Your favorite classical tunes...

I checked the whole thread but the following three were not mentioned yet.

Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) (link contains lyrics in German and English), Gustav Mahler
Transcription for chamber orchestra by Arnold Schönberg (1920) & Rainer Riehn (1983):

Birgit Remmert, Alto
Hans Peter Blochwitz, Tenor
Ensemble Musique Oblique Conducted by Philippe Herreweghe 1994

Rachmaninoff, Second Piano Concerto op. 18:

Piano: Krystian Zimerman
Boston Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Seiji Ozawa

Vier Letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), Richard Strauss op. post. (150) 1948 (lyrics in English here):

Jessye Norman, soprano
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur
Gramophone Award, 1983.
Franck: Violin Sonata in A major

This is probably my all time favorite piece. Its the first piece of music I ever heard played live when I was an innocent (LOL) little boy, and was played by my mother and father no less! - In Oxford's Sheldon Theatre. My mother played it with the viola - rather than violin. I actually prefer the viola - it plays to a more "deeper mellow" string as they say - though that may be just down to my childhood bias of course. Music was the only time my parents were compatible with each other... Ah well...

cesar franck violin sonata best - Bing video
I checked the whole thread but the following three were not mentioned yet.

Jessye Norman, soprano
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra conducted by Kurt Masur
Gramophone Award, 1983.

Just quoting one of the three here, Jessye Norman, and although her voice is famiously known, I did not know much about her, and by chance alone listened to her being interviewed. By chance alone I mean that it was more of a choice having almost turned the vehicle radio off the other day while driving some distance. I heard her start to speak and there was something that drew me to her voice and said to myself, I need to hear her story; was not disappointed.


This is not a video of her music, her singing, it is her story which leads to Germany - and wow, can she speak and sing that language. It is also about this young girl who grows up in the south (she was/is an activist - and I'll say in a kindly manner based on her telling of it) and she decides for herself the path she followed - and there seemed some chance involved, yet was there more of the universe speaking to help guild her. Her community and family sounded strong too. You can tell she had worked hard at singing and languiage, really hard, yet it also seemed more like joy the way she describes it.

The operatic voice
"My voice is well-suited to singing the music of Wagner. I completed my classical vocal training from Howard University and studied with voice teacher Carolyn Grant. She took my three different voices — my low, middle and upper registers— and helped me understand how to use them all equally.
"I have an unusual range. It's a gift. But we have to understand that we are all born with a voice. What we can do with training is change its colour — and if we are very clever we learn how to support our voices. It's important to understand the physiology of singing and what is going on in your body when you take a breath and make a sound. If we're more comfortable with understanding the anatomy of our bodies, then we are more comfortable singing."

She speaks of channeling her grandmother while singing as a young girl, and along the way in the interview she tells the story of Amazing Grace, at least as she felt it coming up from the belly of that ship. It is quite the story.

There is no way to embed the radio player so you have to go to the link below (which also has a short article - of which the quote above is from). Examples of Jessye's singing is also highlighted in the interview, and she talks about the craft of singing that she had learned and perfected.

Listen to the full episode 53:50
Thanks, Voyageur. I love what she had to say about how "people just didn't know how to behave".

"As a young child I was a member of the youth council for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and my older brother was the president of this association. So we were we were involved in sit-ins and we were given money by the organization to go and actually sit at a lunch counter and if were given food at least you could pay for it. But most of the time we were completely ignored. And I just thought that people just didn't know how to behave. I still do."
Thank you Voyageur and goyacobol for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Love that.

As far as I'm concerned you're preaching to the choir here. I discovered Jessye Norman in the early 1980's and have followed her career and whereabouts closely ever since. She has a wonderful unique voice and definitely knows how to use it to full effect. She also is an impressive personality in more ways than one and I have quite a collection of discs of her which I still enjoy regularly.

It's always fun to read that others do share my admiration as well. ;-)
Ran into something special recently which really is worth sharing IMO:

Mendelssohn - Piano Concerto in A Minor (13 year old composer!)
(with autograph score)


Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (3 February 1809 – 4 November 1847), born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period.

Piano Concerto in A Minor (1822)
  1. Allegro
  2. Adagio (13:30)
  3. Finale: Allegro ma non troppo (22:09)

Cyprien Katsaris, piano and the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra conducted by Janos Rolla
I have always loved this beautiful piece of music by Beethoven. This piece is played by the great Arthur Rubinstein; Beethoven "Emperor" Piano Concerto No. 5, OP. 73 - Second Movement

Schumann, "Kinderszenen" Op. 15 (Scenes From Childhood), especially the 1st set ("Von fremden Ländern und Menschen" - Of Foreign Countries And People) and the 7st set ("Träumerei" - Dreaming).

It's literally a scene from childhood for me. My mom used to play this on the piano when I was a small kid, and later, as an older kid, she taught it to me and I played it myself. Still brings tears to my eyes 😢

Träumerei (Dreaming):

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I love Monteverdi's work. And this song from the CD by the group ' L'Arpeggiata', conductor :Christina Pluhar and sung by Philippe Jaroussky (counter tenor) and Nuria Rial (soprano) is one of my favourites. In fact I love the whole CD. Every time I listen to it I have to cry. Don't no why . It touches me very deeply
Ave Verum. I think the first "religious experience" I ever had was when I heard this in a particular church. Interesting that all of my church related religious experiences (some quite interesting) were in that same sanctuary. The piece still moves me.

This may be a bit old fashioned but I still love these two greats playing together.

Video 1:03:00

Oleg Kagan and Sviatoslav Richter playing Mozart's Violin Sonatas K.304, K.403, and K.454, as part of a recording session in the Pushkin Museum in 1983. Timing below:

04:23 - Mozart Violin Sonata no. 21, K.304
19:26 - Mozart Violin Sonata no. 30, K.403
37:55 - Mozart Violin Sonata no. 32, K.454

Some snippets from the comments:
Herbert Kronzucker
Wonderful "old-fashioned" playing from Kagan, with fast, sumptuous Oistrachian vibrato, rapid bow speeds, nuanced lines and double stops, and refreshing spiccatos. A great talent, lost far too soon. Richter as springy and clean as ever.

Bastiat in the Andes
Impressive.... to say the least! Kagan is an angel with a violin, and Richter needs no praise

This is the real stuff! I never knew this kind of playing could have been seen as recent as 1983. Maybe it still existed in the soviet union?

Melvyn Elphee
How does Richter create that limpid, crystalline yet strong tone - even when delicate? Beautiful duet playing with every nuance of light and shade present without exaggeration.

Oleg Moiseyevich Kagan 1946 -- 1990, a Soviet violinist. Born in Sakhalin, Kagan was brought up in Riga following his family's relocation in 1953. He began studying at the Latvian State Conservatory in Riga at age eight. Five years later, he was taken to Moscow by the violinist Boris Kuznetsov. Upon Kuznetsov's death, Kagan began studying with David Oistrakh, and in 1969 he began playing chamber music with Richter. ...
I had a thought today: if veganism takes over, this will be the end of classical music. Think about it: no vegan could ever listen to classical music - not with bows made of horse hair and timpani heads made of calfskin! I find this thought mind-boggling.

Since we are no vegans here - I recently discovered the conductor Carlos Kleiber and I am absolutely blown away by him. He must have had a direct line to the Cosmos... Here's a live version of Beethoven's 7th - such raw aspiration, despair, hope, pain and grace, so deep... incredible.

I would also recommend this to people who are not really into classical music and want to give it a shot. Just take 35min of your time and listen to this without distraction, without starring at a screen... and let it do its thing.

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