Maestro Playlists - Romance

September 30, 2020

By Gerard Schwarz

Romance has always been an important element for many composer's works. Movements of symphonies have been called Romanza and love songs are an important part of any composer's repertoire. For my list of Romantic works, I have chosen two concert works, one from the opera and one from the ballet.

Howard Hanson

Howard Hanson (1896-1981) was one of our most important 20th-century composers and educators, being the first director of the Eastman School of Music (1924-1964) and, among many works, wrote seven symphonies. His most popular is his second symphony titled, Romantic. The work was commissioned by Koussevitsky for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony and premiered by them in 1930. Our Seattle recording made a great impact and was the impetus for recording all of his symphonies. Romantic is the perfect name for this beautiful and lyrical work.

Anton Webern

Anton Webern (1883-1945) composed his Langsamer Satz (Slow Movement) in 1905 during his early romantic style. He wrote this work as a love song for his cousin Wilhelmine who he would marry six years later. It was originally written for string quartet and this performance is in my string orchestra version.

Richard Wagner

From the world of opera, I have chosen the magnificent Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde.

Sergei Prokofiev

From the world of ballet, a suite from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. All magnificent music, truly heartfelt.


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