7 Pieces Of Beautiful Classical Music For Beginners

Some men find it difficult to obtain a taste for classical music. They may have heard snatches of it but were not much taken. Classical music is complex and rewards attentive, extended listening. Use this guide as an introduction to this venerable art form.

The Basics

Listen to an entire work from start to finish. Don’t waste your time with “best of” compilations which chop and change between different compositions. Would you turn off The End by the Doors partway through and switch over to Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division? No. You’d listen to one, then the other. Pay the same respect to classical music even though the pieces tend to be longer.

When you’re starting out, pay all your attention to the music. Don’t listen to it while your brain is distracted by replying to work emails or teasing your girlfriend. Try lying down in a quiet room and doing nothing but listening to the composition you have chosen. You could also listen while driving on a country road or while doing brainless housework. This is advisable for the appreciation of any fine music.

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Discover the artists or a styles that you prefer. Classical music is not a monolithic whole that you must either embrace or reject, just as appreciating a single malt Scotch doesn’t mean you must also enjoy dessert wine. Personally, I can’t stand Tchaikovsky’s girly ballet music and I find some of Beethoven’s most famous symphonies repetitive and dull. Try out a selection and see where your taste leads you.

Mozart

I recommend listening to the whole of Mozart’s Requiem. A requiem is a religious composition for the dead and is often used at funerals. The (possibly apocryphal) legend of the piece goes like this: towards the end of his rather debauched life, a mysterious man approached Mozart and said that an anonymous patron wished to commission a requiem. Mozart, stricken by a terminal illness, began to suspect that the man was a messenger from God and that the requiem would be for himself. Possessed by this awesome revelation he put into his work all the passion that can be stirred by death, faith and love. Mozart died partway through the composition of the requiem and it was completed by others. As you listen, you can hear the great man’s mortal brilliance slowly fading away as the piece progresses. Not a good one to listen to just before a party.

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Rachmaninoff

Sergei Rachmaninoff was both one of the greatest composers and pianists of all time. His works are infamous for their intense physical and intellectual demands upon the musician. Any pianist who wants to prove his worth dreams of mastering, and making his own, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The genius and intensity of this work make it a favorite in film and television soundtracks and it played a thematic role in Shine.

Beethoven

Need a break? For a short, exquisite piece which you will surely have heard before, try Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. A slowly building, tranquil piano piece that makes one think of stargazing in the quiet solitude of the mountains.

Holst

For a more recent and dramatic piece try The Planets by Gustav Holst. It is made up of seven movements, one for each of the planets (except this one). The work, which was composed from 1914-16, signals a move away from Romanticism and towards the excitement of modern discoveries. One can hear the echo of an early twentieth century Western society aching to rise above the Earth and its political chaos to seek glory in the exploration the heavens.

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Bach

For an eminently civilized and cultured piece, try J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.  Anyone listening to this work will fancy himself a gentlemen admiring his estate through French windows, cognac in hand, chaffing slightly about the dangly bits in his tight brocade breeches.

Carl Orff

The one musician here who doesn’t go by just his last name, poor old Carl Orff gets a bit of a bad rap for his popularity with the Nazis. His bio certainly doesn’t give the impression of a courageous hero for any particular cause or principle. He makes up for this with his magnificently valiant, muscular Carmina Burana. Try listening to this one without swinging around an imaginary (or real) claymore, howling guttural taunts at your enemies as you slice them in twain.

Tchaikovsky

Let’s stay with the martial theme. I began by scorning him so I’ll finish off with a tribute. The old Russian composer celebrates the Fatherland’s victory over the puffed-up Frenchman Napoleon with this little ditty, the 1812 Overture. It builds slowly and finishes with a bang, kind of like what happens to anyone foolhardy enough to invade Russia. One of the few musical pieces to include cannons in live performances.

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Concerts

Once you’ve identified your preferred flavors of classical music, try attending a concert. Go to see something that you’re already familiar with and know you’ll like. Hearing a real symphony orchestra blast out your favorite piece will knock your socks off.

Other Classical Styles of Music

Why stop there?  You might enjoy the meditative, austere and strictly mathematical chants of Gregorian monks.  You could explore classical Indian ragas with their own, complex mathematical patterns. And for the truly daring, there’s Chinese classical music with a key different to that of Western music—it will grate the ear until you get tuned into it.

Conclusion

If you choose to step off the well-worn path and listen to something unfamiliar, give it the greatest chance possible. Listen to a whole piece. Pay full attention to it. Try it two or three times. If you do all that and still don’t get into it, well, at least you had a go.

I have listed a small number of fairly accessible composers and pieces of music. Commenters are invited to offer their own suggestions.

Read More: 5 Reasons To Take Up Classical Music

153 thoughts on “7 Pieces Of Beautiful Classical Music For Beginners”

  1. My fourth grade teacher used to make us listen to German opera in class and I couldn’t stand it so for the longest time I absolutely refused to listen to classical/opera music. It wasn’t until I saw Apocalypse Now that I finally started appreciating classical music. Still have no desire to listen to opera though.

