Beethoven – Piano Sonatas – Opus 106 and Opus 111

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Moonlight, Pathetique, Pastorale, Wilhelm Kempff, Wolfgang Lohse, Heinz Wildhagen, Hartmut Pfeiffer, Joan Chissell, Clementi, Dussek, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, immortal Beloved, Rellstab, Cranz, Countess Therese von Brunsvik, Zino Francescatti, Robert Casadesus, Umberto Boccioni, Ted Bernstein, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Love and Death, BBC Music Magazine, Opus 106, Opus 111, Hammerklavier, Misha Donat, Karl Stieler, Edith Vogel, Haydn, Archduke Rudolph of AustriaLudwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Piano Sonata in B Flat Major, Opus 106 – “Hammerklavier”

Piano Sonata in C minor, Opus 111

Edith Vogel, piano

Recorded in 1994 (BBC Music Magazine)

ONE-SENTENCE REVIEW:

Other than sounding like it was recorded in a high school gymnasium (lots of echo), when you cut through the sound clutter, the performance is excellent.

ORIGINAL LINER NOTES (by Misha Donat):

Beethoven published his first three sonatas, Opus 2 (1-3) in 1796, when he was in his mid-20s, and dedicated them to his former teacher Haydn.

Two decades and two dozen piano sonatas later, he began work on what was to be his final group of five sonatas. For some time he had been attempting to find German equivalents for the traditional Italian musical forms; and in 1817, he instructed his publisher to use the term “Hammerklavier” instead of “pianoforte” for all his future piano works.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Moonlight, Pathetique, Pastorale, Wilhelm Kempff, Wolfgang Lohse, Heinz Wildhagen, Hartmut Pfeiffer, Joan Chissell, Clementi, Dussek, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, immortal Beloved, Rellstab, Cranz, Countess Therese von Brunsvik, Zino Francescatti, Robert Casadesus, Umberto Boccioni, Ted Bernstein, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Love and Death, BBC Music Magazine, Opus 106, Opus 111, Hammerklavier, Misha Donat, Karl Stieler, Edith Vogel, Haydn, Archduke Rudolph of AustriaHis instruction was, however, unambiguously carried out only in the case of Opus 106 – the second of his late sonatas. As a grand sonata in four distinct movements, the Hammerklavier stands apart from its companions. It is a work of unprecedented scope, with the broadest slow movement Beethoven ever wrote for the piano, and a finale consisting of a colossal fugue – which makes huge demand on performer and listener alike.

Like the Sonata Opus 111, the Hammerklavier was dedicated to Beethoven’s staunchest patron, Archduke Rudolph of Austria, and its fanfare-like opening phrase was designed to fit the words, “Vivat, vivat Rudolphus!” 

Opus 111 was Beethoven’s last sonata, and also his final work in his characteristically dramatic key of C minor. This time there are only two movements; the first begins with an intense slow introduction, out of which the Allegro explodes with force.

The finale is a set of variations on a serene ‘Arietta.’ The variations gradually increase in intricacy until they reach a long-sustained trill, and the sonata comes to a close in an atmosphere of profound calm.

TRACK LISTING:

  • 1-4: Piano Sonata in B flat Major, Opus 106 – “Hammerklavier”
  • 5-6: Piano Sonata in C minor, Opus 111

FINAL THOUGHT:

I used to love with my new copy of BBC Magazine would come in the mid-1990s with the CD glued to the cover. The glue would tear the cover of the magazine off until they decided (after the first few issues and probably thousands of complaints) to put the CD in plastic. The performances were always hit or miss but I have a nice nostalgia for all those discs in my collection.

