Do you write about classical music? Are you a blogger? Want to team up with Classical Connect? Send us a message, let's talk!

Welcome to our free classical music site
Name: Password: or

New Liner Notes:
Read and Listen

Alexander Scriabin
Etude Op. 2 No. 1
This étude was written in 1887, when Scriabin was just 15 years old...
Alexander Scriabin
Etude Op. 8 No. 12
Composed in 1894, this étude features many technical challenges, in...
Frédéric Chopin
Waltz in A minor (Op. Posth.)
Waltz in A minor, B. 150, KK IVb/11, P. 2/11, often designated as No...
Franz Liszt
Tarantella, from Venezia e Napoli
Liszt’s Années de Pélerinage (‘Years of Pilgrimage’) sound u...
Camille Saint-Saëns
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,
Like his compatriots Bizet and Lalo, Camille Saint-Saëns held a cer...
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne in c-sharp minor Op. Posth
Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp minor, Op. posth. Frédéric Chopin,...
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, E flat major
Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2 Frédéric Chopin, arr. ...

Title

00:00 | 00:00

00:00 | 00:00
URL:
Browse by instrument Browse by composer Upload your performances! Browse by performer

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

Announcement: Gala Concert

05/26/2016 19:30, Teatro municipal de Viña del Mar

Music of Ukrainian Conposers.
Anna Leonova, Karmela Tsepkolenko, Vita Poleva, Ludmila Yurina etc

Av Valparaiso, Viña del Mar, Región de Valparaíso Vina Del Mar


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


May 20, 2016.  Franz Liszt, Venezia e Napoli.  Today we’ll publish an article on Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli, a revision of the earlier set by the same name, which was published as a supplement to the Deuxième année: Italie.  We’ll illustrate Gondoliera with a performance by the young Korean-American pianist Woobin Park, Canzone – by a 1985 recording made by the great Jorge Bolet, when he was 71, and Tarantella – with a performance by another young pianist, the American Heidi Hau. 

The cities of Venice and Naples must have made a particular impression upon Franz Liszt Franz Lisztduring his travels with Marie d’Agoult, for, beside the several pieces that would ultimately become the travelogue of his journeys through Italy in the second volume of Années de pèlerinage, he also composed in 1840 a further four pieces named after them—Venezia e Napoli. Like Années de perinage, Venezia e Napoli likewise underwent a significant process of revision once Liszt was in Weimar. Of the original four pieces, only the last two were kept: the Andante placido, which became Gondoliera; and the Tarantelles Napolitaines, which was simply renamed Tarantella. Liszt then inserted a doleful Canzone between these two pieces, creating the triptych now known today. It was published as a supplement to Deuxième Année in 1861.

Liszt based Gondoliera (here), or “Gondolier’s song,” on a well-known melody (“La biondina in gondoletta”) composed by Giovanni Battista Peruchini, an Italian composer born in 1784. Unlike the original version, the 1859 revision opens with an extended introduction in the key of F-sharp minor. Undulating eighth notes in compound meter begin quietly in the bass and slowly rise towards the tonic. In the treble, glistening arpeggios instantly conjure the imagery of a peaceful Venetian canal. Eventually gaining an F-sharp major chord, the music pauses before the commencement of the melody. Marked sempre dolcissimo, the melody, in its first statement, sings out in the rich middle register of the piano above a tonic pedal suggested by the eighth notes still present in the bass. Two more statements follow, each separated by a brief fantasia in Liszt’s usual florid style. Only the latter half of the melody is present in the second statement, but is otherwise only slightly changed. The eighth notes of the bass, however, have now become sixteenths, imbuing the music with an increasing energy. The final statement, on the other hand, is greatly embellished. The melody, still essentially unaltered, now appears against a glimmering accompaniment of trills and broken chords, as if the gondola has suddenly emerged from between two buildings and brilliant sunlight now reflects off the surrounding waters. The melody is repeated again, now below the accompanimental arpeggios, and with its penultimate measure trailing off into a final passage of filigree. From there, the lengthy coda turns the melody somewhat wistful, as its strains are broken up and the minor key creeps back into the tonal fabric. On a stunningly beautiful passage in which full-voice chords move about a fixed F-sharp and A-sharp, the music fades away, like the empty gondola slowly receding from its former passenger.  (Read more here).

