I was first exposed to classical music in my grandfather’s sunroom. He kept his record player there, and often the first thing I would see upon entering his house was the silhouette of his hands held aloft over his bald head, conducting along with a recording of one of his favorite pieces – usually a schmaltzy Romantic concerto or symphony. Here is a playlist consisting of some of the recordings (most made in the 1940s and 50s) I remember listening to while sitting on the floor next to him.
Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto, played by Arthur Rubinstein
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, played by Vladimir Horowitz
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony ( “Pathétique”), conducted by Fritz Reiner
Sergei Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, both played by Arthur Rubinstein
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, played by David Oistrakh
Antonin Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony (“From the New World), conducted by Fritz Reiner
Matthew Silverstein is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at New York University.