Fini Henriques – Lullaby (Victor Borge – piano)

Fini Henriques (1867-1940)

Fini Henriques was a Danish composer and violinist. He was a colleague of Victor Borge’s father and both he and Victor Borge’s father played in the Royal Danish Orchestra. Fini Henriques was an excellent composer. He wrote music for piano, violin, and chamber ensembles. Fini Henriques also wrote operas.

Here is a rare clip of the Danish comedian and pianist Victor Borge playing a Lullaby by Fini Henriques. This piece was sentimental for Victor Borge because his mother used to play it for him when he was a little boy. I hope that you enjoy this music.

Gabriel Fauré plays his Barcarolle No. 1

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Gabriel Fauré was a French composer, organist, pianist, and teacher.  He was one of the top French composers of his time.  Today he is known for works such as his Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, his masterful art songs, and his piano pieces.  Fauré lived long enough to be recorded playing the piano on piano rolls.

Here is a piano roll recording of Gabriel Fauré playing his Barcarolle No. 1.  Listen to how beautifully the music flows and the beautiful melody and the harmony that supports it.

Chopin Nocturne in B Major – Vladimir de Pachmann (piano)

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer and piano virtuoso of the Romantic period who lived most of his life in Paris, France. When he was a young man, he left his native Poland to go to Paris. There he met many of the important artists, writers, and musicians of his day including Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Liszt. Chopin was one of the inventors of a new style of composition for the piano with singing melodies and ornamental flourishes. His melodies are beautiful and often contain a touch of melancholy. Chopin’s compositions are mostly for the solo piano, although he also wrote a cello sonata, two piano concertos, and a piano trio.

One of the first pianists to live long enough to be recorded was Vladimir de Pachmann. Vladimir de Pachmann (1848 – 1933) was a Russian/German pianist especially known for his performances of Chopin’s music. He also had an eccentric on-stage style. He was known for making gestures, muttering, and addressing the audience during his performances (even talking during some of his recordings). Vladimir de Pachmann was one of the top pianists of the 19th century. He died in 1933 at the age of 84.

Here is a recording of de Pachmann playing Chopin’s Nocturne in B Major, Op. 32, No. 1. The recording was made when Vladimir was 78 years old. Notice how expressive and elastic the playing is. This is a complete contrast to today’s pianists who are taught to play a piece in strict tempo without slowing down or speeding up too much during a piece. Enjoy!

Witold Małcużyński plays two Chopin Waltzes

Witold Małcużyński (1914-1977)

Witold Małcużyński was a famous Polish pianist who specialized in playing the music of Chopin. He studied piano with Margarite Long and Isidor Philipp. He received some coaching from the famous pianist Paderewski and competed in the Third International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Poland in 1937. He won third prize in that competition. Małcużyński’s piano playing had great passion and poetry.

Here are two recordings of him playing the Chopin Waltz in D Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 3, and the Chopin Waltz in c sharp minor Op. 64, No. 2. Enjoy!

Jean Sibelius- Romance op.24 no.9, Impromptu op.5 no.5

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer and violinist.  He is said to be the greatest Finnish composer.  Sibelius is credited with helping Finland develop its own national identity.  He is best known for his seven symphonies.  Other well known works include: Finlandia, Valse triste, his Violin Concerto, and Swan of Tuonela.

 

Sibelius loved the violin but didn’t like the piano.  He composed several collections of piano pieces for money. The pieces vary in quality.  His piano music is beginning to get some recognition from amateur pianists as well as professional pianists.

Sibelius was known to drink excessively, eat excessively, smoke cigars, and party hard.  Despite living a wild lifestyle, Sibelius lived to the ripe old age of 92.

 

Havard Gimse – pianist (1966 – )

Havard Gimse is a Norwegian classical pianist who has an affinity for the Scandinavian piano repertoire, in particular Norwegian music.  He has performed on many of the world’s great concert stages including: Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Here are a couple of piano pieces by Sibelius played by Havard Gimse: his Romance op.24, no.9 in D Flat Major, and his Impromptu op.5, no.5 in b minor. Enjoy!

Fini Henriques – Lullaby

Fini Henriques (1867-1940)

Fini Henriques was a Danish composer and violinist. He was a colleague of Victor Borge’s father and both he and Victor Borge’s father played in the Royal Danish Orchestra. Fini Henriques was an excellent composer. He wrote music for piano, violin, and chamber ensembles. Fini Henriques also wrote operas.

Here is a rare clip of the Danish comedian and pianist Victor Borge playing a Lullaby by Fini Henriques. This piece was sentimental for Victor Borge because his mother used to play it for him when he was a little boy. I hope that you enjoy this music.

Astor Piazzolla – Oblivion (played by the Roby Lakatos Ensemble and Frantisek Janoska)

Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)

Astor Piazzolla was an Argentinian tango composer, arranger, and bandoneon virtuoso (the bandoneon is a type of accordion).  He invented a modern style of tango music called tango nuevo (a style of tango that uses elements of jazz and classical music).

Here is a tango by Piazzolla arranged for violin, piano, melodia, cymbalom, guitar, and bass by Frantisek Janoska (the pianist).  It is played by the Romani (gypsy) violinist Roby Lakatos ensemble and pianist Frantisek Janoska.  Enjoy!

James Scott piano rags

James Scott (1885-1938)

James Scott was an African-American composer of ragtime music.  He is one of the major ragtime composers and pianists along with Scott Joplin and Joseph Lamb.

Scott’s piano rags use a wide range of the keyboard and a melody is often stated and then repeated higher up on the keyboard in a “call and response” style.

Here are two of James Scott’s piano rags.  Unfortunately I do not know who is performing the rags because the person who posted the clip on youtube did not list the name of the pianist.  Enjoy!

(James Scott – The Great Scott Rag)

(James Scott- Ragtime Oriole)

John Field- Nocturne no. 5 B Flat Major Andantino

John Field (1782-1837)

John Field was an Irish composer and piano virtuoso.  His Nocturnes inspired Chopin.

Here is a recording of John Field’s Nocturne no.5 in B Flat Major played by the Irish pianist John O’Connor.  John O’ Connor has performed in many recitals and has played with many of the world’s top orchestras.  Enjoy!

Erik Satie – Trois Gnossiennes

Erik Satie (1866-1925)

A French composer and pianist.  Satie was part of a group of composers known as Les Six.

In Satie’s early compositions, the music is reduced down to its bare essentials, and emotion and expressivity are strictly controlled.  The melody in each piece is modal.  The melodic lines flow seamlessly, and there is a simple chordal accompaniment of mildly dissonant, modal chord progressions that don’t resolve.  The accompaniment is straightforward (a sustained note followed by a blocked chord) and has a constant rhythm.  This constant rhythm gives the pieces a static feel.  The music is not divided up into measures.  Satie likes to take certain motivic structures and join them together randomly with other structures.  The use of modes makes the music sound archaic and at the same time very modern.

Here are the first three of Satie’s six Gnossienne.  They are played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet.  The Gnossienne were composed in 1890.