General Question

asmonet's avatar

What are your favorite pieces of classical music?

Asked by asmonet (21345points) March 8th, 2009

I’m looking to expand my opera and classical music collection. Anything you love, post it. :)

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42 Answers

DrBill's avatar

Best of Bach is great.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Allegro ma non Troppo by Beethoven.

SeventhSense's avatar

Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nacht Music-brilliant, Gershwin(American often overlooked)Rhapsody in Blue-stunning and dramatic, Addagio for Strings-the version from Platoon-stirring and soulful. Gustav Holtz- The Planets-dynamic

AstroChuck's avatar

Here are my favorite in order-
1) Handel: Messiah
2) Puccini: Turendot
3) Offenbach: Les Contes d’Hoffman
4) Beethoven: Symphony #9
5) Grieg: Piano Concerto in A Minor

marinelife's avatar

Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.
Handel’s Water Music
Vivaldi L’Estro Armonico
Handel’s Messiah
Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition
Grieg Peer Gynt

Must stop. There are just too many.

asmonet's avatar

I refuse to accept that Marina.


gailcalled's avatar

All of Mozart’s clarinet music; the concerto, the trio and the quintet;
Mozart’s concerti for French horn (four of them)
All of Beethoven’s Symphonies. The even ones are more accessible than 1,3,5,7, and 9
Schubert’s Trout Quintet,
Handel’s Water Music
Schubert’s Quartets (Death and the Maiden)

Let me know when you want more.

Aethelwine's avatar

Tchaikovsky Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

my favorite

Blondesjon's avatar

Vivaldi’s-The Four Seasons
Brahams’-Variations for Piano on a Hungarian Song, in D Major
Gershwin’s-Rhapsody in Blue & An American in Paris

gailcalled's avatar

Oh, man; All the violin concerti – Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Paganini, Brahams, Tchaikovsky, Bach

The piano concerti – Beethoven, Schumann, Tchaikovsky

The cello works, the flute concerti….restrain me, please.

Aethelwine's avatar

@gailcalled Handel’s Water Music just brought back some fond memories. :)

gailcalled's avatar

@jonsblond; It is gorgeous, particularly if you can see and hear it played on a barge on the water.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Copeland’s Appalachian Spring

eambos's avatar

I dont know… All I do know is that I smile and get goosebumps when I hear a really good piece.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I do love Rhapsody In Blue.

For some reason lately I’ve been listening to Suite No. 6 in D Minor – Allemande by Bach repeatedly.

lefteh's avatar

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

sutros's avatar

here are some great classical pieces, performed by talented groups, all under the Creative Commons!

SuperMouse's avatar

I am a sucker for The Magic Flute and pretty much anything by Chopin.

Jeruba's avatar

Handel’s Water Music is the very first recording I bought for myself. I saved babysitting money for four weeks to buy the LP when I was about 15.

These are among many pieces that I love:

Rachmaninoff’s piano concerti nos. 2 and 3
Grieg’s piano concerto no. 1 in A minor
Satie’s Trois Gymnopedie
Orff’s Carmina Burana
Mozart’s Requiem
most of Tchaikovsky’s work, especially Swan Lake
Debussy’s La Mer
Smetana’s Ma Vlast, especially “Die Moldau”
Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition
Holst’s “Jupiter” from The Planets
a whole lot of opera, especially Verdi and Puccini, but also Donizetti and Wagner and others
“Intermezzo” from Cavalleria Rusticana
and many sacred choral works, including Handel’s Messiah

Oh, and—I must mention—not exactly classical, but I love Gilbert & Sullivan, not just the big three but the next three and really all of them. And I adore Peter Schickele’s P.D.Q. Bach.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (extremely long, but if you’ve ever played it in an orchestra you would appreciate its complexity).

Pavane” (not a version I really like) and ”Sicilienne” by Gabriel Faure, but only when they’re played as a cello and piano duet. I don’t like the other verions. And they aren’t particularly mindblowing or anything. I just have a weakness for them when I hear them played by a really good cellist, lol.

And there are others, but I’m too lazy.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Oh, yeah, and anything played by Yo-Yo Ma (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” soundtrack, woo!). :D

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Just purchased the 99 Essential Classical Music Pieces Album at Amazon for $8. It has all my favorites, including Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner, Peer Gynt In the Hall of the Mountain King, Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker, Jupiter, from Holst’s the Planets, Peer Gynt Morning Mood, The Swan from Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens, Tocata and Fugue in D Minor, Cantiones Profanae_O Fortuna (one of the few choral pieces I can stand to listen to) and dozens more. I’ll be listening to this for a long time. Between this and the classical music I find on Pandora music, I am a pretty happy guy.

