If you’re looking for free classical music downloads, here’s a list of 100 great pieces of classical music that you can download as mp3 . Here you can download classical music of Mozart and Bach or a more recent composer, you’ll find it here.
As you’ll see, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart — they’re all there. So is Schubert, Ravel and Handel, not to mention another 50+ composers.
All music in this list is royalty free (free copyright). So you can use them in your youtube videos or other projects without worrying about copyright issues.
This list will provide you with interesting facts about those famous classical music pieces and the composers. You will learn more about classical music, this is a recommended article for beginners in the classical music listening experience. You can consider it as a guide or introduction to listen to classical music.
The musical pieces are ordered by date, this is very helpful for learning about classical music history and periods. All the music download links from archive.org
1685 Purcell , Trumpet Tune and Air
Henry Purcell was a great English composer in the Baroque era.
His tombstone is inscribed: “Here lies Henry Purcell, who left this life and
is gone to the Blessed Place where, only, his
harmony can be exceeded.”
1698 Pachelbel , Canon in D
This is a piece that everybody knows or has heard it showtime.
Pachelbel was most popular for his creative and interesting music style, which is the means by which he affected such a significant number of up and coming composers of that time. He was profoundly talented at finding better approaches to decorate the chorale tune to make it sound progressively alive. His melodic style impacted the absolute most noteworthy composers to come after him, for example, JS Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude.
1709 Bach , Toccata in D minor
Bach Toccata in D minor is one of the most well known works of baroque organ music at any time composed.
A singer, harpsichordist, violinist, organist, and violist. 20 children. Composed more than 1100 works of music, most of them are great. This is Bach.
1717 Handel , Water Music, Suite No. 2 in D
Handel was a German-born English musician of the late Baroque period, noted for his operas, oratorios, and instrumental compositions. Messiah (1741), and Water Music (1717) and Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749), are some of his most well known works.
1721 Bach , Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, 1st movement
Bach famous pieces, such as Brandenburg Concertos, can make you travel in time to the baroque era.
Bach is known to have been profoundly keen on numbers and mathematics, which were regularly coded into his pieces. He composed six Brandenburg Concertos, six Suites for Solo Cello and Six Partitas for keyboard. He also wrote a poem about smoking a pipe that consisted of six stanzas.
1721 Bach , Minuet and Badinerie (from Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor)
Minuet and Badinerie are the fifth and sixth movement of Bach’s Suite No. 2 in B Minor, preceded by an overture of typically slow dotted figures, the series of court dances- rondeau, sarabande, bourrée, and polonaise – appear to be deeply imbued with French ‘ esprit. ‘
The work is a journey through time, which begins in the Lully style of the seventeenth century and ends with the highly galant final section. It is questionable whether Bach actually intended this bantering ‘Badinerie’ to make fun of the preceding music.
1725 Vivaldi , The Four Seasons – Spring
The Four Seasons is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. The Four Seasons is Vivaldi’s best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces in the classical music repertoire.
To achieve the ideas Vivaldi had in mind, He wrote some instructions on the score of The Four Seasons, such as “like a barking dog” or “like a sleeping goatherd,” so performers can play it well.
1727 Bach , Air (from Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D)
One of Johann Sebastian Bach famous pieces ,The Orchestral Suite no. 3 in D major BWV 1068, was written between the years 1717 and 1723, for his patron Prince Leopold of Anhalt. From this work comes the popular Air on the G string, named after the late 19th century arrangement of the air movement for violin and piano by the violinist August Wilhelmj.
Wilhelmj was able to play the G string on only one string of his violin By transposing the key of the piece from its original D major to C major and transposing the melody down an octave.
1729 Vivaldi , Mandolin Concerto in C, RV 425
In the early to mid 18th century, the mandolin was primarily the instrument of amateur musicians. Vivaldi wrote several concertos and trios for the young ladies of the Ospedale della Pietà orphanage– including the famous Mandolin Concerto in C, RV 425, which must rank as one of his most popular works.
This lovely piece, Adagio in G Minor, attributed to 18th-century composer Tomaso Albinoni. However, It is not by Albinoni at all. It is a work by Remo Giazotto who declared to have used some phrases of Albinoni’s melody and developed into a complete composition according to accepted Baroque rules.