Permalink

May 16, 2016.  Wagner and more.  Richard Wagner was born on May 22nd of 1813.  Last year we wrote about his life around the time he created Tannhäuser.  The premier of Lohengrin, the third of his so-called Richard WagnerRomantic operas, followed five years later in 1850, although Wagner had started working on it several years earlier, in the mid-1840s.  Wagner was still living and working in Dresden, where he was the Kapellmeister at the court of the King of Saxony.  Before writing the libretto of Lohengrin, Wagner immersed himself in the old German epics, Parzival, by Wolfram von Eschenbach and Lohengrin; both written in the 13th century (the study of Parzival resulted, some 30 years later, in Wagner writing an idiosyncratic libretto for his last opera, Parsifal).  The protagonist, Lohengrin, is the son of Parzival/Parsifal, one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table.  Lohengrin is sent to rescue a certain maiden, and he undertakes the journey in a boat pulled by swans.  The legend, used by Eschenbach to write his epics, originated around the time of the Crusades, so the great Minnesingers, born around 1160, worked with what may be considered “fresh material.”  Wagner was still working on the opera when the 1848 insurrections in Paris and Vienna were followed by disturbances in all major cities of Europe.  A year later, the left-leaning Wagner became politically active during the troubles in Dresden.  As Prussian troops took over the city in May of 1849, Wagner fled to Weimar where he was sheltered for a while by Franz Liszt and then left for Zurich.  He stayed out of Germany till 1860.  It was Liszt, his future father-in-law, who directed the premier of Lohengrin in Weimar in August of 1850.  The opera was a huge success, and not just in Germany – Riga, Vienna, Paris, St.-Petersburg premiers followed during the next several years.  Unfortunately, 1850 was also the year when Wagner wrote his infamous article, Das Judenthum in der Musik (Jewishness in Music, often translated as Judaism in Music).  Antisemitic and unfair (the article denigrates both Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn) it’s an utter embarrassment, especially considering the influence it had on the murderous anti-Semites of the following years.  But going back to the music – Lohengrin, despite its usual Wagnerian length (at about 3 ½ hours, it’s actually among his shortest), is a wonderful opera.  Here is the prelude to Act 1, performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan conducting.

And now to a somewhat disappointing discovery.  Maria Theresia von Paradis was born on May 15th of 1759.  We always thought that she was famous for three things: being blind but creative in the age when that was so difficult; for Mozart writing a concerto for her, and the Sicilienne, a wonderful little piece, especially as played by Jacqueline du Pré (here).  Unfortunately, the Groves Dictionary suggests that it was not Paradis who was the author of the piece but the purported “discoverer,” the violinist Samuel Dushkin, who arranged the music based on the violin sonata by Carl Maria von Weber and called it Sicilienne.   And indeed, if you listen to the second movement of Weber’s Sonata op. 10 no. 1 (here, as played by Leonid Kogan and Grigory Ginsburg), there cannot be any doubt as to the source of the music.  Dushkin, a wonderful violinist who worked extensively with Stravinsky and created a number of arrangement, is known to be an author of at least one other “musical hoax”: the so-called Grave for violin and orchestra by Johann Georg Benda, which had nothing to do with the 18th century Bohemian violinist and composer.

Permalink

May 9, 2016.  Monteverdi. Claudio Monteverdi, one of the most important composers in the history of European music, who bridged the Renaissance with the nascent Baroque and almost singlehandedly created a new musical form, the opera, was born on this day in 1567 in Cremona, Italy.  We’ve written about Monteverdi in the past (here and here), so we’ll focus on just Claudio Monteverdione, but critical, period in his life – his almost 20 year stay in Mantua at the court of Gonzagas.  The Gonzagas, who ruled Mantua from the early 14th century till the beginning of the 18th, were one of the most illustrious and old houses of Italy.  They lived in the famous Palazzo Ducale, which, with its 500 rooms, was one of the largest palaces in the country.  The rule of Duke Vincenzo, from 1587 to 1612, was a high point.  Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga was an extravagant patron of the arts and his court was brilliant.  The Duke surrounded himself with poets (including Torquato Tasso), painters (Peter Paul Rubens was one of his favorites) and musicians – the court orchestra was one of the best, and led by the famous composer Giaches De Wert.  The Duke spent so lavishly that by the end of his rule the Gonzagas ran out of money; historians believe that Vincenzo’s profligacy led to the decline of the Duchy.  Monteverdi moved to Mantua around 1590 when he was 23.  Though he had already established himself as a composer in his native Cremona, at the court he started at the bottom, as one of the court musicians.  The influence of De Vert on his compositions of the period is unmistakable.  Monteverdi’s talents didn’t go unnoticed for long as the Duke drew him into his inner circle.  Monteverdi was one of the few musicians to accompany the Duke on his frequent trips.  On one of such trip in 1600, they went to Florence to join the celebration of the wedding of Maria de’ Medici, daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, to the French King Henri IV.  Monteverdi, with the rest of Vincenzo’s retinue, attended the performance of Euridice, an opera by Jacopo Peri, one of the first operas ever written. 

