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P. Kellach Waddle
SONG CYCLE: Neither Have Been Found
CYCLE written 1985-94 -- Live video of premiere ---Texts of FINAL...
P. Kellach Waddle
SONG CYCLE: Neither Have Been Found
CYCLE written 1985-94 -- Video of premiere ---Texts of SECOND T...
P Kellach Waddle
SONG CYCLE: Neither Have Been Found
CYCLE written 1985-94 -- Live video of premiere ---Texts of FIRST ...
Ludwig van Beethoven
Trio No. 5 in D Major “Ghost” f
Composed in 1808 and premiered in Vienna by the composer, violinist ...
Edvard Grieg
Andante con moto in C minor, EG 116
The Andante con moto was written in 1878. Grieg intended it to beco...
Aram Khachaturian
Toccata
Perhaps the most popular composition by an Armenian composer, the To...
Johannes Brahms
Variations and Fugue on a Theme by
Known as a champion of traditional forms and pure music, it was the ...
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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

Announcement: Music for Passiontide

03/29/2015 18:00, St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh

Brahms 'Requiem'
in the original piano duet version, with
Carine Tinney Soprano
Hugh Hillyard-Parker Bass
St Giles’ Cathedral Choir

St Giles’ Cathedral High Street Edinburgh EH1 1RE info@stgilescathedral.org.uk


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


March 23, 2015.  Pierre Boulez.  On March 26th we’ll celebrate the 90th birthday of Pierre Boulez, one of the most distinguished musical figures of the 20th century, a composer, conductor, writer, music entrepreneur and organizer, lecturer, professor – in short, a veritable one-man cultural phenomenon.  It’s difficult to overestimate his influence on the development of Pierre Boulezclassical music during the last 70 years.  Boulez was born in 1925 in a small town of Montbrison in central France.  As a boy he was equally interested in music and mathematics.  He took courses in higher math in Lyon (his father, an industrialist, wanted Pierre to become an engineer) but a year later moved to the German-occupied Paris and, instead of going to Ecole Polytechnique, entered the Conservatory.  His teacher in the harmony class was Olivier Messiaen, who helped Boulez to discover the new world of 12-tone music.  Boulez’s first compositions, like Douze notations, which he wrote at the age of 20, were very much in the style of Anton Webern, though in the following years he developed a distinct, personal style.  Boulez’s large Second piano sonata (1948) made him known internationally; one of the champions of Boulez’s music was the pianist Yvonne Loriod, the second wife of Messiaen; she premiered the Second Sonata in Darmstadt, Germany.  After the war, the New Music Summer School in Darmstadt was a major center for innovative music.  Boulez taught there, and that’s where he met his peers: Luciano Berio, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, György Ligeti and many other leading modernists.  With all this talent, Darmstadt served as an incubator for a new music style.  Some of the ideas that influenced this style were not esthetic but rather ideological; in the aftermath of the war, young composers abhorred all “romantic,” nationalist aspects of music that could be co-opted by the state, as the Nazis did with Wagner and Beethoven.  Instead, they developed a non-ideological, detached but not un-emotional, method called serialism, which expanded on the twelve-tone system created by Schoenberg and his pupils in Vienna some decades earlier.  A major serialist work by Boulez was Structures, Book I, written in 1952.  In 1961 he rewrote some of the material of the composition, creating Book II.  Another idea that could be traced to Darmstadt of the early 1950s was aleatoric, or chance music.  Boulez wrote several aleatoric pieces in the 60s and the 70s, one of them – Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna composed in memory of his friend, the Italian composer Bruno Maderna, also a regular visitor to Darmstadt, who died there at the age of 53 while rehearsing his opera, Satyricon.

In 1970, uponsuggestion by George Pompidou, the President of France, Boulez created IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), a major institution dedicated to research in electro-acoustical and modern music. Later, Boulez founded Ensemble InterContemporain, which is associated with IRCAM.  The ensemble is a foremost advocate of modernist music.

Boulez started conducting in the late 1950s.  Even though he never had formal training, he developed into one of the major conductors of the late-20th century.  He served as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, the chief conductor of the BBC Symphony, the Principal Guest Conductor of the Chicago Symphony; he conducted all major orchestras of Europe and the US.  He’s especially well known for his interpretation of modernist composers; at the same time, he’s one of the foremost Mahlerians of our days.  He also conducted practically all of Wagner’s operas at Bayreuth, both of Berg’s operas – Wozzeck was one of his early triumphs, and Lulu, and many other operas.

Boulez’s music is often difficult, so we’ll confine ourselves to just two pieces, one for the piano, another – orchestral.  Here’s Multiple (1965) from Boulez’s “project” Eclat/Multiple (he revised the original pieces several times).  The composer conducts Ensemble InterContemporain.  And here’s Chapter I of Book II of Structures.  Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Florent Boffard are playing two pianos.

