Monday, July 13, 2009

What it is

So, this is a brand new blog I'm making, and it's all going to be about cool things in classical music that I like. The focus is going to particularly be on things that I think are important in the development of music, especially things that are monumental pinnacles. However, no matter what some people who know my opinions on music think, I'm not so completely square that those are the only things I like, so I'll occasionally mix it up with modern music, or else some really old stuff like chant and organum to trace the trajectory of music a little better. I will also be posting an album recommendation or two, and maybe some anecdotes and whatnot to keep things a little interesting, so I hope you all enjoy.

My first piece is in honor of the blog's namesake, Nadezdha von Meck. She was a Russian patron of the arts most well known for financing Peter Tchaikovsky, but who also in an interesting twist of fate, hired a young Claude Debussy to tutor her daughter in music. Debussy was then fired because he wanted to marry said daughter. The first post is also in honor of my violin teacher Tiberius Klausner, who told me once that one of his proudest accomplishments was learning to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. It really is a beautiful piece of music, not to mention extremely impressive to perform, so I hope you enjoy. Anyone who has heard some of Tchaikovsky's other lyrical works will know that this is a prime example of his melodic genius, because some of the passages here are almost saccharine-like. Here is a video of David Oistrakh, who is an iconic Russian performer and part of the generation of Jewish violinists that completely dominated violin performance in the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, I do not know who the orchestra is, and due to youtube size constraints, the movement is broken into two videos, but the performance is marvelous. So without further ado, part 1

and part 2

A recording recommendation I would make for this work is Isaac Stern with Eugene Ormandy. This album also features them performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, which I may spend some time in a future post discussing, but is a marvelous work that you probably have heard even if you don't know it. Isaac Stern also was the subject of a documentary about his trip to perform in communist China, entitled "From Mao To Mozart" that some of you might enjoy.
Anyway, I hope this is enough for a first post, and look forward to coming back to mine the depths of music history for you soon.

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