Thursday, March 02, 2017

Anniversary day: Lucky 13

JDCMB is 13 years old today! To celebrate, I thought we could show that 13 is sometimes very lucky indeed, so I've assembled 13 of the best 13-related pieces I know, aided and abetted by some friends.

The restrictions are: first, I'm leaving out the more depressing 13s - with apologies to their fans, but this is a birthday celebration! - such as Rachmaninoff's Symphony No.1, which is great but got off to a terrible start in life, Brahms's 'Funeral Ode' Op.13, No.13 from Schubert's Schwanengesang which is 'Der Doppelganger', and Shostakovich's Symphony No.13, 'Babi Yar', a towering work which deals with a horrendous massacre in Ukraine during WWII. And secondly, no composer can have two entries except Beethoven.

To offer a nod to a few other omissions, it was tempting to include the whole of Wagner's 13th opera, Parsifal, but we'd be here all day; George Crumb's 'Black Angels', which involves numerology around 13 and 7, but would need explaining; and I was intrigued by being offered bar 13 of the Andante in Haydn's last string quartet, which includes some particularly exquisite writing. Many thanks to everyone who wrote in with suggestions!

13. Beethoven: Piano Sonata Op.13, 'Pathétique' (Daniel Barenboim)

12. Korngold: Sursum corda, Op.13 (BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Mathias Bamert)

11. Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, composed in 1913 (Pina Bausch Dance Company)

10. Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, Op.13 (Calidore Quartet)

9. Chopin: Nocturne No.13 in C minor (Martha Argerich)

8. Britten: Piano Concerto Op.13 (Benjamin Grosvenor/Vladimir Jurowski)

7. Messiaen: Noel - Vingt Regards sur l'enfant Jesus No. 13 (Yvonne Loriod)

6. Bach: Goldberg Variation No.13 (Grigory Sokolov)

5. Schumann: Etudes Symphoniques, Op.13 (Alfred Cortot)

4. Ligeti: Etude No.13, 'L'escalier du diable' (Pierre-Laurent Aimard)

3. Fauré: Violin Sonata No.1 in A major, Op.13 (Jacques Thibaud & Alfred Cortot)

2. Mozart: Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments - III (Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields/Neville Marriner)

1. Beethoven: String Quartet No.13, Op.130 (Artemis Quartet)