Various Artists

The Most Essential Classical Music in Movies

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The Most Essential Classical Music in Movies is a 2008 compilation bringing together 49 tracks of the most memorable uses of classical music in film. Many of these pieces have been used in more than one film and have also been heard countless times in television shows and commercials, so much of it will be recognizable by everyone. However, the tracks here are -- for the most part -- complete movements or works, not just the few minutes that might have been used in a soundtrack, a big advantage to someone who wants to get to know the music better. The most famous examples are found early in the collection: the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra, as heard in 2001 -- A Space Odyssey, and "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana, as heard in Excalibur (and has since become something of a dramatic cliché). Yet, there's also Barber's Adagio for Strings (Platoon); Brahms' Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Roger Rabbit and countless cartoons); The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Fantasia); and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (Manhattan). There are a few well-known and esteemed ensembles here, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Saint Louis Symphony, and soloists include pianist Abbey Simon, cellist Gaspar Cassadó, and violinist Aaron Rosand. The selections here live up to the album's title.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Also Sprach Zarathustra - Tone Poem For Large Orchestra, Op. 30
1 1:32
Aria and 30 Variations (The Goldberg Variations), BWV 988
2 2:15
Carmina Burana
3 2:35
An der Schönen Blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314: Waltz
4 6:35 Amazon
Serenade No. 13 in G Major, K. 525 (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
5 7:58
Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46
6 2:20 Amazon
Cavalleria Rusticana
7 3:29
8 8:54
Serenade No. 10 in B-Flat Major, K. 361, 'Gran Partita'
9 5:44 Amazon
Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Minor for Piano, Op. 35
10 9:04 Amazon
Rigoletto
11 2:11
Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492
12 4:01 Amazon
String Quintet No. 5 in E Major, Op. 11
13 3:50
Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, 'Unfinished'
14 11:27
Concerto in D Minor for Oboe and Strings
15 3:41
Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Sz 106
16 7:02
17 9:03 Amazon
Quintet in A Major, D. 667, 'The Trout'
18 7:02 Amazon
Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor
19 12:04 Amazon
20 7:30 Amazon
Suite No. 3 in D Major for Orchestra, BWV 1068
21 5:36 Amazon
The Valkyrie
22 5:33
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61
23 5:07 Amazon
Wilhelm Tell (William Tell): Overture
24 3:06
25 11:09 Amazon
26 15:43 Amazon
Canon in D Major
27 5:20
28 9:46 Amazon
String Quartet in F Major, N. 35
29 5:51
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43
30 3:04
Suite Bergamasque, L 75
31 4:55 Amazon
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
32 6:40 Amazon
The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni), Op. 8 - Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, RV 315, 'Summer' (L'estate)
33 2:51
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67, 'Fate'
34 7:35
Turandot
35 2:45
Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
36 2:35
Solomon
37 3:19
38 11:06 Amazon
Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary
39 1:36
40 7:06
The Messiah, HWV 56
41 3:32
Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld)
42 2:13
Suite from Sylvia
43 2:37
44 10:50
45 5:05 Amazon
Spartacus
46 9:31
47 6:51
La Traviata
48 3:10
49 17:57 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick