Top 3 Classical Music Pieces

Is Rondo Alla Turca on the list yet? That would be a Mozart composition I’d expect to make the cut.

I don’t expect to see it on the list - doesn’t get much airtime here. Now at #15 - Emperor Concerto. That one was performed live at a synagogue I used to attend, so got to see the orchestra up close.

7 Beethoven pieces in the top 20, with the Ninth up top as expected. Surprised that the 7th made it to the #2 spot; sure it’s a great piece but I wouldn’t put it in my top 20. HMS Pinafore at #10 looks like someone was stuffing the ballot box.

    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61
    1. Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
    1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D, “The Titan”
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 55 “Eroica”
    1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem Mass in D Minor, K. 626
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 73, “Emperor”
    1. Gustav Holst: The Planets, Op. 32
    1. George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
    1. Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
    1. Arthur Sullivan: H.M.S. Pinafore
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral”
    1. Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, “Resurrection”
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
    1. Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67
    1. Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, “From the New World”
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92
    1. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 “Choral”

I think you mean Ride of the Valkyries.
Having said that, Ride of the Valkyries played at Flight of the Bumblebee speed would be absolutely awesome.

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Just a little night time rant. These are all good pieces but it’s strange that Mahler’s two weakest symphonies (although I’m not a big fan of 8 as well) make this list. It’s as if people finally summoned up the courage to listen to Mahler and started with the first two and said “that’s enough, we like him”. It would be similar to someone in the early 19th century listening to Mozart’s Symphony 25 (the one featured heavily in the movie Amadeus) and thinking “that’s really good. We like Mozart, so let’s move on to another composer”.
No-one cares, I know. But please, give Mahler’s later symphonies a go.

I’ve seen it both ways in various references. I believe the German is simply “The Valkyries”, but the English like to see action in the names they give.

But agree with the tempo comment.

I’ve found a good app, Idagio, for listening to all the Classical music pieces I’ve been meaning to listen to over the years. Sometimes there’s as many as 20 or so different recordings of the same piece by different orchestras/performers. So if you’re a Bruckner fan like me, you can listen to all of his obscure symphonies, particularly the early, funny ones.

My favorite classical song is Sabotage by Beastie Boys. I’m surprised it didn’t make the list.

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I downloaded the app but $10/month is a lot to pay for music when there is plenty out there for free. I currently listen to a station that a friend of mine runs,

It’s fun to hear my friend’s voice saying, “Transcend the everyday,” and interesting to hear her speak in her radio voice when IRL she speaks about twice the speed.

There’s probably a reason it’s free. $10 a month is up there but it does depend on how often one uses it (as with most subscriptions). I haven’t found a better classical music app for music on demand yet but if you’ve found one, I’m all ears.

Thoroughly enjoying listening to an early Baroque composer that I’ve only become familiar with in the last year or so - Thomas Selle. He’s a German composer born in 1599 (86 years before JS Bach).

Interesting story - he was very popular in his day but wrote using tablature that was much harder to decipher than that used by later composers. When full-time musicologists became more adept at transcribing old works, his manuscripts had been looted by the Soviets and not returned until the 1990s. So recordings of his work only started happening very recently.

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Interesting…never heard of him…only a couple of entries in imslp,_Thomas

The works I liked first were " Jesus Christus Unser Heiland Der Von Uns Den Gotteszorn Wandt" and “Wir Glauben All an Inen Gott” performed by Hamburger Ratsmusik.

They are set for two female voices, strings and organ. It reminds me a little of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (prominently featured in the movies Amadeus and Jesus of Montreal).

Selle is roughly contemporary with the famous German composer, Heinrich Schutz (who is also worth getting to know) but their music sounds quite different.

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Not a big Tchaikovsky fan but I do love his Violin Concerto. I had heard some of his recordings some years ago, but on relistening, this guy has to be my favorite violinist, his tone and technique are amazing -

If I were only allowed to listen to three pieces of classical music ever again, I think I’d choose the following.

  1. Bach, Violin Partita no. 2 (Itzhak Perlman)
  2. Beethoven String Quartet no. 13 (with the Grosse Fugue as the final movement.)
  3. Shostakovich 24 preludes and fugues (Keith Jarret)

I think my choice is at least partly influenced by the fact that I mostly listen through headphones and chamber music suffers less than large scale symphonic music. But wow, only three pieces, that is tough.

That’s awesome that you’ve come to know the Shostakovich (also great for his symphonies and string quartets) preludes and fugues. I liked them as a student but hadn’t listened to them in years. Are there any of the 24 that you would especially recommend?

I really like 1, 5, 7 & 24 I’m probably a bit biased towards the earlier ones because I tend to listen to them more - because after listening for a while, I’m can’t concentrate any longer. And next time I tend to start at the beginning again!

The preludes and fugues were quite a revelation to me in that I’d tried his string quartets and really struggled them. I couldn’t make much sense of and I simply thought Shostakovich was too modern for me. Then years later someone recommended his solo piano music. I tried the Op. 87 preludes and fugues was blown away. I found them much more approachable.

I guess I should try the string quartets again! I also don’t know his symphonies.

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Thanks for the tips!

His string quartet no 8 (I recommend the Borodin Quartet) is probably the most famous. It makes use of the DSCH motif (for D SCHostakovich) which also features in Symphony No 10. Symphony no 10 is a great piece. Might take a few listen throughs but is very rewarding. There was a famous clip with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Venezuelan youth orchestra second movement of Symphony No 10 at the London Proms.

Symphony No 5 is probably the most performed and is also excellent. There’s a great scene in the movie Patriot Games that uses the 3rd movement. We played the 4th movement in youth orchestra and that’s very listenable. Years ago, Carl Sagan used the 11th symphony for his show Cosmos. The ending to that symphony with the bells is awesome.

Just listened to this with Heifetz playing. Great stuff, especially the Chaconne. So complex for an instrumentalist limited to two sounds at a time (three at a pinch).

Thanks for the Shostakovich symphony recommendations. I actually have the Borodin quartet performances of the string quartets and should give them a try again.

Glad you enjoyed the 2nd Partita. It really is quite amazing. I’m pretty sure that would be my choice if I were limited to a single piece. I find it emotionally exhausting but in the best possible way (if that makes any sense.)