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Istituto Europeo di Musica
Talk Tempo di Avvento.
IstitutoEuropeo di Musica Et vidimus gloriam eiusgloriam quasi Uni...
Sergei Rachmaninov
Prelude Op. 23, No. 6 in E flat maj
Selections from Preludes, Op. 23 Sergei RachmaninoffIn 1886...
Sergei Rachmaninov
Prelude Op. 23, No. 2 in B-flat Maj
Selections from Preludes, Op. 23 Sergei RachmaninoffIn...
Sergei Rachmaninov
Prelude Op. 23, No. 1 in F-Sharp mi
Selections from Preludes, Op. 23 Sergei RachmaninoffIn...
Sergei Rachmaninov
Prelude Op. 23, No. 5 in G minor
Selections from Preludes, Op. 23 Sergei RachmaninoffIn 1886, Lubov ...
Sergei Rachmaninov
Prelude Op. 23, No. 4 4 in D Major
Selections from Preludes, Op. 23 Sergei RachmaninoffIn 1886, L...
Sergei Rachmaninov
Prelude Op. 23, No. 3 in D minor
Selections from Preludes, Op. 23 Sergei RachmaninovIn...


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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

November 23, 2015.  Nine composers of note were born this week, starting with Jean-Baptiste Lully, who was born in Florence on November 28th of 1632, to Krzysztof Penderecki, the Polish composer who, at the ripe age of 81 (he was born on November Melozzo da Forli, Angel with Lute23rd of 1933) is still actively writing music and conducting.   Between these two, in chronological order, we have: Anton Stamitz, a son of Johann Stamitz, the founder of the Mannheim School and the brother of Carl, another  prominent composer.  Anton was born on November 27th of 1750.  He spent the second half of his life in France.  Sometime after the French revolution he went mad and lived in an asylum for the rest of his life.  It’s not known when he died.  From the happier years of his life, here’s the Concerto for two flutes; Shigenori Kudo and Jean-Pierre Rampal are the flutists, Josef Schneider conducts the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. Gaetano Donizetti, one of the greatest composers of the bel canto opera, was born on November 29th of 1797.  Another Anton, the Russian composer Anton Rubinstein was born on November 28th of 1829.  Rubinstein, one of the supreme piano virtuosos of the 19th century, was the founder of the St-Petersburg Conservatory, the first in Russia.  There he taught composition, and among his students was none other than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.   Another interesting Russian composer, Sergei Taneyev , was born on November 25th of 1856.  A generation younger than Anton Rubinstein, Taneyev was a friend of Anton’s brother, Nikolai; he was even closer with Tchaikovsky.  Taneyev had impeccable taste and was the only one whom Tchaikovsky openly trusted and allowed to discuss his music.  Here’s the Gigue from Taneyev’s Quartet no 6, written in 1905.  It’s performed by one of the foremost Russian chamber ensembles, the string quartet named after the composer: The Taneyev Quartet.


The path-breaking Spanish composer Manuel de Falla was born on November 23rd, 1876 in Cádiz, Spain.  He wrote a lot of music for the stage: zarzuelas (traditional Spanish musical comedies), a ballet that became famous, The Three-Cornered Hat, and even a puppet opera.  He also wrote some orchestral and piano music.  One of his best known piano compositions is Fantasia Betica.  It’s performed here by Tanya Gabrielian.  The American composer Virgil Thomson was born 20 years later, on November 25th, 1896.  A pupil of Nadia Boulanger and a friend of Gertrude Stein, he lived in Paris from 1925 to 1940.  These days he’s better known as one of the most influential American music critics but he was a whimsical and interesting composer.  His opera “Four Saints in Three Acts” on the libretto by Stein is a revolutionary piece of music.


Alfred Schnittke, who was born on November 24th of 1934 and Krzysztof Penderecki are among the most significant composers of the second half of the 20th century.  We’ve written about Schnittke a number of times but haven’t had a chance to discuss Penderecki.  A complex and prolific composer who during his long creative life went through a number of phases, from atonal to melodic, Penderecki requires a separate entry.  In the meantime, here’s his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.  National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Antoni Wit. 