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March 20, 2015.  Today is 100th anniversary of Sviatoslav Richter, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century.


March 16, 2015.  Bach and Mussorgsky.  Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21st of 1685 in Eisenach.  We’ve writtenabout him so many times (last year, for example) that this time we’ll just go ahead with his music and write a bit about some other composers that were also born this week but are often overshadowed by the German master.  So here’s Part II of The St. John Passion.  Bach wrote it during his first years in Leipzig, where, in 1723, he was appointed the Thomaskantor.  It was first performed on April 7th of the following year, during the Good Friday Vespers, at the St. Nicholas Church.  In this recording theperformers are: Concentus Musicus Wien, the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting.

Modest Mussorgsky, a composer of tremendous but only partly fulfilled talent, was born on March 21st of 1839.  Mussorgsky was born in the village of Karevo in the Northwestern Pskov region of Russia.  He belonged to an old, noble and quite wealthy family.  He started piano lessons with his mother at the age of six.  When he was ten, he and his brother were sent to St.-Petersburg to study at a German-language Modest Mussorgsky (Ilya Repin, 1881)school where he was able to continue his piano lessons.  At the age of 12 he published (with his father’s help) his first composition.  A year later he entered the Cadet School in order to continue the family’s military tradition.  The discipline at the school was lax, carousing encouraged, and that’s, apparently, where his drinking problems began.  Upon graduating, he joined the elite Preobrazhensky regiment.  He soon met Alexander Borodin, then a young military doctor and a budding composer, and Alexander Dargomyzhsky, who is practically forgotten outside of Russia but back then was considered the most important composer since Mikhail Glinka.  Dargomyzhsky introduced Mussorgsky to Balakirev and Cui, the future members of the “Mighty Five.”   Soon after Mussorgsky quit the military and devoted himself to music fulltime.  The several following years were not very productive: he wrote some piano music, an incidental music to a play; he started working on Salammbô, an opera after Flaubert’s novel, but never finished it.  In 1865, at the age of 26, he had his first real bout with alcoholism, but got out of it intact.  One year later he finished the tone poem Night on Bald Mountain (Balakirev didn’t like it and it was never performed during Mussorgsky’s lifetime).  He started working on an opera based on a story by Gogol, The Marriage, but soon abandoned that as well.  Then, in 1868, an acquaintance, one Professor Nikolsky, an authority on Pushkin, suggested that Mussorgsky writes an opera based on Boris Godunov, Pushkin’s blank-verse play.  Mussorgsky responded with great enthusiasm: he wrote a libretto based on Pushkin’s play and available historical documents and completed the first version of what turned out to be a large opera in less than a year.  The opera, though, was rejected by major theaters, mostly because it lacked a leading female role.  Undeterred, Mussorgsky went on to create a revised and expanded version.  This version was accepted, and in 1872 parts of it were staged at the famed Mariinsky Theater in 1873.  A year later the complete opera was staged at the same theater.  Even though the public seemed to have liked it, it was poorly received by the critics and closed after just several performances.  Some years later it was taken out of the repertory completely.  In the meantime, Mussorgsy started working on Khovanshchina, a second large-scale opera project.   The opera, which, as so many of his projects, was never completed, was also based on an episode from Russian history, a rebellion of the Old Believers and the Streltsy guard against Peter the Great.  Around that time Mussorgsky’s descent into alcoholism started for real.  For a while he continued to compose: his famous piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition, was written in 1874, but eventually his productive output practically came to a halt.  There were periods of sobriety, during which he could write – his tremendous Songs and Dances of Death were written during one such period, and he sporadically continued to work on the Khovanshchina and another opera, The Fair at Sorochintsy.  Neither of them were ever completed, Mussorgsky’s descend being inexorable.  He lost his job and lived off his friends’ charity.  Several days before his death, when Mussorgsky was already in a hospital, Ilya Repin painted the famous portrait, above.  Mussorgsky died one week after his 42nd birthday, on March 27th of 1881.  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a close friend, was one of the composers who worked on the scores left after Mussorgsky’s death.  Rimsky-Korsakov’s birthday is also this week: he was born on March 18th of 1844.  We’ll write about him another time.

Here, in a scene from Boris Godunov worthy of the best of Verdi, we’ll hear the great Russian tenor Ivan Kozlovsky singing the role of yurodivy (the holy fool) who is accusing the Tsar of murdering a child, Tzarevich Dmitry.  Alexander Pirogov is Tzar Boris.  Nikolay Golovanov leads the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater.  The recording was made in 1948.

