Thursday, December 31, 2009

András Schiff: Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas and Lectures

"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years." - William F. Buckley, Jr

Life is even better when you can get access to hundreds of different interpretations of Beethoven sonatas through Spotify:)

Schiff's complete piano sonatas on ECM, together with Paul Lewis's magnificent set on Harmonia Mundi (which is sadly not available on Spotify at this moment), are among the very best Beethoven recordings I've ever heard. Temperamentally Schiff is close to Edwin Fischer, who made the first, and still my favourite complete recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, and Lewis more close to, of course, his mentor Alfred Brendel, whose fourth(!) complete Beethoven piano sonatas on Philips in the late 90s is perhap the best stereo set. The sound quality of Schiff and Lewis' sets is admirable.

Here's the playlist, to be more precisely, the search result for Schiff's set on Spotify:

Here's Schiff's 32 lectures on the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas, available on the Guardian:,,1943867,00.html

Happy listening:)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Place To Get Started: Naxos Educational

"Naxos sees it as its mission to promote the appreciation and understanding of classical music and has produced a wide range of educational texts and recordings.
There are the lives and works of the great composers; analyses of the most important works of classical music; introductions to all the most popular operas; A-Z of Classical Music and A-Z of Opera; an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra; and many others." -

The Naxos Educational series offers a very informative and enjoyable listening experience for both the new comers to classical music and veteran concert goers.

Here's the playlist: Naxos Educational: An Index (81 tracks from 81 albums). One track off every album, so that the list won't get too long. You can click the album title in the list to access any of the full album. In the A To Z of  Pianists, You can hear the pianist who had heard Chopin himself play and played with Liszt, the French master Francis Planté who was born in 1839, playing piano, not on a roll! The Classic Explained and Life And Works series by Jeremy Siepmann(official site, his Spotify catalog) are surprisingly charming, you got to hear him sing the opening of the Pastoral Symphony.

Happy listening.

How to get a Spotify account without an invite

Spotify is the best online music streaming service today, it's legal, fast, high quality, and its classical catalog is huge. It's available freely for residents of the UK and some other European countries, if you live outside those areas, here's how to get it.

I strongly recommend you to buy a premium after you get the free account, to support Spotify and the artists, get higher quality, and get rid of those advertisements that tell you there's a new Snoop Dogg album coming out in between your favourite Schumann's Fantasy in C's first two movements:)

Happy listening, and I will share the Spotify links to some of my favourite classical recordings as well as discoveries of exciting new contemporary music in this blog. Your suggestions, recommendations and any comment are much appreciated.

Update: Check out the comments below for invite codes.

Update 2: New way to get invite codes. (Tested and working fine @ 2010 Feb.20th) Get a code from here and follow the steps at here if you live in a unspotified conutry.