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The most used (and abused) classic songs in movies
L’impronta indelebile della musica classica nel cinema: simboli iconici e connessioni emotive.
Movies like "The fleeting moment”, “Crystal trap" And "Sister Act 2: Crazier than ever” have something in common: the presence of”Ode to Joy” by Beethoven. Directors have always relied on classical music for their cinematic works. Despite the 'presumed' fall in popularity of classical music, it is rare to find a film, even a current one, without at least one song that could be considered "old".

As a result, with thousands of filmmakers digging into classical archives for soundtrack material, some songs end up being used a little more often.
Here are five of the most used classical songs (abused) in movies:

Richard Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries

It was composed in 1851 and orchestrated in 1856. This piece has become very popular and is widely recognized in popular culture as a symbol of heroic work and associated with the theme of war. Its powerful and rousing melody has made The Ride of the Valkyries an icon of classical music and is often used as the soundtrack in films, commercials and other artistic productions. Its fame was also amplified by its use in the film "Apocalypse Now" by Francis Ford Coppola.

String Quintet op. 11, no. 5 in E major, G 275, is a composition by Luigi Boccherini

The String Quintet Op. 11, no. 5 in E major by Luigi Boccherini is a composition from 1771, published in 1775. This quintet is known for its third movement, the famous minuet, which is often performed as a standalone piece, separate from the rest of the original work. The minuet gained great popularity and became one of Boccherini's most recognizable and beloved pieces. Its graceful melody and punchy rhythm make it a frequent choice in concert performances and recordings.

”Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2″ by Liszt: so loved by cartoons

The Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Liszt is a very famous and appreciated piece, known for its virtuosity and its playful character. Dedicated to Count László Teleki, these compositions are considered to be among Liszt's most successful. Rhapsody No. 2, in particular, is famed for its technical difficulty, with fast trills, rapid chords, and highly virtuosic passages making it one of the more challenging pieces for piano.

Thanks to its lively and spirited style, the Rhapsody n. 2 has also found its way into popular culture. It has been used in commercials, commercials and films, including the famous Tom & Jerry cartoon entitled “Jerry pianist” (The Cat Concerto), which won an Academy Award. Moreover, a famous scene from the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" accompanies this rhapsody.

”Adagio in G minor” attributed to Tomaso Albinoni/Remo Giozatto: often chosen to create dark and intense atmospheres.
The Adagio in G minor, known as Adagio di Albinoni, is a composition attributed to Tomaso Albinoni but is actually an entirely original work by Remo Giazotto. Giazotto claimed to have "reconstructed" the Adagio based on fragments attributed to Albinoni, but it later emerged that there is no concrete evidence of the existence of such fragments. The work has been cataloged as non-authentic and is considered an original work by Giazotto.

"Orchestral Suite No. 3 – Aria on the fourth string” by Bach

Aria on the fourth string is an arrangement by August Wilhelmj of the second movement of Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major by Johann Sebastian Bach. This arrangement features the transposition of the first violins' part so that it can be played on the fourth string of the violin. It is performed by a single violin rather than by the entire group of first violins. Bach's Aria on the fourth string achieved great success in Baroque music and also became a rock classic thanks to Procol Harum's riff in the song "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Furthermore, the Swingle Singers' version was used as the theme song of Piero Angela's television program "Quark".

The Ode to Joy or Ode to Joy, written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785, became famous all over the world thanks to Ludwig van Beethoven, who used it as the text for the fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony.

The video of an evocative flashmob shows us the immortality of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, reminding us how music can be an uplifting and collective experience. The stunning images are set in the German city of Nuremberg.

In 2001 the score and text were declared Memory of the World by Unesco.


In Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick once again uses Beethoven's Ninth Symphony during the Ludovico cure scene. However, this time the choice falls on the fourth movement, the Ode to Joy, which is arranged with synthesizers by Wendy Carlos. Despite the inappropriate title, this choice creates strong sarcasm, as Beethoven, a symbol of nobility and artistic beauty, is superimposed on images of unbearable violence.

Classical music, with its constant presence in cinema, represents a testimony to the impact it has on culture and the collective imagination. Despite the assumptions of an alleged "decline” in popularity, classical music remains a highly valued artistic choice for enriching cinematic experiences. These iconic songs have transformed into truly recognizable symbols, capable of evoking deep emotions and amplifying the narrative of films. They remind us that classical music is a universal cultural heritage that unites people and elicits a wide range of emotional reactions. His presence in films represents a tangible testimony to his lasting impact and his ability to communicate without language barriers.

There is more

Those who think that classical music is confined to the past might be surprised to discover how present it is in contemporary music.

Classical music continues to influence contemporary pop music, creating surprising connections and creative reworkings. Numerous pop songs were directly inspired by the classical repertoire. For example, famous songs like “Can't Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum and “Could It Be Magic” by Barry Manilow drew inspiration from classical melodies and arrangements. These examples demonstrate how classical music is still alive and influential in the contemporary music landscape.

Italian artists have also found inspiration in classical music to create unforgettable pop hits. Fabrizio De André, Le Orme, New Trolls, Ivan Graziani and Lucio Dalla are just some of the Italian musicians who have used classical melodies and themes in their songs, transforming them into unique and engaging works.

Therefore, classical music continues to play an important role in the film industry and inspire the creation of new musical works. Its influence and ability to evoke emotions are universally recognized, proving that 'classic ' is a timeless cultural heritage that is constantly renewed and continues to arouse fascination in every artistic context.

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