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  2. Not an expert on classical music by any means, but this piece by Chopin is one of my favorite songs of all time.

      1. Fisk! Wilson Fisk from the Netflix Daredevil series. I was joking of course (he’s a psycho), but he’s a great character. D’Onofrio plays him masterfully.

        1. SPOILER ALERT!!!
          Unabashed, when Fisk grabs Murdock and slams his head into the table while ranting at him?!? Amazing!

        2. Just finished episode 4 of season 2 last night. Netflix was smart and took their queues from Frank Miller’s DD. Also glad to see somebody finally did the Punisher correctly.

        3. True he’s shy and awkward, but remember when he tells Vanessa “A woman that can be bought, isn’t worth having.”? That’s pretty Red Pill.

        4. Yeah, that was what I watched last night. I’m actually enjoying the Catholicism wrapped up in this show. DD is kind of acting as a priest for Punisher’s confessions (as opposed to DD’s actual priest).

  3. I love the Baroque stuff. Handel, Bach, and Vivaldi. It takes me away and seems to make my brain work better.

      1. True, true…. And I will never, ever, EVER forgive British Fucking Airways for destroying the sublime and haunting Lakme by Delibes… WANKERS!!
        In fact any commercial company trying to appropriate classics should be boycotted for cultural terrorism…

    1. I’ll give full credit to female talent when it exists (like in the author’s posting above of the Rachmaninoff performance by Grimaud). But the symphony is a great example of masculinity and patriarchy. It’s one of the few places where un-PC material is still allowed, and something about dressing to the nines and taking your girl to a performance has an underlying tone of social shaming if she doesn’t stay in line.

      1. She didn’t compose it, but Elly Ameling’s singing of Schubert’s Sei Mir Gegrusst? Hauntingly good.

        1. I can’t quite describe the quality of this voice compared to what people go nuts over today (Beyoncé, Adele, etc.) Part of it is the way modern singers don’t just sing a single note but try too hard to “multi-pitch” it, or waver their voice, if that makes any sense. And I will admit, Adele has a few songs I enjoy, although I wonder if that’s just because I have had this style of singing shoved down my throat for the last decade. But there’s something lacking, something very different between the above and any modern singer. You go on youtube and they have hundreds of millions of views, while true talents like Ameling are unknown. Thanks for this.

        2. I think you mean excessive vibrato. Current female singers seem to be in competition to see who can overdo it the most. Elly uses it a lot but keeps it under control.

        3. Celine dion still blows the modern ghetto trash anthem singers out of the water, for clarity of tone, etc. And for being more booti licious

    2. To me the greatest classical composer is Gustav Mahler. All of his symphonies are magnificent, my favorite is the 4th movement of the 6th Symphony.

  4. Great write up, thank you.
    Seeing a symphony in person is not just uplifting, but the best bang for your entertainment buck.
    You can get seats as low as $20 or $30 and see some of the world’s best in action.


  5. Shostakovich paints a beautiful image of the misery people lived in Soviet Russia and the hopes and dreams that they experienced. Skip to 23:30 for the best part.
    I also recommend New World Symphony by Dvorak. A very hopeful piece by a Russian after he visited America.

    1. To my ear the great Shostakovitch symphonies are the 5th, 7th and 10th which depict more forcefully than any words the Russian spirit that was almost straggled to death by Stalin and Hitler who are the background motifs in all of these works.

  6. Well, well, isn’t ROK getting classy this Friday. As a piano player, I love Rachmaninoff; however, his Concerto #3 is my preferred piece, not to mention one of the most difficult to play. Indeed, few in the world even attempt it. Rachmaninoff himself said the only person that could play it well and at tempo was the timeless Vladimir Horowitz.
    I know I’ve seen a video of Horowitz performing it before, but can only find the audio (not video) now. Instead, here’s another great performance of it by Yefim Bronfman. The energy of the final 2 minutes is amazing. Yes, you should listen to the whole thing, but if you’re busy, at work, etc. just watch the very end, and it should inspire you to settle down later and enjoy the entire piece.

    Carl Orff’s piece is also masterful. Look up the lyrics to Carmina Burana, they are more red pill than many of the articles here.
    One of my all time favorites is a modern one: Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring:

    If you are new to classical music, you may become bored or not “get” the performances. This is due to the modern, feminized lifestyle we lead in the west. Force yourself to concentrate, sitting through performances, and you can develop the ability to enjoy them. There is something magical about dozens of individuals coming together, all well trained and talented, and creating something beautiful together. It is one of my most enjoyable and peaceful activities.

    1. Rach 3 is the most difficult to play, but Rach 2 is simply the best, period, full stop, end of story. I’ve been listening to it for twenty-five years and it never gets old.

