TOP 100-PLUS CLASSICAL FAVORITES (Western Tradition)

by Eric Meece
(Dec.1996 edition)

This list includes known pieces from the Western classical tradition since the 17th Century in all categories (orchestral, vocal, instrumental) except solo organ works, for which I have created a separate list because of my special interest in that instrument (otherwise at least 25 of those works would also appear on this list). Baroque, Classical and Romantic works predominate. My classical list in general is probably far too historically "mainstream" (although whether ANY classical music should be considered "mainstream" today is questionable). As with my other lists, rankings should be considered somewhat flexible and subjective. Other works may be added soon, including some now listed as climbers. Years generally refer to the date when a work's composition was completed. For You Tube links, check the list at right for further parts of longer pieces.

Rank Composer Title Year or Century
1. Beethoven Symphony #9 "Choral"                More links:        Ode to Joy       Bernstein on Beethoven 1823
2. Beethoven Symphony #5                3rd Movement     Finale 1808
3. Borodin Prince Igor, Polovtsian Dances 19th
4. Bach Mass in b minor, S.232         Gloria     Gratius agimus tibi      Dona Nobis Pacem      Credo, Crucifixus    Sanctus 1733
5. Beethoven Symphony #7       Allegretto 1812
6. Mozart Symphony #41, "Jupiter" 1788
7. Smetana The Moldau 1874
8. Beethoven Symphony #6, "Pastorale" 1808
9. Wagner Die Meistersinger (Overture) 1867
10. Mozart Symphony #40 1788
11. Bach Violin Partita #2 (Chaconne) c.1720
12. Mozart Sinfonia Concertante K.364 1779
13. Prokofiev Symphony #1, "Classical" 1917
14. Bach Concerto for 2 Violins, S.1043       second movement c.1720
15. Pachelbel Canon in D      the version that made it popular c.1700
16. Schubert Symphony #8, "Unfinished" 1822
17. Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite 1892
18. Bizet Carmen 1875
19. Lizst Hungarian Rhapsody #2      piano version 19th
20. Brahms Symphony #4 1885
21. Handel Messiah      Hallelujah      For Unto Us a Child is Born 1742
22. Beethoven Symphony #8 1812
23. Rimsky-Korsakov Russian Easter Overture 1888
24. Brahms Academic Festival Overture 1880
25. Saint Saens Symphony #3, "Organ" 1886
26. Faure Pavane 1887
27. Beethoven Piano Concerto #5, "Emperor" 1809
28. Mussorgsky Night on Bald Mountain 1867
29. Tchaikovsky Symphony #5 1888
30. Bach Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (Cantata 147) 18th
31. Bach Violin Partita #3 (Prelude)/ Cantata 29 (Sinfonia) 18th
32. Borodin Symphony #2 c.1880
33. Beethoven Piano Sonata #8, "Pathetique" c.1795
34. Beethoven Symphony #2 1802
35. Bach Harpsichord Concerto in A, S.1055 c.1720
36. Beethoven Piano Concerto #4 1808
37. Beethoven Symphony #3, "Eroica" 1803
38. Rimsky-Korsakov Le Coq D'or Suite 1907
39. Haydn Trumpet Concerto 1796
40. Bizet Symphony in C 1855
41. Schumann Tramerai, Scenes from Childhood 19th
42. Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in e minor 1844
43. Brahms Tragic Overture 1880
44. Beethoven Piano Concerto #1 1798
45. Borodin In the Steppes of Central Asia 1880
46. Glazounov Suite From the Middle Ages (Troubadour's Serenade) 1902
47. Mozart Marriage of Figaro Overture 1786
48. Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espanol 1887
49. Stravinsky Petrouska 1911
50. Bach Suite for Orchestra #3 (Air on a G String) c.1720
51. Brahms Symphony #1 1876
52. Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 1878
53. Beethoven Leonore Overture #3 1805
54. Beethoven Egmont Overture 1810
55. Bach Well Tempered Clavier, Book I c.1717
56. Humperdinck Hansel and Gretel 19th
57. Berlioz Faust, Radetsky March 1846
58. Vivaldi Four Seasons 18th
59. Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2 1901
60. Dvorak Symphony #9, "New World" 1893
61. Rossini Barber of Seville Overture 1816
62. Bach Brandenburg Concerto #3 1721
63. Bach Brandenburg Concerto #4 1721
64. Richard Strauss Death and Transfiguration 1889
65. Brahms Symphony #3 1883
66. Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf 1936
67. Wagner Tristan & Isolde, Prelude and Liebestod 1859
68. Wagner Parsifal, Prelude and Good Friday Spell 1882
69. Beethoven Coriolan Overture 1806
70. Beethoven Missa Solemnis 1823
71. Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade 1888
72. Stravinsky Firebird 1910
73. Haydn Symphony #101 "The Clock" 1794
74. Ravel Bolero 1928
75. Ravel Introduction and Allegro c.1910
76. Mendelssohn Midsummer Nights Dream, Incidental Music 1843
77. Mendelssohn Symphony #4, "Italian" 1833
78. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1 1875
79. Grieg Piano Concerto in a minor 1868
80. Grieg Peer Gynt Suite 1876
81. Glinka Russlan and Ludmilla Overture 1842
82. Debussy Clair de Lune 1890
83. Beethoven String Quartet #14 1824
84. Beethoven Symphony #4 1806
85. Bach Brandenburg Concerto #5 1721
86. Barber Adagio for Strings 1936
87. Mahler Symphony #1 "The Titan" 1888
88. Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition 1874
89. Haydn The Creation 1798
90. Dukas The Sorcerer's Apprentice 1896
91. Puccini Madame Butterfly 1904
92. Beethoven Symphony #1 1800
93. Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn 1873
94. DeFalla Three Cornered Hat Suite 20th
95. attrib. Bach Anna Magdalena Suite       Minuet 1725
96. Wagner The Ride of the Valkyries 1876
97. Bizet L'Arlesienne Suite 1872
98. Ravel La Valse 1920
99. Saint Saens Danse Macabre 1874
100. Richard Rodgers Carousel Waltz 20th

