El Choclo (tango)
El Choclo is one of the most popular Argentinian tangos. It was written by Ángel Villoldo, an Argentinian musician. It is named after the owner of a nightclub. El Choclo had its premier in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1903. It has since been recorded by many dance orchestras in Argentina and famous musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Julio Iglesias.
Katica Illényi is a Hungarian violinist, singer, and theremin player. She is a classically trained violinist that plays several different genres of music including tangos, folk music, klezmer music, and Manouche jazz (or gypsy jazz). She has won many awards including the Artist of Merit of Hungary Award and the Franz Liszt Award from the Franz Liszt Academy. She organizes her own concerts and her YouTube channel gets millions of hits on a regular basis.
Here is a live performance of Katica Illényi (violin) and her sister Anikó Illényi (cello) performing the tango El Choclo with a group of other musicians. I hope that you enjoy this music.
Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989)
Vladimir Horowitz was a Russian piano virtuoso. He was known for his incredible piano technique, the special tone he produced when he played the piano, and the excitement his playing caused among his audiences during concerts. He was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Horowitz was known for his interpretations of Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Schumann, and Scarlatti.
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1759)
Domenico Scarlatti was an Italian harpsichordist and composer. He is well known today for the 555 keyboard sonatas that he wrote. Scarlatti’s first publication of keyboard pieces was 30 exercises for keyboard. These became so popular after they were published that he kept writing more keyboard pieces.
Here is a video taken from a televised performance in 1968 of Vladimir Horowitz playing two Scarlatti sonatas. The Sonata in E Major and the Sonata in G Major. I don’t know the catalogue numbers for these sonatas. I hope that you enjoy this music as much as I do.
J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
J.S. Bach was a German baroque composer, organist, harpsichordist, clavichordist, and violinist. Bach’s music represents the height of the baroque period. Many composers have imitated Bach’s style of composition, but no one (not even today) has matched the complexity of Bach’s music. Bach is well known today among the general public for his Air on the G String, his Brandenburg Concertos, Violin concertos, his unaccompanied cello suites, his fugues, organ music, and unaccompanied works for violin. Not as well known but very beautiful are his sonatas for violin and harpsichord which were probably composed between 1720 and 1723.
Giuliano Carmignola (1951 – ) – violinist
Giuliano Carmignola is an Italian violinist that specializes in early music. He has made many recordings and has played with top early music ensembles including the Venice Baroque Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, and Il Giardino Armonico.
Andrea Marcon (1963 -) – harpsichord
Andrea Marcon is an Italian harpsichordist, conductor, organist, and scholar of early music. He is the founder of the Venice Baroque Orchestra.
Here is a recording of Carmignola and Marcon playing the Bach Sonata in b minor for violin and harpsichord. I hope that you enjoy this music.
Ivry Gitlis (1922- )
Ivry Gitlis is an Isreali violin virtuoso. He has played with many of the world’s top orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the Israeli Philharmonic. His style of playing is unconventional. He sometimes plays with a very intense vibrato and at other times with no vibrato at all. His use of the bow is different from many players today. Sometimes he lays into the string producing a powerful tone. At other times the bow slides across the string lightly producing a glassy sound. His playing is also very free compared to many modern players who seem to just plow through the notes in a mechanical fashion.
Here is Ivry Gitlis playing Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen with pianist Ann Maria Vera, and Tchaikovsky’s Valse Sentimentale with pianist S. Neriki. I hope that you enjoy this music.
Django Reinhardt (1910-1953)
Django Reinhardt was a gypsy guitarist famous for co-founding the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli in 1934. He made hundreds of recordings with the Quintet. Django also recorded with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, jazz violinist Eddie South, and lots of other jazz musicians in Europe and America.
During World War II the quintet split up. Django lived in Paris throughout the war and managed to avoid getting sent to a concentration camp. He kept on playing and recording.
Here are 4 rare Django Reinhardt recordings made in Belgium in 1942. These recordings are unusual because Django Reinhardt is accompanied by stride piano (stride piano was a form of jazz piano popular during the 1920s). Django plays solos on the guitar and violin accompanied on the piano by Ivon de Bie. He is famous for his virtuosic jazz guitar solos but violin was his first instrument. I hope that you enjoy this music.
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899)
Aristide Cavaillé-Coll was a 19th Century French organ builder. He completed his first organ in 1840. The period from the French Revolution beginning in 1789 and during the time of Cavaillé-Coll’s first organ was devoid of french organ music. Many pipe organs in France were auctioned off or destroyed, and many organists lost their jobs during the revolution. Some kept their jobs because they played popular music glorifying the revolution. When Cavaillé-Coll built his first organ there was basically one French organ composer named Boëlly who was writing for the organ. Cavaillé-Coll revolutionized organ building in France and he encouraged organists to compose for his romantic organs. He worked together with composers to promote their music and they wrote music that fit well together with the sounds of his organs. It was because of Cavaillé-Coll that French organ music became an important part of 19th century France. The organ in the Basilica of St. Denis was the first organ that Cavaillé-Coll built.
Pierre Pincemaille (1956-2018)
Pierre Pincemaille was a French organist who was well known for his improvisations during live performances and on cd recordings. He recorded Charles-Marie Widor’s organ symphonies on several Cavaillé-Coll organs, as well as works by Franck, Duruflé, Cochereau, and Vierne. Pierre graduated from the Paris Conservatory with first prizes in harmony, counterpoint, fugue, organ, and improvisation. He became the organist of St. Denis in 1987 and played there until his death on January 12, 2018. In the video clips you are about to see, Pierre Pincemaille improvises on the organ of St. Denis. He is making up the music on the spot. Enjoy!
The tango La Cumparsita was composed by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez (1897-1948) in 1916. Lyrics were written by Pascual Contursi and Enrique Pedro Maroni. It is one of the most famous tangos. the piece began its life as a march. After it was written, Rodriguez had his friend Manuel Barca show it to orchestral leader Roberto Firpo. Firpo decided to turn the piece into a tango. It was named the cultural and popular anthem of Uruguay in 1997.
Here is La Cumparsita (in tango form) played by two Arabic musicians at the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. The musicians are Hassan Sharara and Emad Hamdy. They arranged the piece for violin and guitar. Sharara plays the violin and Hamdy plays the guitar. I hope that you enjoy this music!