I Write The Music

Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) – Piano Sonata (1934)

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on August 15, 2017


Published on May 23, 2016

00:00 – I. Allegro
10:27 – II. Adagio ma non troppo
18:08 – III. Andante – Allegretto
Pf. Gloria Cheng
Lutosławski’s Piano Sonata, the only composition preserved from his early student years, was completed on 29 December 1934. That three-movement work was modelled on the music of Debussy and – to a certain extent – Ravel (especially his Sonatine). The composer himself acknowledged Szymanowski’s influences. The rich palette of sound colours reveals impressionistic origins and, in most of the Sonata (and especially its first movement), the basis of the timbre is the quick succession of broken chords, providing, by means of the pedal, a glimmering background for the subjects and independent motives. The Sonata places certain technical demands on the pianist . In order to perform it correctly, considerable dexterity is required as well as a mastery of passage-work and octave technique, sensitivity to instrumental colouring and skill in bringing polyphony into prominence vividly. In later years Lutosławski’s attitude towards his youthful Sonata was so critical that, though the manuscript survived the turmoil of war, he never decided to publish it. In the 1970s Ryszard Bakst acquired a copy of the music and recorded it for Polish Radio, albeit against the wishes of the composer. Danuta Gwizdalanka, Krzysztof Meyer (excerpt from the book Lutosławski. A Road to Mastery)


Sihyeon Choe 

Hindemith – Konzertmusik – for strings and brass

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on August 10, 2017



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Enrique Granados – Goyescas – Pianist Alicia De Larrocha

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on August 9, 2017


David Kim 

Published on Oct 23, 2015

Alicia De Larrocha, Piano

1. Book 1: Los Requiebros
2. Book 1: Coloquio En La Reja
3. Book 1: El Fandango De Candil
4. Book 1: Quejas O La Maja Y El Ruiseñor
5. Book 2: El Amor Y La Muerte (Balada)
6. Book 2: Epilogo: La Serenada Del Espectro
7. Book 2: El Pelele


Carl Vine – Piano Sonata No. 1 – Uses Cross Rhythms

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on August 8, 2017



Published on Jan 11, 2016

– Composer: Carl Vine, AO (8 October 1954 — present)
– Performer: Michael Kieran Harvey
– Year of recording: 1991

Piano Sonata No. 1, written in 1990.

00:00 – I. [no dynamic tempo marking]
08:23 – II. Leggiero e legato

Australian composer Carl Vine uses a lot of open fourths and fifths in this piano sonata, and chords/arpeggios are often based on stacked fourths or fifths. The sonata is reminiscent in its form of Elliot Carter’s piano sonata, and in its intensity of Samuel Barber’s piano sonata.

Notes by the dedicatee, Michael Harvey:
“Drawing on the lithe beauty and contrapuntal elegance of the earlier Piano Sonata (1946) by Elliot Carter, the [1st] Piano Sonata by Carl Vine is a work characterised by intense rhythmic drive and the building up of layers of resonance. These layers are sometimes delicate and modal, archieving a ‘pointed’ polyphony by the use of complex cross-rhythm, at other times they are granite-like in density, creating waves of sound which propel the music irresistibly towards its climax.

The scheme is similar to the Carter Sonata – Two movements, with the slow section built into and defining the faster portions of the first movement. The second movement is based on a ‘moto perpetuo’ which soon gives way to a chorale section, based on parallel fifths.

In discussing the work, Vine is reticent about offering explanations for the compositional processes involved, feeling that these are self-evident, and indeed the work is definitely aurally ‘accessible’ on first hearing. However one of the main concerns in this sonata is the inter-relationship between disparate tempi, which is the undercurrent of the work and its principle binding element.

The work is dedicated to me and was commissioned by the Sydney Dance Company to be choreographed by Graeme Murphy. The first concert performance of this work was on 23 June 1991 in Melbourne. The first dance performance of Piano Sonata was in the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House in May, 1992.”


Francis Poulenc – Piano Concerto FP. 146

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on July 31, 2017


ublished on Jun 28, 2016

This was the last of Poulenc’s five concertos. While in the first fifteen years of his career Poulenc had made a reputation as a light-hearted composer, personal crises in the late 1930s awakened a dormant religious sensibility. Thereafter, including the war years, he had written music of considerably more seriousness of purpose, but even in them retained his lightness of touch and his ability to charm. After the war ended, restoring communication between Paris and America, the Boston Symphony Orchestra commissioned this piano concerto from Poulenc. It was premiered by that orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch on January 6, 1950, with the composer as soloist.

Now Poulenc returned, for this composition, to his earlier breezy style. The composition is in three movements, each smaller than the previous one; their lengths are about ten, five and a half, and four minutes. The piano is not treated as an individual protagonist against the orchestra, but as a part of the entire ensemble.

The concerto opens with the piano playing one of Poulenc’s rhythmic ideas of faux gruffness, which is countered by a lovely tune on English horn. Reminiscent of various Rachmaninoff themes, the movement meanders here and there, never quite making up its mind; there are subdued hints of the approaching Poulenc opera “Dialogues of the Carmelites.”

