Did you have a really tiring day at work and want to unwind all the stress? Or are you cramming for an upcoming exam and wish to take a break? So instead of putting up your old go-to indie play list, why not try some classical music? You may think that it must be boring or stuffy. Classical music sure does give such vibes as it was created by old-school guys who used to wear funky wigs and fancy clothes. However, considering classical music boring is far from the truth. It has a soothing, exciting, and inspiring effect that lasts for a longer time. So listening to classical music has a lot of mental benefits. It can boost your mood and revive creativity. Surprisingly, listening to classical music helps in physical recovery as well. It helps regulate blood pressure, reduces pain, and helps you fight against depression.
Classical music not only has mental and physical benefits, but you can also enjoy it. So reading the benefits, you would want to try some rudiments of classical music for a start. But being a Jazz and Metallic music lover, you must be unsure how to approach the vast kingdom of classical music. Suppose you visit a classical music festival, you would wish to possess at the very least rudimentary knowledge of the genre. Hence, it would be best to be aware of at least the most famous pieces of music. So here are some iconic pieces that you should listen to:
1. Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by J.S.Bach:
The title of this iconic piece is not that catchy, but we can guarantee you that it is one of the most renowned openings. You will see it playing in the background of serious movie scenes or a horror movie. It has made an opening appearance in the very famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1935. The extraordinary talented Bach displayed his compositional power voice in Toccata and Fugue, ranking it number one in our list.
2. Fur Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven:
When Beethoven was alive, he did not publish Fur Elise. In fact, nobody discovered it even after forty years of his death. As a result, nobody was sure who the Elise of the title was. Some musicologists believe that they mistakenly copied the wrong name from the sheet. The title could have been ‘Fur Therese’. Regardless, whoever was the recipient of this iconic piece was indeed lucky. You will agree that it is a charming piece written for the piano. It is a simple piece but with a catchy melody. You will encounter several reinterpretations like cubist rendition, jazzy cover, etc.
3. O Mio Babbino Caro by Giacomo Puccini and Giovacchino Forzano:
Several people worldwide have not heard this melodious piece yet. It is one of the famous arias by the renowned Puccini, from his one-act opera Gianni Schicchi, an unlikely source of the most romantic song written ever. Young Lauretta performed “o mio babbino caro.” In this act, she pleads with her father to let her marry Rinnucio, a man she is madly in love with. The fame of this iconic piece has outstripped the opera.
4. Carmen by Georges Bizet:
Let us share a popular joke amongst music lovers; they say French men have written all the greatest hit Spanish classical music. Didn’t you find it funny? Then you have to be a big music nerd to find it funny. Carmen is an opera written by a French man and it was presented in Spain. Many people consider it as one of the perfectly written operas. Hence, if you can recognize arias from this opera, you will sound more sophisticated. Who knows, after listening to this piece, you may become a secret opera lover.
5. Messiah by George Frideric Handel:
Handel is one of the finest composers of oratorios you will ever encounter. Now you would ask what an oratorio is? You can take it as an opera but without costumes. The performers and the singers stand in chorus, telling a long continuous story. So you will see Messiah usually being performed during Christmas time. It revolves around the story of the life and death of Jesus. You must have heard of the famous Hallelujah, but that is just one of the most fantastic tunes. It is impossible to name all of the tunes.
6. The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi:
For a violin lover, ‘The Four Seasons’ is a perfect choice. Just like the name of the music piece suggests, it is a set of four concerts of violin played by Antonio Vivaldi. Each show is different, representing different themes and seasons of the year. If you pay a little close attention, you can easily hear the harvest-time barn dance, the birds dancing, and growling thunderstorms. Some parts of this iconic piece are so popular, and you will undoubtedly recognize them as a ringtone.
7. Symphony No. 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven:
This piece is very different from Vivaldi’s. If you have watched Disney’s fantasy movies, you will quickly recognize them. Beethoven is famous for his nine written symphonies. Music industrialists consider these nine symphonies as the pinnacle of western civilization. But out of the nine symphonies, the sixth one is most liked by everyone. It gives you the vibe of walking through the European countryside, unfolding the magic of music. So if you like this one, you may also try the 9th and 5th symphony of Beethoven.
8. The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky:
It is a ballet, but far from a typical ballet. It starts with ritualistic pagan sacrifices and ends with slaughtering a young girl. This classical piece became controversial as soon as it premiered in 1913. So don’t expect a catchy melody that you can hum along to. It is full of aggressive, violent, and percussive clashing tones. But it is worth a listen. So if you want to challenge yourself, listen to it three times. We bet you will get hooked to it for the rest of your life.
A take-home message:
Well, here we are, the list of highly subjective and renowned pieces of classical music. If you listen to these, it gives a well-rounded feel of the vast era of classical music. Once you dive into the sea of classical music, it will be difficult for you to swim back to the shore.