Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Countdown To The Best Classical Music Piece



I don't listen to classical music that often (even though I grew up listening to tons of it, involuntarily), but when I do it has to be the best stuff, the top of the crop, the tip of the iceberg, the pointiest bit on the pyramid, the areola and the nipple rather than the breast itself. This is pretty much my attitude toward all types of music. Who's got the bloody time to listen to average crap? Well, I know, 90% of the population do just that, bless their uneducated, underdeveloped ears. So I guess this list must be for the other 10%. 

As with any type of music, most classical composers "borrowed" from others, and usually wrote very stereotypical tunes that still get played by great and less-than-great orchestras throughout the world - just because they were written by so-and-so. I fart on the cult of personality; I only look at the finished product - not who composed it, or why, or when, or how exalted his name may be in general culture. Only a small percentage of all classical music is truly great; the rest is a mixture of the good, the mediocre, and the dull - like all those vaguely pleasant but ultimately pointless Haydn symphonies that might as well have been composed on a conveyor belt. 

Classical music IS of course generally overrated by its fans, and utterly underrated by hicks. Very few people have a healthy, realistic approach toward it - as I do.

Many of its deluded fans are narrow-minded snobs who actually believe that only music written by people who are long dead can be good music - as if the past held some secret ingredient, some unknown chemical element that enabled humans to write great melodies, while the modern times are somehow "corrupted" or "polluted" by some strange gases that permeate the air, not allowing any music genius to ever exit its mother's vagina. The fact that the population is much larger today - and that many more people can afford musical instruments and a music education - mathematically increases, if anything, the chances of more great music being written. That is probably why the 20th century saw an explosion of excellent music in large quantities, not to mention a plethora of new and exciting styles. Admittedly though, the current world-wide cultural dumbing-down phenomenon is a large counter-productive factor. Vast numbers of kids are growing up listening to garbage, so the odds of anyone composing great music greatly diminish.

On the other side of the coin we've got the tone-deaf idiots who utterly ignore, even mock classical music. (Cretins often mock that which they cannot understand.) These are the types that cannot comprehend anything more complex than "Jingle Bells" or the latest musical turd shat by Britney Spears's overactive anus. Their lemur ears can only process simplistic, child-like, predictable, formulaic tunes that can be hummed even by bizons. Like nervous little pubescent girlies who hysterically laugh in order to mask their insecurity and uncomfortableness, these peasants nervously snicker at anything they realize goes way above their heads - or past their ears, if you will. Classical music isn't rocket science, but it does presuppose early ear-training. If you've been brought up on a steady diet of Bon Jovi, Ice-T, and DJ Moby, you can pretty much forget it: for such retards great melodies will always remain a confusing mystery.

Keep in mind: this list isn't about ALL the famous classical melodies, just the very best - and who better to be the judge of what's best than I! There are many very nice melodies that I have not included, simply because they do not measure up to the ones already on the list.



A Metal Fan's List Of The Best Pieces Of Classical Music




Rule no. 1: No entire symphonies, no entire missas or whatever, only separate bits/parts. 

Rule no. 2: No good tracks, only great tracks. Many famous pieces are missing because they do not match up to the greatness of those that made it on the list, or simply because they are dull. 

Rule no. 3: The 20th century does count, but only up to a point. I can't draw a line, i.e. identify a date, when classical music stops. We can argue about what "classical" means until James Cameron is as blue in the face as his dumb aliens, but ultimately: if it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. One thing's for sure; you won't be finding any Jay-Z here. And by "classical" obviously I refer to modernist and romantic eras as much as what is literally classical music.

Rule no. 4: Sometimes a piece of music has a high placement because there is one absolutely outstanding part within it. Considering that some of these pieces go over 10 minutes, it is obvious that some of these longer compositions aren't great in their entirety but contain highlights which are the focus.

Rule no. 5: Keep in mind that the greatness of many of these tracks depends to some extent on how good they are being played, i.e. which version you've heard.

Rule no. 6: I have tried to arrange these tracks in the ascending order of greatness, which was tough. However, you will notice an increase in quality as you go down (i.e. up) the list.


