Monday, December 12, 2011

What Musical Gifts for Christmas? Some Suggestions...

Music is perfect for giving on Christmas, of course - how about some suggestions?

For children, how about the perennial favorite, Peter and the Wolf? If you can find an old recorded version with Eleanor Roosevelt as the narrator, it is truly a classic reading. Another is a charming reading of Peter by the legendary Leonard Bernstein - or how about Sting?? It is really very good!
Another piece for children would be the Toy Symphony, traditionally thought to be written by Josef Haydn. Now there are historians who are inclined to believe that Mozart's father, Leopold, actually wrote this charmer.
The Swiss composer Artur Honegger composed a fascinating piece for orchestra that replicates the sound of a short trip by a steam engine - children would love to know this composition, I'm sure.

And how about the grown-ups??
For starters, the second recording of duets with Tony Bennett and various famous vocalists is now available, and demonstrates the genius of Bennett in his ability to form a synergy beautifully with each of these strong vocals entities. And, at age 85, Tony Bennett is a kind of musical miracle - his performances are redolent with the essence of undying youth, the primary requisite for pop styling in music.
For the Classics; both the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto and the famous Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto are magnificently performed by the late Emil Gilels, one of the piano legends of the twentieth century.
How about the great opera La Boheme? Listen to the American tenor Richard Tucker equal any recording by the great Italian tenors who have recorded this masterpiece during the past century. For me, Tucker possessed as great an instrument as any tenor I have ever heard - see if you agree!
Merry Christmas!

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