History AwesomeMusic / Classical

19th Oct '17 9:00:13 PM mlsmithca
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** Also "Story of the Calendar Prince".

to:

** Also "Story Although the four-way 1872 collaboration between the members of the Calendar Prince"."Mighty Handful" (excluding Balakirev) on an operatic setting of Viktor Krylov's libretto for ''Mlada'' never quite reached completion,[[note]] Most of the music was completed, but the work was never staged. Because the composers re-used most of their music in other contexts, to this day there has never been a published version of the four-person collaboration on ''Mlada''.[[/note]] Rimsky-Korsakov composed his own setting of the libretto in 1889-90. The most celebrated movement from his opera-ballet is the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAXEdXeSM7I Procession of the Nobles]] from Act 2, its sense of dignity and ceremony making it a popular processional march for graduations and the opening ceremonies of sporting events, including the [[UsefulNotes/TheWorldCup 1994 FIFA World Cup.]]
** ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17lEx0ytE_0 Scheherezade]]'', Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic setting of stories from ''Literature/ArabianNights'', is as epic in scope as the tales that inspired it. Highlights include the sumptuous second movement theme and variations, "The Kalandar Prince", and the emotionally intense love theme from the third movement, "The Young Prince and the Princess", one of the composer's most instantly familiar melodies and one of the suite's unifying musical ideas.
17th Oct '17 12:07:27 AM mlsmithca
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!!Composers with their own pages:
[[index]]
* AwesomeMusic/JohannSebastianBach
* AwesomeMusic/LudwigVanBeethoven
* AwesomeMusic/JohannesBrahms
* AwesomeMusic/FryderykChopin
* AwesomeMusic/JosephHaydn
* AwesomeMusic/FranzLiszt
* AwesomeMusic/WolfgangAmadeusMozart
* AwesomeMusic/SergeiRachmaninoff
* AwesomeMusic/FranzSchubert
* AwesomeMusic/PyotrIlyichTchaikovsky
[[/index]]
----



* Music/JohannSebastianBach is considered by many to be the greatest composer of all time. You can see why below.
** Bach is by far the most celebrated composer of organ music, and his library of organ works is packed to overflowing with awesomeness.
*** Easily his most famous organ work is the Music/ToccataAndFugueInDMinor (shown [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipzR9bhei_o here]]).[[note]] Although it is speculated that the piece is not actually by Bach, or is at best a transcription by Bach of a now lost piece by another composer, perhaps originally written for solo violin.[[/note]] It is used as the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} 2'' menu theme, and less than fifteen seconds of it, as performed on violin, is the core of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHWPJbn9na0 this theme]] (typically used as "you underestimated by awesomeness" music) from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''.
*** His just-as-famous [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVadl4ocX0M "Little" Fugue in G minor]] has been used as '''the final boss music''' for ''VideoGame/MegaManLegends''.
*** The nickname of the "Little" Fugue is used to distinguish it from the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKMPqlkkY3Y Fantasia and "Great" Fugue in G minor,]] a masterpiece of counterpoint with a memorable fugal subject and two countersubjects constantly rotated among the four voices.
*** Bach composed several other outstanding (if less famous) toccatas and fugues for organ; the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_85JoUCoj94 "Dorian" Toccata and Fugue in D minor]] is one of the more famous pieces written in the Dorian mode,[[note]] the minor mode with a sharp sixth[[/note]] the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6bf1UM5e18 Toccata and Fugue in F major]] features several epic pedal solos and some first-rate two-voice canons in the toccata and a fugue with two subjects, and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Klh9GiWMc9U Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major]] includes another spellbinding pedal solo in the toccata and a rather jaunty fugue.
*** Other incredible organ works include the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ana3PzTKkrI Prelude and Fugue in D major]] (the climax of the prelude is used to accompany the assassination/christening scenes in ''Film/TheGodfather'', while the fugue stands out for its "spinning" subject and harmonic journey far away from and then back to D major), the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3DQACE1ky8 Prelude and "St. Anne" Fugue in E-flat major]] (the massive five-voice fugue's three subjects are sometimes said to represent the three parts of the Trinity, and are expertly interwoven with each other), and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie52xH8V2L4 Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor]] (the passacaglia is regarded as perhaps ''the'' best example of the form, and the melody of the ground bass making an almost seamless transition into its new role as the fugue subject is a masterstroke).
*** Bach's other organ music, including his prelude-and-fugue and toccata-and-fugue groups and his chorale preludes, are used today as the benchmark upon which all other organ music is compared. In fact, Bach ''improvised'' much of his work, including fugues; he just wrote down what he remembered later. Bach could probably have farted a four-part fugue and it would have been brilliant.
** Along with his organ works, Bach is also revered for his harpsichord/other keyboard works. Some have suggested that these works may have contributed to the keyboard's rise from accompaniment instrument to solo instrument.
*** ''The Well-Tempered Clavier'' was the first set of substantial pieces to cover all twenty-four keys. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzerJmdStq8 Book I,]] written in the early 1720s, is the more famous of the two books. Just to give highlights, there's the famous arpeggio-based Prelude and stretto-packed Fugue in C major; the almost-as-famous furious Prelude and spiky Fugue in C minor; the shimmering Prelude and jaunty Fugue in C-sharp major, the first substantial piece ever to use that key; the three-subject, five-voice Fugue in C-sharp minor; the majestic French Overture-like Fugue in D major; the restless Prelude and inversion-laden Fugue in D minor; the prelude-and-double-fugue-in-one Prelude in E-flat major; the haunting Prelude in E-flat minor and stretto/augmentation/inversion-stuffed Fugue in D-sharp minor;[[note]] Bach demonstrated the versatility of well temperament by using what would previously have been considered two different keys but were now considered identical keys for this pair.[[/note]] the boisterous Prelude and inversion-loaded Fugue in G major; the haunting Prelude and four-voice stretto-boasting Fugue in G minor; the concerto-like Prelude and gavotte-like Fugue in A-flat major; the strident Prelude and highly ambitious Fugue full of double stretti and inversions in A minor; the haunting Fugue in B-flat minor that climaxes with a ''five-voice'' stretto; and the sonata-like Prelude and highly chromatic Fugue in B minor.
*** As if one ''Well-Tempered Clavier'' wasn't enough, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fU40nXwQts Book II]] followed about twenty years after the first, and while it may not be as famous as its predecessor, it's just as rich in masterpieces of melody and counterpoint, if not more so. Highlights of this volume include the Fugue in E minor with its very long and elegant subject; the winding and twisting Prelude and gigue-like Fugue in F major; the haunting, parallel interval-led Prelude and angular Fugue in F minor; the vast three-subject Fugue in F-sharp minor; the upbeat Prelude and stately two-subject Fugue in B major; and the Invention-like Prelude coupled with a Fugue with a subject distinguished by octave hops in B minor.
*** ''The Art of Fugue'' (''Die Kunst der Fuge'') was one of Bach's last works. It consists of 14 fugues and 4 canons. The last fugue, Contrapunctus XIV, was never finished due to Bach's deteriorating eyesight. ''The Art of Fugue'' is considered by some to be the pinnacle of Bach's contrapuntal style. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrb0dHKJBR4 One must listen to the work to fully appreciate its awesomeness.]]
*** Bach's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP2o4rBdX-s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor (BWV 903)]] is perhaps his most freestyle work, almost unhindered by the forms of the time, and taking maximum advantage of the then-new system of well temperament that finally made it possible to include chromatic scales in keyboard works without half the steps of the scale sounding horrendously out of tune.
*** Bach's keyboard toccatas and fugues are incredibly varied in tone and form. Many are just as wild as the harpsichord solo from the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (see corresponding entry). Check out a compilation [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9tNFkJNTE8 here]].
*** Bach was also a master of the French-style dance suite. Try the six [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lDIhd001Wc English Suites]][[note]] which are stylistically more French than English[[/note]] (No.2 in A minor is perhaps the most popular, especially its spiky opening Prelude), the six [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__8-lVxbZKA French Suites]][[note]] which are stylistically more Italian than French[[/note]] (the most popular by far is No.5 in G major; the Menuet from No.3 in B minor may be recognisable as Music C from the UsefulNotes/GameBoy verison of ''VideoGame/{{Tetris}}''), the six [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBScXwDDrZs Partitas for harpsichord]] (No.1 in B-flat major and No.2 in C minor are the most frequently performed, but the crown for awesome goes jointly to the extroverted No.4 in D major and the grandiose No.6 in E minor), and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWnXigg-3PE Overture in the French Style]].
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5db9R4PnWXc The Italian Concerto]] shows that Bach was just as adept at writing in the virtuosic, extroverted Italian style as in the stately, ornamental French style, its orchestral textures conveying the sense that it is a reduction for solo keyboard of a concerto for violin and strings. From a first movement that captures the listener's attention immediately with its brash opening measures, through a solemn slow movement, and culminating in a lively finale, it is deservedly one of Bach's most popular keyboard works.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYfKWyeichE The "Goldberg" Variations]] represent one of the greatest achievements for keyboard not just by Bach, but by any composer. A set of thirty variations bookended by the Aria on which they are based and organised into ten groups of three, the third of each group of three except the last is a two-voice canon over ever widening intervals, the second of each group of three except the first and last is a fluid ''arabesque'', and the other variations include a lively Gigue, a four-voice Fughetta, a stately French Overture, a bright Alla breve, a sombre Adagio, and a ''Quodlibet'' on two folk melodies... all without losing sight of the structure of the theme. Truly one of Bach's masterworks.
** Bach is also known for his stringed instrument works, many of which are well-known to even people unfamiliar with the rest of his work.
*** The Brandenburg Concertos remain some of Bach's most beloved works, and are stellar examples of what constituted full orchestral works in the Baroque era. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elIXiNx-dXw No.1 in F major]] weaves a rich contrapuntal tapestry with two horns, three oboes, and a bassoon as well as strings; the ingenious fourth movement alternates a stately minuet with episodes devoted to each group of musicians. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJbkvmwUMkw No.2 in F major]], a real ''tour de force'' for the solo trumpet, is so awesome its first movement was ''sent into space'' as the opening track on the ''Voyager'' record. The rightly famous [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLj_gMBqHX8 No.3 in G major]] weaves ''ten'' melodic and countermelodic lines around each other across its outer movements. The joyful [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iTPLgfmFdI No.4 in G major]] gives a starring role to a pair of recorders, alternating with virtuosic solo violin passages. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnjqGhAlFzs No.5 in D major]] shines the spotlight on a solo violin, flute, and harpsichord, the last of which gets to strut its stuff [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljojjoBGLYw at the end of the first movement.]] And while [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa14w6y6CeA No.6 in B-flat major]] is the least performed of the six, the absence of violins in favour of violas, violas da gamba, cello, and continuo creates a rich sonority quite unlike anything else Bach composed.
*** The four Orchestral Suites rank alongside the Brandenburg Concertos as early masterpieces for full orchestra in Bach's day. The most famous movements are the concluding [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhYVQM6TsM Badinerie from Suite No.2 in B minor,]] an incredible moment in the spotlight for any flautist up to the task, and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2j-frfK-yg Air from Suite No.3 in D major]], better known as "[[HaveAGayOldTime Air on the G string]]" and a contender for the title of "most instantly recognisable piece Bach composed".
*** Bach also wrote some outstanding concerti for one or more solo instruments, strings, and ''basso continuo''. The violin concerti in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4bUCMV2oCE A minor]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ascdQJ6HGpc E major]] and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wwgn3QYwPE Double Concerto]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBRGmwCT0OQ in D minor]] all feature dazzling passages for the soloists (the slow movement of the Double Concerto is especially charming). Of the harpsichord concerti,[[note]] most, in fact probably all, of which were originally written as violin concerti - No.3 in D major is an arrangement of the E major violin concerto, No.6 in F major is an arrangement of the Brandenburg Concerto No.4 in G major, and No.7 in G minor is an arrangement of the A minor violin concerto[[/note]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2laUv3y7OfA No.1 in D minor]] is perhaps the most spectacular, though [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVAE1GQjA3g No.2 in E major]] is also packed with displays of awesome by the soloist. And Bach didn't limit himself to a single soloist; the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1_mukdWiKg Concerto for two harpsichords in C minor]] is well worth a listen.
*** His works for unaccompanied solo stringed instruments are just as awesome. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGQLXRTl3Z0 Suite No.1 in G major]] for cello opens with an immediately recognisable and justly famous Prelude. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpYUaRg0aDw Partita No.2 in D minor]] for violin ends with a titanic Chaconne which taxes the violinist's skill to its limit and has inspired several even more difficult arrangements ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42UEVbwiRT0 Ferruccio Busoni's arrangement for piano]] being one of the most famous). And the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGLvU6JQoeI Partita No.3 in E major]] for violin features another outstanding Prelude and a charming Gavotte en Rondeau.
** Bach's vocal works, both religious and secular, are beloved by those who know about them. Many of Bach's cantatas are of very high quality despite the fact that there are literally hundreds of them. In fact, they are considered the finest examples of the genre. His [[http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdfO5X2nCvXoFv0AtU8AlQp1vMlAMK_pi motets]] are no less amazing.
*** Cantata highlights include ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjptJeN7EzM Christ lag in Todesbanden]]'' (BWV 4), ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln9MBa8lXV4 Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis]]'' (BWV 21), ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn4zEYWjejA Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott]]'' (BWV 80), ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqx6ATXXTNI Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht]]'' (BWV 105), ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEeY2MrI7hk Gottes Zeit ist allerbeste Zeit]]'' (BWV 106), ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQghy8Ih3ZA Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott]]'' (BWV 127), ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PT4-l9eWUc Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme]]'' (BWV 140)[[note]] The fourth-movement chorale, "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PT4-l9eWUc&t=15m2s Zion hört die Wächter singen]]", is one of Bach's most widely recognised vocal works.[[/note]], ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jh-riSkA2A Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben]]'' (BWV 147)[[note]] The 6th and 10th movements of ''Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben'' are especially well known as the melody of "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVh0-jenY6s Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring]]" (see the CoveredUp article for more info). Music/CelticWoman certainly does a beautiful rendition of it.[[/note]], and ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC5KpmK6oOs Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht]]'' (BWV 211, nicknamed the "Coffee" Cantata).
*** Bach set the accounts of the Passion from all four Gospels to music,[[note]] Possibly; what was thought to be his setting of the St. Luke Passion was merely a copy in his hand of the work of another, unknown composer, and whether he composed his own setting can only be guessed.[[/note]] but only two have survived to the present day. The earlier and smaller scale of the two is the ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiKgrevzT-g St. John Passion]]'', which presents the story of John's account of Christ's betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial with a rich tapestry of solo arias, verses from hymns, and chorale settings with an orchestra including lute and viola da gamba, all of which lends the right amount of gravitas for one of the Gospels' gloomiest passages, which ultimately ends on a note of optimism as though anticipating the Resurrection.
*** The later of Bach's surviving Passions is the ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm1os4VzTgA St. Matthew Passion]]'', which ranks as one of his most celebrated choral achievements. Scored for double orchestra, double choir, and children's choir as well as featured vocal soloists, it is nearly three hours of brilliant yet heart-rending music, with such arias as the devastating "Erbarme dich" (with the solo violin's undulating line sometimes said to represent Judas' thirty pieces of silver falling to the ground) and "Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben", the viol solo-accompanied "Geduld! Wenn mich falsche Zungen stechen" and "Komm, süßes Kreuz",[[note]] Bach revised the work about ten years after its original composition; "Komm süßes Kreuz" had its accompanying instrument changed to viol from the original lute.[[/note]] the almost buoyant "Ich will dir mein Herze schenken" and "Sehet, Jesus hat die Hand", and the angsty "Buß und Reu" and "Blute nur, du liebes Herz!", as well as turba passages for chorus that leap and dive around each other to represent the chatter of the disciples and the abuse of the crowd at Jesus' trial, recitatives that place a "halo" of sustained string notes around Jesus' words (except His last), and expertly harmonised chorales, all bookended by the outstanding choruses "Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen" (featuring a cantus firmus on the hymn "O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig" from the children's choir) and "Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder".
*** Though long overshadowed by Handel's Christmas oratorio (the ''Messiah''), Bach's ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVeluHdzcBY Christmas Oratorio]]'' is every bit as stirring and glorious as the Passions are devastating.[[note]] The arias and chorales are mostly adapted from three secular cantatas - "Laßt uns sorgen, laßt uns wachen" (AKA "Hercules at the Crossroads"), "Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten!", and "Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen" - and a now lost church cantata. The technique of setting new words to old music is known as "parody" - [[{{Parody}} no, not that parody]] - and features extensively in Bach's vocal works.[[/note]] Not so much a single oratorio as six cantatas intended for performance between Christmas and Epiphany, it sets the tone immediately with the celebratory opening cantata, "Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf, preiset die Tage", the orchestra featuring trumpets and timpani as well as strings and winds. The gentle "Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend", which opens with a serenely pastoral sinfonia which is then quoted in the concluding chorale, "Wir singen dir in deinem Heer", pares the orchestra back to strings and winds only. The trumpets and timpani return for the extroverted "Herrscher des Himmels, erhöre das Lallen". The mood switches to reverent for "Fallt mit Danken, fallt mit Loben", the only cantata to feature horns. The buoyant "Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen" scales down the orchestra further to oboes d'amore and strings. Finally, the trumpets and timpani return to finish the oratorio with pure triumph for "Herr, wen die stolzen Feinde schnauben", which ends with a jaw-droppingly virtuosic trumpet fanfare to decorate the chorale "Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen".
*** Bach's setting of the Latin ''Magnificat'', in both the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUe7kW0aZP0 D major]] and the earlier [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY4wRVREgB8 E-flat major]] versions, is a triumph that will make any listener's spirit rejoice.
*** By far Bach's most ambitious setting of the Latin Mass is the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F7TVM8m95Y B minor Mass]]. It is a veritable parade of some of his best counterpoint (especially the opening five-voice fugue for the words "Kyrie eleison" and the duets for "Domine Deus" and "Et in unum Dominum") and virtuoso vocal solo writing (such as the soprano aria "Laudamus te" and the bass aria "Et in Spiritum Sanctum").[[note]] Like the ''Christmas Oratorio'', it is largely composed of "parody" arrangements of arias and choruses from previous cantatas - for example, the "Crucifixus" movement is adapted from the opening chorus to the cantata "Weinen, klagen, sorgen, zagen" - though some of the cantatas in question are now lost.[[/note]]
** We'll leave you with this: When someone suggested putting nothing but Bach on the [[UsefulNotes/{{NASA}} Voyager Golden Record]], Creator/CarlSagan replied, "No, that would just be showing off."[[note]] Bach is, however, the most represented composer on the record, with three pieces: the first movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No.2, the Gavotte en Rondeau from the Partita No.3 for solo violin, and the first prelude and fugue from the second book of the ''Well-Tempered Clavier''.[[/note]]



