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Discovering Masterpieces of Classical Music
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1.

Beethoven 9th Symphony [electronic resource]: (Concert)

Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in a 2001 performance in Rome.
Online
2014; 2000
2.

Mozart (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Composed in 1788, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Jupiter Symphony" is regarded as the epitome of the classical symphonic form. Conductor Hartmut Haenchen presents his personal view of this masterpiece using examples from concert footage with the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra. Recorded live at the Berlin Konzerthaus in November 2005.
Online
2014; 2007
3.

Beethoven (Documentary) [electronic resource]

From the very start, the four-note "fate" motif of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony casts a spell on listeners. Suffering from hearing loss during its composition, Beethoven's despair and creative elation during his journey inward are reflected in this masterpiece. Beethoven expert Wulf Konold illustrates its variations on piano and explains other features of the work, including references to French Revolution ideals and tensions between fate and self determination. Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
4.

Mendelssohn (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Violinist Frank Michael Erben joins the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig under Kurt Masur in a recording made in May 1997. Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847) was the orchestra's first conductor and the Gewandhaus Orchestra - proud of its long history - is an appropriate choice for an introduction to a work by the composer. With his famous Violin Concerto in E minor, Mendelssohn forged a link between Classicism and Romanticism. Frank Michael Erben and musicologist Armin Koch reveal how he combined the best of both worlds to create a virtuoso masterpiece that remains a popular favorite with audiences until today.
Online
2014; 2007
5.

Dvorák (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Thunderous applause filled the hall. The cry 'Dvorak! Dvorak!' came up from the crowd" (New York Herald, 1893). This uproar was caused by one of the most important works in music history, Symphony No.9 dubbed the "New World Symphony" by Antonín Dvorák. American biographer Michael Beckerman introduces audiences to the work and analyzes the national style of themes and motifs on the piano. Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2008
6.

Haydn (Documentary) [electronic resource]

The Surprise Symphony, Symphony No. 94 in G Major, is the best known of the over 100 symphonies by Haydn. Its second movement is the most popular and gave the symphony its name: legend has it that the sudden beat of the timpani was meant to rouse members of the audience who had fallen asleep. Robert Levin (tbc) tells the story of the legendary "surprise" and shows, on piano, the special characteristics of the composition. Mariss Jansons conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
7.

Schumann (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor is not a traditional virtuoso showpiece but a cooperative venture between the soloist and the orchestra. This new relationship transported the piano concerto into the realm of symphonic music. German musicologist Wulf Konold explains special composition features using concert footage of Argentinean pianist Martha Argerich. Riccardo Chailly conducts the Gewandhausorchester.
Online
2014; 2007
8.

Brahms (Documentary) [electronic resource]

In the eyes of his contemporaries, Johannes Brahms's 1878 Violin Concerto in D major was so different from everything that had come before that, after the premiere, a critic stated that it wasn't a concerto, but a "symphony with violin obligato". Legendary American violinist Gil Shaham introduces viewers to its melodies and motifs and seeks to disprove the famous criticism. Wolfgang Sandberger, the director of the German Brahms Institute in Lübeck, analyzes the work and describes its genesis. Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, on May 1, 2002.
Online
2014; 2007
9.

Tchaikovsky (Documentary) [electronic resource]

The Symphony No. 5 in E minor by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was composed between May and August 1888. It was first performed, under Tchaikovsky's own baton, in St Petersburg on November 6, 1888. While composing the symphony, Tchaikovsky constantly doubted his powers of composition. However, after a performance of the symphony in Hamburg the composer wrote: I no longer have a bad opinion of the symphony, and like it once more!" Musicologist and Tchaikovsky expert Constantin Floros analyzes the connection between Tchaikovsky's work and his biography. Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
10.

Bartók (Documentary) [electronic resource]

The Concerto for Orchestra by Bela Bartok is one of the most frequently performed works of the twentieth century. French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez explains how he interpreted this composition with the Berlin Philharmonic. Learn how the masterpiece reflects important themes in Bartok's life-including exile from war torn Europe, nostalgia for Hungary, his early study of folk music, and his struggle with illness in New York.
Online
2014; 2007
11.

