With the Covid-19 crisis, the world is facing the most globalized issue since decades. All concerts have obviously been cancelled, and musicians are struggling to keep up with the situation. But at least we are all in this together. Marin Alsop took part in the “Lockdown Playlists” project from the EBU. She wants to share this playlist with us and has a few words on every piece:
1. Johannes Brahms, String Sextet in B flat
"Any and all things Brahms connect me to my childhood and a sense of warmth and well-being. This string sextet was the first piece I remember being moved to tears by when I was 12 or 13."
2. Stéphane Grappelli, It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing) (Ellington)
"I led a string swing band, String Fever, for almost 20 years and used to go to hear Grappelli whenever he played in NYC. I transcribed this solo of his and it was arranged for String Fever."
3. Christopher Rouse, Concerto per Corde
"American composer Chris Rouse - a dear friend who passed away last September - resonates profoundly with me. This piece typifies his gnarly attitude and then suddenly opens its arms in a Mahlerian embrace: sheer emotional rapture!"
4. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 9
"Definitely my desert island piece! Especially the glorious finale. I can’t imagine any music more emotionally draining yet satisfying."
5. Ludwig Van Beethoven, Symphony No. 9
"Spending so much time with this piece as part of the “Global Ode to Joy“ project has been a true joy. From this opening interval, filled with suspense and possibility, to Beethoven’s ultimate message of unity through joy, this is a masterpiece for our time."
6. Samuel Barber, Symphony No. 1
"A much underperformed gem embodying American romanticism. I love Barber’s cellular development and the arc he achieves in this wonderful 20-minute symphony."
7. John Adams, Nixon in China, especially Pat Nixon’s aria “This is Prophetic”
"Working with John is always a revelation and this opera of my time captures a moment in history so beautifully. This, to me, is one of the spectacular aspects of music: aural snapshots that transport us to a moment in human history and connect us to our shared experience."
8. Luciano Berio, Sinfonia
"Berio’s heartfelt and humorous work constantly reveals new clues and treasures, especially in terms of his 20th-century summary from 1969!"
9. Robert Schumann, Symphony No. 2, especially the slow movement
"Schumann’s lifelong struggles and triumphs capture so much of our human longing and hope."
10. Leonard Bernstein, Mass
"This much criticized 20th-century masterpiece was Bernstein’s Mahler 8, his personal and philosophical summation work. Its message of truth, self discovery, doubt, faith, tolerance and unity is especially poignant today. Like Beethoven and Mahler, Bernstein speaks volumes."