* Music/LudwigVanBeethoven is regularly named as one of the greatest composers of all time, and often as ''the'' greatest. The reasons why are numerous:
** The fourth movement of Beethoven's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MnGfhJCK_g Symphony No.9 in D minor]] is one of many {{Standard Snippet}}s popular throughout fiction, but it is one that truly conveys ''majesty''. Not only through fiction, after all, it is the anthem of the EuropeanUnion. It speaks volumes that this song managed to be chosen as the EU anthem ''even after having been used as a patriotic song by the Nazis''. It's ''that'' good.[[note]]Albeit if Beethoven had been alive in the Nazi era, he would've yelled and screamed at Hitler and quite possibly devised a half-mad one-man plot to assassinate the Führer for misuse of the piece--Beethoven was a committed liberal and democrat, and the "Ode to Joy" is a setting of an emphatically liberal work of the Enlightenment's best poet, Schiller. On the other hand, Beethoven would've been delighted at the use of his Fifth Symphony by the Western Allies. Suffice it to say, if Beethoven had been born in 1870 and not 1770, he would've been one of the first Germans sent to the camps--and would have been ''proud'' to have been sent there, too.[[/note]]
*** It has been said of the 9th Symphony that Beethoven, in his final symphonic work, showed a desire to reach beyond the music itself and draw upon something divine. To cap this off, on the night of the Symphony's premiere, the performance received five standing ovations. What's so special about this? The Emperor of Austria received three when attending performances and it was custom for no one to outdo this. Yes, that's right, Beethoven became greater than an Emperor for his music. (And the first three movements are awesome as well - so much so that Beethoven quotes each of them briefly at the beginning of the finale.) Of particular note is the performance led by Leonard Bernstein at the Brandenburg Gate just after the opening of the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall. He made just one slight change to the lyrics, replacing the word ''Freuden'' (Joy) with ''Freiheit'' [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments (Freedom)]]. (Beethoven, for all this MadArtist tendencies, would almost certainly have cried with ''Freude'' had he been there.)
*** Ode to Joy is already mind-blowingly awesome - but it becomes even more so when sung '''by a chorus of ten thousand'''. Yes, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6s6YKlTpfw it actually happened]].
** Several of Beethoven's other symphonies are regarded as timeless classics of the form:
*** Beethoven's personal favourite of his symphonies was [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfLIerVubk No.3 in E-flat major,]] the ''Eroica''. With its stirring first movement, solemn funeral march of a slow movement, lightning fast scherzo third movement, and expansive set of variations in the finale, it's not hard to see why he was proud of it.[[note]]Going back to Beethoven's politics, it was originally dedicated to UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte, when he was a committed republican revolutionary general, and got Beethoven in a lot of hot water in Vienna, considering that the Republic Napoleon fought for was Austria's Enemy No. 1 on many levels. When Napoleon became Emperor, Beethoven retracted his dedication.[[/note]]
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM3y09RjKLs first movement]] of his Symphony No.5 in C minor has perhaps ''the'' most recognisable opening to any classical piece, ever, and the movement is full of other seemingly minor but then-revolutionary touches, such as a surprise oboe cadenza at the beginning of the recapitulation and an extended coda on new material. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuXK7EJaC1w other]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYQ0Zaelmt0 three]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHYBoG7hiZk movements]] also deserve mention here, not least as they continue Beethoven's experiments with form; although the third movement leading straight into the fourth and the quote of the main theme from the third movement in the middle of the finale may seem like small details, at the time no major symphony had used either device.[[note]] Emphasis on "major"; for example, Beethoven's sometime composition teacher, Haydn, had interrupted the finale of his Symphony No.46 in B major with an extended quote from the third movement minuet. Beethoven had previously used both devices in his Piano Sonata No.13 in E-flat major, but not in his orchestral works.[[/note]]
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQGm0H9l9I4 Symphony No.6 in F major,]] the ''Pastoral'', reflects Beethoven's love of the countryside of central Europe, and is one of his most beautiful and serene works (apart from the boisterous third movement scherzo and the savage fourth movement). The last three movements - depicting a merry gathering of country folk for food, drink, and song that is interrupted by a violent thunderstorm, which gradually subsides and inspires a song of thanksgiving - are played without breaks, making it the second major symphony (after No.5) to use this device - and both symphonies premiered in ''the same concert'' in 1808 (albeit in reverse numerical order).[[note]] Unfortunately, a combination of a cold concert hall, an underrehearsed orchestra, and the sheer length of the programme, in which Beethoven premiered several other major works including his Piano Concerto No.4, meant the concert was not the huge success it should have been; the critical and audience adoration that has surrounded the symphonies and the piano concerto ever since only took root the following year.[[/note]]
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MqrBauptrE Symphony No.7 in A major]] brims with energy and vivacity from start to finish, so much so that Richard Wagner called it the apotheosis of the dance. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1qAWcd4rr0 Each of the]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqtPVEuAbzM symphony's]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td3mRRne39I four]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLkZvsp62iU movements]] is noted for its composition highlights, some with dotted rhythms and extreme changes in dynamics (reaching ''fortississimo'' in the last movement's coda), giving the whole a ferocious, frantic and very active atmosphere. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqtPVEuAbzM The second movement]] stands out remarkably, providing the very definition of "allegretto" with an insistent theme that sticks with the listener long afterward. In fact, it proved so popular that it was encored in the symphony's premiere, and sometimes performed on its own.
*** And while the remaining symphonies - [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdOHIlDLN4Y No.1 in C major]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAnjfp7vUvA No.2 in D major]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6qn1lTu1B8 No.4 in B-flat major]], and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr3lsI4OVis No.8 in F major]] - may not enjoy the same popularity as the other five, they are all awesome in their own way. Highlights include the surprise I-IV cadence that opens No.1, the abrupt musical somersault that opens and recurs throughout the finale of No.2, the charming slow movement of No.4, and the coda that takes up almost half of the finale of No.8.
** Beethoven was also a master of works for soloist and orchestra:
*** The piece known as Beethoven's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My1bbAURxSs Piano Concerto No.1 in C major]] was actually the second to be composed, and though it owes a debt of influence to some of Mozart's later concerti, there are stamps of originality all over it as well, from the rousing opening movement to the dignified Largo and the buoyant finale.
*** Beethoven's actual first piano concerto was published as [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6OrZCq-ym8 Piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat major,]] and while it is even more overtly influenced by Haydn and Mozart, it is still packed with catchy melodies and chances for the soloist to show off a bit.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYxCPis1IxE Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor]] was inspired by Mozart's Piano Concerto No.24 in the same key, and lays the foundation for the sort of tragedy-to-triumph journey found in his Symphony No.5, also in C minor. The opening measures of the finale, which smooth over the transition from the E major of the slow movement to the C minor of the (first part of the) finale, are a particularly bold move.
*** Beethoven's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lvBQJjxw4c Piano Concerto No.4 in G major]] has one of most hauntingly beautiful slow movements ''ever'', and frames it with a sweeping opening movement (which makes the then-audacious move of opening with a passage for unaccompanied piano) and a rambunctious finale.
*** The most famous of Beethoven's piano concerti, and with good reason, is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enmJ5PwxD7o No.5 in E-flat major]] (''Emperor''), which goes from a vast first movement (like No.4 before it, this concerto introduces the piano almost immediately after a single chord from the orchestra) to an absolutely gorgeous slow movement which leads - without break - straight into a brilliant finale.
*** The technically demanding yet melodically memorable [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8hQSMxa7gk Violin Concerto in D major]] is one of the highlights of the violinist's repertoire, packed with ingenious moments from the four soft timpani beats that open the first movement to the victorious final measures of the third movement.
*** And why stop at one featured soloist? Beethoven gave moments in the spotlight to solo piano, violin, and cello in his [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmpjXrS6ekk Triple Concerto in C major,]] which ranks as one of the great concerti for multiple soloists, and finds Beethoven starting to get more adventurous with form and harmonic development; it was his first composition for soloist and orchestra to go straight from the slow movement to the finale without stopping (a gesture he repeated in the violin concerto and the ''Emperor'' concerto).
** Beethoven's symphonies are often coupled in boxed sets with his concert overtures, some of which were written as part of incidental music for plays and others of which were rotated in and out of the opening spot in his opera ''Fidelio'', but all of which stand very well on their own.
*** The ballet ''The Creatures of Prometheus'' opens with an [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4oWlylXy2k overture]] that begins with the same I-IV cadence as Beethoven's Symphony No.1, letting us know that when composing a ballet, as in any other musical form, Beethoven was not afraid to push boundaries of melody and harmony. The five minutes that follow are pure delight.
*** The stark [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUngfVi5p4k overture]] to Heinrich Joseph von Collin's tragedy ''Coriolan''[[note]] And not, as is sometimes believed, Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/{{Coriolanus}}'', though both are fictionalised accounts of the same man, Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.[[/note]] sets the tone aptly for the serious drama that follows, with a marvellous interplay between a grim minor key theme representing Coriolan and a more tender major key theme representing his mother and her pleas that he abandon his plans to march his army against Rome; though the music shows Coriolan giving in to his mother's pleas, it is too late to turn back his army, and the minor mode prevails as the hero commits suicide.
*** The composer's only opera was originally called ''Leonore'', and its overture went through [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCI7_7RsuM0 three]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwwiBZh5Wys different]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRhwyzJABvI versions.]] Though much changed between each version (especially the first and second), each version is as rousing and captivating as the overture to a comic opera should be. When Beethoven revised the opera yet again and re-titled it after its main character's [[SweetPollyOliver male alter ego,]] ''Fidelio'', he wrote a completely new [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMPJl_qzlTc overture]] that dispenses with the slow introduction of the three ''Leonore'' overtures and charges in at full speed - for a few measures, anyway, then it slows dramatically - for one of the master's most exhilarating theatrical works.
*** Of Beethoven's incidental music for Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe's play ''Egmont'', the most frequently performed movement is the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsI0yTC7bic overture]] - just so magnificently gorgeous and evocative, moving from minor key gloom to major key triumph just in time for the coda. It was especially powerfully used during the memorial for the Israeli athletes who were killed at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
*** The incidental music to August von Kotzebue's play ''The Ruins of Athens'' includes several gems, such as an [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCmqpwtgMpE overture]] that moves from a solemn introduction to a joyful main section, a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX3nWbeSqx8 duet]] that is both sad and beautiful and features a harmonic-minor key, and a buoyant [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ4mvLgUBo8 Turkish March]] that has become one of Beethoven's most familiar melodies and has been arranged for many combinations of instruments. When the play and incidental music were heavily revised as ''The Consecration of the House'' over a decade later, a new [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HG67ExuhQM overture]] was composed that shows how much Beethoven could do with a single theme and still not run out of ideas.
** Beethoven's thirty-two sonatas for piano include many timeless masterpieces in a genre he helped to re-define. Just to name a few:
*** The composer hit the ground running with his first three piano sonatas, dedicated to his teacher, Music/JosephHaydn (despite their creative differences). Highlights include the take-no-prisoners fury of the finale of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4KGTrk9ah4 No.1 in F minor,]] the string quartet-inspired texture (with imitated pizzicato cello) of the slow movement of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWzMlIh5Xnk No.2 in A major,]] and the ambitious opening movement, complete with a climactic "solo cadenza", of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LufiS9qFuh8 No.3 in C major.]]
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8XYrNrlBj4 No.8 in C minor]] (''Pathetique'')[[note]] The only title Beethoven himself gave one of his piano sonatas[[/note]] is the piece with which Beethoven first found a truly original voice as a composer, and has been indelibly carved on the public consciousness since it was first performed in 1798. It is packed with compositional approaches that may seem mundane now but were highly novel at the time, such as the stormy first movement returning to the slow introduction at the beginning of the development and the coda. The awesome continues through the StandardSnippet-led slow movement and agitated rondo finale (the main theme of which recalls a theme from the first movement).
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il-lzTqvS_Y No.13 in E-flat major]] may not be as famous as the sonata it was published alongside (the ''Moonlight''), but it is a fine early example of Beethoven's experiments with form; though there are nominally four movements, they are played without break to create the sense of a Baroque fantasia in one movement (hence the subtitle "Quasi una fantasia"). The easy-going opening rondo (interrupted by a boisterous Allegro passage in C major) is followed by a troubled scherzo and a placid Adagio that breaks off halfway through to lead into the jubilant finale... only to re-appear just before the coda to tie the whole thing together.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tr0otuiQuU No.14 in C-sharp minor]] (''Moonlight'') stands as one of his greatest achievements for piano, from its immediately recognisable slow opening movement to the almost non-stop storm of virtuosity in the finale. Though not quite as experimental with form as No.13, it shares with that sonata the trait of making the finale, not the opening movement, the main focal point of the work, an idea Beethoven used more frequently in later compositions (Symphony No.9 being the most famous example).
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA_x54jMiqM No.17 in D minor]] (''Tempest'') frames a beautiful slow movement with a spiky sonata allegro punctuated at key moments by a Largo arpeggio figure and a restless finale in which the two hands wind and tumble around each other in expertly written counterpoint.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL0JLNt_3EE No.21 in C major]] (''Waldstein'') is packed with virtuosic flourishes (especially in the finale) and memorable melodies. (And its awesomeness was actually deliberately dialled back slightly by Beethoven when he decided to set the original second movement aside as a separate piece, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESfw8TWZ1ZI the Andante favori in F major]].[[note]] He later conceded that the original slow movement made the sonata too long, and the short ''Introduzione'' he wrote to replace it is striking in its harmonic language and sets up the epic rondo finale perfectly.[[/note]])
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ak_7tTxZrk No.23 in F minor]] (''Appassionata'') has perhaps single-handedly created an association between the key of F minor and dark, deeply passionate music, with an opening movement that is among the most highly emotional works Beethoven composed. It is followed by a dignified theme and variations that leads straight into a finale of such relentless energy (in which it is the recapitulation, not the exposition, that is intended to be repeated) that even the audience will be exhausted by the end.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFRfZ02jKkk No.26 in E-flat major]] (''Les adieux'')[[note]] Viewed by Beethoven as an inferior French rendition of the German title ''Das Lebewohl''[[/note]] is a compact yet effective three-movement story of Beethoven's sorrow at the departure of his friend and patron, Archduke Rudolph of Austria, and his joy at his return, starting with a sonata allegro dominated by the descending three-note motif from its slow introduction, and continuing through a solemn slow movement and an ebullient finale, the latter two played without a break.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i-_eRTZwBA No.28 in A major]] may live in the shadow of the ''Hammerklavier'', but it is still four movements of awesome, including a heavily contrapuntal sonata allegro that shies away from resolving into its home key for as long as possible, a boisterous march-like scherzo, and a slow movement that looks back to the very opening of the piece just before diving immediately into an even more elaborately contrapuntal finale that marks the beginning of Beethoven's exploration of fugues and fugato passages in his piano sonatas.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06O5TWFMmPs No.29 in B-flat major]] (''Hammerklavier'') is both the longest and the most technically difficult piece Beethoven ever wrote for piano. A real rollercoaster for both performer and listener, it features an expansive opening sonata ''allegro'', a brilliant scherzo, a mammoth F-sharp minor Adagio[[note]] Beethoven's only composition in that key[[/note]], and a concluding epic three-voice fugue that uses almost every fugal device in the book, including multiple countersubjects, augmentation, inversion, retrograde, stretto, and more.
*** His last three sonatas are the awesome icing on an already awesome cake, all defying the structural conventions of piano sonatas at the time while being packed with beautiful melodies and labyrinthine counterpoint. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eKGHvoh93M No.30 in E major]] follows an alternately fast and slow sonata allegro with a furious Prestissimo and a delightful theme and variations more than twice as long as the first two movements combined. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbnM-1MQSGw No.31 in A-flat major]] opens with a conventional sonata allegro and an angry scherzo, and follows with a finale longer than the first two movements combined which alternates a slow ''arioso'' with a masterful fugue. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCgwYl-W4ts No.32 in C minor]] is in just two movements, a tense sonata allegro and a longer, lyrical set of variations on a charming Arietta.
** Though perhaps not as beloved as his piano sonatas, Beethoven's ten violin sonatas likewise include several landmark works of the form:
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfm-zJLYWB8 No.5 in F major]] (''Spring'') was Beethoven's first violin sonata in four movements (although the third movement scherzo is just over one minute long even with repeats), and its gentle, pastoral atmosphere looks ahead to his Sixth Symphony (with which it shares its home key). The first two movements are packed end to end with charming melodies, while the last two movements end the sonata on a more energetic note.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uPGz7NU-mk No.9 in A major]] (''Kreutzer'')[[note]] Ironically, Rodolphe Kreutzer never actually played the sonata publicly, and in fact didn't care for Beethoven's music, but the original dedicatee, George Bridgetower, fell out with Beethoven after insulting the morals of a woman whom the composer greatly respected.[[/note]] frames a vast yet delightful theme and variations with a first movement in which an affable major key introduction gives way to a stormy, minor key sonata allegro, and a vivacious finale in which the piano and violin race alongside each other to the triumphant final measures.
** Beethoven's first-rate contributions to chamber music started early with the six-movement [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmex-7V0IRI Septet in E-flat major,]] a piece in the tradition of the Divertimenti of Haydn and Mozart that, as was so often true with Beethoven, pushed back the boundaries of what the form could do. Highlights include a charming, clarinet solo-led slow movement, a lyrical set of variations, and a horn-led scherzo. Schubert liked the work so much, he took inspiration from it for his own Octet in F major (scored for the same combination of instruments plus an extra violin).
** Beethoven's last five string quartets are perhaps the supreme achievements of his final years. They show that his genius and his zeal for experimenting with form remained undimmed to the very end of his life; only two follow the "traditional" four-movement structure codifed by Haydn and Mozart (and used by Beethoven in his first eleven quartets), and even they do not quite go as expected.
*** Though [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tBRQSlBkBk No.12 in E-flat major]] follows the traditional "sonata allegro-slow-scherzo-finale" outline, the first movement is repeatedly interrupted by the tempo and melody from its slow introduction, while the theme and variations in the slow movement show what a master Beethoven was at taking a simple melody and pushing it to its limits through variation.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i29LA1fy5r4 No.13 in B-flat major]] has an extra scherzo and an extra slow movement for a total of six. All six movements are outstanding, though at the premiere, the most enthusiastically received were the slyly humorous fourth movement ''Tedesca'' (in the coda, the main theme is scrambled so that the second four measures are played in reverse order, followed by the first four in the correct order) and the heart-rendingly beautiful fifth movement ''Cavatina'' (which was sent into space as the concluding track on the ''Voyager'' Golden Record). Which annoyed Beethoven, who was proudest of the titanic concluding ''Große fuge'', perhaps his greatest contrapuntal masterpiece; the eight-note motif played in the introduction to the fugue proper ingeniously lays the groundwork for everything that follows.[[note]] At his publisher's suggestion, Beethoven composed a shorter alternative finale (the last piece he completed before his death) which is more usually played at the end of the quartet; the ''Große fuge'' is generally performed as a standalone work, though it is often coupled with the quartet in recordings, allowing listeners to choose which finale they prefer.[[/note]]
*** Beethoven's love of opera is on full display in the seven-movements-in-one structure (imitative of operatic act finales) of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXm1W6t-qqk No.14 in C-sharp minor]] - a solemn fugue, a short and dancelike sonata allegro, a brief recitative, an expansive theme and variations, a frenzied scherzo, another transitory recitative, and a finale that ties up the whole quartet in a neat package make for one of his masterpieces.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK75WCcUDkM No.15 in A minor]] brackets its slow movement with a minuet and a march for a total of five movements. The slow movement in question, the almost impossibly serene ''Heiliger Dankgesang'' ("Holy song of thanksgiving"), is one of the most gorgeous pieces Beethoven ever composed.
*** The last quartet, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laUMuPkm7Ow No.16 in F major]], was the last large-scale piece Beethoven composed, and while it is in the traditional four movements, the finale, subtitled "Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß" ("The difficult decision") and dominated by contrasting "Muß es sein? -- Es muß sein" ("Must it be? -- It must be") motifs, shows the master still experimenting with structure and yet still writing melodically memorable music.