    1. Don Giovanni is an entire Opera of Red Pill advice, and the Don is a consumate Alpha.
      In fact Mozart’s operas are Red Pill through and through, with Cosi Fan Tutte (all women are this way) exposing hypergamy and the gamut of women’s strategies and tactics ruthlessly.
      The notion that Red Pill thinking is a 20th & 21st century phenomena is easily dispersed through an appreciation of Opera…

    2. Yes the Don seduces Zerlina with consumate skill… and at her wedding no less!
      It is, as you say, an object lesson… Giovanni even has his location handled “vieni, non e lontano” 🙂
      Priceless Red Pill lessons in every scene…

  7. In the past, I have found value in using an American composer to introduce classical music to Americans. Perhaps the cultural connection facilitates initial acceptance and appreciation of the art. For example, every American has heard snippets of Aaron Copland’s Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man, and Appalachian Spring, but many do not realize the origins of these pieces, or necessarily even recognize them as American Classical. I’ll recommend these as good triggers for curiosity that may very well send you looking for more.

  8. I’d add Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” to the list. You’ve almost certainly heard parts of it before, but it draws out so much emotion it’s worth a listen from start to finish:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4E1JYP5Tgc
    A few other points to add:
    – I heard Appalachian Spring in concert by a top-tier orchestra last year; I was lucky enough to be sitting right above the brass section, and it was amazing. However, that same position (above and behind the front of the stage) made it hard to hear vocal soloists in another piece played that night. If you’re buying cheap seats at a major concert hall, do a bit of research on the acoustics – Google is your friend here.
    – Even a modern piece like this has variations due to its history. The most famous version of this piece is an orchestral suite, but there’s also the “full” version written for a ballet. For older pieces, there may not be an authoritative version – the composer’s original may be lost to history, or he may have changed it so much over time that there’s no “final” version.
    – The conductor has a lot of power to change the final sound. They can play with the tempo (speed), the dynamics (loudness – either overall or between different orchestra sections), etc. For older works they can matching the period’s standards, and may even use older instruments that are built differently from modern versions.
    Of course, you don’t need to understand all of these details to enjoy the music. 🙂

    1. Love this piece, brings tears to my eyes.. So disappointed its not on my symphony’s calendar this year. Plus one of the only “modern” pieces I can tolerate.

    2. I was always struck by the irony of a New York Jewish homosexual composing the essential cowboy music – “Rodeo.”

  9. No female composers? Misogynist prick.
    Opera is the highest form of classical music. If you don’t listen to Verdi or Wagner you’re missing out in life.

    1. The former was an easy victory, but, the later, I’ve always had ambivalent reactions towards. Why does he have to have such a large brass section during particular passages? Why the excesses?? Why didn’t he write a symphony for us!

        1. That’s right he did. Forgot that. Sorry I hate the above piece of music…not music to my ears, but, it’s ironical that it was written by a fanatical Germanophile.

  10. Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is a sublime piece of music. It evokes that ancient pre-modern England long before industrialization.

    Similarly Fredrick Delius’s Brigg Fair evokes that old pastoral England of yesteryear with all her meandering and leisurely customs.
    https://youtu.be/Z_JUKXwHZz4

      1. I’ve a liking for English classical music going right back to the Court music of the Tudor Kings. It’s actually a very different tradition to the continental classical music tradition. It can be both Stately and nostalgic and often has a visceral closeness to the natural world and our estrangement from it that can give English music a resigned and ascetic air, which I find temperamentally agreeable to my own outlook.

      1. It’s a sublime piece of music. It captures another England- of bucolic peacefulness among your own land with its ancient ways and customs.
        England as a country has never to this day fully healed from the wounds of the industrial revolution which was savage and often brutal. The tearing away of generations who lived in the countryside for that of urban factory working and living caused a gulf that never really healed. Appreciation of the natural world is still a huge part of the English psyche and that’s why English classical music is often quite different and restrained in its outward expression in comparison to other countries.

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    1. Debussy? Hmm, sometimes…he misses the notes on many occasions and the motifs become “blurred” by his impressionism. I do like the above piece, Le Mar and his nocturnes though.

        1. Reminds me of the scene from The Simpsons when Lisa is listening to a jazz piece. A man says that he doesn’t like it.
          Lisa: You have to listen to the notes she ISN’T playing!
          Man: Huh. I can listen to that at home.

  11. This is an awesome, practical post. You are tackling a subject many men feel ignorant about, but feel they should at least have some familiarity with, but don’t know where to start.
    I am bookmarking this and taking your advice. Thank you.

