Today we welcome Peter Chang, acting principal viola and violinist with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, to this month’s Musician’s Musings. We are enjoying the chance to feature thoughts from our musicians and hope you enjoy the same.
Five Enchantingly Beautiful Orchestral Melodies That You May Not Have Heard Of
You’re probably no stranger to major composers like Mahler, Debussy and Brahms. There are favorites in the orchestral repertoire that frequently get the spotlight, but the world of classical music is so vast that it’s a shame not to explore the fringes.
Here is my list of five lesser known gems to add to your listening list:
Arthur Foote; 4 Character Pieces (Op. 48) – Andante Comodo
American composer, Arthur Foote’s 4 Character Pieces was based off a Persian selection of poems, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. To reflect the Middle Eastern nature of the work, Foote makes use of a Phrygian mode to great effect.
You can listen to this piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GgLzAYoIrA
Carl Nielsen; Symphony No. 2 (Op. 16) Mvt. 3
Symphony No. 2 titled the Four Temperaments is Carl Nielsen’s musical characterizations of four strangely specific moods such as “Choleric” and “Phlegmatic” (both of which I had to Google). Not the moods I would have picked, but I’ve written no symphonies. Movement three is “Melancholic”.
You can listen to this piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyOPmJhFego&feature=youtu.be&t=14m41s
Kalinnikov; Symphony No 1 Mvt. 2
This Symphony was written by Vasily Kalinnikov when he was 28. The second movement is surprisingly sublime when compared to the rest of the work, which tends to sounds like the work of a young composer.
You can listen to this piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVakXOkE2G4&feature=youtu.be&t=14m27s
Aram Khachaturian; Spartacus Suite No. 2 – Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia
From the Ballet of the same name. Spartacus and wife escape from captivity and enjoy a well earned happy moment alone to this tune.
You can listen to this piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of5ebCY5__Q
Shostakovich; Piano Concerto No. 2 Mov. 2
This famous piano concerto doesn’t fit the ‘obscure’ descriptor quite as well as the rest of this list. Plus one could argue a piano concerto is not a purely orchestral composition. It is however, most definitely enchantingly beautiful.
You can listen to this piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlMHjo7Jwhk
Have you heard of any of these before?
What other pieces can you add to the list?