* Music/JohannesBrahms was named alongside Bach and Beethoven by the German conductor Hans von Bülow as one of "the three Bs", three composers who helped to define western classical music whose names happened to begin with B. It's not hard to see why von Bülow felt Brahms was worthy to be ranked alongside Bach and Beethoven:
** Brahms' four symphonies are all regarded as among the sublime achievements of the late Romantic symphony.
*** It took Brahms somewhere between fourteen and twenty-one years to go from the first sketches to the first performance of his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGRqIGOAPcE Symphony No.1 in C minor]]. It was worth the wait; Hans von Bülow sometimes referred to the symphony as "Beethoven's Tenth", deeming it the first worthy successor to the symphonic tradition Beethoven had established half a century earlier. Indeed, part of the reason for the symphony's long gestation was because Brahms wanted to compose a symphony worthy of Beethoven, and it follows a similar "tragedy to triumph" journey to Beethoven's fifth and ninth symphonies.[[note]] Although Brahms viewed some of the more explicit comparisons between his symphony and Beethoven's two minor key symphonies as tantamount to accusations of plagiarism.[[/note]] With this work, Brahms single-handedly revived the symphony as a musical work, which had previously been viewed as somewhat passe.
*** Once Brahms got the hang of writing a symphony, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGeY14HEleY No.2 in D major]] took just a single summer to compose, and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L0MqnAoEJM No.3 in F major]] followed a few years later. Both are masterfully assembled and packed end to end with gorgeous melodies; No.2, despite being the only Brahms symphony in which all four movements are in major keys, hides an inner sadness that makes it especially potent, while No.3 deftly weaves between major and minor modes throughout the first and last movements (settling into major just in time for the coda in both), and the plaintive third movement is one of Brahms' most intensely emotional pieces.
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asQca995uxs final movement]] of Symphony No.4 in E minor is a great deal of awesome. He's got the whole powerful and tragic thing running on all four cylinders - and unlike most symphonies in minor keys (including his own C minor symphony), he doesn't shift into the major mode for the ending. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P2AzhECVJ8 first]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo_UVzFQ7DE three]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Cqv8PRsZRw movements]] have plenty of awesome moments of their own.[[note]] Music/{{Yes}} fans will recognise the third movement as the source of Rick Wakeman's solo track "Cans and Brahms" on ''Fragile''.[[/note]]
** Though (and perhaps because) Brahms' two piano concerti are both very demanding of the soloist, they are each fifty minutes of pure awesome.
*** The orchestral introduction to [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXd0omiCuA4 No.1 in D minor]] is a musical adventure all on its own, and contains the germ of almost every melodic idea in the entire piece; the drama that unfolds in the first and third movements brackets a more serene slow movement, and the whole is never less than spellbinding.
*** Paradoxically, despite being considered one of the most (and often ''the'' most) technically difficult piano concerti in the standard repertoire, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4YqWXmF9Dg No.2 in B-flat major]] is more low-key, and the piano plays a decidedly supporting role for large stretches, but it is packed with moments of outstanding beauty, and it takes a lot of technical acrobatics and emotional sensitivity[[note]] The most common performance instructions in the score for both piano and orchestra in this terrifying "warhorse" of the concerto repertoire? "Dolce" (sweetly), "leggiero" (lightly), "espressivo" (expressively), and "tranquillo" (calmly). Now try playing sweetly, lightly, expressively, or calmly while both hands have to scamper across two octaves or more, sometimes in opposite directions, in a single beat...[[/note]] to pull off a successful performance. As with the earlier concerto, the first movement is a sweeping musical journey on its own, and includes some of the loveliest melodies Brahms ever composed; the procession of glorious music continues through the ferocious scherzo, the idyllic cello solo-led slow movement, and the jaunty (if lightweight) finale.
** Brahms' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k98aL7YxPgk violin concerto]] is one of the greatest of the late Romantic era, framing an impossibly gorgeous slow movement (led by an extended oboe solo) with an epic-length first movement and a lively, dance-like finale.
** One of the greatest pieces of choral music ever written, ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGP7cBXpXqA Ein deutsches Requiem]]''. As opposed to the usual Latin Requiem text, he used quotations of the Luther Bible, starting with the Gospel of Matthew: "Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Those that sow with tears shall reap with joy". Just beautiful enough to be a TearJerker all by itself.
** Brahms is one of the 19th century's most revered composers of chamber music, writing classic examples of many different forms. When he paired the piano with string instruments, the results were almost invariably awesome.
*** Of the two cello sonatas, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oyLJHpe8Z8 No.1 in E minor]] starts with a brooding, introspective movement that fuses an opening sonata allegro with a traditional slow movement, then moves on to a dignified minuet and trio and an angsty finale that defies any motion toward a major resolution; [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBq93Qt-VOo No.2 in F major]] frames an impassioned slow movement and sinister scherzo with two bright, sunny movements that provide many opportunities for the cellist and pianist to strut their stuff.
*** Brahms waited until quite late in life to try his hand at violin sonatas, and created three gems. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxpEa6U2ccI No.1 in G major]] offers one of the composer's loveliest slow movements and a finale that moves from minor key anguish to major key serenity. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4n9kUbzmGY No.2 in A major]] gives the pianist and violinist equal shares of the spotlight; the second movement fusion of slow movement and scherzo is a masterstroke. And [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAo4x2fyBBc No.3 in D minor]] continues to give plenty of shining moments to both performers; the first movement moves from torment to tranquility, but after a songlike slow movement and troubled scherzo, the stormclouds return and remain firmly in place throughout the finale.
*** And what happens when Brahms writes for piano with both cello ''and'' violin? Three awesome piano trios, that's what. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHEG8LlwUgE No.1 in B major]] is one of his earliest works, and stands out for a finale that is anchored throughout in B minor, not B major. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVU8jTfhsNA No.2 in C major]] transcends its small ensemble to become a work of almost symphonic grandeur, particularly in the outer movements. And while [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVw2iXj31Cg No.3 in C minor]] is a more compact work than its predecessor, it is no less powerful.
*** Add a viola to the violin, cello, and piano, and you get three outstanding piano quartets. The most famous is [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVw2iXj31Cg No.1 in G minor,]] which boasts a gypsy-inspired "alla zingarese" rondo finale. The highly Schubertian [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMQamKZkDvc No.2 in A major]] is Brahms' longest chamber work, taking nearly 50 minutes to perform and packed end to end with charming melodies. And [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XIdjS_TYbk No.3 in C minor]] is the most concise and tightly constructed of the three; the ingenious first movement that blends sonata allegro with theme and variations is a standout.
*** But why stop at four musicians? Add a second violinist and you get the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff-LGGl4wCU Piano Quintet in F minor,]] viewed by many musicologists as one of the greatest, and possibly ''the'' greatest, piano quintet ever composed. A masterclass of interplay between the piano and string quartet, full of darkly passionate melodies, and boasting highly advanced harmonic language in its outer movements, it remains one of his most enduring chamber works.
** And Brahms was just as adept at writing for string ensembles without a piano.
*** Like the symphony, the string quartet struggled for much of the 19th century as composers wondered what could possibly be done with the form that Beethoven hadn't already done. Brahms laboured long and hard over [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5knEDDSMAUQ Quartet No.1 in C minor]] and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbQ5KK3c-Ss Quartet No.2 in A minor,]] but the wait was worth it; No.1 boasts almost orchestral dimensions in its outer movements and a more intimate atmosphere for the affable slow movement and haunted scherzo, while No.2 is an altogether more lyrical affair. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebWj6l_b4Do Quartet No.3 in B-flat major]] is the lightest of the three, and is particularly striking for giving extended time in the spotlight to the viola in its third movement (despite being dedicated to cellist Theodor Wilhelm Engelmann; Brahms wryly suggested that Engelmann might want to change instruments!).
*** But throw in a second viola, and you get two of the greatest string quintets by any composer since Schubert. Brahms was rightly proud of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk3j_cu6d1g Quintet No.1 in F major,]] which moves from a pastoral first movement to a second movement based on dance movement fragments he had composed years earlier to a finale bursting with vivacity. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye2pDTJNm6U Quintet No.2 in G major]] was planned as a swan song before Brahms' retirement; the Hungarian-influenced finale would have been a brilliant final gesture for any composer.
*** And why stop at five? Add a second cello and you get two gems in the crown of the string sextet canon. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DNZmX7XwhA Sextet No.1 in B-flat major]] is the more popular of the two, with thematic links across the first and last movements as they frame a solemn theme and variations and a genial scherzo and trio. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4RHgcI7cIY Sextet No.2 in G major]] hits the ground running with a highly exotic introduction to its first movement, and the harmonic progressions are some of Brahms' most fascinating.
** Brahms also contributed some masterpieces to chamber music for wind instruments.
*** The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORvvsRawgDo Trio in E-flat major for piano, violin, and French horn]] ranks as one of the latter instrument's greatest chamber music showcases. Along with the ''Deutsches Requiem'', the trio is one of the pieces Brahms composed to express his grief over his mother's death; though all but the third of its four movements end in the major mode, the shadows are never far away, especially in the second theme of the first movement, the trio of the second movement, and throughout the third movement.
*** Brahms came out of retirement as a composer after befriending the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, for whom he composed the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dAWECPfI20 Trio in A minor for clarinet, cello, and piano,]] the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NijYtozUHaw Quintet in B minor for clarinet and strings,]] and two sonatas in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kp38BUjPNI F minor]] and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1E77EGpgrk E-flat major]] (which were also arranged [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDRpehUEeas for viola]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vkiJ-EINbg and piano]]). Brahms was still getting the hang of writing chamber works for clarinet in the trio, but the outer movements are still gems; the quintet is a triumph from start to finish, with special mention going to the theme and variations in the finale; and the finales of the two sonatas, an ebullient rondo in the F minor and an introspective but ultimately joyful set of variations in the E-flat major, make them just as good a farewell to Brahms' chamber music career as the second string quintet was intended to be.



