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Franz Schubert
Wanderer Fantasy Opus 15
Schubert's Fantasy in C major, better known as the “Wanderer” Fa...
Franz Schubert
Fantasie in C Major, D. 605a, "Graz
In May 1968, a manuscript of a Fantasie signed by Josef Hüttenbrenn...
Matthew Browne
Great Danger, Keep Out
This piece was written for my good friends of the Tesla Quartet. An...
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet No. 22 in B-flat Maj
I. AllegroII. LarghettoIII. Menuetto: ModeratoIV. Allegr...
Franz Schubert
String Quartet No. 12 in c minor, D
Franz Schubert began his Twelfth String Quartet in December 1820. T...
Robert Schumann
Die alten, bösen Lieder, from Dich
With the last song, “Die alten, bösen Lieder” (“The old, angr...
Robert Schumann
Aus alten Märchen winkt es, from D
In the penultimate song, “Aus alten Märchen winkt es” (“From ...
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Welcome to Classical Connect - the free classical music site!

If you like classical music, you’ve come to the right place! Classical Connect is your virtual concert hall, featuring thousands of recordings of classical music. If you love piano music, just go to the Browse by Instruments section and access the thousand-plus piano recordings available in our library. If you prefer the violin or the flute, you won’t be disappointed either – in fact, we have music for practically every instrument! If, on the other hand, you’re interested in a particular composer, you can Browse by Composer and select your favorite.

Where do we get our music? Our site allows independent musicians to upload their own recordings, or we may do it on their behalf. Musicians value the special opportunity Classical Connect offers because it allows for their music to be heard around the world. Several hundred musicians have already joined our site. We also have arrangements with several labels, festivals, programs and orchestras, allowing us to use some of their material.

As a visitor to our site you can listen to the first three minutes of any recording. However, by joining our site you’ll have access to all full-length performances. Joining is easy and has many great benefits. You’ll be able to create playlists, comment and vote on recordings, share music with friends, listen to our special programs, and more.

The music you hear upon entry was randomly selected from our library - what we call our Serendipity list. You can always pause it or jump to the next piece. You’ll be able to change the content of these initial selections once you’ve signed in.

To help you navigate the site and use its features, we’ve also created a Help page.

In the meantime, enjoy the music!

The Classical Connect team

June 29, 2015.  The Tchaikovsky competition and several birthdays.   The XV Tchaikovsky competition is in full swing.  This year it was split between two cities, Moscow and St.-Petersburg (the pianists and violinists perform in Moscow, the cellists and Tchaikovsky Competitionsingers – in St-Pete).  Medici.tv does a great job broadcasting live performances; we highly recommend it.  For the pianists, this year is probably more challenging than ever: instead of the regular three rounds, the competition consists of five, if you include the preliminary hearings.  The second round is split in two: the performance of a large composition plus a piece by a Russian composer, followed by a Mozart concerto accompanied by a chamber orchestra.  Asiya Korepanova, who played Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata no. 1 so well at the Hess memorial concert last year, was not as successful during the first round (nerves, one has to assume) and didn’t make it to the 2nd round.  Lucas Debargue, a 24 year-old Frenchman, is the public’s favorite.  His 2nd round Gaspard de la Nuit was extremely good.  Another Lukas (this one with a “k,” though), with the last name of Geniušas, a Lithuanian born in Moscow who also happens to be the grandson of Vera Gornostayeva, is also playing very well.  (Gornostayeva, the famous Russian pianist and pedagogue, died less than half a year ago, on January 19th of this year).  A Russian-German Maria Mazo played Hammerklavier in the 2nd round and did a great job of it, but her Mozart concerto (no. 21) was rather subdued.  Still, we thought that she deserves to make it into the 3rd round, but the jury thought otherwise.  The violinists are also through to the 3rd round.  We have recordings of one of them, Clara-Jumi Kang.  Like the pianists, the violinists also had to play a Mozart concerto in the second part of the second round.  Clara played the concerto no. 5, and wonderfully so.   We’ll write some more about the Tchaikovsky competition soon.

