The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: What is the one piece of music you could listen to over and over and over again without getting tired or bored? | September 2, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s Saturday —  time for another reader survey.

A few weeks ago, The Ear asked: Which composer or piece you really cannot stand or consider overrated, for whatever reason.

A lot of readers responded and their responses were very interesting, even unexpected. They included such composers as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Scriabin and Mahler.

It was a question of personal taste and of course was subjective – like music itself.

Here is a link to that blog post:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/classical-music-which-well-known-composers-or-works-do-you-hate-and-consider-overrated/

Today, The Ear wants to know:

What piece could you listen to over and over and over again without getting tired or bored by it?

Of course, it may not have to do with the quality of the piece, but rather with how forcefully it speaks to you.

And the piece you name now may not be the one you would name next week or next month or next year.

Right now, for example, The Ear is on a kick with the Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52, by Chopin (below). He loves the work for its development and counterpoint as well as its titanic emotion, which is both Classically restrained and Romantically effusive. That’s why The Ear sees it as Chopin’s response to Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata.

The Ear has tried to play the Ballade and loves comparing different interpretations. (You can hear it played by Arthur Rubinstein in the YouTube video at the bottom. And there are a lot other versions on YouTube.)

As to your choice:

It could be larger work like a Beethoven symphony or a Rachmaninoff concerto or a Verdi opera. Or it could be smaller work, like a Schubert song or a Bach prelude or a Puccini aria.

Anyway, let us know what piece you are focused on right now. It might even serve as a recommendation to other readers.

And in the Comment section, tell us what you like about it and why, and include a YouTube link to a performance if you can.

The Ear wants to hear.


8 Comments »

  1. Many of these movies are available for free download. https://www.zotero.org/groups/1654178/mulheres74681

    Comment by Garotas de Programa RJ — September 5, 2017 @ 5:41 am

  2. Schumann piano concerto

    Comment by Ron McCrea — September 4, 2017 @ 5:46 am

  3. Mozart’s clarinet quintet in A.
    Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture & scottish symphony
    Faure, Pavanne

    Comment by paul baker — September 2, 2017 @ 7:18 pm

  4. Too many to list, but let’s start with Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. It was my mother’s favorite opera & is a miracle of theater in music to me.

    Comment by Barbara Furstenberg — September 2, 2017 @ 1:47 pm

  5. For me, that work would be The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky. Every different performance presents a new facet of observation which takes my understanding of the work futher, like light hitting a diamond.

    On Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 12:01 AM, The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > welltemperedear posted: “By Jacob Stockinger It’s Saturday — time for > another reader survey. A few weeks ago, The Ear asked: Which composer or > piece you really cannot stand or consider overrated, for whatever reason. A > lot of readers responded and their responses were ” >

    Comment by David S. — September 2, 2017 @ 11:10 am

  6. Suite No. 1 for Cello
    by Johann Sebastian Bach It calms me. It makes me think of a blustery fall day enjoying a walk amongst blowing and tumbling leaves.

    Comment by Ern — September 2, 2017 @ 8:18 am

  7. Any number of Jean Sibelius’s symphonies: #5, #2, #7, and #1.

    Comment by FFlambeau — September 2, 2017 @ 7:15 am

  8. Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, for several reasons: their intense lyricism,
    their variety, the happiness and tenderness they project. But also they bring back memories of being 16 and playing two of them, along with my piano teacher, at a school concert. Our glee club was singing a number of them, so I got to sing them too. No wonder they’re indelibly etched in my mind!

    Comment by Ann Boyer — September 2, 2017 @ 6:27 am


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