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.
Participants post links to short classical pieces in the social media channel of their choice, using the #ClassicsaDay and #ClassicalShorts hashtags.
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 third week of #ClassicalShorts.
Jean Sibelius – Finlandia, Op. 26
Sibelius’ 1899 tome poem was veiled protest of Russian censorship. It was originally the finale to a tableau of Finnish history. To avoid censorship, the work would be listed in programmes with different titles.
Carl Friedrich Abel – Symphony No. 1 in G major, Op. 7
Abel team up with Johann Christian Bach to present a concert series in London. The highly successful Bach-Abel concerts ran from 1764-1782. Many of Abel’s symphonies were written for these concerts.
Paul Hindemith – Konzertstucke for Two Alto saxophones
Beginning in the 1920s, saxophonist Sigurd Raschèr asked composers to write for his instrument to expand the repertoire. Hindemith was so excited by the prospect he wrote a work for two soloists (although Raschèr didn’t have another soloist in mind).
Joseph Jongen – Piano Sonatina op 88
Jongen was an important organist and composer of the early 20th Century. Although he wrote over 240 works in all genres, only his organ pieces are regularly performed — and other notable keyboard compositions such as this sonatina.
Barbara Strozzi – L’amante secreto
Venetian Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) was renowned for her singing and composing. In her lifetime eight volumes of her vocal music were published. “L’amante secreto” is a good example of her vocal writing.
George Enescu – Konzertstucke for violin and piano
The Konzertucke was commissioned by Gabriel Fauré for an international competition hosted by the Paris Conservatoire. Enescu sat on the jury, and also wrote companion jury pieces for trumpet, harp. and flute.