Category Archives: music

S. Barber – Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 (1936)

Adagio for Strings, arranged for the second movement of String Quartet, Op. 11.
Samuel Barber (United States), 1910-1981.

Featured in films, adapted in other musical styles, it is known as “the saddest classical composition”, and it is often played in funerals given its slow and sad movement.

C. Debussy – Suite Bergamasque (1905)

Suite bergamasque
Achille-Claude Debussy (France), 1862-1918.

It is perhaps my favourite classical piece, specially the Clair de lune movement. Debussy started composing it in 1890 and finished it 1905. It consists of four movements: Prélude, Menuet, Clair de lune and Passepied.

Full Suite Bergamasque

Clair de Lune

L. van Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata (1801)

Sonata in C sharp minor, op. 27, nr. 2 “The Moonlight Sonata”.
Ludwig van Beethoven (Germany), 1770-1827.

Beethoven is one of the most names of classical music in popular culture, together with Mozart and Bach. Perhaps one of the most well known characteristics of Beethoven was his deafness, which appeared in the final stage of his life.

Sonata No.14 is one of the most popular piano works by Beethoven. The name “Moonlight Sonata” was put after Beethoven’s death by a German music critic.

W.A. Mozart – Requiem (Sequentia) (1791)

Requiem Mass in D Minor K. 626 (Sequentia)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Holy Roman Empire, now Austria), 1756-1791.

The Requiem is a mass composed by Mozart. Given that he died before completing the piece, the missing parts were finished by Süssmayr, following Mozart indications where available. While it is known that Sanctus and Agnus Dei were fully written by Süssmayr, for the rest of the parts Mozart either finished them (e.g., Introitus) or left drafts (Kyrie or Dies Irae and Lacrymosa).

It consists of 7 parts, each of them divided into its own movements. Next I detail Sequentia movements only:

  • Introitus
  • Kyrie eleison
  • Sequentia
    • Dies irae
    • Tuba mirum
    • Rex tremendae
    • Recordare
    • Confutatis
    • Lacrymosa
  • Offertorium
  • Sanctus
  • Agnus Dei
  • Communio

G.F. Händel – The Messiah (1741)

The Messiah HWV 56
Georg Friedrich Händel (Duchy of Magdeburg, now Germany), 1685-1759.

Today I visit another Baroque composer, this time with a very long piece (more than 2h) with a chorus. It features a very well popular chorus, “Hallelujah”, which in fact only corresponds to a small scene of one of the three parts of the piece. It mainly contains arias, extracting the texts from the Bible.

It is divided into three parts, each one relating a part in the life of Jesus: Birth, Passion and Resurrection. Each part contains several scenes, as in any oratorio.

J.S. Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis 565
Johann Sebastian Bach (Saxe-Eisenach, now Germany), 1685-1750.

One of the popular compositions out there, by perhaps the best of all classical composers. I am not not specially fan of this composition, but it is a must. It is an organ composition that is usually linked to horror movies, specially since the film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.

A. Vivaldi – Summer (1725)

Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “L’estate”.
Antonio Vivaldi (Rep. of Venice, now Italy), 1678-1741.

This is one of my all time favourites. Even though “The Four Seasons” is perhaps one of the best classical songs, among those that everyone would recognize together with Beethoven or Bach, “Summer” has something special.