We ask our players and staff which single movements from classical music works really move them, be it emotionally or physically. Discover some new favourites below.
Having grown up in a non-musical background, I would have never dreamed of becoming a musician myself. As a child, my parents would take me to my violin lessons, and I would attend and do as I was told. Of course, the violin being such an awkward instrument to play for beginners perhaps played a part in my lack of interest music. However, two years into learning the violin, I discovered my first ever violin concerto, which was the third movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto.
I remember back in 2009, when YouTube was a new platform for me. I believe I was searching for perhaps one of my grade exams pieces when I accidentally came across a recording of Itzhak Perlman playing with such comfort and happiness which ignited a strong empathy towards the music. Classical music was always somewhat of an abstract art for me, but I remember the Bruch being a gateway into my interest for classical music.
The opening begins with very soft tremolos in the minor key with a tension that keeps you guessing until it rapidly builds up into a more stable key before the solo entry. I always loved this relentless energy from the first note to the last! The contrasts of a bright and majestic finale and the more sonorous deeper sound makes it a very memorable movement. There is never a moment where the music loses its intensity, at its climax or at its softer melodic moments.
I remember taking this movement to my first proper audition ever at the Royal Academy of Music Junior department! This piece always fills me with nostalgia!
Find out more about Daniel here
Undeniably Brahms has never failed to move me with his music. When it comes to choosing one particular movement out of his mountain of works, I would have to pick Adagio from his Sonata No.3 in D minor for Violin and Piano. From the beginning to the end of this movement, I sense Brahms’ outpouring of love that is so vividly spoken through the violin with the piano that gives a greater depth to the message on love.
To begin the movement, the violin seems to outline a simple melody that sits perfectly balanced with rises and falls. Upon first hearing this theme, I was overwhelmed by the tenderness and generosity that were so solemnly expressed. This is why I find this movement always so satisfying to perform. There is just something so real and true about how Brahms has written about love that we can all relate to. He somehow was able to articulate the freeing and impassioned nature that makes love simple but yet complex.
What I love about listening to this movement is that it is able to transport me to a place where I feel my worries melt away as the music embraces me warmly. By the end of it I cannot help myself but wonder about the power of music.
Find out more about Doris here
Nothing moves me more than a slow movement from a Mahler symphony. It could be the multi-layered harmony, the lovable tunes in the strings full of expressive glissandos, the ever-growing emotional intensity, the dialogue between different groups of instruments which although at first may seem overly powerful and even chaotic, at the end they come together for a perfect conclusion. All of the above combined together create a recipe for guaranteed goosebumps.
Mahler creates harmonies which take you to places you never knew you were looking for, they surprise you and make you reach for the depth of your emotions – be it pain, hope, nostalgia, fear or inner peace.
Mahler composed his Symphony No.9 towards the end of his life following his daughter’s death and diagnosis of his own illness. One could say it foresees his near end as the last movement’s character is described as “sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend” (“very slowly and held back”, “reserved”) and the last note is marked “esterbend” (“dying away”). Many have considered this movement Mahler’s farewell to the world as on the last pages of the manuscript we see “Lebt wol!” (“Farewell!”). As described by Alban Berg we can hear Mahler’s “love of the earth, for Nature. The longing to live on it in peace, to enjoy it completely, to the very heart of one’s being, before death comes, as irresistibly it does”. Another great figure, Herbert von Karajan, felt that “it is music coming from another world, it is coming from eternity” – and this eternity we can hear throughout the rich, sonorous, and sustained passages in the string section.
As a string player myself, I particularly love this feature of Mahler's music. Sustaining long notes, very often in quite loud dynamics, can be exhausting at times but the buildup is definitely worth it!
I was lucky to perform this piece when I studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Out of all the orchestra projects I have been a part of there, I cherish this one the most because I got to play in the same violin section with some of my best friends (which usually would not happen so often due to the large number of students). This only proves what a joy it is not only to play incredibly beautiful music but to share the experience with your close ones.
Find out more about Veronica here