In recent months I have been fueled by Beethoven. Piano sonatas, string quartets, symphonies, concertos, everything. So, my first staff pick is the excellent documentary In Search of Beethoven. There are too many prominent ensembles, conductors and pianists featured in the film to count. The documentary truly takes the viewer on a journey. It catalogs his works and gives us some insight into Beethoven’s remarkable personality and his empathy for humanity.
In Search of Beethoven: A film by Phil Grabsky ~ DVD 202
Chamber music. There’s so much of it! I think Mendelssohn is a good place to start. His piano trios are remarkable (the man DID write “Songs without Words”).
Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor was written in 1839, the year before Schumann experienced his most prolific year of songwriting. I love that Schumann viewed Mendelssohn as the Mozart of the 19th century, saying that he was the “most of illuminating of musicians”. High praise.
The Piano Trios of Felix Mendelssohn ~ CD 9069
2013 is the bicentennial of Verdi and Wagner! Orchestras and Opera companies all over the world are celebrating with seasons dedicated to performing great works, from the most famous to the lesser-known. The AUSO began the celebration in March with the overture from Die Meistersinger von Nurmberg and they will be joined by the AU Chorus in a couple of weeks to keep the party going with Verdi’s Four Sacre Pezzi.
Simon Boccanegra ~ CD 8802
Birgit Nilsson Sings Wagner Arias with Hans Hotter and Leopold Ludwig ~ CD 8173
This one’s for Robert:
Meredith Monk: Turtle Dreams ~ CD 9697