POTW: Classical Music

Classical music, with its soothing instrumentals and melodies, is exactly what you need to get through a stressful week at Andover. This week, The Phillipian interviewed numerous musicians around campus to find out what their favorite classical music pieces are.

Brandon Fu ’25: “Carmen: Overture” by Georges Bizet
“I grew up a Formula One racing fan, and when someone would get on to the podium or win a race, ‘Carmen: Overture’ would play and they would spray champagne everywhere. Those are some of my fondest memories as a child, so I grew up listening to it… It’s very positive, uplifting, and cheery. I think it’s the first movement. [The] first thing you actually hear, in the opera itself. So, it’s a very bold and bouncy tune, and I really like it.”

Audrey Sun ’23: “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams
“It’s just really beautiful… All these different colors and sounds, and they’re all melting into this landscape. So the background of the story is this poem about a lark, and it’s set in England. It’s about the landscapes and the hills and stuff. I’ve never been, but the images that the music evokes are beautiful and I heard that the lark in that area is considered the harbinger of spring. Right now, around the beginning of spring, it’s very appropriate. Just the way the piece begins quietly, then it builds to a climax and comes back down.”

Alana Chiang ’24: “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major” by Franz Liszt.
“I really like piano concertos just because it’s an opportunity for pianists to actually engage with the orchestra, because that’s not things we usually do. I really like it because of the flashy chords and octaves that the pianists usually play within [a] piece… My favorite part of this piece is its second movement. It’s because it’s a slow movement and I really love the melody because it’s really lyrical throughout.”

Ellie Sun ’25: “String Quartet in F major” by Maurice Ravel
“I played the second movement this past summer. It’s like all pizzicato. I’ve never played a piece like it before and I really liked how even with just the pizz and a few other elements, it was able to create a really interesting texture that was able to become a part of the melody that flowed on top of it. The whole vibe of the piece was also something that I really enjoyed listening to and all the different elements: there’s very long, beautiful phrasing and the pizzicato in the second movement just makes it so beautiful.”

Sophia Geng ’25: “Violin Concerto in D” by Igor Stravinsky
“When my past violin professor, Victor Danchenko, passed away in 2020, a lot of his college students were in the process of learning this concerto. Since the pandemic, many have gone on to perform this incredible work with orchestras in loving memory of him and for the past few years, I’ve enjoyed listening to their different interpretations a lot… I’d describe this piece as being very brilliant and energetic, but also slightly humorous and ironic in a way.”