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March 9, 2015.  Mysliveček and Telemann.  We’ve never written about Josef Mysliveček, even though this friend of Mozart’s was one of the most famous composers of his time.  Mysliveček was born in Prague on March 9th, 1737, and the Czechs consider him their Josef Myslivečeknational composer, even though he wrote in the Italianate style and spent most of his adult life in Italy.  Mysliveček was born into a wealthy miller’s family.  As a youngster he took music lessons in Prague but left for Venice in 1763 to study opera composition technique.  Two years later he wrote his first opera, Semiramide, which was staged in Bergamo.  In 1767 he wrote another opera, Il Bellerofonte, his most successful composition.  It was staged in Naples in Teatro San Carlo, at that time a preeminent opera theater in Italy, to great acclaim.  He moved from one Italian city to another, staging operas in major theaters.  In 1768 Mysliveček made a brief but triumphant visit to Prague.  In 1771 he was admitted to the prestigious Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna.  One year later he traveled to Vienna, hoping to establish himself there, but it didn’t work out.  He returned to Italy, the country where he was quite famous.  Unfortunately, that didn’t last: in 1780 he staged two of his operas, Armida at La Scala in Milan, and Medonte in Rome, and both failed miserably.  His reputation never recovered, and he died in poverty in Rome a year later, on February 4th of 1781.  He was just 43 years old. 

Mysliveček met Leopold Mozart and his fourteen year-old son Wolfgang in Bologna in 1770.  He became good friends with both (Mysliveček’s name is often mentioned in the correspondence between the father and the son).  It all came to an end when Mysliveček failed to deliver on his promise to arrange a commission for Wolfgang at the Teatro San Carlo for the Carnival season of 1779.   Mysliveček, who wrote not just operas but also symphonies and concertos, had a significant influence on Mozart, who admired Mysliveček’s overtures (symphonies), and apparently used some of Mysliveček’s ideas in his own compositions.  Mozart’s concert aria Ridente la calma is based on a substitute aria from Mysliveček’s opera Armida.  Here’s his Violin concerto in A Major, performed by Shizuka Ishikawa, with the Dvořák Chamber Orchestra.

Georg Philipp TelemannIf Mysliveček was a friend of Mozarts, Georg Philipp Telemann, who also has his anniversary this week, was a good friend of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Telemann was born on March 14th of 1681 in Magdeburg.  Even though very gifted, he never formally studied music.  He learned to play several instruments but did it on his own.  In 1701 he went to Leipzig to study law but soon dropped out to pursue music professionally.  He eventually established himself in the city’s musical circles; his compositions were regularly performed in the main churches, Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche.  In 1707 he went to Eisenach and entered the service of the Duke.  It’s there that he probably met Johann Sebastian Bach for the first time.  Seven years later he became the godfather to Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel.

In the 18th century Telemann was considered a very important composer.  His fame waned a century later, and it was not till the second half of the 20th that it was somewhat revived.  Telemann did write too much, and many of his pieces were not of the highest quality, but some compositions are extremely good.   Here’s Telemann’s Christmas Cantata 1761 (he composed several, this one was written for the Hamburg Christmas season of 1761).  It’s performed by the Telemann-Kammerorchester Michaelstein, the chorus and soloists; Ludger Rémy conducting.

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March 2, 2015.  Plentiful week.  This is one of those weeks when we feel somewhat overwhelmed: Bedřich Smetana, Antonio Vivaldi, Maurice Ravel, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Carlo Gesualdo were all born this week.  Plus, Frédéric Chopin’s birthday was yesterday, March 1st.  We have about 400 recordings of Chopin’s works, so it’s almost impossible to pick just one.  Here’s the recording of Chopin’s Ballade no. 4 in f minor, Op. 52 that our listeners seem like.  It’s performed live, by the still young Russian-American pianist Elena Baksht.

Carlo GesualdoThe lives of these composers span four centuries; we’ve written about all five of them in the past, so we’ll just play some of their music.  Carlo Gesualdo, the Prince of Venosa, a late Renaissance composer, lutenist and murderer (he famously stabbed his wife and her lover after discovering them in bed), was born on March 8th of 1560.  He wrote a large number of madrigals, many of which display amazing chromatic modulations that are centuries ahead of their time.  Here’s an example, Omnes amici mei dereliquerunt me (All my friends abandoned me), a section from his Tenebrae Responsoria on the text from the Passion.

Antonio Vivaldi was born on March 4th of 1678, more than 100 years later.  If Gesualdo belonged to the late Renaissance period, Vivaldi is the epitome of the late Baroque.  Vivaldi is so popular these days that it’s hard to imagine that up till the 1930s he was practically unknown.  It took the diligent work of Olga Rudge, the violinist more known as the lover of Ezra Pound, and Pound himself, working under the auspices of the Mussolini regime, to uncover hundreds of Vivaldi’s manuscripts.  Vivaldi wrote hundreds of violin concertos.  Here’s his Concerto for Four Violinsin B minor RV 580.  It’s performed by the ensemble I Solisti Italiani.  Johann Sebastian Bach liked it so much that he arranged it for four clavichords.  We know it as Bach’s Concerto BWV1065.

