Tag Archive | "classical music"

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Christmas: Season of the Bells

Posted on 23 December 2012 by Hao Li (Meds 2016)

There are so many different elements to Christmas nowadays: warmth, gift-giving, love, birth of baby Jesus… It seems that everyone has their own idea of what Christmas is all about. But whatever your personal theme of Christmas is, you cannot deny the sound of bells during this beautiful season of the year. We hear it, and see it, everywhere we go. We hear bells being celebrated in the timeless song Jingle Bells; we associate it with sleighs and reindeers. We are greeted by the melodious tolling of the bells as we enter church for mass or service. And we even see bells hanging from the mistletoe. Indeed, there is something magical about a bell’s ring that we cannot fathom or describe. We cannot explain how, but during the Christmas season the music of the bells brings us enormous joy. Continue Reading

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Study Music! A Musical Prescription for Stressful Times

Posted on 26 November 2012 by Hao Li (Meds 2016)

It’s that time of the year again! And as always, it can be a pretty painful procedure. So, I’ve decided to mix up a little anesthetic for you. You will find below an intricate, well-balanced, painstakingly compiled (exaggeration) playlist of relaxing pieces from the classical literature, spanning from the ancient Baroque (early 17th to the mid-18th century) all the way to somewhat contemporary times (1950’s). Some of them you may have heard (especially Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”), and others you may not (for example, Liszt’s Second Concerto for Piano and Orchestra). European composers dominate the programme, but I’ve also included two non-European works which you may find highly fascinating. The first one, Mathieu’s Concerto de Québec, comes from, (believe it or not), our own Québec, Canada! And because I hail from a Chinese background, I just had to include our immortal Butterfly Lovers as part of the repertoire. All of these works are very long, therefore you don’t have to worry about constantly switching songs. So enjoy, and I hope that you will find inspiration and strength in these wonderful treasures that have been graciously passed down to us! Continue Reading

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Music of Hope and Redemption: Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Hao Li (Meds 2016)

Whenever I would like to introduce someone unversed in classical music to the world of symphony, I try not to start with Mozart. Listening to Mozart tends to make you feel old; at least that’s what some of my classically-trained friends say. (I, on the other hand, do not agree.) Beethoven also does not make an ideal opening, for while his Whip of Nine Lashes contains unbelievably powerful themes, it requires intensive training to actually tap into that majestic and often deadly energy. And Mahler, definitely not Mahler! Yes, his symphonies are among the most grandiose of the literature, but they contain undeniably ugly sounds. Every dedicated musician will eventually reach a point in their musical life when they can appreciate an ugly piece of music for its inner beauty; but it usually takes years to get there.  Continue Reading

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