If you could go to only one more concert, what would it be?

If you could go to only one more concert, what would it be?


norman lebrecht

May 27, 2020

In my case, I think:

Missy Mazzoli: New work

Beethoven: G major piano concerto

Mahler: 10th symphony (Barshai edition)

Which orchestra? Has to be Vienna Phil.

Your choice?


  • Alma says:

    10th is great choice. Has to be Cooke 3, not Barshai.

  • Major Monarch says:

    Berg: Altenberg Lieder (Anett Fritsch)
    Schoenberg: Piano Concerto (Uchida)
    Bruckner 5
    Conductor: Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic

  • Bill Blake says:

    Gunther Schuller: Dreamscape
    Caroline Shaw: New Work
    Hindemith: Mathis der Maler
    Brahms: Symphony No. 1
    Orchestra: Boston Symphony

  • Madeline says:

    Another one of EARL WILD’S concerts in Carnegie Hall!

  • JT says:

    Can’t pick one, so here are 3:

    1) Earl Wild
    2) Ignaz Friedman
    3)Franz Liszt

  • Roland says:

    Bruckner 7th, the wonderful Herbert Blomstedt conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden or the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich. God may bless him with many more years of conducting and may bless us with listening to his conducting.

  • Morgan says:

    Selections from Phillip Glass

    Beethoven, the last five piano sonatas, Igor Levit.

    Brahms’ piano concerto no. 2, B flat major, Yuja Wang

    Munich Philharmonic

    Nice thought piece.

  • Montblanc says:

    Berg Three Pieces op. 6

    Die Walküre 1st Act in concert with Christine Goerke
    Bluebeard’s Castle in Concert

    Cleveland or Concertgebouw

    • Clevelander says:

      Uh….Christine Goerke as Sieglinde????

    • Bernard says:

      Why the 1st Act of Die Walküre? That leaves out all the best music in the whole of Wagner – the Todesverkündigung scene, and Wotan’s Farewell.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Balakirev symphony no. 1 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Temirkanov. I’ve never had the pleasure of hearing any of them live.

  • SVM says:

    Which orchestra? For me, I would say the Leipzig Gewandhaus, which I have had the revelation of hearing several times (not with the same conductor) in London. Their performance of Messiaen and Mahler under Chailly at the Proms in 2012 was the 2nd-best concert I have heard anywhere ever (to date).

    If it has to be UK-based, I would opt for “any first-rate professional orchestra conducted by Mark Elder”, whom I have had the revelation of hearing several times (not with the same orchestra) in London and Edinburgh. Elder’s semi-staged performance of /Siegfried/ with the Hallé at the Edinburgh Festival in 2018 was the best concert I have heard anywhere ever (to date).

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    I’ve only just — like in the last 48 hours — stumbled onto the recordings of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra led by their now-laureate conductor, the Dutchman Kees Bakels. Their performances of the Kalinnikov and Rimsky-Korsakov symphonies are extraordinary! In the same class as Svetlanov/USSR Symphony. I would travel to the end of the earth to hear this orchestra in person.

    Krzystof Penderecki — who left us in late March — was to have conducted his Polonaise, Adagio for Strings and “Winterreise” horn concerto on May 3 with this orchestra. Wouldn’t that have been something!

    If I could hear/see a concert, it would by the Malaysian Philharmonic under Bakels in September with Marc-Andre Hamelin in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 followed by Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    Bruckner, New York Philharmonic, Barenboim conducting

  • DG says:

    Mozart Requiem. Can’t think of a more fitting last concert.

    Berlin or Vienna Phil.

  • fierywoman says:

    The Andre Watts debut with NY Phil, Bernstein, Brahms 2nd Cto, row E, 1967 or 68; I still can feel how it felt to have that roar of sound wash over my 17 year old body…

  • Inversio Cancrizans says:

    Xenakis: Jonchaies for orchestra

    Performers: Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra / Peter Fletcher


    Has Jonchaies ever received a professional UK performance?

  • Gustavo says:

    Vienna Philharmonic
    Neeme Järvi
    Piano NN

    Stenhammar Excelsior!

    Piano Concerto op. 185

    Symphony E major

    • Ross Amico says:

      That would be a dream concert, indeed! I was lucky enough to hear Järvi conduct the Rott symphony in Philadelphia many years ago. I don’t know that Raff ever wrote a finer piece than that concerto, and yet I have never seen it performed. And the Stenhammar would make for a great opener. I could happily have this be this my last concert too.

      • Gustavo says:

        I was wondering whether the Wiener have ever played Rott.

        Maybe not because Brahms didn’t support Rott.

        Though Mahler was full of praise – and obviously got a great deal of inspiration.

        Langaard with Oramo and John Williams in Vienna: the VPO seems to be at the brink to a new era.

        Time for Rott.

  • Martin Carpenter says:

    Well you’re probably onto something with Missy Mazzoli.

    Thanks for the tip off – and I love her messy bookshelves !


  • Hege says:

    Hindemith: Pittsburgh Symphony
    (performed by Dwight. E. Fredrick middle-school orchestra)

  • RW2013 says:

    Scriabin’s completed Mysterium (the whole week).

  • Cornishman says:

    If it was my last concert, I’d want to try and persuade myself that life might go on in some form. So two unfinished works, Schubert 8 and Bruckner 9. Vienna Philharmonic of course, and a resurrected Wand or a fit Haitink brought out of retirement for the occasion.

  • Jon says:

    Bach: Brandenburg Concertos

    Pucell/Lawes/Sainte-Colombe: pieces for viols

    Played By?: well it’s got to be Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque – but they would probably need to haul in members of Phantasm or, deepest of joys, Jordi Savall if he happens to be passing

  • Rob says:

    Mahler Symphony No 8, conducted by Mahler in Munich, 1910 with an after concert meet and greet with Mahler to say hello and autograph the programme.

    • Gustavo says:

      You probably mean “to say good bye”.

      In this case, you should ask him whether you could have his baton and spectacles as souvenirs.

      And also ask him to sign a leather-bound copy of “Why Mahler?”.

  • Timothy Worrall says:

    Bernstein – Candide Overture;
    Sibelius Violin Concerto;
    Rachmaninoff 2nd Symphony.
    Berlin Phil

  • sam says:

    The Two Tenors Farewell Tour:

    Placido Domingo
    José Carreras
    Zubin Mehta conducting
    Any pickup orchestra will do

    -My Way
    -Nessum Dorma, transposed down a third if need be
    -Medley of Christmas songs (I like Christmas!)

  • Prokofiev Piano concerto 2 (Yeol Eum Son)
    Richard Strauss Tod und Verklärung
    Sibelius Symphony 2
    Conductor: Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra: RCO

  • Amos says:

    Strauss Death & Transfiguration
    Brahms Piano Concerto #1 Leon Fleisher
    Schubert 9th
    George Szell Cleveland Orchestra

  • Mary says:

    Chicago Symphony
    The Ring Without Words (not Maazel’s arrangement, my own)

  • Pedro says:

    I would resuscitate Karajan and take him from Anif to Lucerne for Bruckner 5, 7, 8 or 9, or Haydn 104 and Beethoven 7 which I have heard there in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 85 with the Berlin Phil. I would also rebuild the old hall to get my usual seat at the balcony on the left side near the orchestra.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Why rebuild the old hall? I never went there, but was deeply impressed by the acoustics of the new one. I had the enormous privilege of hearing the LFO under Abbado in 2005, and believe that the acoustics were an integral part of the unforgettable experience.

      • Pedro says:

        I have also been in the new hall, whose acoustics are indeed excellent but in the old hall you could be more involved in the orchestra sound, particularly when seated where I mentioned in your previous post.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Krystian Zimerman piano recital

    Either late Beethoven or late Schubert, or a combination of both

  • Back desk violinist says:

    Last concert: I want to be playing my violin in the orchestra rather than being in the audience.
    The programme is almost impossible to choose, but Dream of Gerontius or Verdi Requiem for choral. Four Last Songs followed by Mahler 1 for orchestral, or Sibelius 1st symphony followed by Elgar Violin Concerto with Nigel Kennedy, after which we’d all go for a drink.

  • Kelvin Grout says:

    My most memorable concert ever was the Beaux Arts trio with Pressler at the South Bank. The only time I ever literally sat on the edge of my stool.

  • Brian viner says:

    Menuhin Beethoven violin concerto . Vienna phil silvestri conducting

  • Robin Mitchell-Boyask says:

    Bruckner 8th, Vienna, Haitink

  • Laura says:

    Lohengrin at Bayreuth

    • Gustavo says:

      … with a masked Placido Domingo singing and conducting at the same time to save costs and reduce the risk of sexual harassment and infections (wet kisses), following too much distraction from his case caused by the COVID-19-crisis.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Mr. Lebrecht: who will conduct?