Many musicologists point out that the story of Giazotto for this Adagio may be a myth, because none other than him has ever seen Albinoni’s melody. Also, Giazotto changed his story since, denying that the piece was based on Albinoni’s melody.
1731 Bach , Oboe Concerto in D minor, 2nd movement
Bach used the oboe instrument as his preferred obbligato instrument, He obviously admired the versatility of the oboe and used it to accompany a lot of his works that deal with grief and heavenly joys, repentance and pastoral peace.
Yeah, it’s strange that no major Bach oboe concertante works have survived-or have they? Scholars have long thought his keyboard concertos were originally written for other instruments, and there is much evidence to suggest that some of them are intended for the oboe, or oboe d’amore.
1731 Vivaldi , Flute Concerto in G minor ‘La Notte’, VI. Allegro
Inherited from his father, Vivaldi’s curly red hair crop prompted friends to call him ‘ il Prete Rosso ‘-the red priest. His dad was literally dubbed ‘ Rossi ‘- redhead. Don’t be fooled by the famous portrait’s white hair-the composer wore a wig!
Vivaldi wrote more than 800 different pieces of music including a set of concertos, Op. 10, for flute written by vivaldi.
1734 Bach , Sinfonia in G (from ‘Christmas Oratorio’)
The world of music would never be the same as it has been all the way up to now if it wasn’t for bach!! he truly is a pure genius and is the musical master!
The Christmas Oratorio is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach intended for performance in church during the Christmas season. It consists of six parts, each part is intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The piece is often presented in its entirety, or divided into two equal parts. The total running time for the entire work is nearly three hours.
Sinfonia opens Part II, which is the annunciation to the shepherds and is intended for December 26.
1734 Handel , Largo (from ‘Xerxes’)
When Beethoven was on his deathbed, a friend brought him a folio of Handel’s compositions. When Beethoven saw what it was, he said gently “Ah, the master”.
This Largo is one of the greatest pieces of classical music song -ever written- for love, about a man’s deep, devoted love to a tree. A true hymn for tree huggers everywhere. It was written as an ode to a tree’s shade. Xerxes was a despot who made every whim into a law. On his grounds, there was a tree that he decided it needed to be decorated so he had it decorated with gold ornaments. He also assigned a guard to protect his tree. The large is about the comfort obtained in the golden shade. Because of the religious music Handle had been writing, the Largo took on a religious “flavor” outside the opera.
1739 Handel , Concerto grosso in A minor op. 6 No. 4
Handel’s Concerto grosso in A minor op. 6 No. 4 (HWV 322) is from his Twelve Grand Concertos, (HWV 319-330). Handel composed these concertos to be performed during intervals in masques and oratorios, as a well-advertised feature to attract audiences and show off his compositional skills.
His concertos are largely newly composed and are extremely diverse and in parts experimental, drawing from all sorts of musical genres and inspired by musical styles from across Europe.
1742 Handel , ‘Hallelujah’ (from ‘Messiah’)
Hallelujah is a true masterpiece and one of the greatest hymn in the world. God inspired handel to create this piece of music by giving him an incredible talent, knowing that it would give joy to people for centuries to come.
Within a few weeks, G.F. Händel created this masterpiece “Hallelujah” and the rest of “The Messiah,” using passages from the Holy Bible. When the King heard The Hallelujah Chorus, he was so moved that he rose to his feet immediately, taking the whole crowd to their feet. From that day on, audiences stand every time it’s played.
1749 Handel , Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (from ‘Solomon’)
The ‘Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’, sinfonia for two oboes and strings, is a piece from Georg Friedrich Handel’s oratorio “Solomon”. It is played as the first scene of Act III in the oratorio Solomon, which is rarely performed in its entirety, but this bright and lively “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” interlude is a widely appreciated processional set piece.
It was often played (and continues to be) during wedding ceremonies. A notable public performance of the piece took place during the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremonies in London.
1762 Gluck , Dance of the Blessed Spirits (from ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’)
This gently pastoral Dance “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” is a serene interlude from Gluck’s opera “Orpheus and Eurydice” about Orpheus’ journey to Hades, the realm of the dead, in search of his departed wife Eurydice.
Gluck’s operas represent an end to the older style of the opera seria and the beginning of the modern music drama. He collaborated with Italian dramatist Calzabigi on “Orfeo ed Euridice” opera. They severely modified the legendary tale and abandoned the traditional “dry” recitative.
1775 Mozart , Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, 1st movement
Incredibly, Mozart was only 19 years old when he wrote this concerto. The violin is firmly centre stage and you get to really appreciate how clever Mozart’s melodies were without all the orchestral stuff getting in the way. This is arguably Mozart’s most popular violin concerto,
The first movement is a dainty affair (very Downton, actually), but it’s the final movement where the violin really gets to show off. In the prime of his life, the thrusting young Mozart must’ve relished composing something so bullish.
1775 Mozart , Violin Concerto No. 5 in A, 2nd Movement
Genius Mozart wrote his first concerto in 1773 when he was only 17, completed his Violin Concerto No. 5 during his Summer vacation in Salzburg in 1775 when he was only 19, unknown for whom or for what occasion he composed most of his concerts.
At the age of 32, Mozart wrote his last 3 symphonies under 5 weeks (which Beethoven drew so much inspiration from), and it is generally agreed by historians Mozart never heard his 39th and 40th performed live.
1776 Mozart, Serenata Notturna
Serenata Notturna is one of the most early mozart pieces. In the years surrounding this composition, the prolific teenager/20-something Mozart penned a list that reads like the lyrics to the holiday song, “12 Days of Christmas”: eight minuets for piano, sixteen minuets for orchestra, five violin concertos, two church sonatas, six piano sonatas, four symphonies, two masses, and an opera. That’s not even half of his output during the decade, for included are a smattering of divertimentos and serenades — nearly one per annum.
1778 Mozart Flute Concerto No. 2 in D, 2nd movement
The flute is one of the most prevalent instruments in music. The oldest evidence of this has been found in Germany (c.35, 000 BCE), but other civilizations like the Chinese and Japanese are also renowned for their flutes.
1778 Rondo Alla Turca, from Piano Sonata in A
The ‘ Rondo alla Turca, ‘ one of Mozart famous pieces, is actually the third and final movement from his Sonata No. 11 K331 for piano, known popularly as the Turkish March in the rondo form.
The music of Turkish Janissary bands was very much in fashion at the time Mozart wrote Sonata No. 11. Those groups are thought to be the world’s oldest form of military marching bands. In fact, anything Ottoman was very much in vogue at that time in Mozart’s life, and you can see the influence of the empire in his opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail, set in a seraglio-a type of Ottoman harem or brothel.
1783 Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat, 2nd movement
By the time of the third concerto, we see the horn evolve from its hunting-horn roots even further as a concert instrument; orchestral clarinets and bassoons replace the pairs of oboes and horns of the previous concertos, giving the texture of this more harmoniously complex work a softness and richness.
1785 Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, 2nd movement (‘Elvira Madigan’)
Piano Concerto No. 21 is sometimes referred to as the Elvira Madigan, after a now otherwise long-forgotten film that featured the work. Mozart wrote it when he was only twenty-nine, just six years before his early death.
At that time, Mozart’s memory for music was so strong that he was said to be able to store at least two entire new symphonies in his mind before he had to write them down.
1786 Piano Concerto No. 23 in A, 1st movement
At the age of five, Mozart began his training and could play the clavier faultlessly, and had already begun writing small snippets of music by that time. His father was his teacher, teaching him in languages and other academic fields.
1786 The Marriage of Figaro – March
Mozart had a sense of humour, and you can hear it from the word go in this cheerful opera. It’s a great love-story, throwing in for good measure a few cases of mistaken identity, trickery and practical jokes.
1786 The Marriage of Figaro – Overture
Mozart was quite simply the Albert Einstein of music, without equal to this day. At the age of fourteen he went to the Vatican, and heard a piece of music that could only be performed exclusively within its walls – so he went home and wrote it out from memory. Twelve minutes of music from his head. Incredible!
1787 Don Giovanni – Overture
1787 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st movement
The sheer quantity of music Mozart wrote in his relatively short life would take most people the same amount of time just to copy it out, let alone write it all from scratch. ‘Genius’ is a word that gets flung around rather a lot these days, but whether you like his music or not, there’s no denying that it applies to Mozart, and even that doesn’t seem to do him justice….
