5 Paradigms: Music [Classical]

Symphony No. 9, Gustav Mahler, 1909-1910

Description: A summary of life
It’s an epic goodbye in four movements. The final moments of existence, heard in “the strands of sound disintegrating” (Bernstein’s words), resonate at the end.


Symphony No. 3, Henryk Górecki, 1976

Description: Hypnotically elegiac
I listen to this rarely, as it’s not called the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” for nothing.

24 Preludes & Fugues, Dmitri Shostakovich, 1950-1951

Description: Cool and intricate
Shostakovich’s sort-of-homage to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, written in a more contemporary time and vein. A desert-island pick.

Symphony of Psalms, Igor Stravinsky, 1930

Description: Spiritual and modern
Faith, hope, love in an uninterrupted choral work that is short and life-affirming.

Death and Transfiguration, Richard Strauss, 1888-1889

Description: Luminous and infinite
Heard this again at sea, under the turbulent shadings of a
restless sky. Perfect.

Next: 5 Paradigms: Photography →

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