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Emily Sachs – President – Manka Music Group (A division of Manka Bros. Studios – The World’s Largest Media Company)

 

Beethoven – Sonatas for Violin and Piano – No 5 Spring and No 9 Kreutzer

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Moonlight, Pathetique, Pastorale, Wilhelm Kempff, Wolfgang Lohse, Heinz Wildhagen, Hartmut Pfeiffer, Joan Chissell, Clementi, Dussek, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, immortal Beloved, Rellstab, Cranz, Countess Therese von Brunsvik, Zino Francescatti, Robert Casadesus, Umberto Boccioni, Ted Bernstein, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Love and DeathLudwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Sonata No. 5 for Violin and Piano in F Major, Opus 24, “Spring”

Sonata No. 9 for Violin and Piano in A Major, Opus 47, “Kreutzer”

Zino Francescatti, Violin; Robert Casadesus, Piano

Recorded in France (Sonata No. 5, 1961 – Sonata No. 9, 1958) (CBS Records)

ONE-SENTENCE REVIEW:

And the hits just keep on coming – ah, nice.

ORIGINAL LINER NOTES:

No liner notes on this budget disc but it’s such a pleasant recording you really don’t need to know anything about it – just sit back, get a glass of wine and relax.

TRACK LISTING:

  • 1-4: Sonata No. 5 in F Major for Violin and Piano, Opus 24 – “Spring”
  • 5-7: Sonata No. 9 in A Major for Violin and Piano, Opus 47 – “Kreutzer”

FINAL THOUGHT:

The easiest review I’ve had to do thus far. I like it. Whenever I hear this recording, I can’t help but think of the scene in “Love & Death” where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton play the opening strains of the Spring Sonata.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Beethoven, Triple Concerto, Classical Music, Piano Trio, Kakadu Variations, Bernard Haitink, Prince Lobkowitz, Anton Felix Schindler, Archduke Rudolph, Karl August Seiler, Anton Krafft, Moazart, Hugo Riemann, Thayer, Wenzel Mullers, The Sisters of Prague, Beaux Arts Trio, Manahem Pressler, Isidore Cohen, Bernard Greenhouse, London Philharmonic, Michael Talbot, Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht, Jacques Lasserre, Carlo Vitali, Bart Mulder, Christian Steiner, Ed Koenders, Estelle Kercher

Emily Sachs – President – Manka Music Group (A division of Manka Bros. Studios – The World’s Largest Media Company)

 

Beethoven – Piano Sonatas – “Pathetique” – “Moonlight” – “Pastoral”

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Moonlight, Pathetique, Pastorale, Wilhelm Kempff, Wolfgang Lohse, Heinz Wildhagen, Hartmut Pfeiffer, Joan Chissell, Clementi, Dussek, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, immortal Beloved, Rellstab, Cranz, Countess Therese von BrunsvikLudwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Opus 13 – “Pathetique”

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Opus 27 No. 2 – “Moonlight”

Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Opus 28 – “Pastorale”

Piano Sonata No. 24 in F Sharp Major, Opus 78

ONE-SENTENCE REVIEW:

If you want the hits, you’ve got the hits – this is one classic recording – a great performance by Wilhelm Kempff on Piano.

ORIGINAL LINER NOTES (by Joan Chissell):

“L’adolsecent, l’homme, le dieu” was LIszt’s description of Beethoven’s successive stages of development so patent in the 32 piano sonatas completed between 1795 and 1822, a series as remarkable for the composer’s constant quest for variety of pattern within the traditional sonata mold as his response to the challenge of the piano itself in crucial days of the instrument’s development in strength, compass and colour.

The Grande Sonate Pathetique, as its publisher first issued it, dates from 1798-99. Never before had Beethoven extracted more drama from C minor, always his most faithful key, than in the turbulent opening movement starting with an imposing Grave introduction twice recalled in the course of the sonata-form argument (like Clementi and Dussek he had already tried out a similar device in a sonata written at eleven).

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Moonlight, Pathetique, Pastorale, Wilhelm Kempff, Wolfgang Lohse, Heinz Wildhagen, Hartmut Pfeiffer, Joan Chissell, Clementi, Dussek, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, immortal Beloved, Rellstab, Cranz, Countess Therese von BrunsvikIt is no surprise to learn from letters that already in the later 1790s he was secretly tormented by early symptoms of deafness. Assuagement comes in the idyllic, recurrent song melody of the Adagio cantabile in A flat, through tension mounts in two contrasting episodes. The finale is an urgent sonata-rondo back in the home key of C minor.