  12. Thus could be a much longer article, and a much longer comment as well. But in the interest of brevity I will just say this: men out there with taste and class and all the things we should all have or develop, this fella is right when he says GO TO THE SYMPHONY. There really is very little in the world as beautiful as the sound of a fine orchestra doing its thing in a well-built concert hall. Personally, I don’t care much for a lot of full-orhestra works….they can sound kinda hokey for my tastes at times…but if you can find a good symphonic winds orchestra (that’s mainly just the strings and woodwinds), that’s what I prefer and you’ll be amazed at how incredible the sound can be.
    Even if you don’t live in a city with a top notch symphony or straight up can’t afford to go (they can be pricey to attend), check around and find out if any nearby colleges have good music programs, and go see their orchestras perform. They’re generally free and often nearly as good, if not better, than the pros. You can even try to get some numbers when you’re there, and make some memories. I’ll never forget the day I made my gf late for a recital while I banged her in her dorm room….and then watching her play the show with post-sex-hair and her face still flushed from a good hard fucking….ahhh youth. Enjoy it.

    1. Also the Met is broadcast live from New York on many radio stations around the world on Saturday afternoons/evenings. Often, I’ll go fishing on Saturday afternoons and I’ll bring my Robinson with me and listen to Puccini as I wait for a bite. It’s a kind of secular epiphany on occasions mixing these two experiences. What more does one need.

  13. Tchaikovsky. It’s funny the way there has always been a certain musical snobbishness when you say to other listeners that you admire his music. Generally it’s met with sly smiles from the great and good of music listening who think you must be musically ignorant for preferring his emotionalism to Bach’s cerebral masterpieces.
    However they miss the point. In terms of pure natural musicality and “catchness” he’s hard to match. His Ballet Suites which he wrote quickly and with ease are instantly appealing in terms of their rhythms and flows. His symphonies which strain the symphonic form to breaking point because of their force are likewise immediately recognizable due to their emotional depth. With the exception of Mozart, it’s difficult to think of any Classical Composer who still captures the minds of modern non-classical music listeners so well and this is why I dismiss that “sophisticated snobbishness” that looks down its nose at those who like his music.

  14. Mussogorsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and his night on Bald Mountain(you’ll almost certainly recognize the opening)

    Barber’s Adagio(both strings and choral versions are amazing) and Violin Concerto

    Danse Macabre is a good one by Saint Saens.

    Revolutionary etude by Chopin, any of his nocturnes.

    Dvorak’s New World symphony

    Dance of the Knights, from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet

    Gnossienes and Gymnopedies by Satie

    Faure’s Pavane and Requiem

    Just a few examples of some great classical music out there.

    1. Except Satie. There is something very lugubrious about his piano pieces that cannot find a place in my soul despite my attempts to listen to him afresh, afresh, afresh…it never works, don’t know why?

      1. I always found Satie’s music perfect for a pensive, thoughtful, wandering state of mind. Something almost hypnotic about it. He mostly did piano but Debussy scored a great orchestral version of gymnopedie.

        1. Yes, I can understand how it could make one pensive and thoughtful and I sense that especially in the Gymnopedies on odd occasions. Yet, there’s a kind of existentialist bleakness or fin de siècle quality that falls like black inky rain against the blurred parlor windows of the Paris show houses of his day. I understand this, but, his chords fill me with nothing but emptiness and I don’t know why? Others listen and they experience something very different and I guess it’s that quality of ambiguity and uniqueness to a given listener is what distinguishes great music for what we have today.

        2. You seem like you mostly get it. I experience something like looking back on scenes from the past but frozen in place and foggy as if seen through a frosted pane of glass. There’s something disembodied about it.
          I like those impressionist French for ethereal beauty and meditative moods and romantic era Eastern Europe for its fire.

        3. Satie unlike nearly ever other Composer was essentially a man who reflected singularly the city in his set pieces. He appears to have traveled rarely outside Paris and drew no imagery from the natural world or from motifs in French history. This was highly unusual, but, again he’s not a Composer in the grand sense of the word, more of a ad-hoc music maker that doesn’t take himself too seriously.
          Foggy is an adapt word to describe some of his themes, sometimes whimsical, sometimes regretful, as if he’s a man who side-steps the boulevards with his top hat punched out among the well to do and the prostitutes all rubbing shoulders together, all slightly vacant in the “blurriness” of the times.

      2. If you’re ever gonna give him a new try, I’d highly suggest the trumpet version from Alison Balsom.

  15. A fine list, although picking out “you should have included X” would be a trivial game to play. Congratulations for getting the conversation started.
    The challenge is that ‘Classical Music’ is coextensive with ‘Music’ until the fragmentation of the 20th Century. We can only guess vaguely at Graeco-Roman and earlier, but we’re pretty clear from once civilisation gets going again, and certainly from around Phillipe de Vitry (1291) we can chart the development virtually uninterrupted.
    There are thousands of intensely beautiful pieces that have stood the test of time!
    Then the question is “what might interest a beginner?”… You might take the approach of what is still ‘popular’ (even gross philistines cannot have avoided, say, Pachabel’s Canon, or Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), or the proposer’s personal taste, or a selection of pieces from composers *everyone* has heard the name of (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart).
    It doesn’t matter.
    Start anywhere, but for goodness sake start!
    Classical music is not shallow and disposable, like the risible, feminist, snivelling supplicant, trashy shite that passes for music today.
    And you will soon discover that the ‘Red Pill’ goes back at least a millennia and is encoded in many many fine pieces. I particularly recommend Mozart Operas… Get Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte (all women are this way!) and if you do not yet speak Italian get the translated ‘libretto’ and absorb more Red Pill in a 3 hour opera than in 100 Roosh articles 😉
    Enjoy…

    1. “Get Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte (all women are this way!) and if you do not yet speak Italian get the translated ‘libretto” Yes, it’s a magnificent way to learn Italian too which is the language par excellence of Opera and Eros.

