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Symphony on Tap Playlist 2024 Below!!

 

Musical Connections

Musical Connections

A Practical, Common-Sense Guide to Falling in Love with Classical Music

By David M. Prentiss, President and CEO, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra

At Musical Connections we explore the world of classical music by providing you with playlists and periodically posting reflections on classical music and other types of music. The spirit of this exploration is that all types of music are connected to each other by the common elements of what makes music, music. Things like melody, harmony, and rhythm, plus other basic elements of music like tempo, dynamics, structure, and feeling or mood, are used by composers and songwriters as a way to express themselves and to create connections between the music and listeners. Through Musical Connections, you will see how classical music and other types of music use these elements in similar ways, and also see how they are sometimes used in very different ways. Our hope is that experiencing music from this common-sense, practical perspective will deepen your enjoyment of all music, and help you fall in love (or more in love) with classical music.

Please enjoy the playlists below and come back from time to time for more!

Using Spotify Playlists: To enjoy the full playlist you will need an account with Spotify. To create a free account, simply click on the playlist title or one of the songs and you will be prompted to create an account (or to sign in if you already have an account). There is no requirement to provide credit card information or incur any other obligation. With a free account you get full access to the music and will periodically have ads play in between songs.

Musical Connection’s First Playlist

I use this playlist when I talk to groups about classical music. It helps illustrate some of the basic points I like to make about musical connections (plus – just by coincidence – it’s all music that I really love). For example, in rock and other popular music, songs are usually made up of verses and choruses that alternate back and forth. That is exactly what Handel does in the first piece, The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. In the next piece, the third movement from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 4, there is also an alternating structure that is similar to verse and chorus but he starts with an introduction that really builds up an exciting anticipation before the verse/theme begins. This is also a great example of how classical music can be used to create a sense of motion that propels us forward and then transitions into a new feeling or mood. The next two pieces (#3 and #4) are by Tchaikovsky and Bach and simply show how different the piano can be made to sound depending on what mood or feeling the composer wants to create for us. Pieces #5 and #6 are slow, beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing – need I say more? Next we have a short piece by Bach called Bouree, which has an irresitible melody that has been covered by Jethro Tull and was the inspiration for Blackbird by The Beatles. The rest of the playlist is filled with pieces by Mozart, Sibelius, and Brahms and shows how diverse and creative composers can be in using all the basic elements of music. If you listen to this playlist a few times, whether as background music or in a more focused way, I think you might start to fall in love with some of the pieces. Please take your pick – it’s up to you!

Mozart and His Piano Concertos (Fast Movements Edition)

No composer seems to be more on a “musical mission” than Mozart. His music has such a strong sense of direction and forward movement that you can’t help but feel that Mozart knows exactly where he wants to take us and how to get there. All music (or at least almost all music) conveys a sense of motion that periodically transitions to a feeling of rest. The fast movements of Mozart’s piano concertos deliver this feeling in a very clear and powerful way. I think that is what makes them so energetic and delightful – yes, they are full of many delights!  Full disclosure: I often listen to this playlist when I’m riding my bike. It has helped me get up many hills.

Special note: When listening to Piano Concerto No. 22 (song #7 on this list) be sure to hear the change of mood Mozart creates around the 4:15 minute mark. For the first four minutes it’s all rollicking fun and high energy, and then suddenly he decides to go slow and sublime. It’s really beautiful. And then of course he returns to the initial fast-paced mood for a wonderful ending.

Symphony on Tap 2024

Here is the Symphony on Tap 2024 playlist. (Instructions for accessing the playlist are located in the introduction section at the top of the page.)

If you are new to classical music and are intrigued by it, please join us for:

Musical Connections with Dave Prentiss
Thursday, March 14, 6 – 7:00 PM
Buzzards Bay Brewing, 98 Horseneck Rd., Westport, MA

Join New Bedford Symphony Orchestra President & CEO Dave Prentiss to discover the connections between classical music and other types of music. Dave will explore what Beethoven and The Beatles have in common, and also the ways they are different. His goal is to deepen people’s enjoyment of all music, and to celebrate the creativity that all composers and songwriters share. Feel free to bring your friends!

Nature & Birds Playlist

Nature and birds have always fascinated and inspired classical music composers. Countless composers both past and present have immersed themselves in nature to feed their creativity and to explore the connections between music and the natural world. Birds, of course, are the most obvious and delightful example of where nature and music meet on common ground. When you listen to music inspired by nature, I think you will often sense a feeling of gratitude that composers feel for the way nature inspires and sustains them. When you listen to this playlist the titles of each song will help you get in the mood for what is to come. (Translator’s note: Debussy’s Clair de Lune is “Moonlight” and Smetana’s The Moldau is a river that runs though the Czech countryside to the city of Prague.) For Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 be sure to hover over the three dots at the end of each title line to get the full name he gave to each symphonic movement. They tell the story of a day in the country, and in the last three minutes of the second movement, Beethoven creates three bird calls – Nightingale, Quail, and Cuckoo – using the flute, oboe, and clarinet (he actually wrote the names of the birds on the music score to help musicians what they were playing)!

Using Spotify Playlists: To enjoy the full playlist you will need an account with Spotify. To create a free account, simply click on the playlist title or one of the songs and you will be prompted to create an account (or to sign in if you already have an account). There is no requirement to provide credit card information or incur any other obligation. With a free account you get full access to the music and will periodically have ads play in between songs.

May 20 Concert Program Playlist

Here is a playlist of the music we are performing at our May 20th concert. This playlist will give you a chance to get excited about experiencing a live performance of this great music, or if you are not familiar with some or all of the pieces, listening to them a few times ahead of the concert will help you enjoy them even more when performed live.

Using Spotify Playlists: To enjoy the full playlist you will need an account with Spotify. To create a free account, simply click on the playlist title or one of the songs and you will be prompted to create an account (or to sign in if you already have an account). There is no requirement to provide credit card information or incur any other obligation. With a free account you get full access to the music and will periodically have ads play in between songs.

William Walton Music

This is my story behind the music: Until Yaniv told me he wanted to program William Walton’s Symphony No. 1, I had never heard of Walton and, for that reason, had never listened to any of his music. You could say this is one of the perks of my job: I expand my musical horizons by getting music recommendations from Yaniv. When Yaniv introduces me to a new composer and/or a new piece I listen to it a few times to see if I like it, and if I do, I explore other music by that composer. That is how my journey into the music of William Walton began and I’m loving it. Walton’s music has a lot of drama and energy in it, and it is extremely inventive. You never really know what is going to happen next, but it’s always something good. Most of Walton’s music is not something you will listen to in order to unwind and relax. Instead, you should expect to get revved up, thrilled, and energized. At times it may even leave you breathless (so don’t forget to breathe)! My advice to any new listener to Walton’s music is this: hold onto your seat and enjoy the ride.

Please Note: Instructions for accessing the playlist are located in the introduction section at the top of the page.

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