Mozart’s Missing Aria: This Week’s 8 Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube

Mozart’s Missing Aria: This Week’s 8 Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube

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Tassis Christoyannis, center, in Ivan Fischer’s production of “Don Giovanni.”CreditRuby Washington/The New York Times

In addition to writing reviews, features and news during the week, our critics and reporters offer a glimpse into the research we’ve done on YouTube. Read the rest of our classical music coverage here.


AT 2 MINUTES 10 SECONDS

Mozart’s Missing Aria

Ivan Fischer’s excellent staging of “Don Giovanni” at the Mostly Mozart festival followed the Prague version of the opera, Mozart’s score for the premiere in 1787. Missing was Don Ottavio’s first-act aria “Dalla sua pace,” which Mozart wrote with the tenor Francesco Morella in mind for the opera’s Vienna premiere the following year. (The Vienna score, or some combination of it and the Prague version, is most often performed today.) The aria throws a wrench in the plot’s momentum, and Don Ottavio even sings a similar one, “Il mio tesoro,” in Act II. Both are beautiful, but in the context of Mr. Fischer’s production, I didn’t miss “Dalla sua pace.” Then I listened to it later and fell under its spell — especially when the phrase “Dalla sua pace la mia dipende” (“On her peace of mind depends mine as well”), repeated, takes on the delicacy of an evening prayer. JOSHUA BARONE

Read more about Ivan Fischer’s “Don Giovanni.”


AT 7 MINUTES 30 SECONDS

A Bouncy Break

At Mostly Mozart last weekend, Gil Shaham played Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto — a good fit for a soloist known for his infectious delight and expressive tone. The piece’s recurring theme (first heard at 1:10 in this video, drawn from Mr. Shaham’s Deutsche Grammophon recording) is quintessentially Romantic, to the point of being a tad off-putting when played at full volume by the entire orchestra. Which is why I often find myself most looking forward to a quiet moment when the violin, with barely noticeable accompaniment, plays a variation of the theme with bouncy spiccato and double stops. JOSHUA BARONE


AT 7 MINUTES 51 SECONDS

Ode to Coffee

Conversation starter: Would you rather give up coffee or sex? The vixen soprano in Bach’s “Coffee Cantata” isn’t shy about proclaiming her addiction to the dark brew, which she says tastes sweeter than a thousand kisses. In this charming recording from 1984, the soprano Janet Perry sings it in a way that suggests that she very much knows what she’s talking about — just listen to the melting ecstasy on the word “süsse” (“sweet”). CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM


AT 7 MINUTES 49 SECONDS

A Copland Dodger

The coming Kennedy Center Honors awards have been a subject of controversy in recent weeks: First came complaints that this year’s awards highlighted pop culture at the expense of classical music. Then, at least two honorees said that they would boycott the traditional reception at the White House. Finally, and perhaps inevitably, came the announcement that President Trump and his wife, Melania, would skip the ceremony to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” as the White House put it in a statement. So it’s worthwhile to take a look back at footage of the delightfully middlebrow early years of the ceremony: In 1979, Leonard Bernstein enthusiastically hosted the honors for Aaron Copland, whom he describes as “my master, my idol, my sage, my shrink.” Between a poignant overview of Copland’s life and Bernstein’s conducting “Hoedown,” the bass-baritone William Warfield sings the composer’s arrangement of the old campaign song “The Dodger,” an apt moment, since President Trump is dodging this year’s celebration. WILLIAM ROBIN


AT 1 MINUTE 58 SECONDS

Bloody Business

Speaking with a friend recently about an operation (happily, not my own), I was reminded of Marin Marais’s delightfully perverse “Le Tableau de l’Opération de la Taille” (“The Depiction of Surgery to Remove a Bladder Stone”), for narrator and viola da gamba. The patient, all too obviously conscious, describes the proceedings in agonizing detail, the gamba rising to a harrowing climax at the moment of incision and removal. The patient bleeds a fair amount, is put to bed and happily awakens a musical moment later to a dance of celebration almost as long as the ordeal itself. JAMES R. OESTREICH


AT 21 MINUTES 28 SECONDS

Curlew’s Call

Messiaen, the modern master of birdsong, made one of his most significant responses to the natural world with “Catalogue d’Oiseaux,” two and a half hours teasing out the modernism inherent in animal noises. I love the strange, somber final section, a depiction of the Eurasian curlew (“le courlis cendré”), especially when the music starts madly swirling here. ZACHARY WOOLFE


AT 2 SECONDS

Games and Sadness

The acrostic is much in the news these days, as government functionaries resign in letters with barely concealed subtexts (RESIST, IMPEACH and the like). It is a form at least as old as the 15th-century composer Gilles de Bins Binchois, and the English musicologist David Fallows, in his Binchois entry in the 1980 New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, spelled out the composer’s name using the first letter of each paragraph. Such verbal subtleties are difficult to search out on YouTube, as are climactic moments in Binchois’s music. But to get a taste of his artistry, take in the whole of the song “Triste Plaisir” (“Sad Pleasure”), beautifully rendered by the mezzo-soprano Lena Susanne Norin, for its exquisite hypnotic effect. JAMES R. OESTREICH


AT 10 MINUTES 29 SECONDS

Ever Amazing

Still awash in memories and earworms from a recent extended weekend at Tanglewood, I keep coming back to Ben Johnston’s 1973 String Quartet No. 4 (“Amazing Grace”), featured in the Festival of Contemporary Music. The players set out the sainted tune in folklike fashion, steep it in luxury in a first variation, then put it through any number of paces. Scaling heights of rhythmic and harmonic complexity, the piece, played here by the Denali Quartet, winds down only slightly, making the final return of the theme shine through a remaining web of frenetic activity, no less triumphant for the struggle. JAMES R. OESTREICH

 ORIGINAL NEWS: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/arts/music/mozarts-missing-aria-this-weeks-8-best-classical-music-moments-on-youtube.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts