We asked our musicians to share their favorite concert music to set the mood for Valentine’s Day. Here’s what they told us! We hope you hear something new to make your heart beat faster, or rediscover an ‘old love’ on this list to share with someone special.
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“What immediately comes to mind is Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. It is a special piece to us because early in our relationship during a vacation on the Cape, one particularly clear evening, we laid out on a hammock and listened to a recording of the sextet while we watched stars fill the night sky. It was an experience that I will always remember, and performing the piece last week with TŌN reminded us of this beautiful moment that we share.” —Dillon
“The poem behind Verklärte Nacht is one that portrays the most noble and beautiful kind of love. Love that is accepting and transforming. Schoenberg does a pretty good job at capturing the drama and resolution of the text.” —Mariya
“I have heard it performed live just once before and it immediately affected me deeply. David Lang uses single words and small groupings of words from the Song of Songs, the text of intensely passionate love from the Old Testament—so in that sense the connection to Valentine’s Day is obvious! But for me, beyond this, the song is also about how we as humans experience love and how we practice love. The three voices begin alone with a simple and transfixing delivery of simple lines of text. The rhythm always has a feeling of a cradle rocking back and forth, or of two people in an embrace swaying gently. As the song goes on, lines of text are repeated and become familiar. The story is perhaps changing as the strings and percussion become increasingly involved throughout the song, but the lovers are staying just as close or growing closer. This reminds me of the way we notice the qualities we love about our partners over and over again. And the act of uttering aloud to one another what we love about them is the practice of building upon a love connection.” —Lucas
Wagner Siegfried Idyll
TŌN trumpet player Guillermo Garcia Cuesta ’21 and Estefany Carrillo
“Wagner wrote it as a birthday present for his wife, and performed it on her birthday as she woke up.” —Guillermo
“We love Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier (or the orchestral suite version) as a piece for Valentine’s Day. It’s an amazing rom-com with a happy ending, which is rare for opera. The music is so lushly romantic—perfect for that Valentine’s Day feeling!” —Katelyn
Fritz Kreisler Liebesleid
TŌN violist Sean Flynn ’22 and Nico
“Fritz Kreisler’s Liebesleid for violin and piano is maybe a bit of an ironic choice for a Valentine’s Day playlist in that the English title is Love’s Sorrow. Despite that, this piece evokes to me the full gamut of emotions one can feel while in love: nostalgia, warmth, bittersweet-ness, tenderness. It’s certainly sentimental, but not overly sappy and that’s why I enjoy it so much. When I hear the piece, I can’t help but picture my wife and me just sitting in a French café and sharing a simple moment together, and I think it’s these sorts of simple moments that will always be most memorable to me.” —Sean
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
TŌN bassoonist Cheryl Fries ’22 and Rajan Panchal
“My perfect Valentine’s Day concert music would definitely be music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet. My last Valentine’s Day pre-pandemic was spent going to Swan Lake at the New York City Ballet with my boyfriend Rajan, who is also a musician. Not only is it a special memory for us, but the romantic story line and beautifully enchanting music would make anyone’s Valentine’s Day more magical. Make an evening out of watching the ballet from the comfort of your home with whomever you hold special to you!” —Cheryl
“To me, Daphnis et Chloé is one of the best musical love stories out there. Even without watching dancers, you can hear the passion the characters feel in the music. Ravel is one of the best text-painters out there, and the epic fantasy tale of Daphnis fighting his way to rescue his love Chloe is so clear through the music, I’ll never get tired of reliving this love story.” —Celia
“CJ and I listened to many recordings of this piece early on when we started dating, and it is a shared favorite of ours. It has a beautiful cello melody at the opening and hearing it takes us back to when we first started spending time together as more than just studio mates at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.” —Sara
Franz Liszt Un sospiro
TŌN cellist Eva Roebuck ’22
“Un sospiro translates to A Sigh. What starts out as a fairly simple melody quickly expands into a lush, rhapsodic, and sweeping display of virtuosity, all the while evoking a dreamy atmosphere. True to its title, the ending of the piece never fails to leave me sighing. It reminds me of that feeling of contentedness when you’ve just shared a blissful moment of closeness with a loved one. “
R. Strauss Morgen!
TŌN cellist Eva Roebuck ’22
“This is a relatively short piece, but has some of the most tender and romantic lyrics of any piece I’ve heard. This piece, to me, is an embodiment of profound love, peace, optimism, and beautiful times yet to come. The text translation is simply as follows:
“And tomorrow the sun will shine again
And on the path that I shall take,
It will unite us, happy ones, again,
Amid this same sun-breathing earth …
And to the shore, broad, blue-waved,
We shall quietly and slowly descend,
Speechless we shall gaze into each other’s eyes,
And the speechless silence of bliss shall fall on us . . .”
Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe Chant d’hiver (Wintersong)
TŌN violinist Nicole Oswald ’22
Aram Khachaturian Adagio from Spartacus
TŌN violist Batmyagmar Erdenebat ’21