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Johannes Brahms
Piano Trio in C Major, Op. 87
During the summer of 1880, when Brahms was composing both the Academ...
Franz Schubert
Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 664
Known as the “Little A major Sonata” to differentiate it from it...
Robert Schumann
Fantasy Pieces Op. 73
Originally intended for the clarinet, Schumann's Fantasiestücke, op...
Johannes Brahms
Sonata for cello and piano in F Maj
Brahms composed his second sonata for the cello during his stay at H...
Claude Debussy
Sonata for Violin and Piano
In his later years, Claude Debussy planned a series of six chamber s...
Claude Debussy
Three Art Songs (transcribed for fl
i. Nuit d'etoiles, ii. Beau Soir, iii. Mandolinetranscribed by Peter...
Manuel de Falla
Fantasía Bética
Fantasia Baetica Fantasia Baetica was composed in 1919, and it ma...


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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

October 5, 2015.  Heinrich Schütz.  Giuseppe Verdi and Camille Saint-Saëns were born this week: Verdi on October 9th of 1813, and Saint-Saëns on the same day but in 1835.  We’ve written about both of them a number of times.  There’s another composer whose anniversary is also celebrated this week, and though he’s very Heinrich Schützimportant in the history of music, we’ve never had a chance to write about him.  The composer’s name is Heinrich Schutz, and he’s one of the most important German Renaissance predecessors of Johann Sebastian Bach.   Schütz was born 100 years before Bach, on October 8th of 1585 in Bad Köstritz, Thuringia.  When Heinrich was five, his family moved to Weißenfels, where his father inherited an inn and became a burgomaster.   Heinrich demonstrated musical talent from a very early age.  In 1598, Maurice, the landgrave of Hesse-Kasse, a tiny principality then part of the Holy Roman Empire, stayed overnight in the family inn and heard Heinrich sing.   Maurice, who was himself a musician and composer, was so impressed that he invited Heinrich to his court to study music and further his education (while at the court, Heinrich learned several languages, including Latin, Greek and French).   Heinrich sung as a choir boy till his voice broke and then went to study law at Marburg.  In 1609 he went to Venice to study music with Giovanni Gabrieli.  Even though Gabrieli was 28 years older than Schütz, they became close (Gabrieli left him one of his rings when he died).  The master died in 1612 and Schütz returned to Kassel.  In 1614 the Elector of Saxony asked Schütz to come to Dresden.  The famous Michael Praetorius was nominally in charge of music-making at the court but he had other responsibilities, so the elector was interested in Schütz’s service.  Schütz moved to Dresden permanently in 1615.  In 1619 he received the title of Hofkapellmeister.  Soon after he published his first major work, Psalmen Davids (Psalms of David), a collection of 26 settings of psalms influenced, as one can hear, by Gabrieli.   Here’s Psalm 128, “Wohl dem, der den Herren fürchte.  Cantus Cölln and Concerto Palatino are conducted by Konrad Junghänel.


Schütz lived in Dresden for the rest of his life, making periodic extended trips: in 1628 he went to Venice where he met Claudio Monteverdi who became a big influence.  He also made several trips to Copenhagen, composing for the royal court.  Schütz lived a long life: he died on November 6th of 1672 at the age of 87.  Schütz composed mostly sacred choral music, although in 1627 he wrote what is considered the first German opera, Dafne.  Unfortunately, even though the libretto survived, the score was lost many years ago.  In 1636 Schütz wrote music for the funeral service of Count Henry II of Reuss-Gera called Musikalische Exequien.  Here’s the last section, Canticum.  English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir are conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.


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

September 28, 2015. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, part I.  (Note: we illustrate the concertos with live performances by the Orchestra Mozart of Bologna, Claudio Abbado conducting.)