1788 Mozart- Symphony No. 40, 1st movement
A child prodigy, Mozart wrote his first symphony when he was eight years old and his first opera at 12. He went on to write some of the Classical era’s most famous masterpieces, including symphonies, operas, string quartets, and piano music.
There is a reason why this stormy Mozart famous piece is sometimes referred to as ‘The Great G minor’. It’s a powerful piece from the off, and it’s full of catchy tunes. Rushing passages will be appeased with calming heart-warming harmonies, until the piece ends in a frenzied finish.
1791 Haydn- Symphony No. 94, ‘Surprise’, 2nd movement
The story behind it is there was a man who attended Haydn’s concerts but always fell asleep. Haydn did not take this lightly and wrote this so he would fall asleep in the beginning but would then wake up by the sudden burst of energy.
1791 Mozart- Clarinet Concerto in A, 2nd movement
Mozart has proven he knows how to get the best from the instrument. It seems he was saving the best ‘til last with this concerto for clarinet.
1791 Mozart- The Magic Flute – Overture
A handsome prince, a serpent, and three ladies who produce an enchanted flute with the power to change men’s hearts? Mozart’s opera is a bit of a musical pantomime, with some brilliant songs thrown in for good measure.
1796 Beethoven- Minuet in G
By the time Beethoven was composing, the minuet was the only surviving dance from the Baroque era to retain its popularity. It was regularly included as a standard form in all types of multi-movement instrumental music: symphonies, sonatas and chamber music.
1796 Haydn- Trumpet Concerto in E flat, 3rd movement
Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer. Together with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, He was one of the great musical personalities of the Viennese classical era. He was the brother of composer Michael Haydn.
1797 Haydn- Emperor’s Hymn, from String Quartet in C
No one should forget that Haydn was essentially the father of the string-quartet genre. His contribution to the symphony-form was colossal. There is so much inventiveness and originality in his music (and so many surprises).
1801 Beethoven- ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, 1st movement
Fun fact, “Moonlight Sonata” was composed during the period when Beethoven’s hearing was deteriorating but not entirely gone, he could hear lower notes better than the higher ones then, hence the low notes in this song. Even then, he managed to produce this beautiful composition despite his condition.
1808 Beethoven- Symphony No. 5, 1st movement
Fun fact: When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard. A couple days later, the town drunk was walking through the cemetery and heard some strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. Terrified, the drunk ran and got the priest to come and listen to it. The priest bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave. Frightened, the priest ran and got the town magistrate.
When the magistrate arrived, he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, “Ah, yes, that’s best Beethoven symphony, Ninth Symphony, being played backwards.”
He listened a while longer, and said, “There’s the Eighth Symphony, and it’s backwards, too. Most puzzling.” So the magistrate kept listening; “There’s the Seventh… the Sixth… the Fifth…”
Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate; he stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, “My fellow citizens, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just Beethoven decomposing.”
1810 Beethoven- Fur Elise
Beethoven’s fur elise is one of the most famous classical piano songs.
Fun fact about this piece: Beethoven was in love with one of his pupils called Therese, she was a mediocre player and so he made the beginning of the song simplistic so she could play it but upon finding out she was engaged to be married, the salty bitch went right ahead and made complex segments to the song that he knew she couldn’t play.
1811 Schubert – German Dance No.1
This beautiful melody was the intro for some news shows on the austrian radio from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.
1820 Weber – Der Freischütz – Overture
This beautiful was a huge inspiration for Wagner who heard this when he was eight years old and had a profound influence on his later work.
1821 Rossini – The Barber Of Seville – Overture
We have to give a big thanks to Tom&Jerry, Bugs Bunny for introducing me to classical music.
1822 Schubert – Symphony No.8 in B minor, ‘Unfinished’
As Homer Simpson once remarked… “Ooo, unfinished. Well this shouldn’t take long.”
1823 Schubert – Ballet Music in G, from ‘Rosamunde’
In his deathbed, Beethoven marveled at Franz Schubert’s musical genius. During his short life time, he was never appreciated except by some small group of followers and friends. Considering all the obstacles he faced and the poverty. However, He was one of the most productive and the best classical/romantic composer that ever lived.
1825 Schubert – Ave Maria
Schubert’s Ave Maria is one of the most famous classical songs, was written to the words of The Lady of the Lake, by Sir Walter Scott but translated into German and called Ellen’s Third song.
1833 Mendelssohn – Symphony No.4 in A, ‘Italian’, 1st movement
Mendelssohn’s symphony No.4 (commonly known as the Italian) has its origins, , just like the composer’s Scottish Symphony and the orchestral overture The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave), in the tour of Europe which occupied Mendelssohn from 1829 to 1831. Its inspiration is the colour and atmosphere of Italy, where Mendelssohn made sketches but left the work incomplete.
1838 Chopin – Polonaise in A, Op.40 No.3, ‘Military’
The polonaise is a couple dance in moderate triple meter that originated in Poland. During the early Baroque period, several composers wrote pieces called Polish dances or (in French) “polonaises.” By the 18th century, the polonaise became an instrumental work, independent of its roots in dance. Polonaises came to possess broader, more expressive melodies in the Classical era, and sometimes included a trio section (as in a minuet) or were set in rondo form.
1838 Schumann – Traumerei
Schumann wrote Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) in just several days. In fact, he wrote about thirty small pieces, but trimmed them to the thirteen that comprise the set. These pieces meant to reflect childhood experiences, but they’re not meant for young kids to actually play.
The most popular item in the collection is the seventh item, “Träumerei” (Dreaming). It is a representation of innocence, weakness and gentleness in childhood.
1841 Mendelssohn -Spring Song
Mendelson was quite beloved by those who knew him well, and his wonderfully beautiful works were so much loved and respected. Queen Victoria described him as ‘the greatest musical genius since Mozart’ and ‘the most amiable man.
1842 Verdi – Nabucco – Overture
In this ouverture there is the whole story of “Risorgimento”, the resurrection of Italy after centuries of slavery. It is the spirit of a Nation that wakes up…
1843 Mendelssohn – Wedding March, from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’
Mendelssohn’s famous wedding march is what every happy couple wishes to hear on the biggest day of their lives together.
1845 Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto in E minor, 2nd movement
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto E Minor OP.64 is the last large orchestral work of the german composer ” Felix Mendelssohn”, an important part of the violin repertoire from the Romantic era and is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos in history. It consists of three movements in a standard fast–slow–fast structure and lasts just under half an hour.
1845 Wagner – Tannhauser – Arrival of the Guests at Wartburg
Wagner’s Tannhäuser opera ( Arrival of the guests) is an opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on both the German legend of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg. The story focuses on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love.
1846 Suppe – Poet and Peasant – Overture
Most of us can attribute our love of the classics via cartoons. Disney, Warner, et al showed us the way. This highly entertaining thrilling musical composition was featured at Popeye cartoon.
1847 Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, is the second and by far most famous in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies. Created by piano master, Franz list, in 1847.
The difficult challenges of the piano solo version led to the rhapsody’s acceptance as the “unofficial standard” by the end of the 19th century. Every notable pianist want to prove himself, he should play it.
1847 Liszt – Liebestraum No.3 in A flat
At a young age Liszt showed amazing talent, comfortably sight-reading several staves at once. At the age of 9, Liszt made his first public performance. It was such a success that Beethoven, who had known his father, rushed up and kissed him on stage.
1848 Schumann – The Merry Peasant
Also known as Fröhlicher Landmann, von der Arbeit zurückkehrend (The merry peasant, returning from work), Schumann composed it by Robert Schumann for his three daughters.
1850 Wagner – Lohengrin – Prelude to Act 3
In this Prelude Wagner makes wide and brilliant use of dynamic contrasts to set the scene for the wedding of the hero and heroine from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin.
1853 Verdi – La Traviata – Prelude to Act 1
La Traviata was based on the play The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, and became the most popular of all operas by the greatest Italian opera composer of the 19th century,Giuseppe Verdi ,
1854 Liszt- Les Preludes
The flamboyant pianist would start a concert by tossing his long blonde hair and throw his green gloves to the floor. He would then continue with his hair flopping over his eyes, thumping his piano to pieces. Women loved him, fought over him and collapsed in orgasmic swoons while he was playing – “Lisztomania” they called it.
