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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Building a Library of Recordings

How often does your family listen to classical music in the home? Is the Suzuki reference recording the only cello CD you have? If so, consider building a library of other great recordings. Perhaps you could budget for one new recording a week or a month.

I'm reading Daniel Coyle's excellent book The Talent Code, and at one point he describes the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), a network of alternative schools whose students mainly come from underprivileged backgrounds, and are often the first in their families to go to college. They are very successful, in part because of incredible discipline and attention to detail, and in part because the teachers make a point of bringing up college regularly in conversation. In other words, the students are constantly reminded of the long term goals toward which they are working. We should incorporate the same concept into our quest to nurture musical development in a child. Students should hear the pieces they are currently working on, or will be learning soon, as often as possible - several times a day. But they should also be given the opportunity to advanced works performed by world-class musicians.

Here's a list of things to look for as you're building a music library:

Great Cellists
Yo-Yo Ma
Mstislav Rostropovich
Jacqueline Du Pre
Leonard Rose
Pierre Fournier
Pablo Casals
Mischa Maisky
Gregor Piatigorsky
Janos Starker
Bernard Greenhouse
Maria Kliegel
Lynn Harrell
Heinrich Schiff

Young Cellists, Rising Stars
Alyssa Weilerstein
Han Na Chang
Gautier Capucon
Alban Gerhardt
Luca Sulic
Stejpan Hauser

Great Ensembles
New York Philharmonic
Vienna Philharmonic
Berlin Philharmonic
Chicago Symphony
Cleveland Orchestra
San Fransisco Symphony
Juilliard Quartet
Cleveland Quartet
Emerson Quartet
Vermeer Quartet
Orion Quartet
Tokyo Quartet
Beethoven Quartet
Alban Berg Quartet

Import Pieces in the Cello Repertoire
Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello (as many different recordings as possible)
Dvorak, Cello Concerto
Elgar, Cello Concerto
Haydn, Cello Concertos
Saint Saens, Cello Concerto in A minor
Schumann, Cello Concerto
Brahms, Double Concerto, E minor and F Major Sonatas
Beethoven, Cello Sonatas
Debussy, Cello Sonata
Shostakovich, Cello Sonata and Cello Concerto No. 1
Prokofiev, Cello Sonata and Sinfonia Concertante
Kodaly, Sonata for Solo Cello

These lists are nowhere near exhaustive (I haven't even touched the orchestral or quartet repertoire, or pieces for other instruments, not to mention opera, non-classical styles etc.) I could devote the entire blog to listing great pieces and performers and not come anywhere near a comprehensive list, but this is a good start.

If you are planning to take your child to a live performance, find out what's on the program, get a recording if one is available and let her listen to it beforehand.

Happy hunting.

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