Johann Sebastian BachThough today there are perennial favorites with audiences and performers alike and ranked among the finest examples of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music, the six Brandenburg Concertos were perhaps the most elaborate failed job application in the history of music. In late March 1721, Bach sent a carefully prepared manuscript of the Concertos to the Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg, with the following dedication recounting their origin:

Since I had a few years ago, the good luck of being heard by Your Royal Highness, by virtue of his command, & that I observed then, that He took some pleasure in the small talents that Heaven gave me for Music, & that in taking leave of Your Royal Highness, He wished to make me the honor of ordering to send Him some pieces of my Composition: I therefore according to his very gracious orders, took the liberty of giving my very-humble respects to Your Royal Highness, by the present Concertos, which I have arranged for several Instruments; praying Him very-humbly to not want to judge their imperfection, according to the severity of fine and delicate taste, that everyone knows that He has for musical pieces …


The trip Bach refers to is mostly like his visit in 1719 to Berlin, where he tested and accompanied home a newly constructed harpsichord for his employer, Prince Christian Leopold of Cöthen. Regardless, Bach presumably played for the Margrave. Apparently pleased with the performance, the Margrave then requested of Bach a score to add to his library.


Bach seemingly enjoyed his job in Cöthen. Prince Leopold was himself and an avid musician and maintained his own private ensemble. He was also a Calvinist, which freed Bach from the necessity of composing sacred music. Yet, for whatever reason, Bach began to look elsewhere for employment, and saw the music requested by the Margrave as an opportunity. The dedication further read:

I very humbly beg Your Royal Highness, to have the goodness to maintain his kind favour toward me, and to be persuaded that I have nothing more at heart, than to be able to be employed in some opportunities more worthy of Him and of his service …


Thus, Bach presented the Concertos as not only the scores the Margrave desired to add to his library, but as an impressive musical resume.


The immediate fate, however, of the Brandenburg Concertos is unknown. The Margrave certainly did not hire Bach, as Bach later went on to serve as Cantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig. It is generally thought that the Margrave did not even bother to acknowledge their receipt, much less to bestow on Bach any kind of reward. Nor, is it believed that he even had them performed. Though, both of these assertions rest on little more than speculation and the pervasive lack of documentation during that era. However, the Margrave most likely did lack the instrumental forces to perform the works (the Sixth would have been within the closest reach of his meager in-house ensemble), as King Frederick William of Prussia was not a large patron of the arts. Regardless, after the Margrave’s death, Bach’s manuscript ultimately was lumped together with a large collection of scores from his library, and were assigned the nominal value of four groschen apiece (roughly $4) in order to divide the estate equally among his heirs.


Like so much of Bach’s music, the Brandenburg Concertos (with the sole exception of the Fifth) fell into obscurity, and were not rediscovered until generations later. They first appeared in print in 1850 to mark the centenary of Bach’s death, and then later gained wider attention when they reappeared in 1868 as part of the Bach Gesellschaft editions. Yet, even with the growing interest in Bach's music spearheaded by Felix Mendelssohn, and the burgeoning field of musicology and the more general enthusiasm for early music during the mid to late 19th century, the Concertos still did not gain wide popularity until the following century. Today, however, they are praised by audiences and scholars alike. It is difficult to escape their remarkable charm, and their impeccable craftsmanship and immense complexity, combined with just the right amount of ambiguity, will forever provide food for scholarly debate.  (Continue reading here)


September 21, 2015.  Shostakovich and Rameau.  Several composes were born this week, among them the English composer Gustav Holst, the Polish Andrzej Panufnik and the ever-popular George Gershwin.  We owe it to the devotees of English music to dedicate an entDmitry Shostakovichry to Holst, as we’ve never done so before, but this time we’ll write about Dmitry Shostakovich instead, who was born on September 25th of 1906, and Jean-Philippe Rameau, born on the same day in 1683.  We acknowledge the tremendous talent of Shostakovich, even if we do have problems with his politics and esthetics.  We’re not going to analyze the reasons why the music of Shostakovich became so much a part of musical Social Realism: whether he did it out of fear, as a way to adapt and survive or whether he had a sincere and natural affinity for the musical tastes of the era.  (Testimony by Solomon Volkov might be one place to go for a comprehensive, if somewhat one-sided, discussion).  Suffice it to say that some of his music is difficult to listen to, so blatantly “communist” it sounds (just try his Festive Overture, the essential music of any Soviet parade).  Many of his symphonies suffer from the same; on the other hand, much of his chamber music is quite “apolitical,” his great quartets being in that category.  Shostakovich wrote quartets most of his creative life.  His String Quartet no. 1 was composed in 1938, when Shostakovich was 32. It was written during a difficult and turbulent time: on the one hand, it followed the triumphal premier of his Symphony no. 5, on the other, Shostakovich felt compelled to withdraw his Fourth symphony after the criticism of the Lady Makbeth of Mtsensk; also, his patron, Marshall Tukhachevsky, had recently been arrested on trumped-up charges and shot.  The Quartet no. 1 (here) has none of the bombast of the 5th Symphony; it’s a contemplative work, which Shostakovich himself said visualizes childhood scenes.  His last quartet, no. 15, was completed in May of 1974, a year before his death.  We’ll hear Quartet no. 8 from 1960.  It starts with Shostakovich’s musical signature, DSCH: D, Es, C, H in German musical notation, or D, E flat, C, B natural in commonly accepted American notation.  The Quartet, which runs for about 30 minutes, consists of five movements.  In each of them Shostakovich quotes from his other compositions, from the Cello concerto no. 1 to Lady Makbeth.  It’s performed, here by the Emerson Quartet.


