The Orchestra Reborn

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The Fields - Recording Recommendations!

Getting a head start on your Fields listening? We've got you covered.

This is an odd post. After all, one of the missions of Phoenix is to eliminate prerequisites for coming to classical music concerts. You don't HAVE to know any of the music we're playing to enjoy it, and we'll help you get to know it during the show. That being said, we do get a lot of requests from people looking to listen to music ahead of time OR trying to find great recordings of pieces they loved after the show.

So... here ya go. A guide to some of my favorite recordings of the pieces we're performing on The Fields:

Dvorak - Serenade for Winds in D Minor, Op. 44

Starting off with a recording I've been listening to for most of my life, you can't go wrong with the Wind Soloists of the Oslo Philharmonic. Every player sounds absolutely fantastic individually but the real standout here is their attention to detail in ensemble sound. They play so, so, so together in style and rhythm. Also, I'm a little embarrassed, but it's a Phoenix fun fact that I performed the exact same arrangement of this piece (skipping the second and third movements) that we're performing on Thursday on a From the Top show in 2007.

Ligeti - Concert Romanesc

I hadn't heard it until a month or so ago, but I'm completely obsessed with Esa-Pekka Salonen's recording of this piece with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They really nail the joyous, Romanian spirit. Even more impressively, it's a live recording, including all the little sounds of page turns, coughs, and stands creaking that come with all live recordings. I suspect the live nature of the recording contributes to the beyond incredible energy Salonen gets from the orchestra.

Beethoven - Symphony No. 4 in Bb Major

My absolute favorite recording of this piece isn't readily available online, but Paavo Jarvi's utterly pristine performance with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen IS. This video is actually from a complete series of Beethoven Symphonies by Jarvi and the DKB that are all available on YouTube. Every single one finds this perfect marriage of traditional 20th century Beethoven performance practice with obvious influence from the period performance movement that's swept the classical music world the last few decades. They use old-style trumpets and timpani, but the violins and wind instruments are modern. Oh and Jarvi is just... a genius. The entire time.