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 Offer,Jeremy Siepmann - The Instruments of the Orchestra

Selected orchestral works accompanied by a narrative from Siepmann

7 CDs

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Contents

Jeremy Siepmann: Instruments of the Orchestra

7:58:06
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  • Jeremy Siepmann (reader)

Wagner: Tannhauser: Overture

2:06
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Anonymous: Domna, pos vos ay chausida

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We don't merely use instruments, we play on them. And they play on us.

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Show 407 remaining tracks for Jeremy Siepmann: Instruments of the Orchestra

Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 7

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The violin is one of the most tender and beautiful instruments ever invented.

0:45
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Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major: II. Adagio

1:08
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But for a long time it was seen as the instrument of the devil.

0:17
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Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale: Triumphal March of the Devil

0:45
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The manipulative seductiveness of the gypsy violin

0:43
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Anonymous: Csardas Music

3:33
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The violin and the imitation of nature

0:23
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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Spring: I. Allegro

0:35
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Birds are again evoked in the second concerto, especially music's natural favourite.

0:09
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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Summer: I. Allegro non molto

0:41
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Like the devil, the violin is a master of disguise.

0:18
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Kreisler: Schon Rosmarin

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The menacing sensuality of Ravel's Tzigane; a very different side of the violin:

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Ravel: Tzigane

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Do we now have the true measure of this instrument? Not just yet.

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Paganini: Caprice No. 24

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Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4: III. Presto / Schubert: Quartettsatz in C minor

1:57
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Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge: VIII. Moto Perpetuo

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Prokofiev's tremolo in Romeo and Juliet should not be heard just before bedtime

0:22
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Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet: Act IV

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Vivaldi uses it to illustrate the shivering of travellers crossing the ice.

0:14
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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter: I. Allegro non molto

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The violin muted

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Debussy: Clair de lune

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The gentleness of muted strings persists even when a whole orchestra plays.

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Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467: II. Andante

1:26
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The pizzicato violin

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Strauss: Pizzicato Polka

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In Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto, the accompaniment is pizzicato.

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Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor: II. Andante assai

2:02
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Kabalevsky: Colas Breugnon / Warlock: Capriol Suite: III. Tordion / Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet: Act I

3:09
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Holst: The Planets: I. Mars: The Bringer of War

1:27
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Bach: Sonata No. 3 in C major for unaccompanied violin: II. Fugue

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Brahms: Hungarian Dance No. 4

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Double-stopping is a standard feature of a lot of folk music.

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Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Autumn: I. Allegro

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Now the same technique, but the sound might have come from another world.

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Ravel: Bolero

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Double-stopping can only approximate the sound of a real violin duet.

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Joachim: Cadenza to the Violin Concerto by Brahms

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Now compare that with a real violin duet.

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Bartok: 44 Duos: I. Teasing Song

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Another duo by Bartok, demonstrating the violin's rich lower register

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Bartok: 44 Duos: II. Maypole Dance

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And now what may be the most beautiful accompanied violin duet in history

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Bach: Concerto in D minor for two violins: II. Largo ma non tanto

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The soul of the violin is in song; but what about this weird passage?

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Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major: II. Scherzo

0:34
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The use of harmonics in the orchestra can be both magical and unsettling.

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Mahler: Symphony No. 1, "Titan": I. Langsam, schleppend (opening)

1:33
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Tchaikovsky's use of harmonics in The Sleeping Beauty is both strange and daring.

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Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty: Act II, No. 15: Entr'acte

0:33
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Ravel's harmonics in Mother Goose effect a magical transformation.

0:29
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Ravel: Ma Mere l'oye (Mother Goose): IV. Beauty and the Beast

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Stravinsky: The Firebird: Introduction

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The natural upper notes of the violins have a unique emotional "grab"

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Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra: Of the Afterworldsmen

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Still in their upper register, the violins unleash the energy of a young colt.

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Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge: V. Aria Italiana

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Elsewhere, Britten uses the same high register to create a very different mood.

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Britten: Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a: I. Dawn

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To end this outing with the violins, a charming little elfin dance

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Hellmesberger: Elfenreigen

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Introduction to the viola

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Telemann: Viola Concerto: I. Largo

2:46
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Khachaturian gets a very different sound from it: fuller, fruitier, more exotic.

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Khachaturian: Gayane Suite No. 1: III. Armen's Solo

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Very nearly the whole of the violin's upper register is also available to the viola.

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Britten: Peter Grimes: Passacaglia, Op. 33b

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Strauss: Don Quixote

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Berlioz: Harold in Italy: IV. Orgy of Brigands

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The muted viola: intimate, gentle, poignant in Dvorak

0:34
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Dvorak: Cypresses: IX. Thou Only Dear One

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The massed violas of the modern symphony orchestra in Mahler

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Mahler: Symphony No. 4: III. Ruhevoll, poco adagio

1:13
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The "period" viola in Bach

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Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 6: III. Allegro

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The cello: a voice of unique nobility

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Bach: Suite No. 1 for unaccompanied cello: I. Prelude

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Brahms and the "soul" of the cello

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Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major: III. Andante

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Most orchestral composers tend to emphasise the cello's lower register.

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Bach: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147: Aria: Bereite dir, Jesu

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In the time of Beethoven the cello remained as fundamental as ever.

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 "Eroica": IV. Finale

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But the cello is not condemned to spend its life in the basement.

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Popper: Elfentanz, Op. 39

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Not only in recital showpieces like that is the cello used in its highest register.

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Tavener: The Protecting Veil: opening

2:54
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A cello with an identity-crisis: the pizzicato Flamencan

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Tagell: Flamenco

2:48
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Double-stopping in the lower reaches of the cello's range

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Cassado: Solo Suite for Cello and Piano: Sardana

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It's in its middle register that the cello really comes into its own.

0:21
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Rachmaninov: Oriental Dance, Op. 2, No. 2

1:32
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 5: II. Andante con moto

0:54
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9: IV. Finale

0:54
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Introduction to the double-bass

0:43
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Saint-Saens: The Carnival of the Animals: The Elephant

1:32
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But the double-bass can be intensely expressive and graceful.

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Bottesini: Elegy No. 1 in D major

2:37
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Bottesini: Allegro di concerto, "Alla Mendelssohn"

0:47
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Bottesini: Capriccio di bravura

4:42
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Mahler: Symphony No. 1, "Titan": III. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen / Mahler: Symphony No. 3: I. Kraftig

1:33
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Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kije Suite: III. Kije's Wedding / Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet: Act III

2:25
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 5: III. Allegro

1:20
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The antiquity and magic of the flute

0:20
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Debussy: Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune

3:19
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The versatility and agility of the flute

0:21
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Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor: VII. Badinerie

1:18
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The flute in fifteenth-century Spain

0:24
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Anonymous: Sa'dawi

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Other flutes: the bass and alto

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Sallinen: Chamber Music II

1:12
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The Piccolo - aptly named

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Rameau: La Naissance d'Osiris: VI. Premier et deuxieme tambourin

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From a piccolo of the eighteenth century to one of its descendants in the twentieth

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Stravinsky: Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra: II. Valse

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A variety of techniques

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Sallinen: Chamber Music II

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Flutter-tonguing. But Tchaikovsky got there eighty years before.

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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker: Act II, No. 2: Scene

0:44
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From the transverse to the vertical: the Baroque recorder

0:40
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Telemann: Recorder Suite in A minor: Menuet II

2:12
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An unfamiliar, early vision of the instrument

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Baston: Naelden, Naelden

1:09
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The Bachian oboe

0:35
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Bach: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80: Duetto: Wie selig sind doch die

3:34
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Introduction to the cor anglais or 'English horn'

0:41
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Dvorak: Symphony No. 9, "From the New World": II. Largo

1:24
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The loneliness of the cor anglais

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Sibelius: The Swan of Tuonela

1:49
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The cor anglais joins the French horn in Haydn.

0:17
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Haydn: Symphony No. 22, "The Philosopher": I. Adagio

1:43
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Introduction to the oboe d'amore, beloved of Bach - but also of Ravel

0:22
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Ravel: Bolero

0:50
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Herrmann: The Egyptian: Violence / Janacek: Taras Bulba: The Death of Ostap

0:37
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Stravinsky: Petrushka: Peasant with Bear / Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique: V. Songe d'une nuit / Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet: Act II

1:38
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As the high clarinets tend to be loud, so the bass tends to be soft

0:18
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Khachaturian: Gayane Suite No. 1: V. Gayane's Solo

0:54
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Stravinsky: Petrushka: The Blackamoor / Albeniz: Iberia: Almeria

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The range of the normal clarinet parts goes quite high...

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Tchaikovsky: The Snow Maiden: Scene 5: Melodrama

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....and quite low.

