February is the shortest month of the year. That fact inspired #ClassicsaDay team (of which I’m a member) to make short classical pieces the theme for the month. The challenge is to select stand-alone works, not movements of larger pieces.
How short is short? That’s up to the individual. I limited my selections to playing times of less than ten minutes. I also tried to include a variety of style periods, and have both famous and unusual works in the mix.
Here are my selections for the first week of #ClassicalShorts.
John Adams – Short Ride on a Fast Machine
Adams considers this 1986 work a fanfare for orchestra. “Short Ride” is one of Adams’ popular and oft-performed compositions.
C.P.E. Bach, Solfeggietto in C minor
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote this piece in 1766. It’s one of his most famous compositions. The work consists of a single line melody, distributed between the clefs. It’s often used to train students to play equally with both hands.
Fritz Kreisler, ‘Schön Rosmarin’
This work was originally part of “3 Old Viennese Dances.” Over time, this popular tune has taken on a life of its own as an encore piece.
Claudio Monteverdi, ‘Cantate Domino’
Monteverdi’s setting of Psalm 97 is for six voices — 2 sopranos, alto, tenor, and 2 basses. The title, “Cantate Domino canticum novum” means “Sing to the Lord a new song.”
Frederic Chopin Nocturne No. 5 in F-sharp major Op. 15 No. 2
Chopin dedicated his Op. 15 Nocturnes to Ferdinand Hiller, an important composer, and pianist of the era. The Nocturne in F-sharp major is a technically demanding work, worthy of Hiller’s talents.
Francisco Tarrega, ‘Lagrima’
This is one of Tarrega’s most popular works. The guitar virtuoso composed it while touring London in 1881. The composition exists in different forms, and there’s some question as to which (if any) is the prelude as Tarrega wrote it.