Ditch the Radio and Turn On This!
You know you're tired of hearing the Top 10 Billboard Hits over and over again. So ditch the radio, even ditch your typical Spotify flavor and give these classical songs a taste!
Shout hip hip hooray because every month I will be publishing a FRESH and lovingly hand picked classical playlist for you to sink your ears into. Get ready to delve into some satisfyingly GORGEOUS classical gold. Sure to please the classical genre newbie AND the well versed musician. For your convenience you can access the playlist via YouTube and/or Spotify.
**** And remember: LISTEN with good headphones or speakers! *****
Here's your April roundup:
If you want to know what true anguish and heartbreak looks like it doesn't get much more real than Pavarotti's performance of "Vesti la giubba". The pain is palpable.
"Vesti la giubba", or "put on the costume", is a famous tenor aria from the opera Pagliacci (literal translation Clowns). An opera which depicts the story of Canio, an older man who leads a traveling troupe of players. During their travels his young beautiful wife Nedda falls in love with another man from a village they performed at. Right before having to take stage as a bumbling fool of a clown Canio discovers his wifes infidelity. He is heartbroken and yet he must still "put on the costume" and pretend to laugh and play the fool. Aaaand to make things even more dramatically worse his character in the play is a man whose wife is cheating on him.
The show "must go on!".
Any Moulin Rouge fans out there? Sound familiar?
The aria is often regarded as one of the most moving in the operatic repertoire of the time. The pain of Canio is portrayed in the aria and exemplifies the entire notion of the "tragic clown": smiling on the outside but crying on the inside. This is still displayed today, as the clown motif often features the painted-on tear running down the cheek of the performer.
Okay, so yes, not all of us our GLEE fans. BUT! Even if you're not a choir geek there's a whole lot to love about choir when done by Eric Whitacre.
What I love about Eric Whitacre is his capacity to bring out stunning color in choral works. The voices transcend into something else altogether. They don't even sound like voices sometimes, rather instrumentations perfectly synchronized together in heavenly bliss. I'm fairly convinced this is what heaven will sound like.
I first discovered this haunting piece during a twilight walk home from practicing piano. Such an appropriate first setting to her such a revelatory piece. The music really struck me and I could not stop listening to it over and over again - the way it grows, moves in you and lifts you somewhere higher. Such an exquisite pleading anguish to it all that will move you to tears.
Mozart, who is typically playful, witty, sparkling piano goodness fun - often shows a different side from time to time. I think I like him best during these more introspective, simplistic beautiful moments. The second movement of Sonata no. 12 F Major is one of those brief but impactful moments. Sometimes less is more. And can we just agree that last little scaler ascent is so satisfying?
I attempted to play this piece in my Undergrad with an awesome quartet. It was my first introduction to Faure and I became enamored. I'm already a big fan of French composers (Debussy and Ravel mainly) and this was just more affirmation that I want to marry that entire genre.
"Peer Gynt was a coward, liar, narcissist, man of no moral compass. Wandering aimlessly from place to place while faking multiple identities to cheat people just about sums up his wasted life. Yet, even for a man like Peer there awaited a woman with a faithful heart ready to shower him with love, should he decide to return. Abandoned twice already,
Solveig remained hopeful that they might delight in each other’s love one day.
We can relate to Peer on many levels. Some of us struggle with fear (heights, spiders, people, risk, death), some struggle with trying to be perfect (which leads to arrogance), and most of us have a hard time choosing to do the morally right thing. How many times have we willingly gone off the wrong path only to get lost even more?
Edvard Grieg consoles our broken spirit through the beautiful melody of “Solveig’s Song” from the play, Peer Gynt. He illuminates our soul with hope and the promise that we will still be loved no matter how dire circumstances may become." Source
Speaking of French composers! Here's one of my favorite pieces by Maurice Ravel - Ondine. Undine is a water nymph who lures men to their death with her hypnotizing beauty. The piece is meant to evoke the sea and all its different temperaments. As well as capture the mysticism of Undine.
Now, this just might be one of the most beautiful pieces written of all time. Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony no. 5 is a celebrated and well loved orchestra piece amongst symphonies all across the world. It's the perfect listen to calm that troubled soul.
Bring on the French!! Keep 'em coming. This time a little Debussy for you.
I wouldn't be a good wifey if I didn't feature the bassoon SOMEWHERE! But seriously this is golden bassoon goodness right here.
I love, love, love this piece with so much of my musical heart. This chamber pieces written for oboe, bassoon and piano is meant to depict a life of a balloon (but in larger part a metaphor for human life) - coming to life (breathing life into the balloon), "young adulthood" of the balloon, and the eventual passing away as the balloon drifts slowly into the air. Listen to all three movements! Bonus points to any of you who can hear the Beethoven quote in movement two.
Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoyed the playlist!
Please comment below and let me know your favorites :o)