Here is a 1975 performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 by Artur Rubenstein and the London Symphony Orchestra with Andre Previn conducting.
In case you missed it. Here is the famous OKGo Rube Goldberg machine video.
Here is the video of the band OK Go filmed on a plane doing parabolic arcs. OK Go is famous for having the most creative videos, which combine Rube Goldberg contraptions with extreme synchronized choreography. The video of Upside Down and Inside Out is a single shot. Each zero gravity arc is about 30 seconds long. The intervening hyper gravity arcs are compressed in the video although it is very hard to detect in the first viewing.
Since I gave up posting a musical selection every week, I changed the title. I still intend to post selections occasionally. Here is Joseph Haydn’s Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 33, No. 2, nicknamed “The Joke”, played by the Ariel Quartet. Make sure you listen to the end. I could think of nothing more appropriate for our times.
Sorry for the long radio silence. However, I was listening to the radio yesterday and this version of the Double Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV 1043 by JS Bach came on and I sat in my car in a hot parking lot listening to it. It’s from a forty year old EMI recording with violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman with Daniel Barenboim conducting the English Chamber Orchestra. I’ve been limiting my posts to videos of live performances but sometimes classic recordings should be given their due and this is certainly a classic. Even though I posted a version with Oistrakh and Menuhin before, I just had to share this.
It has been a rather tragic week around the world. Here is the incomparable Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna Singverein in a 1986 rendition of Mozart’s Requiem.
The third movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto played by Swedish prodigy Daniel Lozakovitj at age 10 with the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in 2011.
Here is the version by international superstar and former violin prodigy Sarah Chang with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic in 1995 when she was about 15.
English Composer Frederick Delius’s Piano Concerto in C minor, played by Justin Bird with the Indiana University (ad hoc) Orchestra.
Bohemian (as from Bohemia, not lifestyle) composer Bedrich Smetana’s Symphonic Poem The Moldau, transcribed for harp, and played by Valerie Milot. This is Smetana’s evocation of the sounds of the Vltava or Moldau river.
The first movement of Beethoven’s Violin and Piano Sonata No.5, Op. 24, dubbed the Spring Sonata, played by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. I was fortunate enough to attend a concert by Kremer in the 1980’s. I don’t think I really understood what great musicianship was, as opposed to virtuosity, until that concert. For Kremer, every note is part of a bigger whole. In this video, it is not clear that Kremer and Argerich are on the same page though.
Below is the whole thing with Anne Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis, which has better balance.
The great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter playing Beethoven’s last piano sonata, No. 32 in C minor, Op 111, which really pushed the boundaries of music at that time. Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed it. Richter was considered to be a musical genius; he was admired by Glenn Gould. Richter also insisted that American pianist Van Cliburn should be the winner of the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. It was a controversial decision to say the least but Richter prevailed and that moment still resonates both musically and and geopolitically. It certainly launched Cliburn’s career and one could argue that it laid a path to the end of the cold war. Music can matter.
The second movement of Franz Schubert’s Trio No. 2 in E flat, op. 100 played by le Trio Wanderer. This piece (or rather a small fraction of it) was popularized by the film Barry Lyndon.
Here is the whole thing played by Trio Cleonice
The Kyrie from Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, K427, played by the Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Leonard Bernstein. The solo is sung by the American soprano Arleen Auger, who died in 1993 of brain cancer at the age 53. Bernstein died in 1990 so this must have been performed sometime in the 1980’s.
Addendum: Actually it is from 1990 so it must have been right before Bernstein died.
Here is the whole mass if you have an hour.
Rare footage of the great French violinist Ginette Neveu, who died at 30 in a plane crash in 1949, playing an excerpt of Poeme, Op. 25 by Ernest Chausson.
Here is the whole piece from a 1946 recording with the London Philharmonia Orchestra.
Sonata in g minor by English Baroque composer Henry Eccles. This is usually played with violin or cello but here is a version with double bass.
For these turbulent times, here is the first movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050, played by the early music group Apollo’s Fire.
Personally I think the keyboardist doesn’t quite go ballistic enough in the chromatic part of the cadenza. Listen from about the 9 min mark of the iconic version by Concentus Musicus Wien from 1964.
Csardas by Vittorio Monti played by the Szalai Hungarian Gypsy Band. This famous piece was composed in 1904 and there are countless renditions.
The Polovtsian Dances from the end of Act II of Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor with rock star conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Vienna Philharmonic.
A performance of Mozart’s Table Music Duet for two violins. I think this piece best exemplifies the singular brilliance of Mozart. This piece consists of only a single line of music (see below for those who can read music). One person reads it right side up and the other reads it upside down. Thus the beginning of the piece for one person is the end of the piece for the other person read upside down. In music, the position of the notes is relative to the staff so a note read upside down is not the same read right side up, except for the middle B in treble clef. For example, the D read right side up (4th line from the bottom) is equivalent to the G read upside down (2nd line form bottom) in the key of G major.