Weekly Listening

September 20, 2017 – Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047 by J.S. Bach

We get a lot of selections by Bach in the Suzuki repertoire, but to say that it’s just the tip of the iceberg would still be an understatement.  From his posts as the musician at various churches throughout his lifetime, Bach managed to write perhaps a greater volume of truly impressive music throughout his lifetime than any other composer.  Bach represents what is known as the “Baroque” era in music history – a period preceding the Classical period of Mozart and Beethoven, in which string instruments, wind instruments, keyed instruments, and the like were all in earlier stages of development.  You will notice many “period” instruments being played in this video – wooden recorders, trumpets lacking the keys used today, violins and violas without chin rest or shoulder rest and possibly stringed without steel strings.  On the Mount Rushmore of composers, Bach certainly has earned a place, so enjoy this selection:

September 13, 2017 – Symphony No. 5 in C Minor by L. Beethoven – Gustavo Dudamel

The opening statement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is perhaps one of the most widely-recognized passages from all the Classical repertoire.  But every line of the Symphony is like seeing the genius of the legendary composer unfold right in front of your eyes… or ears.  Beethoven is often considered one of the pillars of all Western composition, and as string players we have access to a great number of his works – from his beautiful (and difficult!) Violin Concerto, to numerous string quartets, trios, symphonies and more, we are privileged to be able to enjoy the works of this exceptional talent ourselves, and to share his music with modern listeners today.  Check out this performance of his 5th Symphony:

September 6, 2017 – Bobby McFerrin – The Power of the Pentatonic Scale

Although we’re string players, we do a lot of singing in both private lessons and group classes at West County Strings.  It’s important, of course, to be able to hear, identify, and reproduce pitches accurately to have good intonation on a string instrument, but an internal sense of pitches in relation to one another also helps form the foundation of musical possibility, as this video demonstrates.  Check it out!

August 30, 2017 – Julia Fischer – Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8 RV 315, “L’estate” (Summer) by Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is perhaps one of the most recognizable pieces of music from the classical repertoire, but it’s also a fantastic and unique collection of violin concerti from the Baroque Period.  As summer draws to a close, we wanted to kick off this year’s supplemental listening with “Summer” from the Four Seasons – a piece you child/children can all hope to play themselves some day!