It’s a new year, and a time for new beginnings. For some people, that might mean taking their first step into classical music.
If you never heard it before, classical music might seem confusing (especially if it involves singing in a language you don’t know). Or long–which could be an obstacle for those born in the age of the three-minute song and the 140-character message (so, anyone born after about 1955, maybe even before that).
And let’s face it, like it or not, first impressions count. That’s why it’s so important to make the first classical music that you hear enjoyable, even fun, whether you’re 5 or 65.
Britain gets it.
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) has developed a program called Classical 100. It’s 100 pieces of music selected to introduce elementary school children to classical music. There’s also material to help discuss the composer, the stories behind the music, recordings, and more.
The bad news is the materials are only available to teachers in Great Britain.
The good news is they’ve published the list of 100 pieces. And it’s not just for kids.
You can see the ABRSM list below. If I can find YouTube videos or freely available recordings, I’d like to make a separate page containing the list or something like it with links so you can listen. I’ll let you know.
In addition, I can’t resist including a link to this article: “Here are 7 pieces we demand you listen to at ear-exploding volume.” That’s really the title.
Warning: Please don’t explode your ears. Do not listen at high volume using earphones/earbuds. Don’t blow out your speakers. Notice I said nothing to dissuade you from “enlightening” your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or parents.
And, kids, when your mother tells you to turn it down, say
“But Mommm, I’m listening to classical music!”
Here’s the list (which I found here). If you can think of something good to add, let me know.
Bach, JS: Brandenburg Concerto No.5, 1st Movement; Air on a G String; ‘Badinerie’ from Orchestral Suite No.2; Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Bartók: ‘Joc cu bâta’ from Romanian Folk Dances
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement; Symphony No.5, 1st Movement; Für Elise; ‘Ode to Joy’ from Symphony No. 9
Bernstein: ‘Mambo’ from West Side Story Symphonic Dances
Bizet: ‘Farandole’ from L’Arlésienne Suite No.2; ‘March of the Toreadors’ from Carmen Suite No.1
Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5
Britten: ‘Fugue’ from Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Chopin: Raindrop Prelude
Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man; ‘Hoe Down’ from Rodeo
Debussy: Prélude à l’apres midi d’un faune
Delibes: ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakmé
Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Dvořák: ‘Largo’ from Symphony No.9 ‘New World’; Slavonic Dance No.8
Elgar: Cello Concerto, 1st movement; ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations; Pomp and Circumstance March No.1
Falla: ‘Ritual Fire Dance’ from The Bewitched Love
Fauré: ‘Berceuse’ from Dolly Suite; Pavane
Fitkin, Graham: Hook
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Grainger: Londonderry Air
Grieg: ‘Gavotte’ from Holberg Suite; Piano Concerto, 1st Movement; ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt Suite
Handel: ‘Hallelujah’ from The Messiah; ‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music Suite No.1
Haydn: Symphony No.94 ‘Surprise’, 2nd Movement; Trumpet Concerto, 3rd movement
Hérold: ‘Clog Dance’ from La Fille Mal Gardée
Hildegard of Bingen: ‘O Euchari’ from Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum
Holst: ‘Jupiter’ from The Planets
Humperdinck: ‘Evening Prayer’ from Hansel and Gretel
John Adams: ‘The Chairman Dances’ from Nixon in China
Kats-Chemin, Elena: ‘Eliza Aria’ from Wild Swans
Khachaturian: ‘The Sabre Dance’ from Gayane Suite No.3
Kodály: ‘Viennese Musical Clock’ from Háry János Suite
Mendelssohn: ‘Scherzo’ from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Hebrides Overture
Monteverdi: ‘Ave Maris Stella’ from Vespers
Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st Movement; Symphony No.40, 1st Movement; Clarinet Concerto, 2nd Movement; Horn Concerto No.4, 3rd Movement; ‘Papageno’s Song’ from The Magic Flute
Mussorgsky: ‘Baba Yaga’ from Pictures at an Exhibition; Night on a Bare Mountain
Orff: ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana
Prokofiev: ‘Peter’s Theme’ from Peter and the Wolf; ‘Troika’ from Lieutenant Kijé Suite; ‘Dance of the Knights’ from Romeo and Juliet
Puccini: ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Turandot
Purcell: ‘Dido’s Lament’ from Dido and Aeneas
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2, 1st Movement
Reich, Steve: Six Pianos
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade, 2nd Movement; ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ from The Tale of Tsar Saltan
Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez, 2nd movement
Rossini: William Tell Overture
Rutter, John: Shepherd’s Pipe Carol
Saint-Saëns: ‘Aquarium’ from Carnival of the Animals; Danse Macabre
Schubert: Marche Militaire; Trout Quintet, 4th Movement
Schumann, C: Romances for Violin and Piano, 1st Movement
Schumann, R: ‘About Foreign Lands’ from Kinderszenen
Shostakovich: Symphony No.5, 4th Movement; ‘Waltz’ from Jazz Suite No.2
Sibelius: ‘Intermezzo’ from Karelia Suite
Sousa: Liberty Bell
Strauss, J: The Blue Danube
Strauss, R: Also sprach Zarathustra
Stravinsky: ‘Russian Dance’ from Petrushka
Tallis: If Ye Love Me
Tavener: The Lamb
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves; The Lark Ascending; The Wasps overture
Verdi: ‘Grand March’ from Aida; ‘La Donna è Moblie’ from Rigoletto
Wagner: ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre
Warlock: ‘Mattachins’ from Capriol Suite
Widor: ‘Toccata’ from Organ Symphony No.5
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, ‘Winter’, 2nd movement; ‘In Excelsis Deo’ from Gloria