The Five: an introduction

Rimsky Korsakov. 1/5 of the original The Five

The Five is a feature I intended to start back in July. The feature was supposed to start with the musicians of the Seattle Chamber Music Society. It never able to take off because of the scheduling challenges presented by an always changing line up of musicians.

I wish I could say the idea for the Five is wholly mine, its not. One of my favorite sections in BBC Music Magazine is the column Music That Changed Me. Every issue ends with a musician — famous or not — sharing with readers the three to five albums or pieces of music that changed them.

Each time I finished reading Music That Changed Me I felt like I had been exposed to the inner musical sanctum of whoever the BBC editors had chosen to pen the column that month. In April it was the conductor Antonio Pappano. He shared with readers the first time he ever heard Tristan und Isolde. Pappano described Tristan as a dangerous piece of music and like Liszt under your fingers. I think music lovers appreciate insights like this more than the same old profile pieces that you and I have read hundreds of times.

Named after the five Russian composers – Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Borodin and Balakirev, The Five is a blog twist on BBC Music Magazine’s Music That Changed Me. Periodically, I will ask musicians five questions about pieces of music that are important to them or impacted them in some way. Their answers will be published here for your reading pleasure.

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