Brett Stewart’s Top 5 Album Favorites

The Last 5 of Our Favorite Things

1. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 – “Pathetique;” Leonard Bernstein & New York Philharmonic On iTunes
Anything by Tchaikovsky is godly, and the sixth symphony is without a doubt the inspiration for infinite composers and compositions that followed. I listen to Tchaikovsky whenever I need inspiration as a composer. Just listen to the 3rd movement (Allegro Molto Vivace) and tell me John Williams didn’t know this piece well when he composed the Star Wars and Superman theme songs!

2. Brahms Symphony No.3; Chicago Symphony Orchestra & Daniel Barenboim On iTunes
I love movie scores, and Brahms was a movie score composer before movies even existed. Brahms symphonies are Sunday music listening for my family. The music is so picturesque that I close my eyes and I am transported to a multitude of beautiful places. The 3rd symphony movements 2 and 3 are particularly haunting.

3. Amadeus: The Complete Original Soundtrack Recording; Sir Neville Marriner & St. Martin-in-the-Fields On Amazon
Like I said, I love movie scores. This soundtrack is entirely the music of Mozart, and Mozart was the stand-alone composer of his time (in my mind) that understood how to really compose a melody—one that can make you weep. Many of the great Mozart compositions are on this soundtrack, so it’s a great collection to have!

4. The Spirituals of William L. Dawson; Anton Armstrong & The St. Olaf Choir On iTunes
African-American spirituals are one of my favorite genres of choral music, and The St. Olaf Choir is one of my favorite choral sounds. How can I not love this album?!

5. The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 6 – Dohnanyi On Amazon
This is actually one of the top 3 cherished albums I have ever purchased. Dohnanyi, that contemporary composer still lost in the Romantic era, just speaks my exact musical language (or I speak his!). I am enchanted by the 2nd piano concerto. Haunting, beautiful, uniquely contemporary music with a refusal to give up the best of what Romanticism had to offer.