Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr on Spotify

"Every year from May to July, the Ruhr Piano Festival – hailed by FonoForum magazine as “the most important piano festival in the world” – presents sixty to seventy concerts featuring outstanding artists from a host of different nations, thus offering a truly unique quantity and frequency of musical activities." continue reading the intro on the official site of Klavier-Festival Ruhr (the Ruhr Piano Festival).

And from the long version of the intro: "By preserving and releasing recordings of outstanding performances, our boxed CD sets in the Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr have brought the Festival added prestige and renown. Since 2005, the Ruhr Piano Festival has been treading new paths in its attempt to preserve valuable artistic performances for the future."

The result is simply astounding. Tired of seeing the 27th Mozart A major sonata released this year? Check out this series for piano four-hand version of The Magic Flute and Haydn's The Seasons! The repertoire ranges from John Dowland to Philip Glass, and features a dazzling series of new talents as well as world renowned pianists. Highly recommended to all piano music lovers.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Edition Klavier-Festival Ruhr (820 tracks, total time: 2 days). Recordings are arranged by release date, as listed on the label's site. Press Ctrl (CMD on Macs) + G to browse in album view.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

EMI British Composers Series on Spotify

From Presto Classical: "A series celebrating the numerous recordings of British composers which EMI have made over the years. From the very early recordings of Elgar conducting his own works, through a whole host of other composer-conductors to the more recent recordings of Nicholas Maw and Peter Maxwell Davies, this series celebrates all that is good about EMI's commitment to British music."

From EMI's official page: "Celebrating the past, shaping the future: British Composers looks back to Parry and Stanford, majors on Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and embraces Birtwistle, Davies, Goehr, Maw, Roxanna Panufnik and Turnage."

Here's the Spotify playlist: EMI: British Composers (67 albums, 1299 tracks, total time: 4 days) I put three compilations, English Anthems, Miniatures and String Music at the beginning, and arranged other discs alphabetically. Press Ctrl (CMD on Macs) + G to browse in album view. Also check out this UK Amazon page for more details and customer reviews.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chopin For Japan

20 great renditions of Chopin's e minor prelude, plus one more played by one Jack Nicholson.

Here's the Spotify playlist: Chopin E minor Prelude (20 tracks, total time: 41 minutes). Tracks are arranged in fast-slow sequence, so you may hear very different moods and characters in almost every two consecutive tracks. Also use this as an index of Chopin preludes recordings on Spotify. And do check out this Ted video of Benjamin Zander talks about music, passion and this prelude.

I dedicate this playlist to the Japanese people. You are, forgive me for quoting a scripture that bears no relation to most of you, the light of the world, and the salt of the earth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NPR 50 Great Voices on Spotify

The human voice is the most expressive instrument in the world, and the one with the most universal appeal. I've seen people who hates the sound of the violin or piano, but I guess everyone has a soft spot for a particular singer, or at least a loving grandparent or lifelong friend's voice. No you are not tone-deaf, otherwise, congratulations! You won't be able to tell the nagging of your wife from the tender moment when she said "I will".

On January 18th last year, NPR launched a series called 50 Great Voices. "Over the next year, we'll hear profiles of 50 singers who've made their mark internationally and across recorded history." And today this series is finally completed. Amazingly all 50 vocalists but one (Radmilla Cody) is available on Spotify. I collected them in one playlist. To round up 50, and to make up for the absent of East Asia in NPR's world map, I put in my favourite, and arguably the greatest Chinese pop singer Teresa Teng. Her core repertoire including Mandarin, Japanese and Southern Min songs. Since I don't think the western audience could understand the full meaning of Chinese songs without knowing the language, I put in a Japanese song. I don't know the meaning of the lyrics either, but though her voice I hear the perpetual longing for all the things that most of us mortals cease to dream of after we, supposedly, grow up.

Here's the Spotify playlist: NPR 50 Great Voices (50 tracks,total time: 3 hours) I tried to use the NPR picked tracks, if unavailable, then I put in the vocalist's most popular or representative song. Read more on NPR's series portal, and A-Z list of the greats.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

157 BBC Legends On Spotify

Thanks to Tam Pollard's wonderful post BBC Legends Come to Spotify, I  discovered this great new addition to Spotify's classical library. Check out his post, the Medici Arts's official site and Presto for background info and discography. I have collected all available recordings of this series on Spotify into one place.

Here's the Spotify playlist: BBC Legends. (157 albums, 2050 tracks, total time: one week) Press Ctrl (CMD on Macs) + G to browse in album view. Enjoy.