What pieces captivate you?

April 9, 2007 at 06:19 AM · One of the great beauties of music is it's emotional affect upon us, and I was wondering what pieces are the ones that inspire and enthrall you so much that it's almost spiritual? Pieces that once you hear you have to block out everything else so that you can focus in on the music and just bask in the harmonies and emotion.

For me there is only two pieces that has this affect on me, and has had it since the first time I heard it: Heifetz' Sibelius and Jacqueline Du Pre's Elgar. Everytime I hear them I have to close my eyes, stop everything else that I am doing, and no matter how much frustration or depression is in my life at that time I feel myself elevated.

But, I am always looking for more magical pieces like those. So what are all of yours?

Replies (35)

April 9, 2007 at 07:09 PM · - JS Bach Canatas (all of them, but especially BWV 26, "Ach wie fluchtig, ach wie nichtig")

- JS Bach's organ piece: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor

- Beethoven Piano Trio No. 7 in B flat ('Archduke')

- Beethoven Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano in C

- Brahms coulbe concerto for violin and cello

- Brahms Piano Concernto No.2 (Gilels)

- Bruckner symphanie no.8

- Gluck: Orfeo de Euridice

- Martinu Cello Concertos 1&2 (Wallfisch)

- Mozart Sinfonia Concertante (Oistrakhs)

- Schubert: Death and the Maiden Quartet

- Schumann piano: Scenes from Childhood (Barenboim)

- Schumann works for oboe and piano: 2 Romances (Holliger)

- Richard Strauss: der rosenkavalier and Salome

- Richard Strauss 4 last songs (sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf)


The list can go on and on.

April 9, 2007 at 07:14 AM · Yeah, the cantatas are great. His most enjoyable stuff, I think. It's really too bad you can't buy them all, on say an audio DVD, for just a few bucks. Therefore not a lot of them are going to be heard by many people.

April 9, 2007 at 10:04 AM · Here are my most captivating recordings..

From the older era:

Kogan's Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1

Oistrakh's Brahms Violin Concerto

Heifetz's Vieuxtemps No.5 Violin concerto

Milstein's Goldmark Violin Concerto

Neveu's Tzigane

Wicks' Sibelius Violin Concerto

Szeryng's Bach Sonatas and Partitas

From Today's Generation:

Pinchas Zukerman's Brahms Violin Concerto

Sarah Chang's Sibelius Violin Concerto

Sarah Chang's Shostakovich Violin Concerto

Maxim Vengerov's Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No.3

Midori's Dvoark Violin Concerto

Anne Sophie Mutter's Beethoven Violin Concerto (w/ Karajan)

Aaron Rosand's Bach Sonatas and Partitas

Itzhak Perlman's Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

April 9, 2007 at 11:12 AM · I remember being absolutely transfixed by a live performance of the Schubert cello quintet - I was standing and didn't notice just how long the piece was at all.

April 9, 2007 at 12:47 PM · Archduke Trio -STern/Rose/Istomin

Waldstein Sonata - Horowitz

BEethoven 3rd cello sonata - Casals/Serkin

April 9, 2007 at 01:22 PM · Just a sample:

Bruch: Scottish Fantasy

Schubert: Piano Trio in E-flat

Elgar: Cello Concerto

Brahms: 2nd Piano Concerto

Mozart: Jupiter Symphony

Bach: Goldberg Variations

This list will get too long. I'll stop now.

April 9, 2007 at 01:33 PM · Lately I'm in a rather fragile emotional state (long boring story, don't ask) so all I can listen to is Bartók (again don't ask. I think I'm the only person in the world who can be lulled peacefully to sleep by Bartók quartets...)

Anyway, my point is that his third piano concerto is probably the most beautiful thing ever written. :)

April 9, 2007 at 02:22 PM · Anything by Brahms.

That's how I can tell a piece is by Brahms...because that's what happens every time I hear his music.

April 9, 2007 at 02:24 PM · One of my favorite violin pieces is the Scottish Fantasy. I get deeply moved everytime I hear it. I have the recordings by Heifetz and by Perlman.

I'm also captivated by many other pieces much too numerous to list. I absolutely love the Romantic period. Ravel, Tchaikovsky, etc., etc. The stuff is gorgeous!

I also love opera! I go crazy listening to Wagner. And I think the Puccini operas are absolutely exquisite!

April 9, 2007 at 05:21 PM · I'm "transfixed" by almost any great piece of music.

Bach Cantatas? All of them, especially #4 (the entire thing is a variation on one, imperishable, haunting theme).

