Saturday, December 26, 2009

Classical Music Picks on Youtube

The Classics on Youtube

There are about a zillion and a half music videos on youtube, sooo much to sample, but here are some of my favourites, the ones I listen to and watch over and over.

Modest Mussorgsky/orch. Ravel - Pictures at an Exhibition
Most of the time I'd not say that I'd chosen these videos for their visuals - it's the music, the performance that's really paramount - but here, it's also filmed in a way that's much more interesting than the usual fare:

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra at the BBC Proms in August 2006

Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part 4 of 4

The painting of Mussorgsky is by Ilya Repin.

An excerpt from Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, the "Unfinished" - the best parts! - Fabio Bernoni conducting the Praga Sinfonietta in France, 2004.

Wagner vs Wagner - and even though I grew up in a classical music loving household, I still learned more of it from Warner Bros. than my parents.

Herbert von Karajan - 1966 - Beethoven's 5th - need I say more? This 2 parter comes from a film that's no longer in print.

Part I (1st & 2nd movements)
Part II (3rd & 4th movements)

Funny how almost 10X as many people watch the first half as the second.. One of the things about youtube is the often amusing/senseless/ridiculous/competitive/et cetera commentary that comes up - everyone being an expert on the internet, natch. Somewhere in the comments, I forget whether it's Part I or Part II, someone mentions in a disapproving tone that all the musicians are white and male. It's 1966, it's Europe - someone's been watching too many history-revisionist movies! (you know, the kind where women and non-whites had that new-fangled "equal rights" stuff going on in times past..) Image is of Karajan in rehearsal with the EC Youth Orchestra in Salzburg, 1980.

Henry Purcell's Rondeau from the Abdelazer Suite, an exquisitely beautiful piece of music that makes you think the Baroque period must have been somehow just better than what we have going on now.

Dutch organist Ton Koopman doing justice to Bach's Toccata & Fugue in G Minor BMW 578. Portrait of J.S. by E.G. Haussmann, 1748.

My favourite Mozart, the Symphony in G Minor No.25, First Movement, by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields under Neville Marriner.

Maurice Ravel's Bolero, given a fantastic live rendition by Dutch violinist/conductor André Rieu.

Horowitz plays Schubert in Vienna - not much to add there - simply sublime. He's pictured at the piano in an undated image, about 1910-1920.

Les belles fleurs qui chantent - Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca sing Lakme's Flower Duet

And now for something completely different... Philip Glass' Einstein On The Beach.

Happy listening, and happy exploring on youtube - once you start, you'll never stop.


  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to say so!