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My favorite Western Classical numbers

This post was long overdue – but I had to write something about my 10 best songs in every genre, and a short description of each; well – basically my way of paying tribute to some really amazing composers, singers and musicians...

The “trout” quintet, Franz Schubert: This piece will forever haunt me for two reasons, the passion of Vikram Seth’s novel – “The equal music” which talks about this piece; and the absolutely raw beauty of the song. Admittedly, it takes some time for the appeal of this musical piece to actually sink in, but once it does; it never ceases to enthrall…

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C# minor, Franz Liszt: I first heard this absolutely wonderful piece when I was in college, and I failed to realize why it sounded so familiar. Then, one day as I was going through my Tom and Jerry collection, I came upon this cartoon, in which Tom tries to play this rather tough and intricate composition to a packed and rapt audience, as Jerry wreaks havoc all around, including the piano on which he was playing. Incidentally, this cartoon was an Oscar-winner for best Cartoon film in the year that it was released. How simple those times were…

Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin: One of the best combinations of classical music and light jazz by another really under-rated yet frequently listened to composer. One of the most recognizable pieces from the classical-jazz era. Interesting tidbit: When Gershwin was commissioned to write the piece, he was so pressed for time that he did not have a chance to compose the piano piece. At the first performance, he actually played it impromptu. Later, based on memory and commentary, the piece was finally composed.

Piano Sonata No. 8 (Pathetique), Ludwig Van Beethoven: One of the best sonatas for piano written by this genius, it has got all of it. Daring modulations, amazing melody, and extremely subtle textures. The start of this sonata gives me the goose bumps whenever I listen to it. Absolutely stunning…

Symphony No. 5, Ludwig Van Beethoven: This symphony has managed to survive all levels of over-popularity. It’s definitely known more than any other work he has written, and on top of that, it’s been murdered by several rather psuedo-scholarly metal guitarists… The best part is that most people recognize the first movement, and leave it at that, never realizing that the second and probably the fourth movements are the crowning points of this work…

Fantasie Impromptu, Chopin: Another overwhelming piece, the second lilting movement sometimes overshadowing the rather arousing first movement. This was one of the first songs I heard on the piano, and I have been hooked to it ever since. For me, it has and will remain one of Chopin’s best compositions.

The Goldberg Variations, Johann Sebastian Bach: I still find it hard to believe that this work was actually commissioned as music for a lullaby. The only way it can put you to sleep is if you are dense enough not to recognize a marvelous exciting work of a true genius.

Clair De Lune, Claude Debussy: I found it hard to choose between Arabesque and this song, but I put it on top because it’s probably emotionally more satisfying. One of the best short works of the impressionistic era; it has got the maximum number of versions with rather varying tempos in different classical music sites.

Variation 18, from Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini: This piece, another short one is one of the most beautiful melodies I have encountered in Western Classical music. A masterpiece, no less…

Italian Concerto, Bach: One of his most brilliant compositions, it superbly exemplifies the musical concept called counterpoint. Counterpoint basically implies two or more strains of melody running parallely and complimenting and sometimes supplementing each other. An absolutely amazing piece.

I am done with my top 10 classical music pieces... I will attempt to move into other less explored genres soon... Sometimes, I feel scared of being rather open with my feelings regarding other genres, but I guess this is my blog; and I should do that... Expect a sequel to this soon...

Love to all!!!

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