(Neo-) Classical Sunday: The Harry Potter Series

“I know the movies can’t be the books… because I know what’s coming and it’s impossible to fully dramatise on screen what I’m going to write. But I just ask you to be true to the characters; that’s all I care about.” J.K. Rowling

“The Beautiful Music of the Harry Potter Series”

This is a compilation of themes from the Harry Potter movies that were released over a period of ten years, between 2001 and 2011. Having read the book or having watched the movies is no requirement for enjoying the score; it’s beautiful in and of itself.

(Neo-) Classical Sunday: Corigliano’s Red Violin

Distraught, Nicolò returns to his shop and varnishes the violin with a red color…

Corigliano: Suite from “The Red Violin” / Misha Rachlevsky • Chamber Orchestra Kremlin

“Recorded at the Chamber Hall of the Moscow International House of Music, with Mr. John Corigliano in the audience, March 2003. Russian premiere. With author’s permission, Misha Rachlevsky amended the Suite with other episodes from the film’s score, giving every violinist of the orchestra a chance to shine.” (from the description of the above video on YouTube)

“The Red Violin (French: Le Violon Rouge) is a 1998 drama film directed by François Girard and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Carlo Cecchi and Sylvia Chang. It spans four centuries and five countries as it tells the story of a mysterious red-coloured violin and its many owners. The instrument, made in Cremona in 1681 with a future forecast by tarot cards, makes its way to Montreal in 1997, where an appraiser identifies it and it goes to auction.” (Wikipedia)

Classical Sunday: Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring

It’s such beautiful spring weather, let’s have some spring music to go with it!

Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester

The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky.   The video above is the concert version.

The Rite of Spring was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company, and when it was first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation.

Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes.  The ‘Rite’ was the third such project, after the acclaimed ‘Firebird’ (1910) and ‘Petrushka’ (1911).

Stravinsky’s score contains many novel features for its time, and has influenced many of the 20th-century’s leading composers.   It is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire.


Classical Sunday: Fauré’s Requiem

This is a first on our site: a female conductor!

Requiem de Fauré – Ensemble Orchestral de Paris – Choeur Accentus

Festival de Saint Denis 2010

Karina Gauvin, soprano
David Bizic, baryton
Ensemble Orchestral de Paris
Choeur Accentus

Laurence Equilbey, direction

Classical Sunday: Holst’s The Planets

Just in case you missed it: Mercury will be in retrograde from November 1st to November 21st.  Keep your temper in check, listen to classical music, and reflect!

Gustav Holst– The Planets, Full Suite

0:00 Mars
7:27 Venus
14:52 Mercury
18:39 Jupiter
26:11 Saturn
35:26 Uranus
41:12 Neptune

Classical Sunday: Sibelius’ Symphonies

Too hard to choose one: Enjoy four hours of this Finnish composer of the Romantic era.

Jean Sibelius: Symphonies 1 to 7

Conducted by Paavo Berglund

The Bournemouth Symphonic Orchestra

About the composer, it is said that Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957) was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods, and that he is widely recognized as his country’s greatest composer.

Classical Sunday: Alfvén’s Midsommarvaka

Be transported to an an old-time Swedish Midsummer wake and the magic of Midsummer Eve night.

Something Swedish today.  Not very long, but very fitting with this weekend: The summer Solstice was on Friday on the 21st, and Midsummer Day is tomorrow, on 24 June.

Hugo Alfvén: “Midsommarvaka”

Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, Op. 19

Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Petri Sakari

The Rhapsody, written in 1903, is the best-known piece by Hugo Alfvén, and also one of the best-known pieces of music in Sweden.  The score, published around 1906, describes it thus:

A fantasy on popular Swedish folk melodies depicting the moods evoked by an old-time Swedish Midsummer wake; the dancing and games around the May-pole through the magic night of Midsummer Eve.  One theme is the composer’s own invention, while other themes are borrowed from the folk-music of Sweden and elaborated by the composer.

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