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50 + 1 classical music songs to listen to at least once in a lifetime
The most representative classical music pieces ever. This list was born instinctively, but also in an attempt to propose songs that may well represent the history of music from 1600 to the present day.

50 +1

The list that we propose in this article does not refer to the 50 great classics of all time even if each song is undoubtedly great.

The songs that we suggest you listen to at least once in your life could be useful from a cultural point of view or simply as a lover of good music, just like there are books that must be read once in a lifetime or films that we cannot miss. seen. So there are some pieces of music that surely make us feel better after listening to them.

This list was born instinctively, but also in an attempt to propose pieces that can well represent the history of music from 1600 to the present day and understand its evolution. They are songs that are easy to find online, on channels like YouTube or by downloading them from specialized download sites.


Claudio Monteverdi 'Vespers 1610'

Four centuries ago, in Venice, Monteverdi published one of his liturgical works with the publisher Ricciardo Amadino - Vespro (1610)
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Henry Purcell 'Dido and Æneas'

A three-act opera by Henry Purcell, to a libretto by Nahum Tate. Performed for the first time in Chelsea (London) probably on 11 April 1689 in a boarding school for young ladies.
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'The four seasons' by Antonio Vivaldi

It is one of the very first examples of program music, that is, of purely descriptive compositions.
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Bach 'Brandenburg' Concerto No. 3

The so-called Brandenburg Concerts are six concerts composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in the period he spent in Köthen, Duchy of Saxony, from 1717 to 1723.
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Bach 'The Mass' in B minor

This is the musical transposition of the Mass into the usual Latin language of the Catholic rite, what is called sung Mass.
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Bach 'The Goldberg Variations'

They are a work for harpsichord consisting of an aria with thirty variations, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach between 1741 and 1745.
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Handel 'Messiah'

In 1741, at the age of fifty-six, after an extraordinary opera career, Handel began a new phase. The Messiah was born over a summer in Dublin, where the composer had accepted the invitation to participate in a concert season.
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Haydn Symphony No. 94 'The Surprise' (The surprise or With the eardrum)

Symphony n.94 is one of the "Londoners", the twelve symphonies that Franz Joseph Haydn composed between '91 and '95 on the occasion of the two tournees he performed in England. Suddenly free from any connection with the court where he lived and worked for about thirty years, in 1790, in fact, the sixty year old musician entered the world of freelance and accepted the invitation to go to London for a series of concerts.
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Haydn String Quartet No. 76

The Austrian master arrived at the quartet, as it was later conceived and developed by Mozart and Beethoven, after he had written thirty-two of them before 1771 (he composed 83 in all).
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Mozart 'The Marriage of Figaro'

It is the first of three Italian operas written by the composer from Salzburg on a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Mused by Mozart at the age of twenty-nine.
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Mozart "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"

The serenade in G major K 525, universally known as Eine kleine Nachtmusik ("Little nocturnal serenade"), is a nocturne for strings.
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Mozart Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter"

The Symphony No. 41 in C major K 551, also known as Jupiter, is the last symphony of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was completed in Vienna on 10 August 1788 Discover ...

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20

The Concerto for piano and orchestra n. 20, KV 466 is one of the best known solo concertos by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
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Beethoven Symphony No. 3, "Eroica"

The Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op. 55, called Eroica, was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1802 and 1804.
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Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 14 "In the Moonlight"

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor "Almost a fantasy", more commonly known under the name of Sonata in the moonlight
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Beethoven String Quartet No. 14, op. 131

The work number was assigned according to the order of publication even if in reality it appears to be the fifteenth quartet, completed in 1826.
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Beethoven Symphony No. 9

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor for chorus and orchestra only Op. 125, universally known as the Ninth Symphony or Choral Symphony, is the last symphony performed by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed for the first time on Friday 7 May 1824 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna.
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Schubert "Der Erlkönig"