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.


The Classical Connect team

November 16, 2015.  Beethoven's Symphonies nos. 1 and 2.  Today we're publishing an essay on Ludwig van Beethoven's two early symphonies.  To illustrate, we use the recordings made by the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Frans Brüggen conducting (Symphony no. 1) and London Beethoven in 1803Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Josef Krips (Symphony no. 2). 


Beethoven and the symphony are nearly synonymous. It is impossible to speak of one without discussing the other. In short, the symphony was one of the genres of instrumental composition that was radically transformed at the mighty hands of Beethoven. Everything before him seems but a prelude; everything after, as Richard Wagner commented, an “epilogue.”


The symphony, as a musical composition, traces its roots to the waning years of the Renaissance. The term itself is far older—originating from the Greek “symphonia,” meaning “agreement or concord of sound.” The earliest pieces that bore the title of “symphony” were works by composers such as Giovanni Gabrieli, Andriano Banchieri, and Heinrich Schütz. These works were all sacred vocal compositions with or without instrumental accompaniment. As the Baroque period reached its maturity, the “symphony” or “sinfonia” was applied to a wide range of instrumental compositions from operatic overtures to keyboard pieces (Bach’s three-part inventions were called “Sinfonias”). By the 18th century, the Italian overture had developed into a well-defined form of three contrasting movements—fast, slow, fast—and is generally considered to be the immediate progenitor of the modern symphony.


As the Baroque period faded, the symphony became one of the hallmarks of the burgeoning Classical period. Pioneered by composers such as Sammartini, Wagenseil, von Dittersdorf, and Stamitz, it reached the brink of maturity in the works of Haydn and Mozart. Slowly, the four-movement form common since the 19th century replaced the inherited three-part design of the Baroque. Symphonies became an increasingly prominent fixture of public life and were thus written at a profuse rate (Haydn composed 107, and Mozart at least 47), fueled in large part by the musical establishments maintained by the aristocracy and the competition that resulted amongst them.


With Beethoven the fullest potential of the symphony was realized. Not writing for any court, Beethoven was free to develop the symphony into a vehicle for his artistic will. With the exception of Haydn and Mozart, the symphony had generally been the product of artisans throughout the Classical period. Beethoven made it the domain of artists—a blank canvas for the composer to envision the highest potential of his art. He adopted the symphonic design of his predecessors but vastly expanded the breadth and scope of each individual movement. His most well-known contribution is, of course, the transformation of the old Classical Minuet into the Scherzo, which became the dance movement of choice in virtually every multi-movement design throughout the Romantic period. The outer movements became more profound, not to mention larger, with every aspect developing out of their basic motives. In accordance with this change, coda sections also were greatly expanded, and became in essence added "developments" in which musical ideas were further explored. Lastly, within his slow movements, Beethoven plunged the depths of the human soul and soared into the heights of heaven.


Beethoven's radical transformations touched virtually every symphonist for the next century. Schubert quickly followed in his idol's footsteps, culminating his symphonic output with the severe pathos of his Unfinished Symphony and the colossal grandeur of his "Great" C major Symphony. Berlioz developed further on the programmatic elements of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, creating dramatic and ground-breaking works such as the Symphonie fantastique and the Roméo et Juliette Symphony. Following Schubert's death, the banner of German symphonism was carried by Mendelssohn and Schumann, and ultimately passed to Johannes Brahms. Brahms introduced his own innovations, supplanting the Scherzo with his characteristic Intermezzi in three of his four symphonies, while introducing the archaic passacaglia as an effective Finale in his Fourth. Yet, one can certainly find within them the hand Beethoven, particularly in his First Symphony. Anton Bruckner, forced to work in Brahms's shadow, created gargantuan symphonies that are certainly influenced by both Beethoven and Wagner. Mahler was a natural successor. His enormous symphonies stretch the form even further and one cannot miss his imitations of Beethoven's immortal Choral Symphony (continue here).


