I figured I'd write this out now because I'm gonna be floored by work very soon again. Just a note before I start that I had a major focus on the operatic works, and less on the classical work because after a while I realized how much I really loved vocal accompanying the music. I'm only gonna highlight the stuff that really stuck out for me because if I was to go over every single thing I loved this post would be way to long.
This is a story of a young man who had no real knowledge on the opera or classical music in general. He began by asking the wonderful people of Hubski where he could begin his quest. It was there he absorbed all of their suggestions, and created a massive playlist.
The first stop was Mozart's operatic works: The Marriage of Figgaro, Cosi Fan Tutte, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni. I'll be completely honest while their were some pieces in each work that I loved I wasn't too amazed with the work as I was with some of later pieces I got into. I think my favorite piece remains Soave Sia Il Vento from Cosi Fan Tutte. Now the thing is I tried to listen to a few versions of each opera (some I was able to listen to completely, others it was just selections of music from the opera). I am EXTREMELY particular with the version of Soave that I like. It didn't really happen with any other piece, but my absolutely favorite version of it is: Carol Vaness, Claudio Desderi, and Delores Ziegler
I struggled to get through The Magic Flute because I really wasn't a fan of the language it was in. I have nothing against the German language I just prefer other languages for an opera. I had the same problem when I tried to get through Wagner's Tannhauser. One of the things that I did notice with a lot of his work is how prolific it is. I mean you listen to Mozart's work and you know you've heard it somewhere on a commercial or movie.
While I wasn't a huge fan of Mozart's operatic work, Requiem was honestly a masterpiece. It was a weird occurrence during my time with the music that I was drawn to a lot of pieces that were left incomplete by the composers (mostly because the composer died). I'm not sure what that means, but I just noticed that. I mean my favorite work from Requiem was Lacrimosa which ends after 8 bars. I remember thinking the first time I listened to it why it was so short. I ended quickly opening up to finding on wikipedia why that was.
Overall, Mozart's work is without question unbelievable, but none of it remained my favorite beyond a few pieces scattered across his operas. Often times I found myself listening to his music when I had to work through a problem or discontinuity in a story I was writing. I even went on a run listening to a bit of his music, and it really helped with the entire experience as a whole.
I really want to rename this category to Turandot because it is without a doubt my favorite piece out of ALL the pieces I've heard so far. This was by far the closest piece to my heart. I mentioned above that I was able to do busy work or run with Mozart, but I couldn't do that with Pucini.
Let me just give a little story to just show how much of an impact this piece had on me. My left knee has been healing up, and I've only been able to jog. I had started Turandot earlier that day, and figured I could get through the rest of it on my jog. I head out and during this run I stumble upon the song known as "Nessun Dorma." Here I am jogging along not expecting something so powerful, and honestly had to stop to cry. I won't even try to mask it, I just straight up stopped in the street and cried. It wasn't like I was sad I was just so blown away by the sheer power of the voice. My absolute favorite version of it is the one by Pavarotti:
I could listen to that man sing that a thousand times, and still be completely blown away by his sheer ability. Now the thing was when I originally listened to Turandot I had listened to Andrea Bochelli. I love his voice as well, but there is just something about Pavarotti that just adds some new level to piece. My second favorite piece is "Non piangere Liu", with this piece I do actually enjoy Andrea Bocelli's version:
I've listened to a few different versions of Turandot, but most of my favorite pieces from the work are sang by Pavarotti, or Bocelli. I really couldn't tell you who I like more because I equally love both of them. I haven't really talked much about the story of any piece I've listen to it, and I do know most of the stories for these pieces. I haven't really discussed it, but I think it is important to get more background on the pieces you listen to because it definitely changes the way you listen to them. I mean Pucini only completely finished Act I and II of Turandot, so Act III is interesting to listen to as to my knowledge it was pretty much outlined by Pucini, but not finished by him. I actually found out that this is my dad's favorite operatic piece, and hopefully have plans to see it whenever there is a show. One other thing before I move on, are there voices like this still? Are there people who still produce sound like this? The entire time I was listening to this I was just wondering where these voices were. While I did listen to most of Pucini's work I feel like I've spent a lot of time talking about Pucini, so I think from my perspective on Turandot I think it's fair to say that Pucini has a close place in my heart now.
