Top 3 Classical Music Pieces

Got my annual fix of Handel’s Messiah last night. Just learned that the song was first performed around Easter and Handel didn’t intend for it to be a Christmas piece.

Well the Hallelujah Chorus is in the Easter section of the Messiah. But For Unto Us A Child Is Born is certainly a Christmas song.

I do believe it is accurate that it was originally performed around Easter, which is by far the more important holiday.

As someone who is Jewish I find it interesting to see some Old Testament texts that have significance in our religious observances. For example, we traditionally read the Hebrew text of Comfort Ye/Every Valley Shall Be Exalted in the first Sabbath after the commemoration of the destruction of the Temple.

Steve Reich Desert Music, Bruckner Symphony No 8 (although No 5 - the Seven Nation Army symphony - has my favorite moment) and Mahler Symphony No 9.

The Countdown is on, starting at #100. Here’s what we have so far:

    1. Jean Sibelius: Finlandia
    1. Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story
    1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
    1. Clara Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 7
    1. Carl Orff, Carmina Burana

You can see it here - comments are worth reading too: The 2020 Classical Countdown | WQXR Features | WQXR

Well I had two of those in my long list: Finlandia and Carmina Burana.

Finlandia is one of the most frequently played pieces on this station, along with Respighi’s The Birds and Pictures at an Exhibition.

More from the countdown:

    1. Claude Debussy: Suite Bergamasque: Clair de lune
    1. Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16
    1. Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
    1. Johann Pachelbel: Canon in D
    1. Florence Price: Symphony No. 1 in E Minor
    1. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni
    1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier
    1. Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 73
    1. Edward Grieg: Peer Gynt
    1. Frederic Chopin: Nocturnes
    1. Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944, “The Great”
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, BWV 1043
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
    1. Felix Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244
    1. Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C, K. 551, “Jupiter”
    1. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
    1. Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82
    1. Franz Joseph Haydn: The Creation
    1. Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14
    1. Richard Wagner: Tristan and Isolde
1 Like

Jupiter… another that I mentioned. It’s weird how it won’t let you count down with bullet points, but you can just do it manually:

  1. blah
  2. blah
  3. blah
  4. blah

ETA: WTH!!! Ok, no you can’t… never mind.

Mozart’s 40-41 and Grieg’s Piano Concerto are pieces the station plays a lot. I’m wondering if their popularity is due in part to 2 of those 3 pieces being on K-Tel’s Hooked on Classics.

1 Like

Continuing with #71-45 (put bullets before the numbers so that it wouldn’t autonumber):

    1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Op. 49
    1. Georges Bizet: Carmen
    1. Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird
    1. Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
    1. Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47
    1. Erik Satie: Gymnopedies
    1. Giuseppe Verdi: Requiem
    1. Jean Sibelius: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 47
    1. Leonard Bernstein: Candide
    1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23
    1. Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Magic Flute
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”
    1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64
    1. Franz Schubert: Piano Quintet in A, Op. 114, D. 667, “The Trout”
    1. Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
    1. Frederic Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11
    1. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27
    1. Johannes Brahms: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77
    1. Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations, Op. 36
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 “Pathetique”
    1. Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
    1. Giacomo Puccini: La Boheme
  • 48: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake

    1. Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace
    1. Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
  • 45: Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 83

Yeah this is hard, I like too many of them to list the top three.

Tchaikovsky’s Pathetic Symphony at #44

If I take part in this next year I’ll vote 42 times so that I can put in all the deserving pieces. And I’ll leave out Beethoven’s Ninth since it’s classical music’s Stairway to Heaven and is pretty much guaranteed to make the top.

Rumor has it that if you listen to Beethoven’s Ninth backwards, you’ll hear the tale about how he sold his soul and his hearing to the devil in exchange for his musical talents.

Interesting - I’d figured that Beethoven had stopped decomposing long ago…

One of the listeners is a Mozart fan - wrote that he wondered why Wolfie didn’t have more music in the top 20. While I enjoy Mozart, his music was largely formulaic - seems that the riskiest thing he did was write an opera in German. Composers like Beethoven were much bolder - those are the types that get the most recognition in any creative field.

Here are 45-19:

  • 45: Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 83

  • 44: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74, “Pathetique”

    1. Gabriel Faure: Requiem, Op. 48
    1. Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
    1. Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622
    1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K. 525 “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”
    1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor
    1. Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings, Op. 11
    1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36
    1. Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
    1. Richard Wagner: The Ring Cycle
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
    1. Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
    1. Camille Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, “Organ”
    1. Bedrich Smetana: Ma Vlast: The Moldau
    1. George Frideric Handel: Messiah
    1. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35
    1. Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
    1. Johannes Brahms: German Requiem, Op. 45
    1. Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
    1. Arthur Sullivan: The Pirates of Penzance
    1. Arthur Sullivan: The Mikado
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
    1. Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

Some more Mozart… hopefully the Mozart fans are appeased!

Yes, they are now playing Mozart Requiem. Can’t imagine that he’ll have any ranking higher than that, though if it were up to me I’d put Piano Concerto #25 in the top ten. Heard that at a rehearsal in Lincoln Center about 25 years ago and have loved it ever since.

1 Like