Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra Recordings: A Stay-at-Home Playlist

Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra Recordings: A Stay-at-Home Playlist

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and Concertmaster Erin Keefe share their Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra recordings. Find out why they love this music, especially during these challenging days, and listen along with the Spotify playlist. 


Leonard Bernstein, Overture to Candide
Eiji Oue, conductor

The Candide Overture is incredibly fun to perform, and it brings back happy memories from the Orchestra’s last international tour to the BBC Proms in London and our concerts in South Africa.

Richard Strauss: An Alpine Symphony
Edo de Waart, conductor

The mighty Alpine Symphony takes you on a musical journey, highlighting the power of nature. At nearly an hour long, it provides an extended escape from reality which is so desperately needed in troubling times.

Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor

Bruckner was a deeply religious man, and his Ninth Symphony provides a gripping narrative of trial and redemption. “Skrovy” (as he was referred to lovingly by the orchestra) was undoubtedly one of the most revered Bruckner conductors of his time.

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 4
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
with Carolyn Sampson, soprano

The Minnesota Orchestra is currently recording all of the Mahler symphonies, and the Fourth Symphony is our most recent release. It is one of his more optimistic symphonies, and the “heavenly” soprano solo during the last movement is bound to leave a smile on your face.

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
with Minnesota Chorale, soprano Ruby Hughes and mezzo Sasha Cooke

The Second Symphony, known as the Resurrection, encapsulates Mahler’s ideas about life, death and new beginnings. He uses a massive orchestra, choir and soloists, and it is one of our favorite pieces in the entire orchestral literature.

Jean Sibelius: Finlandia
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
with the YL Male Choir

This piece is very meaningful to all Finns. It provides encouragement that despite the difficulties we face in front of us, we can rise above it all and know that soon all our struggles will be in the past. 

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Osmo Vänskä, conductor

This symphony by Sibelius is often over-looked, but he described it as celebrating the “joy of life and vitality.”

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Choral
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
with the Minnesota Chorale, Helena Juntunen, Katarina Karnéus, Daniel Norman and Neal Davies

No list could be complete without the music of Beethoven. The Ninth Symphony is regarded as his greatest work and it is both an audience as well as an orchestra favorite. The “Ode to Joy” at the end is as uplifting as it gets!

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, Pastoral
Osmo Vänskä, conductor

Like Strauss’s Alpine Symphony, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony is another great antidote to our feelings of being cooped up and isolated these days. You can close your eyes and pretend you are out taking a walk in the beautiful countryside.

Dessa: Sound the Bells, Recorded Live at Orchestra Hall
Sarah Hicks, conductor

Dessa has collaborated several times with the Minnesota Orchestra, and she is such a fantastic singer, writer, rapper and all-around great human-being. This CD highlights her amazing artistry and shows off our versatile orchestra as well.




Emma Plehal