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Johannes Brahms
Piano Quintet in f minor, Op 34
The Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 34 is one of Brah...
Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio No. 5 in D Major “Ghost” f
Beethoven’s two trios for violin, cello and piano, published as hi...
Antonin Dvořák
String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, O
Allegro ma non troppoLentoMolto vivaceFinale: vivace ma non troppoTh...
Maurice Ravel
Sonatine (video)
The petite Sonatine in F-sharp minor emerged alongside one of Mauric...
Maurice Ravel
The petite Sonatine in F-sharp minor emerged alongside one of Mauric...
Frédéric Chopin
Scherzo No. 1 in B minor
Travelling to Paris in September 1831, Frédéric Chopin received wo...
Frédéric Chopin
Ballade No. 3 in A♭ Op. 47
The piano is a Steinway built in 1875 - the action is quite uneven a...


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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

February 8, 2016.  Mendelssohn.  Last week we missed Felix Mendelssohn’s birthday: he was born on February 3rd of 1809.  Mendelssohn is of course famous as one of the foremost romantic composers of the 19th century, but he also brought back to life one of greatest masterpieces of Felix MendelssohnJohann Sebastian Bach, The St. Matthew Passion.  This episode is interesting as it also sheds light on the life of the emancipated German Jewry in the early 19th century.  The St. Matthew Passion was first performed in April of 1727 in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig where Bach served as a Kapellmeister.  It was then performed there several times during Bach’s life time.  After Bach’s death in 1750, the Passion was played occasionally in the Thomaskirche but never outside of Leipzig.  Then around 1800 all performances stopped.  It doesn’t mean that the work was completely forgotten: the scores of the Passion were in circulation and musicians could study them.  One of such enthusiasts was the composer Carl Friedrich Zelter, Felix’s music teacher.  Zelter was the head of Sing-Akademie, Berlin’s choral society; he was very fond of Bach but thought the Passion to be way too complex (and long) to be performed in public.  Nonetheless, parts of the Passion were being rehearsed by members of Sing-Akademie, some of these rehearsals taking place in Zelter’s home; that’s where Felix heard them for the first time.  Members of Sing-Akademie came mostly from Berlin’s haut bourgeoisie but prominent Jewish families were also part of it almost from the beginning.  Several members of the Mendelssohn family belonged to Sing-Akademie and so did the Itzigs, descendants of Daniel Itzig, the banker to Frederick the Great of Prussia.  Bella Solomon, Daniel Itzig’s daughter, and Felix’s grandmother, sung in the Akademie.  When Felix was 14, Bella Solomon presented him with a copy of the Passion’s score.  It’s interesting to note that Bella, who sung all those Lutheran hymns at the Sing-Akademie, was herself a religious Jew.  The young Felix was not: his father renounced the religion and Felix and his siblings didn’t have a religious education.  At the age of seven he was baptized.  Bella didn’t know about it till much later and clearly not when she presented Felix with Bach’s score. 

By 1829, the 20 year-old Felix was already an established composer.  He had already written his first symphony, a highly successful Midsummer Night's Dream Overture Op.21, which was completed when Felix was 17 and a half years old; several piano and string quartets, a violin sonata and a large number of songs.  He was also preoccupied with the idea of performing The St. Matthew Passion.  He had started private rehearsals of the Passion sometime earlier, enlisting a small group of singers whom he accompanied on the piano.  The difficulty of the piece seemed insurmountable but Eduard Devrient, his good friend, a singer and theater director, was enthusiastic and very encouraging.  It was Devrient who suggested that they perform the Passion at the Sing-Akademie with Mendelssohn himself conducting (Mendelssohn had never before conducted anything even close to the complexity of Bach’s work).  The performance took place in March of 1829 and was a tremendous success.  The second performance was scheduled right away, to take place on March 21st, Bach’s birthday.  Even that was not enough, the public was craving more and a follow-up performance was set for the Good Friday which fell on April 17th of that year.  As but that time Mendelssohn was on his way to London for a series of concerts, Zelter took over the conducting.  These performances established the Passion as central to all European classical music repertoire, a position occupied by this masterpiece to this day.  Later in his life Mendelssohn started composing an oratorio Christus, clearly influenced by Bach.  He never finished it having died at the age of 38 after suffering several strokes.  Here’s the first part of Christus; Anne Ackley is the soprano, with the Westminster Choir (Rider University) and New Jersey Symphony conducted by Joseph Flummerfelt.


