Max Derrickson

Writing Music Program Notes for Over 20 Years

Strauss, Jr. – Emperor Waltz

Johann Strauss Jr.    (1825-1899) Emperor Waltz By the mid 1860’s when Johann Strauss, Jr. had composed The Beautiful Blue Danube,Viennawas the cultural center of the Austro-Hungarian empire.  Balls were the entertainment of the day, and waltz music was as popular as it had ever been.  In fact, over half ofVienna’s 400,000 citizens, in the 1830’s, […]

Smith – The Star-Spangled Banner

John Stafford Smith (1750-1836) The Star-Spangled Banner [. . .] The years following Baltimore’s city charter gave birth to an exceptional sailing vessel, the Baltimore Clipper. This sleek and “fast as wind” ship was used exclusively for trade, and was especially valuable for shipping perishables. It was also used to gain “wealth by stealth” in […]

Spohr – Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 57

Ludwig Spohr    (1784-1859) Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E-flat Major, Op. 57 Ludwig Spohr premiered his second concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in E-flat Major, Op. 57, at one of the first music festivals in Frankenhausen in 1810. It was radiantly received, and critics claimed “it belongs to the most perfect works of this kind.” […]

Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D-minor, Op. 47

Jean Sibelius     (b in Tavestehus (Hämeenlinna) Finland, December 8, 1865; d inJärvenpää,Finland, September 20, 1957) Violin Concerto in D-minor, Op. 47 1. Allegro moderato 2. Adagio di molto 3. Allegro, ma non tanto [. . .] Sibelius became regarded by some as the “aristocrat of symphonists.” Indeed the main body of his creation was seven […]

Sibelius – Symphony No. 5 in E flat, Opus 82

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Symphony No. 5 in E flat, Opus 82 1-2. Tempo molto moderato—Allegro moderato 3. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto 4. Allegro molto Johann Sibelius was, and is, regarded synonymously with the country of Finland.  As Verdi was to Italy, so Sibelius was to Finland during that country’s independence at the turn of the […]

Sibelius – Symphony No. 2 in D Major, op. 42

Jean Sibelius     (b in Tavestehus (Hämeenlinna) Finland, December 8, 1865; d in Järvenpää,Finland, September 20, 1957) Symphony No. 2 in D Major, op. 42 1. Allegretto 2. Andante ma rubato 3. Vivacissimo 4. Allegro moderato Inside the sprawl of Helsinki, before the urban streets begin to fade out into the wild, vast and beautiful landscapes […]

Sibelius – Symphony No. 1 in E-minor, Op. 39

Jean Sibelius     (b in Tavestehus (Hämeenlinna) Finland, December 8, 1865; d inJärvenpää,Finland, September 20, 1957) Symphony No. 1 in E-minor, Op. 39 1. Andante ma non troppo 2. Andante ma non troppo – lento 3. Scherzo – Allegro 4. Finale – Andante [. . .] The life of Sibelius has been subject to much discussion. […]

Shostakovich – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10

Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10 1. Allegretto – Allegro non troppo 2. Allegro (moto perpetuo) 3. Lento 4. Finale – Allegro molto [. . .] Such was the climate [of Russia between] Tchaikovsky’s death and Shostakovich’s birth. Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was born inSt. Petersburgand entered the Leningrad Conservatory in 1919. […]

Shostakovich – Tahiti Trot

Dmitri Shostakovich      (Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1906; died in Moscow, 1975)   Tahiti Trot (1927) Despite many of the forced musical testaments to banality that Shostakovich wrote for the favor of the Socialist Party, he also created dozens of masterpieces.  Before the Soviet horrors that would eventually befall Russia, there was a Shostakovich of […]

Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10, Op. 93

Dmitri Shostakovich     (Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, 1906; died in Moscow, 1975)   Symphony No. 10, Op. 93 1. Moderato 2. Allegro 3. Allegretto 4. Andante – Allegro Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, now widely considered to be his best, was premiered just months after Stalin’s death in 1953. Of its dark character, Shostakovich simply stated publicly […]