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Our Listening Tour of Music History


Photo: Patrick Castillo

You’re probably already familiar with our Listening Library, which offers free access to SPCO concert recordings.

There’s no such thing as too much good music, but with more than 250 pieces, the Listening Library has a lot to explore. For this reason, we’re excited to offer a new series of recommended listening playlists. Patrick Castillo, the Broolyn-based composer and writer who you may remember as our former Senior Director of Artistic Planning, has curated ten playlists, which we’ll share in the coming weeks.

We begin the series today with A History of Western Music (in brief). As Patrick describes it:

This playlist offers a snapshot of three centuries of Western music—necessarily an abbreviated one, but designed as a gateway for further exploration and discovery of what music piques your ears. Starting with music by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Baroque composer par excellence, and Joseph Haydn, the father of the Classical style, the playlist proceeds to two of the Romantic period’s quintessential voices in Schubert and Brahms. The Chamber Symphony no. 1 of Arnold Schoenberg—himself among Brahms’s greatest admirers—represents early twentieth-century modernism, and has an audible descendant in the Chamber Symphony of John Adams, a boisterous document of the musical landscape at the turn of the twenty-first century.

As Patrick noted, the list is meant to be a starting point as you explore the music available in the Listening Library. Enjoy!