Music taste is one of the most common conversation topics, but how many people do you know who listen to classical music (and have no trouble admitting it)? That’s probably because of the long-established common belief that classical music is something that belongs to the past… But is it really?
Buckle up: here at Halidon, we’ve compiled a list of 10 pieces of classical music that are more exciting than a double espresso shot!
It’s not uncommon for listeners to associate classical music with adjectives such as boring, static and… old. As a matter of fact, "classical music" is an umbrella term that encompasses different genres and eras: from the Renaissance to the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, to what is commonly referred to as Modern and Contemporary music. If you listen carefully, you will find out that classical music is actually anything but boring!
Are you curious by nature and do you enjoy discovering new music? Here at Halidon we love to take care of our listeners: that’s why we have made a preview of the pieces available at the links below, and why we have created a "Classical Music Is NOT Boring" playlist on Spotify. Our hope is to help dispel the myth that classical music is dull and reserved for an audience of connoisseurs only. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Here are ten pieces of classical music that are guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush with their epic and exciting atmospheres!
- Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 2 in G minor, RV 315 "Summer": III. Presto
Out of the four seasons, Vivaldi chose summer to unleash all the power that only a storm in the hot months can have. The third movement (Presto) perfectly captures the energy of a summer storm that hits out of nowhere, taking the listener by surprise.
- Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, A Night on Bald Mountain
A piece with a dark and unsettling atmosphere (it’s no coincidence that it was chosen for the final sequence of the 1940 film Fantasia), A Night on Bald Mountain has been performed and reinterpreted many times, though its best-known version is perhaps the one by Nikolaj Rimsky-Korsakov (1886). Fasten your seatbelts… You’re in for an electrifying, thrilling and scary ride!
- Carl Orff, Wilhelm Killmayer, Carmina Burana
This collection of medieval compositions was found only in 1803 in the monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria, Germany. Some were already accompanied by musical notations, which made it possible to reconstruct a part (albeit minimal) of the original melodies!
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Requiem in D minor, K. 626: II. Kyrie
The Kyriewas one of the last sections of the Requiem that Mozart himself managed to complete. The composer began to write it when his health was already deteriorating, and his premature death at the age of 35 in 1791 put an end to his efforts.
- Ludwig Van Beethoven, Symphony No. 8 in F major; Op. 93: IV. Allegro con brio
Composed in a short time (at least by Beethoven’s standards), Symphony No. 8 is the most atypical of Beethoven's symphonic compositions. Brilliant and spiritual in character, it marks an unexpected return to a decidedly classical form, in keeping with the
models of Mozart and Haydn.
- Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Spanish Capriccio, Op. 34: I. Alborada
Begun as a composition for orchestra and solo violin, the latter was eventually abandoned and the Spanish Capriccio was performed for the first time on October 31, 1887. On that occasion, the conductor was Russian composer himself!
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker, Op.71a No. 2c: Russian Dance
This composition features the use of a very peculiar instrument: the celesta. Tchaikovsky had seen it for the first time in Paris and wanted it at all costs for The Nutcracker. It can be heard in Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Apotheosis.
- Sergei Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64bis: No. 6, Death of Tybalt
This famous ballet, first performed at the Brno theatre in 1938, was originally supposed to premiere in Moscow. However, both the choreographer and the corps de ballet considered the steps excessively difficult due to the continuous and excessive rhythmic changes.
- Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: III. Allegro
A collection of six instrumental works originally titled Six concerts avec plusieurs instruments, the Brandenburg Concertos were dedicated by Bach to the Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg-Schwedt, from whom they derived the name they are known with today.
- Camille Saint-Saëns, The Carnival of the Animals: VII. Aquarium
This piece is notable for the use of another peculiar instrument: the glass harmonica (glasspiel). Together with two pianos, strings, and flute, it perfectly describes the impalpable marine environment where the scene takes place.
- Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem: 2a. Dies Irae
The Requiemwas composed by Giuseppe Verdi after the success of Aida and his temporary retirement from opera. It was a tribute to poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni, whom Verdi greatly admired and who had died in 1873.
Do you still think classical music is boring? This was just a taste! You can find these and other exciting pieces in our “Classical Music Is Not Boring” compilation, also available on CD and vinyl on Amazon. An original gift for classical music lovers, but also for all the sceptics who believe that classical music lacks emotion! To quote an infamous meme: after all, classical music is just heavy metal before electricity!