      1. Yes this is true. It was one of the key motivators for me to learn ‘la lingua bella’ (True!) to listen to these beautiful works (and Verdi, and Puccini, and ad infinitum) in their base language!

        1. Well, it is a beautiful language. I’ve never formally studied Italian, but I’m fluent in Spanish, and I studied Latin and Greek years ago, and this combined with my listening to Operas has given me a good, if amateur knowledge in la lingua bella. Like so many Italian inventions it’s easy on the senses, so perhaps I’ll sit down and do some formal study, again if you love a culture it’s not difficult to learn the lingo.

        2. Your Latin will stand you in good stead… Of all the ‘Romantic’ languages that devolved from Latin after the Empire fell, Italian is of course the closest, not withstanding the fact it was frowned upon and called the vulgar tongue right up until Dante proved it was a vehicle suitable for classical beauty itself.
          Well worth the learning and will repay itself (for example in reading Machiavelli in his own words) many times over!

        3. “for example in reading Machiavelli in his own words” It’s a profound joy that day when you read a passage of Latin or Greek without thinking in English. You say to yourself “so this is what Empedocles really means” Love (Philotês) and Strife (Neikos) the two forces of life, but, when you read these ideas in their own tongue you understand them in a dynamical way that no English translation can render faithfully without impairing the meaning.

      1. Sir, all of us have!
        This is what makes for a great article and thread combination.
        Thank you for starting it and creating the space for a little magic to happen.
        What am I saying? We’re all rape apologists here on RoK! Must have imagined it… Imagine what would have happened if those nice blue-haired ladies and their media friends hadn’t got together to stop us heathen filthy Neanderthals getting together for out rape parties! Unthinkable!

  16. Holst’s “The Planets” was used as the “scratch” soundtrack for Star Wars before John Williams had finished composing the actual music. One could also argue it’s an inspiration for that music.
    “Carmina Burana” was featured to great effect in the movie Excalibur.
    It may also help if you learn something about how the music is structured. Classical symphonies, for instance, tend to have four movements, each of which follows a specific form. The first movement of a symphony tends to be in “sonata” form, which is highly structured. Being able to recognize the forms, identify the themes and how they’re modulated, transposed, and recombined to create the overall piece will enhance your enjoyment.

    1. No. 3 is particularly intense. The film never made it quite clear what happened to precipitate his breakdown i.e. was it psychological or did the physical demands of the work cause an aneurysm or something?

        1. i think you’re right, but they presented it ambiguously in the film, as though it was the physical stress that had somehow brought on the breakdown. It’s quite possible that the stress of performance etc might have triggered a mental health breakdown

  17. Beginning of Beethoven’s 5th used everywhere, even Judge Judy now.
    The 9th fired up young Alex from Clockwork Orange to cause mayhem.
    Movie soundtrack for original Conan movie took huge inspiration from Carmina Burana
    Pretty much all sci-fi music directly inspired by Holst. Trek and Wars especially.
    Bach cello sonata was the theme of Galapagos Islands in Master and Commander, wth!

    1. There is some peculiar subliminal resonance between the workings of the divine and ANGER in bold capitals in much of Beethoven’s work. It’s as if he despises the very essence of created life and the majority of humanity with their incessant pettiness and banality on the one hand, and, yet despite them creates masterpieces worthy of a humanity that he’d like to see created.
      Beethoven sees himself as an original creator who will not even be circumscribed by GOD and so you have this resonance of DIVINE ANGER pulsing through the sinews of his works. It’s difficult to tell if this anger is directed towards a humanity he deeply despises or towards the God that created them?

        1. In Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange the psychopathic villain in the story gets likewise buzzed up on Beethoven’s 9th before he starts his night off.

      1. “Observation by a feminist musicologist concerning rape and sexual abuse themes in Beethoven’s last symphony:
        The point of recapitulation in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling, murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.”
        https://www.aei.org/publication/take-the-test-feminist-shenanigans-or-satire/

  18. FWIW – old bugs bunny cartoons are a source of many old pieces – the “Barber of Seville” bit used as Bugs has Elmer in a barber’s chair, given the themes of the opera….
    My tastes tend to run to thunder and blood, so yes, 1812. Also Night on Bald Mountain, and sometimes other darker pieces like Saint-Saens “Danse Macabre”

  19. another great article. I’d like to recommend one of my favorite classical pieces, Dvorak’s Serenade in E major, Op. 22:

    while I’m not a classical music connoisseur, I’m constantly discovering new favorite pieces among the works of Dvorak, Händel and Bartók. check them out!

