A top tenor heard a busker singing Puccini and it stopped him in his tracks
1 day ago
The clocks go back in the UK on the final Sunday in October - allow us to provide the perfect classical soundtrack to your extra hour of free time with this selection of time-inspired tunes.
Underpinning the anguish at the heart of The Hours, Glass' beautiful score mixes original music with samples from his earlier compositions. The repetitive piano tunes give a sense of time passing - albeit slowly and hauntingly.
While it might seem like Chopin's title refers to the passage of sixty seconds of time, the 'minute' waltz actually lasts between one and two minutes. It's actually 'minute' as in 'small', after being nicknamed as such by the publisher.
Something of a musical mystery, these uncategorised pieces by the great Beethoven surfaced after his death. The scoring seemed to complicated for more common instruments including piano, harp, and strings, but it seemed to fit with a Flötenuhr or Spielühr: a type of mechanical organ or clock.
This Haydn symphony has not one, but two nicknames: it's one of his 'London' Symphonies, but it's also known as the 'clock' because of the rhythmic ticking sound in the second movement.
You've rescued the Austrian emperor's daughter, so what does she do to thank you? Whisks you off to a Viennese castle with, you've guessed it, a musical clock, playing horn signals and bell sounds. At least, that's what happens in Kodaly's opera Hary Janos.
The grandfather clock is so important in Ravel's opera that it's given an entire singing role, performed by a baritone. The music tells the story of a child who's being reprimanded for destroying objects… by the objects themselves, who've come to life thanks to a few unusual spells.
You're more likely to be attuned to the clock striking 12 if your name is Cinderella and your carriage is about to turn into a pumpkin. In Prokofiev's ballet, at the first stroke of midnight, twelve dwarves spring from the great palace clock, warning that her clothes are about to turn back into rags.
The clue's in the title with this cheeky piece of light music from Leroy Anderson. As well as the jazzy rhythms, there's even an alarm and a surprise BOING from the clock's springs at the end.
The beginning of the second movement of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony might sound like a mechanical clock, but the composer is actually imitating another time keeper: a metronome.
Composing for a musical clock seemed to be all the rage among Viennese composers. Haydn wrote these pieces for a friend of his who wanted his clock to play music by Haydn… and nothing else.
Never one to skimp on the details, Strauss adds 13 clock strikes into the orchestral music in his opera Der Rosenkavalier, just as the Marschallin sings about getting up in the middle of the night. Listen out for the celesta and two harps.
Rhim's violin piece is something of a meditation on the nature of time itself. He explains: "On string instruments, in particular, I love the drawn-out vocal timbre, the vibration of the flow of time… And between the notes, in an unimaginable manner, arises something that we can call "music"."
It's not the prettiest of pieces, but Reich's Pendulum Music certainly looks impressive in performance. Three or more microphones are suspended above speakers and swung like pendulums, creating a series of feedback tones as they swing closer to the microphones.
If you're looking to make time stand still for around 45 minutes, have a go at Andriessen's De Tijd (Time). Be warned though, Andriessen described the music as: "Nothing but terrifying blue columns. Very long. Bangs. Silences."