I'm retired and as I get older, classical music means more and more to me. Take this song by Greig; it brings your close to nature. Modern music doesn't do that.

Hector Berlioz, Guissepie Verdie, Johannes Brahms, and Gabriel Faure were atheists. It's not all church music.

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I stand corrected. The dates came off the top of my head without checking.


I dd say "virtually" dormant. Of course, there are going to be musical scholars who were aware of Bach.

It dig that about Mendelsshon. He not only gave the world a tremendous legacy, but also revived interest in another genius.
I'd better know these dates - I helped organizing a small Mozart concert series in 1991, and attended a couple Mozart festivals in 2006.
Where were the festivals? We had some in NYC years ago. I live in Florida now but have fond memories of Lincohn Center.

Are you familiar with this one—one of my favorites ever? I once saw David Ostroick (pardon misspelling) the great Russian violinist play it in Central Park. It was so beautiful that it became a favorite of mine for the rest of my life.

To me, it doesn' get any better.
Small local festivals in France. I remember hearing Heifetz play the Scottish Fantasy a few times on the radio, but I could not say if it was this version. Lucky you about Oistrakh - he died a few years before I got interested in music and knew about him.
How did I forget that spelling?

That was one hellava night. A fine champagne, sweet-smelling grass (the kind one smokes), a fond companion, and a warm blanket to lay on the ground and watch the stars. Oistrakh was flawless— just another day at the office with 200,000 people listening to him.

That’s livin’. He ranks with the greatest.

Etes-vous en France? I'm currently listening to La Juive, the opera that Caruso died performing. I'm a big fan of Bizet and Halevy was his father-in-law. Interesting piece.
Oui - I'm born and living in France.

I'm not a fan of French Grand Opera (Meyerbeer, Halévy, Auber, etc.). Quite the opposite actually. I have the same dislike for Verismo in general, although there are bits in Puccini I'd keep.

I appreciate Bel Canto more, although with reservations. Not really my cup of tea.

It gets much better with Verdi, although I'm not familiar with all his works. The only ones I love in their entirety are Otello, and above all Falstaff.

I love Bizet's Carmen, not so fond of his other works, although there are great moments in some of them.

As long as it's opera, my favorite eras are Monteverdi-Mozart (inclusive), the mature Wagner, and his immediate successors (Debussy, Berg, R.Strauss).
Jaume, thanks for your comments about your likes and dislikes. I can only say, A chaqu’un son gout. (Perdonez ma francais, je n’ai pas d’opportunité a practiquer votre langue ici en Floride. Ma femme est cubane, et je parle beaucoup plus d’espanole.)

My favorite composer is Puccini. No other man has given me actual physical pleasure. I love this aria from La Rondine and I’ve heard it a thousand times. I still love to listen to it. Puccini wrote in the middle of WWI while the rest of the world was killing each other. Art transcends war and violence. Notice the note she hits at 0:55, love is madness.

I’m also a lover of Bizet. As a writer I empathize with his tragic ending. Died of a broken heart not yet 40. The critics considered Carman a piece of porno and he lost hope. Right after his death, three months later Carmen played in Milan to thunderous applause. What a tragic loss; he was one of the greatest pianists in Europe, entering La Conservatoire de Paris around 14.

When he was 23 he wrote Les Pecheurs de Pearle—another of my very favorites. Around 1970, I saw Robert Merrill and Richard Tucker sing its magnificent duet at Carnegie Hall. The same performance is on Youtude. He like the past coming to life. It haunts me. Notice the great melody entrance at 1:47.

In the opera, as they sing the great duet, as “la diessa” dances in the background as in a dream.

C’est tard de la nuit. A la prochaine. I’ts 11:39 pm 9/17 here in Florida.
Lauren, wonderful. I’d place the Grieg piano concerto in there but your list is pretty formidable.

Another favorite of mine is Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. I let my mind wonder and I picture an old sailor who spends a night in the living room of friends. He sits by a crackling fireplace and recounts tales of a lifetime at sea. The violin tells stories of Polynesia, ghost ships, typhoons and the dangerous waters off the Cape of Good Hope.

The orchestra is the family that reacts to his to his Homeric tales. They seem to react emotionally to his stories of quests for buried treasure and fearsome sea serpents.

In the concerto form, the soloist counterbalances in virtuosity what the orchestra has in numbers. It’s an amazing art form—there’s no way the massive orchestra can play the individual notes of the piano or violin.
How about the Chopin? Critics accused him of not being able to write for anything but the piano. He gave them this. I linked the Thrid Movement vivace, one of my favorites.
Thanks, I'll listen tonight. Here's a little story adding evidence to your hypothesis.

When Chopin was composing on the Island of Majorca, Georges Sand entering the salon. Being it was raining, she said to Chopin, your prelude reminds me of raindrops.

Chopin turned from the piano abruptly. "No," he said, "my work has no resemblance to the physical world."

Sounds spiritual to me. :-)

Until this day, the work is still nicknamed "the raindrops prelude."
Lauren, the Brahms was wonderful. I never was into Brahms too much but I really enjoyed the concerto.

What a coincidence that you should send me Arturo Rubinstein.

This is the first essay I ever had published and Rubinstein is a key figure. He has a unique position in the history of mankind in that he was the last virtuoso to be taught by a great composer. With his death the chain was broken.

"He's 83 years old now. Do you realize that when he dies mankind's last direct link with the master composers will be broken? Maestro Rubinstein studied with Ignace Paderewski and he with Theodor Leschetizky and he directly with Carl Czerny and he with the immortal Beethoven. When Arthur Rubinstein dies mankind will lose its direct link to the great composers, and music will become a free-floating, unpiloted boat abruptly cut loose from its ancestral moorings. Music will degenerate to cacophonous gibberish by the end of the century. After such a wonderful tradition and legacy, the youth of mankind will listen to the insane noise of caged monkeys and clap their hands with screaming enthusiasm.

I’m from Polish descent and very proud that the father of modern-day Poland was a very good composer and perhaps the greatest pianist in the world at the time—Paderewski.

Here’s the piece. Dr. Grinspoon wrote the intro and Carl Sagan essay is a little above mine on the list.




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