2,000 years ago a group of slaves broke free and took up arms against their masters. They shook the system to the core and though they were in the end crushed - set the story for all time. So tragic that today, slaves don't even know that they are indeed slaves.
Here is the pivotal scene from the ballet Spartacus. It is the evening before the last battle and Phrygia and Spartacus say good bye to each other and to the brief moment of freedom that they will have.
This for me is one of the pivotal experiences of ballet where the giant energy of the combination of the male and the female explodes upon the stage.
Katchachuryan's music takes us to a depth of feeling that is almost unbearable. The dancers from the Bolshoi offer us the essence of the great unity that I think can only be found by a couple who find themselves at the limit of what can be felt by two people.
I weep for my country and for a world where we know none of these truths
De Pre had to stop playing at 28 and died at 42 of MS. Here she is playing the last movement of the Elgar cello Concerto - foreshadowing her life. It seems to me that she is making love to her cello and is channeling Elgar. Quite breathtaking. How wonderful YouTube is to have so many great performances like this.
At this time when so many lash out at "the" other, I have to retreat. I usually retreat into music
A piece of music that fills me with hope is Firebird by Stravinsky.
Here is the stunning conclusion of that work conducted by the composer himself. Then a very old man - see how minimal his "conducting" is. This huge sound, this majesty of feeling that a younger man might be caught up in - happens only in his face and eyes with a few minor moves of a hand or his shoulders.
The film is a masterpiece in that it allows us to witness this paradox of immensity and the tiny. If I was to have a piece played on my death bed - this would be a grand way to go...
I was a boy chorister from 8 - 13. In effect I was a professional musician in that I and the choir were fully committed to our craft. We sang every day in chapel, 2 practices a week and two services on Sunday.
There were times when I wished I was doing something else. But what a joy it was to perform great music. In particular I learned to love English and French church music. I never sung this piece. But when my father died I arranged for this to be sung at his memorial service. Not only did we have a spectacular choir but also the band of the Scots Guards!
This is usually sung at the coronation but the words fitted my hopes for my father who died so young - only 55.
I was glad when they said unto me: we will go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city: that is at unity in itself. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls: and plenteousness within thy palaces.
The late and so talented David MacDonald played this at our wedding. He used this tempo - close to Widor's. When played this slow, the foot notes drive the piece and give it huge emotional power. I am always 25 walking down the aisle starting a new life with Robin when I hear this.
In my interview with Dan at WETA, we explored the power of great music to engage the soul. I mentioned also a few pieces that did this to me. I also mentioned how WETA is sharing its hosts favourites with its listeners.
Here is one of my favourites - the last movement of Sibelius' 5th symphony. I wonder if it is my nordic ancestry that it calls to?
I love the way that Sibelius foreshadows the closing theme in the first movement - this symphony makes such sense.
I was surprised by what happens at 2.27 - the producer obviously feels the same way as I do about the meaning of this piece.
It speaks to me of a good life well lived that is drawing to a close and therefore of a great opening too ....
Thanks to gab1279 who has given music lovers such a gift of 139 music moments
I have adored this piece since I was a child - seeing all these brilliant young people play it so well under Rattle's simply inspiring leadership caused me to burst into tears last night. Hard to imagine what it must have been like to have been involved. I cannot think of any piece that offers more hope.
Above all, the Eighth Symphony is an act of faith and love, a reply to all the questions and uncertainties of the human condition. It glorifies earthly activity as much as any transcendent concerns. Faust's final redemption is a justification of ceaseless human striving because, at the end of a quest that has led him so far from asceticism and from all that is traditionally considered to lead to paradise, he is welcomed into heaven by the Mater gloriosa herself.
At 5.21 the children's choir stands and there is a moment of sheer ecstasy that is sustained until the final moment.
This performance combines both a musical and a visual feast - I cannot understand why the BBC have not made this into a DVD.
I offer it to you as my hope for a better world. If you have 7 minutes, I promise you they won't be wasted.
The first performance of the Eighth Symphony in Munich in 1910 proved to be one of the greatest triumphs in the history of music. Mahler's incomparable genius in balancing his massed forces, the evident wealth of melodic invention based on a very limited number of cells and the splendour of the two codas could not fail to fascinate the audience. Mahler had just turned fifty. His whole career hitherto as a composer had been an almost uninterrupted sequence of setbacks and dubious successes, with the result that he was both astounded and moved to tears to see the entire audience screaming, stamping their feet and applauding wildly in a collective frenzy lasting some twenty minutes. The children's choir in particular, on whom he had lavished endless care and attention during the rehearsals, kept on applauding and waving their handkerchiefs and scores. They rushed down from their seats and leaned over the balustrade to give him flowers and shake his hand, shouting 'Long live Mahler! Our Mahler!' at the tops of their voices and presenting him with the only laurel wreath of the evening, a gesture that moved him profoundly. For Mahler, these children represented the future that he felt was slipping inexorably away from him.
You don't have to be Welsh to be moved - It calls its children to a heroic culture where art, life and the land are held most dear.
I chose this video for the warrior quality of the rugby players, the love of the young spectators and the epic pride in belonging to their people of the older men.
It's hard not to weep even if you are not Welsh. For do we not all long for these things?
Here for all us not Welsh is a translation
This land of my fathers is dear to me
Land of poets and singers, and people of stature
Her brave warriors, fine patriots
Shed their blood for freedom
Land! Land! I am true to my land!
As long as the sea serves as a wall for this pure, dear land
May the language endure for ever.
Old land of the mountains, paradise of the poets,
Every valley, every cliff a beauty guards;
Through love of my country, enchanting voices will be
Her streams and rivers to me.
Though the enemy have trampled my country underfoot,
The old language of the Welsh knows no retreat,
The spirit is not hindered by the treacherous hand
Nor silenced the sweet harp of my land.