In recent weeks, I’ve started a weekly column over at The Rabbit Room to share tiny corners of the classical music world with other corners of the webbyworld. The idea is to break things down into manageable morsels, with each post listing selections connected by a general theme. Because so many find the vast canon of greats intimidating and impossible to navigate, I’ve chosen 5 short pieces (or excerpts/movements from larger works) plus one major work (which is usually made up of several movements). No idea if this will grab, or even how long I’ll carry on. But it’s been fun having a go at figuring it all out. Here are the first 3 lists so far.

You can take photos or paint en plein air to capture the experience; and I suppose the seriously committed might take out a drone with iMax cameras to make it fully immersive. But music is uniquely able to evoke being out in the natural world, which is why composers have been obsessed with it since time immemorial…

It doesn’t matter where you are in Great Britain (that is England, Scotland and Wales), you are always within striking distance of the sea. You are never more than 70 miles from it, as the crow flies, to be precise (which, alas, may have precious little to do with Google Maps-, traffic- and road-network-dependent journey times). So it’s natural for this island’s culture to be profoundly shaped by its relationship to the sea and no accident that the secret of the British Empire’s dimensions and longevity was the Royal Navy (not to mention both the spread and abolition of the slave trade)…

Most artforms are essentially con-tricks. A painting is a fixed, two-dimensional image designed to give the illusion of three dimensions and movement in time. A novel constructs universes out of words by which a reader is immersed. And music is a fleeting and dynamic form that moves through time to evoke and provoke emotion. But sometimes, it seems to make time stand still as if the music itself can transfix us in sublime suspension…

All of the lists are being accumulated here (on both Apple Music and Spotify), so you can keep tabs by bookmarking them. (The only slight downside is that you don’t get the explanations on the blog and the tracks all merge together somewhat!)

on apple music

on spotify

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