  • Gustavo says:



    Kurt Moll
    Rene Kollo
    Waltraud Meier

    Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

    Wiener Philharmoniker

    James Levine

  • Gustavo says:

    The VPO conducted by someone who could be bigger than Brahms and who the Austrian press call God.


  • pjl says:

    ELGAR The Apostles ORAMO Stockholm

    Stuart Skelton Roderick Williams Brindley Sherratt Alice Coote Rebecca Evans

  • Don Ciccio says:

    Penderecki: Hymne an den Heiligen Daniel
    Bach: Cantata no. 21, “Ich hatte viel Bekümmerniss”
    Enescu: Syhphony no. 3.

    Christoph von Dohnányi conducting The Philadelphia Orchestra.

    I realize Dohnányi never conducted any of these works, but we’re talking fantasy here, no?

  • David K. Nelson says:

    I’m with Back Desk Violinist – I’d rather play for my last concert. Program? Oh I’d let the conductor decide (might as well keep this real). One of the Haydn “London” Symphonies and a Bach Cantata would be nice. As Stravinsky said, you can smell the rosin in Bach violin parts. But if asked:

    1. New England Triptych by William Schuman (mainly for the second movement)
    2. Violin Concerto No. 5 in A K 219 by Mozart (and if the violinist could play the second movement of Bach Concerto in A Minor or Bach E Major as an encore please?) Franco Gulli on violin would be just fine, or perhaps Ursula Bagdasarjanz would be available. (Unless Lukas David would like to step in for the encore?)
    3. Symphony No. 5 by Vaughn Williams

    The only awkward thing is I’d like to play in the viola section for the William Schuman and then switch to fiddle for the rest.

    For listening, I’d rather hear a violin recital to close out things forever. Maybe a note for note replay of the Milstein/Pludermacher recital I heard in the early 1970s

    Geminiani Sonata
    Bach Unaccompanied Partita No. 2
    Brahms Sonata No. 3
    Beethoven Sonata No. 9 “Kreutzer”

    Liszt/Milstein Consolation was the encore then. I was told his back hurt too much to play more. So for this last concert his back feels great and he plays and plays. For sure the Russian Maiden’s Song by Stravinsky/Dushkin but to close and for the last note ever – Nardini Larghetto.

    I’d be blubbering. I think they’d have to carry me home in a pillowcase.

    • Tom says:

      I heard that Milstein recital too, likely same tour, different city. But it was Schumann a-, not Brahms.

    • Edgar Self says:

      Milstein? Schumann, Brahms? I don’t know and regret never seeing him play, but Milstein was partial to Brahms’s third violin sonata in D minor. He recorded it with his boyhood friend Vladimir Horowitz, a very rare chamber excursion for Horoitz at that time or ver, until the Save Carnegie Hall concert when he joined Isaac Sern and Rostropovich for the variations of Tchaikovsky’s piano trio and adagio of Rachmaninoff cello sonata.

      Wasn’t Milstein’s kinsman a Hollywood film executive under the name Milstone? Surely not Milestone?

      I’d settle for it and the G-major Regen-Sonate that Edwin Fischer and Gioconda de Vito recorded beautifully, issued with Guido gosti in the second.

      Schumann’s violin sonatas are a closed book to me. Any recommendations?

      • David K. Nelson says:

        Edgar, Nathan Milstein was indeed related to the highly regarded Hollywood director Lewis (yes) Milestone. All Quiet on the Western Front is likely his most famous movie, and Nathan M actually visited the set as it was being filmed, but he made many famous ones right into the 1960s. He also directed some well known television programs such as Have Gun Will Travel. Based on photos there is a family resemblance between the two men.

        Horowitz, Milstein and Piatigorsky played a trio performance in New York in 1932. No recording, alas.

        There are three Schumann sonatas for keyboard and violin, although I have seen CDs that claim to contain “the” Schumann sonatas and have only the first two.

        There are many fine violinists who have more or less ignored the Schumann sonatas, or perhaps it is fairer to say, their record companies ignored the Schumann sonatas so they do not appear in the discographies even of artists who play them, such as Milstein according to Tom, above, and the third is the most ignored of all.

        There are many beauties in the music but as was so often the case, Schumann sometimes asked the violin to do things that from a notation standpoint make sense on the keyboard but do not translate well to violin, and to a violin trying to interact with keyboard more particularly.

        The last movement of the Sonata No. 2 is what I am particularly thinking of. This is a BIG sonata by the way, with big ideas and gestures. The young Menuhin memorably recorded the Sonata No. 2 in d minor op. 121 with Hephzibah on 78s and if you can find it, I think you’ll enjoy it. But note how gimpy-legged that third movement can sound.