1858 J. Strauss II- Tritsch Tratsch Polka
Johann Strauss II was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas. He wrote over 500 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other forms of dance music, as well as several operettas and a ballet. He became known as “The Waltz King” in his lifetime and was then largely responsible for the success of the Viennese waltz during the 19th century.
1858 Offenbach- Orpheus in the Underworld
There’s a legend related to this overture. When the Czechoslovak army orchestra played this piece in 1950’s, during the performance, the conductor would randomly select one of the fifteen clarinetists , point at him and he had to play the solo. No one was certain he would not be picked, so everybody had to learn it.
1858 Rubinstein- Melody in F
A title of deceptive simplicity for this miniature of exquisite beauty, written by the best pianist of the 19th century, Arthur Rubinstein.
1862 Verdi- The Force of Destiny-Overture
Verdi’s predecessors who influenced his music were Rossini, Bellini, Giacomo Meyerbeer and, most notably, Gaetano Donizetti and Mercadante.
1864 Grieg- I Love You
Grieg dedicated The piece “I love you” to his wife like many other songs. he might have been sad or happy but it doesn’t really matter. the music is still beautiful.
1864 Offenbach- Barcarolle, from ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’
The most famous aria from the opera Les contes d’Hoffmann (in English: The Tales of Hoffmann) is the “Barcarolle” (Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour), which is performed in Act 2. Curiously, the aria was not written by Offenbach with Les Contes d’Hoffmann in mind. He wrote it as a ghost-song in the opera Les fées du Rhin (which premiered in Vienna on February 8, 1864 as Die Rheinnixen). However, Offenbach did not live to see his opera performed.
1865 Brahms- Waltz
Johannes Brahms is one of the Romantic period’s most revered and popular composers. Fun fact about him: He began composing when he was just 11, but when he was older, he found them a bit embarrassing and destroyed the majority of them.
1866 Smetana- The Bartered Bride – Overture
“With God’s help and grace, I will be a Mozart in composition and a Liszt in technique.” -Smetana
1866 Suppe- Light Cavalry-Overture
Suppe’s parents pushed him to study law, but he continued his musical studies nonetheless. He went on to compose over 100 works for the stage.
In Vienna, There is no escaping The Blue Danube waltz. It is played All year round, in restaurants, shops, and hotels…. It is Austria’s unofficial national anthem.
1868 Brahms- Cradle Song
Once they met, Robert Schumann was so impressed with the talent of Brahms that he was inspired to write an essay entitled ‘Neue Bahnen’ (‘New Paths’) which gave Brahms a lot of publicity.
1870 Delibes- Notturno, from ‘Coppelia’
V is a French opera and ballet composer who was the first to write music of high quality for the ballet.
1870 Wagner- Ride of the Valkyries; from ‘The Valkyrie’
With this piece, you can imagine the glorious flight of the Valkyries descending on the battlefield giving worthy heroes blessing and harvesting the souls of the worthy fallen.
1872 Bizet- L’Arlesienne – Intermezzo
Bizet had a hit with an orchestral suite derived from his incidental music to Alphonse Daudet’s play ‘L’Arlésienne’. Critics dismissed the music as too complex for popular taste but the suite received an enthusiastic reception.
1875 Bizet- Les Toreadors, from ‘Carmen’
Georges Bizet was an outstanding French composer. His most popular work was Carmen, although he wrote many other great pieces.
1875 Smetana- The Moldau
Dvorak’s work radiates widely on an international level; Smetana is less well-known outside his country, but his work has reverberated with greater force within it. He is even described as a nationalist composer.
1875 Tchaikovsky- Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, 1st movement (excerpt)
This is one of those rare pieces of music that belong in the realm of immortality, like Beethoven’s 5th or 9th symphonies or Mozart’s 40th and 41st symphonies.
1876 Grieg- Morning, from ‘Peer Gynt’
‘Peer Gynt’ was based on five-act allegorical drama Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen. Much as Grieg admired the drama as a literary work, he found composing for it a difficult task.
