NYTimes Love Classical Music

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
lennygoran
Posts: 14039
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

NYTimes Love Classical Music

Post by lennygoran » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:04 pm

I hadn't heard a lot of these-I didn't edit this message completely so you can see what's offered with the links. Regards, Len

5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Classical Music

We asked some of our favorite artists to tell us about the sounds they cherish. Listen to their choices.



I posed a deceptively simple question to our writers and editors, as well as some artists we admire: What are the five minutes or so — longer than a moment, shorter than a symphony — that you’d play for a friend to convince them to fall in love with classical music?

A bit of agonizing later, here are our selections. It’s an astonishing array: the very old and the very new; some favorites, as well as things I’d never heard before and am delighted to now have.

Enjoy the listening, and please leave your picks in the comments. We’ll publish an assortment of them. — ZACHARY WOOLFE, Times classical music editor

Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer and conductor

This is one of the most perfect compositions I know. There are no superfluous notes. Every phrase has been crafted with the precision of a master jeweler. Ravel creates a paradox: A miniature musical form becomes a vast space. Every time this piece ends, I feel devastated, as I do not want to return to the physical world. I would be perfectly happy to stay in this garden forever.
Ravel’s ‘Mother Goose’: ‘The Fairy Garden’
Pierre Boulez conducting the Berlin Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon)

Nico Muhly, composer

Steve Reich’s “Duet,” for two violins and orchestra, is a wonderful distillation of his processes. There is a clear pulse, moving through a series of chords, each lasting just a few seconds. Each chord feels like it’s finding repose from the previous one, creating a sense of release without feeling repetitive. On top of this, two violins play politely interlocking canons and patterns. A minute before the end, he lands on a sort of jazzed-up F-major chord, which, after a brief move to a minor key, resolves itself back into F — a moment of deep structural satisfaction.
Steve Reich’s ‘Duet’
Smith Quartet (Signum)

Michael Cooper, Times classical music reporter

I’ve always had a thing for music that can make me cry, or at least indulge some serious melancholy. Is it any wonder that the soundtrack of some of my moodiest college days was the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, with its sad and wintry string variations?
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7: Allegretto
Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic (Decca)

Caroline Shaw, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer

I love the lucid textures here, and how the lines twist around each other as they climb. As a string quartet junkie and evangelist, I’m always looking to lure new fans to this world.
Jessie Montgomery’s ‘Break Away’: ‘Smoke’


Julia Bullock, soprano

My mouth fell open and tears welled in my eyes. I didn’t know what she was singing about; I didn’t know what harmonies were being played; I didn’t know the composer, or the poet, or the content, but I knew that it was affecting my body and mind in ways that I had yet to experience. I was overwhelmed by the power matched with the ease. I was overwhelmed by the constant and extreme, yet seamless, shifts. I didn’t understand what I was listening to, and I didn’t need to, but it made me want to listen on, and on and on and on. This album was my introduction to classical music, and the brilliance of the human voice.
Ravel’s ‘Shéhérazade’: ‘L’Indifférent’
Régine Crespin, singer, with Ernest Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Decca)

Daniil Trifonov, pianist

It is a piece that to me exists in its own time universe. It helps the listener learn what classical music needs: to appreciate the sounds as they are, in a boundless sonic space. It was a meditative experience when I first listened to it at a sea resort with just steady waves of the ocean and peaceful fresh breeze accompanying it.
Messiaen’s ‘Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus’: ‘Le Baiser de l’Enfant-Jésus’
John Ogdon, piano (Decca)

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, classical critic for The Times

The first notes of “Lavender Rain” form a simple scale, but one that moves as haltingly as someone warily placing one foot in front of the other in pitch darkness. There’s a second voice here, trailing the first like a shadow. Then the sound grows, divided as if by a prism into many lines, and the music embarks on a reluctant, ineffably tender descent. Anna Clyne wrote “Lavender Rain” as she was grieving for her mother. In its somber beauty — somehow both weightless and heavy-hearted — it’s part of a long tradition of classical music inspired by loss.
Anna Clyne’s ‘The Violin’: ‘Lavender Rain’
Amy Kauffman and Cornelius Dufallo, violin (National Sawdust Tracks)

Joshua Barone, Times senior staff editor

This was the first symphony to teach me that classical music can be every bit as theatrical as Broadway and Hollywood. The work’s “story” — a tale of unrequited love and a hellish opium trip — is evocative, suspenseful and at times horrifying. The opening of the finale, the “Witches’ Sabbath,” lives up to its title: deranged and wild, with a Dies Irae so chilling it was later used by Stanley Kubrick in “The Shining.”
Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’: ‘Witches’ Sabbath’
Colin Davis conducting the Vienna Philharmonic (Decca)

