Paul Hindemith Conducting Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith was one of the most important composers of the beginning 20th century. Watch this video where he is conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing one of his own compositions, the Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Op. 50.

Glenn Gould Performing Prelude in C Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach

In this little video clip Glenn Gould plays Prelude in C minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier Volume 1 by Johann Sebastian Bach. This clip is an extract from the movie “32 Short Clips about Glenn Gould” and is published on youtube.
Glenn Gould is very famous for his interpretations of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach who wrote a huge amount of compositions for piano solo, with the orchestra and for other ensembles of instruments in different combinations.
The video clip doesn’t show Glenn Gould performing, instead you can see how the different parts of a piano move as Glenn Gould’s interpretation of the tune is sounding.

Rubinstein Performing Impromptu by Schubert

Watch this video with piano player Arthur Rubinstein performing the Impromptu Op. 90 No. 4 by german composer Franz Schubert. Even though Arthur Rubinstein was already 90 years old when he recorded this version of the Impromptu by Schubert, he still plays very well, I would say he finally plays it the best way he could, after such a long life of playing music, taste must have strongly evolved.

The Kronos Quartet Performing the Jimi Hendrix Tune Foxy Lady

This video features the Kronos Quartet performing a classic Jimi Hendrix song called Foxy Lady. The Kronos Quartet is a musical ensemble of four young musicians who play string instruments. They all have studied a classical concert music instrumentalist career but have joined in this quartet with the goal to perform not only the repertoir of typical concert music string quartets. Instead, they are also performing compositions and arrangements from other musical environments besides the mandatory classical set of compositions.
In this little clip they have chosen a piece by rock star and electric guitar playing pioneer Jimi Hendrix called Foxy Lady. This is not the only piece of Jimi Hendrix interpreted by the Kronos Quartet, they also perform his tune Purple Haze (and maybe some more, so far I’ve found the two mentioned ones on youtube).
Jimi Hendrix was the most important rock guitar player of his time and has contributed strongly to the evolution of the possibilities of the electric guitar sound. He is well known for his appearance on the Woodstock festival where he performed the Star Spangled Banner, the north american national anthem, in his very own style, being a part of the love and peace movement and producing sounds with his guitar that imitated the falling american bombs over Vietnam.

Choir of the Opera Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi Performed by the National Opera of Paris

Watch this video of the famous choir music composition “Va pensiero sull ‘ali dorate” from the opera Nabucco composed by italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. This recording is from 1979 and features the Choir of the National Theatre from the Opera of Paris conducted by Nello Santi.
Giuseppe Verdi is the best know italian composer of opera music, however, music was not his only talent, he also was a politician and became an elected senator in the italian parliament after the triumph of the revolution against Austria.
The opera Nabucco was performed for the first time in 1842 and made Giuseppe Verdi famous all over Europe for the beauty of its music, while in Italy the opera became famous too because of the political message it contains: the singing of the oppressed people who desire freedom, represented here by the choir of the jews. For this reason the choir you can listen to in this video clip has become the anthem of the oppressed people from all over the world.
In the opera Nabucco one can observe Verdi’s pertinence to the epoche of romanticism. The opera also features beautifull arias and more choir passages that are worth listening to.
This composition has also been used in many movie pictures.

The Nightingale Written by Alban Berg Performed by Anne Sofie von Otter

This video features female soprano singer Anne Sofie von Otter performing The Nightingale, the third song of Alban Berg’s composition Sieben Frühe Lieder (Seven Early Songs). Alban Berg is an austrian composer who together with Anton Webern studied with Arnold Schönberg. Schönberg showed them the rules of modern twelve tone music but Alban Berg developed his own style, combining the twelve tone techniques with more traditional musical forms from earlier centuries.
The most known composition of Alban Berg are probably Lulu and Woyzeck, two operas which stand in the atonal tradition. Atonality was the logical consequence of the evolution of western concert music which can be regarded as the progressive acceptance of formerly not accepted notes in the harmonic context of a composition.

Atmospheres by Györgi Ligeti with Animation Video Art

This video shows a video animation over a piece composed by Gyorgy Sandor Ligeti (1923 – 2006) who has experimented with sounds beyond the ones conventionally produced by the traditional instruments of the symphonic orchestra.
Atmospheres was performed first in 1960 and forms part of the first electronic music pieces which certainly don’t have to do much or maybe anything with what more superficial people call electronic music (like what Chemical Brothers and many others perform).
This piece also was chosen by movie director Stanly Kubrick for some scenes of his masterpiece A Space Odyssey.

Ivry Gitlis Performing the Violin Solo Sonata by Bela Bartok

This video shows Ivry Gitlis, a phenomenal violin player, performing Bela Bartok’s sonata for solo violin. Many people can’t afford this piece (and some more of the compositions written by Bela Bartok) and even think that the violin player is playing out of tune. This happens because this sonata for violin includes microtonalities which means that the composer’s material is not limited to the well known twelve tones of the tempered piano tuning but also include more tones in between the standard twelve notes. Here the space between one note and the following one on the piano is subdivided into more subtle intervals. Naturally this kind of tune cannot be played on an accoustic piano while some synthesizers and keyboards do have a ‘bend wheel’ which would allow to play this piece.
Bela Bartok can be regarded as the most important hungarian composer and has an extensive oevre with compositions for many kinds of symphonic and chamber orchestras as well as for solo instruments. He also put special emphasis on the percussion instruments. His works for piano Microcosmos and Macrocosmos are mandatory repertoire for the beginning and advanced classical piano performer. In these and other compositions Bela Bartok recovers many hungarian, romanian and other folk tunes, treating and integrating them into the concert music repertoire.

The Berliner Philharmoniker Performing the Polovtsian Dances of the opera Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin

In this video the Berliner Philharmoniker under japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa perform the Polovtsian Dances from the opera Prince Igor by russian composer Alexander Borodin (1833 – 1887).
It should be said the Alexander Borodin was not a full time composer, instead he had different occupations, among them he had a degree as a medical doctor and was a remarkable chemist, so he did composing in his spare time. He regarded himself as a ‘sunday composer’.
This video clip is an example for excellent camera work since the camera always focusses on the musician or orchestra section that is playing the prominent part of the piece at a given moment. I wish all concert music video presentations were prepared and carried out with such a dedication. Unfortunately there are so many examples of orchestras being televised where the camera focusses on the bass section while the motif or most prominent part is played by the trumpets, to give an example.
When Alexander Borodin suddenly died in the midst of a ball, the opera Prince Igor was left unconcluded and was later finished by two other russian composers: Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov. Alexander Borodin’s music has beautifull melodies and is clearly russian. Another important composition of Alexander Borodin is In the Steppes (Prairies) of Central Asia which also denotes a strong lyricism.

Ionisation by Edgar Varese Performed by the Ensemble InterContemporain

Watch this video with Pierre Boulez conducting the Ensembe InterContemporain for a performance of Edgar Varese’s (1883 – 1965) composition Ionisation. The music involves many percussion instruments and some rare music instruments like the siren and the lion’s roar which you can listen to as a solo instrument at 1:15 of the video clip and as part of the orchestra at 3:08. This particular version of the instrument is suspended and the performer pulls down from beneath on a string attached to the middle of the drum head.
Not only did Varese experiment with new instruments but also integrated electronic resources into his compositions, for example on the 1958 World Fair when he wrote his Poème électronique as part of the pavilion Philips had commissioned to Le Corbusier. The piece was presented over 400 speakers located in a series of rooms, with the effect that the visitors could listen to the changing sound as they moved through the rooms. This and other experiments with electronic resources gained him the nickname “Father of Electronic Music” (which is a little bit exaggerated considering composers like Karlheiz Stockhausen and many others who actually used electronically produced and synthesized sounds in their compositions) while Henry Miller described him as “The stratospheric Colossus of Sound”. However, ther can’t be no doubt about the quality of the compositions of Edgar Varese.
Some people say that this particular recording is performed much to fast, but as far as the composer is concerned he wrote no number for beats per minute, instead he left the space empty on the sheet music.
Edgar Varese was also one of the most important influences for modern music composer and rock guitar player Frank Zappa, check out the music by this legendary musician and you will clearly hear the influence of the french composer in Frank’s music.