* [[Music/FryderykChopin Frédéric Chopin]] is considered one of the undisputed masters of compositions for solo piano, and rightly so.
** Though Chopin ordered the manuscript for the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa0Z6g1XJkU Fantaisie-Impromptu]] burned at his death, the executors of his estate fortunately defied him and had it published anyway, leaving us with one of his most blinding works.
** Chopin's waltzes might be a bit difficult to dance to, but they include some of the most fascinating pieces he composed. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laSh3D_77ZM Grande valse brillante in E-flat major]] is an exhilarating five-minute ride away from and back to the home key. Of the three "Valses brillantes", [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19JJfIJyl5M No.1 in A-flat major]] is perhaps the most masterfully assembled, but the heart-rending [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGdpRmL2XUc No.2 in A minor]] and the wild ride of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV6aVO8hsVQ No.3 in F major]] are also real winners. And while the first of the Op.64 triptych is the instantly recognisable [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoX6ZTUd3Vo "Minute" waltz,]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyMWIOn6EFM No.2 in C-sharp minor]] is another classic (both waltzes are too often played far too fast; a more moderately paced rendition allows performer and listener alike to absorb the works' many subtleties).
** The posthumous nocturne in C-sharp minor is somewhat light on the technical demands (Chopin wrote it for his sister Ludwika as a technical study to prepare her for his F minor piano concerto, from which it features several direct quotes), but it makes up for it with expressive challenges that define "heartbreakingly beautiful". It was memorably used in ''Film/ThePianist'' as the piece Wladyslaw Szpilman plays on live radio as the first bombs of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII fall on Warsaw, and the piece with which he opens his first broadcast after the Nazis have been driven out of the city.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZMBsW0f1HM Variations on 'Là ci darem la mano']] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D5bpxyLdBg from Mozart's]] ''Theatre/DonGiovanni''. The guy wrote it when he was only SEVENTEEN.
** Chopin's two piano concerti in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XG9ueR0guE E minor]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRTmn7SE6pY F minor]] rank among the greatest in the standard repertoire. Although the orchestra has little to do in either concerto, the pianist's technique really takes flight in both, from their emotionally expansive opening movements to their heart-rendingly beautiful slow movements to their energetic finales.
** The two sets of 12 études, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qA5Sy0IX0o Op.10]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLZ4WJiDldU Op.25]], stand as some of the first pieces written as technical studies which are also suitable for concert performances. Highlights include the heart-rending Op.10 No.3 in E major (sometimes called "Tristesse"), the spiky Op.10 No.5 in G-flat major (known as the "Black Key" as the right hand plays only on the black keys), the stormy Op.10 No.12 in C minor ("Revolutionary"), and the even stormier Op.25 No.11 in A minor ("Winter Wind").
** With the four Scherzi, Chopin explored what could be done with the basic structure of a fast piece with a slow, contrasting centre section. From the bittersweet melody framed on either side by furious storms of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-JIApV1pEw No.1 in B minor]], to the alternating clouds and sunshine of the fast sections encircling a "trio" that almost sounds like a new piece has started in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enJ6be4qLMs No.2 in B-flat minor]], to the thundering quadruple octaves, shimmering slower section, and last-second triumph of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x-y2DuHSec No.3 in C-sharp minor]], to the by turns enigmatic, lively, solemn, and ultimately joyful [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CNYX7OkceA No.4 in E major]], they add up to forty minutes of awesome.
** The polonaises are an integral part of Chopin's musical love letters to his native Poland (to which he was unable to return after leaving as a young man) and include some of his most spellbinding works. The boisterous [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbnunexhlXM No.3 in A major]] and the sombre and ultimately fiery [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj4XjCrN0nk No.4 in C minor]] were published as a pair and respectively summarise the triumph and sorrow Chopin could express in his music. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehm_kDU563Q No.5 in F-sharp minor]] is a parallel octave-led wild ride, the tempo of which doubles for a mazurka centre section. By far the most famous is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QT7ITv9Ecs No.6 in A-flat major ("Heroic")]], which radiates splendour and bravado from every measure. And the epic-length [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISzqefuXiJ4 Polonaise-Fantaisie]] shows Chopin at the height of his creative and expressive powers.
** Chopin was not the first composer to write a set of short preludes for piano in all 24 major and minor keys,[[note]] Johann Nepomuk Hummel beat him by at least 25 years, but his 24 Preludes, Op.67 are all less than 10 seconds long and are intended more as introductory gestures than standalone works.[[/note]] but his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH6BROnIYQA 24 Preludes, Op.28]] were among the first to be intended for standalone concert performance, and have loomed large over all such sets that have been written since. Though some of them are vignettes that last between 30 and 60 seconds (such as the jittery No.1 in C major, the sparkling No.10 in C-sharp minor, the genial No.11 in B major, and the troubled No.14 in E-flat minor), while others (such as the four most famous of the set: the doleful No.4 in E minor, the gentle No.7 in A major, the reflective No.15 in D-flat major AKA the "Raindrop", and the solemn No.20 in C minor) are light on the technical demands, many are dazzling in their awesomeness. Highlights include No.5 in D major with its uneven and unpredictable melody and rhythms, No.8 in F-sharp minor with its perpetual motion right-hand whirlwind, the repeated note-driven frenzy of No.12 in G-sharp minor, the furious ride through Hell of No.16 in B-flat minor, No.19 in E-flat major with its fluid yet brutally difficult perpetual motion triplets in both hands, and the violent, storm-tossed No.24 in D minor which gallops full speed toward its emphatic final three notes (the lowest D on the keyboard, played thrice).
** Chopin was more at home writing short-form pieces than long-form ones like sonatas and concerti, but he still left a significant mark on the piano sonata canon.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWN9WC0NW3g Sonata No.2 in B-flat minor]] is the source of the famous [[StandardSnippet Funeral March]] (very often played separately from the other three movements), and while "awesome" is a curious word to use for that piece, the first movement is an exhilarating journey from fire and brimstone to celebration, and the finale (said to represent the wind blowing across the graveyard after the third movement funeral), though the shortest movement by far, is still a remarkable test of the pianist's endurance.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up-XOE2tqOk Sonata No.3 in B minor]] is a masterpiece of Chopin's last years; the first movement is a veritable cornucopia of melodies ranging from the fierce to the charming, the second movement scherzo frames a songlike centre section with two flighty displays of perpetual motion, the slow third movement is almost heart-stopping in its serenity, and the frenzied finale goes out in a blaze of major key glory (the only one of Chopin's three piano sonatas do so).



* Music/JosephHaydn stands alongside Mozart and Beethoven as one of the three greatest composers of the Classical era, and left plenty of awesome music to cement his reputation.
** The ''Creation''. The oratorio begins with a musical representation of chaos, followed by a bass recitative, and then the choir singing, pianissimo: "Und Gott spracht: Es werde Licht" (And God said: Let there be light), "und es ward" -- and then a sudden fortissimo -- "LICHT!" Words can't describe it properly -- listen to it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNxgFu3aSuw here.]]
** There are also Haydn's masses, including his ''Creation Mass'', which is very unusual, in that is contains probably the ''sweetest'' rendition of the ''Agnus Dei'' you will ever [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3SWqM-ZQww hear.]] Apparently, Haydn wanted to make the LyricalDissonance trope OlderThanSteam.
** Haydn is often referred to as the "Father of the Symphony", having written ''over a hundred'' (the precise number is debated) to elevate the symphony to one of the most important musical forms of the next two centuries. Awesomeness isn't hard to find in the full collection.
*** The triptych of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6fEXKWp50I No.6 in D major]] (''Le matin''), [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDEwmZBae3k No.7 in C major]] (''Le midi''), and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I65lcTjvIrw No.8 in G major]] (''Le soir'') all show Haydn's mastery of writing for every section of the orchestra within the same piece, blending the "concerto grosso" form with the emerging form of the symphony by featuring solos for each of the major string and wind instruments. Particularly noteworthy are the trios from the symphonies' third movement minuets, all three of which give a rare moment in the spotlight to a solo double bass.[[note]] It has been suggested that Haydn wanted to earn goodwill with the members of the Esterházy family orchestra, which he had just started conducting when he composed these symphonies in 1761, by giving each of them - even the double bass, or violone as it was then known - something with which to show off their skill.[[/note]]
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZChh8NyL0 No.22 in E-flat major]] (''Philosopher'') stands out for a woodwind section solely comprising two English horns instead of the usual oboes, their dialogue with the two French horns (particularly in the first movement, which is anchored by a genial walking bassline) creating a texture unique among Classical-era symphonies.[[note]] As there weren't many people who knew how to play the English horn in Haydn's day, the symphony has an alternate arrangement which dropped the first movement, replaced the minuet with a new Andante, and replaced the English horns with flutes; how much input Haydn had in this arrangement is unclear, and it is rarely performed or recorded today.[[/note]]
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rNCggzEeFw No.26 in D minor]] (''Lamentatione'') is believed to have been written for Easter Week in 1768 or 1769, and cleverly uses the melody from a Gregorian chant about the Passion in both the first and second movements.
*** By far the most famous movement of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXctarOxRz8 No.45 in F-sharp minor]] (''Farewell'')[[note]] A very unusual key for a Classical-era symphony; in fact, it is believed to be the only symphony in this key from the 18th century.[[/note]] is the last, in which the sections of the orchestra fall silent one by one (in the original performance - and most performances since - they more than fell silent, they left the stage to drop an unsubtle hint to their employer, Prince Esterházy, that they needed a holiday!) until only two violinists are left. But the three and a half movements that precede the exodus that gives the symphony its name are fine examples of Haydn's "Sturm und Drang" period, especially the angry first movement and the first half of the finale.
*** Although [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx7Pz-6-a-Y No.46 in B major]][[note]] A very unusual key for ''any'' piece before 1800, never mind a symphony.[[/note]] is not often performed or recorded, it stands out for a moment in the finale in which the music screeches to a stop and then picks up the theme from the third movement minuet before doubling back to the finale's main theme. Such an interruption was almost unprecedented, but against all reason, it ''works''.[[note]] Whether Beethoven was familiar with this symphony when he included a similar look back in the finale of his Symphony No.5 is unknown.[[/note]]
*** Haydn's sense of humour pervades many of his compositions, and a fine example of this shows up in the third movement of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Uo7L_c8iYc No.47 in G major]] (''Palindrome'') - as its nickname suggests, the second half of both the minuet and the trio is simply the first half played in reverse! It takes a composer of Haydn's expertise to make a device like this work, and rise above mere novelty.
*** Symphonies 82-87 are nicknamed the "Paris" symphonies, as Haydn was staying in the French capital when he composed them. The cream of the crop includes [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv7nmLVny0w No.82 in C major]] (''The Bear''), with a finale distinguished by an imitation bagpipe drone; [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZsiVgvI4uA No.83 in G minor]] (''The Hen''), the dotted rhythms in the first movement of which reminded contemporary listeners of the uneven gait of a hen; and the dignified [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDw8Ykxep40 No.85 in B-flat major]] (''The Queen''), a personal favourite of then-Queen Marie Antoinette.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFJnllRsrgo No.88 in G major]] is perhaps Haydn's most popular symphony never to have gained a nickname, featuring a first movement that keeps finding new things to do with just one theme, a slow movement that features trumpets and timpani (ordinarily very unusual instruments for Classical-era slow movements), a minuet with surprising yet effective use of parallel fifths (intervals usually avoided by Haydn's contemporaries), and a perpetual motion rondo packed to overflowing with joy and merriment.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhxZhDV9KHM No.94 in G major]] (''Surprise'') is unquestionably Haydn's most famous symphony, mostly because of the sudden BANG! about 30 seconds into the theme and variations in the second movement, specifically calculated to shock contemporary audiences (Haydn denied he wanted to wake them up; he just wanted to give them something they'd never heard before). But the first movement is even more ingeniously constructed on a harmonic level, and the last two movements round things off with a joyful flourish; the timpani used for surprise value in the slow movement really shine in the finale.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4Ti1SVf4qo No.96 in D major]] (''Miracle'') is somewhat overshadowed by the anecdote that the audience at its premiere had rushed the stage to applaud the end of the finale, and so managed to get out of the way of a chandelier that fell onto the seats they had occupied seconds earlier (this event actually happened at the premiere of No.102 in B-flat major). A shame, as the symphony itself is a fine example of Haydn's increasingly adventurous exploration of melodic and harmonic development within a traditional four-movement symphony.
*** By the time Haydn composed [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMEBZwoBAFo No.100 in G major]] (''Military''), orchestras were starting to include such "Turkish" percussion instruments as cymbals and triangles, which Haydn uses in the second movement (which also features imitation bugle calls in the trumpets and a drumroll in the timpani, giving the symphony its nickname) and the finale to memorable effect.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9Qtu15FLTM No.101 in D major]] (''Clock'') is another fine example of Haydn's musical sense of humour, with a second movement featuring pizzicato strings imitating a ticking clock and a third movement minuet that is very long by Classical-era standards and includes a trio section wryly imitating an unskilled village band.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT9lgHMGevE No.103 in E-flat major]] (''Drumroll'') gets its nickname from the extended timpani roll that opens the first movement, a device never before used to open a Classical-era symphony. The second movement is also a fine example of Haydn's "double variations" musical form, which alternates between presenting variations on two different themes (often in contrasting keys, as in this case).
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OitPLIowJ70 No.104 in D major]] is known as the ''London'', a nickname also applied collectively to Nos.93-104, as Haydn was visiting the English capital city when he composed them. The final symphony of the dozen is one of the most popular, and with good reason; from the stark, minor key introduction followed by a buoyant sonata allegro in the first movement, to an ever modulating second movement, to a stately minuet and trio in the third movement, and finally to a fourth movement as vivacious as any finale the master ever composed, it is a work of art from start to finish.
** As if being regarded as the father of the symphony isn't enough, Haydn is also often viewed as the father of the string quartet, another musical form he elevated to such great heights that almost every major composer for a century and a half after his death composed at least one string quartet. Just to give a sample, there's the wryly humorous [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_bw7c5_Ojk Op.33 No.2 in E-flat major]] (''Joke'') with a finale that features multiple false endings, the buoyant [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uYxn1M_O-4 Op.64 No.5 in D major]] (''Lark'') with its imitation birdsong in the first movement, and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEfQqr1tNFg Op.76 No.3 in C major]] (''Emperor''), the second movement of which has been immortalised as "Das Deutschlandlied", Germany's national anthem.
** Haydn revolutionised the piano sonata as well as the symphony and the string quartet,[[note]] And then his sometime composition student, Beethoven, came along and re-revolutionised all three forms.[[/note]] and perhaps the finest examples of his skill with the form can be found in the last three sonatas in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4yp8cvSUF8 C major,]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8PbhzZAaHQ D major]] (striking despite its brevity), and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmfsQv2ECTA E-flat major,]] the last particularly noteworthy for being by far the longest and most harmonically adventurous of Haydn's piano sonatas, with a first movement that moves surprisingly far away from its home key during the development, a tranquil slow movement in the very contrasting key of E major (interrupted by a minor key centre section), and an effervescent finale.