 

58.
BACH/GOUNOD - Ave Maria


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyUhEjtlDLA



57.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Alexander Nevsky: The Crusaders In Pskov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5QzroijYfY



56. 
Gabriel FAURE - Pavane

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWW7pfXlYLY



55. 
Alexander Borodin - Prince Igor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw1weml0-r0



54.
Ludwig VAN BEETHOVEN - Symphony #9, 2nd movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BDlqlhcCIk



53.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Lieutenant Kijé

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1scluzlPz0



52.
Claude DEBUSSY - The Snow Is Dancing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1YHnYX8xfM



51.
Antonin DVORAK - New World Symphony: 4th Movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9OBf8f55tU



50.
Giuseppe VERDI - Nabucco: Hebrew Slaves Chorus

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6JN0l7A_mE



49.
Léo DELIBES - The Flower Duet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qx2lMaMsl8


  
48.
Modeste MUSSORGSKY - Promenade

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1GwvPzzK1k



47.
Johann Sebastian BACH - Orchestral Suite #3 D-dur

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUtCC5VPwBs
 
 


46.
Claude DEBUSSY - Passepied

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-aWANHYCdM



45.
Richard STRAUSS - Also sprach Zarathustra

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeHu7omCC6w



44.
Pietro MASCAGNI - Cavaleria Rusticana (Intermezzo)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDAkIlZyWfw



43.
Sergei RACHMANINOFF - Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, 18th variation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_BArG3ollw




42.
Claude DEBUSSY - Estampes: Gardens in the Rain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2ZsZ0rwxI




41.
Tomaso ALBINONI - Adagio in G minor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMbvcp480Y4 



40.
Igor STRAVINSKY - Firebird Suite: Infernal Dance of King Kastchei

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoLacjKPl7w



39.
Carl ORFF - Carmina Burana: 11. Estuans Interius

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTxggoE48wk


 

38.
Richard WAGNER - Götterdämmerung: Siegfried's Death and Funeral March

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NBhoGXo8lE


 
 37.
Jean SIBELIUS - Valse Triste

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvNk4jvjb_A




 36.
Maurice RAVEL - Pavane For Dead Princess

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKkeDqJBlK8



35.
Frédéric CHOPIN - Etude no. 3 in E major, Op. 10 no. 3, "Tristesse"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmQBFLJAIcY 


34.
Johann Sebastian BACH - 3 Part Invention, #2 in c-Moll BWV 788

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrlIRrS85CY




33.
Claude DEBUSSY - Des pas sur la neige

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFKfuanIfdU



32.
Modeste MUSSORGSKY - Baba Yaga

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNdOMcbuiiA



31.
Antonin DVORAK - New World Symphony: 2nd Movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOX15agZ3-0



30.
Maurice RAVEL - Bolero

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnt_8bUXVpw




29.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY - Symphony #6 "Pathetique": 1st Movement, Adagio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6jA_C389PU



28.
Carl ORFF - Carmina Burana: O Fortuna

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdIpoE2LEps



 27.
Claude DEBUSSY - Arabesque #1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6s49OKp6aE 



26.
Edvard GRIEG - Solveig's Song

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii2Adi2iFRM



25.
Modeste MUSSORGSKY - The Old Castle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUEvLWHWr-I



24.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Suite Scythe: Adoration de Veles et Ala

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBjsW5VcN98



23.
Igor STRAVINSKY - Firebird Suite: Introduction

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy0fUXM_l_A



22.
Claude DEBUSSY - Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG9jyh5zGnI



21.
Modeste MUSSORGSKY - Bydlo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx6Eo6liyCg




20.
Ludwig VAN BEETHOVEN - 7th Symphony: 2nd Movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgHxmAsINDk



 19.
Franz SCHUBERT - Piano Trio #2 in E flat major

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzehhFgI2MQ  




18.
Igor STRAVINSKY - Firebird Suite: Berceuse & Finale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceIpM_bLSTA 



17.
Claude DEBUSSY - Reverie

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THq2QSUw3k8



16.
Modeste MUSSORGSKY - The Great Gate of Kiev

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw7OM_Q810k


15.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Violin Concerto #1: Moderato; Allegro Moderato