Composed in 1801, during an ill-starred romance with its youthful dedicatee, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, the C sharp minor Sonata testifies to Beethoven’s tireless pursuit of formal adventure: like its predecessor in E flat it carries the subtitle “quasi una fantasia.”

His boldest stroke was in opening with an Adagio sosenuto, music sufficiently hypnotic in its calm to remind the poet-critic Rellstab of moonlight on Lake Lucerne – hence the nickname apprended after Beethoven’s death.

For the Allegretto, a grecious old-style minuet and trio following without sharp break. Beethoven slips enharmonically into D flat major. The finale in the home key is a passionately disturbed Presto agitato in sonata form.

Following hard on the heels of the “Moonlight” in the same year of 1801, the D major Sonata reverts to a traditional four-movement sequence. The nickname “Pastoral” came from the publisher Cranz. But the music exudes enough of the relaxation and simple joy Beethoven always found in the country (openly confessed in the Sixth Symphony) to make it easy to believe Czerny’s contention that the sonata was one of the composer’s favorites.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Moonlight, Pathetique, Pastorale, Wilhelm Kempff, Wolfgang Lohse, Heinz Wildhagen, Hartmut Pfeiffer, Joan Chissell, Clementi, Dussek, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, immortal Beloved, Rellstab, Cranz, Countess Therese von BrunsvikRepeated low Ds, like a rustic drone, support the opening tune of the sonata-form Allegro. The lilting main theme of the sonata-rondo finale, again with a drone-like accompaniment, is still more redolent of the village green.

Though the D minor-major Andante, with its regular, march-like tread, is tinged with regret, the Scherzo is one of the composer’s most playful.

Beethoven was in his 40th year when composing the F sharp major Sonata in 1809, after four years away from the genre: in total contrast to its story F minor predecessor, the “Appassionata,” this gracious work in only two movements was dedicated to the Countess Therese von Brunsvik, who though no longer accepted as his legendary “immortal beloved,” was one of the few closest to his heart whose character approached his own exalted ideals of womanhood.

With the unpredictability of genius Beethoven rejects heart-searching, after only the briefest Adagio cantabile introduction, to write a radiantly lyrical Allegro non troppo in concisely expressed sonata form. In the scherzando-like concluding Allegro vivace, also in (for him) the unusual key of F sharp major, he springs constant surprises of tonality, register and dynamics.

TRACK LISTING:

  • 1-3: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Opus 13 – “Pathetique”
  • 4-6: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp Minor, Opus 27 No. 2 – “Moonlight”
  • 7-10: Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Opus 28 – “Pastorale”
  • 11-12: Piano Sonata No. 24 in F sharp Major, Opus 78

FINAL THOUGHT:

Like a warm blanket or a favorite pair of shoes, these sonatas will never let you down. A great recording.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Classical Music, Glenn Gould, Beethoven, Ludwig Van Beethoven, 3 last sonatas, Charles Rosen, Marc Vignal, Robert Cushman, Antonie Brentano, Maynard Salomon, Archduke Rudolph, Maximiliane Brentano, Schubert, Haydn

Emily Sachs – President – Manka Music Group (A division of Manka Bros. Studios – The World’s Largest Media Company)

Charles-Valentin Alkan – Grande Sonate ‘Les Quatre Ages’

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Classic Music Blog, Charles-Valentin Alkan, Grande Sonate 'Les Quatre Ages', Robert Schumann, 1848 French Revolution, Beethoven, Zimmerman Paris Conservatoire, Antoine Marmontel, Berlioz, Gounod, Liszt, Chopin, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Charles Dutoit, Tony Faulkner, Andrew Keener, Mike Dutton, Peter Salisbury, Terry Shannon, Joanna Gamble, Mike SpringCharlies-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)

Grande Sonate ‘Les Quatre Ages’ – Opus 33

Sonatine (Opus 61)

Barcarolle (Opus 65, No. 6)

Le Festin D’Esope (Op. 39, No. 12)

Pianist: Marc-Andre Hamelin (Hyperion)

