WQXR'S Classical Countdown
Jude Wanniski
January 26, 2000


To: Classical Music Beginners
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: WQXR's millennial selections

In the last three years, just before Christmas, I have run a "Memo on the Margin" to our website fans and browsers who always have wanted to get more interested in classical music and did not know how to go about it. The memo explains how it happened to me in 1949, when I was 13, and offers the ten different pieces I first fell in love with. The memo has received considerable praise, with many of you having taken the plunge, and some asking for the next ten pieces on my recommended list. In response, I present this list for 44 selections that were in the December 30/31 "Millennial Classical Countdown" of WQXR, the classical radio station of The New York Times. It has been a tradition at the station to run the selections its listeners consider their favorites, in reverse order, with the most favorite played in the last hour before the new year. (It is always Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.) The reason it has taken so long to do this is I had to badger the station into completing its listing, which it did yesterday. I suspect the person who does the listing was celebrating on New Year's Eve and forgot to do it.

There may be better classical radio stations in the world, but I don't know any better than "QXR," as I've called it since I began listening to it on a regular basis 50 years ago... when I was within its signal range. Of course, now, through the Internet, you can go to WQXR.com and listen to it from almost everywhere on earth. Even if you are not interested in classical music, you can print out the list and save it until you have time for this kind of thing -- or e-mail it to a friend you know is a music lover or wannabe.

The list is not exactly the one I would draw up for my own millennial countdown, but it is surprisingly close. One of these days, I will do a memo on how to get into grand opera. My wife Patricia and I went to the Metropolitan Opera Monday night to see and hear a gorgeous performance of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, which will be this Saturday's live performance on the Texaco radio broadcast -- which you can probably pick up anywhere in the states via PBS or on the Internet via QXR. It actually was the first opera I saw, when my Uncle Vince took me to the NY City Opera when I was 17. I remember it as quite a spectacle, but thought it probably was not the best opera to get me into an appreciation. I got into opera in a big way after seeing a movie version of Tales of Hoffman by Jacques Offenbach. So that was the opera I used on my three children when they were still in short pants -- playing it so often that they began to ask me to play it when I got home from work. Needless to say, they are all fans of grand opera today. So try the movie, if you can find the version with Robert Helpman and Robert Rounseville. Second best is a videotape with Placido Domingo as Hoffman. I'll expand the list one of these days.

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TCHAIKOVSKY Concerto for Piano No 1 in B flat, Op 23 Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra C: Kondrashin, Kiril Philips 446 673 2

WAGNER Tristan and Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod Metropolitan Opera Orchestra C: Levine, James Deutsche Grammophon 447 764-2

ORFF Carmina Burana: Part 3, The Court of Love Philharmonia Orchestra C: Muti, Riccardo EMI CDC 7 47100 2

MAHLER Symphony No 1 in D "Titan" Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam C: Bernstein, Leonard Deutsche Grammophon 427 303-2

BACH Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 CBS MK 37779

VERDI La Traviata: Act I- Ah, fors' lui... Sempre libera São Carlos National Theatre Orchestra, Lisbon C: Ghione, Franco EMI ZDMB 5 66628 2

RACHMANINOFF Symphony No 2 in E, Op 27 Kirov Opera Orchestra C: Gergiev, Valery Philips 438 864-2

BACH St Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Excerpts English Baroque Soloists C: Gardiner, John Eliot Archiv 439 885-2

BACH Concerto for Violins(2) in D, BWV 1043 New York Philharmonic C: Mehta, Zubin Sony Classical SMK 66471 12/30/99 1:52 pm

TCHAIKOVSKY Nutcracker Suite, Op 71a New York Philharmonic C: Bernstein, Leonard Sony Classical SMK 63162

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No 5 in E, Op 64 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra C: Gergiev, Valery Philips 462 905-2

TCHAIKOVSKY Overture 1812, Op 49 Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra C: Temirkanov, Yuri RCA 60739-2-RC

MENDELSSOHN Concerto for Violin in E, Op 64 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic C: Pesek, Libor Classic FM 75605-57016-2

MAHLER Symphony No 5 in C# Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra C: Boulez, Pierre Deutsche Grammophon 453 416-2