The Gonzagas were very close to the house of Este of the nearby Ferrara (the third wife of Alfonso II d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara at the time, was a Gonzaga).  Alfonso shared Vincenzo’s love of arts and music; his court orchestra was led by Luzzasco Luzzaschi, a noted composer; he also maintained Concerto delle donne, a female vocal ensemble famous for their virtuosity.  Monteverdi’s music was performed in Ferrara almost as often as in Mantua; in 1597 he was about to dedicate a book of madrigals to Duke Alfonso when the Duke died, childless, thus ending the Este’s dynasty in Ferrara.

While in Modena, Monteverdi wrote several books of madrigals (books Three through Five, the first two books were composed while Monteverdi lived in Cremona).  Book Five is considered very significant, as it marks the shift from the polyphonic Renaissance style to a more monodic Baroque. In 1607 he composed his first opera, Orfeo, which firmly established opera as new art form; it’s also the earliest opera that is still being regularly performed.  We’ll hear two madrigals from Book V: T'amo mia vita, performed by the ensemble Artek, under the direction of Gwendolyn Toth (here), and Che dar più vi poss'io, with Il Nuove Musiche conducted by Krijn Koetsveld (here).

Permalink

May 2, 2016.  Scarlatti, Brahms, Tchaikovsky.  Three famous composers were born this week.  May 2nd is the birthday of Alessandro Scarlatti, a very important early opera composer and the father of Domenico.  Scarlatti was born in 1660.  Then, on May 7th comes the unfortunate coupling of Alessandro ScarlattiJohannes Brahms, born in 1833, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, born in 1840, so very different but both representing the best in their national schools.  Over the years we’ve written extensively about all three of them: here and here about Scarlatti, and of course numerous times about both Brahms and Tchaikovsky.  So on this occasion we’ll celebrate their anniversaries with performances of just one piece each.  We have to admit that we’re absolutely in love with the aria Mentre io godo in dolce oblio (here) from Oratorio La Santissima Vergine del Rosario and consider it on par with the best by Handel.  It helps, of course, that it’s performed by the phenomenal Cecilia Bartoli (with Les Musiciens du Louvre conducted by Marc Minkowski).  To carry the comparison between Scarlatti and Handel a bit further (hopefully not too far!), here’s a historical tidbit.  Scarlatti’s La Santissima Vergine del Rosario was premiered in Rome in 1707.  One of Scarlatti’s patrons during that time was Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli, and Santissima was premiered on Easter Sunday at the Ruspoli palazzo.  Around that time, the 22-year-old Handel arrived in Rome and almost immediately was hired by Prince Ruspoli as his Kapellmeister.  One year later Handel composed his own oratorio, La Resurrezione.  This one too was staged, lavishly, in the main hall on the ground floor of Ruspoli’s palazzo, and also on Easter Sunday.  It’s safe to assume that Handel was familiar with Scarlatti’s work, although there are no discernable borrowings, except for the general format of the work.

It is impossible to pick one representative piece by either Brahms or Tchaikovsky, so, with guided randomness, here are two compositions.  A 1886 piano piece Dumka by Tchaikovsky, not to be confused with several “Dumka” compositions by Antonin Dvořák, isn’t played often on the concert scene, but it is very familiar to the Moscow audience: over the years, it has been performed repeatedly in the second round of the Tchaikovsky piano competitions.  Here it is performed by a young Ukrainian pianist Stanislav Khristenko.  The Piano sonata no. 3 written by the 20-year-old Brahms in 1853 isn’t too popular either: it’s long (35 minutes), in unusual five movements, and in parts uneven.  The third piano sonata is also the last one for Brahms, who wrote all three in a span of less than two years.  For all the problems, it’s very much worth listening to, especially when performed well, as it is here, by the young Japanese pianist Misato Yokoyama.

Permalink

April 25, 2016.  Augusta Read Thomas and Ear Taxi Festival.  Augusta Read Thomas is one of the most interesting contemporary American composers.  Prolific and active, she’s currently serving as the University Professor of Composition at the University of Chicago. To quote the music critic Edward Reichel, "Augusta Read Thomas has secured for herself a permanent place in the pantheon of American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is without question one of the best and most important composers that this country has today. Her music has substance and depth and a sense of purpose. She has a lot to say and she knows how to say it — and say it in a way that is intelligent yet appealing and sophisticated.”  Here are her Angel Musings, performed by the Orion Ensemble.

