Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven is known today by music lovers and the general public as the composer of the 5th Symphony and the 9th Symphony with its ‘Ode to Joy.’
Beethoven was a fussy composer. Often he would be working on several compositions at the same time. Scholars know about his compositional methods because they have sketch books full of compositions in varying stages of completion.
In the 1970s Beethoven scholars found sketches of an ‘unfinished’ symphony by Beethoven. Beethoven had mentioned to a friend that he was working on a ‘new’ symphony. Dr. Barry Cooper, an authority on Beethoven’s music has taken the sketches of the ‘new’ symphony and put them together. He talks about how scholars discovered the sketches and how he put them together. Enjoy!
Here is the first part of the symphony performed by the City of Birmingham Orchestra conducted by Walter Weller.
Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)
Carl Maria von Weber was a German composer, music critic, virtuoso pianist, and Kapellmeister at the court in Dresden. He is well known among musicians and music lovers as the composer of the opera Der Freischutz.
Weber only wrote 4 sonatas for solo piano. They are not very well known. The sonata no 2 in A Major is a long and very technically demanding piece. Any virtuosic moments in the music are always written in a musically pleasing manner and not simply to show off the technical skill of the pianist. The piece contains beautiful melodies and the accompanying harmonies are not always what the listener expects (this is what makes certain musical works a delight for both the musician and the listener).
Emil Gilels (1916-1985) is one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. His playing is known for its incredible raw power. Gilels had a large repertoire ranging from Bach to Bartok. Many of his recordings were made live during recitals. This recording of Gilels playing the Sonata no 2 in A Major by Weber was recorded during a live performance in London in 1968. Enjoy!