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I'm just curious...

I've seen a lot of posts in a lot of forums about everyone's favorite this or that, but I'd like to hear some folks' favorite moments in music of all time. There are no "rules" here; just post a link to your top 3 favorite musical moments with a time marking indicating where that moment starts (and ends, as some awesome moments don't necessarily occur at the end of a piece). (BTW you can paste a YouTube link at the very second you want by pausing the video, right-clicking and selecting 'Copy video URL at current time.' Then paste the link on your post!) Here, I'll start. 🙂

Moment #3: Debussy's La Mer. This orchestral suite is a gorgeous musical representation of the sea, but I'm particularly fond of the rocking, lilting moments of the last movement, "Dialogue du vent et de la mer" (dialogue of the wind and the sea). You can actually hear the waves crashing and wind blowing; and the crescendo at the end... well, it will drown you in emotion. This performance conducted by Boulez is pretty darn good. And just so we're clear, Debussy wrote this in 1905—long before the advent of filmscore.

Moment #2: Rachmaninoff's 4th piano concerto. Very different from his other 3 piano concerti, but refreshingly Rachmaninoff nonetheless. The whole piece is rife with harmonies that will blow your mind, but the final few minutes are some of the best. I love the tension that builds up towards the end, and the final (and surprising) release to G major. The piece tends to avoid the major home key until the absolute very end, making that final release especially sweet. Ah, my soul!

Favorite moment: finale to Sibelius' 5th symphony (revised edition). All of his symphonies are phenomenal, and a couple are extra-phenomenal. This is one of them. There is so much freaking tension and release here, so much dynamic build, so much movement... my emotions can never take it without spilling over. The final few minutes of the piece are breathtaking, and this performance conducted by the indomitable Leonard Bernstein is... divine. Just divine. I mean, do you know how hard it is to coordinate those last 5 notes, with all that space in between? Beautifully executed here.


So, all of my moments were orchestral (and finales), but that doesn't mean yours have to be! I'm looking forward to hearing what moves the rest of you... and I'm sure I'll discover some pieces I've never heard before!

Happy posting!

Edit: my poor brain automatically assumed everyone would have a top 3 favorite moments, but feel free to post as few or as many as you like.

Edited by Tónskáld

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1. Gershwin's Piano Concerto, 1st movement, starting 7:30. The beautiful E major section comes out of nowhere, and when it climaxes with a major 7th suspension on the ii chord nothing else matters.

2. Shostakovich Symphony 15, end, 42:52: I love this whole piece, but the end is so completely different, yet totally not at all (in reference to the first movement), that it's ironically one of the most conclusive pieces, even including his 5th and 7th symphonies.

3. Kapustin Piano Concerto No. 2, mvt. 3, 2:03, everyone should hear this whole piece, but I guess I just love contrast that isn't really a contrast at all, because in the middle of all of this toccata-esque piano play, there's this great little section of swing, while the piano sticks with themes from the whole piece in the same style. It's short, but a fantastic little moment.


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@Monarcheon: loved your choices, as well! The Gershwin concerto is a favorite of mine, as is just about everything that prodigy composed. I hadn't heard Shostakovich's 15th... it was refreshingly percussionistic and sounded extremely modern. I guess it technically is, since it was written in 1971.

But the Kapustin piece... where has that been all my life? I love the sound of big brass and swing—I was hoping to one day write a classical piece in that style. Looks like someone beat me to it. 😉 Seriously, though, I freaking loved that piece. Thanks for sharing!

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