Johan de Meij

Explore the first playlist in our brand-new All Stars series!

In this series, some of our - and your - favorite contemporary artists, composers, and musicians will let you take an exclusive sneak peek into their favorite musical works through specially curated playlists. We're kicking things off with none other than the great Dutch conductor and composer Johan de Meij, whose CineSymphony: Planet Earth you can now stream on Join us as we delve into Johan's musical picks, featuring luminaries like Beethoven, Mahler, Bernstein, Dvořák, and an array of other greats.


Prokofiev - Suite No. 2 from Romeo & Juliet

  • MaestroYuri Temirkanov
  • OrquestraRoyal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoKonserthuset Stockholm

Prokofiev's timeless Shakespeare suite.

Suite No. 2 from 'Romeo and Juliet' is a shining hallmark of Sergei Prokofiev's legacy in classical music and the arts. Among the three suites the Russian composer and pianist penned for his most famous ballet, the second is undoubtedly the better known. After all, even the most unattentive of listeners prick up their ears to the bold and menacing opening theme, which captures the essence of Shakespeare's feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Here, the suite is revisited by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, masterfully led by Prokofiev’s fellow countryman Yuri Temirkanov in the beautiful Konserthuset Stockholm.


Tchaikovsky - Fifth at Tanglewood

  • MaestroLeonard Bernstein
  • OrquestraBoston Symphony Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoTanglewood

Bernstein honors Koussevitzky.

Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony was recorded at the Tanglewood Festival in 1974 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Serge Koussevitzky. Leonard Bernstein conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Tchaikovsky's Fifth was one of Koussevitzky's warhorses during the many years in which he led the Boston Symphony. 'It was like Koussevitzky's signature, his theme song, one of his national hymns, and I felt his presence on stage very strongly.' (Leonard Bernstein)


Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring

  • MaestroSir Simon Rattle
  • OrquestraLondon Symphony Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoBarbican Centre

Sir Simon Rattle conducts Stravinsky.

The Rite of Spring signals a radical departure from the conventional form and musical language present in Stravinsky's previous ballets - 1910's 'The Firebird' and 1911's 'Petrushka'. Here, the composer implements a considerable range of revolutionary compositional techniques, from complex polyrhythms and abrupt metre changes to percussive instrumentation and violently primal depictions of pagan rituals. Though practically unbound in its audacity, the work remains an important milestone of its time; an impressive challenge to traditional musical form.


Beethoven - Symphony No. 7

  • MaestroIván Fischer
  • OrquestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoThe Concertgebouw

Beethoven at Concertgebouw.

Symphony No. 7 stands as a remarkable example of Beethoven's ability to combine innovative musical ideas with profound emotional expression. Its enduring appeal and status as a beloved masterpiece further solidify Beethoven's legacy as one of the greatest composers of all time.


Mahler - Symphony No. 2

  • MaestroAlan Gilbert
  • OrquestraNew York Philharmonic
  • LocalizaçãoLincoln Center

The Resurrection in New York.

Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 was major work that shaped his enduring perspective on the splendor of the afterlife and rebirth, while striving to depict nothing less than the entire universe: the lofty and the humble, tradition and avant-garde, pastoral serenity and demonic grotesques, songs and chorales, and death and resurrection, all expressed in music that is correspondingly multifarious and grandiose.


Copland - Appalachian Spring

  • MaestroMichael Tilson Thomas
  • OrquestraCzech Philharmonic
  • LocalizaçãoRudolfinum

The Czech Philharmonic takes on an American classic.

The music is filled with sweeping melodies and gentle, pastoral themes, evoking a sense of open space and natural beauty. The ballet's original choreography by Martha Graham is also a testament to the work's enduring appeal. Since its premiere, Appalachian Spring has been arranged for full orchestra, allowing the work to reach even wider audiences. In this performance, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts his own orchestral arrangement, which highlights the full power and majesty of Copland's sound.


Bernstein - Symphonic Dances

  • MaestroAlain Altinoglu
  • OrquestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoWesterpark

West Side Story in Amsterdam.

Following the success of 'West Side Story', Leonard Bernstein arranged the musical’s ‘Symphonic Dances’ into a suite, as seen here performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra during their 2022 season opening (with conductor Alain Altinoglu at the helm). Hearing the lively suite is enough to take us back to the grimy, yet charming cityscape of Bernstein’s Upper West Side. ‘Dances’ serves to this day as a symbol of Bernstein’s talent as a conductor, arranger, and storyteller - as, over sixty years later, the energy and drama of the original production remains electrifying, both on and off the stage.


Adams - Short Ride in a Fast Machine

  • MaestroAlain Altinoglu
  • OrquestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoWesterpark

Altinoglu conducts Adams.

Short Ride in a Fast Machine is one of the most frequently performed orchestral works in the oeuvre of the great contemporary titan John Adams. This breath-taking joyride of a piece was composed in 1986, premiering as the opening of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Festival. Creating the feeling of driving a sports car late at night, Adams generates harmonic dissonance as he adds conflicting rhythms to disrupt the stability of the music’s pulse – maintained by the ever-present wood block in the background. Through this method, the composer admits that he sought to ‘enrich the experience of perceiving the way that time is divided’ within his works.


Williams - Imperial March

  • MaestroJohn Williams
  • OrquestraLos Angeles Philharmonic
  • LocalizaçãoWalt Disney Concert Hall

The Los Angeles Philarmonic presents a galactic symphony.

John Williams' now-iconic brass motif is synonymous with George Lucas' space saga Star Wars, and serves as a stark reminder to never give into the dark side. Here, the composer himself leads a feverish performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic from within the lavish auditorium of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.


Schubert - Symphony No. 9

  • MaestroChristoph von Dohnányi
  • OrquestraOrchestre de Paris
  • Localização Salle Pleyel

Schubert by von Dohnányi.

Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C major, commonly known as the ‘Great’ Symphony, was written between 1825 and 1826, and was the last of his major orchestral compositions. Unlike the Eighth Symphony, The Great is a complete work, though did not premiere until 1839. A valiant joint effort from fellow composers Schumann and Mendelssohn saw Schubert’s original manuscripts given their first performance. The symphony is performed here in 2014 by the Orchestre de Paris under the baton of esteemed German conductor Christoph von Dohnányi.


Dvořák - Symphony No. 9

  • MaestroSemyon Bychkov
  • OrquestraCzech Philharmonic
  • LocalizaçãoRudolfinum

Dvořák's New World in Prague.

Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World’ is one of the composer’s most popular works, and perhaps one of the best loved symphonies of all time. It was premiered by the New York Philharmonic on the 16th of December 1893 at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and has become a staple feature of concert programs across the globe since. Here, maestro Semyon Bychkov leads the Czech Philharmonic in an astonishing performance of it.


Rachmaninoff - Symphonic Dances

  • MaestroAndris Nelsons
  • OrquestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • LocalizaçãoRoyal Concertgebouw

A fitting farewell: Rachmaninoff in Concertgebouw.

As one of Sergei Rachmaninoff's final compositions, ‘Symphonic Dances’ stands as a fitting and poignant swan song for the Russian master. After all, the three distinct movements that make up the evocative piece (‘Non allegro’, ‘Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)’ and ‘Lento assai - Allegro vivace - Lento assai’) each evoke a specific aspect of the composer and conductor’s many talents - be it it's the seamless fusion of diverse inspirations in the piece’s opening or his talent for drama and intensity in its concluding movement. Rachmaninoff also directly draws upon themes from his earlier work, further cementing ‘Symphonic Dances’ and a perfect farewell. Here, the thrilling piece is performed in 2014 by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, led by Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons.