Top 3 Classical Music Pieces

I listen to an NYC-based classical station that asked listeners to submit their top 3 votes for their classical music countdown. #1 was a no-brainer - Beethoven’s Ninth. And with Wiggy celebrating his 250th birthday that will most likely win in a landslide. Was tough to decide the other two. Since Handel is my favourite composer, I went with Ombra Mai Fu (Largo from Xerxes) as my #2. For the thrid, I went with Rhapsody in Blue even though it’s jazz and not really classical. Other candidates I considered were Largo Al Factotum from Barber of Seville, the Barcarolle from Les Contes d’Hoffman, Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, Mozart’s 26th Piano Concerto and Jauchzet Frohloket from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

What would be your top three?

I’m rather fond of Wagner’s Die Walküre. Especially the sequence referred to as The Flight of the Valkyries.

It’s cliche, but I randomly happened to hear Mozart’s Requiem within minutes of learning of a relative passing and it moved me to tears.

Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot is probably my favorite opera piece, although generally speaking I’m not a fan of tragic operas and mostly prefer comedic ones. So the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute would probably be my favorite piece from a comedic opera.

In a live performance, it’s hard to beat Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony, the pizzicato 3rd movement. Don’t even bother listening to a recording. This is only special if you hear it live and the sound is bouncing all over the venue as it comes from the different parts of the string section. So you’ll probably have to wait for Covid to be over.

Singing, it is difficult for me to get through a quality performance of Beautiful Savior. Here’s a virtual performance by the St. Olaf Choir (for whom it is their signature piece).

Good timing - my classical station was just playing overture to Die Zauberflote when I read this. Here is the link to the station if anyone is interested in listening:


Oooh, also Jupiter from Holst’s The Planets.

Live, Mahler’s second symphony is also pretty special, although it loses something on a recording.

Oh, and Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana are other favorite choral pieces.

Sebelius’ Finlandia, Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man…

There’s too many to choose from! I can’t narrow it down to three!

Nah. Mars, the Bringer of War

I’ll add, as some of my faves:

Copland’s Rodeo
Dvorak’s Carnival
Bizet’s Carmen Overture

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I just finished listening to Rodeo. And it’s spelled Copland - been curious to see that Sylvester Stallone movie about him.

One of my faves! The “I Vow to Thee My Country” tune gets stuck in my head a lot.

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Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead is one of my favorites.

Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1

Camille Saint-Saëns’s The Swan

Solveig’s Song from Grieg’s Peer Gynt

Tosca’s E lucevan le stelle

I’m sure I’ll think of more…

I certainly can’t stop at 3…nor “classical” but that’s just being pedantic.

Beethoven’s 5th, 7th, 8th, & 9th symphonies

Mozart’s aria ‘Der Hölle Rache’ (Queen of the Night)

BWV 565 (for obvious reasons), 572 (for personal reasons), 596 (especially the Largo e spicatto section)

Handel’s Messiah (in its entirety)

Antonio Vivaldi’s Nulla In Mundo Pax Sincera & Gloria In D Major (in particular movement 1)

Some oboe concerto by Albinoni but I don’t know which one. I just heard it once when my radio alarm clock went off. At the time, arousing from my slumber, I thought/hoped that remembering “Albinoni” & “oboe concerto” would be enough information track it down :shake: :roll_eyes:

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head and that’s not just because there ain’t a lot on the top of my head.

The hubs is a classical music major (and the category just happened to come up when he was on Jeopardy, rigged amirite). I’ll have to ask him for his top 3 and report back.

Mozart’s Requiem, duh doy.

Oddsox was on the J! ?

Mmhmm, 2012.

Wait - what?



I have a copy… Odd (who indicated that he still needs time to decide on his top 3, and that he might actually post it himself :open_mouth:) likely doesn’t want his real name posted… directly.

Did he win any games?

Top 3 in no particular order:

  1. Spem in Alium - Thomas Tallis
  2. Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  3. Totentanz - Franz Liszt

Gah, I knew that and I still spelled it wrong. :grimacing:

I like Rodeo too and really most of what he wrote* for that matter. But I do think Fanfare for the Common Man is my favorite.

*The Promise of Living is an exception. It’s very dull and boring IMO. But the exception proves the rule, right?