Anyone with an interest in classical music must see this amazing travelogue, which explores some of Europe’s most beautiful cities and the composers whose lives and music had such a great impact upon them. It includes 13 episodes (5 ½ hours total time) with over 14 major destinations, including my favorites, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Venice. It features many well-known composers, like Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi as well as some lesser-known composers, like Sibelius and Shostakovich.
Classical Destinations takes you on a grand tour of the places and the music that made these composers famous. The places include many of the famous buildings and landmarks of Europe where these composers lived and worked, including St. Mark’s Square in Venice, the Schönbrunn palace in Vienna, and the Old Town of Prague. You are also taken on a tour of some of the most beautiful landscapes of Europe, like the fjords in Norway and the Moldau River in the Czech Republic that inspired composers like Grieg and Smetana to compose some of their greatest music.
The music, of course, is glorious, and it is infused throughout the tour. When you visit St. Mark’s Square, you are treated to an excerpt of Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine and Vivaldi’s “La Primavera:” Concerto for Violin and Strings in E Major. When you tour Vienna, which was the music and cultural capital of the world for hundreds of years, you will get to hear music from several great composers who made Vienna their home, like Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, and Mahler.
Classical Destinations is narrated by the actor Simon Callow, with help from Matt Wills and Niki Vasilakis. Niki plays the violin part in the wonderful Classical Destinations theme tune and also plays her violin at many of the destinations. The series was filmed in HD (high-definition) quality video, so the picture and the sound are top quality.
I loved this travelogue and I hope you will take the time to watch, listen, and experience these classical destinations. My only regret is that it did not cover more of the great destinations of Europe, particularly Paris, where many of the great French composers like Berlioz and Saint-Saens lived and worked. Hopefully there will be a Classical Destinations 2 sometime in the near future. But this one is an excellent introduction to the world of classical music. Highly recommended.
Check the WRL catalog for Classical Destinations.