Ear Taxi FestivalMs. Thomas and Stephen Burns, a Chicago-based conductor, trumpeter, composer, and the Artistic Director of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project, are organizing a unique event, the Ear Taxi Festival 2016, a celebration of contemporary music in Chicago.  The festival will feature 300 musicians, 53 world premieres and 4 installations in its six days of concerts, lectures, webcasts and artist receptions.  Explaining the name of the festival, Ms. Thomas says: “We want to take your ears on a wide variety of ‘taxi rides’ through the world of contemporary music.  At Augusta Read Thomasevery concert, you’ll hear a mix of ensembles and musical styles that reflects the incredible depth and breadth of new music both here in Chicago and beyond.”  The Festival will feature the music of more than 70 composers, from well-established, like Shulamit Ran, Ms. Thomas, Bernard Rands and George Flynn, to young but very promising.  Here’s the list of all composers (with biographies).  The performers are among the best in Chicago: ensembles, like the Avalon Quartet, the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Dal Niente, the Fifth House ensemble and many more, as well as a number of individual performers.  The Festival will start on October 5th and will run till October 10th of 2016.  The concerts will take place at several venues: the Harris Theater, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Pritzker Pavilion of the Millennium Park, the University of Chicago and several other smaller ones.  Here’s how you can buy tickets to the Festival events.

Please go to the Festival’s web page for more information.   The Festival promises to be a wonderful affair and we hope that you’ll will have a chance to enjoy it.

Permalink

Aril 18, 2016.  Prokofiev.  Sergei Prokofiev’s 125th anniversary is on April 23rd.  One of the greatest composers of the first half of the 20th century, his life was as tempestuous as the century itself.  He was born in what is now Ukraine, spent his youth in Moscow and St.Petersburg and by Sergei Prokofiev (Konchalovsky)the age of 25 was famous as a composer and pianist.  By that time he had already written a ballet for Sergei Diaghilev which made him a name in Paris.  Following the First World War and the October Revolution, he left Russia for the United States but two years later moved to France.  By then he was the composer of several operas, a symphony, two ballets, concertos for piano and the violin, and four piano sonatas.  In the late 1920s he returned to Russia for a series of concerts and after that, while still living in France, became more involved with the Soviet musical establishment.  Then, in 1936, he returned to the Soviet Union – permanently.  He wrote Peter and the Wolf for Natalia Sats’s Children’s theater and collaborated with Sergei Eisenstein on the film Alexander Nevsky, but also was compelled to write “Soviet” music, like the infamous Zdravitsa, written for Stalin’s 60th birthday and Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution (even though written on texts by Marx and Lenin, it sounded too unconventional for the Soviet musical apparatchiks and wasn’t performed during Prokofiev lifetime). 

He continued composing during the great Patriotic War, as WWII was called in the Soviet Union, part of which he spent in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  Estranged from his first wife, Lina, since 1941, he married Mira Mendelssohn, 24 years his junior, after the Soviet government officially “annulled” his marriage to Lina.  Lina in the meantime was arrested and sent to the Gulag.  In 1948 Prokofiev himself almost ended up there: he was severely criticized for the 6th Symphony and the opera The Story of a Real Man, which was staged at the Kirov Theater but then immediately cancelled.  Prokofiev’s health was failing and he moved to his dacha outside of Moscow.  His doctors prohibited any exertion and allowed him to compose for just one hour a day.  He died on March 5th of 1953, the same day as Stalin.  The Soviet Union descended into an official, utterly hysterical mourning.  Hundreds of people were trampled to death during Stalin’s funeral procession.  Prokofiev’s death wasn’t reported for days, as all periodicals were filled with articles eulogizing Stalin.

We’ll hear his Piano sonata no. 6, op. 82.  Prokofiev stated working on it in 1939 (that year he also started piano sonata nos. 7 and 8 – together they’re known, somewhat inappropriately, as “War Sonatas”). No. 6 was completed in 1940 and premiered by Prokofiev himself in April of that year Prokofiev met the pianist Sviatoslav Richter during that time and Richter became a great champion of this works.  Richter and Emil Gilels, who premiered Sonata no. 8, created a number of classic recording of the “War Sonatas,” and to this day they count among the very best.  Still, there are some very interesting performances made by younger musicians.  Listen to this live recording made by Yuja Wang – the verve and the energy are quite extraordinary, as is the technique.  The portrait of Prokofiev, above, was made by the Russian artist Pyotr Konchalovsky in 1934.

Permalink
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9>