    1. I like Barenboim as a conductor too. He’s a great sense of humor on the stage, yet, he doesn’t make the music consumable and soft.

  20. Usually filed under “classical”, but actually different and from an earlier era, I have a weakness for Baroque music, especially Vivaldi. I recommend baroque for the uninitiated reader because pieces are usually quite short, (you’re less likely to get bored), with just a couple of different musical phrases per movement, much as in your standard pop song structure of intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus etc.
    I thunk what turns many people off with Opera are the “recitatives” and purely instrumental passages wich can be meaningless without the context of the action on the stage. Opera is musical theater, after all. However, “arias” are one of the most beautiful, sophisticated, profound works of art man has created…
    I personnally got into opera in my early twenties thanks to Malcolm McLaren, the Sex Pistols’ manager – imagine that. He released a whole album of opera arias set in modern, pop arrangements. This video is of the Puccini aria “O Mio Babbino Caro” from that album:

    1. What I like about going to the Opera is the whole social etiquette that’s involved. It’s one of the few remaining places where you actually have to “make an effort” and dress correctly and comport yourself in civil and manly way.
      Some of the women are real high quality dames that you’ll rarely see elsewhere, and, if you go to the Opera in a big city, the pre-show and interlude people watching in the patron’s bar is a great social barometer of who’s who in the city in question.

      1. This is absolutely true, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to an actual opera in an actual opera house but I remember I groomed myself a bit more than usual. Actually the show is among the concert-goers as well but to say the truth I wish opera wasn’t the elite thing it comes off as, it’s pretty lame to be perceived as a snob or elite-wannabe just because they caught you listening to some Verdi or Bizet.
        Unfortunately people choose their music genre of predilection like they choose their clothing style, which is in overthinking it, more wary of the impression they’ll make in their social circle and careful to fit in than just going with their own sensibility and personal tastes regardless of outsiders’ judgement.
        All this to say I once was in Florence and couldn’t find anyone to join me to go see and listen to Puccini’s Trittico, so I went alone. However I did meet an older toscan gentleman, who spent the three hours of the show explaining to me the story going on on the stage under the “zitto! zitto!” of the audience…
        It was very special because going out of the concert hall, I was walking home in the actual decorum the three Puccini operas were set in, the Arno river, the Ponte Vecchio… It was magical I need say.

        1. In Italy or Spain Opera isn’t perceived as elitist unlike in Anglo-Saxon countries. In the Operas the audiences here often see people who are similar to themselves, tradespeople, officials, peasant girls, young dare devil lovers, so it’s all quite understandable and relevant to them, but, still everyone makes an effort to dress up and be presentable as there is always “a sense of occasion” which is a good thing I think.
          I love Puccini so I can only imagine how brilliant it must to see Trittico on its very own soil.

        2. The dressing up thing I simply see as a sign of respect towards others, and the awareness of being part of a special event. You’re right in that. I wish more people wouldn’t interpret that as the audiences taking themselves seriously etc.
          As a matter of fact, as you know Gianni Schicchi is anything but serious, it’s 100% comedy, à la Molière I should say. Many would be surprised that you can have a sonorous laugh at the opera!

      2. I took my Korean girlfriend to see “La Traviata” at the Seoul Opera House.
        I told her she had to be the most glamorous woman there and she delivered!
        At the end, her eye makeup ran from the tears.
        No wonder she is so in love with me.

  21. Nobody ever seems to mention Prokofiev for some reason. His Violin and Piano Concertos didn’t always please the critics but are extraordinary works nonetheless.

    1. Hmm, I like his very first Piano Concerto as it’s full of youthful energy, ambition and zeal. His later Concertos can be disappointing in parts as one gets the impression that he’s trying to experiment but it doesn’t quite work. In other places there’s a gloomy kind of somberness which can be authentic but, it seems, unlike Shostakovitch to relate to him personally rather than to the horrors that were taking place in Soviet society at this point. I don’t necessarily blame him for being reticent and vague on these matters as it was a risky time to mention such things, even obliquely.
      I love however his version of Romeo and Juliet, its got great Slavic verve and intensity, you can feel the movements pounding through the percussion sections, while he then suddenly breaks into ethereal and serene movements with high string sections as the tale unfolds. Peter and the Wolf and the Classical Symphony are again excellent, but, truthfully his overall corpus is something of a mixed bag.
      Shostakovitch described his compositions as “quickly thrown up buildings with girders left sticking out here and there for all to see”.
      Incidentally, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Richard Strauss at all. !!Some of his Operas were revolutionary and shocking when they were originally written. Works like Salome and Electra caused women to faint for Christ sake when first performed.
      Imagine before 2001 was produced what audiences must have thought about the intro to Also sprach Zarathustra!

