Recently, a colleague of mine stopped me in the hall to ask about a certain piece of classical music that had grabbed his attention. And a little later, another colleague stopped me in the hall, with a similar question.
They were asking about the same piece.
It doesn't have a snappy title like "The Four Seasons" or "Peter and the Wolf." At the beginning, you might not know quite what to make of it. But in its enigmatic way, it's one of the most attention-getting pieces in classical music.
It's the second movement from Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, and in honor of that coincidence, I thought it was worth passing on.
It's one of the most beautiful pieces of classical music. I think of it as being quintessentially Beethoven. I heard the SPCO play it last fall and now I'm going to hear the MN Orchestra play it in May. What can I say? Some things you must hear as often as you can.
It's far and away my favorite Beethoven symphony to perform or hear. All the sophistication of the 9th, all the energy of the 5th, and that slow movement stands as one of the greatest ever written. It's like Beethoven channeling Mendelssohn, which is perfection in my book.
(Incidentally, that's a shockingly quick tempo Kleiber's taking in that clip. I think I like it, but I'm not 100% sure...)