Darwin's avatar

P.D.Q. Bach rocks!

Otherwise, I love The Mikado, light opera that it is
All of Beethoven’s string quartets
Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons
Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (the first music I bought for myself)
Anything with a good French horn part
All of the organ recordings by E. Power Biggs (1906–1977)
Anything from the Early Music Consort of London
Anything by Itzak Perlman
Anything from Henry Purcell

And a whole bunch more.

MacBean's avatar

The only thing that pops to mind that hasn’t already been mentioned is Ravel’s Bolero.

juniper's avatar

Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 (“Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs”): II. Lento E Largo – Tranquillissimo


wundayatta's avatar

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is my absolute favorite, especially the 4th and 5th symphonies.

I love many other Russian composers, as well:
Igor Stravinsky, especially the Rite of Spring
Shostakovich (fifth symphony)
Prokofiev (symphonies 1 and 5)
Mussorgsky (Pix at an Exhibition, of course)

Contrasting them, stylistically speaking, are French composers
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique;
Ravel: Bolero (which is a cliche these days, but is still very cool); and
Bizet: Carmen (an opera).

Speaking of style, I find that even if I don’t know a piece, I can usually identify the country of the composer. I have a feeling that each nation has a musical feel to it. Does anyone else feel this way?

Bri_L's avatar

My all time favorite by far is
Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King If you want to get your kids interested in classical play this and tell them the story.

I also like this one

Shostakovich (fifth symphony)

asmonet's avatar

Way to go with Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Bri. XD

Bri_L's avatar

heheh. I had to. But I was serious about The Hall of the Mountain King. LOVE that piece.

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe start with something a little milder—say, Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals or Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (or the ever-evocative Peter and the Wolf, or how about “On the Trail” from the Grand Canyon Suite?—or the storm-and-sunshine sequence from the overture to William Tell) to ge them used to the idea of pictorial music before you throw them under the mountain with the goblins snatching at their heels.

Darwin's avatar

@Bri_L and @Jeruba – Why not just start them off with Disney’s Fantasia? That does a wonderful job of introducing pictorial music.

When I was a kid and we lived back east. we went to Leonard Bernstein’s concerts for young people – I believe they are out on DVD now – and I still remember them.

Bri_L's avatar

@Darwin – that is a great suggestion to!

Jeruba's avatar

Great idea, @Darwin. I saw that as a youngster in the theater, and I loved most of it, but Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” bored me because it was so abstract. Now that is my favorite part because it is the way I see music. But I still have a great fondness for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and “Night on Bald Mountain” is still thrilling.

asmonet's avatar

I’d like to point out I’m not just getting into classical music and opera, but rather looking to expand my collection further and pick up anything I missed along the way, great suggestions all. :)

Jeruba's avatar

@asmonet, sorry, we digressed onto introducing kids. I actually did buy Peer Gynt for my older son when he was young and impressionable.

One thing I would recommend is to go for the complete boxed sets of operas for which you already have the highlights or enjoy a special favorite selection. Another would be to follow an artist; for example, Joshua Bell, David Helfgott. Here is one of my all-time favorite recordings: Flute Sonatas – Galway & Argerich.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I like Leoš Janáček. He’s like the bridge between the romantic and modernist movements.

melanie81's avatar

Love listening to Mahler 5’s slow movement (esp. the low strings)...I have to! I’m a flutist and we tacet, so I just sit back and enjoy.

I also love playing piccolo in any of the Shostakovich symphonies (but esp. 10).

Overall, favorite piece is Mahler 7 – Chicago Symphony’s recording is great!

melanie81's avatar

ooh, also Prokofiev 1 (“Classical Symphony”) and 5!!

mattbrowne's avatar

Bach is the greatest ever, especially the choral works like the mass in b minor. I also like contemporary composers like Karl Jenkins or John Rutter. Fauré comes to mind too.

Jeruba's avatar

I just attended a performance of Fauré‘s Requiem a week ago Sunday with a massed choir of four choral groups. Wonderful! The “Sanctus” was especially moving, with the solo violinist.

asmonet's avatar

I am jealous, Jeruba. So very jealous.

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