The slow second movement is tender, with a sense of some sadness, using a string melody introduced with softly marching rhythms in the horns. The movement then acquires a certain airy repose after the start.

The finale is called Rondeau à la française and is in a very fast tempo. In one of the final episodes, a tune appears which has been traced back to A la claire fontaine, an old sea chanty dating back to the time of Lafayette. Its first few notes are the same as that of Foster’s song “Old Folks at Home” (or “Swanee River”), which some French commentators have mid-identified as a “Negro spiritual.” Poulenc blends it, surprisingly, with a Brazilian maxixe rhythm.

The concerto was not particularly well received, though; and was noted that there was “more sympathy than real enthusiasm,” which the composer attributed to the notion that the audience had listened to too much Sibelius. One critic wrote in Le Figaro: “Certainly it isn’t a concerto at all but a little picture of manners, done up by a minor master.” But Poulenc wrote: “I lead an austere existence in this very Puritan town.”

(AllMusic, Wikipedia)

Please take note that the audio AND the sheet music ARE NOT mine. Change the quality to a minimum of 480p if the video is blurry.

Original audio: classical-music-online.net
Original sheet music: imslp.org


Arvo Part – Bamboo Dream (Cloud Gate Dance Theatre) – 2002

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on July 19, 2017




Hymn to the Sun with the Beat of the Mother Earth – Satoshi Yagisawa – 7-18-17

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on July 18, 2017



HAPPY 4TH – J.P. SOUSA – The Stars and Stripes Forever

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on July 4, 2017

Aram Khachaturian – Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1932) [Score-Video]

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on June 30, 2017

A Conversation with Igor Stravinsky, 1957

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on June 29, 2017


John Randolph

Published on Aug 14, 2016

A Conversation with Igor Stravinsky
from The Wisdom Series, 1957


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Johannes Brahms – Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60 “Werther” (Trio Arte and Gérard Caussé)

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on June 26, 2017
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Beethoven – Piano Sonata 23, Op.57 “Appassionata” (Color-Coded Analysis V2)

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on June 25, 2017


The Daily Beethoven

(Make sure “Annotations” is ON to see section labels)

Piano Sonata No.23 in Fm, Op.57 (‘Appassionata’)
1.Allegro assai @0:00
2.Andante con moto (attaca) @9:06
3.Allegro ma non troppo @15:33

Piano: Annie Fischer

(Version with Alfred Brendel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89hcfg…)

Note: at this time the annotations will not appear on mobile devices, so if possible please watch from a computer.

For more videos of this type see:
Color-Coded Analysis of Beethoven’s Music (INDEX):

Introduction to Sonata Form:

This analysis was assisted in large part by Donald Tovey’s “Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas”.

My Analysis Cheat Sheet:
-SONATA FORM: Most common form, almost always in the 1st movement and often last movement of a work. The basic sequence is Intro, Exposition, Development, Recapitulation and Coda.
-EXPOSITION: Main theme(s) are presented, usually in the home key and then a modulated key
-THEME / THEME GROUP: musical “paragraph”. These can be broken down into 1 or more “tunes”. These are grouped according to key and end on cadences. The 1st Theme Group is in the home key. The 2nd Theme Group is in the dominant or other key.
-CLOSING/CADENCE SECTION: a theme group which closes the Expo or Recap (it follows the 2nd theme) and revives Theme 1 to provide closure.
-MODULATING BRIDGE/TRANSITION: material to get from 1 key/theme group to another, often w sequencing.
-DEVELOPMENT: free-form “working out”/”fantasia” section where earlier themes are subjected to variations and atomizations. Possibly a new theme is introduced (“Eroica”).
-RECAPITULATION: Repeat of the Expo, except that this section remains in the same key throughout and there can be theme variations from the initial Expo versions of themes.
-CODA: Follows the Recap, kind of a second development designed to finish off the work.
-SEQUENCING: repeating a phrase on different starting notes (keys)
-TERNARY FORM: 3-part form in A-B-A, usually a Scherzo or Minuet
-SCHERZO/MINUET: 1st pt. of a 3-pt. Scherzo form, usually AA.BA’.BA’ in 3/4 time. Lively.
-TRIO: Middle section of a Scherzo movement, slower, broader than the Scherzo section
-RONDO: Similar to Sonata form except that the Development is replaced by a new section and there is less transition material. A principal theme (A) alternates with contrasting themes (BCD…). (Ex.ABACABA.)
-FUGUE: form in which a subject(s) undergoes canonical permutations
-VARIATION: repeat of a theme with variation
-CADENZA: unaccompanied instrumental solo
-BINARY FORM: Structure in AB. 2-Part Song form.
(Disclaimer: I do not have a music degree, all of the above is purely from memory and observation)


Alberto Ginastera – Suite de Danzas Criollas for Piano, Op. 15

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on June 4, 2017

Bach – A Passionate Life – (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on April 30, 2017

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Serenade No. 10 in B-flat major, K. 361 “Gran Partita”

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on April 23, 2017


Published on Oct 27, 2015

– Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 — 5 December 1791)
– Performers:
Oboe – Stephen Taylor (principal) & Melanie Field
Clarinet – William Blount (principal) & Daniel Olsen
Bassett Horn – Gary Koch (principal) & Mitchell Weiss
Horn – Stewart Rose (principal), Scott Temple, William Purvis, and Russell Rizner
Bassoon – Dennis Godburn (principal) & Marc Goldberg
String Bass – John Feeney
– Conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras
– Year of recording: 1994

Serenade No. 10 for winds in B flat major (“Gran Partita”), K. 361 (K. 370a), written in 1781.

00:00 – I. Largo. Molto Allegro
09:18 – II. Menuetto – Trio I – Trio II
19:35 – III. Adagio
25:06 – IV. Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio I – Trio II
30:28 – V. Romance. Adagio – Allegretto – Adagio
37:49 – VI. Tema con Variazioni
47:22 – VII. Finale. Molto Allegro

Mozart’s 10th Serenade for winds is scored for thirteen instruments (twelve winds and string bass). The piece was probably composed in 1781 or 1782 and is often known by the subtitle “Gran Partita”, though the title is a misspelling and not from Mozart’s hand.

– The opening movement begins with a slow introduction in B flat major in which tutti syncopated rhythms are set in opposition to solo passages for clarinet and oboe. This leads into the Allegro moderato, which is a monothematic sonata form. The first theme of the exposition opens, originally presented in B flat major in the clarinets, later returns in F major in the basset horns and oboes in a modified form as the second theme. This theme continues to be explored in the development and returns in the recapitulation, this time in B flat major both times.

– The second movement is a minuet featuring two contrasting trio sections. The minuet section is in B flat major and uses all the instruments extensively. The first trio is in E-flat major and employs only the clarinets and basset horns. This section leads into a repeat of the minuet section. The second trio section is in the relative minor, G minor, and extensively uses the solo oboe, basset horn and bassoon.

– The third movement, described by Goodwin as “virtually an ‘operatic’ ensemble of passionate feeling and sensuous warmth”, marked Adagio, is in E flat major. A syncopated pulse occurs almost throughout the movement while solo lines alternate between the solo oboe, clarinet and basset horn.

– The fourth movement is a second minuet; like the second movement, it has two trio sections. The fast, staccato minuet section is in B flat major. The first trio, by contrast, has fewer staccato notes and is in the parallel minor, B-flat minor. After the minuet section is repeated, the second trio is played. This section is in F major and is largely legato.

– The fifth movement, labeled Romance, returns to the slow tempo and E flat major tonality of the third movement. The movement begins and ends with an Adagio section in the tonic and in triple meter with many long notes in the melody. Contrasting with these sections is an Allegretto section between them, which is in C minor and features constant pulse in the bassoons.

– The sixth movement is a set of six variations on an andante theme in B flat major. The theme is presented primarily by the solo clarinet. The variations make use of various rhythmic motives and often feature solo instruments; for example, the first variation features the solo oboe. Unlike the other variations, all of which are in B flat major, the fourth variation is in B flat minor. The last two variations are in different tempos from the rest of the movement: the fifth is marked Adagio, while the sixth is marked Allegretto. The last variation is also in triple meter, in contrast with the other variations, which are in duple meter. This movement, without variation three, was adapted by Mozart as the second movement of the Flute Quartet in C major (K. 285b).

– The seventh and last movement is a rondo. The movement employs many tutti passages in which the oboes and clarinets play in unison, particularly in the rondo theme. The episodes between the returns of the theme feature a greater degree of interplay between the instruments.

There is a famous reference to this piece in the film “Amadeus” (Milos Forman 1984). Salieri’s first encounter with Mozart is at a performance of this piece, where he listens to it and is overwhelmed. This is his fantastic quote on the 3rd movement (Adagio): “On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse – bassoons and basset horns – like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly – high above it – an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the very voice of God.”


Overcoming Composer’s Block – Art of Composing

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on April 3, 2017


Art of Composing



Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on March 30, 2017

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Arvo Part – Fratres For Cello And Piano

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on March 19, 2017



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Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber. Here’s Your New Documentary Called “Absolute Beauty”

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on March 10, 2017

Samuel Barber, one of America’s most celebrated composers, was born on this day (April 9) in 1910. The young filmmaker H. Paul Moon has made a full-length documentary about Barber that will be released later this month. “I went out on a limb with this project, self-distributing, keeping it independent, making sure I got things right…

via Happy Birthday, Samuel Barber. Here’s Your New Documentary Called “Absolute Beauty” — Sequenza21/

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Darius Milhaud – Scaramouche

Posted in Uncategorized by Higher Density Blog on March 6, 2017

Martha Argerich and Cristina Marton, pianos.

via Video: Darius Milhaud: ‘Scaramouche’ — classical life

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