November 9, 2015.  Couperin and more.  François Couperin, Alexander Borodin, Paul Hindemith and Aaron Copland were all born this week: Couperin on November 10th of 1668; Borodin  on November 12th of 1833; Hindemith  on November  16th of 1995; and five years later, on November  14th of 1900 – Copland.  It’s a profoundly diverse group and very little links them together, except that all of them are part of the classical music canon.  Even Hindemith and Copland, who belonged to the same generation, couldn’t be farther apart.  We’ve written about all of them before (you may search our unwieldy archive to find the older entries), so this time we’ll simply celebrate the diversity and juxtapose several characteristic pieces.


François CouperinFrançois Couperin wrote mostly music for the harpsichord.  During his life he composed four “books,” each consisting of several “orders.”   The orders contain several individual pieces, some as few as three, others – more than 20.  We’ll hear the complete Order XIII from Book 3: Les lis naissans; Les rozeaux; L'engageante; Les folies françoises, ou Les dominos; L'âme-en peine.   The pianist is Grigory Sokolov.  This is a live recording: lately, Sokolov has refused to record in a studio (we of course remember that Glenn Gould did just the opposite: he refused to play live concerts).  Sokolov, who won a Tchaikovsky competition at the age of 16, prefers not to travel, so even though he has a cult following in Europe, he’s practically unknown in the US.


The earliest genuinely original work by Paul Hindemith was a series of pieces he called Kammermusik.  The first one was written in 1922, the last (eighth) – in 1928.  Here’s Kammermusik No. 1, for 12 instruments, Op. 24 no. 1.  Bold, very energetic, it’s scored for an unusual combination of flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, harmonium, piano, string quintet and percussion.  Members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra are conducted by Riccardo Chailly.


Alexander Borodin, a chemist and an occasional composer of unusual talent, is famous for his opera Prince Igor.  Borodin also wrote a small number of chamber pieces and some piano music.  Here’s his Petite Suite.  It was published in 1885 but written in a course of several previous years.  The Suite is performed by Tatyana Nikolayeva.  Nikolayeva was a good friend of Dmitry Shostakovich and made a famous recording of his 24 Preludes and Fugues.  Renowned in the Soviet Union, she was not very well known in the West.  She started traveling abroad after the Perestroika, but on November 13th of 1993 suffered a stroke during a concert in San Francisco; she was playing Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues.  Nikolayeva couldn’t finish the performance and died nine days later.


Aaron Copland, one of the most important and influential American composers of the 20th century, may be closer to Borodin than any other composer in our group.  Borodin, even though a strong proponent of “absolute music,” was a Russian national composer through and through.  His melodies, though they rarely quote folk tunes, are recognizably “Russian.”  And so is Copland: his music is quintessentially American, often “populist” and deceptively simple.  A Brooklyn Jew of Lithuanian origin, he used folk tunes and old Shaker songs (he also borrowed from jazz and Mexican music).  We have a large selection of Copland’s music in our library, so please search or browse and you’ll find some wonderful pieces.


November 2, 2015. Handel’s Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks.  We’re publishing an essay by Joseph DuBose about what is probably the most popular orchestral music in all of George Frideric HandelGeorge Frideric Handel’s output.  We illustrate it with the 1972 recordings made by Neville Marriner with his Academy of St Martin in the Fields.  


On July 17, 1717, King George I conducted a lavish affair upon the Thames River. As one rumor goes, it was an effort to outdo his own son, Prince George II, who was enjoying the limelight of British social circles. At eight o’clock that night, the King and his entourage boarded a royal barge at Whitehall Place and sailed up the Thames to Chelsea. An accompanying barge, provided by the City of London, held some fifty instrumentalists who performed music by Handel for the King’s entertainment. A great number of Londoners came out to witness the incredible spectacle—so many, in fact, that the Daily Courant newspaper reported there was “so great a Number of Boats, that the whole River in a manner was cover'd.”