Here’s what we wrote about Rameau a couple years ago: Jean-Philippe Rameau was born on September 25th, 1683, when Louis XIV, the Sun King ruled France, but he didn’t come to age as a composer till the 1720s during the reign of Louis XV.  Rameau was approaching 50 when he wrote his first opera, but once he started, he wouldn’t write anything else.  He wrote more than 30, and in toto they represent a major development in music history of the 18th century.  His very first opera Hippolyte et Aricie, written in 1733, was premiered at the Palais-Royal, his second, Samson, had none other than Voltaire as the librettist.  (Unfortunately, it was never performed, even though it went into rehearsals, and its score has been lost).  The third opera, Les Indes galantes, was a big success.  A curious historical anecdote relates to this opera.  In 1725 the French settlers convinced several Indian chiefs, Agapit Chicagou among them, to go to Paris.  Many Indian chiefs decided to travel to France, but as they were about to board the ship, it sunk; after the accident, most of the chiefs returned home.  Apparently the ones who went had a good time in Paris and eventually were brought to Fontainebleau, were they met with the King.  The chiefs pledged allegiance to the French crown, and later performed ritual dances at the Theatre Italien.  Rameau was inspired by this event; the fourth act (entrées) of Les Indes galantes is called Les Sauvages and tells the story of a daughter of an Indian chief being pursued by a Spaniard and a Frenchmen.


Here’s the famous aria Tristes apprêts from Rameau’s 1737 opera Castor & Pollux.  The soprano is Agnès Mellon; William Christie leads the ensemble Les Arts Florissants.


September 14, 2015.  Recent birthdays and uploads.  From one of the recent uploads, here’s Robert Schumann’s Kinderszenen, op. 15 in a sensitive and intelligent performance by Tanya Gabrielian, live from the Dame Myra Hess concert in June of 2015.  Born in the United States in 1983, Ms. Gabrielian began playing the piano at the age of three and studied in the Preparatory Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  At the age of sixteen, she was admitted to Harvard University as a National Merit Scholar to study biomedical engineering.  Instead, she chose a career in music, and in 2000 moved to London, where she received a Master’s degrees from the Royal Academy of Music. Upon graduation, she also received “DipRAM,” the highest performing award of the Royal Academy of Music.  In 2009, Ms. Gabrielian moved to New York to enter the Juilliard School’s Artist Diploma program.  Tanya Gabrielian has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia, in venues including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Wigmore Hall in London. She has played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New London Sinfonia, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and other orchestras.  Ms. Gabrielian is also active in the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in programs featuring composers with mental illnesses.


Henry PurcellLast week we mentioned Henry Purcell, probably the greatest English-born composer of all time, who died tragically young at the zenith of his career, aged 36.  Purcell was born on September 10th, 1659.   Just to situate him historically: Corelli was born in 1653 and Alessandro Scarlatti – in 1660.  Purcell’s family was musical: both his father and uncle, an important figure in Henry’s life, were singers, and his younger brother Daniel, a composer (he finished Purcell’s opera Indian Queen after Henry’s untimely death).  The family lived next to Westminster Abbey, a slum during that time.  As a boy, Henry was a chorister in the Royal Chapel.  He’s said to have started composing at the age of nine.  He studied with two important composers, John Blow and Matthew Locke.  Upon Locke’s death in 1677 Purcell became the composer for the King’s violins, the so-called Four and Twenty Violins of Charles II, modeled after the famous 24 Violins of the French court.  Two years later, upon the resignation of John Blow, he became the organist at the Westminster Abbey.  Later he was appointed organist of the Chapel Royal.  During that period he was writing mostly sacred music but in 1688 he composed the opera Dido and Aeneas (before that Purcell had composed music for several plays, but Dido was a real sung opera).  Dido, while not the first one, is clearly the finest English baroque opera.  Here’s the aria “When I am laid in earth” from Dido sung by Jessye Norman.  Purcell continued to write incidental music to stage plays, songs and odes for the court.  In 1694 he wrote Te Deum and Jubilate Deo.  One of his last compositions (and the last court ode) was Who can from joy refrain, a brief "Birthday ode for the Duke of Gloucester" (here).  The soprano Julie Hassler is accompanied by the ensemble La Rêveuse.