HANDEL Water Music (Complete) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra C: Muti, Riccardo EMI CDR 5 69809 2

BRAHMS Symphony No 1 in C, Op 68 Houston Symphony Orchestra C: Eschenbach, Christoph Virgin Classics ZDMB 5 61360 2

SIBELIUS Finlandia, Op 26 London Symphony Orchestra C: Davis, Sir Colin RCA 09026-68770-2

MOZART Magic Flute, K 620: Overture Royal Philharmonic Orchestra C: Davis, Sir Colin Seraphim CDE 5 69027-2

BRAHMS Symphony No 4 in E, Op 98 Chicago Symphony Orchestra C: Barenboim, Daniel Erato 4509-95194-2

SIBELIUS Symphony No 2 in D, Op 43 London Symphony Orchestra C: Davis, Sir Colin RCA 09026-68218-2

BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin in D, Op 61 Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra C: Karajan, Herbert von Deutsche Grammophon 453 707-2 12/30/99 9:45 pm

MOZART Don Giovanni, K 527: Overture Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam C: Harnoncourt, Nikolaus Teldec 4509-95523-2

HOLST The Planets, Op 32 Montreal Symphony Orchestra C: Dutoit, Charles London 460 606-2

COPLAND Appalachian Spring (1945 Suite) Boston Symphony Orchestra C: Copland, Aaron RCA 09026-61505-2

VERDI Messa da Requiem: Agnus Dei Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse C: Plasson, Michel EMI 56460 2

SCHUBERT Quintet for Piano & Strings in A, D 667, "Trout" Hagen Quartet, members London 411 975-2

RACHMANINOFF Concerto for Piano No 2 in C, Op 18 Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra C: Wistocki, Stanislaw Deutsche Grammophon 447 420-2

BACH Mass in B, BWV 232: Excerpts English Baroque Soloists C: Gardiner, John Eliot Archiv

RAVEL Bolero Detroit Symphony Orchestra C: Paray, Paul Mercury 434 306-2

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No 6 in B, Op 74 "Pathtique" Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra C: Mravinsky, Yevgeny Deutsche Grammophon 447 423-2

MOZART Symphony No 41 in C, K 551 "Jupiter" Staatskapelle Dresden C: Davis, Sir Colin Philips 410 046-2

MOZART Symphony No 40 in G, K 550 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra C: Muti, Riccardo Philips 434 107-2

BEETHOVEN Symphony No 3 in E Flat, Op 55 "Eroica"Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra C: Karajan, Herbert von Deutsche Grammophon 453 701-2

PUCCINI La Boheme: Act I- Che gelida manina...Mi chiamano Mimi Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orch C: Davis, Sir Colin Philips 446 822-2

MOZART Requiem in D, K 626 Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra C: Abbado, Claudio Deutsche Grammophon 289 462 181-2

MOZART Marriage of Figaro, K 492: Act III- Dove sono Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields C: Marriner, Neville Philips 446 712-2

BACH Brandenburg Concerti (Complete)Academie fr Alte Musik Berlin Harmonia Mundi HMC 901 634.35

BEETHOVEN Concerto for Piano No 5 in E Flat, Op 73 "Emperor" Toronto Symphony C: Ancerl, Karel Sony Classical SMK 52687

HANDEL Messiah: Highlights Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus C: Solti, Sir Georg London 460 605-2

BEETHOVEN Symphony No 7 in A, Op 92 Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig C: Masur, Kurt Philips 416 282-2

BEETHOVEN Symphony No 6 in F, Op 68 "Pastorale" Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra C: Karajan, Herbert von Deutsche Grammophon 453 701-2

VIVALDI The Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni), Op 8 (complete) Trondheim Soloists C: Mutter, Anne-Sophie Deutsche Grammophon 289 463 259-2

DVORAK Symphony No 9 in E, Op 95 "From the New World" Cleveland Orchestra C: Dohnnyi, Christoph von London 414 421-1

BEETHOVEN Symphony No 5 in C, Op 67 Philharmonia Orchestra C: Ashkenazy, Vladimir London 460 603-2

BEETHOVEN Symphony No 9 in D, Op 125 "Choral" Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra C: Bernstein, Leonard Deutsche Grammophon 423 481-2