Classical Music Listening Notes, Updated

Many additions in this update of my exploration of classical music. Grading is purely subjective; my top picks are in bold. Music listed below is about 95% Baroque.

Abel, Carl Friedrich (1723-1787),Symphonies, Opp. 1 & 4, Die Kolner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens. B. Routine chamber music.
WKO 12
WKO 11
WKO 10

Albioni, Tommaso Giovanni (1671-1751), Concertos, Op. 9, 1-12. Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood. A+. Nos. 1-6 are some of the best music I’ve ever heard. Simply awesome. 7-12 not as awesome, but awesome enough to knock the socks off me.

Albinoni, Sinfonie Avanti L’opera. Alberto Sanna. A. Solid. Albinoni was admired by JS Bach. He was primarily known for opera, but none of his operas survived. Other works were destroyed in WWII.

Albioni, Op. 9, Anthony Camden. A+. Sounds like a full orchestral arrangement; not sure. A bit richer in sound than the Hogwood version, which uses period instruments.

Bach, Johann Christian (1735-1782), Requiem and Miserere in B major. B+. Composed in 1757.  JC was a convert to Catholicism and strongly influenced Mozart. The Mass is absolutely beautiful: restrained but far more advanced than Alessandro Scarlatti, with its Gregorian and Baroque overtones. The Requiem is the better of the two. Both are grand.

Bach, Johann Christian, Six Grand Overtures, English Symphony Orchestra, William Boughton, conductor. B+.
Overture No. 1 in E-flat major.
Overture No. 2 in B-flat major.
Overture No 3 in D major.
Overture no. 4 in D major.
Overture No. 5 in E major.
Overture No. 6 in D major.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach, Johann Sebastian, Mass in B minor A+. Emotional, precise.

Bach, Mathhaus Passion, BWV 244. B. Great analysis: Sacred oratorio. Need a better understanding of the text to fully appreciate the solo, but the full choir sections are terrific.

Bach, The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080. A. FUGUE-ETABOUTIT! All are wonderful, tightly composed. I prefer the ones with fuller orchestration. The (Fugue with 3 Subjects) Fuga a 3 Soggetti (unfinished) is probably the saddest Bach composition I’ve listened to so far.

Bach, The Musical Offering, BMV 1079. B+. Unrelentingly somber. If you’re in a cheery mood and want to snap out of it this should do the trick. Ricercar 6, final piece, is absolutely inspired. About the Ricercar form:

Bach, J. S., Brandenburg Concertos, Masaaki Suzuki, harpsichord and direction, Bach Collegium Japan. A+.  BWV 1046, upbeat, relentless in its rhythm. BWV 1047 has familiar melodies, seems more intricate than 1046 and more changes in mood. BWV 1048 is very robust and upbeat. Last movement, Allegro, lives up to its name! BWV 1049 – much more subdued than 1048. Notes on 1049: The third and final Presto has passages with an unusual combination of speed and sorrow – fascinating. BWV 1050 – Another very familiar melody in I. Allegro. Parts of the harpsichord passages toward the end are about as fast as I’ve heard from Bach, brushing up against the border of out of control – fun and engaging. II.Affettuoso slows things down with a pleasant, melodic counterpoint (?) with harpsichord and flute. III. Allegro features intricate interplay from flute, violin and harpsichord. This concerto is the best of the bunch so far. BMW 1051 – Not as intricate as the others, apparently the earliest written.

Bach, J. S., Overture No. 4 in D Major, BWV 1069. A+. First movement very jaunty, 12+ minutes of fun, with an occasional transition to a beautiful, minor key melody. Outstanding. More info:

Bach, J. S., Overture No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068. A. In the slow and somewhat mournful second, I notice the steady viol (?) continuo. Turns out this is a famous movement, called Air or Air for the G string. Very pretty; a bit different from the usual Bach light touch.

Bach, J. S., Overture No. 1 in C Major, BWV 1066. A. First movement quite formal and disciplined and deliberate compared to the previous two. It’s hard to imagine how beautiful the inside of Bach’s head must have sounded: like his most beautiful composition, times 1,000. The snappy, short 6th movement sounds a bit like Vivaldi, only crisper, with more pointed melodies.

J. S. Bach
BWV 565. Toccata and Fugue and D Minor. A. Famous “monster movie, Phantom of the Opera” melody.
BWV 538. Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor “Dorian.” A.
BWV 582. Passaglia in C Minor. A. An early work famed for its complexity.
BWV 590. Pastoral in F. C. Slow, dull to me.
BWV 572. Fantasia in G. A. Very intricate and dramatic.
BWV 588. Canzona in D Minor. A-. Somewhat mechanical, a bit morose. But good.
BWV 589. Allabreve in D. A. Melodically, the most enjoyable in this collection.
BWV 569. Prelude in A Minor. A.

J.S. Bach – 8 – Harpsichord works/arrangements, performed by Helene Grimaud.
BWV 846-849. A.
BWV 1052. A+. First movement, Allegro, is incredible. The other two movements are not far behind.
BWV 870-893. B.
BWV 1004. Partita for Violin. A.
BWV 870-893. B.
BWV 543. A-.
BWV 1006. A.

Bach, J. S., Overture No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067. A. II. Rondeau is lovely. V., Polonaise and Double, features an extended flute solo. On the whole, I like the Overtures better than the Brandenburg Concertos.

Bach, J.S. Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, BWV 1041. A. Overall this has a strong sense of melancholy, but a highly melodic melancholy.

Bach, J.S. Violin Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1042. A. Snappier, hard-driving rhythms.

Bach, J.S. Violin Concerto No. 5 in G Major, BWV 1056R. B+. Good, but not as good as the preceding two.

Bach Mass Music (selections), Wolfgang Helbich, conductor. A.
Mass in G Major, BWV Anh. 167. Kyrie is outstanding. Gloria and Domine Deus also included.
Magnificat anima.
Magnificat in C Major. BWV Anh. 30. Sicut Iocutus est is amazing.
Mass in A Minor, BWV 24.
Sanctus in G Major, BWV 240.
Sanctus in D Minor, BWV 239.
Sanctus in C Major, BWV 237.
Nac dir, Herr, verlenget mich, BWV 150.

Bach, J. S. BWV 248, Christmas Oratorio. A. (Akademie fur Alte Music Berlin, Rene Jacobs.) First performed in 1734 – and not again until 1857. It’s a mashup of reused seasonal cantatas and parody music (borrowed from other composers) – but the effect is two continuous hours of Christmas joy. Really beautiful music perfect for Christmas. (As usual I knocked out the recitatives, which would add about another 30 minutes to the playing time.)

Bach, J. S. Cantatas Vol. 2.
BWV 2 – A-.
BWV 10 – A-.
BWV 11. Ascension Oratorio. A.
BWV 76 – A-.
BWV 21 – B-. Good, but really slow.
BWV 135 – B+.
BWV 1044, Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute and Violin – B+.

Bach, J. S. Cantatas, Vol. 28.
BWV 43. For the Feast of Ascension. 1726. B.
BWV 37. For the Feast of Ascension. 1724. B.
BWV 128. For the Feast of Ascension. 1725. A-.
BWV 11. Ascension oratorio, 1735. B

Bach, J.S., Cantatas, Vol. 12. This batch lacks energy, melody, gravity and intricacy.
BWV 55. B+.
BWV 89. B+.
BWV 115. B+.
BWV 60. B.
BWV 139. B.
BWV 163. B.
BWV 52. B+.
BWV 140. B-.

Bach, J.S. Cantatas, Vol. 7 – SEE:
BWV 25. Composed in 1723. B.
BWV 78. Composed in 1724. A. Features an awesome bass aria, Nun du wirst mein Gewissen stillen.
BWV 17. Composed in 1726. A-.
BWV 50. Composed in 1723 (?). A-.
BWV 130. Composed in 1724. A-.
BWV 19. Composed in 1726. A.
BWV 149. Composed in 1728. B.

Bach, J.S., Cantatas. Vol. 27
BWV 1048. Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major. A.
BWV 184. A+. Composed for Pentecost.
BWV 175. A.
BWV 194. A+. It’s so much harder to believe in God now, with church music that sounds like a bad folk-rock band booked at a second-rate tavern. I wonder if the people who produce this racket realize how inferior, how flat, how uninspiring, how mushy their sound is to that of a master such as J.S. Bach. And if they do, why do they bother to play? The faithful should rise up from the pews and DEMAND music that elevates the spirit. DEMAND music that shows reverence for God, DEMAND music that reveals as much of his splendor that human minds can comprehend. We are owed that much.
BWV 176. A.
BWV 165. A-.
BWV 129. B+.

Bach, J. S.
BWV 1083. Psalm 51. B. Blah-ch.
BWV 170. Cantata, Vergnugte Ruh. B-. Dullsville.

Bach, J.S. Cantatas, Vol. 4. Trinity cantatas, the first Sunday after Pentecost.
BWV 9. 1724. B.
BWV 170. 1726. B+.
BWV 186. 1716. A-.
BWV 107. 1724. B.
BWV 187. 1726. A-.

Benda, Georg Anton (1722-1795). These are all three movements, about 1-4 minutes per movement. Light, easy listening, peppy.
Symphony No. 7 in D Major. B+.
Symphony No. 2 in G Major. B+.
Symphony No. 8 in D Major. B+.
Symphony No. 10 in G Major. B+.
Symphony No. 5 in G Major. B+. Sadder than the others.
Symphony No. 3 in C Major. A-. Of the lot, this seemed the most diverse in mood, and richest in emotion.

Benda, Violin Concertos. In F Major and in E-flat Major. A. Breezy, pleasant – just what Benda delivers so expertly.

Berlioz, Requiem Grande Messe op 5. Wow. C. Florid, moments of power and drama, but overdone?

Berlioz, Messe Solennelle. A. An early work, composed in 1824, which Berlioz tried to destroy. Weirdly beautiful. Very dramatic and emotional and free flowing for such an early period composition.

Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827), Opus 119. Bagatelles Nos. 1-11. A. Composed over a long stretch of time and not necessarily intended to be played as a group. They are quite lovely piano pieces.

Beethoven, Missa Solemnis in D Major, Op. 123 (Toscanini). Nobody can deny Beethoven’s flourish, intensity, technical complexity, emotional range. But is it holy? To me the spiritual dimension of this Mass, pointing one’s attention upward to God, is somehow lacking; maybe I am merely distracted by the power of the music itself. The fact I question the spiritual value of this work leads me to believe I have much more to learn than I thought, about this work and sacred music in general. It certainly is exhilarating, as is so much of Beethoven’s music. But I don’t know; there’s a certain franticness to the piece that seems out of place in the setting of a Mass.

Beethoven, Fidelio. B. Starts off kind of slow and disjointed, but it picks up steam about halfway through Act 1. The soprano arias are meh, but the tenor and bass parts are exciting and IMO more sing-able.

Beethoven, Opus 56. Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major. B+. Composed in 1803. This is really the first Beethoven I’ve listened to critically since starting my immersion. (It’s now August 20, 2019.) Compared to Baroque, this is quite choppy and seemingly less structured, with melodies and instruments flowing in and out, abrupt changes in mood and tempo – the first movement in particular. The second movement is quite tender. Overall less melodic than Baroque, but nevertheless quite enjoyable. I guess the fun of Baroque is that you know where the music is going, and with Beethoven, the fun is that you don’t know.

Beethoven. Very impressive compositions, but jolly they are not. Such a brooding sadness permeates them, even in the up-tempo and seemingly playful passages. It’s August 22, 2019: Having listened to Baroque music almost exclusively for months, hearing how joltingly different is the sound of Beethoven, it’s apparent why he was such a seismic shift; in terms of raw creativity and innovation, Beethoven stands quite above the field.
Op. 13 – Sonata No. 8 in C Minor. (Pathetique.) Composed in 1798. Second movement is recognizable. A-.
Op. 27 – Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor. Composed in 1798. First movement recognizable, haunting. A+. Solid start to finish.
Op. 57 – Sonata No. 23 in F Minor. (Apassionate.) Composed circa 1805. B+.
Op. 129 – Rondo a Capriccio in G Major. A.

Biber, Heinrich Ignaz Frank von (1644-1704), Missa Bruxellensis. B+. Beautiful. Best brass I’ve heard in a while.

Biber, Requiem. Several composers in this recording:–biber-requiem. Biber’s Requiem in F Minor is terrific. — A.

Biber, Missa Salisburgensis. A. Fluctuates between tears of joy and tears of awe. Excellent use of brass. The violin segments are some of most enjoyable I’ve heard on that instrument.

Biber, Rosary Sonatas. (John Holloway recording.) A. Beautiful violin music. Complex, emotional. The Crucifixion sequences were my favorite: moving, sad, yet inspiring.

Biber – Unam Ceylum. B-. Unfortunately, I don’t care much for violin music. Although this is pretty, easy on the year, just fails to inspire.

Bomtempo, Joao Domingos, Requiem A memoria de Cameos). A+. Long Dies Irae movement is great. Opening Introit-Kyrie also great – both without going over the top, dramatic and solemn. Offertorium is one of the most beautiful compositions I’ve ever heard (around 10 minutes). Short Sanctus powerful. Benedictus slow, brief, solemn. Agnus Dei (12 minutes) is solemn, understated beauty. Love this.

Bomtempo, Kyrie e Gloria B+. His Requiem Mass is far stronger.

Bomtempo, Symphony No. 1, Op. 11. A. Absence of brass enjoyable to my ear. Soothing. Third movement, Andante, powerful. Very good throughout.

Bomtempo, Symphony No. 2. A+. No Op. number I can find. First movement, Sostenuto-Allegro moderato, outstanding. Peppy. Solid, energizing throughout. Somewhat reminiscent of Beethoven, only softer, less rage.

Bononcini, Giovanni Battista (1670-1747).
Messa a cinque concertata in G Minor. A. Harmonies and counterpoint are glorious. Lots of full choir. Excellent!
Stabat Mater. a quatro in C Minor. A. Similar to the Mass in G Minor.

Bononcini, Giovanni Battista. La nemica d’Amore fatta amante (The Enemy of Love). A+. Opera. Kicks off with a minor key and slow tempo, but very haunting. A great sound, kind of like Monteverdi meets Handel. Elegant, understated, slow in tempo generally. Some of the melodies are so tender they bring a tear to the eye. Virtually no chorus.

Bononcini, Giovanni Marie (1642-1678), Op 4. Arie, correnti, sarabande, gighe, & allemande for Violin and Cello or Spinett (Bologna, 1671). B.

Bononcini, Giovanni Battista. Polifermo. A+. A pastoral play, a singspiel sorta. In German. Incredibly tuneful and impassioned, despite the harshness of the German.

Bononcini, La decollazione di San Giovanni Battista, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra. (The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.) B-. Overall somber. Beautiful, but a bit repetitive.

Bortnayansky, Dmitri (1751-1825). Chamber Music, Volume 2. A-. Charming songs.–dmitri-bortnyansky-chamber-works-vol-2

Bortnayansky, Chamber Music, Volume 1. A. Some of the harpsichord work here is magnificent. He’s got a sound a bit reminiscent of Zelenka in spots. Very soothing, smooth, light, but at times intense.

Brahms, Op. 90. Symphony No. 3 in F Major. A-. Movements: 1 – Allegro con brio. 2 – Andante. 3- Poco allegretto. 4 – Allegro – Un poco sostenuto. First movement is excellent in places, but it has that rambling quality I find in so much Romantic music. Second movement is dramatic and mournful – sounds like an epic movie soundtrack in parts. Third movement is kind of like the second. Fourth movement is unquestionably the most dramatic and lively. Very powerful.

Brentner, Jan Josef Ignac (1689-1742), Concertos and Arias. A. This is the only recording of Brentner on Presto. Pity more of his music is lost/unrecorded. Beautiful, melodic, tender.–jan-josef-ignac-brentner-concertos-and-arias

Brixi, Frantisek (1732-1771), Judas Isariothes. A-.

Bruch, Max (1838-1920), Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op, 26. B+. Powerful, intense Prelude – Allegro moderato. II, Adagio, more tender but also with very intense moments. Pretty good III, Allegro energetico-Presto. Like most Romantic era pieces, it wanders, but overall relatively tight and definitely melodic and spirited throughout.

Bruckner, Anton, Requiem in D minor WAB 39 – A. Powerful. 37-minute run time. V. Quam Olim excellent. Good tempo, melodic, intense, as it is throughout. Bruckner knows how to make violins weep.

Buono, del Giovanni Pietro (1641-1644). Canoni, obblighi e sonate. A. Predominantly sad strings. Beautiful.

Capricornus, Samuel (1628-1665). Jubilus Bernhardi. A-. About: Excellent base parts. This is a collection of sacred motets, 24 in all, each about 4-6 minutes long. Monteverdi-like, heavy on counterpoint. Some passages are quite intense; overall, beautiful in a very restrained way.

Capricornus, Theatrum Musicum. B.–capricornus-lecons-de-tenebres-extracts-etc. Not sure exactly what this is.

