Listening Log – Composing Music

Amanda Lee Falkenberg

During my time studying this course I decided to read some dedicated music magazine. I have taken out a subscription to Gramophone and I also read BBC Music via a free app. Gramophone also have a dedicated podcast and whilst listening to it they had an interview with a female composer called Amanda Lee Falkenberg and her composition – “The Moons Symphony”. I found her very engaging and the passion with which she described this work I felt compelled to listen.

This is a work of passion, I can feel it in the music. I like her concept of the symphony and I do love the voices here. To me this does not sound a very modern piece, it could have been written decades ago and this be a modern recording of it. Her use of the various orchestral sections and male voices, female voices or a combination of both is imaginative and really packs a punch. The Overview was a superb and dramatic ending to the Symphony. If ever I see this advertised for performance and I can get there I will make an effort to attend as it really is a superb piece of work

Marcello Albinoni

Another artist that was mentioned in Gramophone was Marcello Albioni and this particular piece of work garnered a mention, so I added it to my works to investigate. Looking at the album it is taken from I think I will investigate more of the pieces. There are a few by Handel there, and Handel is actually one of the composers that I have works I wish to listen to. Most of the compositions I am listening to are ones which I am reading about and as they usually have a reference to a catalogue number I can find the exact recording that I am looking for.

I have looked for details of his life but the only comprehensive page about it is wikipedia but I do not rely on that, however there is a link to Encyclopaedia Britannica and I have used that.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 13 Jan. 2023, Accessed 4 February 2023.

Even though this was a short piece I really enjoyed it. It was a pleasant listen to start and then the surprise came when I listened to the Adagio portion of the piece, such a contrast, melancholic but still lovely to listen to as a brief interlude before beginning the final part which again was an Allegro.

John Dowland

There is little known about this composer, what I have learned has been from the entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “John Dowland”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 17 Jan. 2023, Accessed 4 February 2023.

I chose to listen to this first peace as it is a hymn I am familiar with

The modern version of this hymn is very powerful and I would say obviously adapted from the original composition and lyrics added later. I did like this version to hear it in its original format.

Another piece which came up in suggested listening was the following

This was a lovely piece to listen to, the gentleness of the songs (lyrics not written by Downland) and I could definite imagine these being played on a lute as a purely instrumental piece.

Franz Schubert

The following works were again recommended by BBC Music magazine, especially these recordings

Brown, Maurice J.E.. “Franz Schubert”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 27 Jan. 2023, Accessed 4 February 2023.

It was very interesting to read why Symphony No 8 is unfinished. It was a beautiful listen. As a child I grew up hearing a lot of what would be termed Viennese waltzes or composers as my grandfather was fan, and both grandparents lived in Vienna for a few years post war as part of the British Army(my mother was born there). Vienna is very prevalent in my home to this dat. I do believe I may have heard these before. I find this genre of music very comforting. I throughly enjoyed listening to these two pieces.

Dvorak Poetic Tone Pictures

I was reading a copy of Gramophone and this particular piece was mentioned and recommended as they were interviewing the pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes and I made a note to include it for listening. As I am now coming to it I have found a fantastic article from the guardian about the same piece Poetic Tone Pictures performed by Leif Ove Andsnes. From what I have read I do believe that this is not a piece which is greatly recorded and when I looked at the Britannia music biography on Dvorak it was not mentioned so it is good to investigate this lesser known piece especially as the recording is very recent.

This piece has been quite a discovery for me. I really enjoyed the pieces as a whole and how different each and every one of them were, but there was also the pianist. I just felt there was a passion about the piece that he brought to the fore, each picture was so different and engaging and time flew by listening to this. If this was ever to be performed and I could get to it then I would because it really is a remarkable piece of work. Complex but engaging.


Again this was a discovery from reading Gramophone as there was an interview with the conductor about this recording and also about the inspiration for the work from Rachmaninov. As I do not have a digital subscription to Gramophone just a print one I cannot link the article here. I enjoyed reading about the progress of the recording and also about how the conductor prepared for the recording of the piece.