Classical Sunday: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5

Vasily Petrenko is a Russian-British conductor and currently chief conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, with Vasily Petrenko

Performed by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.  Here is a young conductor that caught our eye, or rather, our ear – enjoy!

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: Glazunov’s From the Middle Ages

Glazunov was significant in that he successfully reconciled nationalism and cosmopolitanism in Russian music.

Alexander Glazunov : From the Middle Ages, Suite for orchestra Op. 79 (1902)

I. Prélude. Allegro
II. Scherzo. Allegro assai
III. Sérénade du troubadour. Andantino
IV. Finale. Allegro.
Performed by the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev.


Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov (1865 – 1936) was a Russian composer, music teacher, and conductor of the late Russian Romantic period.

Classical Sunday: Tchaikovsky’ Tempest Overture

Much like Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet Overtures, this was also inspired by one of Shakespeare’s plays:  The Tempest.  Just so happens that Prospero is my favorite Shakespearian character.

Tchaikovsky – The Tempest – Fantasy Overture

The featured image shows Marc Rylance as Prospero at the Globe Theater in London, UK, during the 2005 season.  A very impressive performance and no mistake.

Classical Sunday: Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead

It appears, the music was inspired by a black and white reproduction of Böcklin’s painting.

Sergei Rachmaninoff:  The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic Poem Op. 29

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor

Painting: “Isle of the Dead”, Arnold Böcklin

It appears, the music was inspired by a black and white reproduction of Böcklin’s painting.

Classical Sunday: Peter and the Wolf

Enjoy half an hour of story-telling

“Shall I tell you a story?”

Sergei Prokofiev / Peter Ustinov / Herbert von Karajan, 1960: Peter And The Wolf

Granted, there surely are better quality recordings out there, but only technically:  Who can surpass the combo Ustinov/Karajan?  Enjoy half an hour of story-telling on this cold January Sunday.

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