Charpentier, Marc-Antoine, inc. Messe de Minuit poor Noel, H. 9 (Christmas Mass), and Te Deum. A. Well structured, choir, organ. Christmas Mass is joyous, a mix of dramatic melody and periods of almost Gregorian solemnity.

Charpentier: Noels and Christmas Motets. B. Good listening – bells, soft melodies.
Cherubini, Chant sur la mort Haydn. B. Written as a tribute to Joseph Haydn based on a false report of his death in 1804 (he died in 1809).

H. 471. Orpheus Descends. B+.
H. 488. La Descente d’Orphee aux Enfers. A two-act, incomplete chamber opera composed in 1686. C-. Slow. Ponderous. Bland. Monotonous.

Luigi Cherubini

Cherubini, Luigi (1760-1842) Mass in A Major, Coronation Mass. A+. Perhaps the Kyrie is not as tight as his other Masses, he still reaches heights as with the rousing conclusion of the Gloria and haunting moments in the Credo. In fact, the Credo is a tremendous 10-minute ride from spiritual depths to heights. Offertorium is beautiful start to finish. Brief Sanctus packs a punch. Complex, dramatic throughout.

Cherubini, Missa solemnis in E Major. A. Powerful, intense Gloria. One of the gentlest, most moving Agnus Dei movements I’ve heard (about 6 minutes). A beautiful, heavenly blend of intensity and reflection.

Cherubini, Requiem in C Minor (Toscanini). A+ (Previously reviewed). Toscanini coaxes the maximum beauty out of every note of this exquisite Requiem.

Cherubini, Requiem in C Minor A+. Terrific in every respect. Dramatic, devout. Beethoven-like. Berlioz said the decrescendo in the Agnus Dei was the best of its kind ever written. Haunting, unforgettable. Toscanini recording superior.

Cherubini, Symphony in D Major, and Overtures (Ali-Baba, Anacreaon, Medea, Il matrimonio segreto, il matrionion pr raggiro) by Toscanini. A+. I detect an operatic flavor not found in Haydn symphonies though the structure is basically the same. 4th movement is shortest and strongest. Emphatic. Ali Baba overture reminds me of Berlioz Damnation of Faust, with a little William Tell Overture thrown in. Anacreon strongest so far, lots of swings in tempo and mood. Medea is great, A in a B recording. Last two tracks by Domenico Cimarosa. And they are fabulous.

Cherubini, Gli Abencerragi. A+. Strong. The dance movement, Act 1: moving, beautiful. A real hidden gem; it seems there are only a handful of recordings of this magnificent, haunting opera. Excellent chorus passages. Even the recitatives are unusually moving and dynamic.

Cherubini, Medea. C. Act 1 is forgettable for the most part. Overture pretty good. When Cherubini misses, he misses big. He takes all the slow, listless melodies from Act 1, and doubles down in Act 2. The vocals are not all that interesting, the quality of the recording is awful, and Maria Callas sounds like she’ screeching rather than singing.

Cherubini, Overtures.
Giulio Sabino. A-.
Lodoiska. A.
Elisa. A.
Fanaska. B+.
Overture in G Major. A-.

Cherubini, Eliza. A-. A rare recording from 1960, the only recording of this opera I could find. Had to go outside Apple Music for the first time (February 2019). Beethoven used Cherubini’s finale almost note-for-note in the finale to his Fifth Symphony! Beethoven was a big Cherubini fan. Act 1 is quite intense; the running theme through the whole act is powerful and appealing. The running theme (s) seem to be a common feature of operas I’ve listened to; if you don’t care for the central themes, you’re not likely to enjoy the opera.

Cherubini, Lodoiska. A. I detect riffs in Act 1, Scene 1 that sound like Beethoven’s 7th (?). Excellent! Dramatic, tuneful and fast paced all the way.

Cimarosa, Domenico (1749-1801), Requiem in G Minor. A. VI, Lacrymosa, is outstanding, combining the operatic vocals, strong melodies, fast tempo and gentle overall tone that characterizes much of the piece. Very powerful and yet gentle from start to finish. Cimarosa was known for operas, but this piece does not feel overly operatic; just enough and just enough great operatic overtones to give it a special “easy listening” flavor. Last Sonata, in C-Flat, is probably my favorite.

Corelli, Arcangelo (1653-1713), Op. 6, Concerti grossi. A+. Published in 1714. Beautiful violin and ensemble chamber music. Quintessentially Baroque.

Corelli, Violin Sonatas. B.

Corelli, Op 5. La follia. B. Pretty music, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it.

de Victoria, Tomas Luis, Officium Defunctorum. A- Almost Gregorian with stronger melodies. Excellent blending of choir and soloists. An air of sadness throughout. Slow tempo throughout.

du Caurroy, Francois Eustache (1549-1609), Requiem Mass & Motets. B-. Renaissance Period, played at funerals for many French kings (five in all, between 1589 and 1774). Double choir counterpoint is haunting. Lack of melodic catchiness versus Baroque and Classical very apparent, as well as a spiritual depth lacking in concert music from those latter periods. If the tempo changes at all outside of a very narrow range throughout the work, I can’t tell. Beautiful and spiritually stabilizing despite the relative lack of musical variety.

Duni, Egidio Romualdo (1708-1775). Les deux chasseurs et la laitierer. (Two Hunters and the Dairy.) A. Very enjoyable! A one-act, comic opera that premiered in Paris in 1763. Breezy, melodic, full of invention. Very popular at the time.–duni-les-deux-chasseurs-et-la-laitiere

Duni, Op.1 Trio Sonatas. A-. Pleasant chamber music.
Durante, Francesco (1684-1755).
Vespro breve – A-.
Miserere – B+.

Requiem Mass in C Minor. A-. A perfect Baroque expression of controlled emotion.
Organ Concerto in B-flat Major. B+.

Durufle, Maurice Gustav, Requiem – Expressionism Period, 1947. 42 minutes. Op. 9. B+. Very different sound, somewhat like a futuristic Gregorian chant. Strange rhythms and unexpected turns, but the overall effect is one of seriousness and tranquility. Pleasant to listen to, though to me somewhat discordant at times.

Dvorak, Requiem in B-Flat Minor, Op. 89. C+.10 First movement, Requiem aeternam (eternal rest prayer), slow, profound. Gradual is slower. Dies Irae – short, powerful. Tuba mirum (part of Dies Irae; The trumpet, casting a wondrous sound/In tombs, /Summons all before the throne.) Rather slow, tedious, with dramatic flareups. 5. Quid sum miser (part of Dies Irae; What shall I, frail man, be pleading?) Sad, slow. Not particularly interesting at first, then picks up. 6. Recordare Jesu pie (part of Dies Irae, Remember, merciful Jesus) Operatic. 7. Confutatis maledictis (part of Dies Irae, When the wicked are confounded). Dramatic, also operatic. 8. Lacrimosa (part of Dies Irae, Ah, that day of tears and mourning.) Also, operatic. Slow and repetitive, but the “Amen” at the end is the best part so far. 9. Offertorium. The most interesting movement so far – lots of musical variety and interesting ideas. Still operatic, but incredibly holy and humble as well as dramatic. 10. Hostias. Starts slow, rather ponderous, and then picks up. Glorious last few minutes. 11. Sanctus. 12. Pie Jesu. 13. Agnus Dei.

Fasch, Johann Friedrich (1688-1758).
Mass in G Major. B-.
FaWV K:A3. Overture in A Major. B.
FaWV D:12. Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen. B+.

Faure, Requiem in D Minor. written late 1800s. B. Sounds like an opera at times, sounds like a movie score at times. Some very good moments as well. Slow tempo, fairly melodic.

Johann Joseph Fux (That’s pronounced FYOOKS, in case you were wondering.)

Fux, Johann Joseph (1660-1741). At times sounds like Lully and at other times like Handel.
Overture in D Major. A+. Nary a wasted note. Powerful.
Le Dolcezze. A-. Solid except for the fourth movement, which sounds like it has a cello cutting farts at regular intervals throughout.
Intrada in C Major. A-
Suite in C Major. A-
Rondeau in C Major. A.

Fux, K. 57, Requiem in C Minor. A-. The Kaiserrequiem. Sober, methodical, genuine.

Fux, Chamber Works. B+.–fux-barocke-kammermusik-am-wiener-kaiserhof Solid, but not somewhat stolid.

Fux, Cembalowerke 1. Harpsichord compositions. B.

Fux: Concentus musico-instrumentalis, Neue Hofkapelle Graz, Lucia Froihofer & Michael Hell. A. A collection of sinfonia and overture. Very pretty, tightly constructed, and at times quite intense. K. 352, Serenade in C Major, is probably the strongest overall. Includes:
– K. 353 – A
– K. 354 – A
– K. 355 – A
– K. 356 – A
– K. 357 – A
– Sinfonia in F Major – A
– K. 352 – A+

Fux, Ouvertures. A+. A charming, tightly composed selection of overtures. Fux is highly structured but sometimes goes off in an unexpected direction with melodies and rhythms that are strangely modern sounding.

Fux, Costanza E Fortezza (excerpts). A. These instrumental excerpts indicate a great opera.

Fux, Dafne in Lauro. B-. Chamber opera first performed in 1714 in Vienna for the birthday of Emperor Charles VI.

Fux, Arias for the Emperor, Maria Ladurner, Biber Consort. B.

Gabrieli, Giovanni, (c. 1554/1557 – 1612) Sacrae Symphoniae, Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam. A+. Beautiful brass. Sublime.

Gilles, Jean (1668-1705): Messe des Morts – Rameua’s Funeral. A. This is really magnificent. Haunting, fully French. Collegium Vocale Gent.

Gilles, Requiem, Messe des morts. A. Philippe Herreweghe & La Chapelle Royale.

Gilles, Lamentations & Motet Diligam te domine. Orchestre Le Passions.
⁃ Lamentations. A-. Somber, of course.
⁃ Diligam te domine. A. Not as somber, more energizing.

Gilles, Messe en Re & Te Deum, Orchestre Les Passions.
⁃ Messe en Re. A. You can feel the influence of Lully in almost every note.
⁃ Te Deum. A. French Baroque at its best.

If you’re out of Gluck, you’re out of luck.

Gluck, Christoph Willibald (1714-1787), Orfeo Ed Euridice, Libretto by Raniero de Calzabigi. (Karl Richter conducting, 1968 recording.) A+. First act is incredibly good: strong melodies and relatively little singing for an opera. Has the definite feel of Mozart. Second and third acts also good, but bogs down a bit.

Gluck, Alceste (in French). C. The whole first act is ok, but blah compared to his other operas I’ve heard. But still pleasant enough. Act II starts off promising with a nice theme that’s carried through the entire act, but the shrieking soprano parts border on unlistenable; my God, she sounds like her hand is caught in the garbage disposal. Too much singing. If you can stay awake or keep from jumping off the roof long enough for Act III, your perseverance will be rewarded with about 35 minutes of opera that’s not quite as shrill and monotonous as the preceding two acts.

Gluck, Paride ed Elena (Paris and Helen). A+. 2005 recording with Madgalena Kozena as Paridem Susan Gritton as Elena:–gluck-paride-ed-elenaFirst First 30 tracks or so are astonishingly good – melodic, exciting, beautiful arias. Paris is a “soprano castrato”, which threw me – he is played by Kozena, a mezzo-soprano. Interesting:

Gluck, Iphigenie et Tauride, Wq. 46. A+. Glorious from start to finish. This might be my favorite opera.

Gluck, Armide. A-. A remake of Lully’s Armide with the same libretto. Will listen to Lully’s next. This one has many rousing moments. Not as good as Gluck’s best but pretty darned good.

Gluck, Christoph. Wq. 31. Il trionfo di Clelia. B. Opera premiered in 1763. Lots of coloratura … maybe too much. Lengthy: Two hours and seventeen minutes without recitatives. Ponderous here, sprightly there; hard to get a handle on it. Just not musically diverse enough to sustain interest for its considerable length.

Gluck, Wq. 40. Iphigenie en Aulide. B. Opera premiered in 1774 in Paris. Some familiar strains used in Iphigenie en Tauride (1779). A bit mechanical compared to Tauride.

Gluck, Don Juan. Ballet, Wq. 52. Premiered in 1761. A. Beautiful. Short, sprightly movements. Lots of strings, but light. Wq. = Alfred Wotquenne.

Gluck, Semiramis, Wq. 56. A. Premiered 1765. Similar sound to Don Juan. Semiaramis and Don Juan appear to be two compositions created together by Gluck in collaboration with Gasparo Angiolini. Angiolini choreographed ballet segments for Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Both are terrific.

Gluck, Ezio. D. Premiered in 1763. A pre-reform opera with lots of long recitatives. We’ll see … pretty awful. Makes watching paint dry feel like roller derby.

Gluck, Wq. 18. Le Cinesi (The Chinese Woman), opera in one act. B+. Not as good as other post-reform operas, but it does have several tender passages and is highly listenable.

Gluck, Atto di Aristeo, Philemon Et Baucis. A for Atto and B- for Philemon. Atto is excellent. Philemon not as good.

Gluck, WQ 33. B+. Il Parnaso Confuso. Premiered in 1765. Lots of arias with soprano staccato – pretty melodies.

Gluck, De profundis. A. Ends with a moving decrescendo, though not as powerful as Cherubini’s.

Gluck, Wq. 32. No grade. La recncontre imprevue (The Unexpected Encounter or the Pilgrims to Mecca). Comic opera composed in 1763. Premiered in Paris, very popular in his time. A difficult piece: Beautiful arias interspersed with dramatic, spoken dialog that sounds very creepy if you don’t know French. I’m bailing on it. Too creepy. I bailed on this one. The dialog is weirding me out.

Gluck, La Corona. B+. Written circa 1765 – obscure opera. Kicks off pleasantly, tunefully and breezily enough, but so far Act 1 lacks the intensity and drama of Armide and Iphengie, and some other of Gluck’s operas I really enjoy.

Gluck, Alessandro. It’s a ballet. A+. Top-of-his-game Gluck.

Gossec, Francois-Joseph (1734-1829) Grande Messe Des Morts. A+. Mass is dramatic, melodic, powerful, passionate. Gossec was a prolific opera composer; I’ll have to listen to his operas. Innovative for its time in the depth and diversity of orchestration. His Mass influenced Mozart, and I think it does sound a lot like Mozart. Movement 13, Confutatis: Allegro Molto, is insanely good, the allegro to beat all allegros. Symphony A 17: B. Tuneful, not nearly as moving as the Mass.

Gossec, Thesee. B+. Premiered in 1782 in Paris. Gossec was influenced by Johann Stamitz, founder of the Mannheim School. Stamitz popularized the four-movement symphony with minuet & trio as the third movement, among other things. Big influence on Mozart. I didn’t find the themes running through this opera incredibly interesting, but they weren’t bad. Overall there were several very good musical moments and a few great ones; perhaps a bit repetitive.

Gossec Symphonies
Symphony No. 3 – B+. Pleasant enough; generally upbeat.
Symphony No. 2 – A-. About the same as No. 3, but with more emotional range.
Symphony No. 1 – A-. About the same as No. 2, but slightly more melodic.
Sabinus – B+. On the whole, sort of meandering, but with periods of exhilarating intensity.

Gretry, Gossec & Giroust, Grand Motets.–gretry-gossec-giroust-grands-motets-pour-louis-xvi.
Gretry, Andre Ernest Modeste (1741-1813), Confitebor tibi. A.
Gossec, Terribilit est locus iste. A-.
Giroust, Francois (1737-1799), Benedic anima. A.

Guerrero, Francisco, Requiem. B. Composed in 1559. Lots of plainchant. Beautiful harmonies. Offertory is exceptional, full of sound and piety. Very little accompaniment.

Guttler, Ludwig (1943 – ): Susato, Hessen-Kassel, et al. C.


Few hold a candle to Handel.

Handel, HWV 1. Almira. A+. Opera composed when Handel was 19, his first opera. First performed in 1705. Astonishingly complex, tender, and just plain long considering his age! Overall it’s not as intense as most of his operas, but very diverse in orchestration and style of music. Arias in German and Italian. Definite traces of musical themes and ideas seen in his later work.

Handel, HWV 6. Agrippina. A. Handel’s earliest opera, premiered around 1710. I enjoyed practically every note of Act 2. Very solid. Handel’s operas seem to pick up steam as they go. This one was 3.5 hours-plus and finished strong.

Handel, HWV 7a. Rinaldo. B+. Composed in 1711. His first opera expressly for the English audience. Apparently, the English like their operas a bit more grandiose, with lots of brass, compared to the more stately-paced and strings-oriented operas I’ve listened to so far. Love aria Act 1 – Furie Terribilli. Act 2 – Vastro Maggio. In all, a rather eclectic mishmash of styles – harpsichords one minute, strings the next, big brass explosions the next … hard to get a handle on this Handel. Great moments, but it doesn’t seem to hold itself together thematically to create an opera that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Handel, HWV 8a. Il pastor fido (The Faithful Shepherd). B. Opera serial in 3 acts, first performed in 1712. Followed Rinaldo, not popular when it premiered. Features an excellent, intricate, 6-part overture. The opening arias are more melancholy and ominous than his usual sound. The first act is very subdued. Interesting listening to this on the heels of his first opera, Almira, written at the age of 19. Amira sounds more representative of Handel opera than Il pastor fido. In fact, Il pastor fido has a subdued feel unique among all the Handel operas I’ve listened to. It’s not bad, but not particularly pleasant on the ear and definitely not energizing. Even so, there are several passages that are lovely and moving. Act II Scene IX aria “No!Non pasta a un infedele” sounds like Floridante. First really recognizable music.