        For the first Sonata in a minor op. 105 I usually select Max Rostal/Colin Horsley, reissued on CD on the Symposium label, not easy to find now. I happen to like Rostal’s circa 1957 violin playing more than some reviewers do or did. Probably easier to find will be Perlman/Argerich. It is a lovely but curious piece, ending in a movement which just does not feel like a finale but rather like the scherzo that comes before a finale. I wonder how many concert performances end awkwardly – the musicians somehow need to convey “you can applaud now, thank you. It’s over.”

        The third sonata gets a mixed reception, but I happen to enjoy hearing it (I have never seen the sheet music). To be fair it does have a vague air that Schumann was rethinking some things in the first two sonatas – so it is like a revision of an imaginary original.

        Schumann contributed movements to the “group effort” F-A-E sonata that he, Brahms and Dietrich composed as a guessing game at a “welcome back” party for their friend Joseph Joachim. Brahms’s exciting Scherzo (“Sonatensatz”) is often played now but Brahms himself did nothing with it and Joachim retained the music and only had it published well after Brahms’s death (tellingly, he did not have the Schumann movements published). But Schumann used his two movements (and intermezzo and finale) and filled them out with new music to create a complete sonata. For some reason this re-use of the party music, or perhaps the fact that the third sonata was one of those works that was “put away” until about a century after Schumann’s death) has made some people regard that third sonata as a sort of bastard child.

        For all three Schumann sonatas I have not been keeping good track of more recent recordings, but back when I was a reviewer I liked Mark Kaplan and Anton Kuerti on the Arabesque label.

        I remember bringing in the first two Schumann sonatas to my lessons but my teacher admitted that he had never worked on them with any of this famed teachers (Gingold, Piastro, Guilet, Chausow) and did not even have a listening familiarity with them. As a result his suggested fingerings and bowings were purely academic and etude like, and since I could never find a pianist willing to tackle them, I have never been able to arrive at my own way of playing them.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Many stipulate Vienna Philharmonic. I will too. A Furtaengler conert, bcause I never saw him: Gluck overture to Iphigenie in Aulis; Schumann First or Fourth; Brahms Third. Encore: Meistersinger Prelude or Tristan Prelude and Liebestod.

    Reital: Vladimir Sofronitzki all-Scriabin recital: first and second sonata, Impromptu in B-flat minor; Mazurka in E, Etide in E.

    Choral: Schubert partsongs for Maennerchor with guitar and four horns for “Nachtgesang im walde”; Brahms Op. 17 for Frauenchor, harp, and two horns; Brahms “Rinaldo Cantata” and “Triumphlied”., Weber Huntsmen’s Vhorus from “Freischuetz”; “Entry of the Guests” from “Tannhaeuser”.

    Chamber, Liederabende, and Concerto Festival still under consideration

  • Paul Ryan says:

    If I was dying, Westminster Cathedral Choir singing the Durufle Requiem for me.
    Otherwise, Beethoven 9. LSO, out of patriotism? Not too fussed who, so long as it is perfect!

  • Arthur says:


    That’s how you’d spend the time?

  • Cyril says:

    Well since we’re fantasizing, Furtwängler, Erich Kleiber, and Carlos Kleiber each conducting all the Beethoven (minus 9th), Schubert, Brahms and Bruckner symphonies. With any orchestra they chose.

  • christopher storey says:

    Schumann : Manfred Overture

    Elgar : Violin Concerto

    Beethoven : Eroica ( Symphony )

  • John Kelly says:

    Dream concert – Stokowski and the Philadelphians in the 1930s at Carnegie Hall (not the Academy) playing Wagner.

    A rerun of something I actually went to – Carlos Kleiber’s Rosenkavalier at the Met in the early 90s. Absolute heaven.

    • Edgar Self says:

      John Kelly, please use ask Stokowski and the Philadelphians to include their Tannhaeuser Venusburg music and and introduction to Act III on your dream program. You may need a women’s chorus.

  • Daniel Ayala says:

    Actual concert that I attended and want repeated:

    Mahler – Symphony No.9
    Haitink conducting the Chicago Symphony
    Date: 06/04/2011

    Fantasy Concert:
    Weber – Overture to Der Freischutz – BPO Karajan
    Ravel – Daphnis et Chloe Suite No.2 (with chorus) – BSO Ozawa
    Elgar – Cello Concerto – LSO Previn
    Shostakovich – Symphony No.11- RCO Haitink

  • Scott says:

    A concert performance of Wozzeck conducted by James Levine