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Maestro Playlists - Water Music

August 26, 2020

By Gerard Schwarz

Hi everyone,

The Symphony has invited me to create a playlist of recordings that I like, mostly from my own recorded history. Each list will have a theme and very often you will be able to find commentary from my Musically Speaking series that can be found on iTunes. I feel sure that there are other places to find educational information if you are interested.

Happy listening!

Water Music

Water has had a great influence on composers since the Baroque period. The most famous work of that time is Handel's three Water Music Suites. Each one has a special character, the first is the most famous with its use of the horns and its famous Air movement. The second adds trumpets to the brilliance and the third is much more subtle with important solos for the flute and piccolo. I did this recording with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in the early 1980s and created an edition full of virtuosic ornamentation, especially for all of the winds in the ensemble:

La Mer

My next suggestion is probably the most famous, La Mer by Debussy. This is his most famous work and among his masterpieces. His use of the orchestra to create the sounds of the sea is remarkable.

Further interesting listening:

Alan Hovhaness wrote a wonderful work, And God Created Great Whales. When we recorded this work, the team from Delos records commissioned a new, and I think much better representation of the Whale's songs prescribed by the composer:

Alexander Zemlinsky

A composer who is not well known today but really excellent is Alexander Zemlinsky. Among his best works is The Mermaid. If you have time, listen to Ricardo Chailly's excellent recording that can be found on YouTube. Zemlinsky's life was very interesting and he died in Larchmont, NY in 1942.

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