Handel, HWV 9. Teseo (Theseus). B+. Handel’s only five-act opera. First performed in 1713. Not bad; the underlying themes are not my favorites, but there are some strong arias. Lots of coloratura; in some cases, a tad overboard.
Handel, HWV 10. Silla. B. Opera, not nearly as good as Amadigi. Too many recitatives, though they are not that bad. It does have a strong finish. First performed around 1713, if at all. Music was reused for Amadigi. Methinks I’m scraping the bottom of Handel’s opera barrel.

Handel, HWV 11, Amadigi di Gaula. A. (Presto download.) Opera, composed in 1715. Diverse thematically, peppy, fun, with some touchingly tender arias.

Handel, HWV 12. Radamisto. A+. Opera first performed in 1720, first opera for the Royal Academy of Music. It was a huge hit that cemented Handel’s position as Mr. Music in England. It’s hard to decide which arias to put in my Handel opera playlist, because they are all so good. Some arias are profoundly sad, but a few are jubilant. He uses some strange (for the times) rhythms here and there, which makes it sound a bit off his beaten track.

Handel, HWV 14. Floridante. A. Opera first performed in 1721. Melodic, sad. Some excellent arias and melodies.

Handel, HWV 15. Ottone. B+. Premiered in 1723. Italian libretto. Act 1 has several longish, very tender arias: very good. Act 2 not as interesting as Act 1, but still very listenable. Noticed a few passages that I think I recall from Handel’s later operas, although not yet as well fleshed-out here. Handel, like Mozart, just doesn’t seem capable of writing anything bad; it’s just a question of whether you like it or love it. Love Aria Act 3, Tanit affanni.

Handel, HWV 16. Flavio. A-. Opera that premiered in 1723. Not as much coloratura as Rodelinda, but the first act is just as melodic. Beautiful, exuberant. Arias are as good as any, but the downfall is the long and uninteresting recitatives.

Handel, HWV 17. Giulio Cesare. A+. Opera. Act 1 OK. Melodic hooks are medium. Lots of short, repetitive recitatives. On the other hand, a few lovely arias, slow tempo and tender. The tenor aria toward the end of Act 1 is awesome. Good for following along: Act 2 – it’s growing on me. Profoundly dramatic and beautiful music. Sad, gloomy. Act 3 also marvelous. This is a 3.5-hour opera I was sad to see end. The music is haunting, distinctive.

Handel HWV 17, Giulio Cesare in Egitto, James Bowman, Guillemette Laurens. C. (For the recording only.) A dull, lifeless rendition of a terrific opera, probably my favorite.

Handel, HWV 18. Tamerlano. A. Opera serial composed in 1724. The overture is terrific, on par with some of Handel’s best compositions of any kind.

Handel, HWV 19. Rodelinda. A+. Opera first performed in 1725. Coloratura abounds! One rousing aria after another. Very melodic, with expressive vocals beyond the norm for Handel. Study guide: The most musically intricate and embellished of all the Handel operas I’ve heard so far.

Handel, HWV 20. Scipione. A. Opera Seria composed in 1726. Act 1 aria, “Un Caro amanita,” is one of my favorite Handel arias – beautiful. Act 2 is magnificent – one intense aria after another, with terrific, dramatic violin parts. Act 3 is not quite up to the level of Act 2, but still OK.

Handel, HWV 21. Alessandro. Opera composed in 1726. A-. This was a smash hit when it premiered. It kicks off with a couple of RECITATIVES that are absolutely boffo! Plenty of coloratura in the opening arias.

Handel, HWV 22, Admeto, Re di Tessaglia. B+. Opera. 1997 recording featuring Rene Jacobs. At 3 hours and 37 minutes, wonder if this is Handel’s longest opera. Act 1 is a bit flat emotionally and melodically. Act 2 picks up considerably in both respects. Act 2 has a few 5-8-minute arias that are tender beyond words: da tanti afffani oppressa; Ah, si morro.

Handel, HWV 23. Riccardo Primo. A+. Opera composed in 1719. Act 1 is amazing, right up there with the best of his operas. Act 2 loses considerable steam, inevitably perhaps. But wait – Handel picks himself up off the canvas and comes out swinging in Act 3!!! Acts 1 and 3 are A+, but Act 2 is not quite up to that level. Very enjoyable overall in melody, range of emotion and depth of expression.

Handel, HWV 23, Riccardo Primo, Paul Goodwin. C. (For the recording only.) Not a very good rendition of this magnificent opera.

Handel, HWV 24. Siroe, King of Persia. B+. Opera seria that premiered in 1728. Nothing objectionable, but also nothing dazzling. Horrible quality of the live recording interferes with the enjoyment of the music.

Handel, HWV 25. Tolomeo, opera seria, 1719. A. First act is outstanding. Sounds a bit like Serse in places. Very pleasant all the way through.

Handel, HWV 26. Lotario. Opera Seria premiered in 1729. B+. Not bad, not great. Nothing really stands out, but pleasant enough.

Handel, HWV 27, Partenope. Opera. A-. First performed in 1730. The singing on this recording is superb. Very melodic, light, perhaps without the blockbuster arias typical of his greatest works, but nevertheless completely enjoyable from start to finish.

Handel, HWV 28. Poro. (Porus, King of Persia.) A- Opera seria written in 1730-31. The only recording I could find is sung in German, which is OK. Like Siri’s, kind of run of the Handel mill, although the overture is intense.

Handel, HWV 29. Ezio. D. Opera Seria premiered in 1728. Very long, somewhat monotonous, and not that interesting or inspiring. Exasperatingly slow and drawn out arias. This opera is so tedious, so bland, so gimmicky that I have trouble believing Handel even composed it. By gimmicky, I mean all the excessive coloratura is simply putting lipstick on a pig. Possibly the worst aspect of this disaster is that it gets progressively worse, act by act.

Handel, HWV 30, Sosarme. A-. Opera Seria premiered in 1732. Melodic, intense, sad overtones. Very good Act 1.

Handel, HWV 31. Orlando. A+. Opera, composed in 1719. First act is terrific; the duet that ends it is one of the most beautiful I’ve heard. Act 2, Se Mi Rivolgo Al Prato is an extremely tender aria. Handel just keeps throwing one boffo aria at you after another. Act 2, Verdi Allori, preceded and sounds much like Verdi Prata. The third act is not quite as strong as the first two.

Handel, HWV 33. Ariodante. A+. Listening because it’s on the Lyric schedule right now (March 2019), plus I’ve been wanting to listen to more Handel, as he influenced Mozart so much. First performed in 1735. Kind of a blend of Lully and Amade. Libretto: Terrific – controlled, Baroque style, and yet an amazing emotional range, from deeply sorrowful, to joyful, to lighthearted.

Handel, HWV 34. Alcina. A. Solid opera. Premiered in 1735. Libretto: Lacks the gravity of Julius Caesar, understandably, but still extremely pretty melodically and packed with emotion. In Act 2, Verdi Prata is one of the most beautiful arias I’ve heard: Starting about midway, it picks up in interest – similar to my experience of Julius Caesar.

Handel, HWV 35. Atalanta. A+. Could be an A++ if I used that grade. Opera composed in 1736. Every aria is absolutely beautiful, and the recitatives are much better than average. This opera was very popular in its time, and it’s not hard to see why – tuneful, dramatic, impassioned, stately – all the elements that make Handel in their best form. As is so often the case with Handel, the longer arias (5-8 minutes roughly) are the best arias, and Atalanta is chock-full of them, more than average for Handel it seems. And every one of them is solid from start to finish.

Handel, HWV 36. Arminio. A+. Opera: First performed in 1737. Acts 1 and 2 are excellent. Melodic hooks are terrific, almost on par with Julius Caesar of Xerxes. Act 22, Vadi, vado a morir is terrific. Roughly translates: I’m going to die. I leave you the Peace that I have in my heart. Almen with my death Dear, for you the strong Give an end to his rigor. I go, etc. Also Act 2, Rendimi il dolce sposo is terrific. Act 3 also superb. Top to bottom, one of my favorites.

Handel, HWV 37. Giustino. A-. Opera seria that premiered in 1737. Best described as “even.” Very listenable and pretty throughout, but without has many soaring heights as his best work. Nevertheless a very strong opera from start to finish, with some very subtle and deeply moving passages.

Handel, HWV 38. Berenice. C. Opera in three acts, premiered in 1737. With the exception of a couple arias and the overture, not much exceptional in this flat, repetitive composition.

Händel, HWV 39. Faramondo. A. Opera first performed in 1738. Act 1 very good, very perky. Just a hair under brilliant. Acts 2 and 3 also peppy and solid. Act 3 aria Se Ria Procella terrific. In fact, the last three or four arias are the best part of the opera. The melodies and tone are just fractionally inferior to some of his operas. Excellent singing in this recording:–handel-faramondo.

Handel, HWV 40. Xerxes. A+. Acts 1 and 2; C for Act 3. A late opera of Handel’s, written in 1733-38. The prelude and first aria are fabulous. The whole Act 1 is phenomenal. Stronger than the first act of Julius Caesar. Act 2 is great, too: Handel was ON FIRE with this one. The second act is maybe even better than the first, if that’s possible. The continual back-and-forth between tender, slow arias and exciting, fast-paced passages, sometimes within the same aria, are an emotional rollercoaster, yet controlled at all times. Terrific singing in this recording: Act 3 not as good. Too many dull recitatives.

Handel, HWV 40. Serse, Les Art Florissant, conducted by William Christie. A+. Much superior to the other (live) version I had listened to, all the way around: sound quality, vocals, and music.

Handel, HWV 41. Imeneo. B. Opera composed 1738-1740. A few great moments, but overall meh by Handel standards.

Handel, HWV 42. Deidamia. A. His last opera, which premiered in 1741. Some passages indeed express a weariness that a mature composer would be capable of. Not that the mood is exclusively gloomy; this opera has the full range of emotions typical of Handel, and many passages that are quite subtle and nuanced. Act 2 is my favorite.

Handel, HWV 60, Hercules. A musical drama composed in 1744. Yet another terrific recent find (3-15-2022, Brooke’s 17th birthday). Explosive, dramatic, melodic, quite a bit of minor key, but exuberant. Some unexpected transitions in rhythm and tempo. Aria “Cease, ruler of the day, to rise,” is immediately one of my favorites. Not quite as good as The Choice of Hercules. Though technically not an opera, it has been staged thus, and could then be considered Handel’s only opera in English.


Handel, HWV 46a. A+. Il Trionfo Del Tempo. Oratorio. Handel’s first oratorio is brilliant. Should listen to later versions … this was also the last oratorio he ever worked on. How does he come up with all this great stuff? Aria, Lascia la spina cogli la rosa, is on par with Verdi Prati. I can’t think of another work of Handel I’ve enjoyed more from start to finish than this one, except maybe Julius Caesar.

Handel, HWV 47. La Resurrezione. A-. Sacred oratorio first performed in 1708. Generally upbeat, with intensity throughout.

Handel, HWV 48. Brockes Passion. The Story of Jesus, Suffering and Dying for the Sins of the World. B. Oratorio, first performed in 1719. Heavily influenced JS Bach. All in all, not so hot.
Handel, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

Handel, HWV 50. Esther. B+. The first English oratorio, composed in 1718 and heavily revised in 1732. The first two acts are OK: nothing special by Handel standards. However, the end of Act 2 and all of Act 3 are terrific — emotional, tender, dramatic. Great use of chorus throughout.

Handel. HWV 52. Athalia. A. Oratorio in English. Composed in 1733. Great blend of chorus and solos.

Handel, HWV 53. Saul. Oratorio, composed in 1738. B. Act 1 is painfully, dreadfully slow. Act 2 about the same. The last several tracks are good, though. Very sad subject matter and music. Odd that I enjoy music where I don’t understand the words better than pieces like this, in English. The finale chorus, Gird On Thy Sword, is phenomenal. Not sure where THAT Handel was hiding throughout the rest of this composition.

Handel, HWV 54. Israel in Egypt. A+. Oratorio, premiered in 1739 in London. This recording is arranged by Mendelssohn, and you can tell. Glorious.

Handel, HWV 55, L’Allegro, Il Pensieroso ed il Moderato, Chor Der J.S. Bach-Stiftung. Oratorio. C+. A few gems, but otherwise unremarkable (for Handel).

Handel, George Frideric, HWV 56. Messiah. A+. Oratorio compose in 1741. Nice to hear text in English. Gives me a sense of what it would be like to be able to understand the vocals of other compositions. Magnificent music.

Handel, HWV 57. Samson. B-. Oratorio composed in 1741-1753. Act 1 is slow and sad, to the point of being morose. Too gloomy to be entertaining. Either Handel is setting us up for a big finish, or he composed his first clunker. Handel certainly captures the tragedy and pain and sorrow of Samson, as well as the ultimate glory. Seemed too heavy on pain and too light on glory. Listening to this is like watching Samson’s hair grow.

Handel – HWV 58. Semele. B+. An oratorio, opera, and concert mashup, first presented in 1744. It’s in English. Libretto: It has some spectacular moments, but overall is not quite at the level of Julius Caesar.

Handel, HWV 59. Joseph and His Brethren. Oratorio in English. B+. Some very good segments, overall, above-average Handel but not quite Julius Caesar. Libretto:

Handel, HWV 61. Belshazzar. A-. Oratorio, composed in 1744. Chorus of Jews passages are moving. Arias melodic and stately. Libretto is in English. Last few movements of Act 2 ungodly slow. Otherwise quite strong.

Handel, HWV 63. Judas Maccabaeus. A+. Oratorio. Composed in 1746. There are moments here where I feel a tingle running up my spine, the music is so dramatic. The end of Act 1, beginning of Act 2 are a case in point. Handel makes you really feel the power of the Lord. Magnificent, exhilarating.

Handel, HWV 64. Joshua. A-. Oratorio composed in 1747. Hard to evaluate. The chorus numbers are first rate, and the recitatives are much better than average. The arias for the most part are not Handel’s best. It’s sort of like a football team with great special teams but average offense and defense.

Handel, HWV 65. Alexander Balus. A. Oratorio composed in 1747. Rare recording, from Presto. Certainly not the awesome wall of sound that is Judas Maccabaeus, but still a subtly beautiful and predominantly tender oratorio, especially Act 3. Surprised this is not more widely known.

Handel, HWV 68. Theodora. A -. Dramatic oratorio first performed in 1750. Sometimes performed as an opera today. Some truly majestic moments, especially the chorus movements. He Saw The Lovely Youth, which closed Act 2, is my favorite so far.

Handel, HWV 69, The Choice of Hercules. A+. Oratorio, first performed in 1751. Festspiel Orchester Gottingen. Solid – another great, late find after years of exploring Handel. Almost up there with Messiah. Rousing, intense!

Handel, HWV 70. Jeptha. B. His last oratorio, composed with great difficulty while he was ailing with multiple problems. One of my favorite overtures, opera or oratorios. Parts of Act 2 are unmercifully slow. Otherwise, it’s decent enough, with subtle pleasures rather than grandiose, fitting of the theme.

Handel, HWV 75, Alexander’s Feast. A+. A hidden gem. Perhaps my favorite oratorio/opera in English. Beautiful from start to finish – melodic, dramatic, interesting melodies and rhythms.


Handel, HWV 45, Alceste A+. (Incidental music) – Christian Curnyn. Composed in 1749-1750, a later work. What a joy to discover this absolute gem, three years into listening to Handel. Dramatic, inspirational, with melodies and arrangements that sound a bit different from the “standard” Handel formula, and yet the music is quintessentially Handel.

Handel, HWV 318, Concerto Grosso in C. (Interlude for Alexander’s Feast.) A. One of the most beautiful concertos I’ve ever heard.

Handel, HWV 319-330, Op. 6. Concerti Grossi. A. Many selections sound like elaborate intros to arias. Very melodic, dramatic.

Handel. Chandos Anthems. Settings for Psalms, Anglican form of the motet. This is the complete set, about 4 hours total length. Rousing. Tender. Joyous. Mournful. I’ve heard these described as Handel’s greatest works in microcosm, and that is a perfect description. Each passage, 2-5 minutes average, is packed with beautiful melodies, counterpoint and/or coloratura.
HWV 246.A+.
HWV 247. B+.
HWV 248.B+.
HWV 249b. A+.
HWV 250a. B+.
HWV 251b. B+.
HWV 252. B+.
HWV 253. A.
HWV 254. A+.
HWV 255. A.
HWV 256a. A.

