12 thoughts on “the 20th Century’s most thrilling musical moment?

  1. guyrickards

    The first appearance of the ‘Swan Hymn Beyond Compare’ in the finale of Sibelius’ 5th Symphony; the Alleuia brass climax in Hindemith’s ‘Mathis der maler’ (symphony & opera); that opening G major chord at the start of the Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis that always takes my breath away every time I hear it…; the ‘Blood that is my blood’ aria finally set properly as Busoni intended in Beaumont’s completion of Doktor Faust? Take your pick!!! 🙂


  2. MattGroom

    The close of Gerhard’s 3rd Symphony which seems to bring the piece back to the inspiration for the beginning, which was Gerhard seeing the sun rising on a aeroplane.
    The full orchestral crescendo in Wozzeck, leading to the manic bar room piano. The final grinding fugue (at least I think it’s a fugue) in Vaughan Williams 4th. The mob chanting “Peter Grimes… Grimes!!” The build-up to the final hammer in Mahler 6. The close of Schoenberg’s Variation.


    1. Quite a list Matt – I’d add the tiered choral portrayal of God in Moses und Aron, and the utterly desolate close of VW6. And Shostakovich 8, the transition from the 3rd to 4th movements … as devastating as any music since the turn of the last century (Mravinsky’s 40s recording on Profil tells it as it is). Very best. Rob.


  3. BertieRussell

    I endorse the Sibelius Swan Hymn suggestion given above. I would also include the awe-inspiring main theme from the 1st movement of Mahler’s 10nth, and the two themes from the 1st movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto.


      1. BertieRussell

        I’ll stick with the mainstream composers for a little while longer to recommend another two personal favourites: the Largo from Shostakovich’s 5th symphony, especially the opening melody that sounds like an orthodox hymn and the last section of Ravel’s Mother Goose. Also how have we failed to mention the Ruckert-Lieder ?


  4. Too true. And could I also put in a plea for Max Reger’s glorious Mozart Variations and Fugue, the fugue in particular quite drunk on its own exuberance (rather like the fugue from Weinberger’s Schwanda, which was surely influenced by it)


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