1876 Tchaikovsky- Marche Slave, Op. 31
The Russian Musical Society commissioned Tchaikovsky to write something rousing for a concert in aid of the Red Cross during the Serbian and the Ottoman Empire war, with Russia siding with the Serbs. The offering of Tchaikovsky, the Marche Slave, starts by evoking the Turks ‘ persecution of the Serbs – using Serbian folk songs – and climaxes with the Russians marching to save the Serbs.
1877 Wagner- Siegfried’s Death and Funeral March; from ‘Twilight of the Gods’
Wagner tried to synthesize the visual, poetic, drama, and music in opera, with drama being more emphasized than the music, revolutionizing the operas of the time period.
1878 Tchaikovsky- Polonaise, from ‘Eugene Onegin’
One of his quotes: “Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.” –Tchaikovsky. He definitely worked through this philosophy. This man was motivated to work and excel from his early piano training (at age five) until his death.
1880 Dvorak- Songs My Mother Taught Me
The Czech composer Antonin Dvořák, who is famous for his Symphony No.9 ‘ From the New World ‘, was passionate for his birthplace and traditional music.
1886 Dvorak – Slavonic Dance No. 2
In 1877, on Brahms’ suggestion, the publisher Simrock commissioned Dvořák to compose some Slavonic Dances for piano duet. Aimed at the lucrative domestic market, the sheet music for the eight dances sold out in one day.
1886 Grieg- The Last Spring
To Norway, Edvard Grieg is what Shakespeare is to England: the most celebrated son of his country.
1887 Rimsky-Korsakov- Alborado, from ‘Capriccio Espagnol’
From miles away Rimsky-Korsakov was easily identifiable. He was tall and enjoyed a distinguished appearance characterized by thick blue wire-brimmed glasses and a full beard that made him look even more academic.
1889 J. Strauss II- Emperor Waltz
Vienna, the waltz, and the Strauss family are inseparable entities.
1889 Tchaikovsky- The Sleeping Beauty – Introduction
Tchaikovsky suffered from severe anti-social behavior and excessive stage fright. During his guest conductor appearances, he would hold his hand on his head because he feared that it would become separated from his body.
1892 Tchaikovsky- Waltz of the FLowers, from ‘The Nutcracker’
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet composed by Tchaikovsky based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. It initially had a poor reception, but its combination of enchanting choreography and an unforgettable score have since made it one of the best-loved of all ballets.
1893 Dvorak- Symphony No. 9, ‘From the New World’, 2nd Movement
New World Symphony, by-name of Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95: From the New World, orchestral work composed by Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak in 1893. It is by far his most popular symphony, and one of the most famous symphonies.
1894 Dvorak – Humoresque
Away from music Dvořák was a committed train spotter who spent hours at Prague’s Franz Josef railway station. He has known the timetable by heart. He would always ask his pupils, when teaching, to describe in detail any train journeys they’ve made recently.
1894 Massenet – Meditation, from ‘Thais’
There is nothing like the Meditation from Thaïs to allow us to escape from this world, if only for a moment.
1896 R. Strauss – Also sprach Zarathustra – Fanfare
the opening of Strauss’ Zarathustra is one of the most recognizable musical excerpts in history. Stanley Kubrick chose this opening music for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
1899 J. Strauss II – Vienna Blood – Waltz
This dance piece is a collection of genuine Viennese tunes, full of melody and electrifying rhythm.
1899 Sibelius – Finlandia
Sibelius is widely recognized as his country’s greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.
1900 Rimsky-Korsakov – Dance of the Bumble Bee
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is probably well-known for his work ‘The Flight of the Bumblebee’, but he composed a lot of compositions during his lifetime. some of his most notable works: Scheherazade, the Capriccio Espagnol, and the Russian Easter Overture.
1901 Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance – March No. 1
Although you may not know that it was first composed as a military march, you will instantly recognize one of the most popular works by Edward Elgar, “Pomp and Circumstance, March No. 1 in D.” It so commonly associated with graduations.
1902 Mahler – Symphony No. 5 – Adagietto
Herbert von Karajan once said that when you hear Mahler’s Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.”
1903 Sibelius – Valse Triste
Sibelius’ “Valse triste” (Sad Waltz) is equally melancholy. The waltz captures the sense of haunting memories recollected in old age.
1928 Ravel – Bolero
Yet while Ravel considered Boléro to be one of his least important works, he was always his most famous.
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