Ludwig van Beethoven
La Mer/Afternoon of a Faun/Jeux/Two Nocturnes


Classical music is hard to define in specific terms, but it is generally understood to be music rooted in Western European traditions performed by trained musicians in formal settings like concert halls, opera houses, and churches. Its key emphasis is the faithful interpretation of composers' written scores. Classical music's roots lie in the chant melodies of Medieval religious rites. Its contemporary incarnation encompasses everything from opera and the symphony orchestra to chamber ensembles, solo works, choral music, songs, film music, and the avant-garde. Works from the intervening centuries make up the bulk of the recorded repertory, and they mirror the artistic and architectural trends of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras in their sound worlds and conception. The dichotomy between classical and popular music is a fairly recent cultural development. In fact, much of what is considered classical music today grew out of, was influenced by, or was popular music of its time.

Classical Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046 English Chamber Orchestra / Benjamin Britten / Carmel Kaine / Emanuel Hurwitz / Sir Philip Ledger / Sir Neville Marriner / Tess Miller / William Bennett
La Mer, symphonic sketches (3) for orchestra, L. 111 (109) Leonard Bernstein
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 Carlos Kleiber
Suite for solo cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 Mstislav Rostropovich
Music in Twelve Parts, for chamber ensemble Philip Glass
Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56 Leonard Bernstein
Piano Concerto in G major, M. 83 Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli / Ettore Gracis
Rhapsodies (2) for piano, Op. 79 Martha Argerich
Glassworks, pieces (6) for chamber ensemble or piano Philip Glass
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, CT. 202 Daniel Barenboim
4'33", for any ensemble or number of players Amadinda Percussion Group
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), opera, WWV 86b Georg Solti
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 Janet Baker / Jacqueline du Pré / John Barbirolli / London Symphony Orchestra
Ave generosa, hymn Gothic Voices / Emma Kirkby / Christopher Page
Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor ("Pathétique"), Op. 13 Artur Schnabel
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 Martha Argerich / Gidon Kremer
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 Various Artists
Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 (TrV 117) Various
Sonata for violin & piano in A major, FWV 8 Vladimir Ashkenazy / Itzhak Perlman / Barry Tuckwell
Symphony No. 8 in C minor ("Stalingrad"), Op. 65 Yevgeny Mravinsky / Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Appalachian Spring, concert suite for full orchestra Leonard Bernstein
The Veil of the Temple (All Night Vigil), for soprano, chorus, boys' chorus, brass, temple bowls, tamtam, temple bells, organ & Indian harmonium Stephen Layton / Patricia Rozario / John Tavener
Cello Concerto in B minor, B. 191 (Op. 104) Pablo Casals
Pagliacci, opera Enrico Caruso
Preludes (10) for piano, Op. 23 Vladimir Ashkenazy
Violin Concerto, Op. 14 Gil Shaham / André Previn
Das Rheingold (The Rhine Gold), opera, WWV 86a Georg Solti
Hard Times Come Again No More for voice & piano Yo-Yo Ma / Edgar Meyer / Mark O'Connor
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E major ("La Primavera"), RV 269, Op. 8/1 (The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 1) Neville Marriner / Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Symphony No. 1 in D major ("Titan") Carlo Maria Giulini / Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, CT. 47 Artur Rubinstein
Four Organs, for 4 electric organs & maracas Philip Glass / Steve Reich
Veni creator, for chorus & organ Paul Hillier / Ars Nova Copenhagen / Theatre of Voices
Così fan tutte, opera, K. 588 Luciano Pavarotti
Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F major, BWV 1046 Neville Marriner
Music in Similar Motion, for mixed ensemble (or orchestra) Philip Glass
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 Martha Argerich / Gidon Kremer
Fanfare for the Common Man, for brass & percussion (from Symphony No. 3) Zubin Mehta / Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Il Trovatore, opera Enrico Caruso
Turandot, opera Kiri Te Kanawa
Sonatas (6) for violin solo, Op. 27 Leila Josefowicz

Classical subgenres and styles