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 second week of #ClassicalShorts.
Anton Webern Symphony No. 21
Webern’s 1928 symphony distilled the form down to its essence. Webern used klangfarbenmelodie (tone-color melody) extensively. The melody’s broken up, and passing from one instrument to another, often note by note.
Felix Mendelssohn – Konzertstuck No. 1 Op. 113
This is one of two pieces Mendelssohn wrote for a clarinet, basset horn and piano trio in 1833. They were for Heinrich Bauermann (clarinet) and his sone Carl (basset horn) who toured Europe with the works.
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer – Sonata a tre
Schmelzer arrived in Vienna in the 1630s and spent his career in service to Emperor Leopold I. Works such as this sonata influenced Heinrich Biber, who may have been his student.
Cécile Chaminade – Flute Concertino Op. 107
The concertino was written in 1902 for the Paris Conservatoire. The work is extremely difficult and is often used as a jury piece as well as a concert work.
Steve Reich – Clapping Music
Reich’s 1972 work is a model of minimalism. It requires just two performers clapping hands. Its material is simple as well. The motion of the work comes from the rhythmic pattern moving in and out of phase with itself.