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Start 2019 off right with these 5 excellent Op. 19 pieces

By
Robert Rowat

Admittedly, it's a random and superstitious thing to do: to comb through the list of compositions catalogued as Op. 19 in search of a musical starting point for 2019.

But once we started, it became a fun exercise in (re)discovery and we figure it can't hurt to begin 2019 by listening to these classical masterpieces.

Here are our five favourite Op. 19 compositions.


1. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19

You probably turn to Beethoven and Brahms for your cello sonata fix, but really: is there a better slow movement than Rachmaninoff's?

2. Robert Schumann: Blumenstück, Op. 19

Blumenstück is the overlooked companion piece to Schumann's better-known Arabeske in C. Make it your new year's resolution to familiarize yourself with it. (You can hear the influence of Schumann on another excellent Op. 19: Tchaikovsky's Six Pieces for Solo Piano.)

3. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 19

Beethoven said it was not one of his best compositions — possibly because it's the most classical of his piano concertos? — but we love it for that very reason.

4. Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19

Prokofiev did most of the work on his Op. 19 during 1917, a turbulent year in Russian history, whose events seem far away from this violin concerto's orderly structure and refined lyricism.

5. Béla Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19

The successor to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Bartók's Op. 19 ballet score is a workout for any orchestra and a hair-raising experience for the audience. Here's the orchestral suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, conducted by its greatest champion, Pierre Boulez:

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Duos to Nonets, Boccherini and Beethoven to Ravel and Brahms....all performed by the great collaborators of our time. The rich and intimate world of classical music for small ensembles. Hear: Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonin Dvorak, Maurice Ravel and more.