 

Christoph Willibald Gluck, a great German opera composer, was born on July 2nd of 1714 in Erasbach, Bavaria.  Last year we celebrated his 300th anniversary and played several arias and overtures from Orfeo ed Euridice and Iphigénie en Aulide.  Two more of Gluck’s operas are still very popular: Alceste and Iphigénie en Tauride.  Alceste was written in 1776, soon after Orfeo.  Calzabigi, the librettist, wrote a preface to Alceste, a manifest of sorts, which Gluck signed.  In the preface they spelled out some of the principles that Gluck pushed to make opera more natural: no da capo arias, no virtuoso improvisations, fewer recitatives, flowing melodic lines.  You can hear it all in "Divinités du Styx,” an aria from Act 1.  Jessye Norman is Alceste, The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Serge Baudo.

 

The Czech composer Leoš Janáček was born on July 3rd, 1854 in a small village in Moravia, then part of the Austria-Hungary.  As a boy he studied the piano and the organ, but eventually became interested in composing.  In 1879 he enrolled in the Leipzig conservatory and later moved to Vienna to study composition there.  Like the Hungarian composers Béla Bartók and Zoltan Kodály a generation later, Janáček was interested in folk music and used peasant tunes in his symphonic and piano pieces.  His early compositions were mostly for the piano: he started a piano cycle, On an Overgrown Path, in 1901; it became one of his most popular compositions (you can listen to it in the performance by Ieva Jokubaviciute).  Eventually, he turned to operas – that’s what he’s most famous for these days.  His first one, Jenufa, was written in 1904 and acquired the status of the “Moravian national opera.”  Two more operas followed, Katia Kabanova and The Cunning Little Vixen; they rightly are considered among the most interesting operas of the 20th century.  Janáček also wrote a number of significant orchestral pieces and chamber music.  Here is his Quartet no. 2 subtitled “Intimate Letters,” performed by Pacifica Quartet.

 

Two things are interesting about Louis-Claude Daquin, a French composer and virtuoso keyboard player, who was born on July 4th of 1694.  One is that he was of  Jewish descent: there were very few Jewish composers during that time.  And he probably would not have become one had his Italian ancestors not converted to Catholicism.  The event took place in the city of Aquino, thus the original name, D’Aquino, (which was later frenchified to Daquin).  Of his considerable output, one piece is famous, The Cuckoo, from a suite for the harpsichord.  Here it is, performed by the wonderful British harpsichordist George Malcolm.

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Welcome to our Virtual Concert Hall

We started Classical Connect with a mission to provide independent musicians with a new venue for their performances. Hundreds of classical musicians have taken advantage of this opportunity, sharing their music with listeners across the world.

We encourage you to join and upload your performances. Once signed in, you’ll be able to create a personal page with your bio, photo and other promotional materials. Since all the recordings on our site are streamed, your performance cannot be downloaded without your permission. In the future, you may also benefit from our plan to introduce fees for certain downloads. These fees will be shared with you, the musician.  If you have a video of your performance on YouTube, you can link it to your personal page: go to Upload or Link Your Performance and paste the YouTube URL in the appropriate field.  Your video will play on Classical Connect alongside your audio recordings.

Also, we have created a new feature called Concert Schedules, which allows you to enter your future concerts. Once your event has been entered, two things should happen. First, the concert is displayed on your personal page, below the bio. Second, the concert appears on the combined front-page Concerts Calendar. Moreover, for two days – the day before the concert and the day of the concert itself – there will be a message announcing your concert on the front-page News and Updates tab. This is the very first tab presented to all logged-on users.

On the technical side: our site accepts MP3 and MP4 files, so if you have a CD recording, you can rip and upload it in this format. For better quality, we recommend using a bit rate of 128 kbps, an audio sample rate of 44 kHz, and a two-channel (stereo) format.

To upload, enter the complete title of the piece, including its key, number, opus, etc. For example, the title of Beethoven's Sonata No. 21 would be identified as Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53. "Waldstein" is optional.  Also, we encourage you to leave comments about your performance or the composition.

If your performance was recorded on several tracks, then upload each one with a different title. For example, Sonata No. 21, part 1, Sonata No. 21, part 2 and so on. Please let us know and we’ll merge these different movements into one complete performance with the appropriate title.

Please do not upload parts of a composition. Think of Classical Connect as your virtual concert hall: only upload the things you would play in a real one.

If you have any questions, please contact us by clicking here and sending us an e-mail. We'll make every effort to respond as quickly as possible.

The Classical Connect team

Benefits of Joining Classical Connect

There are many advantages to joining Classical Connect. The first, and most obvious, is the ability to listen to complete performances. We have more than 2,000 different pieces of classical music, some of them as long as an hour and 50 minutes (yes, that’s how long Mahler’s Third Symphony is!). Once you’re logged in, you can listen to every one of them from start to finish – that’s if you like the performance, of course.

You can also create personal playlists. There’s no limit to how many pieces each playlist can include. You can read more about playlists here. In addition, you can comment and vote on any piece of music in our library. The grades / rankings go from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), but please only reserve 10s for the truly great performances and use 1s sparingly!

Another advantage includes sharing performances with your friends. Click the Share button on the Player and send a message to your friend on Classical Connect, or simply copy/paste the link into an e-mail. Your friends don’t even need to be members of Classical Connect; they can simply click on the link and listen to the complete performance the same way you do.

Also, you can actively participate in Forums only if you’ve joined the site.

Finally, as you set up your profile, you can select the content of the initial musical selection or omit it entirely.

Joining is easy. Just click here and follow the instructions.

Enjoy!

The Classical Connect team


June 22, 2015.  Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Part II.  In the absence of any significant birthdays this week we decided to publish the second part of the article on Robert Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love).  The first part was published here.  As a reminder, Dichterliebe, oRobert Schumannn texts by Heinrich Heine from his Lyrisches Intermezzo, was written in 1840.  That was the year Schumann married Clara Wieck; it also turned into his Liederjahr – the year of songs: he wrote almost 140 of them in a tremendous creative spurt.  Dichterliebe is probably the best known.  To illustrate the cycle, we used recordings made by Fritz Wunderlich.  All but the one were made in Salzburg in 1965.  The recording of Die alten, bösen Lieder was made during a concert in Usher Hall, Edinburgh, on August 4th of 1966.  Wunderlich tragically died just one month later; he was 35 years old.  

 

The poet’s state becomes even more pitiful in “Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen” (“There is fluting and fiddling,” here) as he witnesses the joyous festivities of the marriage of his beloved to another man. He gazes upon the merriment, watching her dance (“Da tanzt wohl den Hochzeitreigen / Die Herzallerliebste mein”) to the sound of flutes, fiddles, shawms, and drums. Betwixt the sounds of the instruments, the angels weep for the lonely poet (“Dazwischen schluchzen und stöhnen / Die guten Engelein”). Schumann’s setting portrays the dance of the beloved and her wedding guests. However, its D minor tonality and chromatic harmonies undoubtedly identify that the listener is viewing the scene through the prism of the poet’s broken heart.

 

Utter despair sets in the following song, “Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen” (“I hear the dear song sounding,” here). Pained by watching his beloved married to another, the poet now hears the sweet song she once sang, a symbol that her love is forever no longer his. In his desolation, he seeks the solace of nature, wandering deep into the forest to weep. Schumann’s setting is through-composed in the key of G minor. The doleful vocal melody closes first in the key of the subdominant at the conclusion of the first stanza, poignantly affected by a Neapolitan sixth. The second stanza then slowly descends back to the tonic of G minor. Against the vocal melody is an accompaniment of descending arpeggios, which with the song’s slow tempo depict the falling tears of the poet. As with many of Schumann’s song, the climax comes as the vocalist exits. Shadowing the final notes of the melody, the piano begins a heartrending coda which culminates as chromatically ascending harmonies beneath a tonic pedal suddenly break into a descending passage of sixteenth notes through almost three octaves. Here, the listener beholds the poet’s heart bursting with pain (“So will mir die Brust zerspringen / Vor wildem Schmerzendrang”). (Continue reading here)

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June 15, 2015.  Stravinsky and more.  Several composers were born this week: Edvard Grieg, Norway’s national composer (he was born on June 15th of 1843), the Frenchman Charles Gounod (born on June 17th of 1818), Jacques Offenbach, who was born just a year later, on June 20th of 1819 in Cologne to a Jewish cantor but lived most of his life in Paris and received a Légion d’Honneur from the hands of the Emperor Napoleon III; and Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, the ninth of Johann Sebastian Bach’s children (he was born on June 21st of 1732).   To mark these birthdays, we’ll play: Solveig’s song, from Grieg’s original incidental music to Peer Gynt with the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko (here); Gounod’s lovely Serenade, exquisitely performed by Joan Sutherland (with her husband, Richard Bonynge, on the piano, here); a comic aria Les oiseaux dans la charmille from Offenbach’s only opera, The Tales of Hoffmann with another Australian soprano, Emma Matthews (here); and the only non-vocal entry, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach’s Piano Concerto E Major, with Cyprien Katsaris and Orchestre de Chambre du Festival d`Echternach (here).

