Pieces Everyone Knows And Recognizes: Stay-At-Home Musical Suggestions #28

From the Southwest Florida Symphony. Until circumstances allow us to meet again, please enjoy these wonderful links and sites full of amazing orchestral music and activities!

“The effects of good music are not just because it is new; on the contrary, music strikes us more the more familiar we are with it.”-Goethe

Pieces Everybody Knows and Loves! Click on the link to enjoy:

  • Rossini- William Tell Overture
    Rossini’s last opera, written in 1829 to glorify (Italy’s) Revolutionary War figure Guillaume Tell, is still one of our most-recognized classical music pieces today. Featuring a dawn, storm, and pastoral section, we are probably most familiar with the march section (at 9:05) which may make you want to grab a white horse and a mask of a different sort!
  • Wagner- Ride of the Valkyries
    The Valkyries is the second opera of four in Wagner’s Ring Cycle-epics based on Norse sagas and characters. The Valkyries are eight sisters (above) who collectively decide who lives and dies on the battlefield, and who then escort the chosen to the afterlife in Valhalla, but not in a helicopter as the 1979 movie, Apocalypse Now, might suggest!
  • Mendelssohn- Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    Written in 1842 as incidental music for Shakespeare’s play as the intermezzo between Acts IV and V. Along with Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, this piece is practically inseparable from wedding ceremonies today. Princess Victoria (Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter) selected it for her wedding, and we’ve listened happily ever after ever since.
  • Ravel- Boléro
    This highly- recognized, sultry, slow-tempo, Spanish dance was commissioned in 1928 by a famous Russian dancer. The scene from the premiere program reads, “Inside a tavern in Spain, people dance beneath the brass lamp hung from the ceiling. [In response] to the cheers to join in, the female dancer has leapt onto the long table and her steps become more and more animated.” You can just see it! Wonder if she is wearing braids?
  • Offenbach- Galop Infernalfrom Orpheus in the Underworld
    Written in 1858, this comic operetta is a lampoon of the ancient myth ofOrpheus and Eurydice, and probably Napoleon III’s politics. In the 1890’s, Paris cabarets used the music to accompany their scandalous Cancan dancers, and it has been impossible to resist clapping along with it ever since!
  • R. Strauss- Also sprach Zarathustra
    A tone poem written in 1896 after Nietzsche’s philosophical novel which chronicles the fictitious travels and speeches of Zarathustra. More recently, we know its glorious opening as the theme to the 1968 film, 2001:A Space Odyssey.
  • Chopin-Marche Funébre
    The Piano Sonata No. 2 was written in 1839, but its forboding third movement was composed a full two years earlier, and was even used at Chopin’s own funeral. Set the mood with this eerie film noir orchestral version at this year’s Halloween party.
  • Rossini- Overture The Barber of Seville
    Rossini wrote his opera buffa (comic opera) in 1816 based on French comic plays of the same name, which featured the clever and enterprising Figaro who also appeared 30 years earlier in Mozart’s opera. Now, many of us recognize these energetic melodies as a clever and enterprising bunny’s call to hair care!
  • Walter Murphy- A Fifth of Beethoven
    If you were groovy enough to be around in 1975 to enjoy this disco version of Beethoven’s immortal and best-known 5th Symphony, you will turn this up and smile in recognition, wondering how many years its been since you heard this on your car radio or home turntable. If not, here ya go, and you’re welcome! Now, dance it out.

Take the time to enjoy these great reminders of all we love and miss hearing, until we can meet again safely at Southwest Florida Symphony live concerts.


P.S. I had to laugh when I arrived home last night after writing this, and heard the ice cream truck in my neighborhood playing Beethoven’s “Für Elise!” Point made- we happily hear pieces like these all the time!

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