Great music

(actualisé le ) by Ray

A selection of musical texts and interpretaions of the very highest level of artistic inspiration.

Date Composer Work/Movement_______ Artist(s) Label time Comments________________________
1 1708 Bach Cantate BWV 106 "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit"/ Chœur Süddeutscher Madrigalchor & Consortium Musicum EMI 08:58 “The time of God is the very best time”: divine!
2 1716 Bach Choral prelude "Ich ruf’ zu dir" BWV 639 Alfred Brendel Philips 03:39 calm and spiritual, just what one often needs
3 1720 Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWW 1004/ Chaconne James Eanes FL 16:52 a monument of the art of violin composition and execution
4 1721 Bach Concerto "Brandenburg" no. 6 in B flat, BWV 1051/ Allegro I Musici Philips 06:20 what rhythm, what musicality!
5 1725 Bach Suite for cello no. 6 in B flat, BWV 1012/ Prélude Paul Tortelier Classical 05:43 a prelude to Heaven
6 1735 Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971/ Allegro Alfred Brendel Philips 04:20 smoothly and most rhythmically exclamatory
7 1735 Bach Italian Concerto BWV 971/ Andante Alfred Brendel Philips 05:41 quiet, peaceful, very beautiful, these two movements complement each other marvellously
8 1741 Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988/ Aria Zhu Xiao-Mei Accentus 04:16 on another plane
9 1784 Mozart Sonate pour piano en ut mineur K. 457/ Adagio Anne Queffelec Mirare 08:58 this delves deep into the mystery of quiet beauty
10 1791 Mozart Clarinet Concerto K. 622/ Adagio Robert Marcellus, George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra CBS 07:49 so justly famous because so very beautiful
11 1791 Mozart Requiem K. 626/ Benedictus Edith Mathis, Karl Böhm, Wiener Philharmoniler DG 6:53 impossible to celebrate more intensely the memory of those departed
12 1794 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 2, Op. 2, no. 2/ Largo appassionato Stephen Kovacevich EMI 05:35 its quiet but powerful lyricism epitomises the composer’s spirit of striving for higher things
13 1801 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 12 in A flat, Op. 26/ Marcia funebra Stephen Kovacevich EMI 05:42 more searching for higher things, soberly and powerfully
14 1802 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 16, Op. 31 no. 1/ Adagio grazioso Yves Nat EMI 10:06 wonderfully interpreted by the great Yves Nat, this song is a pure enchantment with its drive and captivating upswing and sheer melodic beauty.
15 1802 Beethoven Eroica Variations/ Introduzione Emil Gillels DG 03:01 force and beauty, music of the heights attained by a pianist so worthy of them
16 1802 Beethoven Eroica Variations/ I Emil Gillels DG 02:02 by a young man of 32!
17 1802 Beethoven Eroica Variations/ III Emil Gillels DG 02:02 variations - one of the master’s areas of innate genius
18 1802 Beethoven Eroica Variations/ IV Emil Gillels DG 02:02 this (super-)man seems to pour out variations just ever so utterly effortlessly
19 1802 Beethoven Eroica Variations/ Finale alla Fuga Emil Gillels DG 04:47 a fine finale indeed
20 1805 Beethoven Sonata for Violin and Piano no. 9 „Kreuzer“/ Adagio Itzhak Perlman, Vladimir Ashkenazy Decca 16:26 the focus for one of Tolstoy’s most renowned stories, the aptly-named The Kreuzer Sonata
21 1805 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 21, Op. 43 „Waldstein“/ Adagio molto Stephen Kovacevich EMI 03:28 only no. 21 but nevertheless in the same majestic category as the justly celebrated great five last sonatas (nos. 28-32)
22 1805 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 21, Op. 43 „Waldstein“/ Allegretto moderato Stephen Kovacevich EMI 09:26
23 1805 Beethoven Andante Favori WoO 57 in F Claudio Arrau Philips 11:53 sublime piano music, surprisingly little-known, originally written as the middle movement of the „Waldstein“ sonata no. 21 and then relegated to partial oblivion
24 1805 Beethoven Symphony no. 3, „Eroica“/ Allegro con brio Herbert von Karajan DG 13:28 the quite perfect introduction to one of the master’s most celebrated symponies, then and now
25 1806 Beethoven Violin Concerto, Op. 61/ Larghetto Itzhak Perlman, Guilini, Philharmonia Oechestra EMI 9:24 justly famous beyond words
26 1808 Beethoven Triple Concerto, op. 56/ Largo Richter-Oïstrakh-Rostropovitch-Karajan EMI 05:36 divine music played exquisitely and profoundly by truly great musicians
27 1811 Beethoven The "Archduke" Trio, no. 7 in B flat minor, op. 97/ Andante cantabile Beaux Arts Trio Philips 12:34 a long, slow song of deeply moving beauty
28 1819 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 29, Op. 106 „Hammerklavier“/ Largo Yves Nat EMI 11:26 the master climbs the highest heights of the piano repertoire here
29 1820 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 30, Op. 109/ Andante molto cantibile Maurizio Pollini DH 12:30 exceptionally, B. added a comment for the pianist in German (rather than in the standard Italian), obviously straight from the heart: „Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung“ which sort of signifies „in the manner of a song, with the deepest sensibility“
30 1822 Beethoven Sonata for piano no. 32, Op. 111/ Arietta Maurizio Pollini DG 17:23 the stupendous last movement of his last sonata, another eternal summit
31 1824 Beethoven Symphony no. 9/ 4. Presto Claudio Abbado DG 23:56 no doubt the most celebrated of all the master’s works, an eternal monument