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

February 1, 2015.  Missed birthdays.  Last week we celebrated Mozart’s 260th birthday and missed several important dates.  Franz Schubert was born on January 31st of 1797.  Composer of immense talent and a tragically short life, he left an Franz Schubertextraordinarily rich body of work: piano sonatas, last three of which have very few peers in all of the piano repertoire; nine symphonies; wonderful chamber music (one has to mention his “Death and the Maiden” quartet (no. 14), his “Trout” Quintet or the great String Quintet in C Major), sacred works, stage work (“Rosamunde,” for example) and much more.  But one area where his genius shone the brightest was the Lied.  Schubert’s songs pack a great amount of musical material and the broadest range of emotions into little gems that sometimes last less than two minutes.  His song cycles Die schöne Müllerin, Winterreise, and Schwanengesang are, of course, incomparable, and so are some individual songs.  Here are two, An Die Musik, D. 547, sung by the soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf with the great, but in this recording technically imprecise Swiss pianist Edwin Fischer (here), and Gretchen Am Spinnrade, with the flawless Kiri Te Kanawa and Richard Amner (here).  Schubert was 17 when he composed Gretchen Am Spinnrade.


The Italian composer Luigi Nono was born on January 29th of 1924 in Venice.  Nono studied at the Liceo Musicale with the noted composer Gian Francesco Malipiero and then with one of the first avant-garde Italians, Bruno Maderna.  Several early works by Nono were presented in Darmstadt.  Soon after he became an active participant and, together with Boulez and Stockhausen, one of the leaders of the movement.  In 1955 he married Nuria Schoenberg, daughter of Arnold Schoenberg.   Nono was a leftist, as were many of his fellow composers.  A principled anti-fascist, he went much further left than that.  For example, his opera Al gran sole carico d'amore, (the libretto for which he co-wrote with Yuri Lyubimov, the director of the original production and also the director of the famous Moscow Taganka theater), while based on the plays by Bertolt Brecht, also contained excerpts of speeches by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Karl Marx and Lenin.  Some of the music composed during the 60s was extremely political and dogmatic.  For example, his Non Consumiamo Marx consists of sounds recorded during the 1968 student uprising in Paris and a voice reading the messages left on the walls during that period.  A much more interesting piece is his Prometeo, composed during several years in the early 1980s.  It’s called “opera,” although the word should be taken in its original Italians sense, “work” – Prometeo is a composition for five singers, two speakers, a chorus and small orchestra.  The sounds are supposed to be electronically manipulated.  Here’s a suite from Prometeo, performed live in Lucerne on August 20th of 2005. Claudio Abbado is conducting.


One great composer was born this week: Felix Mendelssohn, on February 3rd of 1809.  Even though we’ve written about him many times, we’ll dedicate an entry to him at a later date.


January 25, 2016.  Mozart.  January 27th marks the 260th anniversary of birth.  Every year we focus on a different episode of Mozart’s life and present compositions from that period.  Last year was about his rather unhappy trip to Paris in 1777-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann della Croce, 1780-811778.  The 22 year-old Mozart had left Paris in September of 1778.  He was offered a position in Salzburg at the court of the Prince Archbishop as an organist and concertmaster, and even though it paid three times his previous salary (450 florins instead of 150 – the New York Times has an interesting article on how much that would be in current dollars), Mozart was hesitant: he remembered the stifling atmosphere of Salzburg and was looking for an appointment in other places.  He stayed in Mannheim and then in went to Munich but found no offers in either place.  To make things worse, his Mannheim lover, the singer Aloysia Weber, seemed to have lost interest in him.  (A quick note on these two cities.  It was not by chance that Mozart was looking for employment there: Mannheim was famous for its orchestra, considered at that time the best in Germany.  Munich had a strong musical connection: in 1778 the Elector Karl Theodor moved his court from Mannheim to Munich, bringing with him 33 musicians who became the core of his court’s orchestra; they also performed in the royal opera.)  On January 15th of 1779 Mozart returned to Salzburg.  For a while his relationship with Hieronymus Colloredo, the Prince-Archbishop, was quite good, but soon the same tensions that dominated their relationship before the Paris trip, became apparent again.  Colloredo wanted Mozart to compose more church music while Mozart was getting more and more interested in opera and other non-liturgical genres.  These difficulties were spelled out in a 1782 document appointing Michael Haydn, the younger brother of Franz Joseph Haydn, to the same position as Mozart had previously held: “we accordingly appoint [Michael Haydn] as our court and cathedral organist, in the same fashion as young Mozart was obligated, with the additional stipulation that he show more diligence … and compose more often for our cathedral and chamber music.”  What Mozart did compose during that time were three symphonies (a short one, no. 32, no. 33 and no. 34, with a wonderfully energetic Finale, which you can hear in the performance by The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood conducting).  Also, a concerto for two pianos, the famous Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola and several other pieces, none of which could’ve been performed either in the Cathedral or at the Court. (Here’s the 1956 recording of the Concertante made by Jascha Heifetz, violin and Willian Primrose, viola)


