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Contest Results: Favorite seasonally-inspired pieces of music from the BLO community

Feb 3, 2015 9:59:00 AM
By BLO Staff

Recently on the blog, we offered the chance to win free tickets to the upcoming Ian Bostridge event with Harvard Book Store to our community members—all they had to do was send us an answer to the question, “ What’s your favorite piece of classical music that celebrates a season and why?

We received over 30 fantastic responses from BLO fans eager to share their favorites. Here are just a few, along with links to check them out on YouTube, for your listening enjoyment.

The most popular responses were Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Catherine J. wrote to us in reply, “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons [is my favorite] because it’s like New England giving us the beauty and uniqueness of four separate works of art.” How true! We’re happy to be New Englanders, even during Winter Storms Juno and Linus.

Other answers were more adventurous. Ha N. told us, “One of my favorite winter songs is Ilya Alexkseevich Shatrov's ‘On the Hills of Manchuria.’ I heard it for the first time on a winter night in the UK while watching the movie Onegin (1999, Liv Tyler and Ralph Fiennes). I [had] been searching for the song for a while until I [found]
the original piece. The melody makes me think of snowflakes twirl[ing] in the
wind, and provokes in me the dream of traveling to Manchuria and the
surrounding areas.
Sounds beautiful, Ha!

Ashley C. fondly brought up a special memory for her. “My favorite piece of classical music that celebrates a season is Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, specifically the ‘Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy.’ I remember hearing this piece for the first time as a young child. The music was magical. I love the season of Christmas, and this piece always brings back memories of this special time of year.”

Not everyone thought of winter-related songs. Scott M. told us, “Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue always makes me think of a rainy, cold, fall day sitting with a latte, looking at the rivulets on the panes of glass.”

Don R., from Cambridge, looked forward to warmer days! “Berlioz’s ‘Nuits dété’ (Summer Nights) -- because it’s such a beautiful song cycle!”

And, of course, looking forward to Ian Bostridge’s reading, several writers spoke of Schubert’s famous song cycle. Mary Jane G. told us, Winterreise is my favorite piece for winter. It doesn't really ‘celebrate’ the season, but the poem captures the essence and the emotions of winter for me. Schubert creates the music to express these emotions musically in a wonderful and poignant way.”

Thank you to all our participants—we love sharing this great music with you!

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