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag-X50_GZes



14.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Violin Concerto #1: Andantino

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSJezJisLws



13.
Claude DEBUSSY - Girl With The Flaxen Hair

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu4KObwynSc




12.
Johann Sebastian BACH - Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Dh43kVL1Q

 

11.
Claude DEBUSSY - The Sunken Cathedral

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAVyKDDsM3s



10.
Franz SCHUBERT - Ave Maria

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE1WoMocTlw


 
9.
Joaquín RODRIGO - Aranjuez Concerto

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SILF8CrhoKo



8.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Symphony #5 In B Flat Major: Allegro Marcato

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7YgZ8J-PA



 7.
Sergei PROKOFIEV - Symphony #6 in Eb Minor, Op. 111: I Allegro moderato

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNbheYZkWWg



6.
Modeste MUSSORGSKY - A Night On Bald Mountain

Rimsky-Korsakov version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im258Ea5FJA

Original version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDOCuvN-19Q 



5.
Igor STRAVINSKY - Firebird Suite: Round Dance of the Princesses 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBb7-He4o5E



4. 
Richard WAGNER - The Ride of the Valkyries

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeRwBiu4wfQ



3.
Claude DEBUSSY - Claire De Lune

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcDxw6O1oRQ



2.
Ludwig VAN BEETHOVEN - Ode To Joy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kcOpyM9cBg



1.
Richard WAGNER - Tannhauser Overture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBqwAGj5fDA



If you think I have omitted something crucial, leave a link or name the tune and its composer, and I shall check it out.



To find out The Best Songs of 1970-2016, go to: 


6.9.2016.

9 comments:

  1. Not enough Strauss II and Saint-Saens. And the absence of a Mozart piece is shocking. I respect your love for Wagner and Beethoven, however.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I omitted Mozart just to annoy you, and other Mozart fans.

      "Not enough Strauss"? There isn't ANY Strauss, I, II, III, or XXVI.

      Any opinion on the Russians? I have a hint of a clue of an inkling that you might despise them.

      Delete
    2. "I omitted Mozart just to annoy you, and other Mozart fans"

      I'm glad to see you form your opinions based on what will annoy people over what you genuinely like.

      And as for the Russians, I'm quite a fan of Tchaikovsky, but my general opinion of the Russian mentality is not a positive one.

      Delete
    3. This, however, is not a list about mentalities, but music.

      Delete
    4. Then why did you ask for my opinions on the Russians? Don't ask questions if you are disinterested in the answers.

      Delete
  2. We had such a good thing going when I thought you had put Ode to Joy on top - that's pretty much the only piece of art that occasionally motivates me to learn German - almost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Hitler's speeches don't motivate you to learn German? Smelly fat German businessmen stuffing large pieces of Wurst in their mouths while talking about their favourite Berliner whores doesn't either?

      If that doesn't do it, nothing will. You will never speak the awesome language.

      Didn't quite understand the "Ode to Joy" remark. I put it in 2nd place. Are you one of those people who only acknowledge the winner?

      Delete
    2. Is there any truth to the story that Hitler stood up the entire time he would attend a performance of one of Wagner's operas?
      And alas, no smelly fat Germans ever shared stories about their Berliner whores with me. In my short visit to Germany I found the Germans exactly as I had imagined them to be - efficient, frugal and boring. If I had known about their love of Berliner whores maybe I would have found them more interesting.

      Perhaps I'm shallow like that - Wagner I don't get. Ode to Joy makes me feel a tinge of bliss when I hear it.

      Delete
    3. I don't know whether Hitler stood or sat or curled into the fetal position during a Wagner opera, but I do know that he (allegedly) came during some of his rally-speeches. He was supposedly sexually excited by screaming at thousands of brainwashed Germans, this somehow titillated him to the point of ejaculation. Of course, the only person who could deny or confirm this is Hitler's personal underwear cleaner.

      Delete