      1. I like the first piano concerto although its never been my favourite. The echoing passages from the opening always seem to play inside my head like an earworm, and sometimes I get something akin to deja vu when listening to it. For me the second and third concertos are both works of genius. The fourth and fifth are hard-going – experimental as you say (I think Paul Wittgenstein even refused to play the work that was dedicated to him and I can’t say I blame him). The third is usually accepted as a part of the classical canon – I can’t see anything about it that is less than perfect, but the second is as you say a mixed bag. I actually think its in the second that Prokofiev comes closest to capturing his idea of the tortured russian spirit of the times – particularly in the final movement. Its a definitely a flawed work, showy and perhaps unnecessarily difficult, but it’s truly lyrical in places, as lyrical and soulful perhaps as say the Shostokovich Babi Yar Symphony. If Shostokovich is the obvious comparison Prokofiev is certainly quite the opposite of that quote – I’m sure none of prokofievs works were thrown up quickly or artlessly in that way, but then Prokofiev had his light side too. His classical symphony is as lucid as Shostokovich’s 2nd piano concerto, and tacky xmas music notwithstanding I’d say Lieutenant Kije (together with Romeo & Juliet) demonstrates that he probably had far greater range than most classical composers (oddly he doesn’t seem to have experimented with Jazz as far as I’m aware).
        I’m not a great Richard Strauss fan too be honest. I’d stick with the Russians personally and would prefer Stravinsky if we’re considering alternative 20th century avante garde – pulcinella and petrushka are great and very accessible for those who – like many – care little for the rite of spring or the firebird

  22. Brilliant article,i love what ye are doing here,this is CULTURE,i love many forms of music hip hop to classical and i knew many of these but not all,thanks for helping define it for me a bit better. I always describe my taste in music as liking the taking over the world type of music (orff) rather than its morning time and bees’s are pollinating the fowers. Dont know if that makes sense to anyone !! haha

  23. If this interview doesn’t make you develop a one-itis love despite all you’ve been taught here, nothing will … consider it a test …

  24. The planets really is one of my favorites. A peak into the excitement of what we were aiming for before globalist socialist garbage seeped into the daily lives of westerners and drained their ambitions to reach for the heavens.

  25. The following is my ‘getting into a rage’ music. I imagine slapping around some SJW’s in the last part.

    Anyway the whole Peer Gynt suite makes me shiver with goosebumps.

  26. Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony: the most beautiful piece of melancholy ever put before an orchestra. It’s an essential. Get it. If you can find a copy or a rip of the Montreal Symphony version (Pierre Dutoit conducting), grab it. It contains a sublime version of Romeo & Juliet as well.

    1. The Pathetique. I especially like the second movement. It’s like the Composer’s homage to those now distant happier youthful days of his, and, a reflection on the transitional passing of all things and the realization of the growing shades closing in around his own world.

  27. Some years ago, when I had a home remodeling business, I would find myself alone people’s homes for hours while they were at work.
    Not being a shy sort, would change the station on their home stereos to the local Classical station.
    I am a 6 foot, 195lbs., Harley-Davidson kinda guy with a beard.
    I think they found this very surprising that I preferred Classical music over the tired-assed “classic rock”, or the silly “Pop music” of the day.

      1. I used to ride around in my Porsche 911 blasting Wagner. It turned my Jewish girlfriend on to no end.

  28. I find Bach highly evocative of the early to mid 1700s enlightenment and baroque. Relaxing, some good for dinner, some for morning, driving, winding down, escapism.
    Here are some ideas if you are interested. To orient yourself with familiar pieces, try these first:
    1.Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 in G. The whole lot of the Brandenburg Concertos can be listened to on youtube, obviously the recording fidelity suffers quite a lot, like listening to a cassette copy off a radio broadcast, but you’ll know if you like this sort of thing. Like a lady, high fidelity is much better. The Trevor Pinnock recordings are well reputed.
    try this to begin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLj_gMBqHX8
    2. Badinerie, suite No.2 in B minor. The whole orchestral suite No.2 can be heard on youtube, but you will know badinerie, again you will know if you like it from that. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVxwuirUX-M
    3. Suite No.3 in D Air on the G String (easy to remember that name). This is probably familiar to you either way 😉 Often played on auction or genteel real estate shows, or academic ceremony. The whole suite no.3 in D is well worth a listen, many other familiar and great moments, somewhat regal/regency with period martial tones, invoking images of men in fluffly hats, cannons, that sort of thing.
    to begin:Air on the G String https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzlw6fUux4o
    4. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. You will definitely know this. Not dinner music unless for the Munsters. Awesome classical chops, drama chords. Playing this on a massive church organ with pipes is bucket listable.
    Here is a black brother playing the beast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oMpOTTe9qs
    Now some less familiar pieces:
    5. Lute Suite BWV 996. This is a guitar or lute piece, spanish influences, often wonderful. It is on youtube transposed in various keys. You could try G or E minor. Perhaps try the “bourree” first if short on time, but the whole suite is very relaxing, single instrument classical music.
    link to bourree-gigue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xKdb4rNtyk
    6. Italian Concerto in F BWV 971. Try the Allegro first to see if you like it. Piano music.
    7. Suite for Cello Solo no.6 in D. BWV 1012 Try gavotte as an intro.

