Top 50 Favorite/Best Classical

This list represents the pieces I feel are a combination of what speaks to me as well as fantastically crafted works of musical art. As I’ve studied music, composed my own music, listened to a lot of music over the years, I don’t like placing music in particular categories and leaving them there not to touch other categories. I use the word “classical” because it is most encompassing with regard to an understanding of structure, form, harmonic progression and melodic shaping, but as you can see on the list, it will include different styles, from jazz, to musicals, from large 4 hour long pieces to 3 minute. And how could a 3 minute piece compare to the 4 hour? This isn’t a definitive list, but just my favorites that I also think are among the best. I happen to enjoy listening to the 3 minute piece as well as the 4 hour one. I’ll try my best to give just the briefest notes about the pieces, what I like about them, what works, or how I came to know them. Plus I’ll link to good performances on YouTube of each piece. Each title below is a link to my post about the pieces. Enjoy!

#1 – Mahler Symphony No. 6 in A minor

#2 – Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74

#3 – Wagner Götterdämmerung

#4 – Gershwin An American in Paris

#5 – Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550

#6 – Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95

#7 – Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

#8 – Ellington Afro-Eurasian Eclipse

#9 – Rimsky-Korsakov Sheherazade, Op. 35

#10 – Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

#11 – Dvorak Serenade for Strings in E major, Op. 22

#12 – Stravinsky Le Sacre du printemps

#13 – Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue

#14 – Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551

#15 – Coltrane My Favorite Things

#16 – Dvorak Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

#17 – Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

#18 – Mozart Don Giovanni, K. 527

#19 – Liszt Les Preludes, S. 97

#20 – Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492

#21 – Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, Op. 20

#22 – Mahler Symphony No. 2

#23 – Tchaikovsky String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11

#24 – Williams Empire Strikes Back

#25 – Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in Eb major, Op. 73

#26 – Bernstein West Side Story

#27 – Enescu Octet for Strings in C major, Op. 7

#28 – Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110

#29 – Mussorgsky Night on Bald Mountain

#30 – Webber The Phantom of the Opera

#31 – Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky

#32 – Chopin Nocturne in Bb minor, Op. 9 No. 1

#33 – Debussy Images Book 1, L. 100

#34 – Debussy Pour Le Piano, L. 95

#35 – Chaminade Guitare, Op. 32

#36 – Chopin Berceuse in Db major, Op. 57

#37 – Boulanger Nocturne and Morceaux Pour le piano

#38 – Schönberg Les Miserables

#39 – Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18

#40 – Miranda Hamilton

#41 – Strauss Salomé

#42 – Britten Peter Grimes

#43 – Loewe My Fair Lady

#44 – Liszt Mephisto Waltzes

#45 – Webber Evita

#46 – Poledouris Conan the Barbarian

#47 – Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti

#48 – Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67

#49 – Chaminade La Lisonjera, Op. 50

#50 – Beethoven Coriolan Overture

Honorable Mentions

HM – Wolfe Fire in My Mouth

HM – Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

HM – Glass Anthem Pt. 2

HM – Weber Der Freischütz

HM – Coleman Lonely Woman

HM – Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125

HM – Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker

HM – Jobim Girl From Ipanema

HM – Shostakovich Suite for Variety Orchestra

HM – Schubert Symphony No. 9 in C major, D 944

HM – Saariaho L’Amour de Loin

HM – Schubert String Quartet No. 14, D. 810 “Der Tod und das Mädchen”

HM – Desmond Take Five

HM – Wagner Die Walküre

HM – Puccini Tosca

HM – Davis So What

HM – Stravinsky Petroushka

HM – Wagner Tristan und Isolde

HM – Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, Op. 48

HM – Williams Raiders of the Lost Ark

HM – Verdi Aïda and Requiem

HM – Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht

HM – Grisey Les espaces acoustiques

HM – Gade Octet for 4 Violins 2 Violas 2 Violoncellos in F major, Op. 17

HM – Schubert Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”, D. 759