Monthly Archives: June 2013

Rediscovering Classical

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I studied classical singing and also played violin for 8 years and piano for 3, so classical music is by no means foreign territory. At some point though it just started to seem, well, uncool. Although I still listen to opera sometimes, I’ve mainly drifted off into the land of jazz, somtimes sprinkling in a little bit of blues, latin and classic country. Berlin unfortunately is not a good city to hear great jazz, but with three opera houses, a ballet and several orchestras (including one of the world’s best, the Berlin Philharmonic) it is a fabulous place for classical. Have been rediscovering some great pieces recently that I’d like to share here:

Even if you know next to nothing about classical music, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard this piano trio by Franz Schubert ┬áin some tear jerker film at some point. So beautiful.

I doubt I could ever get tired of listening to Pergolsi’s Stabat Mater….

Nothing like a true contralto, such a rare voice type (probably close to 70% of all women are sopranos with another 25% mezzo sopranos leaving a true contralto voice at around 5% at most…)

Glenn Gould may be the most famous for Bach’s Goldberg Variations, but I personally prefer this to his version.

So very, very glad I discovered Claudio Arrau. Don’t know the first thing about piano playing really, but I love the intimacy he creates. Thanks YouTube!

When I was studying music, Beethoven’s late sonatas were amonst my very favorites. Opus 110 still makes me cry.

Have heard versions I like better, but you still can never go wrong with Satie.

Just took my daughters to see a ballet of the Wizard of Oz that used Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1. Fantastic!

Love Granados. Here he is playing his own music in 1913.

Just realized this is all heavy on piano which has always been my favorite instrument. Maybe it’s time to take lessons again….

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(Don’t) Say Cheese…

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I read recently that people used to not smile in photographs because it was a formal occasion….

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…this was not the day of the point and shoot. Getting your portrait taken was expensive……

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…..something you would likely only do once or twice in your entire life.

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You also had to sit very still because the exposure took so long. Holding the same smile for a long period….

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…was not so simple. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I still prefer portraits where a person is not smiling. My husband does too. In photographs, our babies only grin if they feel like it which seems so much more natural, like they are being themselves in front of the camera though both of them do so love to pose….

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