Franz Schubert: Polonaise in B Flat Major D.580 for Violin and Orchestra (Pinchas Zukerman, Violin; St Paul Chamber Orchestra)

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer during the late Classical and early Romantic periods. Schubert played the piano and violin. He was very prolific during his short life composing about 600 Lieder (Art Songs), 9 Symphonies (one of which was left unfinished), string quartets, String quintets, a octet, a nonet, piano sonatas, violin sonatas, Impromptus for solo piano, and several dances for piano (Ländler, Waltzes, Ecossaises, Galops,). He also composed a piece for violin and orchestra called Konzertstück, and a Polonaise in B Flat Major, D.580 for Violin and Orchestra. This Polonaise is a charming little dance which isn’t very well known. A few big name violinists have recorded the work including Gidon Kremer and Pinchas Zukerman. Here is a recording that Pinchas Zukerman made with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the late 1980s of the Schubert Polonaise. I hope that you enjoy this delightful music.


Two Songs by W. A. Mozart (Julianne Baird, Soprano; Colin Tilney, Fortepiano)

W. A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an Austrian composer, pianist, violinist, violist, and organist. He is recognized as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western Classical music. He was a child prodigy (as a performer and as a composer.) Mozart composed pianos sonatas, piano duos, piano trios, piano quartets, sonatas for piano and violin, symphonies, organ works, and string quartets, among other works. He had great success as a child prodigy, but when he grew up he struggled to find steady work as a musician. Before he died, he was working on a Requiem (some say he was writing it for himself because he knew he was dieing) which he never finished. The first completion of Mozart’s Requiem was undertaken by his student Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Mozart died when he was just 35 years old.

Julianne Baird (1952 -)

Julianne Baird is an American soprano that is best known for singing Baroque music (opera and sacred music). She has recorded over 130 CDs, and has performed around the world as a recitalist and soloist with major orchestras. Julianne is also a noted voice teacher.

Colin Tilney (1933 -)

Colin Tilney is an English harpsichordist, fortepianist, and teacher. He began his music career in London, England working as a piano accompanist. In 1979, Tilney moved to Canada. He taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario. In 2002, he moved to Victoria BC where he performed with the Victoria Symphony playing continuo parts on the harpsichord. Colin Tilney has a large discography of recordings to his credit. He teaches part time at the University of Victoria.

Here are a couple of songs by W. A. Mozart from an album recorded by Julianne Baird and Colin Tilney called “Songs of Mozart”. I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music.

Ashokan Farewell (the theme song for Ken Burn’s Documentary on the Civil War in the US)

The Ashokan Farewell is a waltz in the style of a Scottish lament that was composed by folk musician Jay Unger in 1982. In 1980 Jay Unger and his wife Molly Mason started an annual fiddle and dance camp called the “Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp” at what was then called the Ashokan Field Campus of SUNY New Paltz (now the Ashokan Center) in Upstate New York. In 1982 after the camp had closed for the season, Jay was feeling a sense of loss. He missed the music, dancing, and the people and the way of life at the camp. He composed a lament (which was unnamed at the time.) His wife Molly suggested the tune be called Ashokan Farewell. It was recorded in 1983 by Jay and Molly’s band Fiddle Fever. Ken Burns (the famous documentary maker) heard it. It was featured in Ken Burn’s series “The Civil War.” After that the piece became a major hit (and the rest as they say is history.) Here is the recording that Jay Unger and Molly Mason and their band Fiddle Fever made for Ken Burn’s Civil War series.