I Love the 1880s

Remember the 80s!  The skyscrapers, the cars, the movies!

No, not the Trump Tower, Japanese compacts, or John Hughes…I mean, the invention of the skyscraper, automobile, and motion picture… all invented in the 1880s.

Yes, cheesy, but like all nostalgic VH1 junkies, classical music has decided to cash in on the craze for decade-loving.

Well, maybe CASH-in isn’t the right term… One of the great conveniences of 21st Century life is free music from the internet, including free music of the 1880s. In looking for great free music, I came across this little gem. I wouldn’t have clicked on it (who needs another download of Wang Chung anyways?), but it listed Marin Alsop as one of the artists. Alsop is the current music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and she is a woman, perhaps the most prominent female conductor in the classical music world today! I clicked and behold…Symphonies!

So I expected a lightweight list of classical crossover hits, but these selections really are some time-honored pieces in their complete form. What’s inside? Well, to name a few…Mahler’s first symphony, the Titan, which Gustavo Dudamel used to kick off his tenure at the LA Phil. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony continues to be one of the most performed for its romantic melodies. Saint-Saens Symphony no. 3, the Organ, remains one of the most epic pieces for organ and orchestra…and one which I connected to the Arcade Fire’s song Intervention.

However, Brahms’ Third Symphony is my favorite symphony by Brahms and the one I listen to the most. It’s a work that tells you a complete story from  beginning to end, and is sophisticated while drawing you in with simply stated ideas. It’s also the intellectual heir to one of the best Beethoven piano sonatas, the Hammerklavier.

Okay, fine…yes, Carlos Santana and Dave Matthews also did a cover of this Brahms symphony on their song “Love of My Life.” Apparently, they too had nostalgia for the 1880s.

Love of My Life 

But for those who are interested, listen to the original and be ravished…

MP3: Symphony no. 3 (Poco Allegretto) – Brahms (conducted by Marin Alsop)

Download the album free

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