish tunes and themes. Asturias and Granada are most popular, but his others are just as good. This movement, Sevilla, is performed by John Williams.

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A Spanish (Or French) Classic

The French composer Maurice Ravel was very talented, if a little crazy. One of his most famous works is below, his Bolero. Full of Spanish glamour, this is one of his masterpieces.

It is performed here by the Vienna Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel.

An American Classic

Perhaps no twentieth century composer was more American than George Gershwin. Sadly taken by cancer in his thirties, he still managed to compose some works of pure genius. The piece below, An American in Paris, is undoubtedly one of his best. This version is by America’s foremost Gershwin orchestra and best Gershwin conductor, the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein.

A Catchy Tune

Ralph Vaughan Williams was known for incorporating ancient British folk melodies into his compositions- you heard it in The Wasps. This composition, The Running Set, is no exception. See if you can pick out the tune Vaughan Williams used.

Don’t Worry- Here Is The Bruckner You’ve Been Waiting For

This is Bruckner’s bold and daring Third Symphony. Revolutionary when composed, the public eventually warmed to it about 100 years after the premiere.

This version is by Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by the famed George Szell.

Bruckner Symphony No. 3 (Jochum, Staatskapelle Dresden)

 

Anton Bruckner most likely believed that his third symphony would not be remembered for many years after his death for one main reason. The premiere of the work in Vienna, which Bruckner himself conducted, was an utter disaster. As the piece dragged on, the audience slowly left the hall. Eventually, the orchestra, equally displeased,  walked off the stage, leaving Bruckner alone with a few close friends. However, though the audience hated the work, it is not as bad as one might think. Granted, Bruckner’s third misses some of the uninterrupted smoothness of the second symphony, but is no less lyrical. In fact, the third is considered a rocky milestone on Bruckner’s path to musical proficiency. Eugen Jochum and Staatskapelle Dresden handle the difficult orchestral passages with ease, making this recording not half bad.

For a musician, the beginning of Bruckner’s Third must be quite scary. It is not technically demanding, but is not particularly melodic, and therefore does not sound quite normal. However, the Staatskapelle could be trusted to handle this challenge with poise and ease, and the passage is not only bearable, but beautiful. Indeed, the Dresden plays at its best throughout the whole movement. Though the first movement is well played, the second movement is the musical highlight. It is during this movement that one notices a hint of the thick, passionate Bruckner sound that the composer would implement in his later symphonies. The orchestra plays with weight and vibrato, but does not make the piece a slog. The same can be said for the boisterous third movement.

There is a certain empowering quality to Bruckner’s music; after listening to a symphony of his, this critic feels like getting up and impulsively shouting “Let’s go!” to nobody in particular. The fourth movement of the work is full of this characteristic, and Staatskapelle Dresden make it a fitting end to a marvelous work.

For a symphony that has received mixed reviews since it was composed, this is the best it will sound.

Just Like Asturias

The music of Isaac Albéniz is genius. Like AsturiasGranada was transcribed from piano to guitar, and of course sounds better that way. See what you think.