September 10, 2015.  Announcement from Classical Connect.  Lately you may have noticed that Adobe Flash has fallen out of favor with many browsers.  Messages warning about security concerns or even outright bans prevent Flash-based systems from functioning properly.  To make matters worse, Apple has had issues with Flash for a long time and has not supported it on its devices.  The original Classical Connect Player was written using Flash: with so many built-in functions, we had no viable alternatives at the time.  Now with other options available, we’ve decided to rewrite the Player.  On September 9th, 2015 we switched to the new Player.  If you experience problems accessing the site or using the Player on this day or later, please reload the site or do a “hard reload”: ctrl-F5.


The good news is that now Classical Connect will play on practically all available devices, from Windows-based to Android to Apple, whether desktops, laptops, tablets or mobile phones.  So if you had tried the service and were disappointed that it didn’t work, please try again: you should now be able to access any of the approximately 7,000 recordings in our library on any device.


If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know.  Just send us an email to and we’ll get back to you.


In the mean time, please enjoy the great music and the wonderful musicians.


The Classical Connect team

September 7, 2015.  Chopin’s Nocturnes, part II.  On this holiday weekend we’ll skip several important anniversaries (Antonin Dvořák; one of our all-time favorites Henry Purcell; William Boyce, another wonderful English composer; and Arvo Pärt – we’ll write about them at another time) and turn to the nocturnes by Frédéric Chopin.   This is the second part of an article, which Frederic Chopinwe started on July 13th.  It is a testament to the changing musical tastes that we’ll have to compliment the performances by the young pianists from our library (Krystian Tkaczewski and Gabriel Escudero) with those of the masters (Pollini, Rubinstein, Richter, Barenboim, and Horowitz), borrowed from YouTube.  Not that long ago Chopin’s nocturnes were among the most often played pieces in all of the piano repertory.  Not that anybody today doubts that these are works of genius – they’re just not performed as often.  In some sense it’s even better, as they sound fresher that way. 


2 Nocturnes, op. 37

The two nocturnes published as op. 37 form a marvelous pair of contrasting major/minor key pieces. Published in 1840, they were also composed around that time. The latter of the two, that in G major, with its barcarolle rhythms, is believed to have been composed the previous year when Chopin accompanied George Sand to the island of Majorca. At one time, these two works were highly praised. Robert Schumann considered them the finest nocturnes Chopin composed describing them as “of that nobler kind under which poetic ideality gleams more transparently (than the earlier Nocturnes).” However, since the twentieth century, this praise has somewhat waned.


The first of the op. 37 nocturnes is in G minor (here). Its lugubrious melody is modestly ornamented and unfolds expressively over a chordal accompaniment in steady quarter notes. It is immediately restated, with some further ornamentation, but greatly intensified as the dynamic is raised from piano to forte, and even reaches fortissimo. Yet, Chopin reigns in the melody’s emotional outpouring with a softer dynamic at the start of its second strain, leaving it to carry on in hushed torment until its conclusion. From a closing cadence in the tonic key, Chopin modulates with ease into the key of E-flat major for the consoling middle portion. This entire episode takes on the character of a simple, pious choral, which some commentators interpret as an expression of Chopin’s faith in religion. With the exception of a few grace notes, the quarter note rhythm is undisturbed, carrying the music along with unshakeable surety. Indeed, there is an effortless serenity here in Chopin’s music. During its last measures, the chorale is broken up by pauses, and subtle changes in harmony lead to reestablishment of the key of G minor. The opening melody is then reprised and is virtually unchanged, albeit shortened, and its final measures are altered to bring about an effective close on the tonic major chord.  (Continue reading here).

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