Year of Wonder – August

Every day I open the Kindle app on my iPad, read the day's entry from Year of Wonder, listen to the music, and then sit back in awe over the richness and diversity of music history. That has been my routine since New Year's Day (yes, it was a resolution).

In
Year of Wonder, Clemency Burton-Hill describes one piece of music for each day of the year. Her descriptions generally take less than five minutes to read and the music takes less than ten minutes to hear. If you want to know more than what Burton-Hill describes, a quick online search can take you to other resources. If you want to hear more of the music, you will more than likely be able to find it through online streaming. (I recommend Spotify.)

A day-by-day devotion to
Year of Wonder exposes you to a tremendous diversity of composers and styles of music. In short, the world of classical music contains much more than the compositions of dead European males. I always knew this, but Burton-Hill’s book has allowed me to experience what this means in a way that I have absorbed the lesson well.

If I may, I'd like to make a suggestion. Take a break and listen to the music from
Year of Wonder. Rather than saying, "Stop and smell the roses," I prefer to say, "Stop and listen to the music.” Burton-Hill’s Year of Wonder does a terrific job mixing well-known classical masterworks with lesser known, and sometimes obscure, works. All told, a trip through her book will provide many moments of pleasure and the type of inspiration that can only come from listening to music.

I have embedded a Spotify playlist for next month’s recommendations from Burton-Hill’s book. I have also embedded videos from this month to provide a sampling of what’s in Burton-Hill’s book.

Enjoy!

Spotify Playlist for AUGUST of the Year of Wonder


Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor, Fourth Movement
Performed by Claudio Abbado conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra


Scott Joplin,
Gladiolus Rag
Performed by Joshua Rifkin, piano


George Gershwin,
Porgy and Bess, “Bess, you is my woman now”
Performed by Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis


Emahoy Tsequé-Maryam Guèbrou,
The Homeless Wanderer
Performed by the composer


Maria Szymanowska,
Nocturne
Performed by Roberto Piana, pianoforte


Johann Sebastian Bach, “Chaconne” from
Partiat No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
Performed by Jascha Heifetz, violin


Francisco Tárrega,
Gran Vals
Performed by Ankia Hutschreuther, guitar


Year of Wonder – May

After four months I am still chipping away at Clemency Burton-Hill’s Year of Wonder and listening to one piece of music every day for 2019. In previous months (January-April) I embedded pieces from the book on this blog that were either new—or relatively new—to my listening repertoire. This month I’ll take a different approach and embed videos of six pieces that are well-known in the world of classical music. I do this to make the point that Burton-Hill’s book will not only introduce you to new music, but also ask you to revisit the music that anyone who listens to classical music should know about.

I have also, as usual, embedded a Spotify playlist of Burton-Hill’s music for the next month.

Enjoy!

Spotify Playlist for MAY of the Year of Wonder


Beethoven,
Symphony No. 5, Fourth Movement (1804)
Performed by Leonard Bernstein conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra


Paganini,
Caprice No. 24 (1817)
Performed by Hilary Hahn, violin


Wagner, Overture to
Tannhäser (1845)
Performed by Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic


Gershwin,
Walking the Dog (1937)
Performed by Sebastian Manz, clarinet, with Danish String Quartet, Martin Klett (piano), and Lars Olaf Schaper (double bass)


Copland,
Fanfare for the Common Man (1942)
Performed by Marin Alsop conducting the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra


Górecki,
Symphony No. 3, Second Movement (1976)
Performed by Zofia Kilanowicz, soprano, with Sir Gilbert Levine conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra


Ubiquitous American Music

As a supplement to my presentation to U.S. history teachers on classical music, I have embedded three pieces of music by American composers that are ubiquitous in concert halls around the world. For those not attending my presentations, I simply ask that you take time to enjoy the music. By any measure, these are three masterworks.

George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (1924)


Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings (1938)


Aaron Copland, Appalachian Spring (1944)