Do y'all love the olympics as much as I do? Summer, Winter, I love them both. But when the winter olympics come around, I LOVE to watch figure skating. Figure skating is awesome enough, but the music selections are what I really love. And the 2018 Peongchang olympics were no exception. I watched every minute of figure skating that I could, and I was beyond thrilled to hear so many string-heavy selections. There were so many great songs, but I'm going to round up a few of my favorites below. So crank up your Spotify or YouTube, because you're going to want to listen to these tunes!
photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty
First up we have probably my #1 favorite song of the games, which was selected by Mirai Nagasu of the USA. (GO USA!!!) She skated to Nocturne no. 20 in c#minor by Chopin. Originally written for piano, it has been adapted for violin and is now part of standard violin literature. PLEASE go listen to this piece! Your heart will break of beautifulness.
Nicole Schott of Germany skated to the theme from the movie Schindler's List by John Williams. Possibly one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, it was famously recorded by one of the greatest violinists alive today, Itzhak Perlman. Seriously, look up his performance on YouTube and tell me how much your soul could not contain the gorgeousness.
Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazhakstan skated to Carmen Fantasie as performed by the violinist David Gerrett. Garrett is a very popular violinist who often gives a modern twist to classical favorites. Requiring technical skill of virtuosic proportions, this piece is super exciting and worth a listen.
photo: nbc olympics
Finishing first overall and earning herself a gold medal, Alina Zagitova skated to Don Quixote, which is a very famous ballet. It was exciting to hear so many classical standards played at these games! There were a lot of selections from operas and famous ballets during these Olympic games, like Tchaokovsky's Swan Lake. Yay classical music!!!
Michael Christian Martinez of the Philipines skated to a song that really took me back to my childhood. He chose Emerald Tiger by the fusion violinist Vanessa Mae. I absolutely LOVED Vanessa Mae when I was young. She is a "fusion" violinist, meaning that she combines classical training with non-classical music. I was super inspired by her when I was young, and I listened to her cds until they were warped. Her music is so fun and worth a listen!
photo: nbc olympics
Una Shoma of Japan finished 2nd overall and earned a silver medal. He skated to a VERY famous classical piece: Winter from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. The Four Seasons was written in 4 parts, with each part representing a different season. We frequently perform movements from each season, and Winter is actually one of my favorites!
Dmitri Aliev of the OAR skated to another famous classical selection: Masquerade Waltz by Khatchaturian. Masquerade Waltz is a very fun and exciting piece written for orchestra. Khatchaturian is also famous for writing an awesome violin concerto, which I also highly recommend for listening fun.
This brings me to another one of my VERY FAV tunes. (Although I feel like I keep saying that each one is my favorite, haha. But this time I'm serious!) Misha Ge of Uzbekistan skated to Massanet's Meditation from Thais. I cannot overstate how much I love this piece. We play this piece every chance we get because it is just that beautiful. It features violin melody lines that are so beautiful your ears will be in a constant state of disbelief. If we have ever played your wedding, there is a good chance we played this at some point. It's so pretty!!
I could ramble on for hours about all the great string and orchestral music I heard during the 2018 olympic figure skating events, but I will wrap it up with my favorite from pairs skating. Astakhova/Rogonov of the OAR skated to a medley, but it began with one of my all-time favorite pieces of music: Adagio for Strings by Barber. If you have never heard it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you look it up. It's one of those songs that is so beautiful but tragically sad at the same time. But mostly it's just soul crushingly beautiful.
Thanks for reading along! Let me know if you fall in love with any of these tunes. Yay strings!!!!!
I'm already excited for Beijing 2022!