Friday, April 12, 2013

100 Works of Classical Music

I know so little about classical music, that I don't even know how much I know.

Fortunately, I have a sister who's a music teacher in the public schools. In less than half an hour, she'd dropped some suggestions on me for what to listen to, understanding that I would whine if I had to listen to an entire two-hour symphony.

  1. 1812 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1880): A classic favorite that runs from quiet and gentle to the blast of cannon.
  2. Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms: I was unfamiliar with this one. It has a kind of hectic urgency to it.
  3. Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland (1944): A good tune. Of course, it was a good tune in 1848 when it was written as "Simple Gifts" by Joseph Brackett. I think it's unfair to call this a composition when it's a blatant lifting of someone else's work. At best it should be an arrangement.
  4. Appassionata (Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor) by Ludwig van Beethoven (1804-05): Unsurprisingly powerful. I read somewhere that Beethoven's odd numbered works were bold and powerful, and his even numbered works were soft and gentle. This would bear that out.
  5. Ave Maria by Johann Sebastian Bach and Charles Gounod ("a melody by the French Romantic composer Charles Gounod especially designed to be superimposed over the Prelude No. F1 in C major, BWV 846, from Book I of J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier" - Wikipedia): This is the version I love. There are two, both well-known. But this is the one I grew up with, as performed by James McCracken
  6. Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang III, D. 839, Op. 52, No. 6)( (1825) by Franz Schubert: This is a kinder, gentler version, with less passion than Bach's. I like it, but I like the other better.
  7. Brandenburg Concerto 2 by JS Bach: Inoffensive and easy to ignore
  8. Brandenburg Concerto 3 by JS Bach: I knew this one, though I didn't know the name of it. It's often playing in the background of scenes meant to evoke elegance and class.
  9. Brandenburg Concerto 4 by JS Bach: This one was unfamiliar. It's got the same kind of rolling melody as #3
  10. Canon in D by Pachelbel
  11. Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov: meh
  12. Capriccio Italien by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Starts out pretty tame, then bursts into a playful section, building to triumphant.  I like it.
  13. Carnival of the Animals - The Swan (Le cygne) by Camille Saint-Saens: This sounded fairly familiar. It turns out to have inspired the ballet piece "the Dying Swan," which I've only seen in bits and parodies. It's very sad, almost overwrought.
  14. Carnival Overture by Antonin Dvorak: Very energetic and flamboyant.
  15. Claire de Lune by DeBussy. This particular version is done on the Theramin, one of the first digital instruments. I do not like it. It's high-pitched and piercing.
  16. Dance of the Hours. From La Gioconda by Ponchielli: Largely inoffensive, but not particularly memorable. Some of us may know it from Bugs Bunny cartoons or "Hello Mudda, Hello Fadduh," the letter from camp novelty song by Spike Jones, or the dancing hippos in Fantasia.
  17. Dances from Rodeo by Aaron Copland: Starts out big, like the opening from The Big Valley. Occasionally it changes to sound like the score of a Cecil B. deMille epic, then moseys along quietly again like the cowboy from The End of the Trail. I kind of like it.
  18. Dances from The Bartered Bride by Smetana
  19. Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saƫns: Even without the visual, my mind's eye conjures up creeping, sneaking, tiptoeing on the downbeat skeletons and creatures of the night.
  20. Don Giovanni (Overture) by Wolfgang A. Mozart:
  21. Donder und Blitzen by Johan Strauss II:  I like its energy.
  22. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang A. Mozart: This one is very familiar. It's been used in Bugs Bunny cartoons and dozens of other things.
  23. Emperor Waltz by Strauss
  24. Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland: Nice introduction in this video, and conducted by Copland himself. The music is familiar. It's been used as the theme for a lot of sports programs.
  25. For Unto Us a Child Is Born by George F. Handel: Quite possibly the most powerful work of sacred music that there is. It's so joyful, so powerful. I listened to it twice.
  26. Four Seasons – La primavera by Vivaldi
  27. Four Seasons – L'autunno by Vivaldi
  28. Four Seasons – L'estate by Vivaldi
  29. Four Seasons – L'inverno by Vivaldi
  30. French Suite in C Minor, BWV 813: III. Sarabande by Bach
  31. Fugue in D minor by Bach
  32. Funeral March of a Marionette by Gounod
  33. Hungarian Dance #9 by Johannes Brahms: After asking for another piano song, Peeper immediately asked me to turn this one down. I don't much care for it either.
  34. Hungarian Rhapsody #2 by Liszt
  35. In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt by Grieg
  36. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach
  37. La Cenerentola. (overture) by Rossini
  38. La Gazza Ladra (overture) by Rossini
  39. Leonore #2 overture by Beethoven
  40. Leonore #3 overture by Beethoven
  41. Liberty Bell by Sousa
  42. Lux Aetema by Legeti
  43. March to the Scaffold from Symphonie Fantastique by Berliosz
  44. Moonlight Sonata by Ludvig von Beethoven: Pappo was amazed that there were so many moods and tempos in the same song. Peeper thought it was beautiful and asked for more piano music. I like it generally but probably wouldn't seek it out.
  45. Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel
  46. New World Symphony (No. 9) by Dvorak
  47. Night on Bald (or Bare) Mountain by Mussorgsky
  48. O Fortuna by Orff: A pretty impressive piece that's been backgrounding climax scenes in movies for the last generation or so. I like this one.
  49. On the Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss
  50. Overture to "Russlan and Ludmilla" by Glinka
  51. Overture to The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan
  52. Overture to The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan
  53. Pathetique (2nd mvt) by Beethoven
  54. Piano concerto No. 5, 1st Beethoven
  55. Piano Sonata No. 10 in C Major by Mozart. It's a kind of cheerful piece that for some reason makes me think of meadows and flowers in springtime.
  56. Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major by Mozart. 
  57. Polonaise (military) by Chopin
  58. Polovtsian Dances by Borodin Familiar as "Stranger in Paradise," this one includes a choral/dance sequence that's a little discordant.
  59. Radetzky March by Johann Strauss: Pappo and I loved this one. He liked the interactivity a lot.
  60. Ralph Vaughan Williams.
  61. Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin
  62. Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner
  63. Rondeau by Mauret
  64. Sacrae Symphoniae by Gabrieli
  65. Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach
  66. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66 by Tchaikovsky. There's a definite undertone of Greensleeves here, which is kind of cheating, I think. It seems kind of random, and knowing it's from a ballet, I can imagine it being danced, but...
  67. Symphony No 3 by Beethoven
  68. Symphony No 5 by Beethoven
  69. Symphony No 7 by Beethoven
  70. Symphony No 9 by Beethoven. Most people know at least part of this symphony, but do you know it has lyrics? Translated, it's called "Ode to Joy." I think this is my favorite of Beethoven's symphonies.
  71. Symphony No. 25 by Mozart
  72. The Barber of Seville (overture) by Rossini
  73. The Firebird by Stravinsky
  74. The Hallelujah Chorus by Handel
  75. The Magic Flute K. 620(Overture) by Mozart
  76. The Marriage of Figaro (Overture) by Mozart
  77. The Moldau by Dvorak
  78. The Planets -- Jupiter by Holst
  79. The Planets – Mars by Holst
  80. The Planets -- Neptune by Holst
  81. The Planets -- Pluto, the Redeemer by Matthews: Pluto wasn't discovered until four years before Horst - the author of the Planets suite - died. He gave his permission for Matthews to write this endpiece. I listened to it before the rest of the suite, and found it dissonant. It seems as if it wants to be the soundtrack for a space exploration documentary. Or an avant garde dance number from a 50's musical. Lots of sudden, blaring, crashing bursts of noise tacked together with nearly inaudible melodic segments.
  82. Tre pezzi by Scelsi
  83. Tristch Trastch Polka by Strauss
  84. Trumpet Voluntary by Purcell
  85. Twelve Variations on Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman! by Mozart
  86. Viennese Waltz by Strauss
  87. Violin Concerto by Beethoven
  88. Violin Concerto in A Minor RV356 by Vivaldi
  89. Water Music (Suite in D) by Handel
  90. William Tell (overture) by Rossini
  91. Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Britten
  92. Polka in F Major by Smetana. Bouncy and playful. Not something I'd seek out.
  93. Piano Sonata (1961) 3rd Mvmt by Khachaturian: Very complex and energetic. It's fine for background music, but you really want to hear everything that's going on.
  94. Piano Concerto No. 1 in A by Kavalevsky. This has a lot of the same energy as Khachaturian, but more softer parts.

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