Classical Music

My Top Ten

In John Powell’s book, Why You Love Music (2016), he explores the psychological basis for our musical choices. Almost right away, he asks for each reader’s favorite kind of music and then to name their top ten selections.

Easy enough for me. Classical music has attracted me since my early teenage years. Sure, I also liked rock n’ roll, having been part of the generation that established that genre. Of course, I also liked other genres, for example a few hundred hymns I’ve sung so many times that I know them by heart. But it’s the classical that has lasted at the top of my interests.

So I offer the following works, most of which I have carried with me for decades. I don’t have a rank order for them, but I do have a historical one as I came to favor them one at a time. That listing follows.

Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750, Mass in B Minor (completed 1749).

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, 1839-1881, Pictures from an Exhibition (1874, orchestration by Maurice Ravel, 1922).

Antonin Leopold Dvoȓák, 1841-1904, Symphony No.9 in E Minor, From the New World (1893).

Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, 1840-1893, Swan Lake ballet, Op. 20 (1875-1876).

Carl Orff, 1895-1892, Carmina Barana [24 Songs of Beuren] (1935-1936).

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky, The Firebird ballet (1909-1910; subsequent revisions).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791, Die Zauberflöte/The Magic Flute (1791). Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder.

Ludvig van Beethoven, 1770-1827. Symphony No.9 in D Minor, Op. 125, The Choral Symphony (1822-1824).Ode to Joy” based on poem by Friedrich Schiller.

Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897. (Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45/A German Requiem (1865-1868).

Johan Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750, Brandenburg Concertos, BWV 1046-1051 (ca. 1721).

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, 1678-1741, Le Quattro Stagioni/The Four Seasons (ca. 1721).

Charles-Francois Gounod, 1818-1893, Messe Solennelle en l’honneur de Sainte Cecile, in G Major, CG56 [i.e. a solemn mass in homage to Saint Cecelia](1851-1855?).

Yes, I have listed twelve, not ten. I cannot help it. Data given above came from Wikipedia and other sources including recorded disks in my collection. When we lose Minnesota Public Radio while traveling in the car, we switch to disks.


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