The King of the Elves (original German title Erlkönig) is a Lied by Franz Schubert (D 328) on the lines of the ballad of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, set to music in 1815. It was performed for the first time in public by Johann Michael Vogl on 7 March 1821 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna.
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Schubert Symphony No. 8, "Unfinished"

When Schubert died in 1828, only the first two movements, Allegro moderato and Andante con moto, were completed, while the almost complete piano score remains of a third movement (Scherzo), but with only two pages already orchestrated.
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Berlioz "Fantastic Symphony"

The Fantastic Symphony Episode from the life of an artist in five parts, op. 14 (Symphonie fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un artiste, en cinq parties) is a program symphony for orchestra composed by Hector Berlioz and performed for the first time on December 5, 1830.
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Schumann "Carnaval"

Schumann dedicated the work to the violinist Karol Lipiński. The work is subtitled Scènes mignonnes sur quatre notes (Small scenes on four notes), as it consists of 22 pieces per piano joined by a recurring motif.
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Chopin Etudes, Op. 10 and 25

The Études or studies of Frédéric Chopin are three series of studies for solo piano published in 1830. They are twenty-seven overall compositions, including two separate collections of twelve, numbered Op. 10 and op. 25 and a set of three without the opus number.
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Mendelssohn 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Ein Sommernachtstraum in German) is a composition by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy; are the incidental music for the Shakespearean comedy of the same name. Composed in 1843 on commission of the King of Prussia Frederick William IV and cataloged as op. 61 by the composer, also incorporate a composition from 1826, when Mendelssohn was only seventeen: the concert overture op. 21, always inspired by the Shakespearean comedy.
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Rossini "The Barber of Seville"

Il barbiere di Siviglia is a comic opera by Gioachino Rossini, in two acts, with a libretto by Cesare Sterbini, based on the French comedy of the same name by Pierre Beaumarchais of 1775. The premiere of Rossini's opera was staged on February 20, 1816 with the title Almaviva, or both useless precaution (in deference to Giovanni Paisiello's Barber of Seville [1] of 1782) but was suffocated by a storm of protests. In fact, in the audience there were many supporters of the 'old' master Paisiello who wanted to make the work fail. However, the following day, at the second performance, the evening turned into an equally sensational triumph.
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Wagner "The Nibelungen Ring"

L'anello dei Nibelunghi (in German Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle of four musical dramas by Richard Wagner, which constitute a narrative continuum that takes place over a prologue and three "days": L'oro del Reno (prologue ); The Valkyrie (first day); Siegfried (second day); The twilight of the gods (third day).
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Liszt Piano Sonata in B minor

The Sonata in B minor (S.178) is a piano work by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. It was written in Weimar between 1852 and 1853, published in 1854 by Breitkopf & Hartel in Leipzig, with a dedication to Schumann (who had in turn dedicated the Fantasia op. 17 to Liszt) and performed for the first time in Berlin in January 1857 by Hans von Bülow.
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Brahms Symphony No. 4

The Symphony No. 4 in E minor Op. 98 is the last of Johannes Brahms' four symphonies. It is considered by many to be one of Brahms' greatest masterpieces. Its composition was not particularly long and lasted about a year, from 1884 (completion date of the previous symphony) to 1885.
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Verdi "Rigoletto"

Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play by Victor Hugo Le Roi s'amuse ("The king has fun"). With Il Trovatore (1853) and La traviata (1853) he forms Verdi's so-called "popular trilogy".
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Bruckner Symphony No. 4

The Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, also known as Romantica, is a composition by Anton Bruckner. It is one of the most famous works of the composer together with the 7th and 8th symphony. It was written in 1874 and revised several times until 1888. He dedicated it to Prince Constantine of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst. He had his first with great success in Vienna in 1881 with Hans Richter.
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Dvorák Symphony No. 9

The Symphony No. 9 in E minor by Antonín Dvořák (op. 95), also known as the Symphony "From the New World", was published as Symphony No. 5, but it is actually the ninth and last of Dvořák's symphonies. The title evidently refers to the New World, that is the American continent, since the symphony was composed when the Czech composer was director of the New York National Conservatory of Music. American culture stimulated and enriched Dvořák, who proposed a symphony of classical European origin, but contaminated by native music, such as spirituals.
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Mahler Symphony No. 9