Recorded November 23 & 24, 1994

ONE-SENTENCE REVIEW:

If Alkan do it – so can you (actually you probably can’t but Marc-Andre Hamelin comes pretty damn close in this brilliant recording)

ORIGINAL LINER NOTES [EXCERPT] (by Francois Luguenot):

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Classic Music Blog, Charles-Valentin Alkan, Grande Sonate 'Les Quatre Ages', Robert Schumann, 1848 French Revolution, Beethoven, Zimmerman Paris Conservatoire, Antoine Marmontel, Berlioz, Gounod, Liszt, Chopin, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Charles Dutoit, Tony Faulkner, Andrew Keener, Mike Dutton, Peter Salisbury, Terry Shannon, Joanna Gamble, Mike SpringCharles-Valentin Alkan: A Life’s Works

The Grande Sonate and Sonatine, brought together on this recording, are Charles-Valentin Alkan’s first and last masterpieces for solo piano and illustrate two extremes in the composer’s aesthetic development.

In many respects, the Grande Sonate Op. 33 is one of the pinnacles not only of Alkan’s output but of the entire Romantic piano repertoire.

In writing a piano sonata, Alkan was reviving and preserving a form which was not merely undervalued by the French but was even described by Schumann as being “worn out.”

In the hands of this extremely discreet composer, it could almost claim to be a manifesto: composed in the wake of the 1848 Revolution, and dedicated to his father, it is prefaced by what constitutes one of the rare official examples of the composer’s taking an aesthetic stand on an extremely controversial matter: programme music.

His text is not to be overlooked:

Much has been said and written about the limitations of expression through music. Without adopting this rule or that, without trying to resolve any of the vast questions raised by this or that system, I will simply say why I have given these four pieces such titles and why I have sometimes used terms which are simply never used by others.

It is not a question here, of imitative music; even less so of music seeking its own justification, seeking to explain its particular effect or its validity, in a realm beyond the music itself. The first piece is a Scherzo, the second an Allegro, the third and fourth an Andante and a Largo; but each one corresponds, to my mind, to a given moment in time, to a specific frame of mind, a particular state of the imagination. Why should I not portray it? We will always have music in some form and it can but enhance our ability to express ourselves: the performer without relinquishing anything of his individual sentiment, is inspired by the composer’s own ideas: a name and an object which in the realm of the intellect form a perfect combination, seem, when taken in a material sense, to clash with one another. So, however ambitious this information may seem at first glance, I believe that I might be better understood and better interpreted by including it here than I would be without it.

Let me also call upon Beethoven in his authority. We know that, towards the end of his career, this great man was working on a systematic catalogue of his major  works. In it, he aimed to record the plan, memory or inspiration which gave rise to each one.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Manka Music Group, Classic Music Blog, Charles-Valentin Alkan, Grande Sonate 'Les Quatre Ages', Robert Schumann, 1848 French Revolution, Beethoven, Zimmerman Paris Conservatoire, Antoine Marmontel, Berlioz, Gounod, Liszt, Chopin, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Charles Dutoit, Tony Faulkner, Andrew Keener, Mike Dutton, Peter Salisbury, Terry Shannon, Joanna Gamble, Mike SpringThe composition and publication of the Grande Sonate occurred at a crucial moment in the composer’s life.

During the summer of 1848, when the Revolution was not yet over, Zimmerman, Alkan’s teacher, resigned from his position as Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire.

It would seem natural enough that Charles-Valentin, his most brilliant and promising student, should succeed him; but in the troubled climate of the time, and as a result of some predictable intrigue, it was in fact a second-rate musician, Antoine Marmontel, who was to gain the post.

This was a particularly bitter pill for Alkan to swallow; he was to fade gradually further into obscurity and renounce all public and official posts.

The Revolution was also to harm any publicity which might have surrounded the publication of the Grande Sonate; although it was well heralded in the music magazines, it would appear that there was not one single review of the piece, nor one public performance thereafter.

The British pianist Ronald Smith is fully justified in thinking that he brought the piece to life in America in 1973 when he gave it its first public performance!