In 1780 Mozart received a commission from Munich, from the Elector Karl Theodor himself, to compose a “serious” opera (opera seria).  It was to become Mozart’s first mature opera, Idomeneo.  (Here’s a Quartet Andrò ramingo e solo from Idomeneo with a great cast: Edita Gruberová and Lucia Popp, sopranos, Baltsa, mezzo-soprano and Luciano Pavarotti, tenor).  The premier in Munich in January of 1781, with Mozart conducting, was highly successful.  Papa Leopold traveled from Salzburg to attend.  The whole family stayed in Munich for another two months.  Then came a summons from Vienna where Archbishop Colloredo went to attend the celebrations of the accession of Joseph II as the Holy Roman Emperor.  Spoiled by his triumph in Munich, Mozart was especially offended by the Archbishop treating him as a servant.  In May of 1781 Mozart asked to be dismissed and a month later he was let go “with a kick on my arse,” as he wrote in a letter.  Thus commenced the Viennese period of his life.  The portrait of Mozart by Johann della Croce, above, is part of a picture of the family; it was made around the time of the described events, in 1780 or 1781.


January 18, 2016.  William Byrd.  With numerous but minor stars who were born this week – two Russians, Cui (b.  January 18th of 1835) and Tcherepnin (b.  January 20th, 1899), three Frenchmen, Chabrier (1/18/1841, Chausson (1/20/1855) and Dutilleux (1/22/1916), and Muzio William ByrdClementi (b. January 23rd of 1753), an Italian who made his name in England – we’ll turn our attention to one of the greatest English composers of the Renaissance, William Byrd.  We’ve mentioned him numerous times but have never written about him in detail.  Byrd was born in London, probably in 1542 or 1543. If that’s the case, he would have been about 12 years younger than Orlando di Lasso and five years older than Tomás Luis de Victoria.  Very little is known about Byrd’s early years.  He was probably a chorister at the Chapel Royal and a pupil of the much older (and famous) Thomas Tallis.  Some years later, in 1575, Queen Elisabeth granted Tallis and Byrd a “patent” to print and publish music, and historians surmise that the relationship between the two composers was that of a teacher and pupil.  In 1563, Byrd was appointed the organist and master of choristers at the historic Lincoln Cathedral.  Composing was one of his main responsibilities, and a number of compositions from that period have survived.  Since the reign of Henry VIII, the Church of England had been separated from Rome, but Catholicism was still quite strong and tolerated.  Byrd, who was probably raised Protestant, eventually converted to Catholicism, and it’s likely that the years at Lincoln were those of transition.  Catholic music of the period was much more complex than the music of the Protestant churches, where a simple melody and clarity of diction were valued more than elaborate polyphony.  At some point Byrd was even reprimanded by the Cathedral’s Dean for writing “papist” kind of music.  But he also complied with the requirements of the Anglican service, as this wonderful example demonstrates: Magnificat, from his Short Service, is simple and clear (Truro Cathedral Choir is conducted by Andrew Nethsingha).  Lincoln was also the place where Byrd composed his first pieces for the virginal (a small harpsichord), thus becoming one of the first composers of what would be known as the English “Virginalist” school (Orlando Gibbons, John Bull and Thomas Morley are among it’s more illustrious representatives).


In 1572 Byrd was made a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, a prestigious position through which he gained many powerful patrons among the courtiers of Queen Elisabeth, such as the Earl of Oxford and Lord Paget, the Earl of Worcester.  The Queen herself was Byrd’s major benefactor.  When she granted Byrd and Tallis a patent to publish music, their first issue, Cantiones, consisting of 34 multi-voice motets, was dedicated to the Queen.  Here’s Byrd’s Motet for 6 voices, O lux beata Trinitas.  It’s performed by the British Ensemble The Cardinall’s Musick, Andrew Carwood conducting.  The years after 1575 were rather difficult for Byrd, as England became much less intolerant toward Catholics.  Byrd was never directly prosecuted but at some point was suspended from the Chapel Royal.  Byrd could no longer compose openly Catholic music; the most he could allow himself were motets, a form much more accepted in the Catholic service than the Anglican one.  Byrd also continued to publish; his partner Tallis died in 1585, leaving Byrd the sole proprietor of the publishing company.  Their earlier efforts weren’t commercially successful, but in the 1580s, Byrd, the monopolist, created a flourishing company.  He also continued to compose, and here’s a Pavane from that period; Colin Tilney is at the harpsichord.


