1. Beethoven – Symphony no. 9: It’s the consummate classical piece, full of catchy tunes and amazing vocals. Even people who don’t typically like classical music must find at least parts of it interesting.
2. Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition: I think this is the first piece of music I ever remember hearing, and it’s been part of my whole family’s personal repertoire for…ever as far as I know. It was the first classical concert I ever remember attending which first inspired me to take piano lessons, and part of why I took them as long as I did. While many of the included pieces are just a bit out of my range, I have learned about 6 or 7 of them, which is fun. The Emerson, Lake, and Palmer version is fun too, if you’re not too keen on the classics.
3. Rachmoninoff – Piano Concerto no. 2: It’s kind of amazing. And one of the rare compositions where the entire thing is equally listenable, not just the 1st or 3rd movements. It’s my ideal passionate Russian Romantic style piece, I only wish I could play the piano well enough for that. Pshhright.
4. Debussy- La fille aux cheveux de lin: Debussy probably has the most wonderful collection of music, the kind of solo piano I can’t ever get tired of. And the perfect complement to my favorite artist, Monet. It’s almost like Debussy wrote his music specifically to accompany Monet. Ahh, the French Impressionists. This particular one is my favorite….it’s my “deep thoughts” song.
5. Beethoven – Symphony no. 6: Unlike a lot of Beethoven’s other music, this piece is super light and happy, and also chalked full of catchy snippets. I first heard it almost daily when I was obsessed with Fantasia, and now I associate it with dancing pan flute players and centaurs. Superfly.
6. Ravel- Pavane for a Dead Princesses: As it sounds from the title, this is not a happy tune. Nonetheless, if I was a dead princess, it’s the kind of song I’d want written about me.
7. Smetana- Bartered Bride Overature: One of the pieces that sounds exactly like the name implies…it’s 6 ½ minutes of musical bickering and bargaining. And crazy violins…what more could you want?
8. Rachmoninoff- Prelude in G Minor: At one point I actually learned this whole thing. Probably the hardest piano challenge I’ve ever taken on. Because I got frustrated and lazy, I lost a lot of it. I think the cover even got torn off from me throwing the book across the room so many times. Nonetheless, great song if it’s played right.
9. Debussy- Danseuses de Delphes: Sounds so totally simple, but so gorgeous.10. Rachmoninoff- Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini: Very short, but quite powerful. Perfect for any Romeo & Juliet –esque moment.