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June 19, 2012 / windlessly

Classical Music Extravaganza!

If you’ve ever frequented my blog before, you’ll know that I have quite the varied taste in music. I was doing housework today so I needed some good music to keep me going. It was annoying to listen to the radio and have those commercial breaks interrupt me every five minutes, so I listened to Danzon no. 2 by Arturo Marquez:

The only problem was that as soon as I went onto YouTube to play the song, I was mesmerized for 10 minutes in front of my laptop, just watching the movements of the players and and listening to the beautiful music. It brings back personal memories of the All-County Band Festival I participated in this year. The conductor in the video, Gustavo Dudamel, is one of the best. Just look at him conduct! There’s so much passion and energy in his movements, and that smile- you can tell he loves bringing out the best in the students he’s conducting, and just the music itself… listening to this still gives me chills.

My boy Gustavo…

And sure, some of you dunderheads out there who don’t appreciate classical music might find this post boring, but I say quite the contrary! Classical music is a form of music that can move you through a whole spectrum of emotions and back: the excitement is unparalleled… brought about by increasing tension and sudden release. Give this piece a listen, from beginning to end, and you’ll see what I mean! Classical music has a way of tickling your senses that no other genre of music can. It can be just as catchy and exciting as any pop song you hear on the radio. The “hits” nowadays are just recycled chords and patterns of beats with new lyrics- I have nothing against those by the way, I happen to enjoy the popular pop songs a lot, but I’m saying there’s no way they can compare to the depth and breadth of classical music. There are so many layers that I never tire of listening to classical music, whereas I need to “retire” pop songs after around a month of continued use.

So I decided to make a longer-than-usual music post, dedicating it to classical music and so I can share some of my favorites. Even though I play the flute and am biased, I decided to introduce more of a variety to appeal to more people. You’re welcome, violin and trumpet players =P Now, onto the music…

Mercadante Flute Concerto in e minor– performed by none other than Sir James Galway:

I recently learned this piece to perform at a senior recital, and let me tell you- this piece is HARD. But I fell in love with the concerto as soon as I heard on the radio, so I became set on learning it and drilling my fingers to the core. Problem was, I kept thinking I was good at flute- until I heard James Galway play it. Simply put, this guy is a BEAST. His cadenza at 6:36 basically stops my heart every time I listen to it. Flute players, this is a performance you must listen to. You WILL be inspired. Second movement here, third movement here. <- I purposefully chose Rampal’s recording of the third movement because his double tonguing at the end is out of this world. Makes me feel unworthy to play the piece. xD

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major– performed by Jascha Heifetz

I’m sure Jascha Heifetz is widely considered to be a god among violin players. I mean, even for a non-violin player like me, I couldn’t help but cover my gaping mouth and just stare on in wonder. (It may start off slow but keep listening to the end… you won’t regret it.) I don’t know what the deal is with the music video and that woman spectator, but I like the black and white feel to it. It reminds us that back then, classical music and orchestra performances were the juiciest entertainment available, and that the music should still be treated as such today. Seriously, I would be honored to have been in the same room as Jascha Heifetz during one of his performances. There’s no question that I would be completely riveted.

Hummel Trumpet Concerto in Eb Major– performed by Tine Thing Helseth

Yes, Tine Thing Helseth is a real name. In fact, it’s the name of a pretty amazing Norwegian trumpet soloist. I first heard of her during break of our Syracuse Youth Orchestra rehearsal from my friend Kaitlyn, who happened to be first chair and a pretty darn good trumpet player herself. She was playing the Hummel Concerto as one of that year’s concerto competition winners and wanted to show us what it sounded like. I distinctly remember her saying that the piece was “easy-peasy.” Yeah right. It’s a magnificent piece and I think Tine Thing Helseth did a good job making an attractive music video to display it.

So there you have it. Three of my favorite concertos to listen to, and by no means a comprehensive list of all the classical music I enjoy. When you get bored of all the rap and pop songs that are circulating today, tune in to the classical station on the radio- you’ll certainly find some treasures.

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