WGUC's Classical Love Notes

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Mozart: Concerto No. 21 in C — Andante

The Andante from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C was the theme for the romantic film Elvira Madigan. hide caption

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One of music's greatest strengths lies in its capacity to stir the emotions, and over the centuries, composers of classical music have found inspiration in virtually every occasion, from the violence of the battlefield to a bucolic peacetime flirtation.

On this Valentine's Day, here are five pieces that capture the power of love in some of its various guises: stoking the fire of creativity (Elgar), leading lovers blindly down a tragic path (Khachaturian and Mozart), intensifying love's desire (Canteloube), or creating a quiet but joyous contentment (Bodorova). It's all here—from the bliss of love to its tragic consequences.

WGUC's Classical Love Notes

Cover for Bits And Pieces

Itzhak Perlman plays Elgar

  • Artist: Itzhak Perlman
  • Album: Bits And Pieces
  • Song: Salut d'amour, for violin & piano, Op. 12

Alice Roberts wrote a poem called "Love’s Grace" for her husband-to-be, Edward Elgar, just before he left for a vacation. While on that holiday, Elgar wrote Roberts a reply -- not in words, but in music.

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Song
Salut d'amour, for violin & piano, Op. 12
Album
Bits And Pieces
Artist
Itzhak Perlman
Label
EMI

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Cover for White Nights: Romantic Russian Showpieces

Gergiev conducts the Kirov

  • Artist: Valery Gergiev
  • Album: White Nights: Romantic Russian Showpieces
  • Song: Spartacus Suite, for orchestra No. 2

Poor Phyrigia fell in love with the rebellious slave Spartacus in 73 B.C. Like all good love stories, the affair was almost certain to end in tragedy. And it did, Spartacus dying in a battle with the Roman general Cassius. Just before he went to battle, he shared this passionate dance with his lover -- the Adagio from Khachaturian's "Spartacus."

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Spartacus Suite, for orchestra No. 2
Album
White Nights: Romantic Russian Showpieces
Artist
Valery Gergiev
Label
Philips
Released
1993

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Cover for Prague Guitar Concertos

Brabec plays Bodorova

  • Artist: Lubomir Brabec
  • Album: Prague Guitar Concertos
  • Song: Canzon da suonare (3), for guitar & string orchestra

From the Czech Republic, a modern song of love, with sweet melodies from a living composer. A new treasure for guitar, performed by Lubomir Bracec with the Prague Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jiri Belohlavek.

Sylvie Bodorova's site

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Canzon da suonare (3), for guitar & string orchestra
Album
Prague Guitar Concertos
Artist
Lubomir Brabec
Label
Supraphon

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Te Kanawa sings Canteloube

  • Artist: Various
  • Album: The Greatest Classical Show On Earth
  • Song: Baïlèro, folksong for voice & orchestra (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 1, No. 2)

A shepherdess, standing on a hill watching her flock, tries to convince the shepherd on the far ridge that the grass is greener on her side of the valley in the first of Joseph Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, "Bailero." Soprano Kiri Te Kanawa performs with the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Tate.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Baïlèro, folksong for voice & orchestra (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 1, No. 2)
Album
The Greatest Classical Show On Earth
Artist
Various
Label
London
Released
1998

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Anda plays Mozart

  • Artist: Géza Anda
  • Album: Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 17 & 21
  • Song: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major ("Elvira Madigan") K. 467

A tune that put Mozart in the Billboard Top 10 176 years after he died. The slow movement from his Piano Concerto #21 was part of the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan, the tale of an army officer who abandons a promising career for a rapturous affair with Elvira, a tightrope artist. Both lovers refuse to recognize that they have stepped irreversibly on the road to tragedy. Geza Anda is the piano soloist, and conducts the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major ("Elvira Madigan") K. 467
Album
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 6, 17 & 21
Artist
Géza Anda
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
1995

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Mark Perzel is a 30-year radio veteran and the executive producer at WGUC-FM, Cincinnati's Classical Public Radio.

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