The Sunday Edition

Listeners respond to The Music That Changed Your World; Episode 3

Listeners respond to Robert Harris's appearance on the program last week, with stories about how they first came to classical music. Selections include a violin solo based on "O Mio Babbino Caro", Mozart's Clarinet Quintet, Ben Heppner singing "Nessun Dorma", and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2.
The great Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, whose performance of "Nessun Dorma" changed the world of Sunday Edition listeners Glenn and Susan Griffin of Toronto. Mr. Heppner is now the host of CBC Radio Two's "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera."

On March 26, 2017, Robert Harris brought us the third episode in his latest series, "The Music that Changed Your World".  He made the point that it's not always easy to come to love and appreciate classical music, and whether it's the Boston Pops, a sampler LP -- or the theme to "The Lone Ranger" -- it's all good.

We asked you to tell us about YOUR first encounter with classical music.

From Glenn Griffin in Toronto:

"Twelve years ago, I inherited a Sampler CD called "Red Seal: The First Name in Classical Music", and discovered our own Ben Heppner singing "Nessun Dorma" from the opera Turandot. I played it over and over whenever I needed a boost. My wife and I now attend opera performances, and we listen to "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera" on CBC Radio Two. If it had not been for this sampler, we would likely not be the opera fans we are today."

From Morgan Luethe in Edmonton:

"I was a complacent piano student in my teens, when I somewhat accidentally fall under the spell of classical music.  I owe that to the otherworldly beauty of Mozart's music. I immersed myself in studying composition and theory, and even managed to become a decent pianist. It's remarkable that a guy whose life was marked by such chaos and childishness, could bring art of such pristine clarity into the world. Felix Mendelssohn once remarked "When the angels sing to God, they sing Bach. When they sing to each other, they sing Mozart." The wistful, untroubled finale of the Clarinet Quintet is just one marvelous example among many, in the output of this mercurial genius."

From Greg Middleton, on Saltspring Island, B.C.

"I was a teen at the birth of rock and roll, and later in university, I listened to the Blues.

One day, I was getting out of my truck and some music came on CBC Radio that almost brought me to tears. I went to a classical music store in Vancouver, and tried to describe it.

The clerk smiled, went down the aisles and brought me a CD - "Romance of the Violin". He pointed to a track and said, "If this is not it, bring the CD back. It is our best seller." A few days later, I went back and asked the clerk to pick out one CD a week of good classical music.

Now I spend part of every day with CBC's classical music programs, and I still listen to "Romance of the Violin."

The album "Romance of the Violin", is a collection of music by different composers, arranged for solo violin. 
This is "O Mio Babbino Caro", from the Puccini opera "Gianni Schicchi", performed by the violinist Joshua Bell with the orchestra of the Academy of St. Martin's in the Fields.

Elaine Ward of Red Deer, Alberta sent this: "I grew up in Foremost, a small farming community in southern Alberta. When I was in grade five, a minister arrived from Nova Scotia. I really admired "Miss Mac" and volunteered to clean her house every Saturday morning. (This was more than I did for my own Mother!) To repay me, Miss Mac offered to give me piano lessons.  We had no piano at home, so I practiced at the United Church. I had a piano book with a very rudimentary version of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2.

I saved up my allowance, and on a rare shopping trip to Lethbridge, I went to Leister's Music Store and ordered a record of the concerto.  I felt so grown up and, dare I say, smart?!  That was the beginning of my love of classical music."

Thank you, Elaine Ward in Red Deer .. and here is the great Russian pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, with the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andre Previn .. with the first movement of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto  No. 2.



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