While Spotify is jam-packed full of Coronavirus-themed playlists this one is different – firstly, there is no My Sharona or Come on Eileen. Secondly, it’s been compiled by some real-life musical professionals from Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Not surprisingly, the list is truly eclectic, leading with brilliantly explained classical pieces and including modern rock, gospel, funk, blues, psychedelic and even Whitney Houston! It’s an unconventional soundtrack for these unconventional times!
From Irit Silver (Section Principal Clarinet)
Vulfpeck: Animal Spirits – In times like these I love to keep the music at home happy for some household dance parties! My three-year-old loves dancing to this and Vulfpeck are an amazing band made up of super talented musicians. Makes us all smile.
Hiatus Kaiyote: Building a Ladder – A crazy hippy Melbourne funk/blues/psychedelic/everything band. I love Nai Palm’s singing and this is just a great tune to relax to. The whole album is quite an experience…
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Sunday morning are 80s hits mornings in our house and no one needs an explanation as to why this is one of my favourites! This is Whitney in her prime.
From Phoebe Russell (Section Principal Double Bass)
Mahler: Symphony No.9 – I love this piece and especially the final movement because the harmonies and build-up are so beautifully indulgent and drawn out, and the chords and textures so rich and full, especially when performed with an oversized string section. It’s impossible not to be moved.
Puccini: Tosca (Opera) – Hearing Tosca performed live for the first time was a definitive moment for me as a musician. My husband had just started working with the State Opera in Berlin and I went to hear him perform Tosca with the Staatskapelle Orchestra and lead singers of La Scala, Milan. I was completely riveted by the performance from start to finish and ended up going to see the same Opera three nights in a row. Safe to say I love a bit of drama and I am a huge Puccini opera fan!
Barber: Adagio for Strings – Even if you aren’t a classical music fan you will definitely recognise this one from a bunch of films and TV shows! love the richness of the string sounds. The music is absolutely heart wrenching and painfully indulgent and the build-ups and climaxes always give me goose bumps. It is a piece that absolutely consumes you and draws you into the music. It is, in many ways, some of the saddest music there is but at the same time one can always sense a feeling of hopefulness throughout.
From Shane Chen (Principal First Violin)
Bach: Violin Sonata No.3, Adagio – It is in C major. For me, it is like reading Genesis, a key that is the starting point. In that sense, a birth.
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem – It is equally important to contemplate the completion of one’s life. Brahms’ German requiem was inspired by several key persons in the composer’s life. It is so noble, and its overwhelming depth of the sound is just so heavenly.
Beethoven: Symphony No.7 – This symphony is energetic and positive. It will lift your spirit straight away! And remember it’s the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s this year!
From Nicole Greentree (Viola)
Brahms: String Quintet No.2 in G major – This is my absolute favourite piece of chamber music at the moment; I love the joyful opening and the subtle drama contrasted with the lyricism of it. I would love to be able to play that cello part in the opening!
Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht – This is one of those pieces in which I experienced truly deep emotions during the first listen. I was sitting in my room at dusk and listening to this piece, and as the sun went down, I stayed completely still, entranced and didn’t get up to turn the light on. It was magical; heartbreaking with pain and yet joy and hope at the end.
Bruckner: Symphony 7, 2nd movement – I adore this adagio! It opens with the violas and Wagner tubas playing the melody in unison, a unique and luscious sound combination.
Tim Matthies (QSO Director of Artistic Planning)
S. Bach: St Matthew Passion, BWV244: No.75 Aria (bass soloist) Mache, dich, mein Herze, rein – I am a singer (a tenor) and Bach’s music is some of the most glorious and difficult to perform. This aria from towards the end of Bach’s great Easter Passion is a truly sublime piece about moving towards the calm and joy of death. It is used very effectively towards the end of the film The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Madonna: Holiday – This song came out in 1984, my first year at university. I had the song and the album on cassette and played it constantly on my Walkman. It’s the perfect party song!
Jeff Buckley performing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – One of the greatest singers ever in a perfect song by a master songwriter.
For more information about the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, visit: www.qso.com.au for details.
Image: Queensland Symphony Orchestra (supplied)