Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rare, select chamber music (sheet music and MP3)

Here are some rare, excellent, beautiful, intelligent and select chamber music pieces of famous and once-famous old composers, culled by listening carefully to the sound samples on Edition Silvertrust's website. They also publish The Chamber Music Journal. I audited their full catalog of sheet music in two categories: quite a number of pieces! (I developed the list for some of my acquaintances with whom I play music, and have clarified the titles, somewhat. Originally, it may have been a recommendation from which led me to Edition Silvertrust, but I am not sure.)

All the best, excellent pieces, and only the best ones, are on this list. This is only my educated opinion; and yet, I believe you should enjoy them if you heard them! But merely let me mention my extensive classical music background. I invite you to judge for yourself!

String and clarinet quintets:

Joseph Eybler (1765-1846), String Quintet for Violin & 2 Violas (or 2 Violins & Viola), Cello & Bass in D Major, Op.6 No.1 (1801)

Friedrich Dotzauer (1783-1860), String Quintet for 2 Violins, Viola & 2 Cellos in d minor, Op.134 (1835)

This one is operatic:
Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842), String Quintet for 2 Violins, Viola & 2 Cellos in e minor (1837)

Johan Svendsen (1840-1911), String Quintet in C Major, Op.5 (1867)

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), String Quintet No.1 in F Major, Op.85 (1903)

Alexander Krein (1883-1951), Three Sketches on Hebrew Themes for Clarinet Quintet Op.12 (1914)

Piano quintets:

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), Piano Quintet in A Major, Op.14 (1853)

Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929), Piano Quintet in e minor (1865)

Giovanni Sgambati (1841-1914), Piano Quintet No.1 in f minor, Op.4 (1866)

Friedrich Kiel (1821-1885), Piano Quintet No.1 in A Major, Op.75 (1873-4)

Hermann Goetz (1840-1876), Quintet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass & Piano in c minor, Op.16 (1874)

Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916), Piano Quintet No.1 in d minor, Op.35 (1877)

Zdenek Fibich (1850-1950), Quintet for Violin, Clarinet & Horn (or 2 Violins & Viola), Cello & Piano in D Major, Op.42 (1893)

Carl Frühling (1868-1937), Piano Quintet in f sharp minor, Op.30 (1894)

Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902), Piano Quintet No.3 in g minor, Op.126 (1895)

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948), Piano Quintet in D flat Major, Op.6 (1900)

Wilhelm Berger (1861-1911), Piano Quintet in f minor, Op.95 (1904)

Théodore Dubois (1837-1924), Quintet for Oboe (or Clarinet or Violin), Violin, Viola, Cello & Piano in F Major (1904-5)

Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909), Piano Quintet in C Major, Op.45 (year not found)

Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915), Piano Quintet in g minor, Op.30 (1910-11)

Piano sextets:

This one is not hard for piano (unlike the usual Glinka), because he intended his Italian doctor's daughter to play it:
Mikhail Glinka (1804-57), Grand Sextet for Piano, String Quartet & Bass in E flat Major (1832)

William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875), Sextet for Cello & Bass (or 2 Cellos), 2 Violins, Viola & Piano in f# minor, Op.8 (1838)

This one has fewer notes than usual for strings:
Ludwig Thuille (1861-1907), Sextet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon & Piano in B flat Major, Op.6 (1888)

Paul Juon (1872-1940), Divertimento (Piano Sextet) for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon & Piano, Op.51 (1913)

Copyright (c) 2009 Mark D. Blackwell.

MP3 bit rates for various occasions

After carefully listening for a couple of days to MP3's made from a WAV file recording of a brass, choir and organ rehearsal, I developed some rules of thumb about bit rates. I concluded the following minimums are indistinguishable from WAV files in capturing the music of their various types. They are expressed in the usual thousands of bits per second, Kbps:

Speech (without too many resulting artifacts) needs 56.
(Hymns with) descant need 64.
Brass instruments reduce the needed rate for choirs to 64.
Choir a capella (they are rather pure tones, or maybe it is the harmony) needs 80.
A single cantor (alto) needs 128.
Propers (increased because the choir response pitches are slightly clustered) need 160.
Hymns (depending on the organ stops) need 64 to 192.
Organ (because of reed and string stops) needs 192.

(The tests were done using Audacity v. 1.2.6 and MP3 LAME v. 3.98.)

BTW, Apple's iTunes Store uses 128-Kbps AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format, claiming equivalence to 160-Kbps MP3.

Edited April, 2012 to include AAC.

Copyright (c) 2009 Mark D. Blackwell.