The Symphony No. 9 in D major by Gustav Mahler, composed between 1909 and 1910, is divided into the traditional four movements and is the last symphony Mahler was able to finish, as work on the subsequent tenth symphony was interrupted by the death of the Bohemian composer.
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Rimsky-Korsakov "Scheherazade"

A symphonic suite composed by Nikolaj Andreevič Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888. Inspired by the 'Thousand and One Nights', sometimes known as 'The Arabian Nights', this orchestral work combines two peculiar characteristics of Rimsky Korsakov's music: it combines a flamboyant orchestration to a particular interest in the East and the exotic. It is considered one of the composer's most popular works.
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Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, "Pathetique"

The Symphony No. 6 in B minor Pathetic (Патетическая), op. 74, is the last symphony of Pëtr Il'ič Čajkovskij. It was performed for the first time, nine days before his death, on October 16, 1893 in St. Petersburg. Due to the themes present within it, the beauty of the themes, the compositional maturity and the pathos that dominates the whole symphony, can be considered one of the most significant compositions of the Russian musician.
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Tchaikovsky “The Nutcracker” Suite

The Nutcracker (Щелкунчик, Ščelkunčik in Russian) is a ballet with music by Pëtr Il'ič Tchaikovsky (op. 71), who meticulously followed the instructions of the choreographer Marius Petipa and, later, those of his successor Lev Ivanov. The ballet was commissioned by the director of the Russian Imperial Theaters, Ivan Aleksandrovič Vsevoložskij, and the story derives from the tale Nutcracker and the Rat King by ETA Hoffmann (1816) in the sweetened version by Alexandre Dumas father, The Story of a Nutcracker (1845).
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Puccini "La Boheme"

"The older I get, the more I am convinced that La bohème is a masterpiece and that I adore Puccini, who seems more and more beautiful to me." (Igor 'Fëdorovič Stravinskij, Venice 1956)
La bohème is a work in four paintings by Giacomo Puccini, with a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica, inspired by the novel by Henri Murger Scenes from the life of Bohème.
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Schönberg "Verklärte Nacht" A transfigured night

Verklärte Nacht, in Italian Transfigured Night, is considered the first major work of Arnold Schönberg. It was written in 1899 when the author was 25 years old. He took up the poem of the same name by Richard Dehmel taken from the collection Weib und Welt of 1896. The text tells the story, which took place on a moonlit night, of a woman who confesses to her man that she is carrying a child who is not hers. and receives comfort from it. This text, however, was not entrusted to singing, but rendered in the form of a symphonic poem. Schönberg proposed "Verklärte Nacht" for the performance at the Tonkunstlerverein, the most important Viennese chamber concert company: the score was rejected, however, among other reasons because it contained a ninth chord to the fourth inversion not foreseen by the harmony treaties.
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Debussy "La Mer"

Begun in 1903 in France, the composition of La Mer was finished in 1905 during Debussy's stay on the English Channel coast at Eastbourne. The premiere was performed in Paris on October 15, 1905 by the Lamoureux Orchestra under the direction of Camille Chevillard. The work was not well received, mainly due to poor performance, but in a short time it became one of Debussy's most admired and performed orchestral works.
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Stravinsky "The Rite of Spring"

The spring festival (original French title Le Sacre du printemps, in Russian Весна священная) is a ballet with music. The opera was written between 1911 and 1913 for Sergej Djagilev's company of Russian Ballets. The first performance, which took place in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on May 29, 1913, marked a fundamental moment not only in the career of its author, but also for the history of musical theater. The extraordinary innovation of the music, the choreography and the subject itself created a huge scandal and, despite subsequent skirmishes between enthusiastic admirers and bitter detractors, the work was destined to remain a milestone in 20th-century musical literature.
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Ravel "Bolero"

