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16 Amazing Classical Music Compositions That Will Inspire You

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16 Amazing Classical Music Compositions That Will Inspire You

Classical music has a remarkable capacity to inspire. It can lift your mood in an instant (making it an effective anti-depressant), assist you in your work, and provide the soundtrack to your life. It is also more accessible than ever before thanks to the Music Animation Machine—the work of Stephen Malinowski. Through this, we can now observe, in vivid detail, what happens in some of the finest masterpieces ever composed.

Making the videos you see below requires entering a score of music into notation software, and synchronizing it to the recording. The music has to be adjusted to the score as a performer can often add, change, or miss notes. Animation is then designed for the video, before rendering and assembly occurs in a video editing program. The audio, titles, and credits are subsequently added and the video is uploaded online (for a detailed look at the process see this diagram). Whilst I can report this in a succinct paragraph, each video takes a great deal of time to construct.

You can visit Stephen Malinowski’s YouTube channel, smalin, for an extensive range of animated music.

1. Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, Opus 9, No. 2

Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849) was a Polish composer famed for his emotive piano compositions. He spent much of his life in Paris, but snubbed a celebrity lifestyle in favor of relative solitude. He rarely performed in public, preferring intimate performances in his flat.

2. Beethoven’s Symphony 7, Allegretto, 2nd movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uOxOgm5jQ4

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) remains one of the finest composers in history. Famously, his hearing began to deteriorate circa 1800, and much of his later work was created despite being deaf.

3. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, 1st movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFSRs7iqAv8

Also known as Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor “Quasi una fantasia,” this piece was completed in 1801. This is the famous first movement.

4. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante (“Elvira Madigan”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKZr3ExeXUc

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (1756–1791) startling genius saw him compose over 600 pieces. A virtuoso performer, he had concertos and operas on the go before he was 10, and died mysteriously at only 35.

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5. Vivaldi’s Winter, Four Seasons (Allegro)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741) was a Baroque composer famed for his violin skills. He’s perhaps best known for The Four Seasons, composed in 1723. This is the fourth concerto of the set—Winter.

6. Pachelbel’s Canon in D

Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706) was a German Baroque composer. Unfortunately, much of his work has been lost, and this piece lay forgotten for hundreds of years. It was re-published in 1919 and has since become a much celebrated work.

7. Bach’s Air (“on the G string”, string orchestra)

This is August Wilhelmj’s arrangement of Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major. The original piece was finished circa 1720, with Wilhelmj adapting the second movement in the late 19th century.

8. Bach’s Preludio, Partita in E Major, Lara St. John, solo violin

Bach’s compositions are renowned for their emotional intensity. As a consequence, his work is highly regarded in cultural circles for its artistic depth.

9. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, 1st movement

Bach’s music gained popularity after a revival during the 19th century. He remains one of the major names associated with great composers.

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10. Schubert’s Piano Trio in E-flat major, 2nd movement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKZBmMu06Fg

Franz Schubert (1797–1828) was an Austrian composer. He lived to only 32, but still composed 600 Lieder, ten symphonies, operas, chamber music, and much more. Despite his prolific nature, he was unappreciated during his era. He’s now considered an all-time great.

11. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, 1st movement, E Minor, Opus 64

Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) was a German composer during the Romantic period. He helped re-popularize Bach’s music during his time.

12. Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 2, 3rd movement, Intermezzo

Mendelssohn’s extensive body of work includes symphonies, oratorios, and chamber music. As a composer, he was reassessed in the 20th century and has since become increasingly popular, having suffered restrictive anti-Semitism during his lifetime.

13. Tallis’s Spem in Alium (40-voice motet)

Thomas Tallis (1505–1585) is regarded as one of England’s finest-ever composers. Here is a mesmerizing composition from 1570—it’s for eight choirs of five voices each (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass). As it requires forty competent singers who can meet the motet’s demands, it is rarely performed.

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14. Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah

George Friedrich Handel’s (1685–1759) famous piece has been used extensively in modern culture. The chorus is taken from Handel’s 1741 Messiah oratorio. The famous section appears in Part II of III.

15. Brahms’ String Quartet No. 1, 3rd movement, Allegro Energetico

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) proved a hugely influential composer whose innovative music inspired a new generation.

16. Brahms, Piano Quartet in C minor, Opus 60, 3rd movement

This piano quartet was composed in 1875. Brahms’s approach to music was to keep the “purity” of famous composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, but to modernize compositions.

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Alex Morris

Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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