* Music/FranzLiszt is widely regarded as one of the greatest piano virtuosi of all time, even to this day. As he also composed extensively (and arranged many other composers' works for piano) with an eye to showcasing his skill at the piano, awesomeness in his compositions is a natural result. The only tragedy is that Liszt himself retired from performing before the advent of recorded music, so we have only contemporary accounts to tell us how these colossi of the piano's repertoire sounded in the hands of the man who wrote them to perform himself.
** The cornerstone of Liszt's output is the set of nineteen Hungarian Rhapsodies, in which he gave free rein to his lifelong fascination with the music of Romany gypsies. By far the most famous is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHMCwwtPnV0 No.2 in C-sharp minor/F-sharp major]], the lively Friska section that forms the second half being a StandardSnippet popular with American animation studios (particularly for cartoons of recitals going awry, such as ''WesternAnimation/TheCatConcerto'' from Creator/{{MGM}}, ''Rabbit Rhapsody'' from Creator/WarnerBrothers, and ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit''). Other highlights include [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhInwkq4nAw No.6 in D-flat major/B-flat major]] with its synthesis of four disparate ideas (which were originally written as four separate pieces in the set of twenty-two Magyar dalok and Magyar rapszódiák[[note]] Respectively, "Hungarian national melodies" and "Hungarian rhapsodies"[[/note]], which include early versions of Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos.3-15) and its thundering quadruple octave coda, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQlgppHonwc No.9 in E-flat major ("Carnival in Pest")]], in which Liszt's flair for theme-and-variation development is in full flow, and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlJFZmo4lRQ No.11 in A minor/F-sharp major]], in which Liszt, by cannily moving between relative and parallel minors and majors, ends up on entirely the opposite side of the circle of fifths from where he began.
** Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No.15 in A minor, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg6MVw4C3-I the "Rakoczy March"]], is a technically demanding piece even by Liszt's usual standards. In the hands of Russian virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz, however, it becomes almost [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYhUXXDmNP0 an entirely new piece]]... and reaches entirely new levels of awesome in the process.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4XEPdYO5mM Liebestraum No.3 in A-flat major]] is one of Liszt's most emotionally powerful works for piano, and another StandardSnippet.
** The Transcendental Études are twelve packets of concentrated awesome in musical form.
*** The vivacious [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb97OIe3r9I No.1 in C major ("Preludio")]], though only 50-60 seconds long, grabs the listener by the collar as if to say "Incoming awesome! Get ready!" as it gallops up and down the register to a joyous final measure.
*** The jagged [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbVde2JO8Z4 No.2 in A minor]][[note]] subtitled "Fusées" by Ferruccio Busoni[[/note]] stumbles and tumbles its way through twists and turns, and though barely two minutes long, it is a severe test of any pianist's endurance.
*** The dramatic [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfN7xf6JymQ No.4 in D minor ("Mazeppa")]] is a musical rendition of the story of Ivan Mazepa,[[note]] Liszt's interpretation was specifically inspired by Creator/VictorHugo's poem "Mazeppa". The final lines of Hugo's poem - "Il tombe, et se relève roi!" ("He falls, and rises again a king!") - appear over the coda of the étude.[[/note]] a Ukrainian nobleman who survived an attempted "execution" by being stripped naked and tied to a charging horse to conquer his torturers on the battlefield, and, after a series of flourishes in the introduction, goes through multiple percussive parallel third renditions of the horse's galloping, getting faster and faster, until the horse drops dead and Mazeppa rises triumphant for a major key coda.
*** The sparkling [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqdfBeENL4c No.5 in B-flat major ("Feux-follets")]] is one of the most difficult of the set, the musical depiction of the capricious movements of the will-o'-the-wisp rendered with parallel voices in ever changing intervals that must be delivered with featherlight touch.
*** The grandiose [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFAPVSbKh7I No.6 in G minor ("Vision")]] moves from minor key solemnity in its opening measures to unbridled major key energy about halfway through, and somehow Liszt finds a way to keep topping himself with each canter up and down the piano.
*** The martial [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9TJK2SpUlA No.7 in E-flat major ("Eroica")]] follows in the footsteps of Beethoven, Liszt's teacher's teacher, in making the key of E-flat one of heroism, the energy building to a gargantuan quadruple octave rendition of the main melodic idea.
*** The literal wild ride of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUJVPKMFAlo No.8 in C minor ("Wilde jagd")]] is a hectic journey of uneven rhythms and block chords, and it's a wonder the pianist doesn't drop lifeless to the floor when the wild hunt's quarry does the same (in a surprising blaze of major key glory) at the end.
*** The tumultuous [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEHbRPxjpy8 No.10 in F minor]][[note]] nicknamed "Appassionata" by Busoni[[/note]] starts with fast interlocking chords in both hands and just gets more awesome - and difficult - from there.
*** The set closes with the restless [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lZ_52DOXis No.12 in B-flat minor ("Chasse-neige"),]] a musical snowstorm simultaneously requiring hands of iron and feather, over which a melancholy melody rises.
*** And this was the third version of the etudes published by Liszt; the first and least ambitious, "Études en douze exercices", was his first published composition as a teenager, while the second, ''Douze grandes études'', is ''even more difficult'' than the final version. They are rarely played or recorded, but must be heard to be believed.
** Niccolo Paganini (see corresponding entry) is widely regarded as one of the greatest violin virtuosi of all time. It's only natural that Liszt, one of the greatest piano virtuosi of all time, should turn his attention to adapting some of Paganini's music for piano, with awesome results. Liszt adapted five of Paganini's 24 Caprices for solo violin and the finale of one of his violin concerti for piano as the "Grandes Études de Paganini"; most famous is No.3, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEnfZjqMSy0 La Campanella]], adapted from the finale to Paganini's Violin Concerto No.2 in B minor, but [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Blf8Y527DY No.6 in A minor,]] adapted from Caprice No.24 in A minor, is also well worth a listen.[[note]] This same caprice has furnished the theme for sets of variations from numerous other composers, such as Brahms and Rachmaninoff, but Liszt's variations are adaptations of those by Paganini rather than purely original.[[/note]]
** Liszt's contributions to the étude are rounded out by two sets of concert études and a "grand development étude", every one packed with awesome. The earlier set of concert études comprises [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP5s4-uTNow "Il Lamento"]], characterised by its ambitious scale and ever changing key; [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVRXFVL1m9M "La Leggierezza"]], a fluid piece full of long chromatic runs and double third runs; and the most famous of the set, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_FCTTmr8JM "Un sospiro"]], an acrobatic work requiring frequent crossing of hands. The later set includes the shimmering [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2evXiwpeGkE "Walderauschen"]] and the skipping, tripping [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wJ_gaGVaek "Gnomenreigen"]], both of which seem to require at least eight fingers per hand to play properly. And the "Grande étude de perfectionnement", [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYGlfp6NG-I "Ab irato"]], goes from a brutal, parallel octave and crossed hand dominated minor key section to a major key coda involving long, light runs up and down the piano's register, all in just over two minutes.
** The Grand Galop Chromatique is one of the most lively and humorous works to centre around chromatic scales ever composed, and is a real delight to both see and hear performed. It becomes especially awesome for both senses in the hands of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmq5JBpFf9w Hungarian virtuoso Gyorgy Cziffra]].
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJbg9V2KnD8 The first Mephisto Waltz]] shocked contemporary audiences when it was first performed... which is really what a musical depiction of Mephistopheles ought to do. The savagery of the piece is still a treat for both performers and listeners to this day.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv08OinmQ8k Funérailles]], by far the most famous piece from Liszt's three sets of "Harmonies poétiques et religieuses", is a deeply personal work composed by Liszt as an elegy for the squashing of the 1848 revolution in Hungary by the Austrian Habsburgs and as a farewell to his friend [[Music/FryderykChopin Frédéric Chopin]], who passed away in 1849. Where the third Liebestraum is one of his most beautiful compositions, "Funérailles" is one of his most heart-rending.
** Liszt's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeKMMDxrsBE Sonata in B minor]], dedicated to Music/RobertSchumann,[[note]] Though Schumann never heard the work performed, as by the time it was finished, he had had a psychological breakdown and, after attempting suicide by drowning, spent the last years of his life voluntarily committed to an asylum.[[/note]] stands as one of the greatest piano sonatas since Beethoven, and is all the more remarkable when one notes how almost the entire 30-minute work, in one movement but with outlines of a traditional four-movement structure built into it, is spun from material stated in the opening 30 seconds, yet it never seems to run out of ideas.
** To say Liszt was only a composer for solo piano is to do him a disservice, as his two piano concerti in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMaL-rtOeqE E-flat major]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf4sm0S4R5U A major]] and the violent [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWGkem9qoe8 Totentanz]] (based on the "Dies irae" plainchant) show that he was also quite at home writing for piano and orchestra, all three containing plenty of virtuoso moments for the soloists but some fascinating orchestral writing as well. Highlights of all three pieces include the build-up to their spectacular codas - triumphant in the case of the two concerti, grim yet no less fiery in the case of "Totentanz".
** And Liszt didn't need a piano to compose awesome music; perhaps his most celebrated orchestral works are the thirteen "symphonic poems" (a musical form he invented to tell the sort of musical tale that could not fit into a standard concert overture). The most famous is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnITC-IkPVg "Les préludes"]], but his homages to Greek mythology, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjRqUGFZzJw "Orpheus"]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km9zdq1UWdc "Prometheus"]], and to Creator/WilliamShakespeare, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVXu8QBY6CU "Hamlet"]], are also spellbinding in their awesomeness.
** Liszt was also a master of arranging other composers' orchestral works for solo piano without losing any of the awesome. His arrangement of Berlioz' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeWikXMm9Lc Symphonie fantastique]] helped to popularise the symphony in Berlioz' lifetime, while his arrangements of all nine of Beethoven's symphonies must be heard to be believed.[[note]] As a teenager, Liszt studied composition under the Austrian composer Carl Czerny, who had himself studied composition under Beethoven and through whom Liszt met Beethoven at least once.[[/note]]