Igor StravinskyBut the most significant composer of them all was, without a doubt, the great Igor Stravinsky.  Stravinksy was born on June 17, 1882 in Oranienbaum, outside of Saint Petersburg.  During his long life Stravinsky moved from one country to another (after leaving Russia he lived in France, Switzerland and the US); he also didn’t stay still compositionally, often discarding one style, however successful it was for him, and adopting a new musical paradigm.  It is hard to imagine that the same composer who wrote The Rite of Spring, with its wild colors and brutal rhythms, would just 15 years later create a ballet as abstract and serene as Apollon musagète, or, for that matter, some years later, another ballet, Agnon, written in the twelve-tone system.  Probably the only other person who could reinvent himself as often and with the same immense success was Pablo Picasso.  Stravinsky naturally possessed a tremendous technique, which allowed him to imitate or directly quote other composers while maintaining the artistic integrity and originality of the composition.  He used this skill with uncanny virtuosity when he wrote the ballet Le Baiser de la Fée (The Fairy's Kiss), an homage to his favorite composer, Tchaikovsky.  The ballet was commissioned in 1927 by the famous Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein; Stravinsky completed the ballet in 1928, on the 35th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s death (it was premiered in November of that year).  The libretto was based on Hans Christian Andersen's story The Ice Maiden.  Bronislava Nijinska (Vaclav’s sister) was the choreographer.  Stravinsky used several of Tchaikovsky’s piano pieces and songs, and recognizably Tchaikovskian sonorities throughout the ballet.  A tremendously inventive piece, it marked another step in the development of Stravinsky’s compositional style.  In 1934 he wrote a suite based on the music of the ballet; this suite, which Stravinsky called Divertimento, is usually performed in concerts.  We’ll hear it in the performance by the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Mark Kadin conducting.

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June 8, 2015.  Schumann’s Dichterliebe.  The great German composer Robert Schumann was born on this day in 1810.  We write about him every year (for example, here and here in the past couple of Robert Schumannyears), so this time we’ll do something different: publish an article on the first eight songs of Dichterliebe.  Schumann wrote more than 300 songs, but A Poet’s Love cycle contains some of his greatest.  There are so many wonderful recordings of Dichterliebe that it was difficult to decide which one to use to illustrate the cycle.  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau alone made four different recordings, two of them with remarkable pianists: Alfred Brendel in 1985 and, live, with Vladimir Horowitz, in 1976.  Gérard Souzay, a wonderful French baritone, also recorded it several times, once with Afred Cortot (and there’s another recording with Cortot, in which he accompanies Charles Panzéra).  Hermann Prey made a tremendous recording, and so did the great German soprano Lotte Lehmann.  Out of all of these and many more, we decided on Fritz Wunderlich – the beauty of his crystalline voice, his perfect diction, the natural, unpretentious manner devoid of any affectations make his interpretation, in our opinion, extraordinary.  The recording was made live on August 19th of 1965 during the Salzburg Festival.  Hubert Giesen was at the piano. 

 

       Schumann’s composed almost exclusively for his own instrument, the piano, during his early years as a composer. The 1830s saw the creation of some of his most well-known compositions, including Papillons, Kinderszenen, and the Fantasie in C. However, in 1840, with virtually no warning, Schumann composed no less than 138 songs. This remarkable creative outpouring has since become known as his “Liederjahr,” or “Year of Song.” Yet, this sudden change, nor the abundance of music written, was purely coincidental. Instead, it makes the culmination of his courtship of Clara Wieck, and their long-awaited and hard-won marriage.

 

Schumann and Clara first met in March 1828 at a musical evening in the home of Dr. Ernst Carus. Schumann was so impressed with Clara’s skill at the piano that he soon after began piano lessons with her father, Friedrich. During this time he lived in the Wieck’s household, and he and Clara quickly formed a close friendship. With time, their friendship blossomed into a romantic, although clandestine, relationship. On Clara’s 18th birthday, Schumann proposed to her, and she accepted. Friedrich, on the other hand, had less than a favorable opinion of Schumann, and refused to grant permission for Schumann to marry his daughter. This placed a great strain on their relationship, yet they remained devoted to each other by exchanging love letters and meeting in secret. For a moment’s glance of Clara as she left one of her concerts, Schumann would wait for hours in a café. The couple eventually sued Friedrich, and after a lengthy court battle, Clara was finally allowed to marry Schumann without her father’s consent. The wedding took place in 1840.  (Continue reading here).

