For Valentine’s Day — an eclectic collection of my favorite love and love-inspired songs, in no particular order.
Ben Folds, The Luckiest
I like the imaginative romanticism of the lyrics, particularly in verses 2-3.
Rachmaninoff composed his twelve Romances, Op. 21 (originally for voice and piano) as a wedding present for his wife Nataliya. He later transcribed number 5, Lilacs, for piano solo.
Andrew Peterson, Dancing in the Minefields
I’ve posted about this song before, but it’s so worth re-posting. An honest and touching expression of marriage that acknowledges both its difficulties and joy.
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 1, Movement 2
The nature of the relationship between Brahms and Clara Schumann is one of classical music’s enduring mysteries; at the very least we know they shared a close lifelong friendship. Whether their love was romantic or not, it inspired some marvelous music. Brahms called this movement from his first piano concerto a “gentle portrait” of Clara.
Michael Bublé, Haven’t Met You Yet
This one kind of speaks for itself.
Wagner, Prelude & Liebestod
Wagner’s orchestral arrangement of Tristan and Isolde’s overture and Isolde’s Act 3 aria, “Mild und leise.” Tragic storyline, but glorious music (and a great harp part, too!).
Keith & Kristyn Getty, Ribbon Roads
Sweet and simple.
Bach, Goldberg Aria
This aria, which later became the theme for the famed Goldberg Variations, numbers among the compositions in the notebooks Bach compiled for his second wife, Anna Magdelena.
Stuart Townend, How Deep the Father’s Love For Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
February 14, 2011 No Comments
My longtime piano teacher loved the German Romantics. Though everyone studied Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin, one had to earn the right to play Schumann and Brahms.
My first excursion into that privileged world came in mid-high school, when I was assigned one of the Brahms Rhapsodies. I guess I did a passable job with it, because the next year brought two works — one being Brahms’ Intermezzo Op. 116, No. 4.
“This is a special one,” he remarked as he passed over the music for the first time. Translation: you will work harder than you can imagine on these three pages of music.
We spent significant chunks of lesson time on getting the right sound for a single chord: “No, that’s not it. No, no, not quite, try again…” Transitions and the turn of nearly every phrase received similar painstaking treatment.
Only the profound beauty of the piece kept me from giving up out of frustration. (I still think it’s some of the most gorgeous music ever written.) I remember sitting at home listening to Richard Goode’s rendition, then sitting at the piano and trying to produce something even remotely similar. This created a whole new level of despair, but something else was happening.
I began learning how to listen.
I started hearing what I wanted even if I couldn’t produce it. I was grasping for the sounds in my ear, not just my teacher’s ear.
In retrospect, this was a huge turning point in my musical development. No, scratch that.
This was the new beginning.
January 10, 2011 1 Comment