For a variety of reasons Autumn is my favorite season, especially here in Maryland. As the trees change color and the sunset shows off muted pinks and amber I’m constantly amazed by the light show. The Autumn leaves punctuate the season for me. Their smells and colors are rich with the season and a great comfort.
I tend to associate certain pieces of music with this season which remind me of Autumn leaves. Like the famous album leaf, Fur Elise by Beethoven, my Autumn leaves are fairly short but not restricted to the piano. Here is a list of my current 10 favorites:
1. Gnossiennes By Satie are 6-7 piano pieces that are reminiscent of Satie’s Gymnopedies in their personal and appealing nature. These meditative sounding leaves take you to a quiet place within yourself.
2. Simple Gifts, one of Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs reminds me of Thanksgiving and gratitude.
3. Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G Major. Like the colors of Autumn, the viola is warm and muted. Telemann’s Concerto suits the viola and this season perfectly.
4. The fourth and final movement of Respighi’s Church Windows, Saint Gregory the Great. There is anticipation of the climax in the movement that reminds me of childhood excitement and fantasy waiting for Christmas in November.
5. The Largo from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. Dvorak wrote the symphony while living in the United States. The largo was turned into a song called Goin’ Home by one of Dvorak’s American students, William Arms Fisher.
6. Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus by Vaughan Williams reminds me of a warm quilt.
7. Virgil Thomson’s Autumn Concertino for harp, strings, and percussion. Yes, the title strikes a chord with me but so does the music.
8. Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. This is the long one on the list and by no means and album leaf. Finished in 1948, this was some of the last music written by the 84 year old Strauss. Every time I hear this composition it’s as moving and new as an Autumn Sunset.
9. Night Ride and Sunrise by Jean Sibelius is an evocative symphonic poem where a person is riding in the forest in time to meet the dawn.
10. Autumn in all its wine loving, shining and frolicking glory from The Seasons Ballet by Glazunov illuminates exactly how I feel about this most wonderful time of year.
album leaf, Autumn, Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, Gnossiennes, Simple Gifts