Bartok? 4th Quartet, Violin Concerto (#2), 1st Sonata, Music for Strings Percussion & Celesta.

Paganini: 2nd Concerto, Caprices, encore pieces.

Brahms: I go along with "anything," but especially the trios (including the horn trio), the Requiem, the 3rd Symphony.

Tchaikovsky? Never got tired of the Violin Concerto, and the last 4 Symphonies.

Beethoven? Violin Concerto (Francescatti, Ormandy & Philadelphia), Quartets.

Rimsky-Korsakov? Sheharezade (never got tired of it; it still sends me, even though I'm still not sure of the spelling).

Sibelius? What else, the Violin Concerto.

Elgar? The Violin and Cello Concertos, and the exceptionally haunting String Quintet.

Barber? Violin Concerto, Adagio for Strings (still brings me to tears, and has become this country's unofficial music of public mourning).

Mozart? Piano Quartet, 4th Violin Concerto, Requiem.

Shostakovich? Violin Concerto #1, Quartets, 6th Symphony.

Prokofiev? Violin Concertos and Sonatas.

And a ton of violin encore pieces.

If I've left anything out, it's only because I have no time and there's not enough room.

:) Sandy

April 9, 2007 at 06:32 PM · for me, some pieces that transfix me are:

js bach: mass in b minor

js bach: chaconne

elgar: cello concerto (du pre)

shostakovitch: 4th and 5th symphonies

haydn: seven last words of christ

wagner: tristan und isolde

April 9, 2007 at 07:33 PM · There are so many!

Barber's violin concerto - especially the middle movement and Adagio for Strings

Any solo Bach, but especially the lyrical, slower movements.

Prokofieff's F minor Sonata

Shostakovich's 1st concerto, the opening mvt and Cadenza

Brahms 2nd violin Sonata

Gosh, so many... I'll leave it at that for now!

April 10, 2007 at 04:39 AM · Schubert B flat piano sonata played by Radu Lupu

Beethoven Op. 130

Chausson Poeme

Bach A minor sonata

April 10, 2007 at 12:26 PM · Mahler: Symphony 9, 4th mvmt

Part: Spiegel im Spiegel

Grieg: The Last Spring

Meyer: Bass Quintet

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto

O'Connor: Appalachia Waltz

many more . . .

April 10, 2007 at 01:48 PM · Mahler 9th

All of the Schumann Symphonies esp 2 and 3

Verdi Don Carlo also Trovatore

Paganini Caprices

Tschaikovsky Vln Concerto

Brahms Sonata #1

Beethoven Sonata #10

April 10, 2007 at 04:38 PM · Debussy: La mer, L'Isle joyeuse, Pelléas et Mélisande, string quartet

Ravel: string quartet, Daphnis et Chloé

K.A. Hartmann: Concerto funebre

Mahler: 2nd (C. Abbado conducting the Lucerne festival orchestra consisting of G. Mahler youth orchestra, Berlin & Vienna Philharmonics and some soloists like Hagen quartet, S. Meyer, E. Pahud etc.), 5th and 9th symphony

Bach: Johannes- & Matthäus-Passion

April 10, 2007 at 05:30 PM · Grieg--The Last Spring

Paganini Caprices

Itzhak Perlman's recording of the songs

from "Schindler's List"

Massenet--Meditation from "Thais"

Ralph Vaughn Williams--any of his songs but mostly Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis

The 3rd mvmt(sentimental saraband) of Benjamin Britten's Simple Symphony

Apres un Reve (after a dream) by Faure

The Swan by Saint-Saens

Probably others, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

April 10, 2007 at 07:35 PM · Elgar Cello Concerto (I second the nodd to du pre)

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto #2

Beethoven Violin Concerto

Tchaik Violin Concerto

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Vitali Chaccone - Heifetz w/ Respighi organ arr.

Respighi - Pines of Rome

Holst - Planets

Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique

Debussy - Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un faune

Rimsky Korsakov - Capriccio Espagnol

So, so, many others...