Another rumor surrounding the event suggests that Handel’s music for the event was composed as a means to regain the King’s good graces. Before inheriting the British throne, George, as the Elector of Hanover, had employed Handel as Kapellmeister beginning in 1710. Yet, two years later, Handel decided to relocate to England where he received a yearly salary from Queen Anne. Handel’s abrupt departure from Germany purportedly caused some animosity between him and his employer. Once George ascended the British throne, Handel found himself suddenly in the position of needing to regain the King's favor. Supposedly, Handel was apprehensive in approaching King George, but saw the King's party as the perfect opportunity. On the other hand, an equally plausible explanation is both men knew that George would soon be King of Great Britain, and that he gave Handel his permission to venture on ahead of him to London. Regardless, the king was so impressed with the music that he ordered it repeated three times by the time he returned to Whitehall from Chelsea, suggesting that the musicians played continuously from 8 p.m. until well after midnight (with the exception of a break while King George I went ashore at Chelsea).


Though Handel’s music for the event was such a great success, there exists no reliable documentation that the music known today as Water Music was, in fact, the exact music performed on that occasion. While it is known that several of the numbers were quite popular in London, none of the music was initially published. Three movements—two minuets and the overture—appeared in 1720 and 1725, respectively. John Walsh published an eleven movement edition in 1733, and later followed up with an expanded nineteen movement arrangement for harpsichord. The first complete edition did not appear until 1788 and was published after extensive research by Samuel Arnold. This edition has become the authoritative Water Music, and was the basis for Friedrich Chrysander’s Gesellschaft edition published in 1886. Yet, despite an authoritative edition, some doubt remains even today around the exact ordering of the movements. Generally, however, Handel’s Water Music is arranged into three separate suites, HWV 348-50, based on the character and instrumentation of the movements. The first suite, by the far longest, contains nine movements in the keys of F major and D minor, and features horns with an orchestra of oboes, bassoon, and strings. The middle suite, in D major, adds trumpets; while the third, in G major, is more delicately scored with flutes. (Continue reading here)


October 26, 2015.  Scarlatti and Paganini.  Domenico Scarlatti, a son of the famous opera composer Alessandro Scarlatti, was born on this day in 1685, the same year as Johann Christian Bach and George Frideric Handel.  Domenico, the sixth of ten children of Alessandro, was born in Naples: a year earlier his father became Maestro di Cappella to the Spanish viceroy of Domenico ScarlattiNaples.  He probably studied music with his father; later – with Bernardo Pasquini, a noted opera composer and harpsichordist.  Alessandro knew Pasquini well: together with Arcangelo Corelli they were members of the famous Accademia degli Arcadi in Rome, a literary academy and, at that time, a leading cultural institution.  In 1705 Alessandro wrote a long letter to Ferdinando de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Florence, touting Domenico’s talents.  They were acknowledged but no position was offered.  Instead Alessandro sent his son to Venice were he stayed for several years.  In 1708 Domenico traveled to Rome on the invitation of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni.  There he was persuaded to enter into a keyboard competition with Handel.  They were judged to be equal at the clavichord but Handel was acknowledged a superior organist.  The competition didn’t prevent them from becoming good friends.  Scarlatti admired Handel’s talents; it’s also said that he crossed himself any time Handel’s name was mentioned: Scarlatti, like many of his contemporaries, thought that Handel was so exceptionally good not without the involvement of black magic.  This was also a widespread opinion about Paganini, our other birthday composer, who, according to legend, sold his soul to the devil.