Byrd was to live another 40 productive years (he died on July 4th of 1623), and we’ll write about them later.  Here is a short Agnus Dei from his Mass for Four Voices written in the later period of Byrd’s life.  Simon Preston leads the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.


January 11, 2016.  Pierre Boulez.   This week we’d like to celebrate the life of Pierre Boulez, composer, conductor, educator, organizer, writer, and an all around remarkable person, who died on January 5th at the age of 90.  Boulez was born on March 26th, 1925 in Montbrison, in central Pierre BoulezFrance.  In his youth his interests were split between the piano and mathematics.  Upon leaving Catholic school in 1941 he spent a year in Lyon studying higher math.  In 1942 he moved to Paris.  Pierre’s father wanted him to attend the Ecole Polytechnique, but instead he went to theParis Conservatory where he studied harmony with Olivier Messiaen.  The Paris Conservatory was a very conservative place in those days.   Even Messiaen, himself a modern composer of huge talent, didn’t teach Mahler and Bruckner.  Later on, Boulez would mention in an interview that at that time in his mind “there were two twins: Mahler, Bruckner.”  In the same interview he said that “German music stopped at Wagner,” so the Second Viennese School wasn’t taught at all.  Boulez learned about atonal music from René Leibowitz, a student of Arnold Schoenberg.  He had already felt the need to expand his music language and immediately adopted the new techniques.  A year later, in 1945, the young Boulez wrote his first atonal piece of music, a set of twelve Notations for piano.  He also wrote two piano sonatas, the second one, large in scale, published in 1950.  His music was performed by the pianists Yvette Grimaud and Yvonne Loriod (at that time, Messiaen’s wife), but it was the circulation of the scores among musicians that brought Boulez fame among avant-garde musicians.  In 1952 Loriod performed the sonata in Darmstadt to great acclaim.  Thus started Boulez’s association with a group of tremendously talented and adventuresome composers and theoreticians that became known as the Darmstadt School.   Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music were held from the early 1950s to 1970.  Every other year young musicians gathered in the city to present and discuss their music.  Formal courses were taught both in composition and interpretation.  Even the abridged list of the attendees looks very impressive: in addition to Boulez, there was Bruno Maderna, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, György Ligeti, John Cage – composers who shaped the music of the second half of the 20th century.  Philosophers and critics such as Theodor Adorno, presented their ideas.   It was around that time that Boulez came up with his famous aphorism: “Any musician who has not felt … the necessity of the dodecaphonic language is OF NO USE.”  In 1952 he wrote a seminal piece, “Le Marteau sans maître” (The hammer without a master) for voice and six instruments.  Still difficult, even after half a century of music development, it could be heard here.  Pierre Boulez conducts a small ensemble consisting of the flute, the guitar and several percussion instruments.  Jeanne Deroubaix is the contralto.  The period between 1950s and 1970s was the most productive for Boulez as a composer.  In the following years he continued to write but dedicated much time to reworking some of the compositions of the earlier period.


In 1970 President Georges Pompidou, bound to create a cultural legacy, asked Boulez, who was spending most of his time outside of France, to create an institute dedicated to research in music.  The result was the IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique, or Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic/Music).  It was set in a building next to the Center Pompidou.  With the addition two years later of the Ensemble InterContemporain, IRCAM became a major research and performing center for avant-garde music. 


Boulez started conducting in 1957.  First it was mostly his own music and that of his young colleagues, but eventually he expanded his repertoire to Stravinsky, Debussy, Webern and Messiaen.  In the late 50’s he became the guest conductor of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra and took residence in Baden-Baden, to a large extent in protest to the conservativism of the French musical culture (that was before the IRCAM).  A big break came in1971 when he was, rather unexpectedly, hired by the New York Philharmonic.  During the following years he conducted every major orchestra, expanding his repertoire to include most of the classics (though he never conducted either Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich).  Boulez became one of the greatest interpreters of Mahler.  Here’s his tremendous interpretation of the 4th movement (Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend) of Mahler’s Symphony no. 9 with the Chicago Symphony at its best.


January 6, 2016.  Pierre Boulez, the great French composer and conductor, died last night in Baden-Baden, Germany.  He was 90.  Boulez burst on the European music scene in the aftermath of WWII as one of the leading composers of the Darmstadt School.  In 1970 he founded IRCAM and in 1976, Ensemble InterContemporain.  He started conducting in the 1960s and in 1971 was made the music director of the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London.  Later he lead the Chicago Symphony and worked with the Concertgebouw and the Berlin Philharmonic.  Even though his own musical sensibilities were very different, he became one of the greatest interpreters of the music of Mahler.  Boulez wrote and talked about music more intelligently than most of the professional critics.  We mourn the passing of this extraordinary figure.

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