Haydn: sinfonia concertante in b-flat major for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon
Beethoven: The Symphony no. 6 (“Pastoral”)
Bronislaw Kaper: Confetti
Confetti is an entertaining musical number from the soundtrack of the romantic comedy, Forever, Darling (1956), directed by Alexander Hall, starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and James Mason. The music was written by Bronislaw Kaper, a Warsaw born composer, who held a prominent place in the American film industry, wrote scores of film music and won an Oscar for the song Hey Lili from the film Lili, starring Leslie Caron. Several of his works became standards, performed by Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane and other jazz giants. Confetti is a short and lively orchestral gem, which has gained renewed popularity and is being performed by numerous orchestras in the USA and England.
Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante in b-flat major for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon
During his visit in London, Haydn wrote his Sinfonia Concertante, his only symphony which he preferred to entitle "Concertante".
The Sinfonia Concertante stems from both the symphony and the concerto, and is actually similar in its orchestral medium to the Baroque Concerto Grosso, the origin of the Baroque and Classical concerto. The Concerto Grosso, which was not very popular in the Classical era, features a group of soloists (soli) countered with the entire orchestra (tutti). In this work, Haydn, who is identified with the rise of the Classical symphony and the development of the concerto in its Classical form, creates a hybrid - something between a symphony and a concerto for soloists, but the structure of the work, (three movements in the fast-slow-fast sequence) indicates that it should be considered a concerto, or Concertante, according to Haydn.
At the heart of the work Haydn poses two contrasting ranges of instruments: soprano (oboe and violin) and tenor (bassoon and cello) confronted with the orchestral strings and winds.
Beethoven: Symphony no. 6 (“Pastoral”)
A young composer was once asked: “How many symphonies did Beethoven compose?” “Three”, answered the young man, “The Third, Fifth and Ninth”. This anecdote came from a time when the preference was revolutionary works, of a militant nature, among the composer’s odd numbered symphonies, over the more lyrical ones, of a more “classical” nature. This phenomenon, in which people of various generations prefer different works – from a wide repertoire – demonstrates Beethoven’s greatness s a composer. The world appreciates both his even-numbered and odd-numbered symphonies. However, the Pastoral Symphony still merits special clarification. Beethoven himself wrote more annotations for this symphony than any of the others. He was probably concerned that by writing a programmatic work, he was entering a dangerous zone, which could be misunderstood and misinterpreted. We must remember that Beethoven wrote the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies concurrently, so that there are as many revolutionary structural patterns in the Pastoral as in the Fifth. However, as a rule, Beethoven refrained from writing programmatic music, which depicts a scene or event; music that tells a story or conveys an idea outside of the music itself. The Pastoral Symphony is an exception to this rule. Beethoven’s notebook of sketches holds important testaments of the way he chose to write the Pastoral as programmatic music. Examples of this are “Sinfonia caracteristica”, or “Memories from the countryside”; “One should let the listeners discover the situation”; “Pastoral Symphony: not a painting, but more an expression of feelings of a person enjoying nature.” Finally, Beethoven wrote on the score: Pastoral Symphony or memories from the countryside (more the expression of feeling than painting)”.
Following this comment, Beethoven depicted each of the work’s movements. In retrospect, his actions were directed towards one goal: to express in a symphonic work his love for nature and to create a truly rural atmosphere, rather than depicting nature in music. From the first notes of the work, we can already tell that we are in the midst of a narrative, and from now on we will be in the countryside, Beethoven’s most beloved realm, perhaps his preferred ‘escape room’.