TRACK LISTING:

  • 1-4: Grande Sonate ‘Les Quatre Ages’ Op. 33 [38:48]
  • 5-8: Sonatine Op. 61 [18:05]
  • 9: Barcarolle Op. 65 no. 6 [3:41]
  • 10: Le Festin D’Esope Op. 39 no. 12 [8:40]

FINAL THOUGHT:

Seriously, if you’ve heard the Grande Sonate ‘Les Quatre Ages’ you would feel as I do – completely stunned that this great piano work didn’t have its public premiere until 1973. Alkan got screwed.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Emily's Music Dump, Classical Music, Beethoven, Alfred Brendel, Czerny, Piano Sonata Opus 78, Piano Sonata Opus 106, Hammerklavier, For Therese, Alfred Brendel, Therese von Brunsvik, Josefine von Brunsvik, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Misha Donat, Franz Klein

Emily Sachs – President – Manka Music Group (A division of Manka Bros. Studios – The World’s Largest Media Company)

 

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger – Concertos for Jew’s Harp, Mandora and Orchestra

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Manka Music Group, Emily's Music Dump, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Concerto for Jew's Harp, Orfeo, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Hans Stadlmair, Fritz Mayr, Dieter Kirsch, Jew's Harp, Mandora, Wolfgang Schreiner, Beethoven, Joseph II, Kunert, Koch, Eulenstein, Jean Paul, Justinus Kerner, Bruno Glatzl, Melk Priory, Jacques FournierJohann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809)

Concerto for Jew’s Harp, Mandora and Orchestra in E Major

Concerto for Jew’s Harp, Mandora and Orchestra in F Major

Munich Chamber Orchestra – Hans Stadlmair (Orfeo)

Recorded July 31, 1984 – Studio II des Bayerischen Rundfunks – Munich

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW:

Finally, a Jew’s Harp concerto worth listening to.

ORIGINAL LINER NOTES (including same spelling and grammar) (by Dieter Kirsch):

For many music-lovers this recording may come as something of a surprise. It is certainly a curiosity.

Who would have thought that a “common folk instrument” like the Jew’s harp (or Guimbard) had had classical concertos written for it, and by Beethoven’s teacher of composition at that!

And what is a mandora anyway?

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Manka Music Group, Emily's Music Dump, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Concerto for Jew's Harp, Orfeo, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Hans Stadlmair, Fritz Mayr, Dieter Kirsch, Jew's Harp, Mandora, Wolfgang Schreiner, Beethoven, Joseph II, Kunert, Koch, Eulenstein, Jean Paul, Justinus Kerner, Bruno Glatzl, Melk Priory, Jacques Fournier, Friedrich von HausenA glance at the history of the Jew’s harp will soon make us realize, however, that here we are dealing with an instrument of long and venerable lineage.

Old surviving specimens, pictures, sculptures that this is one of the most ancient and widespread of all musical instruments.

During the 19th century in Europe it even enjoyed a brief heyday outside the confines of folk music, with its own virtuoso exponents and repertoire of written works.

No other musical instrument has borne so many different names: in English Jew’s harp or Jew’s trump (origin of name unknown), in German Maultrommel (“mouth drum”) or Brummeisen (“buzzing-iron”), in Latin Crembalum, in Italian Aura (“breeze” or “breath”) and Harmonica or, again as in the poem by the minnesinger Friedrich von Hausen, “Summer” (“buzzer” or “vibrator”). This later reference would appear to be the earliest written evidence of the Jew’s harp in Europe.

From the 14th century onwards there are numerous pictorial representations of the instrument, showing it mainly in the hands of simple peasant folk but also occasionally in more august surroundings.

The cultural movement most fascinated by the sound of this strange instrument was that of the German Romantics.

After the 1800 we find more and more reports of travelling virtuosi (Kunert, Koch, Eulenstein) who were able to play on up to 16 different instruments and also in two parts. Several of the Romantic poets and novelists were so moved on hearing these excellent artists that they immortalized the instrument in their writings (e.g., Jean Paul in his novel “Hesperus”).