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Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf: The Cat

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The clarinet as concerto soloist

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Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major: III. Rondo

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But that's not the instrument Mozart wrote it for; this is:

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Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major: III. Rondo

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Introduction to the saxophone

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Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite: IV. The Battle and Defeat of Napoleon

1:03
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The soprano saxophone has quite a different feel to it

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Bizet: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1: II. Minuet

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The little sopranino sax goes even higher

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Ravel: Bolero

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The most famous use of the saxophone is in an orchestration by Ravel

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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an exhibition: The Old Castle

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The saxophone can be quite contagiously good-humoured.

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Wiedoeft: Sax-o-phun

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The puffa-puffa image of the bassoon

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Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf: Grandfather

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The Bachian bassoon, in accompanimental mode

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Bach: Weichet nur, betrubte Schatten, BWV 202, "Wedding Cantata": Aria No. 1

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Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 1: V. Les Dragons d'Alcala

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And Ravel, also in Spanish mode, does likewise

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Ravel: Bolero

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The bassoon as a voice of high seriousness, indeed desolate loneliness

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Bax: Symphony No. 3: I. Lento moderato

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The eerie bassoon in its highest register

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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring: opening

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Stravinsky now draws on its lowest register, lonely and melancholy.

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Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1919): Berceuse

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The bassoon as concerto soloist, avoiding all exaggeration

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Molter: Bassoon Concerto in G minor: III.

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The deep-voiced contra-bassoon, as a fairy-tale beast

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Ravel: Ma Mere l'oye (Mother Goose): IV. Beauty and the Beast

1:30
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The French Horn under its woodwind hat

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Nielsen: Wind Quintet, Op. 43: III. Praeludium - Tema con variazioni

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Now a more prominent role, in a woodwind quintet from an earlier era

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Reicha: Wind Quintet in A minor, Op. 100, No. 5: II. Andante con variazioni

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The horn in harmonious blend with strings in another quintet

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Mozart: Horn Quintet in E flat major, K. 407: III. Rondeau

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The Trumpet as virtuoso soloist

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Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2: III. Allegro assai

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The special brilliance of paired trumpets

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Vivaldi: Concerto in C for two trumpets, RV 537: I. Allegro

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The ceremonial trumpet

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Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

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Trumpets and drums - an incomparable alliance

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Handel: Messiah: The Trumpet Shall Sound

4:10
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The versatility of the trumpet, from the most public to the most lonely

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Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F: II. Andante con moto - Adagio

1:14
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Gershwin: An American in Paris / Stravinsky: The Soldier's Tale: The March

2:05
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Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 2: II. Habanera

0:55
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The trumpet as the voice of strength and courage

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Bizet: Carmen Suite No. 2: IV. Toreador's Song

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Stravinsky: Petrushka: The Blackamoor / Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kije Suite: I. The Birth of Kije

1:41
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Copland: Billy the Kid

1:16
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The trumpet as character actor

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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition: Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

2:25
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The trumpet as the voice of God

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Bach: Mass in B minor: Et expecto

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The birth of the trombone

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Anonymous: Aenmerckt nu hier

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The birth of the brass as a family

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Gabrieli: Canzon a 12 in Double Echo

3:18
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The trombone in the eighteenth century

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Albrechtsberger: Trombone Concerto in B flat major: III. Finale

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Hoser: Romance for trombone and organ / Berlioz: Requiem: Dies Irae

2:18
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Liszt: Hosannah, S677 / R409

1:20
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The trombones become part of the orchestra

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Beethoven: Symphony No. 5: IV. Allegro

2:46
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Wagner: Tannhauser: Overture

1:04
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The Trombone as caricaturist

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Stravinsky: Pulcinella: No. 19: Vivo

1:37
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Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra: IV. Intermezzo interrotto

1:46
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The horn and the hunt

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Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat, K. 495: III. Rondo

3:39
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The challenging horn of the Baroque

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Rameau: Abaris ou les Boreades: II. Menuet

1:20
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The scarcity of first-rate players in Handel's time

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Handel: Water Music: Suite No. 1 in F major, HWV 348: Menuet

1:57
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Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1919): Finale

0:59
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Horns and the sound of nobility

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Wagner: Tannhauser: Overture (opening)

0:56
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The special sound of the horn in its higher register

0:11
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Bach: Mass in B minor: Quoniam tu solus sanctus

4:15
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The trumpet-like sound of massed horns

0:21
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Mahler: Symphony No. 3: I. Kraftig (opening)

0:38
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The tuba - unfairly maligned?