Top runners up and climbers

101. Bach Suite for Orchestra #2 in b minor
102. Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue
103. Bach Cantata #80, Ein Feste Burg
104. Bach Sheep May Safely Graze
105. Bach Italian Concerto
106. Bach Fantasia, S.906
107. Bach Violin Concerto in E, S.1042
108. Bach Cantata #30 (especially the aria as "realized" by Kathy Geisler)
109. Bach Magnificat in D
110. Tchaikovsky Capriccio Italien
111. Vaughn Williams Symphony Antarctica
112. Mozart Piano Concerto #21
113. Corelli Christmas Concerto
114. Beethoven Sonata #23, "Appasionata"
115. Handel Ode for St. Cecilia's Day
116. Pachelbel Partia #6 in B Flat
117. Debussy Iberia
118. Samartini Concerto in F for Flute and Strings
119. Bach Cantata #78
120. Smetana The Bartered Bride, Overture and Dances (1866)

Other top runners up and climbers:

Bach Brandenburg Concerto #2
Bach Matthew Passion
Bach The Musical Offering
Bach Harpsichord Concerto in f minor, S.1056
Bach Concerto for Two Harpsichords (or Violin and Oboe), S.1060
Stolzel Trumpet Concerto
Vivaldi Concerto for Two Violins, Op.3 #8
Vivaldi Flute Concerto in a minor, P.77
Handel Water Music
Handel Music for the Royal Fireworks
Handel Judas Maccabaeus
Handel Samson
Mozart Prague Symphony #38
Mozart Symphony #39
Mozart Symphony #35, "Hafner"
Mozart Horn Concertos
Mozart Adagio and Fugue in c minor, K.546
Beethoven Sonata #14, "Moonlight"
Beethoven Quartet #13
Beethoven King Steven Overture
Schubert Symphony #6
Haydn Symphony #100, "Military"
Haydn Symphony #104, "London"
Haydn Symphony #94, "Surprise"
Chopin Fantasy Impromptu in c#
Pietro Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana esp. (Intermezzo)
Chabrier Espana
Rachmaninoff Symphony #2 (especially, Adagio)
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
Gliere Russian Sailor's Dance
Stravinsky The Rite of Spring
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Gershwin Porgy and Bess
Copland Fanfare for the Common Man
Orff Carmina Burana

Other worthy composers whose works may well reach the list in the future:

Torelli, Tartini, Corelli, Telemann, Gabrieli, Scarlatti, Sweelinck, Vierne, Verdi, Bartok, Ginastera, Villa Lobos, Cecille Chaminade, as well as other works by those composers already mentioned above, and others as yet unknown to me.....

Happy listening!
Eric

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