Zachary Woolfe, Times classical music editor

The deep, milky gongs of Lou Harrison’s American gamelan slowly chime as a violin soars among and above in tender elegy, singing just for you. Then light, lucid bell-like sounds enter, making this musical sky more and more densely starry, in an expansive yet deeply intimate meeting of cultural traditions that I find more moving by the day.
Lou Harrison’s Suite for Violin and American Gamelan: Chaconne
Gabriela Diaz, violin, with Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP/sound)

Leon Botstein, music director of the American Symphony Orchestra

The five minutes or so I would choose to inspire a love affair with classical music are the closing moments of Strauss’s opera “Der Rosenkavalier”: the final trio. Here is a heartbreaking use of music’s essential instrument, the voice, giving each of the three singers the simultaneous chance to express herself with transparency and beauty. Using elegant and sophisticated strategies from the traditions of classical music, Strauss draws each listener into music’s capacity to inspire a personal recognition of the bittersweet transition from desire to fulfillment, and ultimately to loss.
Strauss’s ‘Der Rosenkavalier’: Final Trio
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig and Teresa Stich-Randall, singers, with Herbert von Karajan and the Philharmonia Orchestra (Warner Classics)

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Janacek, who wrote this in 1926, said the Sinfonietta was intended to express “contemporary free man, his spiritual beauty and joy, his strength, courage and determination to fight for victory.” That’s a pretty tall order. But Janacek was nothing if not full of chutzpah and ambition. And besides, I reckon he succeeded! What I love about his music — and what makes it feel still so modern and so approachable — is the raw, earthy quality of its sound world: It is completely uncompromising and individual. You don’t need to be a conservatory-trained musician to fall under his spell. He was a man of the soil and you can tell his love for his Moravian homeland in every bar of music he wrote.
Janacek’s Sinfonietta: Moderato (The Queen’s Monastery, Brno)
Jiri Belohlavek conducts the Czech Philharmonic (Decca)

Ethan Iverson, pianist and composer

“Consort of Musicke by William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons” is Glenn Gould’s greatest record. These early English harpsichord pieces had no history of piano performance until Gould’s charismatic advocacy. Although not originally intended to be played as a set, Gibbons’s Fantasy in C and Allemande (Italian Ground) were clearly paired by him as antecedent and consequent. The solemn counterpoint in the Fantasy is glorious, and Gould marches so hard in the Italian Ground that he’s almost swinging.
Orlando Gibbons’s Fantasy in C and Allemande (Italian Ground)
Glenn Gould, piano (Sony Classical)

Anthony Tommasini, Times chief classical music critic

In my early teens I was overwhelmed by Stravinsky’s 1910 ballet score “The Firebird” — in the recording conducted by Stravinsky — even before I knew what was going on in the fairy-tale story, about a wondrous firebird that helps a prince rescue the princess he loves from the realm of an evil sorcerer. The last scene still gives me chills. The villain’s death, depicted in jagged, fractured bursts, leads to a passage of shimmering, shifting chords. A consoling melody, first played by a horn, signals the lifting of the magical spell, then builds and builds to a blazing, brassy, rhythmically charged conclusion.
Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’: Finale
Igor Stravinsky conducts the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Sony Classical)

Nicholas Britell, composer of the Oscar-nominated score for ‘Moonlight’

There is something so gorgeous and emotionally direct about this piece. Its harmonies are constantly swaying back and forth with subtle dissonances, a never-ending push and pull. And the arrangement by Thomas Adès makes the music sound like a wonderful conversation between these instruments, highlighting the unique character of each line. Hearing a modern composer arrange an early-18th-century piece is a sort of conversation itself: between Adès and Couperin, across 277 years.
Couperin’s ‘Les Baricades Mistérieuses,’ arranged by Thomas Adès
Mr. Adès conducting the Composers Ensemble (Warner Classics)

Julia Wolfe, Pulitzer-winning composer

“Tehillim” is one of Steve Reich’s seminal works, an uplifting and exuberant setting of Hebrew psalms. By the end of the first five minutes, we are engulfed in an optimistic, joyful rush of voices. In the early 1980s, I listened to the ECM recording constantly. It reminded me why I love music.
Steve Reich’s ‘Tehillim’


Seth Colter Walls, classical critic for The Times

Great composers can quickly bestow an intense appreciation for an instrument that’s new to you. In Unsuk Chin’s “Su,” the beaming tones of the sheng, a Chinese mouth organ, create delicate, droning chords at the beginning, often paired with strings. Minutes later, some edgier, stuttering exhalations precede a thundering percussion riff. Ancient textures, modernist orchestration: The work feels like something Duke Ellington might have called “beyond category.”
Unsuk Chin’s ‘Su’
Wu Wei, sheng, with Myung Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon)

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra

This is an example of music, text, expression, human voice and instrumental color blending together and truly elevating one another to generate such a powerful and emotional sensory experience. In moments like these, classical music shows that there is nothing else in the world quite like it.
Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde”: “Liebestod”
Margaret Price (Isolde) with Carlos Kleiber conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden (Deutsche Grammophon)
Yuval Sharon, artistic director of the experimental opera company the Industry
You can’t listen to a recording of it, and the many YouTube renditions won’t give you a sense of what it really is. Instead, like all great musical works, “4’33”,” John Cage’s three movements of silence, must be experienced live in concert, where the transient energy and the perception of time becomes a collective and individualized event. The accidental and unintentional sounds of everyday life, from coughs to faraway sirens to the hum of an air conditioner, become the piece itself. A strong reaction is guaranteed — perhaps, like it did for me, it will awaken a sense of the still untapped potential in classical music.



https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/06/arts ... ctionfront

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26846
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: NYTimes Love Classical Music

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:12 pm

Nothing on God's Earth will ever convince the great majority of people to take an interest in classical music. We are lucky that the tiny percent of us who do, made it, and for all of us, I imagine, it depended on an exposure which is denied to many children these days. As a math teacher, I routinely ran into the question "Why do we have to learn this?" Usually I hemmed and hawed and referred to the rare practical use, but the real answer is, "So that you may be thought an intelligent person and not a stupid one," or, alternatively "Because no one can predict in advance who will need this knowledge, so it must be imparted to everyone." Children in general cannot appreciate these answers, but in my career they have played out numerous times.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Ricordanza
Posts: 1735
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: NYTimes Love Classical Music

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:11 am

Anthony Tommasini, Times chief classical music critic

In my early teens I was overwhelmed by Stravinsky’s 1910 ballet score “The Firebird” — in the recording conducted by Stravinsky — even before I knew what was going on in the fairy-tale story, about a wondrous firebird that helps a prince rescue the princess he loves from the realm of an evil sorcerer. The last scene still gives me chills. The villain’s death, depicted in jagged, fractured bursts, leads to a passage of shimmering, shifting chords. A consoling melody, first played by a horn, signals the lifting of the magical spell, then builds and builds to a blazing, brassy, rhythmically charged conclusion.
Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’: Finale
Igor Stravinsky conducts the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Sony Classical)
Good choice, Mr. Tommasini (and my personal experience and response to this music is similar).

My second choice would be the finale (The Great Gate of Kiev) from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" (orchestrated by Ravel).

Rach3
Posts: 543
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: NYTimes Love Classical Music

Post by Rach3 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:26 am

Perhaps the Largo from Bach's keyboard concerto No.5, BWV 1056 ?

maestrob
Posts: 5640
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: NYTimes Love Classical Music

Post by maestrob » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:09 am

Great article, Len, thank-you!

I think the finale to Stravinsky's Firebird is an excellent choice. What about "Mars," from Holst's The Planets?

For piano music, I would recommend Chopin's Andante Spiniato & Grande Polonaise.

The sad truth is that most young people today are not offered European classical music in all but the best schools, so no interest can be kindled. The son of two old friends of mine loves to sing in the school chorus and perform in school musicals, but both his parents are musical illiterates and they discourage their youngster's interest.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26846
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: NYTimes Love Classical Music

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:41 am

maestrob wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:09 am
Great article, Len, thank-you!

I think the finale to Stravinsky's Firebird is an excellent choice. What about "Mars," from Holst's The Planets?

For piano music, I would recommend Chopin's Andante Spiniato & Grande Polonaise.

The sad truth is that most young people today are not offered European classical music in all but the best schools, so no interest can be kindled. The son of two old friends of mine loves to sing in the school chorus and perform in school musicals, but both his parents are musical illiterates and they discourage their youngster's interest.
As you know, b, children do not need any particular encouragement to participate in school musical activities. Quite the reverse, in fact. There can be an intersection with a developing interest in classical, and I'm sure we've both experienced it. When I was in high school, I was part of a little National Honors Society committee that went around to other area schools to get ideas. My own high school had an execrable band teacher, but in the nearby village of Washingtonville there was a school where the teacher had built up an incredible program. It was a band, not an orchestra, but one of the things they played was the Egmont Overture, and they played the heck out of it. One student was even sitting on a stool playing the contrabassoon. Back in Maryland, I was somewhat involved with local and state music competition. It was not really a competition, because kids were scored by expert professors on a scale of one to five with no prizes given out, and I believe this is true in other states as well. The judges would never have condoned anything but a piece of classical music. Around here, the schools have excellent music programs to which I occasionally exposed. (Though I am not officially certified, the teachers eat me up when I occasionally accept a sub job. The problem there is that music is far more exhausting than other subjects.) Most recently, at a school you would never have heard of, I did sub for the choral teacher. Unfortunately his philosophy was to change themes from year to year, so I missed the year when he did mostly classical and ended up with jazzed-up pop songs. They were well-selected songs of their sort, but any pianist here will tell you that these can be represented by standard notation, but it is so contrived that it is almost impossible to deal with at sight, where normally I am still a good sight reader.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: OffTopic and 28 guests