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DominicX's avatar

What is some classical music you find underrated?

Asked by DominicX (28777points) August 3rd, 2010

We all know the big Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach pieces, but what is some classical music that you think is underrated?

In my opinion, some of the most underrated classical music is the ballets of Leo Delibes, including Coppelia, Sylvia, and La Source. While Coppelia is performed with some frequency, the “complete ballet” repertoire is dominated by Tchaikovsky’s ballets for the most part. Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is also popular. Those are all great, but I don’t like how composers like Minkus, Delibes, and Glazunov are sometimes overlooked in the ballet world.

Sylvia is one of the greatest works of classical music ever written in my opinion and the only part people know is the Pizzicati part that was in Loony Tunes and Taco Bell commercials. The ballet wasn’t performed in the United States until 2004. It just…amazes me…

I’m always looking for new classical to get, so what’s something underrated that isn’t performed often that I might not have heard of?

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7 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The symphonies of Ralph Vaughn Williams have been underrated for many years, but are now gaining respect. At least cognescenti no longer sneer when saying “English Pastoral School”.

Korngold’s orchestral works are just starting to get the attention they deserve after years of his being dismissed as a “Hollywood” composer.

Henryk Gorecki’s work, other than his Third Symphony is little known, but his other symphonies, concerti and choral works are well worth listening to.

Aster's avatar

What about that Rock fella? LOL ! so impressed a young man like yourself knows so much about classical , good show!

harple's avatar

Depending on how specific you want to be on classical music, (ie 1750–1820), and completely ignoring these dates (!), here are some of my favourite “classical” works…

Bach’s Cello suites are divine (no. 6 is my favourite)
Wojciech Kilar’s “Orawa” is brilliant live
Purcell’s Operas are frequently overlooked – Dido and Aeneas in particular
Aaron Copland of course, great fun
Rutter’s Requiem is pretty, but you may find it a bit twee
and don’t forget Mahler… in small doses perhaps! Opening to no.7 with the french horn… Mmmmm…..

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@harple Mahler merges symphonic and operatic in a way no one before or since has done. As you said, “small doses” are best with his powerful emotionalism.

DominicX's avatar


Eh, when I say “classical”, I mean all Western orchestral music. That’s what the term means now for the most part.

I guess I don’t see Mahler as being underrated because here in SF, Mahler is performed a lot because Michael Tilson Thomas is obsessed with Mahler. I’m seeing Mahler’s 2nd in May, actually. I’ve already seen three other Mahler symphonies at the SF Symphony.

But I suppose compared to composers like Beethoven, Mahler is underrated. Mahler is actually one of my all-time favorite composers. I’m also a huge Shostakovich fan. I’d like to see more of his symphonies performed. The thing about Shostakovich is that he is kind of an acquired taste. But I have acquired it. :)

harple's avatar

Ah, thanks for putting me right, @DominicX , when I was doing my music degree, they were much more particular…

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@DominicX Tilson Thomas is a wonderful conductor, I saw him conduct the BSO a few times when I was younger. He’s the right person at the right time to take the SFO to world-class status after Blomstedt built it up.

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