* Music/WolfgangAmadeusMozart may not have a name beginning with B, but he is still routinely named alongside Bach and Beethoven as one of the three greatest classical composers ''ever''.
** The ''Krönungsmesse'' ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9ZNdw1jXg4 link to the Kyrie]]) is [[AwesomeMomentOfCrowning Awesome Music of Crowning]].
** He wrote a song titled "Leck mich im Arsch" which, in German, means [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leck_mich_im_Arsch "Kiss my ass".]] We need a Funny Music section for that.
** Mozart composed his [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4IXXpTHjok first symphony]] when he was eight years old; much more awesomeness followed from there.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApvqOhbsriA No.25 in G minor,]] used to memorable effect in the film version of ''Film/{{Amadeus}}'', hits the ground running with its furious syncopated opening measures, leading straight into one of the more captivating uses of the "Mannheim rocket" (a rising arpeggio) and, eventually, to an equally frenzied second subject. If that wasn't enough, the symphony also has an affable slow movement, a stately minuet, and a dark finale that preserves the minor tonality to the very end.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjvYa9qPY-w No.29 in A major]] was also used in ''Film/{{Amadeus}}'', its graceful falling octave opening gesture returning in style in the finale, providing a sense of unity to a charming symphony that almost has the intimacy of chamber music.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9yRart11vI No.31 in D major,]] nicknamed the ''Paris'' symphony, is a work of Mozart's early twenties from when he was job hunting in the French capital. He took advantage of the large orchestra available to him to compose his first symphony to feature clarinets, as well as flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani, and an enlarged string section. His father Leopold found it a noisy symphony, but it is a glorious showcase of Mozart's gift for melody and orchestration.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyXLhga7zpQ No.35 in D major]] is nicknamed the ''Haffner'' after the Salzburg family who commissioned it for the ennoblement of one of their members, and grew out of a serenade Mozart originally planned for the occasion. It grabs the listener straight away with a fiery opening theme that repeatedly jumps back and forth across two octaves, and the energy remains at fever pitch for most of the first movement. After a respite in the slow movement, it's back to adrenaline with a particularly extroverted minuet and a finale bursting with life and merriment.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWKqAALQztw No.36 in C major,]] the ''Linz'', was written in just ''four days'' when Mozart, on a journey from Salzburg to Vienna with his wife, made a stopover in the town that lends the symphony its nickname and the local count decided to announce a concert featuring the visiting maestro. Even when composing at short notice, Mozart could still craft a piece full of outstanding melodies; the Siciliano-influenced slow movement is a particular highlight.
*** Mozart paid tribute to his considerable fanbase in the Bohemian capital city with [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP3LtqTj4Fg No.38 in D major,]] nicknamed the ''Prague''. Though in just three movements, its first movement has a slow introduction so long and substantial that is almost a movement of its own, and the ensuing sonata allegro (which is reminiscent of several of Mozart's operatic overtures) presents and develops at least ''six'' major ideas where most Classical-era symphonies seldom used more than three, and yet it retains a sense of cohesion throughout.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSmMFMJOYlA No.39 in E-flat major]] begins with a grand gesture to herald a slow introduction that leads into one of his most inventive and elaborate symphonic first movements. After a genial Andante, the third movement places a delightful clarinet solo-led Ländler in the middle of a forceful minuet, and the playful finale sees the various sections of the orchestra winding scalar passages around each other.
*** Just one month after polishing off Symphony No.39, Mozart put the finishing touches on [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBlFGDbPxsY No.40 in G minor.]] The restless first movement has survived overexposure as a popular ringtone in the early 2000s and still reels in the listener straight away, and the remaining movements - a lyrical Andante, an angry minuet (unsuitable for dancing!), and a highly chromatic finale - are just as memorable, and show Mozart at the height of his abilities with counterpoint.
*** And within two weeks of completing Symphony No.40, Mozart gave the world [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RbKWhr0o1c No.41 in C major,]] known as the ''Jupiter''. Once again, Mozart grabs the listener's attention straight away with the boisterous opening measure, and keeps it throughout a deightful sonata allegro, one of his most beautiful slow movements, a minuet that cleverly foreshadows one of the main themes of the finale, and the finale itself, a masterpiece of counterpoint in which, in the coda, Mozart rotates the ''five'' main themes of the movement around the five string instruments (first and second violins, violas, cellos, basses). Together with No.39 and No.40, it represents the apex of the Classical-era symphony.
** Mozart was a prolific composer of piano concerti, credited with either 23 or 27 (his first four were arrangements of works by other composers), twelve of them (Nos.14-25) written in the space of just two years, and while they may not have the virtuosic fireworks of the piano concerti of the Romantic era, they are packed with memorable and delightful melodies and harmonies.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB-bw7WodLY No.9 in E-flat major]] (''Jeunehomme'')[[note]] Actually a mistranscription of the last name of the work's dedicatee, Victoire Jenamy.[[/note]] made the then-audacious move of introducing the solo pianist in only the second measure rather than after an extended orchestral ritornello (which instead comes after the piano's first flourishes). The concerto also manages to fit a four-movement structure into just three movements with a minuet interlude in the sparkling finale. Truly one of Mozart's early gems.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcgHXqjeLx8 No.10 in E-flat major]] is scored for ''two'' pianos and orchestra, and the ingenious back-and-forth between the two soloists makes for one of the most exhilarating Mozart pieces both to hear and to play, from the quadruple octave trill with which the pianos make their dramatic entrance through a charming slow movement and a buoyant finale.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLK1f_C4Bpg No.17 in G major]] is packed with delightful melodies from start to finish; the theme to the third movement set of variations is so catchy that Mozart's pet starling started singing it after listening to the composer playing it while writing the concerto.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lhjszZNZvk No.20 in D minor]] is the first Mozart piano concerto in a minor key, and the first movement is appropriately tense and dramatic, while the fiery third movement eventually gives way to a triumphant, edge-of-the-seat coda.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCYycVNrLTI No.21 in C major]] has at its centre one of the most outstandingly beautiful slow movements Mozart ever composed; it was used to great effect in the 1967 Swedish film ''Elvira Madigan''. The outer movements are just as rewarding to hear.
*** Although [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw6A7RpooJQ No.22 in E-flat major]] is somewhat overshadowed by the two pairs of concerti just before and after it, it still follows the lead of No.9 by packing four movements of awesome into just three movements with another minuet interlude in the finale, and the extroverted opening movement is an utter delight.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s68kHOnpiE No.23 in A major]] features a heart-rending slow movement in F-sharp minor[[note]] Mozart's only composition in that key[[/note]] bracketed by a charming opening movement and a finale overflowing with life and energy.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PftH8FVzIRY No.24 in C minor]] is the second and last Mozart piano concerto in a minor key, and while the first movement is once again overshadowed by the darkness of the tonality, this time the clouds do not break for the end of the theme and variations in the finale, for a conclusion that really sticks in the memory.
*** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvRE2wIFbW8 No.27 in B-flat major]] sees the composer experimenting with style and form in a way he had not previously attempted, and it provides a tantalising glimpse of the sort of artistic direction he might have taken had he not died so young.
** And Mozart didn't stop with the piano when it came to writing concerti.
*** Of his five violin concerti, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TUIQjZT_8Y No.5 in A major, the "Turkish",]] is rightly the most famous for both its gorgeous melodies and technical difficulty for the soloist, although the ever-shifting tempi of the finale of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La08LYpRiWY No.4 in D major]] make for a memorable conclusion.
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szMu8si_YYQ Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major]] is a compelling musical argument for the adage that "two heads are better than one", with the solo violin and viola winding outstandingly beautiful melodies around each other in a masterpiece of counterpoint. The moment in the first movement when the two soloists almost seem to float in over the orchestra to make their initial entrance, one of the few passages in which they are playing in unison, is especially charming.
*** Mozart's four concerti for French horn are still cornerstones of the instrument's repertoire. By far the most famous is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XELNRsN3Jx8 No.4 in E-flat major,]] especially its boisterous finale, but there's a lot to like about the other three as well (there are early hints of the famous finale of No.4 in the the finales of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzCiVyWx-Tk No.2 in E-flat major]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ2koa4_m-0 No.3 in E-flat major]]).
*** Each of the major woodwind instruments - [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H07rZJfVZo8 flute,]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBmEkPQwk2Y oboe,]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3EJqvKhYzY clarinet,]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4LboPMextw bassoon]] - gets a concerto from the master, every one a winner. The clarinet concerto, written near the end of Mozart's life, is perhaps the most famous of the four, with a wealth of melodic brilliance in all three movements.
** Mozart's chamber music may not quite enjoy the popularity of his more large scale works, but there are some real winners in there.
*** Of the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st6w4aL_O8M Quintet for Piano and Woodwinds in E-flat,]] Mozart wrote to his father, "I myself consider it to be the best thing that I have written in my life." The quintet's wealth of charming melodies and clever counterpoint make it easy to see why the composer was so proud of it; the passage in the introduction to the first movement in which the bassoon, horn, clarinet, and oboe take turns playing descending scalar figures over florid accompaniment in the piano is a highlight.
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP9WzMLaNo0 Divertimento for String Trio in E-flat,]] a surprisingly happy piece given the misfortune that dogged Mozart's life at the time, is one of his masterpieces, framing alternating slow movements (one a theme and variations) and minuets (one with two trios instead of the standard one) with two lively movements in the home key; all six movements are utter delights, and the counterpoint is so dense that it's easy to forget there are just three musicians.[[note]] Beethoven was quite a fan of the piece; his Septet follows the same layout (replacing the second minuet with a scherzo and adding slow introductions to the first and last movements) and is in the same key.[[/note]]
** Mozart's piano sonatas include many fine examples of the form, and were an inspiration to many late Classical and early Romantic composers.
*** The extroverted [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TJTGOj03cU No.6 in D major]] (''Dürnitz'') moves through a lively sonata allegro and a polonaise-inspired slow movement to a finale which explores the limits of what can be done with a theme and variations in a piano sonata as it runs the theme through ''twelve'' variations.
*** The anguished [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKs1WpMJ0X8 No.8 in A minor]] was composed shortly after Mozart's mother died, and frames a heartfelt Andante with two movements that are all fire and brimstone, especially the compact rondo finale.
*** The genial [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VsqHXV8M3A No.11 in A major]] opens with one of Mozart's finest theme and variations movements, moves on to a stately minuet and trio, and finishes with the StandardSnippet-led Rondo alla Turca, deservedly one of the composer's most popular works and regularly used in films, television series, and video games.
*** The jagged [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPHj-PhnA9s No.14 in C minor]] (nearly always preceded in performances and recordings by the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLfcuLFNe_E Fantasy]] in the same key) has a first movement that blasts off up a C minor arpeggio and just gets better from there, followed by one of the composer's loveliest slow movements for piano solo (with a theme that, like many other aspects of the C minor sonata, seems to predict Beethoven's ''Pathetique'' sonata in the same key, composed fifteen years later) and a stormy rondo finale.
** Mozart is one of the five most frequently performed operatic composers (along with Music/GioachinoRossini, Music/GiuseppeVerdi, Music/RichardWagner, and Music/GiacomoPuccini). As a bonus, he is the only one of the five who composed operas with libretti in Italian ''and'' German.
*** ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro'' was a huge success from the first performances, and with such moments as an [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dsk70zWGZyY overture]] that practically buzzes with giddy anticipation and Cherubino's aria [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7y3_SZqNi4 "Voi che sapete",]] it's not hard to see why audiences have always loved it.
*** Mozart's own favourite among his operas - and, according to his wife Constanze, his favourite among all his compositions - was ''Theatre/DonGiovanni'', also one of his darkest operas. The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyjVCbTo5F0 overture]] sets the tone for the opera, with a heavy minor key introduction that gives way to major key merriment. Vocal highlights include the love duet [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVzKIjd1myE "Là ci darem la mano",]] which gives a sense of why so many women have fallen for Don Giovanni's charms.
*** The light-hearted ''Theatre/CosiFanTutte'' starts with another of Mozart's classic [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZDXw6_OjtE overtures,]] and the quartet [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4lkd8X3M-Y "Alla bella Despinetta"]] shows Mozart's flair for vocal counterpoint.
*** Beethoven considered Mozart's masterpiece to be his final opera, ''Theatre/TheMagicFlute''.[[note]] It was the last opera he completed; the last opera he ''started'' was ''La clemenza di Tito'' (''The Clemency of Titus''), but he finished the latter opera first.[[/note]] It includes yet another first rate [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Gedb05J5M overture]] that really takes off once the introduction gives way to the fugato statement of the main theme, and the Queen of the Night's aria [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02yf6RHIQjQ "Der Hölle Rache"]] is one of the most dazzling arias ever composed, requiring pitch perfect command of the very top of the soprano vocal register as it reaches [=F6=] ("high F") several times.[[note]] Mozart composed the role of the Queen of the Night for his sister-in-law Josepha Hofer, who was more than equal to the technical demands of "Der Hölle Rache", and Mozart is said to have imagined hearing her performing it while lying on his deathbed. At the other end of the spectrum, the aria was also a favourite of the famously terrible amateur singer Florence Foster Jenkins.[[/note]]
** Among Mozart's various serenades and divertimenti, the best known is the Serenade for Strings in G major nicknamed ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_gdRRV8wm4 Eine kleine Nachtmusik]]''. Flanking an easy-going Romanze and a stately minuet are two movements of pure joy and merriment; the first movement in particular opens with one of classical music's most instantly recognisable melodies and just gets better from there, while the finale may be familiar to [[Creator/TheBBC BBC Radio 4]] listeners as the theme to the long-running quiz show ''Brain of Britain''.
** The Requiem Mass was the last piece Mozart began composing; left unfinished at his death[[note]]His student, Franz Xaver Süssmayr, sketched it to completion, but the quality (and quantity) of Süssmayr's contributions is a subject of considerable debate.[[/note]], it is still packed with awesome in every measure. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARO7ZjsXSkE "Dies irae"]] is a shining example, and "Confutatis, maledictis" will leave you breathless. (This was the one that Mozart was doing additive composition on with Salieri near the end of ''Film/{{Amadeus}}''.)
*** Mozart's Requiem is also notable for being one of the first headbang-able pieces of music ever written. Seriously. Mozart invented heavy metal. And Punk, according to some pundits.
*** The Requiem was also used to great effect in ''Film/X2XMenUnited'' during Nightcrawler's attack on the White House, and in [[VideoGame/CallOfDuty World at War]], when you, as the Russian, sack Berlin.



* Music/SergeiRachmaninoff, though regarded as behind the times while he was alive, is now one of the most celebrated and beloved composers of the early 20th century.
** "Vocalise", Op.34 No.14, is his most well-known vocal work, and has been arranged for almost every conceivable collection of instruments. Its haunting beauty definitely earns it a place on this page.
** All of five of Rachmaninoff's compositions for piano and orchestra embody awesomeness to varying degrees. He wrote them to perform himself, and as he was one of the greatest piano virtuosi of his day, they are all very difficult to play, but amid the fireworks are some of the most outstanding melodies written for piano and orchestra.
*** Rachmaninoff's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZfEeJkqaFE Piano Concerto No.1 in F-sharp minor]] was his first published composition and was inspired, as mentioned under Grieg's entries, by the Grieg concerto, which was in turn inspired by the Schumann concerto, but for a "copy of a copy" it still manages to be a sharply-defined and brilliant piece, with lots of showy moments for the soloist and orchestra.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vna-_bCgb70 Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor]] was the piece with which Rachmaninoff snapped out of a several-year creative funk following the disastrous premiere of his Symphony No.1, and by this point he had settled more thoroughly into the lush, emotionally charged style that dominated most of his output. From the hushed chords for solo piano in the very first measures (which re-appear near the beginning of the finale in the orchestra) to the flying and diving accompaniment to the orchestra's weighty main theme in the first movement, to a second movement whose songlike melody was "adapted" by Eric Carmen into "All by Myself", to a finale that works its way from tragedy to triumph, it remains one of the composer's most popular works.
*** More popular still is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOOfoW5_2iE Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor,]] which is regularly named alongside the second concerti of Bartók, Prokofiev, and especially Brahms as a candidate for ''the'' most difficult concerto in the standard repertoire.[[note]] As to which is most difficult of all, that topic regularly spawns long Internet discussion threads, though the Rachmaninoff has perhaps the most daunting reputation as it is more frequently performed and recorded than the Bartók or Prokofiev concerti, and its solo part is more extroverted and flashy than that of the Brahms concerto.[[/note]] The almost vocal opening melody, doubled up across the hands, sounds simple enough, but later in the first movement there are individual measures that include more notes than the first two pages! The fireworks are even flashier in the finale, but the concerto finds time for emotional sensitivity as well, particularly in the second movement and the E-flat major interlude in the third movement.
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbMcdWJv7cI Piano Concerto No.4 in G minor]] is the shortest and least performed of Rachmaninoff's piano concerti, and one of his most abstract and experimental compositions; though he was not a fan of the music of such composers as Bartók, Stravinsky, and the members of Les Six and the Second Viennese School, he was still aware of it, and while the results of his acknowledgement have divided critics, they are never less than compelling, especially in the second movement.
*** One of the few compositions Rachmaninoff produced after emigrating to the United States after the Bolshevik Revolution was the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAu6BRWL8p8 Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,]] a set of 24 variations on Paganini's Caprice No.24 in A minor (see corresponding entry). Though in one movement, the piece has a four-movement internal structure, opening not with the theme, but the first variation (a stripped-down version of the theme), and including several variations incorporating the "Dies irae" plainchant theme, a diptych of boisterous major key variations on an inversion of the theme, the emotional centre that is Variation 18 (also based on an inversion of the theme), and a coda after the final variation that ties together all the rhapsody's ideas before a comically understated final gesture.
** Of Rachmaninoff's three symphonies, the most often performed and recorded is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuZXplBB35Q No.2 in E minor]], and with good reason - from the ever-shifting emotional expanse of the first movement, to the fiery energy of the second, to the serene, clarinet solo-led third, to the unbridled triumph of the finale, the symphony is pure awesome from start to finish.
** Rachmaninoff, though he did not originally plan to do so, wrote a full set of 24 preludes in the major and minor keys, every one a winner.
*** The first to be composed, the weighty [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKYkssqyYkc Op.3 No.2 in C-sharp minor]], is [[FirstInstallmentWins by far the most famous]] (though [[MagnumOpusDissonance Rachmaninoff grew to detest it]]). It may be one of the simplest preludes from a structural (and technical) standpoint, but that doesn't detract from its awesomeness. Its three-note opening figure dominates the rest of the work, and the agitated alternating chords that cap off the centre section and the big block chords in both hands when the opening section is repeated at the end are exhilarating to hear and play.
*** The 10 Preludes, Op.23, were part of the same flurry of creativity as the second piano concerto. The brilliant [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiYT0Iu9Hnw No.2 in B-flat major]] starts with an alternately soaring and swooping accompanying figure under a syncopated melody, and just gets better from there; the buildup to the return of the opening melody is a particular highlight. The stately [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pJkPfTsEcE No.3 in D minor]] is the most richly contrapuntal of Rachmaninoff's preludes, the opening five-note figure providing the thread for an elaborate tapestry of melodies weaving around each other. The marchlike [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDFCCHjLzjs No.5 in G minor]] is the most famous of the set, its crashing chords and descending parallel octaves framing a slower centre section of harmonic tension. And the non-stop whirlwind trifecta of the dizzying [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyxpeLh7z3s No.7 in C minor]], the sparkling [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnLyzrHJx_I No.8 in A-flat major]], and the troubled [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaoGWXxhzc No.9 in E-flat minor]] (noted for its extremely difficult double-note figures in the right hand) will leave any pianist or listener breathless.
*** The 13 Preludes, Op.32, open with the rousing [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTlH3PuE11M No.1 in C major]], a finger-loosener that prepares artist and audience alike for the rollercoaster to come. The uneasy [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwHr4D17D2c No.2 in B-flat minor]] doesn't properly resolve into its home key until the final bars; the ''accelerando'' into the centre section in which the right hand gallops back and forth over an octave and a half is a high point. The flamboyant [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf08dQHlCDk No.3 in E major]] starts with a thundering quadruple-octave figure which provides the foundation for a triumphant climax. The expansive [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmewkYtGOBo No.4 in E minor]] goes through a vast spectrum of emotions, alternating gradual journeys up and down the register until building to a furious chordal passage. The intense [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL58c1TYDRs No.6 in F minor]] features lightning quick passagework passed across both hands. The frenzied [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BALJxAwh4RQ No.8 in A minor]] opens with a simple three-note figure over a fast accompaniment, and builds on these ideas in ingenious ways. The buoyant [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6BPxDbi7j8 No.9 in A major]] is another masterpiece of counterpoint, sounding at times as though there must be three hands playing at once. The plaintive [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13UlKWgwdZI No.12 in G-sharp minor]], the most famous of the set, is both scintillating and heartrending. And the titanic concluding [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wacHEJYJflM No.13 in D-flat major]] not only provides still more fast passagework, heavy chords, and dense counterpoint between the melody and accompanying figures, but also ties up the set neatly with many quotes of the three-note figure from the C-sharp minor prelude and a reference to the chords from its final measures, its atmosphere transformed from solemnity to victory.
*** Even the low-key preludes, if less extroverted, are still ingeniously assembled and provide more subtle moments of awesome for the performer. From Op.23, the doleful [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xCR3HjYwyw No.1 in F-sharp minor]] features long melodic lines that require many moments of crossed hands, building to a powerful climax and then ebbing away again; the serene [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qoPDQzXVmk No.4 in D major]] weaves first one, then two meandering accompanying figures around the songlike melody at its centre; the tranquil [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0EBMHFsEwY No.6 in E-flat major]] casts another songlike melody against a wandering accompaniment, then adds a countermelody for the second half; and the gentle [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HruGWkZrnOc No.10 in G-flat major]], almost lullaby-like, adds ever more layers of counterpoint as it moves toward a majestic final measure. From Op.32, the ethereal [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q-7WeFsooM No.5 in G major]] places an airy melody over a shimmering accompaniment to provide an antithesis to the earlier G minor prelude; the languid [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU4ykg4CeOU No.7 in F major]] makes excellent use of harmonic suspensions in both the melody and the accompaniment; the devastating [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE6vin5GPWA No.10 in B minor]] uses its rich chordal texture to memorably haunting effect, especially in the centre section; and the flighty [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKzUSSXdSsU No.11 in B major]] hides a sorrow which gives way to inner peace in the final measures.
** The two sets of Etudes-Tableaux, Op.33 and Op.39, have plenty of awesome pieces, each with a story to tell (though usually a story Rachmaninoff preferred to leave to the imagination of the performer or listener).
*** The first set opens with the martial [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qRkaU0xN3o No.1 in F minor]], its alternating fire and ice creating a gloriously dark atmosphere. The florid [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y0ORcgnByM No.6 in E-flat minor]] spins its way up and down the piano's register, providing a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome for any pianist who can get through it without stumbling. The flashy [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD-RzA4KvGE No.7 in E-flat major]] is by far the happiest of the first set (and among the few for which Rachmaninoff disclosed a story: a day at a carnival), ending with an extroverted statement of Rachmaninoff's rhythmic monogram (which also ends the second and third piano concerti). The tempestuous [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIGhlIkpJ0c No.9 in C-sharp minor]] may not be harmonically adventurous, but the storm of chords and double octaves provide a perfect conclusion to the set.
*** The second set, in which all but the last piece quotes the "Dies irae" melody at some point, starts with the unsettled [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whUhTYya8YU No.1 in C minor]], the stormclouds finally unleashing their fury in the final measures. The jittery [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US4XrzR27TQ No.3 in F-sharp minor]] stumbles and tumbles its way through its uneven rhythms and minor-key gloom. The sober [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLotW5AKjg No.4 in B minor]] is filled with rapid block chords that can vex the performer but fascinate the listener. The grandiose [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAV3Zj5Qngo No.5 in E-flat minor]] is perhaps the most famous of the set, sweeping through a wide emotional landscape before settling into its tranquil conclusion. The sinister [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPLmzoS1n2g No.6 in A minor]], sometimes regarded as the most difficult of either set, is a vivid depiction of the meeting of Literature/LittleRedRidingHood (with a flighty upper register theme) and the wolf (represented by lower register rumblings). And the triumphant [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh1utHHZnSc No.9 in D major]] combines block chords and acrobatic leaps up and down the piano to provide an outstanding and memorable finale.
** Rachmaninoff's two piano sonatas are seldom performed or recorded (the first one especially), but they rank alongside the very best of his compositions. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEufENQKRlU No.1 in D minor]][[note]] said by some to be a depiction of the ''Literature/{{Faust}}'' legend, but this is disputed[[/note]] frames a slow movement of outstanding serenity with a dramatic opening movement and a non-stop fireworks display of a finale. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adP36ytNJjs No.2]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW3HdYFOQQ8 in]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKSvbpP5nK0 B-flat minor]] has a similarly fiery first movement, but moves into a beautiful yet solemn slow movement followed by a major-key finale of pure joy.