Handel, Coronation Anthems. Herve Inquest & Le Concert Spirituel.
– HWV 258, Zadok the Priest – A.
– HWV 259 – A.
– HWV 260 – A-.
– HWV 261 – A-.
– HWV 283 – A.

Handel, HWV 242. Silete venti. A-.

Handel, HWV deest. Gloria. A+. Sacred solo cantata, for soprano and strings. Possibly composed in 1706. Attributed to Handel in 2001. Lots of coloratura.

Handel, HWV 241. Salve Regina. Composed in 1707. A-.

Handel, HWV 264. Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline. B+. First performance in 1737. Sounds like Mozart’s Requiem Mass in places; apparently Mozart borrowed some of the themes. Overall, not the most memorable Handel; very sad, naturally.

Handel, HWV 283, TeDeum. A. Festspiel Orchester Göttingen.

Handel, Sarabande. A+. A collection:–handel-sarabande. A collection of gems from various concertos for violin, organ and oboe. I used to wonder how there could be a Handel Society. Now I wonder how there could not be one.

HWV 96. Clori, Tirsi e Fileno. A. A comic cantata composed in 1707. Handel mined this early work of his for opera arias he later wrote. It’s pretty good all on its own. Overall quite sprightly, with lots of good musical ideas. Some great violin and oboe segments sprinkled about. The only thing it lacks compared to drama of those later operas is a real blockbuster aria or two.
HWV 287. Concerto for Oboe in G Minor. A-. Composed circa 1704, but not published until the 1800s.

Handel, George. Music for the Royal Fireworks. A.

Handel, HWV 72. Galatea e Polifemo. B. Not up there with Handel’s best stuff.

Handel – Written together, to celebrate the Treaty of Utrecht. Premiered in 1713.
HWV 278. Utrecht te deum. A-.
HWV 279. Jubilate Deo in D Major. A-.

Handel, Cantatas.
HWV 81 – A.
HWV 90 – A.
HWV 134 – B+.
HWV 77 – A+.
HWV 141 – B+.
HWV 113 – A.

Handel, Cantatas, Vol. 2.
HWV 173 – A.
HWV 144 – A.
HWV 84 – A-.
HWV 170 – A+.

Handel, Cantatas, Vol 4.
HWV 92 – B+.
HWV 155 – B+. In French.
HWV 95 – B+.
HWV 134 – B+.
HWV 128 – A-

Handel, Cantatas, Vol. 3
HWV 83 – A-. Amiante et Fillide.

Handel, Cantatas, Vol. 1–handel-complete-cantatas-volume-1
HWV 99 – A-.
HWV 107 – A-.
HWV 88 – A-.
HWV 80 – A-.

Handel. Italian Cantatas, Vol. 7
HWV 122. Apollo e Dafne. A+. Oscillates between jubilant and sorrowful. Powerful throughout, with great intensity. Composed in 1709-1710. The overture has been lost. Some of the melodic strains sound like highlights of. his operas to come.
HWV 110. A-.
HWV 98. B+.

Handel, Italian Cantatas. All three selections in this set feature truly haunting melodies and sad strings.
HWV 105. A. Sad and tender. Secular cantata, Armide Abandoned.
HWV 386b. Trio sonata. A.
HWV 145. Secular cantata. A-.,_HWV_145_(George_Frideric_Handel)

Handl, Jakob (Gallus), (1550-1591). Lamentations of Jeremiah. B. Absolutely beautiful. Solemn.

Hasse, Johann Adolph (1699-1783), Cleofide. B+. Opera seria, first performed in 1731. Nearly four hours long. First couple of acts sound quite Handelian, though perhaps more restrained and with a touch of frivolity that is lacking in most Handel operas. Lots of recitatives, but they’re not too bad as recitatives go. The arias are quite sprightly for the most part. Oddly, if I’m not mistaken, the chorus makes its first appearance about 10 minutes from the end of the opera – nearly four hours in!

Hasse, Requiem in C major and Miserere in E minor. B. You have to go through a lot of so-so music to hear some real gems. There are a couple.

Haydn, J., Mass in Angustiis B. Ponderous first three movements, then picks up.

Haydn, J., Missa in Tempore A. Even, peppy throughout.

Haydn, J., Missi in Angustiis “Nelson Mass” in D minor, Hob. XXII:11 The Hoboken Catalog (Hob) is a catalog of J Haydn compositions compiled by Anthony van Hoboken. A-. The minus is only there because other Haydn works listed above are even better. Exuberant, peppy tempo.

Haydn, J., Symphony No. 49 in F Minor (la passione). A. Described as a sadder, more solemn work than is representative of his symphonies. Written in 1768 during the Sturm und Drang period, where it was the style to let emotions run stronger – a predecessor of the Romantic movement. I Adagio, is haunting. 2, Allegro di molto, moves fast as promised. To me it’s enthralling throughout, exciting without being somber in any respect. III Menuet e Trio, elegant, with a formal trio in major key sandwiched between two equally elegant minor key movements. 4. Presto, frenetic string parts.

Haydn, J., Symphony No. 68 in B-Flat Major. (from Nikolaus Harnoncourt album.) A. Pretty melodies, characteristic of the Classical Period. There’s an air of playfulness about it naturally quite different from his sacred music. Menuetto & Trio is excellent: two fully orchestrated sections with a trio (smaller) arrangement in between. An intense but altogether jolly work that must have entertained the nouveue riche audience for which it was intended (the new middle class being the target audience of Classical music, unlike its predecessor, Baroque, which was for the elites, as there was no middle class).

Haydn, J., Symphony No. 93 in D Major. A. There are moments in the first movement, Adagio – Allegro assai, where JH builds to a climax and it feels like he’s about to go into a Beethoven-like fit of rage … but then he backs off. JH taught Beethoven; I wonder if Beethoven’s style was influenced by this, wanting to take JH a step further emotionally. He goes from the intense first movement to a rather sad and slow II Largo cantabile (cantabile means songlike in Italian). All notes are connected (songlike), a few bits of humor like a one-note tuba or trombone interjection.

Haydn, J., Symphony No. 94 in G Major. A.

Haydn, J., Symphony No. 95 in C Minor. A. I like how the first movement, Allegro, wanders a bit (though intensely), and then at the last minute or two builds to a rousing and focused conclusion. The Menuetto in the third, Menuetto & Trio, is quite intense, though danceable, whereas the contrasting trio is rather formal, stately. The fourth, Vivace, strong violin melody lines.

Haydn, J., Symphony No. 96 in D Major (Miracle). B. First movement, Allegro, exnihilating, but perhaps not as melodic as 63, 93 and 95. This was the first of his London Symphonies to be written. Two groups of them: 93-98 during his first trip and 99-104 during his second.

Haydn, Joseph, Op. 76. Erdody Quartets. B. I guess I’m not a violin guy.

Haydn, Joseph. Hob. 28:11. Orlando Paladino. B. First performed in 1782. Very good. Tuneful, dramatic. Great variety in characters.

Haydn, J. Hob: XXI:2. The Creation. B. Very respectable oratorio, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Handel. The overall tone is rather subdued considering the theme; you’d think Haydn would have been more excited about being created.

Haydn, J. Hob. XX/2. The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross (Choral verion). B. I’m listening to this on Good Friday (2019). JH composed this for Good Friday. Beautiful as the music is, I don’t understand how it captures the mood of Jesus on the Cross.

Haydn, J. Symphonies:
50 – A.
70 – A.
2 – A.
9 – A.
88 – A.

Haydn, J. Hob. XXII:14. Harmoniemesse, Mass No. 14 in B flat major. A. Written in 1802, his last major work. Kyrie is deep, moving. Gloria – same.

Haydn, J. Hob. XXI:1. Il ritorno di Tobia (The Return of Tobias). B+. Although his first oratorio and composed in 1775, Haydn sounds closer to Mozart than Handel here. Very entertaining; for the most part light and melodic. A fair amount of coloratura in the arias. Lacks, however, the intensity of Handel and flourish of Mozart.

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 21 in D Major, MH 272. B+. 3 movements; no minuet. Nothing great; nothing bad. Second movement seemed slow and wandering to me.

Haydn, M., Requiem in C Minor, MH 559 missa sancti A. Profound.

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 24 in A Major, MH 302. B+. Stately Minuet & Trio.

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 25 in G Major, MH 344. B. Third movement (of three) my favorite. Overall, exuberant.

Haydn, Michael, Symphony No. 26 in E-Flat Major, MH 340. A+. This one influenced Mozart’s Symphony No. 39. Grand first movement, more changes in tempo and involved phrases than typical of his other symphonies. Beautiful. Third movement is a rousing Presto. Intense.

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 27 in B-Flat Major, MH 358. A. First movement intense and full of life. Second, Andante, has beautiful melodies. The third and final Presto has the catchiest melody and rapidly ascending and descending strings that sound awesome.

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 28 in C Major, MH 384. A+. First movement more complex and intense than anything in the previous two. Very strong throughout, and more melodic than the previous two. MH was on fire with this one!

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 30 in D Major, MH 399. B+. More harpsichord than I’ve hear in other symphonies by the Haydn bros. Wider range of tempo and mood than in No. 25. Third of three movement again great – a snappy recapitulation and coda (I think) follows a shot transitional harpsichord solo.

Haydn, M., Symphony No. 31 in F Major, MH 405. Strong 1st, Iongish for MH at 11 minutes. Punchy melodies, somewhat staccato, German. Expressive violin parts highlight the 2nd. Terrific Presto finale. Sad, beautiful.

Haydn, Michael, MH 837, St. Leopold Mass. B-. Peppy for a Mass, but not particularly fond of the children’s choir.
Haydn, Michael. B-. Sacred Works, St. Albans Cathedral Girls Choir. Not bad; just not very exciting … reminds me a bit of his far more famous but not-to-my-liking brother.
MH 109
MH 454
MH 294
MH 304
MH 200
MH 307
MH 482

Koslovsky, Requiem. C-. Operatic, structurally repetitive, not very melodic, slow pace, long: 1 hour, 20 min, tortuously long and drawn out movements. The funeral march is good, though.
Kraus, Requiem B. Drags in places. Not especially inspiring.

Haydn, M. Symphonies.
P. 41. No. 15 in D Major – A.
P. 6. No. 16 in A Major – A-.
P. 8 in G Major – A-
MH 198, P. 11. No. 19 in D Major – A-.
MH 272, P. 42. No. 21 in D Major – A-.

Haydn, M. Church Music.
MH 257. Misa Sancti Aloysii – A-. Children’s choir is lovely.
Animma nostra – A-.
MH 280. Ad festum S. Augustini – A-.
MH 281. Diffusa est gratia – A-.

Haydn, M. Sacred Music for the Season of Lent. It must have been great to celebrate Lent in those days. Majestic yet subdued music, perfect for the season.
MH 553. Missa Tempore Quadragesimae – A-.
MH 551. Missa pro Quadragesmia – A-.
MH 552. Missa Quadragesimalis – A.
MH 695. Tenuisti manum – A-.
MH 56. Missa Sanctae Crucis – A.

Haydn, M. Der Kampf der Busse und Bekehrung. B+. Oratorio. (The struggle for penance and conversion.) Very good indeed, but just doesn’t stir the soul as much as most of his other sacred music.

Hadyn, M. MH 276, MH 277, MH 278. Responsories for the Holy Week. A-. Beautiful, deeply pious, simple.–j-michael-haydn-responsories-for-the-holy-week.

Holzabuer, Ignaz Jacob (1711-1783) Missa in C Major. A-. Hozbauer was part of the innovative Mannheim School, Mannheim Orchestra: Short, and solid from start to finish.

Kerll, Johann Caspar (1627-1693), Missa pro defunctis. A-. Quite solid.

Leclair, Jean-Marie (1697-1764). Opus 11. Scylla et Glaucus. A. Premiered 1746. Sounds like Lully (surprise) but a tad more masculine.

Op. 7 Violin and Flute Concertos – C.
Op. 10 Violin Concerto in B flat major – C.

Liszt, Franz (1811-1886), Transcriptions of Beethoven’s 4th Fifth, 7th, and 9th. B. Very soothing piano adaptations.

Lotti, Antonio, Requiem in F Major. B+. Lots of changes in tempo and mood. Lots of strong violin. I wish I could understand the words. Predominantly solemn, favorite was the last Offertorio movements.

Lotti, Credo in F Major. A. More melodic than Requiem in F Major or Miserere in D Minor.

Lotti, Miserere in D Minor. B+. Tender.

Lully, LWV 71. Armide. A+. Prologue and first act are wonderful: they breathe Baroque. Is it better than Gluck’s Armide? Hard to compare. Lully’s is Baroque and Gluck is Classical/Romantic … first impression is Lully’s is tighter, less recitatives and other slow spots; on the other hand, Gluck’s is perhaps more melodic and has more variation in tempo and mood, very intense at times and very gentle at other times. Both are very good. Second act in fact picks up in terms of intensity and strength of melody. Continues strong and perhaps all around better as it progresses through the five acts.

Lully, Bellerophon. C+. Opera first performed in Paris in 1679. A big hit at the time. When you get past all the numerous recitatives, it’s not bad, but kind of slow.

Lully, LWV 53. Atys. B+. Not as good as Armide, but pretty close. Lully’s music is so tranquil and gentle … from what I know about him, this music is quite the opposite of his personality.

Lully, LWV 58. Prosperpine. C. Opera first performed in 1680.

Lully, LWV 50. Alceste. C. A tragedy of music first performed in 1674. Lots of very slow, uninteresting passages. A few decent ones. Frightfully dull, overall. More Dully than Lully.

Lully, LWV 54. Isis. B. Opera that premiered in 1677. Promising start promptly fizzles.

Lully, LWV 60. Persee. A. Premiered in 1682. Considered his top work – interesting to see how it compares to Armide. Act 3 is terrific, and Act 4 is not far behind. Not quite as good as Armide, but close.

Lully, LWV 61. Phaeton. A. Premiered in 1673. The entire prologue is outstanding. Overall, I like Act 2 better than Act 1.

Lully, LWV 56. Psyche. A-. Premiered in 1678. Kind of middle-of-the-pack for Lully – though I liked the fifth and final act the best and it as good as any Lully I’ve heard.

Lully, LWV 59. LaTriomphe de L’amour Ballet Suite. A+. The Overture is beautiful. The entire suite is grand, melodic, full of tenderness and elegance.

Lully, LWV 18. Ballet des Arts. A-.–lully-ballet-des-arts. Very structured, somewhat repetitive, but strong Lully just the same.

Lully, Grand Motets, Vol. 3. A.
Psalm 19
Psalm 75
Psalm 112

Lully, Grand Motets Vol 2. A-. Good, but not quite as good as Vol. 3. The more I listen to Lully, the more I appreciate how good his Armide is – it’s where he really put it all together.
Quare Fremuerent LWV.67. “What means this turmoil among the nations?” Psalm 2. A warning to rulers – timely.
O Lachrymae
Dies Irae
De Profundus

Lully, Grands Motets, Vol. 1. B+.–lully-grand-motets-vol-1.
Patrem Immensae Majestatis
Salvum Fac Popuum Tuum
Ginare, Domine
In Te, Domine, Speravi
MISERERE – Better.
Ut Justificeris in Sermonibus
Averte Faciem Tuam
Docebo Iniquos Vias Tuas
Benigne Fac, Domine
O Jesu Vita Precantium
Vivat Regnet Princeps Fidelis

Lully, Le Roi Danse (Music from the Motion Picture). Collection of ballet music. A+. Vintage Louis XIV grandeur.

Marais, Marin (1656-1728). Semele. A-. Opera, first performed in 1709. Not as melodic or dramatic as Isbé, which I had just listened to (a contemporary opera).

Marcello, Alessandro (1673-1747), 6 concertos. B+. Brother of Benedetto.

Marcello, Benedetto (1686-1739). Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni dell’anno per la morte, esultazione e coronazione di Maria Assunta in Cielo (premiered in Macerata 1731). A-. Oratorio. A sound quite different from Handel. Lighter, quirkier, with melodic bursts like a cap gun going off from time to time. Overall lovely, gentle with intense bursts.

Marcello, Benedetto. Psalms. C. Nothing for the highlight reel here. Except the last track, Canon Triplex, which is terrific.

Martini, Jean-Paul-Egide (1741-1816), Messe de Requiem, in memory of Louis XVVI. A. Full of beautiful and unexpected melodic passages, military brass accents, solos, choir and an occasional dramatic bass drum. Floats between an operatic and symphonic, Baroque and early Classical, styles.

Massenet Jules (1842-1912), Werther. B+. Opera in four acts, premiered in French in 1892.