Ravel (Documentary) [electronic resource]

The "Bolero", originally composed as a ballet, is Maurice Ravel's most successful work. The world famous melody of the "Bolero" has been featured in popular music, motion pictures and even video games. Pianist and writer Paul Roberts analyzes the music and its structure and explains why Ravel was a stringent critic of his own work. Daniel Barenboim conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
12.

Bach (Documentary) [electronic resource]

The six Brandenburg Concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach rank among the undisputed favorites of all baroque fans. They have become a firm fixture in music education and an integral part of our international musical heritage. So what's their secret? Internationally acclaimed pianist and Bach expert Robert Levin provides an answer. Gottfried von der Goltz conducts the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.
Online
2014; 2008
13.

Beethoven 9th Symphony (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Ludwig van Beethoven's ninth and last symphony is considered one of the highlights of symphonic music. Through the use of song, Beethoven questions the effect of purely instrumental music-influencing generations of composers after him. German Beethoven expert Wulf Konold explains the central characteristics of this exciting masterpiece. Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
14.

Strauss (Documentary) [electronic resource]

The Alpine Symphony is one of Strauss' largest non-operatic conceptions, and the composer considered it his best work in terms of its orchestration. Despite its title, it is not a symphony in the generally accepted sense of the word. It is a 'tone poem', a musical form which Strauss specialized in for 20 years of his life. German author and Strauss specialist Habakuk Traber explains the work's concept as an allegory for human life with its joy, fear and glory; beginning and ending in darkness. Giuseppe Sinopoli conducts the Sächsische Staatskapelle.
Online
2014; 2007
15.

Schubert (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, commonly known as the Unfinished, was started in 1822 but left with only two movements complete even though Schubert would live for another six years. Since Schubert's death at the age of 31, the Unfinished Symphony has been a bit of a mystery. Author and musicologist Habakuk Traber discusses research that has shed new light on the composer's original intentions. Daniel Barenboim conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
16.

Berlioz (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Berlioz' "Fantastic Symphony" is widely regarded as one of the most important and representative pieces of the early Romantic period. Leonard Bernstein once called it "the first musical expedition into psychedelia" because of its hallucinatory and dream-like nature. German musicologist Wulf Konold describes the idea behind and the realization of this fascinating work. Mariss Jansons conducts the Berlin Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2007
17.

Bruckner (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 in C minor is the last Symphony the composer completed. When Bruckner sent it to Hermann Levi in 1887, the conductor who had lead his 7th to great success, Levi did not understand this very different work and rejected it. Bruckner then set to work revising the symphony and completed a new version in 1890. Habakuk Traber explains this masterpiece by introducing Bruckner's personality and his unique style of composing. Pierre Boulez conducts the Vienna Philharmonic.
Online
2014; 2008
18.

Mahler (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Arguably the best known Mahler symphony, "Symphony No. 5" features a broad musical canvas and emotional scope. Herbert von Karajan said once that when you hear Mahler's Fifth, "you forget that time has passed." English lecturer and musician Jeremy Barham introduces the work at the piano and reflects on the secrets of the composition. Claudio Abbado conducts the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.
Online
2014; 2007
19.

Debussy (Documentary) [electronic resource]

Debussy's "La Mer" is a masterpiece of suggestion and subtlety in its rich depiction of the ocean. Several authors have claimed that "La Mer" sounds like nothing before it. As a specialist in French Impressionism, the British pianist and writer Paul Roberts - also known from the BBC television series "Play It Again" - introduces Debussy's work to the viewers. Daniel Barenboim conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Online
2014; 2007
20.

Mahler [electronic resource]: Lied von Der Erde (Documentary)

No composer before Mahler had ever devoted himself exclusively to two genres so apparently incompatible as the intimate lied and the grandiose symphony. Thus it is fascinating in "Das Lied von der Erde" to see him combining, at this late stage of his career, these two seemingly opposed genres in a 'symphony of lieder' for two solo voices and orchestra. Musicologist Habakuk Traber presents this exceptional work of which Mahler himself wrote that "I think it is probably the most personal composition I have created thus far." Semyon Bychkov conducts the Cologne Symphony Orchestra with mezzo-soprano Waltraud Maier and tenor Torsten Kerl.
Online
2014; 2007