* Music/FranzSchubert may have died tragically young, with many more pieces to write, but he wrote so much incredibly accessible and just plain awesome music that it's hard not to feel anything but gratitude for what we have.
** [[http://www.nfb.ca/film/erlKing Erlkonig]]. Dark, whimsical, and completely menacing.
** Though his work as a symphonist lives in the shadow of his contemporary, Beethoven, Schubert made several outstanding contributions to the medium's evolution in the early 1800s.
*** Schubert's first six symphonies were works of his youth, and the first classic among them is [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4Oxnf0Q20c No.4 in C minor]] (''Tragic''), written when he was just 19. Highlights include the clouds of minor key gloom in the first and last movements parting for their respective major key codas and a minuet that is surprisingly dark given its major key and makes extensive use of hemiolas to fool the listener into thinking it is in 3/2 rather than 3/4.
*** Six months after No.4, Schubert finished work on the genial [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdLuvGsjwlA Symphony No.5 in B-flat major.]] The slow movement is a particularly outstanding example of Schubert's lifelong fondness for unexpected harmonic progressions through distantly related keys.
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDl7MAs96Zk Symphony in B minor]] (''Unfinished'') is almost more famous for only having two of its planned four movements completed by Schubert's death[[note]] It is speculated that the original fourth movement was repurposed for his incidental music to the play ''Rosamunde'', but the third movement was definitely never more than half-finished.[[/note]] than for its musical merits, but it rises far above the novelty of its half-finished state. The first movement boasts a haunting introduction for lower strings only which leads into a songlike main theme for oboe over an insistent violin accompaniment; the pastoral second theme provides a striking contrast while still sounding like a natural follow-up to the first theme. The E major second movement, meanwhile, finds Schubert at his most serene, and is another first class example of his gift for harmonic progressions.
*** The mammoth [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyw5OHUDHh4 "Great" C major symphony]][[note]] So nicknamed to distinguish it from Schubert's other symphony in C major (No.6, the "Little" C major), as there is no consensus on how Schubert's symphonies after No.6 should be numbered. Besides the B minor and "Great" C major symphonies, there is a symphony in E major that was sketched to completion but only very partially scored. George Grove assigned No.7 to the E major, No.8 to the B minor, and No.9 to the "Great" C major after a visit to Vienna in 1867, but Johannes Brahms, in contributing to Breitkopf & Härtel's edition for the centenary of Schubert's birth, only numbered finished symphonies, making the "Great" C major No.7, while the B minor was appended as No.8. The current version of Otto Deutsch's catalogue of Schubert's works skips the E major, assigning No.7 to the B minor and No.8 to the "Great" C major; this numbering is favoured in German-speaking countries, while Grove's numbering is the most popular in English-speaking countries. Confused yet?[[/note]] is the apex of Schubert's orchestral works, packing countless memorable melodies and clever harmonies into nearly an hour of music.
** Schubert was a master of Lieder, songs for voice and piano. There are so many to choose from to find awesomeness that even listing the cream of the crop could furnish an entire page of examples.
** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqhbKtSY-5k "Trout" Quintet]] for piano and strings is packed with awesome moments for all of the performers; the wild scherzo and the two slower movements that frame it (including the variations on Schubert's ''Lied'' "The Trout" which give the quintet its nickname) are especially delightful.
** In the last few years of his life, Schubert wrote a truly staggering number of awesome pieces for various chamber groups:
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwLry7SV8I4 Octet in F major]] for clarinet, bassoon, horn, and string quintet (with double bass) is six movements of concentrated brilliance that manages to outshine the piece it imitates, Beethoven's Septet in E-flat major for the same instruments, less one violin (see corresponding entry). Highlights include a clarinet solo-led slow movement, a rollicking scherzo and trio, a graceful set of variations on the melody of one of the composer's early Lieder, and a finale with a dark, minor key introduction that soon gives way to a joyful major key sonata allegro.
*** Schubert's two piano trios in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N81xYAFfkvQ B-flat major]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPhhTdRHBWM E-flat major]] are among the greatest examples of the form; the second movement from the E-flat major trio was memorably used for the score to Creator/StanleyKubrick's 1975 film ''Film/BarryLyndon'', and its main theme re-appears in two episodes in the finale to give the work a sense of unity.
*** His last four string quartets very nearly rival Beethoven's last five quartets as supreme examples of the form. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l06wDJIjQ2M No.12 in C minor]] only ever had its first movement completed, but what a powerful movement it is! [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQgEBkdfNlg No.13 in A minor]] is inspired by melodies from the composer's early work, including the incidental music to the play ''Rosamunde'' (whence the quartet gets its nickname). The dramatic and intense [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fXYjSmR6Bw No.14 in D minor]] (''Death and the Maiden'') is perhaps the most popular of Schubert's quartets; the coda of the finale, in which a triumphant major resolution is subverted at the last minute, is a particular highlight. And [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjMXIyPHo7c No.15 in G major]] finds Schubert at the height of his flair for surprising harmonic modulations; the outer movements are especially striking as they hop between the major and minor modes with abandon.
*** The almost hourlong [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTHKH-Fy5No String Quintet in C major]] is often named the greatest string quintet ever composed, and one of the greatest chamber works ever composed.[[note]] It was also the last major piece Schubert completed before his death in 1828.[[/note]] The ''Adagio'' contains some of Schubert's loveliest writing, as well as a surprisingly stormy centre section.
** Schubert's last three piano sonatas are often pointed to as examples of how Schubert was fast catching up with Beethoven as a master of the form, and may have overtaken him had he not died aged 31.[[note]] For comparison, when Beethoven was 31, the sonatas published as Nos.21-32 were still ahead of him.[[/note]] The agitated [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltvKcZ9U5QA No.19 in C minor]] bookends a charming slow movement and a tense minuet with two storms very much in the mould of Beethoven's ''Pathetique'' sonata in the same key. The heroic [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EClFYa3APA8 No.20 in A major]] is ingeniously tied off with a neat bow when the chord progression in the opening measures of the first movement recurs near the end of the finale. And the easy-going [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbJtHzaFpBQ No.21 in B-flat major]] is perhaps the greatest piano sonata composed between Beethoven's last sonata and Liszt's B minor sonata, with all four movements, especially the epic-length first (over 20 minutes with repeats in most recordings and performances), packed with Schubert's signature songlike melodies and unexpected harmonic shifts.[[note]] If you found the different numbering systems for Schubert's symphonies difficult to follow, you'd find the different numbering systems for his piano sonatas even more so! The numbers included here are the most widely used.[[/note]]
** The ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPvAQxZsgpQ Ave Maria]]'', memorably used as the concluding piece in the original ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'', is one of the loveliest vocal pieces ever composed.



* Though Music/PyotrIlyichTchaikovsky was considered out of place at a time when his fellow Russian composers were writing staunchly nationalist music, his work has proven more enduringly popular.
** The "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrsYD46W1U0 1812 Overture]]" literally leads the charge for Tchaikovsky: a work that is played with a triumphant Russian chorus, numerous thundering chimes, fireworks, and ''freaking cannons''. To quote [[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes Calvin]], "And they perform this in crowded concert halls? Gee, I thought classical music was ''boring!''"
*** Perhaps the only piece of music that REQUIRES cannons, carillon, and an organ (or military band) to perform properly. Since there are perhaps only a dozen places where these three instruments can be used, live performances will use at best two out the three, with the third instrument being pre-recorded, or ignoring the organ orchestration altogether. (It's possible to fake the cannons by giving members in the audience...paper bags. Which does greatly diminish the effect, but it's better than nothing. Also, the carillon are very frequently replaced with a set of tubular bells and local church bells.)
*** Being able to play this beast of a musical piece properly is a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome in and of itself, regardless of what type of band you're in. Anyone who has participated in a performance can tell you just how ''hard'' it really is.
*** The final minute or so is a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome (to the point that most listeners only know that part of the piece; in the United States in particular, it often accompanies Fourth of July fireworks displays), but one has to hear the whole piece (over fifteen minutes in most performances and recordings) to truly appreciate it for what it is. The rest is just haunting and Gothic awesome. There's a particularly nice section where the Marseillaise is given a grand stirring reprise, rising towards an apparent climax of epic proportions - only to get drowned out by a volley of cannons right at the very moment when it reaches the peak, representing the tide turning against Napoleon's invading armies.[[note]] Although the use of "La Marseillaise" is somewhat anachronistic, as Napoleon had banned performances of it in 1805, and it did not regain its status as the French national anthem until 1879 - just in time for Tchaikovsky to compose his overture.[[/note]] The more famous volley of cannons in the final minute is accompanied by a triumphant statement of the then-national anthem of Russia, "God Save the Tsar!", in the lower strings and brass.[[note]] Although during the Soviet era, the use of "God Save the Tsar!" in the "1812" overture, as well as the Marche Slave and the Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem, was edited out and replaced by other melodies - in this case, "Glory, Glory to you, holy Rus'!" from the finale of Mikhail Glinka's opera ''A Life for the Tsar''.[[/note]]
** Tchaikovsky is also perhaps the most celebrated composer of ballet music:
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ir8FnLF_9Q Nutcracker, anyone?]] A Christmas staple all over Europe and North America for decades, packed with awesome from the buoyant Overture and the rousing March that open Act I to the suite of dances in the middle of Act II, several of which - including the ethereal Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the flighty Dance of the Reed Flutes, the boisterous Trepak, and the graceful Waltz of the Flowers - have become {{Standard Snippet}}s.[[note]] Tchaikovsky himself grew to detest the ballet in later life, however.[[/note]]
*** ''Swan Lake'' is another classic. The overture from ''Swan Lake'' was used to terrifying effect in the trailers for ''Film/BlackSwan'', using that upswing in the middle to punctuate the ad.
** Tchaikovsky's concerti include some outstanding classics:
*** His [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItSJ_woWnmk Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat minor]] is one of the most enduringly popular concerti ever composed - and not just for the famous first three minutes (the lush, songlike theme from which then disappears for the rest of the concerto). The first movement is all kinds of large scale awesome, with many moments of drama and high emotion, while the second movement is an oasis of calm (interrupted in the middle by a virtuosic whirlwind) before the tempestuous yet ultimately triumphant finale. A real ''tour de force'' for any pianist.[[note]] Not that it was always viewed that way; Tchaikovsky intended for it to be premiered by the pianist and pedagogue Nikolai Rubinstein, but when presented with the score, Rubinstein infamously described it as "unplayable", and an enraged Tchaikovsky refused to change a single note and instead gave it to the German pianist, composer, and conductor Hans von Bülow, to whom the concerto was subsequently dedicated. Rubinstein eventually came around and made the concerto a staple of his repertoire; he agreed to premiere Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.2 by way of apology, but died before rehearsals could begin.[[/note]]
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHUJ4tI16qM violin concerto]]. Why only ''one'' violin concerto, Piotr Illitch? Why?[[note]] Possibly because the presentation to the man whom Tchaikovsky hoped would premiere the concerto, Leopold Auer, had unfortunate echoes of Rubinstein's denunciation of his Piano Concerto No.1 - he even used the same word, "unplayable" (though he later regretted his choice of words, explaining that he meant only that, as written, the music would not do justice to the violin's capabilities; as with Rubinstein and the piano concerto, Auer eventually made the concerto a fixture of his repertoire, but not before editing the solo part with the composer's blessing). Vienna-based critic Eduard Hanslick also wrote a famously scathing review of the concerto - describing it as the first example he had heard of music that "stinks to the ear" - that so scarred Tchaikovsky that he could quote it from memory right up to his death.[[/note]] At least we can be grateful for the one he did compose, with its first movement founded on a sprightly main theme (following an introduction that seems to introduce an important theme that is then never heard again) and full of spellbinding passages for the soloist and the lush Romantic melodies for which Tchaikovsky was famous, a heartbroken second movement Canzonetta, and a boisterous finale that finds time for tender interludes along the way.
** It is sometimes joked that Tchaikovsky composed three symphonies, but made the strange decision to number them 4, 5, and 6, as Nos.4-6 are performed and recorded far more often than Nos.1-3.[[note]] There are more recordings of No.5 and No.6 individually than there are of Nos.1-3 combined, and No.4 isn't far behind.[[/note]] Although the first three symphonies have their moments, and No.6 in B minor (''Pathétique'') has a few awesome passages in an otherwise tragedy-laden musical swan song for the composer, the crown for awesome among Tchaikovsky's symphonies jointly goes to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVCvx9J0Zwk No.4 in F minor]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2JBT0HC98I No.5 in E minor]]. Both have ambitious opening movements spanning wide ranges of emotions, from pathos to fury to triumph and back to pathos. The F minor follows this with a solemn slow movement and a playful scherzo in which the strings play ''pizzicato'' throughout, while the inner movements of the E minor include a beautiful French horn solo-led slow movement and a graceful waltz. Both then turn up the energy to full to go out in a blaze of major-key glory in their finales. Exhilarating stuff from start to finish.
** Though Tchaikovsky's Fantasy-Overture on ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'' is most famous for its "love theme" (a staple of romantic scenes in film and television, especially comically over-sentimental ones), [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cxj8vSS2ELU&t=5m33s the music has its fiery, dramatic moments as well]] - Tchaikovsky was well aware that the story was a tragedy as well as a romance.
11th Oct '17 1:32:52 PM mlsmithca
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Added DiffLines:

* Russia's Alexander Glazunov has the misfortune of being more well-known for his alcoholism[[note]] He was the conductor of the premiere of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No.1, which was such an unmitigated disaster that the composer hid on the fire escape with his hands over his ears and needed to undergo hypnotherapy before he could compose again; the future Mrs. Rachmaninoff famously thought Glazunov was drunk during the performance, but the more likely reality is that the orchestra were desperately underrehearsed. Meanwhile, Glazunov's sometime conservatory student Shostakovich recalled in later life that Glazunov kept a bottle of vodka hidden in his desk drawer and would sip from it through a tube concealed in his coat during lectures.[[/note]] than for his music. While he may not have been as iconoclastic as some of his later life contemporaries, such as Prokofiev and Stravinsky, many of his compositions are still fine examples of late Romanticism.
** Glazunov's most popular work is the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igqj4lAV6UY Violin Concerto in A minor,]] which becomes particularly mesmeric in the hands of American violinist Hilary Hahn. As well as being full of first class showcases for the soloist (the second theme in the "first movement" is especially lovely), it is structurally unusual, being nominally in one movement but divided into three or four subsections - just how many, and where each section begins and ends, remains a topic of debate.
** The first composer to make the (alto) saxophone the star of a concert piece for soloist and orchestra was probably Debussy, who (very reluctantly) composed a Rhapsody on commission from the American saxophonist Elisa Hall; however, Glazunov was the first major composer to write a piece under the title [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfL2Tf9L_f4 "Concerto"]] for the saxphone, accompanied by string orchestra. It has rightly found a place in the classical saxophone repertoire, its single movement (in four subsections) carrying performer and listener alike on a remarkable journey that gloriously melds the mellow sound of the soloist with the more strident tones of the strings.
** Glazunov composed two piano concerti, both late works. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bz4f3iTJ9Y No.1 in F minor]] was a favourite of the Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter; its first movement is full of high drama alternating with a Rachmaninoff-like second theme,[[note]] It sounds particularly similar to the opening of the third movement of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No.2, composed at around the same time.[[/note]] while the second movement is an expansive theme and variations uniting slow movement, scherzo, and finale, with the ninth variation ingeniously bringing back all of the major themes from the first movement. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNYb21fZLPw No.2 in B major,]] like the concerti for violin and saxophone, is in just one movement in several subsections, with the themes introduced in the first few minutes being put through all manner of permutations and modifications; the slow F major interlude just before the halfway mark contains some of Glazunov's loveliest melodic writing.
11th Oct '17 1:11:15 PM mlsmithca
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*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHUJ4tI16qM violin concerto]]. Why only ''one'' violin concerto, Piotr Illitch? Why?
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItSJ_woWnmk Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat minor]] - and not just the famous first three minutes. The first movement is all kinds of large scale awesome, with many moments of drama and high emotion, while the second movement is an oasis of calm (interrupted in the middle by a virtuosic whirlwind) before the tempestuous yet ultimately triumphant finale. A real ''tour de force'' for any pianist.

to:

*** The His [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHUJ4tI16qM violin concerto]]. Why only ''one'' violin concerto, Piotr Illitch? Why?
*** [[http://www.
youtube.com/watch?v=ItSJ_woWnmk Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat minor]] is one of the most enduringly popular concerti ever composed - and not just for the famous first three minutes.minutes (the lush, songlike theme from which then disappears for the rest of the concerto). The first movement is all kinds of large scale awesome, with many moments of drama and high emotion, while the second movement is an oasis of calm (interrupted in the middle by a virtuosic whirlwind) before the tempestuous yet ultimately triumphant finale. A real ''tour de force'' for any pianist.[[note]] Not that it was always viewed that way; Tchaikovsky intended for it to be premiered by the pianist and pedagogue Nikolai Rubinstein, but when presented with the score, Rubinstein infamously described it as "unplayable", and an enraged Tchaikovsky refused to change a single note and instead gave it to the German pianist, composer, and conductor Hans von Bülow, to whom the concerto was subsequently dedicated. Rubinstein eventually came around and made the concerto a staple of his repertoire; he agreed to premiere Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.2 by way of apology, but died before rehearsals could begin.[[/note]]
*** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHUJ4tI16qM violin concerto]]. Why only ''one'' violin concerto, Piotr Illitch? Why?[[note]] Possibly because the presentation to the man whom Tchaikovsky hoped would premiere the concerto, Leopold Auer, had unfortunate echoes of Rubinstein's denunciation of his Piano Concerto No.1 - he even used the same word, "unplayable" (though he later regretted his choice of words, explaining that he meant only that, as written, the music would not do justice to the violin's capabilities; as with Rubinstein and the piano concerto, Auer eventually made the concerto a fixture of his repertoire, but not before editing the solo part with the composer's blessing). Vienna-based critic Eduard Hanslick also wrote a famously scathing review of the concerto - describing it as the first example he had heard of music that "stinks to the ear" - that so scarred Tchaikovsky that he could quote it from memory right up to his death.[[/note]] At least we can be grateful for the one he did compose, with its first movement founded on a sprightly main theme (following an introduction that seems to introduce an important theme that is then never heard again) and full of spellbinding passages for the soloist and the lush Romantic melodies for which Tchaikovsky was famous, a heartbroken second movement Canzonetta, and a boisterous finale that finds time for tender interludes along the way.
10th Oct '17 11:05:56 PM mlsmithca
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* The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJYuwhU0qZE Concerto Etude in A flat, Op.1 No.2]] by Paul de Schlözer is considered one of the most difficult piano pieces ever written and is four minutes of pure awesomeness. It is all the more impressive since it is the only known piece written by de Schlözer. [[note]] This has given rise to a popular story that the piece was actually written by the more well known piano composer Moritz Moszkowski, who then lost the manuscript to de Schlözer in a card game. It does sound a bit similar to Moszkowski's Étude de Virtuosité, Op. 72, No. 11, but then again it is no crime to be inspired by the work of others.[[/note]]

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* The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJYuwhU0qZE Concerto Concert Etude in A flat, Op.1 No.2]] by Paul de Schlözer is considered one of the most difficult piano pieces ever written and is four minutes of pure awesomeness. It is all the more impressive since it is the two Op.1 etudes are the only known piece pieces written by de Schlözer. Schlözer.[[note]] This has given rise to a popular story that the piece was pieces were actually written by the more well known piano composer Moritz Moszkowski, who then lost the manuscript to de Schlözer in a card game. It The A-flat etude does sound a bit similar to Moszkowski's Étude de Virtuosité, Virtuosité in A-flat, Op. 72, No. 11, but then again it is no crime to be inspired by the work of others.[[/note]]
18th Sep '17 11:41:07 PM mlsmithca
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*** The Brandenburg Concertos are incredible. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJbkvmwUMkw No.2 in F major]], a real ''tour de force'' for the solo trumpet, is so awesome its first movement was ''sent into space'' as the opening track on the ''Voyager'' record. The first movement of No.5 in D major, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljojjoBGLYw especially the end]], is harpsichord on... some kind of illegal drug.
*** The four Orchestral Suites rank alongside the Brandenburg Concertos as early masterpieces for what constituted a full orchestra in Bach's day. The most famous movements are the concluding [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhYVQM6TsM Badinerie from Suite No.2 in B minor,]] an incredible moment in the spotlight for any flautist up to the task, and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2j-frfK-yg Air from Suite No.3 in D major]], better known as "[[HaveAGayOldTime Air on the G string]]" and a contender for the title of "most instantly recognisable piece Bach composed".

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*** The Brandenburg Concertos remain some of Bach's most beloved works, and are incredible. [[http://www.stellar examples of what constituted full orchestral works in the Baroque era. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elIXiNx-dXw No.1 in F major]] weaves a rich contrapuntal tapestry with two horns, three oboes, and a bassoon as well as strings; the ingenious fourth movement alternates a stately minuet with episodes devoted to each group of musicians. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJbkvmwUMkw No.2 in F major]], a real ''tour de force'' for the solo trumpet, is so awesome its first movement was ''sent into space'' as the opening track on the ''Voyager'' record. The first movement of No.5 in D major, [[http://www.rightly famous [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLj_gMBqHX8 No.3 in G major]] weaves ''ten'' melodic and countermelodic lines around each other across its outer movements. The joyful [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iTPLgfmFdI No.4 in G major]] gives a starring role to a pair of recorders, alternating with virtuosic solo violin passages. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnjqGhAlFzs No.5 in D major]] shines the spotlight on a solo violin, flute, and harpsichord, the last of which gets to strut its stuff [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljojjoBGLYw especially at the end]], end of the first movement.]] And while [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa14w6y6CeA No.6 in B-flat major]] is harpsichord on... some kind the least performed of illegal drug.
the six, the absence of violins in favour of violas, violas da gamba, cello, and continuo creates a rich sonority quite unlike anything else Bach composed.
*** The four Orchestral Suites rank alongside the Brandenburg Concertos as early masterpieces for what constituted a full orchestra in Bach's day. The most famous movements are the concluding [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhYVQM6TsM Badinerie from Suite No.2 in B minor,]] an incredible moment in the spotlight for any flautist up to the task, and the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2j-frfK-yg Air from Suite No.3 in D major]], better known as "[[HaveAGayOldTime Air on the G string]]" and a contender for the title of "most instantly recognisable piece Bach composed".
18th Sep '17 5:11:23 PM mlsmithca
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*** The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORvvsRawgDo Trio in E-flat major]] replaces the cello in the traditional piano trio with French horn, and ranks as one of the latter instrument's greatest chamber music showcases. Along with the ''German Requiem'', the trio is one of the pieces Brahms composed to express his grief over his mother's death; though three of its four movements end in the major mode, the shadows are never far away, especially in the second theme of the first movement, the trio of the second movement, and throughout the third movement.

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*** The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORvvsRawgDo Trio in E-flat major]] replaces the cello in the traditional piano trio with major for piano, violin, and French horn, and horn]] ranks as one of the latter instrument's greatest chamber music showcases. Along with the ''German ''Deutsches Requiem'', the trio is one of the pieces Brahms composed to express his grief over his mother's death; though three all but the third of its four movements end in the major mode, the shadows are never far away, especially in the second theme of the first movement, the trio of the second movement, and throughout the third movement.
13th Sep '17 10:30:06 AM mlsmithca
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* French organist and composer Maurice Duruflé, a student of Paul Dukas, shared his teacher's almost viciously intense perfectionism; he held himself to almost impossibly high standards, with nothing less than his very best deemed worthy of publication (or preservation of any sort). Despite living to be 84, he only published ''fourteen'' compositions[[note]] A few more works were published after his death.[[/note]] - and the first, ''Triptyque'' (three fantasies for piano on Gregorian chants), was later withdrawn when Duruflé decided it wasn't good enough. The good news is that this means the works he did see fit to publish are nothing less than spectacular, and while his choral works (especially the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRzPi0CA1rg Requiem]]) are heart-stoppingly beautiful, it is his organ works for which the word "awesome" is most fitting.

to:

* French organist and composer Maurice Duruflé, a student of Paul Dukas, shared his teacher's almost viciously intense perfectionism; he held himself to almost impossibly high standards, with nothing less than his very best deemed worthy of publication (or preservation of any sort). Despite living to be 84, he only published ''fourteen'' compositions[[note]] A few more works were published after his death.[[/note]] - and the first, ''Triptyque'' (three fantasies for piano on Gregorian chants), was later withdrawn when Duruflé decided it wasn't good enough. The good news is that this means the works he did see fit to publish are nothing less than spectacular, and while his choral works (especially the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRzPi0CA1rg Requiem]]) are heart-stoppingly beautiful, it is his organ works for which the word "awesome" is most fitting.
11th Sep '17 11:12:36 AM mlsmithca
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* French organist and composer Maurice Duruflé was one of the most perfectionist composers to set pen to paper; he held himself to almost impossibly high standards, with nothing less than his very best worthy of publication (or preservation of any sort). Despite living to be 84, he only published ''fourteen'' compositions[[note]] A few more works were published after his death.[[/note]] - and the first, ''Triptyque'' (three fantasies for piano on Gregorian chants), was later withdrawn when Duruflé decided it wasn't good enough. The good news is that this means the works he did see fit to publish are nothing less than spectacular, and while his choral works (especially the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRzPi0CA1rg Requiem]]) are heart-stoppingly beautiful, it is his organ works for which the word "awesome" is most fitting.

to:

* French organist and composer Maurice Duruflé was one Duruflé, a student of the most perfectionist composers to set pen to paper; Paul Dukas, shared his teacher's almost viciously intense perfectionism; he held himself to almost impossibly high standards, with nothing less than his very best deemed worthy of publication (or preservation of any sort). Despite living to be 84, he only published ''fourteen'' compositions[[note]] A few more works were published after his death.[[/note]] - and the first, ''Triptyque'' (three fantasies for piano on Gregorian chants), was later withdrawn when Duruflé decided it wasn't good enough. The good news is that this means the works he did see fit to publish are nothing less than spectacular, and while his choral works (especially the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRzPi0CA1rg Requiem]]) are heart-stoppingly beautiful, it is his organ works for which the word "awesome" is most fitting.


Added DiffLines:

* Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo created some of the most enduringly popular works for classical guitar, which is all the more remarkable when one notes he didn't actually play the instrument (he was a pianist, and had been nearly blind since he was 3 years old). Far and away his most popular work is the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye-FvKCZp3s Concierto de Aranjuez,]] inspired by the palace gardens at Aranjuez.[[note]] The newly installed fascist government under Franco required that music composed in Spain either celebrate, or be open to interpretation as celebrating, the virtues of the new political situation; luckily for Rodrigo, they didn't see his celebration of the palace gardens of Habsburg monarchs as an ideological threat.[[/note]] While the doleful central Adagio is so powerful it is often performed separately from the outer movements, said outer movements are full of life, wit, and charm, creating vivid imagery of being surrounded by the serenity of nature.
10th Sep '17 7:44:08 PM mlsmithca
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** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogJFXqYEYd8 finale of Symphony #5]] is brilliant and exciting, always climbing up by semitones and pushing the tension up further with each step, along with judicious use of DramaticTimpani. And Symphony #9, written at the behest of UsefulNotes/JosefStalin who commissioned it as a celebration of victory in UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, which completely mocks the idea of a grandiose celebratory symphony in favour of a more "folksy" style.
** For the lighter (yet still awesome) side of Shostakovich, there's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX1fiE0U1qA Waltz No.2]] from the Suite for Variety Orchestra, along with his [[http://youtu.be/1gDZTah8J2A Festive Overture Op. 96]], which gets bonus points for possibly being a [[TakeThat celebration]] of the death of UsefulNotes/JosephStalin the previous year.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRq4ztEAjak Tahiti Trot, Opus 27]], if you know the backstory: A conductor friend played a recording of "Tea for Two" to the 22-years-old Shostakovich, and bet him 100 roubles that he could not do a complete orchestration from memory in 1 hour. He did it in 45 minutes.

to:

** The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogJFXqYEYd8 finale of Symphony #5]] is brilliant and exciting, always climbing up by semitones and pushing the tension up further with each step, along with judicious use of DramaticTimpani. And Symphony #9, written at the behest of UsefulNotes/JosefStalin who commissioned it as a celebration of victory in UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo, UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, which completely mocks the idea of a grandiose celebratory symphony in favour of a more "folksy" style.
** For the lighter (yet still awesome) side of Shostakovich, there's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX1fiE0U1qA Waltz No.2]] from the Suite for Variety Orchestra, along with his [[http://youtu.be/1gDZTah8J2A Festive Overture Op. 96]], Overture]], which gets bonus points for possibly being a [[TakeThat celebration]] of the death of UsefulNotes/JosephStalin the previous year.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRq4ztEAjak Tahiti Trot, Opus 27]], Trot]], if you know the backstory: A a conductor friend played a recording of [[Theatre/NoNoNanette "Tea for Two" Two"]] to the 22-years-old 22-year-old Shostakovich, and bet him 100 roubles that he could not do a complete orchestration from memory in 1 hour. He did it in 45 minutes.
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