Felix Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn, Felix (1809-1847), Playlist, Felix Mendelssohn Essentials (Apple Classical Music). First time listening to FM., so I thought I’d go with a playlist to sample various types of his music. Overall, a very good blend of melody, transitions, changes in mood and tempo that are smoother and less violent than Beethoven’s. His music sounds like he looks: gentle, scholarly, controlled but with depth. A bit more emotional depth than Mozart, and certainly more than J. S. Bach.
(1) A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Op. 21, Overture: A+. He composed this at age 16. Unbelievable.
(2) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 63, I. Allegro molto appassionato. A. Tells a great musical story; I can follow the logic of the shifts in mood better than Beethoven.
(3) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, II. Andante. A. Sorrowful and hopeful somehow at the same time.
(4) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64, III. Allegretto non troppo – Allegro moto Vivace. A. Triumphant, bold; much jollier than the preceding two melancholy movements.

(5) The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave), Op. 26, Overture. A+. The opening is haunting, unlike any I’ve heard. Grand melodies rising out of a fog. Small waves taking form in the ocean, building and then crashing into a rocky shore. (Turns out this is exactly what he had in mind.) A highly original piece that evokes strong images for me.
(6) Symphony #3 in A Minor, Op. 56 “Scottish.” A. So many wonderful themes and changes in mood.
(7) Songs Without Words, Op. 19b: No. 6 in G Minor. A. Simple and sweet.
(8) Songs Without Words, Op. 30: No. 6 in F-Sharp Minor. A. Sadder than the previous.
(9) Sonata for Violin and Piano in F Major: Adagio. B. Good, but not as captivating melodically as most of the previous selections.
(10) String Quartet No. 6 in F Minor, Op. 80: II. Allegro assai. B+. Intense. Similar short themes to Beethoven, but I find FM easier on the ear. FM’s transitions in tempo and intensity seem smooth and natural, whereas Beethoven’s seem forced.
(11) Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25: II. Andante. A-. Another quietly dramatic opening. Sounds like counterpoint between piano and orchestra. Beautiful ending as well.
(12) Paulus, Op. 36, I. Teil. No. 17 Aria B, “Gott, Sei Mir Gnadig.” A. Moving, spiritual feel markedly different from previous selections.
(13) Elias, Op. 70, Zweiter Teil: No. 26 Arie and No. 27 Rezitativ. A. Lulls you into a dreamy state of relaxation and then snaps you back with a rousing shift – well played.
(14) Elias, Op. 70, Zweiter Teil: Quartett. A. I’ll probably make Elijah my next FM listen based on these two selections.
(15) Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 19: No. 1, Andante con moto. A. At once firm and delicate.
(16) Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 38: No. 6, Andante con moto “Duetto.” A. Sounds like rain coming gently down on a roof.
(17) Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90, “Italian.” I, Allegro. A+. FM really knew how to open and close a composition. Rousing: like a socially well-adjusted Beethoven.
(18) Symphony No. 5, Op. 107, “The Reformation, I. Andante. A+. More regal, deliberate than I in Op. 90, but equally emphatic, dramatic and uplifting.

Mendelssohn, Elijah. Oratorio. A+. Wow. FM admired Mozart and Bach, sounds a bit like Mozart only grander, not as frilly. Incredibly dramatic and yet an air of holiness I haven’t detected in FM’s secular works.

Mendelssohn, Opus 36. Paulus. B. Overall meh. Oratorio about St. Paul. Premiered in 1836.

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 1, Op. 11. A-. Written at age 15.

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 2, Op. 52, “Lobgesang.” B.

Mendelssohn, Overture Rudy Blas, Op. 95. B+. Written in haste for a Victor Hugo play FM detested. Nevertheless, it’s a right snappy little number.

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56, “Scottish.” B+. A somber opening, in FM-like. First movement is excellent if somewhat foreboding. The upbeat 4th is in sharp contrast to the downbeat 1st; I can see why some critics objected to the happy ending of the 4th … just when he was getting back to the 1st movement’s gloom.

Mendelssohn, Overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Op. 27. B.

Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 5, Op. 107, “The Reformation.” A. Clearly FM was more enthusiastic about the Reformation than I am. A powerful, confident symphony.

Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64. A+. I. Allegro molto appassionato. Very strong melodies. Rousing finish. Nobody knows how to open and close a piece of music like Felix. II. Andante. III. Allegro non troppo – Allegro moto vivace. FM’s last major orchestral work. Highly regarded and consistently popular – innovative, well-crafted.

Mendelssohn, Vom Himmel hoch. B.

Mendelssohn, 3 Motets, Op. 39. B.

Mendelssohn, Magnificat in D Major. B+.

Mendelssohn, String Symphonies
MWV N8, No. 8 in D Major. A-
MWV H1, Che vuoi mior cor? B+.
MWV N9, No. 9 in C Major. A-

Mendelssohn, String Symphonies. (String symphonies 1-12 written when he was 12-14 years old.)
MWV N7. String Symphony No. 7 in D Minor – A.
MWV N7. String Symphony No. 10 in D Minor – A.
MWV N14. Symphonic Movement in C Minor – A.
MWV N12. String Symphony No. 12 in G Minor, Fuga – A.

Mendelssohn, String Symphonies
MWV N4. String Symphony No. 4 in C Minor – A.
MWV N3. String Symphony No. 3 in E Minor – A.
MWV N1. String Symphony No. 1 in C Major – B+.
MWV N2. String Symphony No. 2 in D Major – A
MWV N5. String Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major – A-
MWV N6. String Symphony No. 6 in E-flat Major – B+.

⁃ Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra in D Minor. B. Nice, but like so much classical period music strikes me, a bunch of pretty notes all dressed up with nowhere to go.
⁃ Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra in D Minor. B+. Slightly better put together. Last movement, Allegro, very good.

Mendelssohn: Psalms, Collegium Vocale Gent. I watched the ensemble, based in Belgium, on EWTN performing Bach Christmas cantatas on Christmas Eve 2022. Needed to hear more!
⁃ Op. 42, Psalm 42. A-. A few rousing moments!
⁃ Verleih Uns Frieden Gnadiglich. A. “Give us thy blessed peace, Lord.” Part of the Lutheran Mass.
⁃ Op. 31, Psalm 115. A-.
⁃ Op. 23, Ave Maria. A-.

Mendelssohn, Der Onkel aus Boston. A-. Composed when 14 years old. Second act is much better than the first: much more textured and varied. Third act keeps up the momentum. Overall quite entertaining, except for the lengthy first act.

Mondonville, Jean-Joseph de (1711-1772). Isbe. A. Opera composed in 1742. Distinctly different sound from Lully. Overall way above average, with occasional passages of brilliance. The fifth and final act is terrific – dramatic, fast-paced, very melodic and packed with emotion.

Mondonville, Grand Motets. Sweeping religious music often performed publicly.–mondonville-grands-motets.
De profundis (Psalm 129) A.
Magnus Dominus (Psalm 47) A.
Nisi Dominus (Psalm 126) A-.
Cantate Domino (Psalm 149) A.

Mondonville: 6 Sonatas, Op. 3.
1 – A+.
2 – A.
3 – A-.
4 – A.
5 – A.
6 – A.

Monteverdi, Claudio, Sacred Music.

Monteverdi, L’Orfeo. B. The first blockbuster opera, from the Baroque era. I’m liking this a lot better than I thought. The melodies are exceptional – beautiful, rousing. A mix of madrigal and operatic styles – an outgrowth of the intermezzo form, a vocal-musical interlude put on between acts of a play that was very popular. Many of the solo passages strike me as monotonous but many of the musical interludes are outstanding. Overall it is much more appealing than other operas I’ve heard/attended; not sure if it is the quality of the music or the refinement of my ear.

Monteverdi, Vespro Della Beata Virgine. B+. Some “A” passages sprinkled throughout. Beautiful.

Wolfgang Mozart

Mozart, Leopold. Divertimento. A. The Divertimento in F Major is terrific,“The Musical Sleigh-ride.” Especially the second movement.

Mozart, Leopold. Orchestral Works. A-. Interesting. At times it’s a bit mechanical, but at other times you can sense the whimsy, cleverness and exuberance of Wolfgang.–leopold-mozart-orchestral-works

Mozart, Leopold. Missa Solemnis. A. You can see that Wolfgang picked up some tricks from his dad! Very melodic, joyful.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Don Giovanni. B. Good Lord, I’m starting to like opera. Started listening to the second act. Very long, not as fast-paced or melodically pleasant as The Magic Flute. Perhaps more dramatic.

Mozart, Wolfgang. The Magic Flute. A+. By far the most enjoyable opera I’ve ever listened to. Melodic, dramatic, fast tempo that keeps it interesting. Even the recitatival sections are interesting.

Mozart, Idomeneo, K. 366. C. Starts off kind of slow, but it has about 3 hours to pick up the pace. First act has a lot of long and not very interesting recitatives. The last 10 minutes of the first act are OK; otherwise, not as melodic and overall as interesting as Mozart can be. Act II: First 15 minutes, hard to stay awake. Looks like he’s cooked up about 17 minutes-worth of recitatives for this act; I can hardly wait. If I want to listen to people yammer unintelligibly for hours on end, I can just go to my health club. Things pick up midway through Act II. Only Mozart can keep this verbose libretto musically interesting! It also doesn’t hurt that the singers in this recording are superb, unlike the shrieking banshee soprano in Alceste I still can’t drive out of my ears. Act II way more dramatic than Act I, but still not nearly as entertaining and vibrant overall as The Magic Flute. Act iii about like I. TOO LONG. And Mozart worked diligently to shorten it! In addition, he wrote a ballet for intermission with (I think) six dance movements. People had longer attention spans in those days. In Mozart’s letters, he has extensive correspondence with his father, Leopold, about the creation of this opera. Leopold functioned as a go-between with the librettist. Mozart wrote this in three-four months in Munich, while on leave from his job in Salzburg, which he hated.

Mozart, Wolfgang. La Finta Giardiniera, K. 196. B. Mozart wrote this at 18. I’m reading his letters from the same age; this music sounds so much like him – lighthearted, jokey, dramatic though with a wry wit, playful, not taking himself too serious but totally aware of his abilities. A lot of lengthy recitatives in Act 2. One I reckon to be about 7 minutes: c’mon, Amade, keep this train moving! If I saw this opera I’d leave after Act 1 for a leisurely piece of sea bass and bottle of Chardonnay and come back for Act 3.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K. 384. Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail. Opera Singspiel. B. Act 2, aria in track 21 has staccato and melody just short of the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. In Mozart’s hands, even the German language is beautiful and lyrical. Structure is similar to a modern musical, with brief, spoken dialog between musical “numbers.” It’s not bad! Libretto in German with English translation: This was a big hit in Vienna, his “breakthrough” piece.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K. 588. Cosi fan tutti. B+. Maybe after listening to so much Baroque opera, Cosi strikes me as a bit too frivolous for its own good, entertaining certainly, but somewhat disjointed and undisciplined compared to these earlier period works. Anyway, Mozart is incapable of composing anything bad; Cosi is enjoyable enough to listen to, but not something I would go out of my way to listen to again and again.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K. 621. La clemenza di Tito. B. Picks up toward the end of Act 1.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Mass in C Minor, K. 427, Grosse Messe. (Leonard Bernstein & Bavarian Radio Symphony.) A+. Beautiful, very operatic. Pope Francis says Credo: Et Incarnatus Est lifts you to God, and indeed it does, with a tenderest and sweeping soprano solo.

Mozart, Wolfgang, The Symphonies, Vienna Philharmonic, James Levine.

– K. 130, Symphony No.18 in F – B. Composed when Mozart was 16, in 1772. I suppose there is an air of innocence in this piece that suggests it was written by someone who’s soul was not yet corrupted and confused by the cruel and manipulative hands of the world. It’s pleasant to the ear.
– K. 132, Symphony No. 19 in E-Flat – B+. Also composed in 1772. I like this one slightly better than No. 18 – this one has periods of really interesting tension, but followed by long stretches of fairly routine fare.
– K. 201, Symphony No. 29 in A – B+. Snappy, but not particularly memorable (for Mozart).
– K. 202, Symphony No. 30 in D – A-. Quite snappy throughout.
– K. 297, Symphony No. 31 in D – A-. “Paris.” One of his most popular symphonies, first performed in 1778. Also quite snappy throughout!
– K. 318, Symphony No. 32 in G – x. Written in 1779, it consists of three short overtures, about 8 minutes long in all.
– K. 319, Symphony No. 33 in B-Flat – B+. Some good moments, especially in the first and fourth movements, both Allegro Assai.
– K. 338, Symphony No. 34 in C – A-. First movement, Allegro Vivace, is excellent. Strong throughout.
– K. 385, Symphony No. 35 in D – B+. “Haffner.” Composed in 1782. Lots of intensity in the first movement. Originally intended as a serenade for the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner the Younger, Mozart developed it into a symphony: After the first movement it settles into a comfortable but (for Mozart) unremarkable composition.
– K. 425, Symphony No. 36 in C – B. “Linz.” Written in 1783.
– K. 504, Symphony No. 38 in D – A-. ”Prague.” First movement, Adagio-Allegro, over 17-minutes in length, is excellent, occasionally reaching a Beethoven-like level of intensity, with typically smooth and gentle Mozartian passages in between. Third and final movement is also great. Written in 1786.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Sacred Choral Works, Chamber Choir of Europe, Volume 1. No point in grading: it’s all great. My ear is not sufficiently developed to split hairs between which pieces are merely brilliant and which are inspired by God.
K. 243. Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento in E-Flat Major.
K. 125. Same as above, in B-Flat Major.
K. 195. Litaniae lauretanae in D Major. (Litany of Loreto, used to honor Mary.)
K. 109. Litaniae lauretanae in B-Flat Major.
K. 321. Vesperae solennes de Dominica in C Major.
K. 339. Vesperae solennes de Confessore in C Major.
K. 127. Regina Coeli in B-Flat Major. The prayer:
K. 273. Sancta Maria, mater Dei in F Major.
K. 276. Regina Coeli in C Major. Detected the famous hallelujah melody from Handel’s Messiah. Have to see which was composed first.
K. 34. Scande coeli limina in C Major. (Ascend the heavens’ thresholds.)
K. 72. I. Inter natos mulierum in G Major. (Antiphon for the Nativity of John the Baptist.)
K. 117. Benedictus sit Deus in C Major. (Offertory for Trinity Sunday.)
K. 198. Sub tuum praesidium in F Major. (We Fly to Thy Patronage.) “We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.”
K. 222. Misericoridias in D Minor. (Mercy.)
K. 260. Venite populi in D Major. (Come, o peoples, come)
K. 277. Alma Dei creatoris in F Major. (The caring mother fo God the Creator),_KV_272a_(KV_277)_(Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart).
K. 20. God is Our Refuge
K. 85. Miserere in A Minor. Gregorian!
K. 86. Quaerite primum regnum Dei in D Minor. (Seek ye first the kingdom of God) “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his rightesousness: And all these things shall be added unto you, alleluia.”
K. 343. Zwei deutcsche Kirchenlieder
K. 108. Regina Coeli in C Major.
K. 427/417a. Mass in C Minor.
K. 47. Veni sancte Spiritus in C Major. Come, Holy Spirit. Prayer:
K. 141. Te Deum laudamus in C Major. Prayer:
K. 143. Ergo interest in G Major. Translation:
K. 146. Kommet her, ihr frechen Sunder in B-flat Major. “Come here, you impudent sinners,/see the Savior of all the world.”
K. 341. Kyrie in D Minor.
K 447. Missa solemnis in C Major.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Sacred Choral Works, Volume 2.
K. 317. Coronation Mass in C Major.
K. 193. Dixit Dominus-Magnificat in C Major.
K. 259. Missa brevis in C Major. “Organ solo.” Features an organ solo.
K. 258. Missa in C Major. “Piccolomini Mass,” for its brevity.,_K._258_%22Piccolomini%22.
K. 257. Missa in C Major.
K. 275. Missa brevis in B-flat Major.
K. 220. Missa brevis in C Major. “Sparrow.” So named for a section in the Sanctus has violins that sound like chirping birds.
K. 194. Missa brevis in D Major.
K. 192. Missa brevis in F Major.
K. 167. Missa in C Major. This is the best one so far on this recording. “Trinitatis Messe.” His only all-choral, no solo, Mass.,_K._167_%22in_honorem_Sanctissimae_Trinitatis%22.
K. 140. Missa brevis in G Major. “Pastoral.”
K. 262. Missa longa in C Major.
K. 139. Missa solemnis in C Minor. “Orphanage Mass.” Magnificent!,_K._139_%22Waisenhaus%22. Lots of short, dramatic movements.
K. 65. Missa brevis in D Minor. His only minor-key Missa brevis.
K. 165. Exsulltate, jubilate in F Major. Libretto:,_jubilate.
K. 66. Missa in C Major. “Dominicus.” Excellent! Rousing!,_K._66_%22Dominicus%22.
K. 49. Missa brevis in G Major.
K. 33. Kyrie in F Major. Composed at age 10.
K. 197. Tantum ergo in D Major.
K. 618. Ave verum corpus in D Major.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K. 503. Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major. B+.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K. 466, Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor. B+.

Mozart, Wolfgang.
K 503. Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major. A-.
K 595. Piano Concerto No. 37 in B-Flat Major. A-.

