Both of the major musical compositions for the month of May can be understood a “masterpieces in their own way.
Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ – an impression of the sea as seen from the heart - is regarded today as a masterpiece of musical impressionism, although that wasn’t always the case. The premiere of the work in 1905 was met with a mixture of boos, whistles and restrained applause. There were no boos and whistles as our group listened to it, and neither was there an enthusiastic reception overall. Masterpiece or not, impressionism is clearly not to everyone’s taste.
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 was regarded by Brahms as a “masterpiece of art, full of inspiration and ideas. Beethoven remarked to a pianist friend “we’ll never be able to write anything like that”, while some scholars and musicologists claim it to be one of the greatest piano concertos ever composed. Yet this concerto is written in the minor key - unlike most of Mozart compositions – and so for other listeners a work not easily recognisable as belonging to Mozart. Such was the case with our group’s listening experience.
For those reading this, then, perhaps you can listen to each and form your own opinion. It’s all available (recordings and notes) via the links below. While you are at it, why not check out the rest of the month’s music selections: - something a little more recognisable as Mozart, some Mendelssohn and Haydn, Tchaikovsky and, of course, given the other big event of the month, some Coronation music.
Session Notes 12th May
Session Notes 26th May
Debussy - La Mer
Mozart - Piano Concerto No.24
Mozart Symphony No.35
Handel - Zadok the Priest
Handel - The King Shall Rejoice
Handel - Let Thy Hand be Strengthened
Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance March No.1
Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture
Haydn - Symphony No. 83
Tchaikovsky - Capriccio Italien