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How to start listening to classical music to learn how to understand it

Around the classical music hovers many legends and myths. For example, that Mozart poisoned Salieri. Or that the musicians are people not of this world. And that classical music is an elite art, which is understood only by the elect. Of course, in reality this is not the case. Where to start listening to classical music, in order to learn how to understand it, we understand with Victoria Ivanova.

Edward Grieg Suites from music to Ibsen’s drama “Peer Gynt”

If you have never listened to classical music, then it is better to start with program music. “Peer Gynt” Grieg in this case is an ideal option. First, you will definitely know this music: it is very popular. Secondly, the names of each of the pieces will tell you exactly what the composer wanted to say in it. And thirdly, the very story of Ibsen can come to the rescue: much more detail is hidden in music than it might seem at first glance.

Of course, you can not ignore the “Morning”, “Dance of Anitra”, “Death of Oze”, “Cave of the Mountain King” and “Song Solveig.” In addition, the plays are very small in duration, so you will not have time to get bored.

If you are imbued with the beauty of the Norwegian music fjords – you can safely move on to his own Concerto for piano and orchestra.

Antonio Vivaldi. “Seasons”

The cycle of four violin concertos “The Seasons” is one of the most famous works by Vivaldi. Each concert corresponds to one season and consists of three parts – three months. At the same time, every time of year the composer accompanied the sonnet (it is considered his authorship), which explains not only the contents of the concert, but also contains busy allegories – for example, about the connection between the time of year and the human age. However, the listener, especially a beginner, should not limit his imagination only to the content of the sonnet: Vivaldi’s music is so graphic that almost everyone can hear a thunderstorm in the concerts, the murmur of brooks, the rustling of foliage and even a dog barking.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Seasons”

The piano cycle of the most famous Russian composer of the same name is built according to a similar principle. 12 plays symbolize 12 months, each is assigned a poetic epigraph – true, unlike Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky did not plan this in advance, but did not object. For the composer, the genre diversity seemed to be the most important: for example, the play “Svyatki” was subtitled “Waltz”, and “Harvest” – “Scherzo”.

Frederic Chopin. Waltzes, Nocturnes, Etudes and Other Miniatures

As any music lover will tell you – Chopin doesn’t happen much. And you can listen to it from any piano miniature, be it the famous Waltz in C sharp minor, Barcarolle or Scherzo. The only advice is that at first it is better to avoid piano sonatas and start with small pieces (by the way, the “same” funeral march is the third part of the composer’s Second Sonatas).

It is interesting not only to listen to Chopin, but also to watch: as a rule, the performance of his compositions requires a completely specific, high level of skill from a pianist.

Ludwig van Beethoven. Symphony №5

Symphony – the pinnacle of thinking of classical composers. This is a monumental genre in which its laws operate and its own metamorphosis takes place. Learning to understand a symphony means learning to understand everything.

It is very difficult to find a symphony that would be better suited for this purpose than Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. First of all, because its main motive is known to absolutely everyone. A symphony begins with it, it also passes through the whole composition, overgrown with musical timbres, contexts and meanings, which allows even a novice music lover to feel the joy of learning the topic.

Beethoven himself described the motive with the phrase “So fate knocks on the door.” It is known that he wrote this particular symphony longer than his other compositions: she did not release the composer for three years. During this period, Beethoven was particularly worried because of a progressive serious illness – deafness. But, as he himself wrote to a friend: “I want to grab fate by the throat. She will not be able to completely break me. Oh, how wonderful it is to live a thousand lives! ”All of this – the sinister rock, the drama from the realization of misfortune and the heroic decision not to give up – was embodied in this music.

Sergey Sergeevich Prokofiev. Suites from the music of the ballet “Romeo and Juliet”

It is believed that starting to listen to classical music from the works of Sergei Prokofiev is not a good idea, but the suites from Romeo and Juliet best prove the opposite. First of all, because the most famous play, “Montagues and Capulets” (in the ballet it is called “Dance of the Knights”), you have already heard. The remaining plays of the suites are just as good: you should definitely pay attention to the naughty “Juliet-girl”, the lyric “Romeo and Juliet before separation” and the tragic “Mercutio”. Of all domestic composers performed abroad, Prokofiev is one of the leaders.

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