Mozart, Wolfgang.
K 491. Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor. A+.
K 488. Piano Concerto No. 23 in A. A-.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K 452. Quintet for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon in E-Flat Major. A-. Mozart told Leopold it was the best he had ever written.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Theater and Ballet Music, Volume 2 – Some magnificent music tucked away in this collection of Mozart odds and ends.
K. 345. Thomos, Koenig in Agypten. A play for which Mozart wrote incidental music.
K. 367. Ballet music from Idomenio. Unusual for the opera composer to write his own intermission music, but Mozart welcomed the opportunity to make the whole creation his own, as he says in his letters.
K. app. 10. (K. 299b ?) Les Petits Reins. (The Little Nothings.)
K. 299c. Sketches for ballet. This is probably my favorite “package” of the entire album.
K. 446. Music for a Pantomim: Pantalon Und Colombine. I managed to find a little background on this: And:,ens.neue+streicher+klostern/w.a.+mozart,j.+holik/121505/.

Mozart, Wolfgang. K. 345, 3 Sacred Hymns from Thamos, Konig In Agypten. A. Solid.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Symphony No 39 in E-Flat Major, K. 543. B+. Toscanini, conductor. Composed in 1788, toward the end of his life (along with K. 550 and K. 559), this is more intense and gloomier than usual, but full of abrupt changes in tempo, melody and volume. Sounds Beethoven-like overall, and especially in IV., Finale, Allegro.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550. A. Toscanini, conductor. Famous melody to open I. Allegro molto. Continues the intensity of K. 543, possibly with more frenzy and swings in mood. After the slow and vaguely foreboding II. Andante comes an emphatic III. Menuetto, and then an even more emphatic and intense IV. Finale, Allegro assai. Overall creates a sense of tension, unease, and at times, impending doom. Also a sense of urgency, a feeling that something undefined but important needs to be done. Covers a wide range of emotions; again reminiscent of Beethoven.

Mozart, Wolfgang. Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 559 (Jupiter). A+. Toscanini, conductor. I. Allegro vivace starts with a more positive tone than the preceding two. Magnificent; rousing. II,, Andante cantabile, is quiet with just a touch of the unease that characterizes the earlier two symphonies in the set. IV., Molto allegro, the famous and technically complex finale, starts with a bang and Mozart never lets up on the gas. Five intertwined themes play of each other brilliantly, with a conclusion that brings the house down.

Mozart , Wolfgang.
K. 216. Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major. B.
K. 546. Adagio and Fugue in C Minor. B+.

Mozart interprets JS Bach. A. Fugues.
K. 405. Scholarly article on to what extent this was created by Mozart.
K. 546.
K. 594.

Mozart – A-.
K. 297. Symphony No. 31 in D Major.
K.477. Masonic Funeral Music.
K. 183. Symphony No. 25 in G Minor.
After K. 320. “The Posthorn.”
K. 335. March No. 1 in D Major.

Mozart Violin Concertos. Leaving me flat. Lacks the passion of his sacred works and the intensity and flair of his operas and better concert work. Still, elegantly composed, of course, and eminently listenable.
K. 207. VC No. 1 in B-flat major. B.
K. 218. VC No. 4 in D Major. B.
K. 261. Adagio for Violin and Orchestra. B+.
K. 373. Rondo for Violin and Orchestra. B.
K. 211. VC No. 2 in D Major. B.
K. 219. VC No. 5 in A Major. B+. Best VC in this set: most intense, most melodically interesting.
K. 364. Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-Flat Major. B+.

Ockeghem, Johannes (c. 1420-Feb. 6, 1497), Requiem. C. Composed c. 1491. Too flat, monotonous for my taste.

Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710-1736). A-. Stabat Mater. Beautiful and holy, with some exhilarating yet solemn moments.

Plantade, Charles-Henri (1764-1839), Messe des morts in memory of Marie-Antoinette. A-. Just a few notes away from being a real knockout.

Pleyel, Ignaz (1757-1831), Violin Concerto in D Major. A-. Mozart lite.

Pleyel, Symphony in F Major, Op. 136. A-. Mozart lite.

Popora, Nicola (1686-1768). Cello concertos and sonatas. Teacher of J. Haydn among others. A-. Some movements are quite beautiful, others are well-composed and intricate, but not spectacular.

Porpora, Arianna a Nasso. A. Opera composed in 1733. Not as stately as Handel, nor as consistently strong. However, there are some real gems amongst the arias and it picks up steam as it goes.

Popora: Opera Arias, Max Emanuel Cencic, Armonia Atenea & George Petrou. C+. Overall, these arias are energetic and complex, melodic and dramatic. Nevertheless, nothing really outstanding here.

Popora, Vepres venitiennes, Les Passions, Jean-Marc Andrieux, Isabelle Poulenard.
⁃ Laetatus sum. A. Psalm 121, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.
⁃ Nisi Dominus. Psalm 127. B+.
⁃ De profundis. Psalm 130. B+. Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord, hear my voice.

Popora, Dalla Reggia di Flora, Cantatas, Musica Perduta & Cristina Grifone. C. Pleasant enough, but very repetitive, minimal accompaniment (sounds like a harpsichord and violin?).

Porpora, Gianfranco Cosmi, Cappella Santa Cecelia della Cattedrale di Luca.
⁃ Dixit Dominus in F Major – A.
⁃ Mass a 4 voci in D Major. A+. One of the most relatable Mass settings I’ve heard; each section sounds like I’d expect it to sound – sad, rejoicing, etc. Strong, haunting melodies and rhythms. Sounds J.S. Bach-like in some passages.

Porpora: Opera Arias, Max Emanuel Cencic, Armonia Atenea & George Petrou. A+. Porpora was a famous teacher of singing as well as music. This collection of arias features some amazing vocal technique, beautifully executed. His melodies are memorable, lots of emotion as well as Baroque discipline. Awesome.

Praetorius, Michael, Advent and Christmas Music. C+. About as far from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as you can get. What’s immediately striking is the solemnity, humility of the texture of this music –

Henry Purcell

Purcell, Henry (1659-1695), Z. 628. King Arthur. A+. A semi-opera first performed in 1691. Very enjoyable. A strong, intense theme runs through the first half. A bit like Telemann, only not as smooth. There are lengthy choral sections rather than recitatives that really make it more interesting. Bogs down a bit towards the end; the first couple of acts are tremendous. Libretto:

Purcell, Z. 626. Dido and Aeneas. A-. Tragic opera, first performed in 1689. Purcell’s only true opera, one of the earliest English operas. Performed only sporadically after the 1700s. Moments of great beauty; Purcell has a unique sound that yet epitomizes English culture. Interesting. Some weird arias by the sorcerer/sorceress … almost comic.

Purcell, Theatre Music, Vol. 1.–purcell-theatre-music-volume-1
Z. 572. Amphitryon, The 2 Socias. A
Z. 589. Sir Barney Whigg, Blow, Boreas, Blow. C.
Z. 597. The Gordion Knot Unty’d. A+.
Z. 575. Circe. B.

Purcell, Theatre Music, Vol. 2.–purcell-theatre-music-volume-2
Z. 603. The Married Beau. A-.
Z. 610. The Spanish Friar. B+.
Z. 588. Sir Anthony Love. B.
Z. 573. Aureng-Zebe. B.
Z. 607. The Old Bachelor. A+.

Purcell, Z. 629. The Fairy Queen. A- Semi-opera, first performed in 1692. The instrumental movements are outstanding. The vocal movements are often weird, probably because I can understand them.

Purcell, Royal Welcome’s Songs for King Charles II. A rather mournful collection. Uneven. Link to the recording –
Z. 15 – A.
Z. 406 – B+.
Z. 752 – B.
Z. 142 – B
Z. 339 – A-. Ode for St. Celia’s Day.
Z. 16 – A-.
Z. 370 – C.
Z. 263 – B-.
Z. 325 – B+.

Purcell, Music for Queen Mary. A+. Includes Funeral music. Outstanding. I think some of the funeral music was used in A Clockwork Orange. Yep, it was.–purcell-music-for-queen-mary.

Purcell: Expressa Qudoam Terrore:
Suites Z. 660, 661, 662, 663, 666, 667, 668, 669/ C. A little syncopation is all well and good, but 20 solid minutes is far too jerky for my taste.

Purcell, The Complete Fantazias. B-. Melancholy.
Rameau, Jeanne-Phillippe (1683-1764) Acante et Cephise, Les fetes d’Hebe, orchestral suites. B+. Mostly routine, easy listening Baroque dance music, with an occasional dash of something transcendent.

Rameau, RCT 49. Nais. Love the overture – Exhilarating. Starts off with a bang; like Lully on speed. Slows down considerably over the course of Act 1. It sounds very much like Lully, but somehow not quite as good as Lully. Somewhat monotonous. It’s like Rameau is trying to include all the elements of Lully, but he’s not connecting them with the same elegance and touch. Still, it is very listenable, but best digested in small bites.

Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie. C. Opera premiered in 1733. Rameau’s first opera, composed at the age of 50. Considered (pejoratively) Baroque at the time – too many musical flourishes. Some Baroque operas are obscure for a reason. I fail to see how this is an improvement on Lully. It is less intense, less melodic, less elegant. It does have more musical variation in instrumentation, tempo and mood. But more is not better here, to my ear.

Rameau, RCT 2-6, Sublimiores infandem. C. Orchestre Baroque d’Avignon & Lois de Crilhon. All syncopation – headache-inducing.

Rameau, Dardanus. C+. Opera, premiered in Paris in 1739, rewritten and performed again in 1760. Considered one of his finest compositions. The incidental music is outstanding, the recitatives are dreadful, and the chorus and arias are so-so.

Rameau: Pigmalion, Platee and Dardanus Ballet Suites. Somewhat disappointing. Rameau wrote some great stuff, but sometimes gets repetitive, and especially with his syncopation, featured in Platee, and becomes almost annoying. European Baroque Orchestra & Roy Goodman. Of the selections, the Dardanus Suite is by far my favorite.
⁃ Pigmalion. B.
⁃ Platee. B.
⁃ Dardanus. A+.

Rameau, Une Symphonie Imaginaire. A+. Les Musicians du Louvre & Marc Minkowski. Quote from an Amazon review: “Imagine if Rameau (1683-1764) wrote a symphony during his lifetime. Acknowledged as a master of compositional writing, he never wrote for the orchestra alone. But if he had, what would it have sounded like? To get an idea, Marc Minkowski and the wonderful Les Musiciens des Louvre have woven together some of the most beautiful music ever written and put it together in a way that Rameau would, I’m sure, have approved of wholeheartedly. The pieces are those of Rameau himself, and here we have:
Zais – Overture
Castor et Pollux – Scene funebre
Les Fete d’Hebe – Air tendre
Dardanus – Tambourins I and II
Le Temple de la Gloire – Air tendre pour les Muses
Les Boreades – Contredanse en Rondeau
La Naissance d’Osiris – Air gracieux
Les Boreades – Gavottes I and II pour les Heures et les Zephirs
Platee – Orage
Les Boreades – Prelude
Concert no. 6 from Six Concerts en sextour – La Poule
Les Fete d’Hebe – Musette en Rondeau – Tambourin
Hippolyte and Aricie – Ritournelle
Nais – Rigaudons I and II
Les Indes Galantes – Danse des Sauvages
Les Boreades – Entrée de Polymnie
Les Indes Galantes – Chaconne”
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. These selections have remarkable beauty, flow together seamlessly, taking us from the depths of sadness to the heights of joy. Beautifully done.

Rameau, Six concerts en sextour, Cristophe Rousset & Les Talens Lyriques. A. Ah, the dependable Rameua: Elegance, precision, beautiful melodies, and arrangements – with unexpected twists here and there. He’s in peak form here.

Rebel, Jean-Fery (1666-1747). Les Elements. A-. Sounds more classical than baroque, quite idiosyncratic in rhythm and mood for the era. At moments jarring, but overall quite beautiful and pleasant.

Rheinberger, Sacred Music, inc. Mass in E-flat major, Op. 109. B. Stately, slow tempo, full choir, somewhat repetitive, lacking in melody.

Richter, Fran Xavier (1709-1789), Grandes Symphonies. B. The slow movements are all outstanding.
Symphony No. 4 in C Major.
Symphony No. 59 in B-Flat Major.
Symphony No. 69 in A Major.
Symphony No. 82 in E Minor.
Symphony No. 27 in G Minor.
Symphony No. 5 in C Major.

Rossi, Camilla de (1670-1715), Il sacrifizio di Abram. C. Susanne Ryden sings in this recording.

Rossini, Gioachino (1792-1868), William Tell. A. Rossini’s last opera before he retired (young). Over 4 hours long. Rossini keeps it pretty interesting despite the ungodly length of the composition — much more so than Wagner. Some of the arias are exquisitely tender; other passages are masculine and energetic — a wide range of emotion and solid dramatic effect.

Rossini, Bianca e Falliero. B. It picks up toward the end of Act 1, with some rousing numbers. The first hour or so is dull; after that, quite good.

Rossini, Armida. B+. Pretty good, with lots of involved soli and duets. Coloratura.

Rossini, Sacred music.
Peite Messe Solennelle, written in 1863, 34 years after his last opera. C. Feature peppy, at times almost ragtime, piano solos, surrounded by full choir and more traditional mass arrangement. Kind of weird. I don’t know what to make of it. Verdi didn’t like it. Unusual; reminds me of Schumann’s Winterreise. Sounds like something you’d hear if you were attending Mass at a cabaret. Couldn’t finish it.
Stabat Mater, completed in 1841. A. Sounds better than the Mass, because it sounds more like an opera, Rossini’s wheelhouse. But it sounds like an opera, not a prayer. The conclusion, Stabat Mater, is incredible. Overall, very dramatic and develops a more prayerful tone as it goes.

Rubinstein, Anton (1829-1894). Symphony No. 2 in C Major and Feramors. C. Symphony is mildly interesting. Feramors, instrumental selections from the opera, is milder and less interesting. Typical meandering, self-absorbed, gushy Romantic bullshit.

Sacchini, Antonio (1730-1786), Oedipe a Colone. B. Opera, premiered in 1786. Very popular in its day. Pleasant enough, lacks the gravitas and emotional intensity of a Handel or Gluck, tho. Sounds a bit like Hasse, another composer popular in his day but not so much now.

Saint-Saens, Requiem. D. Weird. No like.

Salieri, Requiem in C minor. A-. Solemn, beautiful chorale. Short. Devout.

Salieri – Overtures and Ballet Music. B.–salieri-overtures-ballet-music-vol-1.

Sammartini, Giovanni Battista (c. 1700-1775) – Called the Father of the Symphony
-Symphony in A Major, JC 62, A. Lots of notes packed in, almost no pauses; third movement, Presto assai (very), is truly frenetic but wonderful.
-Symphony in C Minor, JC 9, B+. More contained than the A Major, stately.
-Symphony in D Major, JC 16, B+. 2nd movement, Andante sempre piano, mournful, in sharp contrast to what’s come before, and beautiful.
-Symphony in F Major, JC 36, B+. Third movement, Allegro assai, strongest.
-Symphony in D Minor, JC 23, B+. Third movement, Grave (very slow, solemn), is just that. Strong and a little different flavor from what’s been heard so far.
-Symphony in C Major, JC 4, B+. First movement, Allegrissimo, very exuberant. 2nd movement slow and stately. Third movement also stately and controlled. All six of these are highly listenable, just not quite as dynamic as J. Haydn or melodic as Bach – as if Bach was warming up after listening to Haydn.

Scarlatti, Alessandro (1660-1725), Sedecia re di Gerusalemme. A+. Oratorio written in 1705. Recitatives are among the most pleasant I’ve heard – maybe the most. In places, sounds more like Handel than Handel! Exquisitely crafted arias.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Passio Secundum Johannem. A.–alessandro-scarlatti-passio-secundum-johannem Passion of St. John – first in Italian in the 17th century. Sacred music the way it was meant to be played IMO. Sounds like it uses Gregorian chants as a base but adds melodic and rhythmic variety and solo/chorus variety, while still maintaining a solemn air.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Sinfonias and Concerto Grossi. A. Perfect blend of structure and style – stately, tinged with sadness throughout. The recording, Winterhur Chamber Orchestra/Clemens Hahinded conductor, is scratchy and is the only thing that detracts from the music.
Sinfonia No. 4 in E minor.
Sinfonia No. 5 in D minor.
Concerto Grossi No. 1 in F minor.
Conerto Grossi No. 3 in F major.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Con eco d’amore (collection of arias). A. Beautiful, mostly slow-paced, but a few peppy numbers. All are very good.–alessandro-scarlatti-con-eco-damore

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Missa Defunctorum, Magnificat. A. Gregorian overtones, but with layers of Baroque. The music creates a proper mood for worship and is not meant simply to entertain. The Magnificat is by far my favorite.–alessandro-scarlatti-missa-defunctorum.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, L’Assunzione della Beata Vergine. A+. His last oratorio. I’m beginning to see where Handel got his inspiration. This oratorio is full of lovely musical ideas; each of the 32 sections is built on a solid melody and rhythm beautifullly flowing from one to the next.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Concerto Grossi (1-6), Cello Sonata (1-3). B+.