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June 1, 2015.  Années de Pèlerinage: Troisième Année.  In the last several months we published short articles about the first two volumes of Franz Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage: Year One, Switzerland (Première année: Suisse), here, and Year Two, Italy (Deuxième Franz Liszt, 1967 photoannée: Italie) here.  Today we’ll continue with the third year, (Troisième année).  Probably not as popular, or at least not as often performed as the first two sections, it demonstrates the depth and unparalleled sonorities of Liszt’s late works.  We will illustrate each of the seven pieces with performances by Aldo Ciccolini, recorded in 1961.  Ciccolini died exactly four months ago, on February 1st, 2015; he was 89.  Ciccolini, who was born in Naples into a titled family, became a French citizen in 1969.  His was a famous interpreter of the music of his adopted country – Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, and especially Satie, but he also recorded all piano sonatas of Beethoven, music of Albeniz, Chopin, Bach, Scarlatti, – more than 50 LPs and CDs altogether.  A brilliant virtuoso, he was a powerful but sensitive interpreter of Liszt’s music.  For many years Ciccolini taught at the Paris Conservatory (Jean-Yves Thibaudet was a pupil).  His last recording, featuring piano sonatas by Mozart and Muzio Clementi, was made when Ciccolini was 85.  (The photo portrait of Liszt, above, was made in 1867). 

Années de Pèlerinage: Troisième Année

In 1883, three years before Liszt’s death, the third and final volume of Années de Pèlerinage was published. Unlike it companions, which were musical travelogues of Liszt’s journeys throughout Switzerland and Italy, the third volume bore no subtitle to reveal the source of its inspiration (though four of its pieces still drew their inspiration from landmarks in Italy). Instead, Troisième Année is strikingly different from the previous two volumes. While still remaining technically challenging, many of the pieces are far removed from the virtuosic showpieces Liszt produced in his youth. These pieces were intensely personal creations. Liszt was certainly aware of this fact, and even warned his publisher not to expect this third volume to be as commercially successful as its predecessors. On the whole, Liszt was correct and Troisième Année failed to impress audiences. Today, along with the rest of Années de pèlerinage, it is considered one of Liszt’s masterpieces. (Continue reading here)

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May 25, 2015.  Chopin’s Waltzes.  With apologies to the devotees of the music of Isaac Albéniz, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Marin Marais, all of whom were born this week, we’re publishing a longer piece by Joseph DuBose on waltzes by Frédéric Chopin.   We’ll illustrate each of these concise gems with performances, some by the young artists Frederic Chopinfor whom Classical Connect serves as a virtual concert stage: Bill-John Newbrough, Anastasya Terenkova, Konstantyn Travinsky, Yury Shadrin; others – by the acknowledged masters.  You’ll hear  the 77 year-old Artur Rubinstein live in Moscow (you can hear him announcing the encore), Evgeny Kissin live in Carnegie Hall, Zoltan Kocsis, Philippe Entremont, the French pianist and conductor, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Dinu Lipatti in a recording made in 1950, just months before his death at the age of 33; Vladimir Ashkenazy and Samson François in a 1963 recording. 

      The waltz is inextricably connected to that great musical city of Vienna. Thus, when, as a budding composer and pianist, Frederic Chopin made his debut in the city in 1829 soon after his graduation from the Warsaw Conservatory, and again visited in 1830, it is no surprise that he tried to assimilate himself into its musical culture by performing and even composing waltzes. Yet, Chopin’s Polish roots ran too deep, and he was never able to fully master the distinctive waltz style. On his return from the Austrian capital, he admitted to a friend, “I have acquired nothing of that which is specially Viennese by nature, and accordingly I am still unable to play valses.”

Chopin’s earliest waltzes roughly date from the time of his first visit to Vienna. Yet, these early attempts remained unpublished during the composer’s lifetime. Indeed, his first waltz only appeared in print after he had left Vienna for Paris, where he would remain for the rest of his life. Currently, there are eighteen known waltzes that Chopin composed, though it is believed he wrote others. However, only the first fourteen are generally numbered. Of these fourteen, only eight were published during Chopin’s lifetime—opp. 18 and 42, and the two sets of three of opp. 34 and 64. Five more were issued in the decade following Chopin’s death and make up opp. 69 and 70. Finally, two others appeared during the remainder of the 19th century—the well-known E minor waltz in 1868 and another in E major in the early 1870s. (Continue reading here).

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