Year-of-Wonder

Year of Wonder – March

It’s official — I have never stayed with a New Year’s Resolution as long as the one I made for 2019 to listen to all the music in Clemency Burton-Hill’s Year of Wonder. February supplied some great pieces, from Gregorio Allegri to Giacomo Puccini to John Williams. I will say, however, that I was generally familiar with the music on the February list and wasn’t introduced to as many new pieces as was true for January. I was nevertheless thrilled to wake up every morning and read about the music Burton-Hill had assigned for each day of the month.

Although I made my resolution at the beginning of January, I see no reason the Year of Wonder can’t begin any day of the year. I recommend followers of this blog purchase Burton-Hill's book and get to work reading about and listening to her terrific recommendations. I have posted a Spotify playlist for March for those who want to begin their own Year of Wonder.

I have also embedded pieces by Percy Grainger and Wolfgang Mozart that ranked as highlights for me in February.

Enjoy!


Spotify Playlist for MARCH of the Year of Wonder


Grainger, Handel in the Strand

Performed by Richard Hickox (piano) and the BBC Philharmonic


Mozart, Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K. 448
Performed by Daniel Barenboim and Margaret Argerich


Year of Wonder – February

I have just finished my first month reading through Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill. The book provides descriptions of 366 pieces of music, one for each day of the year, and I have dutifully kept up with the mission of the book by reading about and listening to one piece of music every day. I have even given several of the pieces repeated listenings and have come to the end of January with an appreciation for many pieces I had never heard. No doubt, this project has turned into one of the better resolutions I have made for a new year, and I look forward to staying with this adventure for the next eleven months. Many thanks to Burton-Hill for her wonderful book.

If anyone would like to join me in this project, you can begin on any day of the year, and I have embedded a Spotify playlist for the music from February. I have also embedded two of the pieces from January that I had never heard and have cheerfully added to my listening repertoire. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.


Spotify Playlist for FEBRUARY of the Year of Wonder


Elena Kats-Chernin, "Unsent Love Letters" (from
Meditations on Erik Satie)
Performed by Tamara-Anna Cislowska


Reynaldo Hahn, "L'heure exquise," excerpt from
Chansons grises No. 5
Performed by Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) and Jérôme Ducros (piano)


Year of Wonder – January

Here's a recommendation for those who are new to classical music, as well as those who are well-versed in the classical tradition. Find a copy of Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill and then plan to spend the next year exploring what Leonard Bernstein called the "infinite variety" of classical music. Burton-Hill, has assembled descriptions of a single piece of classical music for each day of the year. Reading what she has written and listening to the pieces she describes takes about 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes at the most.

It's now January 21, and I have almost completed my first month of my "Year of Wonder." In less than a month, Burton-Hill's list has already enriched my life with what I'm beginning to describe as my daily meditation through music. Burton-Hill has also introduced me to a few terrific pieces of music I had never heard (Hildegard's "O Virtus Sapientiae" and Kapsberger's
"Toccata L'Arpeggiata," for example).

I have made it my resolution for 2019 to listen to all the music in Burton-Hill’s book. Although I am somewhat knowledgable about classical music, I also know I have much to learn, and Burton-Hill's book has been a godsend.

If you would like to join me in my resolution, I’ll be publishing Spotify playlists created from Burton-Hill's book on this blog for each month of 2019. Stay tuned, and enjoy!

“I am determined … to extend a hand to those who feel that the world of classical music is a party to which they haven’t been invited.” – Clemency Burton-Hill

Spotify Playlist for JANUARY of the Year of Wonder




Hildegard of Bingen, "O Virtus Sapientiae" (12th century)
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra


Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, "Toccata L'Arpeggiata" (17th century)
Christina Pluhar, theorbo