My Favorites: A Bold Punch from Prokofiev

By Michelle Sweet

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For the week of Valentine's Day, we'll be playing the music you love most, and in that spirit, here is the next in a series of what a few of us here at 99.5 All Classical love most. Michelle Sweet is one of our behind-the-scenes, crack producers who's responsible for a lot of what you hear on 99.5 All Classical.

We hope these ideas prompt you to think through your favorites, which you can submit here!


Feb. 10

One reason I love music is that it's truly indefinable by words. It works through its own self-contained language of emotion that permeates inner territory where words simply fail.  So it's been very inspiring to see all of the musical descriptions coming in from listeners telling us about their favorite classical music. Music can viscerally bring a snapshot moment from our past right back to the present - when you remember sitting in the car with a certain person or waiting to cross a particular street.

One of my favorite pieces of music is Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto, which I heard for the first time standing in our record library here at WGBH in my early days as a production assistant. I was instantly blown away and sucked in by its three declarative chords at the open; its upwardly surging theme, and then its dense and intense piano complement. It was the beginning of a love affair that has only grown for that piece.  And beyond that, it turned me on to lots of other big, bold, chaotic, and melodic piano pieces - like music by Henry Cowell and performances by pianist Marc André Hamelin.

The other end of the spectrum? Bach's Goldberg Variations. The simple beauty of the Aria theme is one that works in pretty much any setting, and it's received lots of them. I was hooked on one of Glen Gould’s recording for a long time, until classical host Brian McCreath turned me on to Simone Dinnerstein's interpretation which has become my favorite ever since. She is not shy about milking every note for its serene elegant beauty.

I can't wait to hear what YOU have to say about your favorite music, and hope you also delight in the music others will share with us throughout the week!

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