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saint-saens

Saint-Saens Piano Concertos 1-5

A few weeks ago I shared with my readers Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 1. To my surprise, I received a lot more emails about this piano concerto than any other piece of music. However, most of them said something along the lines of “I love No. 2”, or “No. 3 is the best” or “What the 1st is […]

Casta Diva

Casta Diva

Norma premiered in La Scala (the Mecca of opera in Millan Italy) in 1831. Casta Diva is one of the most challenging arias ever written for soprano. During the rehearsals before the premier Italian soprano Giuditta Pasta refused to sign it she said it was “ill adapted to her vocal abilities”.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9

I wanted to share with you Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. It is not a traditional symphony, because it uses voices in addition to instruments; thus it is called a choral symphony. Beethoven composed it when he was completely deaf.

Cavalleria Rusticana

I wanted to share with you music that you may have heard in the movie Godfather. No, not Godfather 1 (though you can listen to that here), but Godfather 3. It is an opera by Pietro Mascagni called Cavalleria Rusticana (loosely translated: Peasant’s Honor).

Great Conductors

On Saturday I was browsing TED talks and stumbled on this incredible talk by Itay Talgam, “Lead like the great conductors.” Even if you’re not a big fan of classical music, watch it to learn a lot about different management styles (I watched it five times!). I am a civilian when it comes to classical […]

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Today I want to share with you Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Niccolo Paganini, Italian violin virtuoso and composer, wrote 24 capriccios for violin – 24 very short but extremely difficult pieces to play. I feel like they were written for the performers, not the listeners – they are as difficult to listen […]

Macbeth

Today I wanted to share with you aria from Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth. I saw this opera for the first (and only) time with my wife on one of our first dates. Now she cannot say that she wasn’t warned about my extracurricular opera excursions. Macbeth was Verdi’s tenth opera. It was first performed in 1847. […]

Netrebko & Garanca

I wanted to share with you an aria from opera Lakme by French composer Leo Delibes (click here) . Ironically it is known as British Airways’ theme song. It is sung by two of my favorite sopranos Anna Netrebko from Russia and Elina Garanca from Latvia. I have to be honest, I am not sure […]

Warsaw Concerto

Today I wanted to share with you the Warsaw Concerto, a piano concerto in one movement written by British composer Richard Addinsell for the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight.  When I heard it the first time, it felt like it had a Russian soul behind it. Today, when I looked it up on the most trustworthy source […]

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6

A good friend asked me if I thought Tchaikovsky was overrated or underappreciated. A few years ago I probably would have said overrated; now I say both. music has been overpopularized in America. The Nutcracker has turned into a Christmas ballet, which is so popular that for some ballet companies it accounts for almost half […]