0:49
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Prokofiev: Symphony No. 6: III. Vivace

1:07
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The tuba perfectly cast by Ravel

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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition: Bydlo

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Introduction. And we begin with a bang.

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Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man / Beethoven: Wellington's Victory, Op. 91 (opening)

1:03
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At the opposite extreme is the triangle.

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Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major: Scherzo

1:21
$1.05
$1.25

Categories of percussion: tuned and untuned. The side drum

0:36
$1.05
$1.25

Rossini: La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie): Overture (opening)

0:52
$1.05
$1.25

Nielsen: Clarinet Concerto (opening)

1:08
$1.05
$1.25

The tambourine. One of the oldest instruments in the world

0:21
$1.05
$1.25

Anonymous: Den hoboecken dans

1:43
$1.05
$1.25

Even older is the originally oriental gong.

0:28
$1.05
$1.25

Ravel: Ma Mere l'oye (Mother Goose): Laideronette

1:00
$1.05
$1.25

Britten: Peter Grimes: Passacaglia, Op. 33b

1:00
$1.05
$1.25

Satie: Gymnopedie No. 2

1:02
$1.05
$1.25

Elgar: The Sanguine fan / Cymbals clashed softly / Cymbals struck singly / Cymbals stroked with wire brushes

1:28
$1.05
$1.25

Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major (opening) / Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker: Act I Scene 5

1:05
$1.05
$1.25

Wood blocks

0:31
$1.05
$1.25

Copland: Rodeo: IV. Hoe-Down

0:44
$1.05
$1.25

Glinka: Jota aragonesa

1:09
$1.05
$1.25

Monteverdi: Scherzi musicali: Damigella tutta bella

1:50
$1.05
$1.25

A still earlier example from fifteenth-century Spain

0:30
$1.05
$1.25

Traditional: Yo m'enamori d'un aire

1:06
$1.05
$1.25

The birth of the bongo

0:33
$1.05
$1.25

Bernstein: West Side Story (Symphonic Dances)

1:39
$1.05
$1.25

Verdi: II Trovatore: Act II: Anvil Chorus

1:08
$1.05
$1.25

Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite: III. On the Trail / Varese: Arcana

1:27
$1.05
$1.25

Moncayo: Huapango

1:20
$1.05
$1.25

Onwards to the tuned percussion. First, the timpani

0:14
$1.05
$1.25

Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra: Introduction

1:48
$1.05
$1.25

Mahler: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection'": III. In ruhig fliessender Bewegung

0:29
$1.05
$1.25

Grofe: Grand Canyon Suite: I. Sunrise / Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique: V. Songe d'une nuit de Sabbat

0:37
$1.05
$1.25

Taking advantage of tunability

0:22
$1.05
$1.25

Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta: II. Allegro

2:25
$1.05
$1.25

Shchedrin: Carmen Suite: IV. Changing of the Guard

1:01
$1.05
$1.25

Shchedrin: Carmen Suite: V. Carmen's Entrance and Habanera

1:15
$1.05
$1.25

Saint-Saens and the xylophone

0:16
$1.05
$1.25

Saint-Saens: The Carnival of the Animals: Fossils

1:18
$1.05
$1.25

Ravel and the xylophone

0:11
$1.05
$1.25

Ravel: Ma Mere l'oye (Mother Goose): Laideronette

2:37
$1.05
$1.25

Shchedrin: Carmen Suite: III. First Intermezzo

0:38
$1.05
$1.25

Introducing the vibraphone

0:20
$1.05
$1.25

Steiner: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Narange dolce

1:25
$1.05
$1.25

Shchedrin: Carmen Suite: V. Carmen's Entrance and Habanera

0:57
$1.05
$1.25

Introducing the Hungarian cimbalom

0:23
$1.05
$1.25

Traditional: Folk Dances

3:00
$1.05
$1.25

The cimbalom and the symphony orchestra

0:10
$1.05
$1.25

Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite : III. Song

1:30
$1.05
$1.25

Introducing the tubular bells

0:17
$1.05
$1.25

Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite: II. Viennese Musical Clock

2:04
$1.05
$1.25

A more "up-front" approach from Rodion Shchedrin

0:06
$1.05
$1.25

Shchedrin: Carmen Suite: I. Introduction

1:08
$1.05
$1.25

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 7, "Sinfonia antartica": I. Prelude

0:38
$1.05
$1.25

Introducing the celesta

0:14
$1.05
$1.25

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

2:10
$1.05
$1.25