The composition was commissioned by Ida Rubinštejn, a Russian dancer. Ravel no longer wanted to know about ballets after he had broken with the sacred monster of the time in terms of ballet, that Sergej Pavlovič Djagilev who reigned in Paris in those years as artistic director and founder of the famous Russian Ballets. But he yielded to Rubinstein's insistence. The first concert performance of the Boléro was on 11 January 1930 by the Orchester Lamoureux conducted by Ravel himself.
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Bartok Quartet for strings n. 4

The String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Sz. 91, BB 95 is a composition by Béla Bartók written in 1928.
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Gershwin "Rhapsody in Blue"

The piece was initially conceived by the author for two pianos. The meeting with Paul Whiteman, conductor of the homonymous New York jazz orchestra, led Gershwin to propose rhapsody as a piece for piano and big band. The orchestration was entrusted to Whiteman's arranger, Ferde Grofé. The rhapsody was written by Gershwin in the time of a few days for the upcoming public performance. The piece was presented on February 12, 1924 at the Aeolian Hall in New York. The performance, at the piano by Gershwin, who had not even had time to write the part, was a resounding success: some great musicians of the time were present, including Fritz Kreisler, Igor Stravinsky, Sergej Rachmaninov and Leopold Stokowski.
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Berg "Wozzeck"

Wozzeck is an opera in three acts by Alban Berg with its own libretto, based on the theatrical drama Woyzeck by Georg Büchner. The composition was completed in 1922 and the score is dedicated to Alma Mahler. Each act is made up of five scenes which correspond to as many Baroque or classical musical forms, 16 in all. The world premiere was on 14 December 1925 at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, conducted by Erich Kleiber.
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Šostakovič Symphony No. 5

In 1936 the performance of the opera "Lady Macbeth of the Mcensk District" took place. A month later, Pravda crushed Shostakovich's work by defining it, in an anonymous article (sometimes attributed to Stalin himself, present at the performance), "Chaos rather than music". It was clear that Shostakovich's compositions were not well regarded by the regime.
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Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3

The first concert of Prokofiev's maturity (the previous two were written in the composer's youth), is perhaps the most appreciated both from a sound and qualitative point of view. The concert was composed very slowly, (1917 - 1921) also due to the various wanderings that Prokofiev made in Europe to look for a permanent residence.
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Britten "Peter Grimes"

Peter Grimes is a three-act opera by Benjamin Britten, inspired by George Crabbe's poem The Borough, with libretto by Montagu Slater. The first performance took place, with success, at the Sadler's Wells Theater in London on 7 June 1945 with Peter Pears and directed by Reginald Goodall, achieving critical and public acclaim.
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Lutoslawski Symphony No. 3

Witold Lutosławski (Warsaw, 1913 - Warsaw, 1994) was a Polish composer and conductor, one of the greatest European composers of the 20th century.
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Ligeti "Atmospheres"

Atmosphères is a piece for orchestra, composed by György Ligeti in 1961. It gained a lot of exposure after being used in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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Philip Glass "Koyaanisqatsi"

Koyaanisqatsi is a 1982 experimental film directed by Godfrey Reggio. It is the first film in the qatsi trilogy, which also includes Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). The soundtrack of the film was composed by Philipp Glass.
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John Adams "Nixon in China"

Nixon in China is an opera by John Adams to a libretto by Alice Goodman, and is the first he composed. The work is inspired by the trip that US President Richard Nixon made to China in 1972 and the meeting he had with Mao Tse-tung there. The opera had its world premiere on October 22, 1987 conducted by Edo de Waart at the Houston Grand Opera. In Italy it was performed for the first time on 25 January 2008 at the Teatro Filarmonico (Verona).
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50 + 1 - Beethoven Symphony n. 9

Symphony No. 9, universally known as the Ninth Symphony or Choral Symphony, is the last symphony performed by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed for the first time on Friday 7 May 1824 at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna.
(The fourth movement contains a music version of Friedrich Schiller's ode Alla gioia (An die Freude), while the first three movements are exclusively symphonic)
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