Listening To: Beginners' Classical Playlist

As it turns out, creating my Summer playlists is taking forever, so in the meantime I thought I'd offer up something a little different.

While Western classical music has always been a part of my life, I didn't really take to it until my teens, when a well-put-together album sparked my interest and introduced me to some of the Masters of classical music.  Since then my interest has grown, and I now have a rather large collection (about 500-600 pieces) that encompasses musicians from the medieval era up until the 20th century (while I do love Stravinski I decided to leave him out - he takes some getting used to).  I wanted to offer those of you who are unfamiliar with classical music a selection of my personal favourites in the hopes that it might change your mind.  If, on the other hand, you are a long-time classical music lover, then hopefully I'll be able to introduce you to some new material.

I decided to kick things off with some good ol' church music, then cheated a little by including a piece I became familiar with via my favourite childhood film, Ever After.  I tried to break up the longer Mozart pieces with some arias (songs from operas), and then switched gears into some piano concertos.  If you are an avid film lover then you may recognize: Elgar's "Nimrod" and "Night of the Long Knives" as they appeared in Elizabeth (1998); Schubert's "Piano Trio in E Flat" from The Hunger (1983); "Vide Cor Meum" taken from Hannibal (2001) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005); Wandrers Nachtlied II from New Moon (2009); Richard Wagner's "Liebstod" from Romeo + Juliet (1996); "Figlio Perduto" from The Fall (2006); Puccini's "Tre Sbirri, Una Carozza... Te Deum" as it appeared in 2008's Quantum of Solace; (also) Puccini's La Bohème arias, "O Soave Fanciulla" and "Che Gelida Manina", both of which appeared in 2007's Atonement; and finally, Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 was used in the Swan Lake scene of Center Stage (2001).  As for "Claire de Lune", it's from pretty much every film ever made (just off the top of my head: Atonement, Ocean's 11, Twilight).

For a final bit of music trivia, you may find "When I am Laid In Earth" from Purcell's opera Dido & Aeneas somewhat familiar.  This is because Elton John used the particular sequence of notes for parts of "Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word".  Just in case you were curious.

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