Michal Oginski – Polonaise in a minor ‘Farewell to the Fatherland’

Michał Kleofas Ogiński (1765-1833)

Michał Kleofas Ogiński was a Polish Prince, diplomat, pianist, violinist, and composer.  His Polonaises were an important influence on Chopin.

The Polonaise in a minor ‘Farewell to the Fatherland’ is one the the most famous polonaises ever written.  It was composed after Ogiński returned to Warsaw, Poland from a diplomatic mission to the Hague and London, England.  Ogiński found out upon his return to Poland that the country was being threatened with an invasion from Russia, Prussia, and Austria.  He became depressed and composed the Polonaise in a minor.  The polonaise became very popular because there was a rumour that Ogiński had committed suicide which was not true.

Ogiński also composed a piece called the Song of the Legions which later became the Polish National Anthem.

Iwo Załuski – pianist

Iwo Załuski is the great-great grandson of Michał Kleofas Ogiński.  He is working to restore the music of the Ogiński dynasty into the repertoire of Polish piano music.

Here is a recording of Iwo Zaluski playing the Polonaise in a minor ‘Farewell to the Fatherland’.  Enjoy!


Bernat Vivancos – catalan song-Lo jardí de la mort

Bernat Vivancos (1973-

Bernat Vivancos is a Spanish composer and teacher.  He studied piano and composition in Barcelona.  He later moved to Paris to study composition at the Conservatoire Superieur de Musique et de Danse for five years and then moved to Oslo Norway to complete his studies.

Vivanco’s music is full of colourful harmonies and beautiful melody.  He has written a lot of vocal and instrumental music.  Vivancos has received many commissions from international ensembles.

Nuria Rial (1975-

Nuria Rial is a Catalan soprano.  She studied voice and piano at the Barcelona Conservatory and got diplomas from the Barcelona Conservatory in piano and voice.  Nuria studied voice at the Music Academy in Basel and got a soloist diploma.  Her specialty is Renaissance and Baroque music.  She has made many recordings.

Here is a recording of a Catalan song by Bernat Vivancos called La jordi de la mort (Death’s Garden).  It is performed by soprano Nuria Rial and Bernat Vivancos is the pianist.  Enjoy!

“Ad Coelum” by Bonporti

Francesco Antonio Bonporti (1672-1749)

Bonporti was an Italian composer, violinist, and priest.  Bonporti may have studied with the Italian violin virtuoso and composer Arcangelo Corelli.  His music is full of imaginative harmonies, lively part writing, and an unusual concentration to melodic detail.  J.S. Bach copied out some of Bonporti’s Inventions.  For a long time, four of Bonporti’s Inventions were attributed to J.S. Bach.  Recent scholarship has shown that the inventions Bach copied out are actually by Bonporti.

Here is a recording of a motet by Bonporti.  It features a soprano, Ellen Hargis, and Ensemble Ouabache.

Music of the Troubadours

The Troubadours were lyric poets and poet-musicians from France.  The poets and poet-musicians active in Southern France were referred to as Troubadours.  The poets and poet-musicians active in Northern France were referred to as Trouvères.  Many of the songs were about courtly love.  Here are two troubadour songs.  The first song is called Humils forfaitz and it is by Giraut Riquier (c.1230-c.1300).  The second song is called Ai tal domna and it is by Berenguier de Palau (early 12th century).

Mozart : Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581 (featuring Benny Goodman on Clarinet)

Mozart : Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581

W.A. Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581 is his only completed clarinet quintet.  It was composed in 1789 for clarinettist Anton Stadler.  The Quintet is one of the earliest and best-known compositions written for one clarinet and a string quartet.  It is a very popular work because of its lyrical melodies.  The second movement is the most widely known movement of the whole work.

Benny Goodman was an American jazz clarinettist and bandleader.  He formed his first big band in 1934.  It was the top band of the swing jazz era.  Benny Goodman mostly played jazz but he also had an interest in classical music written for the clarinet.  Goodman commissioned works from Bartok, Copland, and Hindemith.

Here is a recording of Benny Goodman and the Budapest String Quartet playing W.A. Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581.  This recording was made in 1948 and was Benny Goodman’s first classical music recording.  Enjoy!