I like to start my year 2016 with the passion from “Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64” performed by Janine Jansen with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (at the BBC Proms). The YouTube.com link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmj7nCRYNs4.
Some information about this concerto quoted from Wikipedia: Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, is his last large orchestral work. It forms an important part of the violin repertoire and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos of all time. A typical performance lasts just under half an hour.
Mendelssohn originally proposed the idea of the violin concerto to Ferdinand David, a close friend and then concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Although conceived in 1838, the work took another six years to complete and was not premiered until 1845. During this time, Mendelssohn maintained a regular correspondence with David, who gave him many suggestions. The work itself was one of the foremost violin concertos of the Romantic era and was influential on many other composers
Additional information about the Romantic era in classical music from this web page: http://www.classicfm.com/discover/periods/romantic/
The Romantic era is known for its intense energy and passion. The rigid forms of classical music gave way to greater expression, and music grew closer to art, literature and theatre.
Beethoven pioneered Romanticism and expanded previously strict formulas for symphonies and sonatas, and introduced a whole new approach to music, giving his works references to other aspects of life – for example, his ‘Pastoral’ Symphony No. 6 describes countryside scenes.
As well as symphonies, the tone poem and descriptive overture were popular as pieces of stand-alone orchestral music that evoked anything from a painting or poem to a feeling of nationalistic fervour
The Romantic era gave birth to the virtuoso. Liszt was one of the greatest of his time, and wrote demanding piano music to show off his own brilliance. Chopin is also among the outstanding composer-performers from this timeIn the world of opera, cue the entrance of Verdi in the middle of the Romantic era. He turned Italian opera on its head by introducing new subject material, often with social, political or nationalistic themes, and combined these with a direct approach to composing.
Germany’s Richard Wagner also played a key role in developing the operatic genre.Before Wagner, the action and music in opera was split into short pieces or ‘numbers’ much like a modern-day musical show. Wagner’s operas are written as long, continuous sweeps of music. The characters and ideas are given short signature melodies called leitmotifs.
Wagner’s ideas dominated most music, from the large-scale symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler to the heroic tone poems and operas of Richard Strauss, even reaching Italy, where Verdi and Puccini started to produce operas according to many of Wagner’s rules.
Ideas and compositions became more and more outlandish and inventive until the musical rules had to be rewritten, and the scene was set for the biggest change in music for centuries – the beginning of Modernism.