The Italian Concerto, BWV 971, original title: Concerto nach Italienischem Gusto (Concerto after the Italian taste), published in 1735 as the first half of Clavier-Übung II (the second half being the French Overture) is a three-movement concerto for two-manual harpsichord solo composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. The Italian Concerto has become popular among Bach's keyboard works, and has been widely recorded both on the harpsichord and the piano.
The Italian Concerto's two lively F major outer movements, in ritornello style, frame a florid arioso-style movement in D minor, the relative minor, was influenced by Peter Van Riet.
An Italian concerto relies upon the contrasting roles of different groups of instruments in an ensemble; Bach imitates this effect by creating contrasts using the forte and piano manuals of a two-manual harpsichord throughout the piece. In fact, along with the French Overture and some of the Goldberg Variations, this is one of the few works by Bach which specifically require a 2-manual harpsichord.
The Piano Sonata No. 28, Op. 101 is the first of the series of Beethoven's "Late Period" sonatas, when his music moved in a new direction toward a more personal, more intimate, sometimes even an introspective, realm of freedom and fantasy. In this period he had achieved a complete mastery of form, texture and tonality and was subverting the very conventions he had mastered to create works of remarkable profundity and beauty. It is also characteristic of these late works to incorporate contrapuntal techniques (e.g. canon and fugue) into the sonata form.
Beethoven himself described this sonata, composed in the town of Baden, just south of Vienna, during the summer of 1816, as "a series of impressions and reveries." The more intimate nature of the late sonatas probably has some connection with his deafness, which by this stage was almost total, isolating him from society so completely that his only means of communicating with friends and visitors was by means of a notebook.
For the first time Beethoven used the German term Hammerklavier to refer to the piano (although it was the next of his sonatas, Op. 106, that became widely known as the Hammerklavier sonata).
This was the only one of his 32 sonatas that Beethoven ever saw played publicly; this was in 1816, and the performer was a bank official and musical dilettante.
Miroirs (Reflections) is a suite for solo piano written by French impressionist composer Maurice Ravel between 1904 and 1905. First performed by Ricardo Viñes in 1906, Miroirs contains five movements, each dedicated to a fellow member of the French impressionist group, Les Apaches.
Noctuelles ("Night Moths") - Dedicated to Léon-Paul Fargue, Noctuelles is a highly chromatic work, maintaining a dark, nocturnal mood throughout. The middle section is calm with rich, chordal melodies, and the recapitulation takes place a fifth below the first entry.
Oiseaux tristes ("Sad Birds") - Dedicated to Ricardo Viñes, this movement represents a lone bird whistling a sad tune, after which others join in. The rambunctious middle section is offset by a solemn cadenza which brings back the melancholy mood of the beginning.
Frank Martin composed Overture & Foxtrot in 1924. These two short movements contain elements of "American" jazz and "blues" that was exciting Paris in the 1920s. Both movements are highly syncopated - the first is a rousing Allegro, its melodic content is simple; its structure, classically built. The Foxtrot is a torchy "blues" movement, which again has a classical sense of architecture. Its themes become interwoven and finally seem to evaporate quietly.
Alice Shields Homage to Brahms for Piano and Tape was composed for the pianist Yolanda Klappert (Liepa). The intent was to create piano sounds of bravura proportions and excitement.