Scarlatti, Alessandro. Sinfonia di concerto grossi.
Sinfonia No. 2 in D Major. A-. Happy horns! AS must have been in a jollier mood than usual when he wrote this one.
Sinfonia No. 9 in G Minor. A.
Sinfonia No. 8 in G Major. A.
Sinfonia No. 10 in A Minor. A.
Sinfonia No 11. in C Major. A-.
Sinfonia No. 6 in A Minor.

Scarlatti, Alessandro. Sinfonia di concerto grossi. These are FANTASTIC.
Sinfonia No. 1 in F Major. A. Very dramatic and melodic for Baroque.
Sinfonia No. 4 in E Minor. A. Ditto.
Sinfonia No. 3 ion D Minor. A+. Contains great, melancholic flute and violin passages. Displays a wide range of emotion, but in a controlled and disciplined way, adding interest and comprehensibility. This is why I so prefer Baroque to the gushier Romantic style.
Sinfonia No. 12 in C Minor. A.
Sinfonia No. 7 in G Minor. A.
Sinfonia No. 5 in G Minor. A-.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Oratoria per la santissima trinita. B. Ok, but rather flat and uninspiring.

Scarlatti, Alessandro. Il dolori di Maria Vergine (The Sorrow of the Virgin Mary). B+. Sad, slow: a perfect musical representation of the theme. Sounds very much like Handel, with stately, melodic strains that crop up in solo after solo. However, it is quite long at 2.5 hours and rather repetitive.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Il Trionfo Dell’onore. B. Operatic commedia. First performed in 1718, his only known comic opera. Hard to rate; it oscillates between idiosyncratic comedic arias and his more usual, impassioned, and tender opera serial style. The comic passages struck me as just weird, but still interesting.

Scarlatti, Alessandro, Griselda. A+. Opera Seria, premiered in 1721, his last surviving opera. What a gem! The first act is one blockbuster aria after another – melodic, lots of skillfully executed coloratura, dramatic, intense, minor key. Falls off a tad after Act 1, but how could it not?

Scarlatti, Alessandro. Il Martirio di Santa Teodosia. Oratorio. A. Beautiful, intense. Melodic.

Scarlatti, Alessandro. La Giuditta. Oratorio 1693. B. So-so, kind of flat melodically.

Scarlatti, Alessandro. Messa Clementina. A. Beautiful Mass. Solemn, excellent vocal harmonies. Holy.

Schubert, Mass in G, Mass No. 2, D167. B+, Short, not as dramatic, or ornate as No. 6, but pious and still beautiful. Tantum Ergo in E-flat D962, and Der 23 Psalm D706. B+. These two short pieces are beautiful, holy, understated (for Schubert).

Schubert, Mass No. 6 in E-flat major, D950. A+. Intense, dramatic, emphatic, elevating, Beethoven-like, melodic, beautiful, almost like a symphony rather than a Mass. Nobody would fall asleep if this music was playing!

Schubert. Complete Symphonies.
D. 82. 1 in D Major. B+.
D. 125. 2 in B-Flat Major. A+. Wow, intense, almost Beethoven level.
D. 200. 3 in D Major. A.
D. 417. 4 in C Minor. A. First movement varied and intense. Second movement is one of his most tender. Third movement kind of weak, but 4th is great.
D. 485. 5 in B-Flat Major. A-.
D. 589. 6 in C Major. C. Sounds kind of like a Beethoven ripoff to me.
D. 759. 8 in B Minor. A+. The Unfinished Symphony. This one I remember listening to years ago on my “Best of Schubert” CD. So melodic, intense, tender – the gamut of emotions.
D. 944. 9 in C Major. A+. “The Great.”
D. 797. Rosamunde. A. Incidental music for a play by Helmina von Chezy. He is truly the master of melody.

Schubert, Franz. Overtures.
D. 591. Overture in C major in Italian Style. A-.
D. 590. Overture in D major in Italian Style. B.
D. 84. Des Teufels Lustschloss. (The Devil’s Pleasure Palace.) B+.
D. 239. Claudine von Villa Bella. B.
D. 190. Der vierjahirge Posten. B.
D. 470. Overture in B flat major. A.
D. 556. Overture in D major. A.
D. 12. Overture in D major. A+.
D. 796. Fierrabras. A+.

Schubert, Franz, D.796, Fierrabras. Fritz Wunderlich; recorded in 1959. B-. Beautifully melodic passages throughout, but a lack of restraint and its “songiness” prevent it from being anything near a real masterpiece. Also, I did not care for the soprano in this recording. Hitting the high notes, she sounds like she got her toe caught in a mousetrap.

Schubert, D. 105, Mass in F Major. B+. An upbeat, mostly joyful Mass, with flourishes of grandeur.

Schubert, D. 797, Rosamunde incidental music. B. Some great numbers, including the overture, Entr’acte No. 2, and Ballet Music No. 2. The conducting in this album is much sharper and expressive than other versions I’ve heard.

Schuman, William (1910-1992), Symphony No. 9, “Le Fosse Ardeatine”. C-. Saw live at CSO 2-21-19 with Kim. She kind of liked it; to me, discordant, disturbing, very unpleasant to listen to, with lots of weird percussion. (During the whole performance I was wondering how ROBERT Schumann could have written anything so weird. Ha!) The second part of the concert, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, was outstanding.

Schumann, Robert Alexander, Requiem Fuer Mignon, Op. 98b. B. Libretto in German, by Goethe. Not sure what this is about. Apparently Schumann was developing a new concept; critical reception appears to be negative. The libretto is from a novel by Goethe, so not sure why this is classified a Requiem. Sounds OK to me, but not like a Requiem Mass at all.

Smetena, Bedrich (1824-1884), JB 1. Ma Vlast (My Homeland). Six symphonic poems composed 1874-1879. The second is The Moldau.
Vysehrad – A-.
Vitava – A+.
Sarka – B.
Z ceskych luhu a haju – B+.
Tabor – A-.
Balnik – B.

String Quartet No. 1. C. Like so much of post-Baroque classical music, this piece expends a great deal of energy going nowhere.
String Quartet No. 2. C. Ditto. Meandering monkey business.

Stamitz Johann (1717-1757), Symphonies. A. You throw JS Bach and Mozart into a waffle iron, and out pops Stamitz.
Op. 3. No.2, Symphony in D Major.
Op. 11. No. 3, Symphony in E-flat Major.
Mannheim. Symphony in G Major.
Op. 5. Trio in E Major.

Stamitz, Johann, Orchestra Trios. B. Meh. Not bad. Technically tight and stylistically elegant, but it all sounds kind of the same, kind of like Mozart on an off day.
Orchestral Trio in C Major, Op. 1, No. 1.
Orchestral Trio in A Major, Op. 1, No. 2.
Orchestral Trio in F Major, Op. 1, No. 3.
Orchestral Trio in C Minor, Op. 4, No. 3.

Suppe, Requiem A- Somewhat operatic.

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1840-1893).
TH 75. Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. A-. Composed in 1878. A cappella, yet he achieves a depth of expression that is quite remarkable. Enriched Gregorian chant, as I would describe it. Very interesting.
TH 78. 9 Sacred Pieces. A-.

Georg Philipp Telemann

Telemann, Georg Philipp (1681-1767). Superbly well crafted. Telemann was a friend of Handel’s. Handel admired his work. He was friends with Handel and J.S. Bach. Not bad.
TWV 55:G10. Don Quichotte. A+. Comic serenata premiered in 1761.
TWV 52:a1. Concerto for recorder and viola. A.
TWV 55:G2. Overture for string and continuo, “La bizarre.” A+.
TWV 55:D6. Overture in D Major for Viola da gamba. A.

Telemann, TVWV deest. Germanicus. A+. Opera composed in 1704 and revised in 1710. This is good, more peppy than usual even for Telemann, very melodic, a great deal of variety in mood. I eliminated all the spoken recitatives before listening, which amounted to about one hour!

Telemann, HVWV 21:9. Der Geduldige Socrates (Patient Socrates). A+. Comic opera that premiered in 1721. First act very diverse and thoroughly entertaining. I love how Telemann puts these little melodic and rhythmic flourishes into every aria, making even the less exotic ones far more interesting. Most of the singing is in German, but he uses Italian for some of the more tender arias, and they are beautiful.

Telemann: Sacred Choral Music, Rheinische Kantorei& Hermann Max.
TWV 6:3 – A+. A huge success, a later work. Exuberant!! About 40 minutes; maybe my favorite longer Telemann work; solid from start to finish.
TWV 8:6 – A. Almost as good as “Donner.”
TWV 6:8 – A-. Telemann’s last oratorio, composed in 1762. “Judgment Day.”
TWV 1:138 – A-. More of a pastoral theme than in the preceding works of this collection.
TWV 1:394 – A.
TWV 1:988 – B+.
TWV 1:970 – B-.
TWV 1:822 – B.
TWV 20:10 – C+.
TWV 9:14 – B.
TWV 7:7 – B.
TWV 6:6 – Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, (Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus) – B. Sacred Oratorio, composed in 1760. BA5851_02

Telemann, Cantatas:–georg-philipp-telemann-kantaten-franzosischer-jahrgang-vol-1
TWV 1:966 – B.
TWV 1:882 – A+.
TWV 1:1458 – B.
TWV 1:288 – B.
TWV 1:32 – A-.
TWV 1:140 – B+.
TWV 1:1146 – A+.
TWV 1:777 – A-.
TWV 1:678 – A+.
TWV 1:1585

Telemann, TWV 21:27. Flavius Bertaridus. A-. Opera that premiered in 1729. Snappy and upbeat as his other operas are. Melodically not as interesting, but that’s a high bar. Big finish: the last 10 or so arias and chorus numbers are excellent. Same story as Rodelinda.

Telemann, TWV 21. Orpheus. A. Opera first performed in 1726. Overture sounds like a cross between Handel and Lully. This should be interesting. With Telemann, you never know what’s coming next, but it’s always better than you expected. Nary a sour note in this opera.

Telemann, TWV 21:24, Miriways. B-. Opera first performed in 1728 in Hamburg. Halfway through and disappointed. Lots of syncopation — too much, really. Melodies not great. Pretty flat emotionally. The second act is somewhat better.

Telemann, TWV 21:15, Pimpinone. A. Comic opera first performed in Hamburg in 1725. Lovely. Telemann must have had a great sense of humor; his music can be so comical.

Telemann: The Grand Concertos for Mixed Instruments, Vol. 6. I’m new to Telemann, but I like his ability to add nifty little melodic wrinkles/hooks here and there to add drama and intensity. Most of these movements start of slow and simple, and he layers on motifs, gradually building intensity into a whirlwind. Very entertaining.
TWV 50:2. Sinfonia Melodica C major. A-.
TWV 54:Es1. Concerto E flat major. A.
TWV 44:43. Concerto B flat major. A+.
TWV 50:4, Concerto E minor. A+.
TWV 53:A2. Concerto A major. B. The longest and least interesting in this set.

TWV 55:C3. Wasser (Watermusic) Orchestral Suite. A.
TWV 52:a1. Concerto in A Minor for Recorder and Viola da Gamba, Strings and Basso Contiuo. A.
TWV 55:G4. Des Nations, overtures. A+.
TWV 50:5. Conclusion from Tafelmusik for Two Flutes, Strings and Basso. A.

Telemann, TWV 13:18. Reformations. A- Oratorio.

Telemann, Der Getreue Musik-Meister. B. Meh.–der-getreue-musik-meister.

TWV 1:1606. Wertes Zion. A-.
TWV 1:988. Jesu wirst Du bad erscheinen.B+.
TWV 1:742. Herr Gott der du uns hast.B+
TWV 1:419. Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott. B+.
TWV 1:1546. Welch Getrummel erschuttert den Himmel. B.

Telemann, TWV 5:1, Brockes Passion. B+. The differences in Telemann’s operatic, symphonic, and sacred music are more apparent than most.

Telemann, Sacred Cantantas
TWV 4:19. B.
TWV 1:73. B.
TWV 43:F3. B+. Instrumental, sonata.
TWV1:1461. B+.
TWV 43:e5. B+. Concerto.
TWV 1:1371. B.
TWV 1:738. B.

Telemann, Grand Concertos, Vol. 1.
TWV deest – Concerto for 2 Trumpets and 2 Oboes in D. A.
TWV 54:B1 – Concerto for 2 Flutes and Oboe in B flat major. A-.
TWV 53:D3 – Concerto for 2 Oboe d’amore and Cello in D major. B+.
TWV 53:E1 – Concerto in E major for flute, oboe d’amore, viola d’amore, strings and b.c. A-.
TWV 44:42 – Septet in A minor. B+.
TWV 50:3 – Sinfonia in F major. B+.

TWV 54:D2, Concerto for Three Horns and Violin in D Major. A+. Fast, slow, fast. Great pace, melodies, emotion.
TWV 55:C5. La Bouffonne Suite. A+. Magnificent, just like the preceding opus.
TWV 50:1. Grillen-Symphonie. A-.
TWV 55:F11. Aister Overture. B. Well, nobody bats 1000.

Telemann, Tafelmusik. B. Considered the pinnacle of table music, compared to Brandenburg Concertos for virtuosity. Kind of blah; as the title suggests, good background music for chowing down on a leg of mutton, but not for an intense, concentrated listening experience.–telemann-tafelmusik-i-iii

Telemann, TWV 51. Oboe Concertos.
-c1: A.
-d1: A.
-A2: A+.
-D5: A.
-G3: A.
-e1: A.

Telemann Concertos.
55:Es2. Overture in E flat major for Flute pastorelle and strings. A.
51:D2. Flute Concerto in D major. A-.
43:B3. Quartet in B flat major. A-.
55:a2. Overture in A minor. A.

Telemann, Double Concerti for Winds and Strings (Rebel & Jorg-Michael Schwarz).
TWV 52:e3. Concerto in E Minor for Traverso, Violin and Strings. A.
TWV 52:G1. Concerto in G Major for 2 Violins and Strings. A.
TWV 53:D5. Concerto in D Major for Trumpet, Violin and Strings. A.
TWV 52:e2. Concerto in E Minor for 2 Traversos, Bassoon and Strings. A-
TWV 52:G2. Concerto a 6 in G Major for 2 Violins and Strings. A+.
TWV 52:e1. Concerto in E Minor for Recorder, Traverso and Strings. B+.

Telemann — Sonata for Oboe. A-. The usual Telemann elegance.

Telemann, Georg. Wassermusik. A+. This is fantastic. From joyful to sorrowful, the melodies and arrangements are inspiring. Terrific.

Telemann: Overtures L’Orfeo Barockorchester & Carin van Heerden. B+. Good, but not great.

– TWV 55:G1, Suite in G Major
– TWV 55:B13, Suite in B-flat major
– TWV 55:G5, Suite in G Major

Telemann, Baroque Concertos, Cologne New Philharmonic Orchestra & Volker Hartung

– TWV 54:D1, Concerto for 2 Flutes, Violin & Cello in D Major. B+. It’s hard to keep all these Telemann numbers straight; this one sounds familiar in many spots. Does not rise to his highest heights, but still entertaining.
– TWV 44.1, Trumpet Sonata in D Major. A. More somber than the preceding work, and more melodic.

Telemann, Viola Concertos: (NEW RELEASE 2022) – Antoine Tamestit, Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, Sabine Fehlandt & Bernhard Forck.
– TWV 55:B8. B+.
– TWV 51:G9. A+.
– TWV 40:121. B.
– TWV 40:15. B-. Fantasia.
– TWV:g2. A+. “La Changeante.” The overture is spectacular.
– TWV 40:14. B-. Fantasia.
– TWV 52:G3. A.

Vanhal, Johann Baptiste (1739-1813), Symphony in G Major, Bryan G8. A. Mozart lite.

Vanhal [Wanhal], Johann Baptist (1739-1813), Missa Solemnis in E-Flat Major. A- Intense changes in mood, shifting between gloriously joyful and solemn.

Veneziano, Gaetano (1665-1716), Office of the Dead. B+. Dignified, restrained, solid, beautiful, but not particularly memorable. Veneziano was a contemporary of Alessandro Scarlatti.

Veneziano, Ila Santissima Triniti. From 1693. B.–veneziano-la-santissima-trinita

Venturini, Francesco (1675-1745), Concerti, op. 1. B. La Festa Musicale. Concerti di camera, Op. 1, No, 9, is my clear favorite, easily meriting an A. All in all, very pleasant but not particularly dynamic. Other concerti: Nos. 2, 11, Overture 5, Overture 6.

Verdi, Giuseppe (1813-1901), Aida. A+. Out. Freaking. Standing. Took 4 months of classical conditioning to appreciate this dramatic, expressive, melodic, and intricately arranged music. The arias are so melodic and packed with feeling (great singers in this recording, including Leontyne Price, Robert Merrill, and conducted by Sir Georg Solti).

