Gray skies and the first signs of changing leaves mean it's well and truly autumn. Listen to our favorite music for October in this edition of Instant Replay!
This series highlights our favorite music of the moment – discoveries we’ve made when we’re at home cooking or cleaning, at the office, or out and about. Classical or otherwise, old, new, or just really cool, these are the tracks we’ve had on repeat this month. Find a cumulative playlist at the end of this post. Happy listening!
Lara Downes -- Clara Schumann: 3 Romances, Op. 11: No. 1, Andante
"My Clara, what would I not do for love of you?" (Robert Schumann to his wife Clara, 1838).
This just-released album celebrates Clara Schumann in her 200th anniversary year, featuring her solo Romances, Robert's Fantasy Works, and then his Piano Concerto, written under her guidance as a vehicle for her to show off on the concert circuit -- she was no timid mouse performer, and played virtuosic music to hold her own against her male counterparts. Lara Downes plays everything here with great respect and passion, and makes me hope that this is just the first of other recordings of Clara's music.
Danish String Quartet - Unst Boat Song (Arr. for String Quartet)
Like clockwork, each year when the air outside takes its first crisp breath of Autumn, I turn to folk music on strings. I talk about this album all the time -- I recommend it to anyone and everyone, and this specific track captures the feeling of days growing shorter under grey skies and falling leaves better than any other music I know.
Lucas and Arthur Jussen; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stéphane Denève -- Poulenc: Concerto for Two Pianos, II. Larghetto
Since getting to know this concerto for our first Boston Symphony broadcast of the season (performed by these very pianists at Symphony Hall), this movement has remained lodged in my ear. Like Mozart, Poulenc manages a beautiful simplicity without writing simplistic music.
Anne-Sophie Mutter; Staatskapelle Dresden, André Previn -- Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47: 3. Allegro, ma non tanto
A couple weeks ago, my friend asked me to suggest an "epic composer." Sibelius jumped to mind and sent me down a listening rabbit hole. His violin concerto is an all time favorite, especially for fall, and this is my favorite recording.
Eric Whitacre -- October
If you’re not familiar with Eric Whitacre’s music, you should treat yourself. I usher in every October with this piece, and you can’t help but hear the shades of yellow and orange foliage throughout. Perfect for staring out the window and long drives alike.
Austin Wintory -- Abzû Original Soundtrack: "To Know, Water"
It is a lifelong crusade of mine that classical fans start listening to more video game music, because the crossover appeal is staggering. Austin Wintory's soundtrack to the game "Abzû" is a great entry point - it's majestic, terrifying, and sounds like how the ocean makes me feel. I hope this track gets you hooked.
Tessa Lark -- Telemann: Fantasia for Violin Without Bass No. 1 in B-flat Major, TWV 40:14
With just a few strides of her bow in Telemann’s Fantasy for Violin without Bass No. 1, Tessa Lark foreshadows the full spectrum of sounds and genres to come in her new album. There’s an open-air Appalachian Fantasy, a few rich, even rhapsodic Romantic fantasies, and several virtuosic baroque fantasies, all played with the same loving and amiable grace of those first few notes.
Nathalie Stutzmann; Orfeo 55 -- Falconieri, orch. Tufvesson: Il primo libro di canzone, sinfonie, fantasie: XV. Passacalle
Listen to this one on the good speakers.
Ready for more? Hear our cumulative playlist: