Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 2)


First, I forgot to mention something in my last post: the way I’m describing and “interpreting” the music should be understandable by anyone and everyone.  You don’t have to know anything about classical music in order to “decode” the emotions or actions it’s communicating.  That famous quote about music being a “universal language?” Well, there’s some truth to that.

There are, however, some requirements for understanding the music, which I will go into now:

  1. Have you grown up within a Western musical culture? (Ex: Do you listen to pop or rock music? Have you ever seen a movie that used a soundtrack in the background? Have you ever watched TV or seen commercials that use music?)

Yup, that’s it.  That’s all you need.  You’ve been trained your whole life to recognize “happy” and “sad” music, and in general to connect certain types of music to certain types of feelings or actions.

Okay, time to get off my soap box and just tell you the story:


Holberg Suite, Op. 40: II. Sarabande (Andante) by Edvard Grieg

General Story:

The opening theme is so hopeful and beautiful (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this piece?)—it sounds like someone is daydreaming and/or in love.

(0:55) It’s not all daisies and sunshine, though. After all, if someone’s filled with hope then they aren’t completely satisfied and happy at that moment…

(1:44) But now the hopeful parts soar even more with increased longing! It’s like when you realize that you can’t have something you really want: instead of giving up you start to feel like it’s the only thing in the world that could ever satisfy you.

Anna Karenina:

Anna has fallen in love with Vronsky, but she feels trapped in her marriage to Alexei Alexandrovitch. Yet the more she realizes the impossibility of their love, the more passionate her love becomes.

Do you hear the story going a different way? What do you think the third movement will be like?

Stay tuned for the next installment…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s