Verdi, Requiem. A. More of a performance piece, but beautiful, nonetheless.

Verdi, Rigoletto. B-. Premiered in 1851. Off to a great start with the prelude – one of the best I’ve ever heard. Sends chills up your spine. The plot is really awfully gruesome. Fluctuates between comic and intensely foreboding. Mostly forgettable. And I’m sorry I just don’t like Maria Callas. Her voice strikes me as rather shrill and very unpleasant at the high end of her range.

Viadana, Lodavico (1560-1627). Sinfonie muiscali 8, Opus 18. A. Developed the basso continuo (and the figured bass notation), important in the transition of Renaissance to Baroque music. Some truly exquisite compositions: disciplined, intense, excellent use of brass.

Viadana, Canzonette, Book 1. A. Excellent, melodic with strong Gregorian overtones.

Vivaldi, Antonio (1678-1741), RV 705. Catone in Utica. B (Arias only). Premiered in 1737. Act 1 not so good, full of interminable recitatives and mildly melodic/interesting arias. Not sure the score for Act 1 was composed by Vivaldi. Act 2 is about the same. I deleted all the recitatives – never did that before. Sounds a bit like Handel, but more florid.

Vivaldi, Pieta – Sacred works by Vivaldi, Philippe Jaroussky
– RV 625, Clara Stella e scintillate – B+.
– RV 621, Stavat Mater – A-.
– RV 638, Filiae maestae Jerusalem – A-.
– RV 120, Concerto in C Minor – A.
– RV 589, Gloria in D Major – B.
– RV 629, Longe mala, umbrae, terrores – A-.
– RV 618, Salve Regina in G Minor – A.

Vivaldi, RV 700. Arsilda. C+. Opera first performed in 1716. Much better than Catone at the beginning. Still, far too many recitatives for me. Yakkity yak. Act 2 not as good as Act 1. Some great moments, but overall, an unacceptably high ratio of dull recitatives and arias to great moments.

Vivaldi, RV 630. Nulla in mundo pax sincera. A-.

⁃ RV 108, Concerto in A Minor. B.
⁃ RV 410, Concerto in F Major. B.

Vivaldi, Orchestre Baroud d’Avignon & Lois de Crilhon. A. I vacillate on Vivaldi. There’s vexingly vapid Vivaldi, and then there’s the vibrant yet venerable Vivaldi we so greatly value. These concertos are definitely the latter!
– RV 419, Concerto in A Minor.
– RV 421, Concerto in A Minor.
– RV 424, Concerto in B Minor.
– RV 399, Concerto in C Major.

RV 169, Symphonie No. 7 in B Minor – A+.
– RV 120, Konzert No. 8 in C Minor – A+.
– RV 407, Concerto in D Minor – A+.
– RV 423, Concerto in B Flat Major – A.
– RV 402, Concerto in C Minor – A-.
– RV 418, Concerto in A Minor – A-.
– RV 403, Concerto in D Major – B+.
– RV 424, Concerto in B Minor – A.
– RV 409, Concerto in E Minor – A.

Vivaldi, Il Mondo al rovescio, Concerti con molti istruenti, Amandine Meyer & Gli Incogniti.
– RV 562, Concerto in D Major. C+.
– RV 432, Flute Concerto in E Minor. B.
– RV 556, Concerto in C Major. C.
– RV 571, Concerto in F Major. C+.

Vivaldi, Op. 3, L’estro armonico, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner. A+. Consists of:
RV 549
RV 578
RV 310
RV 550
RV 519
RV 356
RV 567
RV 522
RV 230
RV 580
RV 565
RV 265
– RV 456, Oboe Concerto in F major – B.
– RV 498, Bassoon Concerto in A Minor – A+.
– RV 441, Flute Concerto in C Minor – A.
– RV 574 (?), Concerto in F Major for Two Oboes, Bassoon, Two Horns and Violin – A.
The L’estro concertos are the longest sustained brilliance by Vivaldi I’ve heard in my relatively short exposure to his music. Really wonderful.

Vivaldi, Nisi Dominus & Stabat Mater, Philippe Joroussky & Ensemble Matheus.
– RV 608, Nisi Dominus – A-.
– RV 592, Crucifixus – A-.
– RV 621 – Stabat Mater – A.

Vivaldi, 6 Concerti per violoncello, Lucq Fiorentini & L’offerta Musicale Ensemble.
– RV 418, Cello Concerto in A Minor. A-.
– RV 401, Cello Concerto in C Minor. A-.
– RV 417, Cello Concerto in G Minor. A-.
– RV 400, Cello Concerto in C Major. B+.
– RV 420, Cello Concerto in A Minor. A.
– RV 404, Cello Concerto in D Major. A.

Vivaldi, Caprice & Matthias Maute Ensemble, The Return of the Angels:
– RV 644, Judith triumphant – A+. Glorious: Upbeat, melodic, each movement having a distinctive feel.
– RV 566, Concerti in D Minor – B. Movement 3 of 3 is OK; the other two are blah.
– RV 606. Laudate Dominum – A.
– {Zelenka), Gesù al Calvario (Dresden 1735) – A.
– RV 604, In exit Israel – A-.
– RV 631, Motet O qui coeli – A-.
– RV 563, Concerto in D Major for Trumpet, Oboe, Strings and Continuo – A.
– RV 588, Gloria – A.

Vivaldi, RV 728, Orlando Furioso. B+. Jean-Cristophe Spinosi & Ensemble Matheus. Opera first performed in 1727. First act aria “Sol da Te, Mia Dolce Amore” features a haunting flute solo intertwined with the singing … most unusual. It’s pleasant throughout, with standout passages here and there. I notice that generally I love Vivaldi’s minor key compositions, whereas I find his major key works rather routine. I believe Veronica Cangemi is the soprano, and she has a wonderful voice. The singing and orchestration is terrific in this recording.

Vivaldi, String Concertos, Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana & Alessandro Arigoni.
– RV 159, Konzert No. 1 in A Major. A-.
– RV 158, Konzert No. 4 in A Major. A-.
– RV 129, Konzert No. 10 in D Minor. A-.
– RV 151, Konzert No. 11 in G Major. A.
– RV 160, Konzert No. 22 in A Major. A.
– Konzert No. 36 in D Major. A.

Vogel, Johann Cristoph (1756-1788), Symphony 1 in D major, Symphony 2 in E-flat major, and Symphony 3 in B-flat major. B+. Each consists of three movements of about 5-8 minutes in duration. Excellent mini-melodic motifs. Exuberant.

Vogel – La toison d’or (The Golden Fleece). A. Premiered in 1786. The overture is highly energized and dramatic, with several themes – a promising start. He’s definitely taking the reforms of Gluck a step further. Sounds much closer to Verdi than Handel, or even Mozart, especially in the choruses. Act 2 is exciting — and fun. Lots of Aida-like drama but gravitates back to a statelier Handel-like treatment, even within arias. Altogether entertaining! A hidden gem.

Vogler, Requiem in E flat major. A. unique style, short movements, dramatic. Vogler was in Salzburg (I think); Mozart disliked him and had no respect for his abilities as a composer.

Werner, Joseph Werner (1693-1766), Vol. 1, Salve Reginas & Pastorals, La Festa Musicale & Lajos Rovatkay. B. No part of these is objectionable in any way, very pleasant, but neither do they reach any heights. On the cusp of greatness. (Werner was J. Haydn’s predecessor for the Esterhazy family. Didn’t like JH’s new musical ideas or his administrative skills.)

Zelenka, ZWV 61, Il serpente di bronzo. A-. Adam Viktora, Inegal Ensemble & Petra Noskaiova. Very pleasant, which seems odd considering the subject matter. More intensity than ZWV 203, Jeremiah.

Zelenka, Jan Dismas (1679-1745) ZWV 68. Magnificat, Missa Nativitatis Domini in D Major, Dixit Dominus. A. beautiful start to finish, fast tempo, melodic, intricate.

Zelenka, ZWV 57. Miserere in C Minor Psalm 50. A+.

Zelenka, Missa Sancti Josephi, ZMV 14. A. Pure, slow, and sad movements as well as exuberant ones. Beautiful choir.

Zelenka, ZWV 17. Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis in A Minor. A+. Completed in 1736, a later work. Operatic flavor with many soli, but I like it anyway. Beautiful melodies. short movements, breaking down Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei into short sub-movements. No brass in the arrangement.

– ZWV 50. Psalm 130, De Profundis in D Minor A-. Text of Psalm 130: Slower tempo than ZWV 57 above, sadder in tone.
– Zelenka, Psalmi Vespertini II. B. Good, but I like his Masses better. More energetic.
– ZWV 48. Requiem in C Minor. A. Composed in c1737. Composed for Kaiser Joseph 1.,_Holy_Roman_Emperor. Not as consistently powerful and beautiful as other works of Zelenka I’ve heard, but still many moments of inexpressible beauty and piety.

Zelenka, ZWV 175. Overture, Melodrama de Sancto Wenceslas. B+. The 7-minute overture to the opera.
Zelenka, ZWV 181. Trio Sonata, No. 1 in F, No. 2 in G Flat, No. 3 in B Flat, No. 4 in G Flat, No. 5 in F, No. 6 in C flat. B+. Composed c. 1721. Excellent counterpoint, almost JP Bach quality.

Zelenka, ZWV 183. Capriccio No. 2 in G Major. A. Light, airy, melodic, with sharp rhythms. Final movement of seven, Minuet & Trio, stands out melodically.

Zelenka, ZWV 184. Capriccio No. 3 in F Major. A. Triumphant second movement, Allegro, followed by contrasting sad, slow, deliberate Allemande (a Baroque and Renaissance dance style, French, rooted in German folk dance).

Zelenka, ZWV 186. Concerto in 8 in G Major. A. First movement sprightly with long melody lines. Second movement, Largo, sad, and slow; strong contrast; starts out with a brief oboe (?) solo, which is unusual. Here’s the original score: file:///Users/bradshorr/Desktop/Complete%20Score.pdf. Looks like he spilled coffee all over it. 🙂 Solid throughout.

Zelenka, ZWV 187. Hiponcondrie in 7 in A Major. B+. Title seems to mean “melancholy.” He is trying to capture the mood of melancholy in this piece. Abrupt shifts in key, tempo, along with somewhat choppy rhythms, give the piece a slightly edgier feel than usual.

Zelenka, ZWV 188. Overture in F Major. B. Sprightly first dominated by brass and reed followed by a mournful second featuring violin. Overall, rather tedious thematically and texturally. But still listenable!

Zelenka, ZWV 185. Capriccio in A Major. B+. Not bad, not his best. Very listenable, sprightly.

Zelenka, ZWV 203. The Lamentations of Jeremiah. B. More complex and lengthier than many of his works, it has a certain beauty but lacks an intensity one might expect from so ambitious a work.

– ZWV 7. Missa Paschalis. A. Fabulous, festive, with appropriately solemn passages.
– ZWV 153. Litaniae Omnium Sanctorum. Litany of Saints. A.

Zelenka. Inegal Ensemble, Adam Viktora & Prague Baroque Soloists. Interesting background on this mass and Zelenka’s life:

– ZWV 21.Missa omnium sanctorum. Zelenka’s last work. A-.
– ZWV 29. Christie eleison. A.
– ZWV 164. Barbara dira efferal. A-. Motet. Almost operatic.


Orchestral Music, Italian, 18th Century – Jommelli, Pergolosi, Fiorenza, Sacchini, Piccinni, Anfossi. B+. If they had had elevators in 18th century Italy, this music would have been playing. Very relaxing, inoffensive, and smooth.–18th-century-italian-orchestral-music.

Stutamann, Nathalie: Quella Fiamma (That Flame) – Collection of Baroque arias, concert music and sacred music. A. Gem after gem.–quella-fiamma-arie-antiche. Conducted and sung by Stutamann.

Gigi, Benjamino: Ancient Arias & Sacred Songs. A. A collection of arias for tenor sung by Beniamino Gigi, top Italian tenor of the 1920s-40s.

Sofia Boys’ Choir
Brixi, Simon (1693-1735), Magnificat. A+. What a pleasant surprise. Dramatic, intense, melodic, every note solid.
Haydn, Michael, Duetche Messe. C.

Collection, Ludwig Guttler, Festliches Barock. B. Includes Biber, Romanus Wichlein, Pavel Josef Vejvanovsky, Daniel Purcell, August Kerniger, Antonio Caldara, Fasch.

Collection, Animal gementem cano:
Biber, Requiem in F Minor – B+.
Clamer, Andreas Christophorus Clamer (1633-1701), Partita I in E Minor – B+.
Tuma, František Ignac Antonin (1704-1774), Stabat Mater in G Minor – B.

Collection, I Musici: The Columbia Records (Recorded 1953-1954)
– Pergolesi, Violin Concerto in B-flat major. A-. Complex, sad.
– Corelli, Concerto grosso in D Major, Opus 6. A. Tender, sad, complex, soulful.
– Martini, Harpsichord Concerto in F Major. C.
– Tartini, Giuseppe, Cello Concerto in A Major. B-. The Larghetto movement is one of the saddest (most depressing?) pieces of music I’ve heard.
– Galuppi, Baldassara, Concerto 4 No. 6 in B-flat major. B-.
– Van Wassenaer, Unico Wilhelm, Concerto armonico No. 1-6. A-. Solid music from a career diplomat who sidelined as a composer!
– Gabriella, Giovanni, Cazon in echo duodecimi toni, Ch 180. A. Haunting. Beautiful.
– Marcello, Benedetto, Concerto for Violin & Cello in F major, Opus 1. B.
– Benedetto, Introduction, Aria & Presto. B+.
– Albinoni, Concerto for Strings in D Major, Opus 9. A.
– Vivaldi, Concerto for Viola d’amore in D Minor, RV 394. A.
– Vivaldi, Concerto for Viola d’amore in A Major, RV 396. C+. Usually when I listen to Vivaldi, I feel like I’m having a tooth extracted. Too often he sounds either too on the nose, or else completely off the face.
– Vivaldi, Concerto for Strings in D Minor, RV 129.
– Vivaldi, Concerto for Strings in A Major, RV 158 “Concerto ripieno.” A-.

Collection – Rare Baroque Concertos, Camerata Bern & Jorg Ewald Dahler.
– Bach, Wilhelm Frederich, Cembalo Concerto in F Minor. A-.
– Albinoni, Tomaso, Sonata for Strings Z & Cembalo in A Major, Pous 2, No. 3. A+.
– Birkenstock, Johann Adam (1687-1733), Concertina No. 1 in G Major for 4 Violins, Cello & Continuo. A-.
– Vivaldi, Concerto in B Minor for 4 Violins, Cello, Strings & Cembalo, RV 580. A-.

Collection, Avanti l’opera, An A-Z of Italian Baroque Overtures. A-.

Collection, Ghirlanda sacra, Nicola Lamon & Ensemble Primi Toni. C+. – Includes Monteverdi, Giovanni Rovetta, Alessandro Granì, Giacomo Finetti, Dario Castello, Francesco Usper, Amadio Freddi, Giovanni Pozzo, Bartolomeo Barbarino, Giacomo Arigoni, Andrea Stella and more. A collection of 44 motets edited by Monteverdi, published in Venice in 1625.

Collection, Italian Music for Cornets and Trombones (1580-1680), Concerto Palatino. B+. Gabrieli, Ascanio Trombetti, Usper, Palestrina, Ruggier Trofeo, Cesario Gussago, Lodovico Viadana, Francesco Cavalli, Ottavia Vernizzi, Dario Castello, Giuseppe Scarani.

Collection, I Fagiolini, Monteverdi, The Other Vespers. A. Includes Lodavica Viadana, Monteverdi, Palestrina, Ignazio Donati, Dario Castello, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Gabrieli, Francesco Usper. Gabrieli’s Magnficant 14 is A+.

Collection, Mysterium, Sacred Arias, Angela Gheorghiu, Ion Marin & London Philharmonic Orchestra. B.

Collection, Schutz: Geistliche Chormusik, Collegium Vocal Gent & Philippe Herreweghe. B-. A collection of motets, printed in 1648 in Dresden.

Collection, Mr. Charles the Hungarian. B. It’s OK; a lot of light, airy selections with brass. The Bocchi and Lully pieces is nice.–mr-charles-the-hungarian-handels-rival-in-dublin

– Selections from Handel, HWV 8c,el pastor fido
– Handel, HWV 17, Guulio Cesare, Act I Scene 9
– Hasse, Concerto in F Major
– Hasse, Concerto, Op. 4 No. 1
– Handel, HWV 348, Water Music, Suite No. 1
– Handel, HWV 349, Suite No. 2
– Handel, HWV 314, Concerto Grosso in G Major, Op. 3 No. 3
– Telemann, TWV 41:84, Napolitana
– Bocchi, Lorenzo, (16??-1745), Sonata X
– Mr. Charles (fl. 1734-1755), Twelve Duets for Two French Horns
– Lully, LWV 43, Act 4, Le bourgeois gentilhomme