32 1825 Schubert Ave Maria, D 839 Barbara Hendricks EMI 06:15 beyond music and even religion into the realm of ethereal purity
33 1827 Schubert Adagio in E flat “Notturno” D. 897 Beaux Ats Trio Philips 13:03 moving and intense this is more soul-searching than sad, and it rises to the same grandiose heights as (late) string works by Schubert’s contemporary Beethoven
34 1827 Schubert „Im Abendrot“ D. 799 Dietrich Fischer-Diskau DG 04:14 the beautiful text of „In the Red Sunset“ by Karl Lappe is sung with deep feeling by DFD and the meditative wish-I-could-be-watching-this-sunset mood is perfectly conveyed by Gerald Moore’s piano.
35 1827 Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 D. 899, no. 3/ Andante Radu Lupu Decca 06:28 for its atmosphere of calm, peacefulness and beauty that captures in a very poetical way the essence of the musical experience
36 1828 Schubert „An Silvia“ D. 891 Dietrich Fischer-Diskau DG 02:44 Shakespeare’s charming song from „Two Gentlemen of Verona“ becomes a hymn to beauty and to the joy of loving when put to music by Schubert and sung in poetic German by DFD
37 1828 Schubert String Quintet Op. 163 D. 956/ Adagio Quator Sine Nomine Claves 15:11 intense, almost other-worldly, this is music that scales the very highest heights.
38 1832 Schumann Tocccata, Op. 7 Youri Egorov EMI 06:59 breathtakingly energetic, just sweeps you along with it
39 1835 Liszt Harmonies poétiques et religieuses/ III. Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude Andrea Bonatta Astrée 18:34 the magnificent harmonies, the continual sense of intense striving towards higher things, the sheer beauty of the melodic line – all combine to create a very special and very, almost uniquely, moving musical experience.
40 1835 Liszt Harmonies poétiques et religieuses/ X. Cantique d’amour Andrea Bonatta Astrée 07:26 a hymn to higher things declaimed with both force and tenderness, infused with a atmosphere of intimacy and poetry that is just too beautiful for words – only music can suffice here in these lofty domains ...
41 1835 Schumann Carnaval, Op. 9/ Préambule Youri Egorov EMI 02:22 Forceful, wild, irresistible
42 1835 Chopin Nocturne No. 8 in D flat major, Op. 27 no. 2 Samson François EMI 05:33 floating along for minutes that seem like an eternity on heights intensely and poetically depicted by the great Samson François, the summit of great art.
43 1845 Wagner Tannhauser/ Ouverture H. von Karajan, Wiener Philharmoniker DG 15:06 sublime!
44 1846 Chopin Polonaise no. 7 in A major Samson François EMI 12:28 a few instants of perfectly calm, meditative beauty
45 1850 Wagner Lohengrin/ Prelude Act 1 Mariss Jansons, Symphonie-orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks Sony 07:46 the essence of the master’s art
46 1850 Wagner Lohengrin/ Prelude Act 3 Mariss Jansons, Symphonie-orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks Sony 03:20 almost too perfect!
47 1859 Brahms Concerto for piano no. 1 Op. 15/ Adagio Vladimir Ashkenazy, Bernard Haitinck, Concertgebouw Orchestra Decca 14:08 the music and the orchestra and soloist are all sublime, the effect is overpoweringly beautiful and moving
48 1863 Liszt Saint François-de-Paule marchant sur les flots, S. 175 Anne Queffelec Erato 09:13 for its powerful, lyrical central theme, for its quiet aura of significance and for its aura of striving to reach out to higher things combined with an atmosphere of triumphant affirmation of the beauty and meaningfulness of this life here on earth.
49 1878 Brahms Violin Concerto, Op. 77/ Adagio Itzhak Perlman, Guilini, Chicago Symphony Orchestra EMI 10:09 rising to the level of the masterwork for violin of his great predecessor B, a musical miracle.
50 1881 Brahms Concerto for piano no. 2 Op. 83/ Andante Vladimir Ashkenazy, Robet Scheiwein, Vienna Phil. Decca 13:09 the lyrical beauty of the cello combined with the soft expressiveness of the piano and orchestra are just too much for words...
51 1884 Brahms „Gestillte Sehnsucht“, Op. 91/1 Jesse Norman DG 07:11 “Becalmed Longing” – an expressive title indeed
52 1884 Brahms „Geistiches Wiegenlied“, Op. 91/2 Jesse Norman DG 06:12 “Sacred Lullaby” - the most beautiful of them all
53 1888 Brahms „Immer leise wird mein Schlummer“, Op. 105 Jesse Norman DG 03:59 “My slumber becomes ever lighter” is pure poetry just so moveingly interpreted by the great JN
54 1902 Mahler Symphonie No. 5 in C sharp minor/ Adagietto Bernard Haitinck / Berlin Philharmnoniker Philips 13:56 peacefully intense, intensely moving
55 1902 Mahler Rückert Lieder, "um Mitternacht" Kathleen Ferrier / Wiener Philharmoniker Decca 06:30 "At midnight I awoke and I looked up to the heavens; and no star in the teeming firmament smiled down at me — at midnight". A quite unforgettable and ever-so-moving cry of despair and loneliness, somehow buttressed by the poet’s fortitude and by the sublime voice and artistry of the ever-to-be regretted Kathleen Ferrer, who will always remain a shining light to comfort many at their own midnights throughout the ages.
56 1905 Sibelius Violin Concerto, Op. 47/ Adagio di molto Christian Tetzlaff Virgin 9:46 an essentioal listening experience
57 1931 Ravel Concerto pour piano et orchestre en sol majeur/ Adagio assai Samson François EMI 08:40 magnificently haunting
58 1948 Strauss Four Last Lieder/ "Beim Schlafengehen" Elizabeth Schwarzkopf EMI 05:24 to a text by Herman Hesse, „On Falling Asleep“ is one of Strauss’s last and perhaps most lasting works.