Top 10 Classical Pieces you Might Not Have Heard.

Top 10 Classical Pieces you Might Not Have Heard:

This is a reintroduction to classical music for anyone whose main exposure to it has been the meager courses of Mozart and Beethoven that sound producers can sneak into popular movies and “best of classical” compilations at Borders. These are the songs that fell into the cracks between the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata and Claire De Lune in the pop culture sidewalk. Technically, some of this might be considered baroque, romantic, or something else. I don’t care what it’s called, it’s good.

#10: Beethoven – Sonata quasi una Fantasia ‘Moonlight’ Op. 27, No. 2. Presto

Everyone’s heard the first movement of Beethoven‘s Moonlight Sonata. It goes like this. It’s a fantastic, moving song. When people are sad in movies, they play the first movement on their piano if they’re supposed to be smart and cultured.

The third movement is what they’d play if they were hyperactive and ecstatic.

Kudos to Barenboim for moving his fingers faster than I ever plan to, as well.

#9: Barber – Violin Concerto Op. 14 Mvt. 3: Presto in moto

If you’ve never heard of Samuel Barber, don’t beat yourself up. He was a 20th century composer who died 4 years before I was born, loved Brahms and Bach and wrote some amazing music.

I may be a little biased toward frenetically paced music.

#8 Vivaldi – Guitar Concerto RV 93 Mvt. 1

Hey, it’s Vivaldi. That guy that wrote “Four Seasons”. He wrote some halfway descent Baroque (ha!, caught it) guitar music a few hundred years before anyone had even dreamed of The Beatles.

#7 Bach – Prelude and Fugue in G Major BWV 541

Pretty much any chance you get to listen to a Bach fugue you haven’t heard, you should. This is one of my personal favorites. Plus, anyone using all four limbs to play music is a badass in my book. Especially those one-man band guys. Cymbals on the knees? Genius.

#6 Verdi – Slave Chorus from Nabucco

Verdi was an Italian guy who wrote all those awesome Opera songs that you hear when someone’s just been shot in gangster movies. The soprano soundtrack is his. The Godfather? It’s all Verdi. He’s king of pop gangster culture in a way that even Al Pacino can never be. Because Al Pacino doesn’t write opera. So, in that vein, here’s a song he wrote about Jewish slaves.

// Intermission \\


Ok, this is getting a little hoity-toity for me, so here’s a faceblasting of awesome relatively recent music. You’ll probably know it. Good for you. Faceblasting and definition of “recent” not guaranteed.

Reel Big Fish – The Set Up

Dragonforce – Through The Fire and Flames

Mel Gibson and the Pants – Reagan’s Dead

Green Day – Basket Case

-As a fun on-topic side note, Basket Case is based on Pachabel’s Cannon in D.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band – Going in the Right Direction

// Off Intermission \\

Quick, get back to your seats. They’re gonna turn the lights off, then it’s going to be all awkward to get down the row.

” Game on “

#5: Chopin – Waltz in C# Major and Massanet – Meditation from ‘Thais’

Chopin was a piano kind of guy. If someone were to ask you who your favorite composer of piano music was, Chopin would be a good answer if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

#4: Mozart – “Voi Che Sapete” From “The Magic Flute”

Now, it’s hard to find a Mozart song that wasn’t played a billion times in music classes, but this one has usually managed to dodge all but the most comprehensive public school teachers. “The Magic Flute” in general isn’t appreciated as much as it could be, probably because people hear the word “opera” and they run for cover behind the nearest fat lady wearing a viking helmet.

#3: Delibes – Flower Duet from Lakmé

Delibes was a French stage composer that is mostly famous today for writing this song. Tchaikovsky liked him, and so did Debussy, so he can’t suck that much. Camille Saint-Saëns did, too, but he was the special olympics bronze medalist of nineteenth century composers.

#2: Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Minor

Starting to get into truly transcendent stuff, legendary-for-all-times kind of stuff. Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff 3 at Mehta in 1978 is one of the great pairings of virtuoso composer to viruissimo performer that the world has ever heard. Watch at 2:31, where he holds a note slightly too long. You won’t notice it unless you’re very gullible.

#1: Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Short, stunning. Also: the video showcases a young Itzhak Perlman. You might have seen him on Fantasia 2000 or possibly in the hospital next to you getting the much better doctor if you happen to be a polio patient. If Tiger Woods winning the US Open this year was golf’s greatest achievement of all time, every concert that Perlman has played in the last 20 years is the violinist’s answer to that. That, and he’s funny, too.

Bonus Reel: The Worst Composer of all Time

Cool, you’ve made it to the end. The bonus reel is a sneak peak into the life of the world’s worst composer. Ever. EVER. I’m talking history and future of the human race folks. It’s over, give him the gold and fire the judges, they won’t be needed anymore. Random notes placed by rolling dice would be better. Silence would be much better. He takes the cake and refrosts it. The winner(ish) is:

J. Mark Inman

He’s definitely “exploring new space” in music. Awful space. He is to music what hate is to bunnies. They just don’t know each other, but one affects the other. His music kills innocence in a bad way, like walking in on your parents doing it. You’re going to listen, though, and for that I apologize. Deeply. It would have been better to not tell anyone else about him, but I have very weak impulse control.