This was really another piece that stuck out to me. I mean I added music from the list that I loved to my personal playlist, and the one with the most music in my private playlist is from Carmen by Bizet. It is just a beautiful piece. I love "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle", but I love Maria Callas' rendition of the song (I ended up joining a few opera majors for lunch one day, and we discussed Maria Callas. While many of them agreed her work is amazing, it wasn't their cup of tea). For me the way she sings it adds some level of sass to the piece. I mean the translation of the song is "Love is a rebellious bird."
For reference I'm just going to drop in Maria Callas:
Some of my other favorites from it were: "La cloche a sonne", "Votre Toast", "Air de la Fleur", "Trio des cartes", and "C'est des contraebandiers." This was actually the first opera I began in reality, but I really consider it informal as I had actually listened through the opera of Carmen a few years ago. I think one thing I forgot to mention with Pucini's work and ultimately in Carmen is the amount of emotion in the singing. I mean they managed to change how I feel in a moment with the emotion in their voice. Whether I liked someone's sound or not they were all unbelievably entrancing in their mastery over the voice. When I began this I didn't expect to be so absorbed by the opera, but honestly I can't stop myself anymore. I am currently trying to figure out when I can actually experience the opera. Right now money is tight, but I'm meeting new people, and looking to expand my circle of friends haha.
This is pretty crazy that this is so far down the list especially since this was the original recommendation I wanted, but it ended up becoming a really operatic experience. That doesn't mean I didn't spend countless hours listening to a lot of classical pieces. I'll try to highlight some in this part.
Beethoven: I worked my way through a good amount of his symphonies (1-9). I honestly really loved all of them.
Shotstakovich: I listened to his seventh and his fifth symphony, and they were extremely powerful pieces. I mean I didn't think it was possible to actually convey history through music, but he did it. The amount of pressure he dealt with while writing this work was absolutely fascinating, and you can really hear it in his work.
Stravinsky: I mostly listened to Firebird which let me tell you has actually had me make inquiries into the ballet. Maybe not for the dancing so much as the music. I mean don't get me wrong I have nothing against ballet, but I wouldn't be going to see Firebird, or any other ballet for the dance primarily.
Tchaikovsky: I listened to Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. Much like the firebird I wish I had more money to be able to afford the very large list of performances I want to attend now. I mean I've never seen a ballet, but I could imagine the music moving with the bodies of the dancers. I've watched recordings of the ballets, and it is unbelievable that they have crafted a piece of art that balances dance and music so flawlessly.
Vivaldi: By far my favorite classical piece is Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The reason this is among my favorite pieces is because I've listened to music do such astounding things. Shotstakovich captured history in his music, Turandot trapped such strong emotion, and Vivaldi managed to translate nature into pieces of music. I actually did my best to listen to the entire piece outside because I felt it was only fair to experience the piece enjoying the thing that it was written about. I think that is really an overall takeaway from this whole thing, but I will get into that in a bit haha.
This is just a sliver of what I absorbed honestly, I couldn't even begin to describe all the things I've learned. I remember when coffeesp00ns mentioned something about Handel's Messiah that it was an oratorio and not an opera. I just nodded because honestly I didn't have much of a clue. While a lot of this has been really expressive, there was a deep learning that was taking place in the background, and an even deeper appreciation. Since then I have looked into classes, and also met up with some Opera grads who can hopefully get me into some local shows, and some of the university rehearsals to watch the process. I've taken a lot of kleinbl00, and made some real strides to actually experiencing the opera. Like I mentioned before I think my biggest takeway from this entire thing is how unbelievably flexible music is. It can capture any moment, any feeling, any environment, and accurately convey it hundreds of years later perfectly to the listener. I am grateful to have begun this journey. If you've read this far thanks! Just wanted to thank everyone that I mentioned above and to jleopold, nathank, _refugee_, and literally anyone else who gave me those recommendations. Times have been pretty sore lately, but this has really saved me during that time.