Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is All About Audio. I don’t listen to audio books at all. Whenever I’ve tried, I just get distracted by other things, or end up falling asleep and missing several chapters. Instead I’ve decided to do a list of my Top Ten Pieces of Classical Music in honour of my Masters in Musicology that I started yesterday. I’ve spent the last year just listening to popular music, and I now really need to focus back on classical, so hopefully this will inspire me, and give you all some lovely music to listen to.
Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No.2 in F major
Anyone who know me, knows that Shostakovich is the absolute love of my life, so here he is at the top of the list. This whole piano concerto is great, but if you don’t have much time, I’d recommend just listening to the second movement (at 6:30 in the recording below). You will never have heard anything as beautiful, I promise.
Vaughan Williams – Symphony No.5 in D major
There’s nothing so quintessentially English as Vaughan Williams (ok, maybe Elgar!), and this, in my opinion, is one of his finest. I’ll probably include a few more of his works in this list because his music is just so stunning.
Butterworth – The Banks of Green Willow
Another wonderful English piece. This was included in this year’s Last Night of the Proms and I adore it. Butterworth was killed in the Somme before he had the chance to write more stunning pieces like this one. I originally discovered this when I played a flute choir arrangement at university. (Please ignore the cheesy video!)
Head – Sweet Chance, that Lead my Steps Abroad
I spent a lot of my university life singing Michael Head. My favourite is his Elizabeth’s Song, but it’s a bit obscure and I can’t find recording, so have this instead.
Vaughan Williams – Silent Noon
While we’re on the subject of English Song, Vaughan Williams’ Silent Noon is possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of singing. Of course, I sang it in a higher key than this recording, as I’m not a man!
Tippett – A Child of Our Time
Inspired by the treatment of Jews by the Nazis in the late 1930s, this oratorio is truly haunting, thought-provoking and really rather unique.
Shostakovich – Symphony No.10 in E minor
This is my favourite of Shostakovich’s 15 symphonies, as I imagine it is for most people. Again, if you’ve only got time to listen to a bit of it, I’d recommend the really powerful second movement (23:25 in this recording).
Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on the Theme by Thomas Tallis
I think a lot of people would say The Lark Ascending was their favourite Vaughan Williams, but I think this is better. Please take 20 minutes out of your day to turn the volume right up and enjoy this absolutely incredible recording by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Gloucester Cathedral.
Beethoven – Symphony No.7 in A major
Judging from this list, you’d think I only listen to 20th Century British composers and Shostakovich…and you’d be right. So to add a bit of variety, I’ll include my favourite Beethoven symphony.
Faure – Requiem
Although 20th Century, Faure is French so still some slight variety here! The whole requiem is beautiful, but I particularly love the In Paradisium (32:16).
So there’s ten. I hope you all enjoy this list as much as I do. I’m now blasting the Tallis Fantasia and trying not to cry happy tears. I’ll be back to books next week!