Howard's Day Off - January 14 2017

Jan 14, 2017


:01—Joseph Haydn (1732-1809): Symphony No. 88, minuet, Bruno Weil, Tafelmusik [SK 66253].

:05—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Symphony No. 35, “Haffner,” minuet, 1782, Karl Bohm, Berlin Philharmonic [DG 447 416]. Symphonies weren’t to be danced to, and so-called minuet movements were often played too fast for a real minuet.

:10—Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 1, 1800, minuet, Gerard Schwarz, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra [Delos 3013]. A scherzo in all but name.

:14—Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 2, 1893, scherzo, Otmar Suitner, Staatskapelle Berlin [Denon 7367]. From the beginning, scherzos were constructed with a contrasting middle section, often called a trio section.

:18—Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Symphony No. 6, 1828, scherzo, Karl Bohm, Berlin Philharmonic [DG 471 310]. A typical scherzo was built A-B-A, the scherzo bit, the contrasting trio, then a repeat of the scherzo bit.

:25—Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Symphony No. 3, “Scottish,” scherzo, 1842, Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony [London 414 665]. Mendelssohn had a particular conception of a scherzo that was not merely uptempo but light and airy besides.


:30—Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Octet, Op. 20, scherzo, 1825, Jaime Laredo, Alexander Schneider, Arnold Steinhardt, John Dalley, Michael Tree, Samuel Rhodes, Leslie Parnas and David Soyer [SMK 46251]. The more likely inspiration for Russians since they would have easier access to chamber music scores.

:35—Alexander Borodin (1833-1887): Symphony No. 1, scherzo, 1867, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Royal Philharmonic [Decca 455 632]. The light Mendelssohn scherzo really caught on with the Russians.

:43—Pytr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): Symphony No. 2, “Little Russian,” scherzo, 1872,  Claudio Abbado, Chicago Symphony [MK 39359].

:49—Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936): Symphony No. 7, “Pastoral,” scherzo, 1907,  Alexander Anissimov, Moscow Symphony [Naxos 553769].

:55—Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): Sinfonietta, Op. 5, scherzo, 1909, Neeme Jarvi, Scottish National Orchestra [Chandos 8442].


:01—Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847): Scherzo from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” incidental music, 1842, Andre Previn London Symphony [EMI 47163]. The ultimate symphonic scherzo, except it doesn’t come from a symphony. No real trio section, so its scherzo-ness is undiluted.

:06—Anton Bruckner (1824-1896): Symphony No. 6, scherzo, 1881, Eliahu Inbal, Frankfurt Radio Symphony [Teldec 244 182].

:08—Gustav Mahler  (1860-1911): Symphony No. 6, scherzo, 1906, Pierre Boulez, Vienna Philharmonic [DG 446 835]. Mahler, like Bruckner, was known for really long symphonies, but in this scherzo he gets to the trio section really fast. The trio is in the rhythm of a landler, an Austrian dance he and Bruckner often based symphonic movements on.

:11—Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Symphony No. 1, scherzo, 1895, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Concertgebouw Amsterdam [London 411 657]. Rachmaninoff stuck to the scherzo format but still managed to inject the kind of emotion Mahler did.

:19—Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony No. 7, scherzo, 1813, Otmar Suitner, Staatskapelle Berlin [Denon 7032]. Beethoven puts an actual joke in this scherzo. Instead of A-B-A, he does the trio twice, so it’s A-B-A-B-A. The joke is, near the end he does a fake-out like he’s going to do a third trio. But he doesn’t.


:30—Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Symphony No. 3, second move., 1946, Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic [DG 419 170]. This scherzo has a striking trio section more than three minutes ago. The return of the opening material accepts the pastoral mood of the trio… at first.


:39—Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): “Badinerie,” Brian Slawson, mallet instruments [MDK 47274]. This piece by Bach is a “Badinerie” but that means in French what scherzo means in Italian.

:41—Jean Francaix (1912-1997): Symphony in G major, minuet, 1953, Thierry Fischer, Ulster Orchestra [Hyperion 67323]. A rare throwback to the minuet.

:44—Jay Greenberg (1991- ): Symphony No. 5, scherzo, Jose Serebrier, London Symphony [Sony 81804].

:51—Randall Thompson (1899-1984): Symphony No. 2, 1931, Vivace, Andrew Schenck, New Zealand Symphony [Koch 7074].