This is the second part of my series about a playlist which I created for one of my violin students who came to me without ever having listened to classical music. You can read part one here.
4. Mozart’s Allegro from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Serenade in G, K. 525
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is not only one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s best-known pieces but also among the most famous classical pieces of all time. It figured prominently in the Academy Award-winning biopic Amadeus, has appeared in 8 different episodes of The Simpsons, and has been in the soundtrack of multiple movies including Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows, Alien, and There’s Something about Mary.1 If you play a string instrument, chances are that you’re going to play it in orchestra numerous times (and it is fun to play). It’s a must-listen for anyone getting to know classical music.
5. First Movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op. 67
The first three notes of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 are instantly recognizable even to those with no knowledge of classical music. Beethoven meant these notes to represent death knocking on a door. Later, the Allies used the melody as a signature piece during World War II because the notes resembled Morse code for the V for victory. This piece has also appeared in movies including Austin Powers in Goldmember, The Breakfast Club, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof .2
6. Brahms’ Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2
I included Johannes Brahms’ Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2 because it’s one of my sentimental favorites. I first encountered this piece when I had to analyze it for one of my music theory classes in college. I fell in love with its lyrical melody and delicate counterpoint. It’s Brahms, with his tender underbelly exposed. Beyond my own affection for this work, there are a couple of practical reasons I included it. First, Brahms is one of the most renowned classical composers. No list would be complete without one of his works. Second, I wanted my violin student to hear an approachable solo piano piece.
Photo credit: Photosteve101 via Flickr
- The 10 Most Well Known Classical Pieces in the History of Music (theepochtimes.com)