One year ago we celebrated the tricentennial of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who was born on March 8th of 1714 in Weimar, the fifth child of Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara Bach, Johann Sebastian’s first wife.  Three of his older siblings died in infancy, so he became the second-oldest surviving son.  A major figure of the transitional period between the Baroque and what became known as the “Classical” period, he was influenced by the music of his father, his godfather Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frideric Handel.  He wrote a number of symphonies, and many works for the keyboard, both concertos and sonatas.  Here’s CPE Bach’s Symphony in E minor, Wq. 178, written in Berlin in 1756, the year Mozart was born.  It’s performed by the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin.

Bedřich Smetana was born on March 2nd of 1824.  Considered the father of Czech music, he was one of the first “nationalist” composers with aspirations and sensibilities shared by the Russian “Mighty Five” and his younger countryman Antonin DvořákHere’s one of Smetana’s  most popular works, Vltava, from his set of symphonic poems Má vlast.

And lastly, chronologically but certainly not in terms of either talent or popularity, Maurice Ravel, who was born on March 7th of 1875.  Here’s his Alborada del Cracioso, from Mirroirs. It’s performed by the Italian pianist Igor Cognolato.

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February 23, 2015.  Handel.  George Frideric Handel was born on this day in 1685, in Halle.  Having spent most of his life in London, he’s considered a British composer, and is famous in our time for his oratorio Messiah, Water Music and other pieces that he wrote for the royalty, as well as his organ concertos.  During his lifetime, though, he was at George Frideric Handelleast as famous for his Italian operas.  Handel wrote 42 operas altogether.  Not just a composer, but also a great manager, he established three opera companies to perform them.  One of these companies found a space at the Covent Garden Theater, which till then was a playhouse.  Now, of course, it’s Britain’s Royal Opera house.  Handel learned the art and craft of the Italian opera mostly while he stayed in the country.  He was 21 when he moved from Germany to Italy, first to Florence and shortly after to Rome.  By then he had already written at least two operas, Almira and Nero.  Very quickly Handel found several patrons, among them the same cardinals Colonna, Pamphili, and Ottoboni who also played important roles in the lives of many other composers, such as Francesco Cavalli, Alessandro Scarlatti and Arcangelo Corelli.  Handel wrote music for the cardinals’ private orchestras and performed with their musicians.  Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili was a noted librettist, and Handel used one of the cardinal’s works to write an oratorio, Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (The Triumph of Time and Truth).  In the city of Rome the performance of operas was banned by a papal decree; to circumvent the prohibition, composers wrote oratorios, many of which are operas in all but the name.  Il trionfo was one of them.  The aria Lascia la spina (Leave the thorn) became famous.  Four years later Handel rewrote it into an even more famous aria Lascia ch'io pianga (Leave me to weep) for his opera Rinaldo.  Here it is, wonderfully sung by Cecilia Bartoli; Christopher Hogwood conducts the Academy of Ancient Music.  In 1707 Handel wrote his first fully Italian opera, Rodrigo. By the early 18th century, opera was a highly developed art, even though it was “invented” just 100 years earlier.  Claudio Monteverdi can be considered the father of Italian opera, but many highly talented composers followed, Francesco Cavalli and Alessandro Scarlatti being among more significant practitioners of the genre.  Opera became very popular all over the country: by the end of the 17th century, Venice, with the population of about 140,000, had 7 opera houses.  Of course most of them were small and they employed tiny orchestras but the number is still very impressive. 

In 1709 Handel wrote his second Italian opera, Agrippina; it was premiered in Venice, in Teatro San Giovanni, and was a great success.  The opera was revived late in the 20th century, and it has since been staged in major opera houses.  The success of Agrippina made Handel famous all over Europe.  That eventually brought him to London, with Queen Anne providing him with a stipend.  Rinaldo was written in 1711, his first opera for the English stage.  Another 34 followed, all premiered in London.  Even though most of them were soon forgotten, several remained popular, and many more we resurrected with the revival of the Baroque opera and the ascent of the period instruments in the second half of the 20th century.  Giulio Cesare is one of the operas that was staged regularly, and so is Orlando.  Here’s the aria Se Pieta, from Giulio Cesare, sung by the French soprano Sandrine Piau with the ensemble Les Talens Lyriques under the baton of Christophe Rousset.  And here’s the aria Vaghe pupille from Orlando. Written for a castrato, it’s sung by the Serbian contralto Marijana Mijanovic.

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