From Danse Macabre to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice…
A new release documents the entire 1,200 year history of classical music, over 24 CDs. What if you listened to it all in one go?
The history of classical music, in 24 CDs
There's an epic new box set just out on Deutsche Grammophon. 24 CDs that span classical music history from c800 to the present day. Those CDs are packed full of the finest recordings from the yellow label's peerless catalog, with artists like Leonard Bernstein, Martha Argerich, Claudio Abbado and Wilhelm Kempff. (more about the set here)
We thought what if you were to listen to it all in one epic session?
Meet our Social Media Editor, Kyle Macdonald (with Beethoven). Notice his smile. It may fade.
We thought we'd challenge Kyle to listen to the set - the history of classical music - in one epic sitting. That's right, 1,200 years of music, in one 24 hour session. And just to add to the challenge, we're adding a few complete operas and an epic mass in there. Because who doesn't want to hear Wagner's Parsifal complete, without a break, when you've been listening to music for 15 hours? (Answer: no-one.)
Kyle, here's your schedule:
Friday 13 November:
7am: Disc I Music of The Middle Ages (Pérotin, de Machaut)
8am: Music of the Renaissance (Anonymus, Dufay, Desprez, Dowland, Byrd)
9-10am: Bach B minor Mass
11am: The Classical Symphony (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven)
12pm: The Classical Concerto (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven)
1pm: The Romantic Symphony (Schubert, Brahms)
2pm: Cycles and Songs (Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert)
3pm: The Virtuoso I (Chopin, Brahms, Liszt)
4pm: The Romantic Cello (Dvorák, Elgar)
5pm: The Virtuoso III (Schumann, Rachmaninov)
6pm: Big Voice, Big Orchestra (Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, R. Strauss)
7-9pm: Verdi: La Traviata
9pm Get Your Program (Sibelius, Smetana, Holst)
10pm-2am Wagner: Parsifal
2am: New Currents (Prokofiev, Bartók, Shostakovich)
3am: A World Re-Arranged (Barber, Britten, Ives, Stravinsky)
4am: Lasting Impressions (Ravel, Debussy)
5am: 12 Points of View (Berg, Webern, Schoenberg)
6am: Minimalism (Rihm, Adams, Glass)
How did he get on?
7am - Easy, Early Music beginnings
9am - Then it was on to two hours of Bach. We were a bit concerned that this was too much of a pleasure for him.
11am - And the journey continued into the classical era. And our victim was having to draw on the caffeine to maintain concentration.
4pm - Ah, Lieder. Surely that will dent his enthusiasm? (Legendary tenor Fritz Wunderlich is pretty awesome though)
5pm - 10 hours in, and are the cracks are beginning to show?
Yep - it looks like he might be done for. Too much good music.
14 hours to go. I want the music to stop... (no offence, Dvorak) ...I’m not going to make it.— Kyle Macdonald (@KHRMacdonald) November 13, 2015
Rach 2 is proving to be quite a struggle. :-6 #Classical24— Kyle Macdonald (@KHRMacdonald) November 13, 2015
7pm - It was all getting to be a bit too much...
Damn you, Snacks and Beer, and your magical powers...
8pm - Kyle was on to 6 hours of opera
The brass is loud, and I’m not in the mood. Sorry, Wagner… #Classical24— Kyle Macdonald (@KHRMacdonald) November 13, 2015
12am - and Wagner's epic masterpiece was proving a challenge
Struggling with Parsifal. Confused at what’s going on. There’s a king, and a spear? Lots of bass-baritones …not really into it. #Classical24— Kyle Macdonald (@KHRMacdonald) November 13, 2015
But after 4 hours of bass-baritones and trombones (and well into the morning) the epiphany came...
Actually, got to say, this is sounding rather fantastic. :-0 #Classical24— Kyle Macdonald (@KHRMacdonald) November 14, 2015
AGGGGGHHHHH. What. An. Ending. Just divine. #Classical24— Kyle Macdonald (@KHRMacdonald) November 14, 2015
3am - Twenty hours of classical music, tea, coffee, beer, wine, cheese and pretzels. Kyle, you're a mess.
4am - and despair starts to set in
5am - and just what everyone craves after 22 hours of continuous listening - the atonality of Berg, Webern and Schoenberg
6am - 23 hours in, and he's beginning to fade. STAY STRONG KYLE. Just the CD of minimalism to go...
7am - 24 hours of music. Sun rising. And by the looks of it, if we asked him to listen to another concerto, he might die.
He's never been the same since. In a good way. Fancy taking the challenge yourself. Grab the set here , and press play.