Justinus Kerner, the Swabian poet, physician, occultist and player of the Jew’s harp, wrote of his instrument: “Fortissimo and piano dolce can be expressed on the Jew’s harp most magnificently, and it is excellently suited for playing fantasies of one’s own; suited to convey outpourings of pure feeling in tones from better worlds, as the Aeolian harp conveys the feeling of Spring or a starry night.”

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Manka Music Group, Emily's Music Dump, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Concerto for Jew's Harp, Orfeo, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Hans Stadlmair, Fritz Mayr, Dieter Kirsch, Jew's Harp, Mandora, Wolfgang Schreiner, Beethoven, Joseph II, Kunert, Koch, Eulenstein, Jean Paul, Justinus Kerner, Bruno Glatzl, Melk Priory, Jacques Fournier, Friedrich von HausenThe name mandora has cropped up several times during the course of musical history.

Although the mandora of the Middle Ages is quite a different instrument from the 18th century mandora, they have one thing in common: they are both “little sisters” of the lute.

The mandora for which Albrechtsberger wrote his concerto with Jew’s harp is described in his textbook on composition (1790) under the heading “percussion instruments” as being “A small kind of lute, played in just the same manner, but tuned differently. It has only eight courses made of sheep’s gut.”

The lower four courses (pairs of strings) were tuned differently each time according to the key in which the piece was to be played. The simplification of the instrument in this way (the lute proper is an extremely difficult instrument to play) naturally results in a corresponding lack of musical substance: the player is often merely required to strum a few basic accompaniment patterns.

The similarities to the classic guitar are obvious. It is not surprising that the mandora had its greatest following among those groups of people who wanted to enjoy some convivial music-making without having too many technical demands made on them. Hence the reason why most of the surviving copies of music for mandora have been found in monastery libraries.

The history of the concerto recorded here can likewise be traced back to a monastery. In 1765, returning from his coronation in Frankfurt, Joseph II sojourned at Melk Priory.

Here he heard Father Bruno Glatzl, renowned for his virtuosity on the Jew’s harp. In the prior’s diary we can read: “lusit coram Majestatibus on two Jew’s harps. Namely, he played the Primus and the Secundus both at once, making from the notes minuets, concertos and a thousand other fine artistic things…”

A mandora provided the accompaniment.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, Emily Sachs, Manka Music Group, Emily's Music Dump, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Concerto for Jew's Harp, Orfeo, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Hans Stadlmair, Fritz Mayr, Dieter Kirsch, Jew's Harp, Mandora, Wolfgang Schreiner, Beethoven, Joseph II, Kunert, Koch, Eulenstein, Jean Paul, Justinus Kerner, Bruno Glatzl, Melk Priory, Jacques Fournier, Friedrich von HausenAt the time a Melk Priory scholar whose duty it was to play the organ on such festive occasions, Albrechtsberger is sure to have been present. His proficiency as an organist finally took Albrechtsberger to Vienna, where in the years that followed he composed his concertos for Jew’s harp, mandora and strings.

Judging from the numberings, Albrechtsberger must have written at least seven such concertos.

Three of them have survived, those composed in the years 1976, 1770 and 1771, and are preserved today in the Budapest National Library Szechenyi (Ms.mus 2551-2553).

All the “concerti” are autographed and prescribe the use of several Jew’s harps functioning at different pitches, whereas for the lower part Albrechtsberger employs letters without indicating exactly which octave pitch is intended. In the case of the E major concerto there exists a handwritten “viola prima” part, which, as it includes all the chief melodic material of the mandora part, is obviously intended as an alternative to this. (Dieter Kirsch – Translation: Avril Watts).

TRACK LISTING:

  1. Concerto for Jew’s Harp, Mandora and Orchestra in E major
  2. Concerto for Jew’s Harp, Mandora and Orchestra in F major

FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you can own only one Jew’s harp recording, make it this one!

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Emily Sachs – President – Manka Music Group (A division of Manka Bros. Studios – The World’s Largest Media Company)