Time for February’s installment of Year of Wonder! This month was filled with a lot of dramatic operas and film scores. Below are my top 5, in no particular order. Take a listen and I hope you enjoy them as much I did!
1) “6 Consolations”, No. 3 in D Flat Major, by Franz Liszt
Just like its name, this piece is very consoling. Listening to this soft piano melody is the perfect way to unwind after a long day.
2) “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story: Mambo,” by Leonard Bernstein (I used the soundtrack version, “Dance at the Gym”)
I literally cannot sit still when I listen to this song!!! So many different musical styles are incorporated into this play, let alone this one song! And who cares about “Dancing with the Stars” when you’ve got the Jets and Sharks? They’re way more epic….
3) “Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor: allegro assai,” by J.S. Bach
This was the selection for St. Valentine’s Day! It’s described as a conversation between two violins, almost like two lovers who feel so understood by each other, then argue, and finally make up again. It’s a fascinating musical portrait of a romantic relationship!
4) “Theme from Schindler’s List,” by John Williams
John Williams’s talent goes far beyond the Star Wars film score. I heartily concur with the author of Year of Wonder, in that Williams has managed to capture the full heartbreak of the Holocaust in one piece of music, using a hint of traditional Jewish melodies. It’s one of those violin songs that seem to pierce right through my brain and my soul.
5) “The Carnival of the Animals: Le Cygne (The Swan)”, by Camille Saint-Saens
I’ve loved this piece and the imagery it inspires from a young age. Cello and harp combine to create the vision of a swan gliding across a lake, or flapping those majestic wings in a swirl of diamond water droplets. Pure dream material!