  29. I got into classical music around 14 mainly through watching Stanley Kubrick movies.
    Beethoven in “A Clockwork Orange” or Schubert and Handel in “Barry Lyndon” are hypnotising pieces of music.

    1. great piece, love it. I have an old LP soundtrack somewhere of the Barry Lyndon film by Stanley Kubrick. Haven’t seen the movie, wonder if it is any good…

  30. Very informative article. Really appreciated the pointers in the classical direction. In sharp contrast I’m Blue by Eiffel 65 is a real classic in reflecting our current cultural calamity.

    1. Apart from his Unfinished Symphony (the music from the original Smurf cartoon series) Schubert gets overlooked. I used to dislike Schubert actually, but there’s something pure and noble about his work once you get into it

    2. String Quartet 15 is the soundtrack for Woody Allen’s best movie – “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
      And for some manly songs, try “Die Mullerin” but sung by Hermann Prey. He sings like a man and makes F-D sound like a fag.

  31. I might also say, the choices by the creator of the article fit with “death to (European) nationalism”. You may wish to reconsider the hammer and sickle, which only exists thanks to the study of people by a highly intelligent group, with a net result of misery and slavery for those unwilling or unable to deal with it. Anyone who holds the hammer and sickle high is a Jew or a fool.

  32. Goodness where to begin…listing a few favorites off the top of my head:
    Beethoven Piano Concerto 1

    Haydn Symphony 103
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj4447iCrfk
    Mozart Symphony 36 (linz) & Piano Concerto 9

    I also like the Baroque era as well: Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli, Handel (water music if I’m feeling particularly regal).

    1. I remember when I played that one for my mom once. Her response was less than positive….in fact, the first movement was just about enough to send her screaming from the room.
      I do consider the ending of that first movement to be one of the finest, most magnificent and flat-out ballsy musical passages ever written, though. The multi-layered polyphony just before the end practically blows my mind.
      The desire to listen to loud, powerful music definitely did not start with the invention of electric amplification and the solid bodied guitar. 🙂

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VsieYM4NZE
      Lick my ass nicely,
      lick it nice and clean,
      nice and clean, lick my ass.
      That’s a greasy desire,
      nicely buttered,
      like the licking of roast meat, my daily activity.
      Three will lick more than two,
      come on, just try it,
      and lick, lick, lick.
      Everybody lick their ass for themselves.
      – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

  33. Beethoven’s symphonies are particularly good. Rossini’s overtures are good. Pictures at an exhibition.
    I also advise checking out some classical guitar if you are a guitar player.

  34. Good article. I was very, very lucky to have gotten into this music when I was 16 years old. I have my father and an excellent high school band director to thank for that. It’s proven to be one of the greatest gifts of my life.
    I’ll add a couple recommendations of my own: Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”, specifically the orchestral arrangement by Maurice Ravel. Very approachable, varied enough to remain interesting, and has some quite ballsy parts to enjoy as well. It was one of the first pieces I ever became familiar with.
    Another good starter point would be some orchestral excerpts from Richard Wagner’s operas (i.e. the non-singing parts). I personally gravitate towards excerpts from Die Walküre (The Valkyrie) and Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), both of which contain some very powerful and greatly emotive music. The opening of the third act of Die Walküre is the famous “Ride of the Valkyries”, most notably used in the movie Apocalypse Now. There’s some other good stuff too, such as Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music, also from Die Walküre, and from Götterdämmerung there’s Siegfried’s Funeral March, and the Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla. This stuff is what really got me into classical music, and to this day these are among my all time favorites.
    One other thing: Don’t be afraid to turn the volume up when listening to this music. A full sized professional symphony orchestra may be made up entirely of acoustic instruments, but it can still really crank out the sound in the louder passages, especially given the instrumentation specified by Wagner and Ravel.

  35. A lot, lot more detail and exposition was required for an article like this imo… it read like something from Buzzfeed. 50 words or so is all you could muster for Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, much less his entire body of work?

  36. What about some discussion on the history of classical music?
    Early renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic eras etc. The evolution of musical instruments?

  37. I also recommend some Catholic or Orthodox chant, as well as old hymns if you are a Christian. Listening to traditional says in which Christians have worshiped gives you a different sense of truth and beauty.

  38. Solitary confinement might not be all that bad if you could listen to Bach the entire time. Just a thought.

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