Following up from yesterday’s post on how to get started learning classical pieces on guitar, I thought I would take a look at some of my favourite classical pieces. Here are my top 7:
Bach / Gounod – Ave Maria
This beautiful piece is a combination of efforts. The underlying piano is a slightly changed version of Prelude 1 from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier. Charles Gounod, a French Romantic composer, put the melody over the top, which apparently, was a popular latin prayer.
Samuel Barber – Agnus Die
Agnus Die is a choral version of Barber’s Adagio for Strings – which I guarantee you have heard. Adagio for Strings has been used in all sorts of TV shows, movies and dance music. This choral version has a more spiritual element to it, it’s hauntingly beautiful.
Purcell – Dido’s Lament
The above performance of this is beautiful. Purcell was a baroque era composer, writing the opera “Dido and Aeneas”, based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid (which is on my reading list!). Also known as ‘When I am Laid In Earth’, the song is tragic. Wikipedia tells you everything you need to know:
The Aeneid The text, and the Purcell opera, allude to the Aeneid, the Roman legend of the Trojan warrior Aeneas, travelling to Italy from the betrayed and fallen Troy in order to settle there and secure his son Ascanius’s lineage. Their ship is blown off course from Sicily, and they land on the shore of North Africa, in Carthage, a town newly settled by refugees from Tyre. Aeneas falls in love with their queen, Dido, but dutifully departs for Italy leaving her. Distraught at his betrayal, she orders a pyre to be built and set ablaze so that Aeneas will see from his ship that she has killed herself. She sings the lament before stabbing herself as Aeneas sails on.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, May my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast;
Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate
Paganini Violin Concerto 1
Paganini was a legendary violinist in his day and this, dramatically raising the bar for technical standards of violin playing. His Caprices are awe inspiring and Caprice 24 has become a favourite amongst the guitar shredders of the world. However, he also wrote plenty of other pieces and his violin concertos are great.
Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending
This is probably one of my favourite pieces ever written. It’s just beautiful, delicate… a soul lifting piece of music. I started learning it on guitar a little while ago… I’ll be finishing it off maybe next year after I complete my current project…
This piece puts my soul into a state of bliss.
Tartini – The Devil’s Trill Sonata
Another piece of beauty. Tartini brings the pain with this one, delivering a beautiful sonata with some very challenging parts. The story behind this piece is insane:
One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the “Devil’s Trill”, but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me.
Chopin – Raindrop Prelude
This prelude by Chopin was nicknamed the ‘Raindrop Prelude’. As you listen to it, you can hear a single note being continuously repeated, which to some listeners, sounds like raindrops, hence its name. Regardless of it’s name, this is a piece you have to listen to at least once in your life. The bit at 3:50 gets me every time.
Patrick Cassidy – Vide Cor Meum
This piece was made famous from it’s place in the movie ‘Hannibal’. Hannibal and the Inspector go to see an outdoor opera performance, and we get treated to this beautiful piece of music. The piece was composed especially for the movie. I absolutely love how the piece builds, and that beautiful theme that gets repeated.. gorgeous!
So there you have my top 7 favourite pieces of classical music. If you enjoyed reading it and discovered something new, share the page using the buttons below!