Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)
Charlie Chaplin was an English comedian, filmmaker, and composer. He became famous during the time of silent films. One fact about Chaplin that many people don’t know about is that he was a prolific composer. Chaplin composed most of the music that was used in his silent films. He was also the composer of the song “Smile” which was recorded by many singers including Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, and Nat King Cole.
In 2016, violinist Philippe Quint, pianist Marta Aznavoorian, Joshua Bell, and a couple of arrangers got together. After listening to many of Chaplin’s songs, they chose 13 of his most popular songs and arranged them for violin and piano. The project took three years to come to fruition. The recording was released this year. The CD is entitled Chaplin’s Smile and features Quint and Aznavoorian on most of the tracks. Violinist Joshua Bell joins Quint and Aznavoorian on two of the tracks. Here are three selections from that recording. I hope that you enjoy this beautiful music.
Michel Corrette (1707-1795)
Michel Corrette was a composer, publisher, teacher, organist, and writer who lived and worked during most of the 18th century. He composed music in almost every genre. In his Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin Op. 25, the full range of the harpsichord is used. The violin (described as an accompanying instrument) is used to enhance the orchestral texture and dynamic nuance of the harpsichord. The instruments imitate each other and the interplay between the instruments is tight but very playful.
The Luchkow-Jarvis Duo was formed by Paul Luchkow and Michael Jarvis in 2007 to explore sonata repertoire for violin and keyboard from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods on instruments of that time. The duo used to be based in Vancouver BC, Canada, but now they are based in Victoria BC, Canada.
Here is Michel Corrette’s Sonata No. 1 in C Major, Op. 25 for Harpsichord and Violin played by the Luchkow-Jarvis Duo. This is very joyful playful music. I hope that you enjoy it.
On September 13, 1889 violinist Herr Krahmer and pianist Herr Schmalfuss recorded Beethoven’s Romance in F Major, op.50. Here is that recording.) First you will hear an extract from the piece played by Louise Chisson (recorded in 2010). Then you will hear the 1889 recording which will be followed by a recording of the whole piece played by Jascha Heifetz with the RCA Victor Orchestra.
The 1889 recording is in very bad shape and it is hard to make out the violin and piano. If you listen carefully you can hear the instruments. In December of 1889 Johannes Brahms was recorded playing the piano. A historic year indeed! Enjoy.
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.
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.
Jonathan Scott was born in Manchester, England. He has a varied performing career as an organist doing solo recitals and performing with orchestras such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic. Jonathan also performs with his brother Tom Scott in a piano duo called the Scott Brothers Duo. With his brother Tom Scott, Jonathan Scott has released many recordings to critical acclaim on their own label entitled the Scott Brothers Duo label.
Here is a recording of an arrangement for organ solo by Jonathan Scott of Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila overture recorded at the organ of Lancaster Priory, and another recording of an arrangement by Jonathan Scott for organ solo of Mozart’s overture to the Marriage of Figaro recorded on the Marcussen Concert Organ of Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK. I hope that you enjoy these performances.
Kathleen Battle (1948 -)
Kathleen Battle is a black operatic soprano. Her music career began in 1972 when she auditioned for the conductor Thomas Schippers and sang in a performance of the Brahms Requiem as the soprano soloist. in 1974 Kathleen Battle met conductor James Levine which was the beginning of a professional relationship that lasted 20 years. She has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras.
Here is a recording of 5 Japanese Love Songs sung by Kathleen Battle in Japanese. The names of the pieces are Hatsukoi (First Love), Hana (Cherry Blossom Time), Kono Michi (a folk song), Hamabe-no-uta, and Sakura, Sakura. I hope that you enjoy these pieces.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) published his first set of sonatas for piano and violin in 1778 in Paris. They were dedicated to the Palatine Princess Maria Elizabeth. There are six sonatas in the set (K.301-K.306).
Gil Shaham (1971- )
Gil Shaham is an Isreali-American violin virtuoso. He made his debut with the Jerusalem Symphony when he was 10 years old. A year later he performed with the Israel Philharmonic. Gil went on to study violin at the Juilliard School of Music. He got his big break in 1989 when he replaced Itzhak Perlman who had a cold. He has since played with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and performed many recitals around the world.
Orli Shaham (1975- )
Orli Shaham is an Israeli-American pianist and the sister of violinist Gil Shaham. She studied piano at Horace Mann School in New York, at Columbia University, and at the Juilliard School of Music. She has performed recitals and played with major orchestras all over the world. Orli Shaham and her brother Gil Shaham have performed together and made a few recordings together.
Here is a recording of Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K.503 played by Gil Shaham and Orli Shaham from their DVD of Mozart’s Sonatas (K.301-K.306) recorded in 2006 at the Palais Daun-Kinsky, in Vienna. I hope you enjoy this performance.
F.J. Haydn (1732-1809)
Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer. He worked for about thirty years for the Esterhazy family (a family of nobility). Haydn composed about 50 piano sonatas, sacred vocal music, oratorios, dramatic music, about 80 string quartets, and 104 symphonies. He is known as the father of the string quartet and the symphony. Today Haydn is known by the general public for a few of his symphonies, his two oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons, some of his piano music, and a few of his string quartets.
Malcolm Bilson (1935-)
Malcolm Bilson is an American pianist and musicologist. He specializes in 18th and 19th century music. Malcolm Bilson is a professor of music at Cornell University. He has made many recordings on fortepianos (the ancestor of the modern piano) and given insightful lectures
on the use of period instruments versus modern instruments and the importance of performance practice.
Here is Malcolm Bilson performing Haydn’s Fantasia in C at the Esterhazy castle in Fertod, Hungary on a fortepiano. This performance is from a DVD entitled “Knowing the Score.”
W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy and composer. He played the piano, violin, viola, and organ. He began performing and composing at a very young age.
Mozart composed works for solo piano, violin and piano, organ, piano trio, string quartet, string quintet, concertos for piano, violin, songs, and many operas, and a requiem among other works. He had a gift for writing beautiful melodies. Mozart is especially well known for the many operas that he wrote and for his requiem which was left unfinished because of his death at the age of 35.
Here are four songs performed by soprano Julianne Baird and keyboardist Colin Tilney on the fortepiano. I hope you enjoy this music.