April 10, 2007 at 07:59 PM · - Bach Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord

- All Mozart Violin Concerti

- Bach Brandenberg #3 third movement

- Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro

- Sunrise from Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite playing on my MP3 player while watching the sun rise from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

April 11, 2007 at 07:05 AM · Barber Andagio for Strings

Mahler Symphony No. 1.....specifically the final movement

And the piece that inspired me to take violin seriously in the first place Pablo Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy

April 11, 2007 at 08:29 AM · Like many others, way way too many. But here's a few

Vitali Chaconne - Heifetz w/ organ

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Sibelius Violin Concerto

Schubert - Death and the Maiden

Bach Chaconne

Beethoven Symphonies


April 11, 2007 at 02:11 PM · Beethoven: Op. 130(Cavatina), 131 (6th movement), 132 (third movement)

Chopin: Nocturne in D flat op27 (Michael Rabin)

Nocturne in C # minor (Milstein)

Bruch Scottish Fantasy (Heifetz, Rabin)

Schubert Cello Quintet

Mahler Symphony No.9

April 11, 2007 at 03:59 PM · Wow, great question... here are some of my favorites:

Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 (Oistrakh)

Debussy Violin Sonata (A.S. Mutter)

Ravel "Daphnis and Chloe"

Schnittke Sonata for Violin and Orchestra (Daniel Hope)

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 (Milstein)

Ysaye Sonatas nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5 (Frank Peter Zimmermann)

Mozart Violin Sonata K. 306 (Frank Peter Zimmermann)

Brahms Cello Sonatas (Piatigorsky)

Debussy String Quartet (Juilliard Quartet)

Barber Orchestral works (great lush sound for hypnotizing me and getting me to sleep!)

Brahms String Quartets (Alban Berg)

Borodin and Shostokovich Quartets (Borodin SQ)

Wagner-Wilhelmj "Albumblatt" (don't like the recording I have too much, but love it live)

Any virtuoso piece Hilary Hahn plays live... unbelievable

and yes, the list can go on and on...

April 11, 2007 at 09:21 PM · Massenet: Elegie-O Doux Printemps (Joshua Bell)

Tchaikovsky Violin concerto, 3rd movement

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor

Brahms Violin Concerto, 3rd movement

Debussy: The Girl With The Flaxen Hair (Joshua Bell)

Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D minor, 1st movement

Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor

I find that I become much more attached to orchestral or chamber music when I've actually played it.

April 11, 2007 at 09:30 PM · Hot Canary! :D

April 11, 2007 at 09:31 PM · Barber's Adagio for strings

Brahms violin concerto (Heifetz)

and yes the Heifetz Sibelius violin concerto gives me goosebumps.

Mozart's concerto for Harp in C.

Mozart's Requiem in D

Mozart's music in general

Shost Quartet no.8 (especially the 4th movt.)


April 11, 2007 at 09:42 PM · The Bach Double Concerto!

April 12, 2007 at 03:32 AM · Oh, so so so many. Heading the list would have to be the Sibelius VC. (With Josh, and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting.) It's a little dangerous to listen to if I'm in the car, on my way to something where I have to be social and smiling. I just feel too depleted afterwards. Funny how that feels both painful and satisfying at the same time, yes?

Great question, Armand! I'm enjoying reading others' answers. And I'm taking notes.

April 12, 2007 at 09:58 PM · I would say that there is only one that I would put my reputation on saying that it is the best thing i have heard in my life. Heifetz' recording of the Sibelius is absolute perfection. The entire piece is brilliant. I literally had chills running up and down my entire body at the very end of the third movement when he went into the octave slides the first time I heard it, and even now I still get those same chills.

April 12, 2007 at 11:03 PM · Since no one mentioned any renaissance music I will mention the music of Josquin Des Prez. I find it really refreshing and organic, and that it has a simplicity which is missing in todays drive to have an ego.

And since no one mentioned Fanny Mendelssohn I will mention her as well, she wrote just for music itself and her writing has a grace, emotional depth and uneffected sincerity which bring it into a realm all by itself.

The rest of the music I love people have mentioned already I think.

April 13, 2007 at 10:11 AM · Oh and Maura G You're not the only one that can be lulled to sleep by Bartok. I think I listened to his violin concerto played by Anne Sophie Mutter like every day for a month (January- Febuary). His music resonates with nature a way that nothing else does. Sometimes I would be walking listening with my walkman and the sun would seem to come out of the clouds at a particular lyrical phrase or I could just think again with him in my ears. I also love the third piano concerto. I think Bartok is a true genius. I don't think people understand the true peacefulnes of his open dissonances (which aren't really dissonances, they are just classified that way in theory).

And listening to Bartok is certainly a very wise thing to do.....that WILL help.

April 13, 2007 at 03:42 PM · the beethoven late quartets in general

April 14, 2007 at 01:06 PM · Barber Adagio for Strings

Mahler Symphony 5 Adagietto

Verdi Requiem

April 14, 2007 at 10:39 PM · fell in love (again) with bach's a minor sonata, thanks to hilary hahn's lovely andante post her fantastic goldmark concerto with the chicago symphony last week.

April 16, 2007 at 09:35 PM · shostakovich- all

vitali- chaconne

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