In Rome Domenico found a patron – Maria Casimira, the exiled former Queen of Poland; she made Domenico her maestro di cappella.  Domenico was following in his father’s steps: Alessandro occupied a similar position at the court of the exiled Queen Christina of Sweden.  Domenico lived in Rome till around 1720.  After that he took a trip to Lisbon, and soon after settled in Spain, where he spent the rest of his life.  Most of Scarlatti’s Italian musical output was concentrated on operas (Domenico created 13 of them), oratorios and cantatas.  He wrote most of his keyboard sonatas – compositions that he’s famous for today – while in Spain.  So here’s an example of his operatic work, a rarity: a duet "Se l'alma non t'adora" from, as far as we know, Domenico Scarlatti’s first opera L'Ottavia ristituita al trono.  It was premiered in 1703 when Domenico was 18.  The singers, both Italian, are Patrizia Ciofi, a coloratura soprano, and Anna Bonitatibus, a mezzo with a flourishing international career.  The ensemble Il Complesso Barocco is conducted by Alan Curtis.  Curtis, a harpsichordist, musicologist and conductor, died on July 15th of this year.


Another Italian, Niccolò Paganini, was born on October 27th of 1782.  In the history of music Paganini is more famous as a performer rather than a composer.  His best known work was also his first, a set of 24 “caprices” for violin solo.   Here’s Salvatore Accardo playing Caprice no. 2 in B minor, a 1978 recording.  And here’s the same caprice, recorded in 1972 by Itzhak Perlman.  We don’t know if Paganini really had a deal with the devil but this piece is certainly devilishly difficult.


October 19, 2015.  Liszt, Ives and Berio.  Three very different composers were born this week: two “modernists,” Charles Ives and Luciano Berio, and one great Romantic, Franz Liszt.  Liszt, born on October 22nd, 1811, was a tremendous virtuoso.  While he was still concertizing (he quit at the age of 35 at Franz Lisztthe height of his career) he was much more famous as a pianist than a composer.  Liszt wrote a number of extremely difficult piano pieces.  In his time, he was one of the very few, if not the only one, capable of pulling them off.  During the last 20 years or so we’ve been witnessing a revolution in pianism.  These days the technique of many young musicians is on a level that was only achieved by very few just a generation ago.  Of course technique alone is not enough – one needs to have keen musicianship to become a complete artist, but extraordinary technique can create excitement that’s lacking in more subdued performances.  Liszt’s piano pieces are perfectly suited for such feats.  Khatia Buniatishvili is one of the young pianists who can dazzle – or infuriate, as the case may be.  Some compare her with the young Martha Argerich, and, though they are quite different musically, the drive, energy and the superb technique lend credence to the comparison.  Here’s Khatia playing, live, Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz no 1.  The recording was made in 2011 at the Verbier Festival.  One can find faults in this performance, both technical and musical, but the visceral pleasure is all there.


Charles Ives was born on October 20th of 1874.  He’s now considered to be very important to the development of American music, the first truly international composer of major talent.  During his lifetime, though, he was almost completely ignored.  Practically all his adult life Ives worked in the insurance business and was very successful at that; he’s considered the pioneer of estate planning, on which he wrote a treatise.  Composing was done in his spare time.  His most productive period was from the early 1900s to about 1920 (he didn’t compose much in the second half of his life.  He died in 1954).  Ives started composing the Concord piano sonata around 1911 and worked on it till 1915.  It’s a remarkable piece of music, especially considering the time of the composition.  The sonata consists of four movement, each titled after American writers: "Emerson," "Hawthorne,” "The Alcotts" (after Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott), and "Thoreau.”  As many of Ives’s piece, it’s long, running about 45 minutes; even 100 years later it’s challenging but very much worth listening to.  Here’s the second movement, "Hawthorne,” in the performance by Alexei Lyubimov, a wonderful Russian pianist and a student of Heinrich Neuhaus.


Luciano Berio, one of the most interesting composers of the second half of the 20th century, was born on October 24th of 1925.  We wrote about him in some detail last year.   To celebrate Berio’s 90th birthday, here’s Sequenza IXa for clarinet, one of the pieces in a set of 14 for solo instruments.  It’s performed by Joaquin Valdepeñas.

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