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The 50 Darkest Pieces of Classical Music

Audio Samples

>Liszt, Franz : Totentanz, for piano, S. 525 (LW A62)
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : The Nutcracker
>     Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt Suite no 1
>     In the Hall of the Mountain King
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Danse macabre in G minor, Op. 40
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor
>     Allegro molto
>Holst, Gustav : The Planets
>     Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
>     Mars, the Bringer of War
>     Neptune, the Mystic
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Requiem
>     Dies irae
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Moonlight Sonata
>     Adagio sostenuto
>     Presto agitato
>Prokofiev, Sergei : Romeo and Juliet Suite
>     Montagues and Capulets
>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an Exhibition
>     Gnomus
>Satie, Erik : Gnossienne 1
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 40 in G minor
>     Allegro molto
>Vivaldi, Antonio : The Four Seasons "Summer"
>     Presto
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 5 in C minor, "Fate"
>     Allegro con brio
>Orff, Carl : Carmina Burana
>     O Fortuna
>     Fortunae plango vulnera
>Bartók, Béla : Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
>     Adagio
>Boëllmann, Léon : Suite Gothique
>     Toccata
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Egmont
>     Overture
>Chopin, Frédéric : Sonata for Piano no 2 in B minor
>     Funeral March
>Verdi, Giuseppe : Requiem Mass
>     Dies Irae
>Handel, George Frideric : Organ Concerto no 10 in D minor
>     Adagio
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Sonata for Cello in D minor
>     2. Allegro
>Mussorgsky, Modest : Night on the Bare Mountain
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Masonic Funeral Music in C minor, K 477 (479a)
>Vivaldi, Antonio : Stabat Mater
>     dolorosa
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62
>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
>     Ride of the Valkyries
>Vivaldi, Antonio : Sopranino Flute Concerto in C major
>     Largo
>Giazotto, Remo : Adagio in C minor for strings & organ (previously attributed to Tomaso Albinoni)
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : The Carnival of the Animals
>     Aquarium
>Liszt, Franz : Nuages gris (Grey clouds)
>Berlioz, Hector : Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
>     The March to the Scaffold
>Sibelius, Jean : Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22
>     The Swan of Tuonela
>Stravinsky, Igor : The Rite of Spring
>     L'adoration de la Terre (Adoration of the Earth)
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Reqiuem
>     Lacrimosa dies illa
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 3 in E flat major, "Eroica"
>     Marcia funébre
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3
>Barber, Samuel : Adagio for Strings
>Marcello, Benedetto : Concerto for Oboe in D minor
>     Adagio
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 10 in E minor
>     Allegro
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Swan Lake Suite
>     Scène (Lake in the Moonlight)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Toccata and Fugue for Organ in D minor, BWV 565
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 7 in A major
>     Allegretto
>Pärt, Arvo : Fratres
>Schubert, Franz : Symphony no 4 in C minor, "Tragic"
>     Allegro
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Suite for Cello no 5 in C minor
>     Sarabande

Album Summary

>Liszt, Franz : Totentanz, for piano, S. 525 (LW A62)
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : The Nutcracker
>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt Suite no 1
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : Danse macabre in G minor, Op. 40
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor
>Holst, Gustav : The Planets
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Requiem
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Moonlight Sonata
>Prokofiev, Sergei : Romeo and Juliet Suite
>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an Exhibition
>Satie, Erik : Gnossienne 1
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 40 in G minor
>Vivaldi, Antonio : The Four Seasons "Summer"
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 5 in C minor, "Fate"
>Orff, Carl : Carmina Burana
>Bartók, Béla : Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
>Boëllmann, Léon : Suite Gothique
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Egmont
>Chopin, Frédéric : Sonata for Piano no 2 in B minor
>Verdi, Giuseppe : Requiem Mass
>Handel, George Frideric : Organ Concerto no 10 in D minor
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Sonata for Cello in D minor
>Mussorgsky, Modest : Night on the Bare Mountain
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Masonic Funeral Music in C minor, K 477 (479a)
>Vivaldi, Antonio : Stabat Mater
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62
>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre
>Vivaldi, Antonio : Sopranino Flute Concerto in C major
>Giazotto, Remo : Adagio in C minor for strings & organ (previously attributed to Tomaso Albinoni)
>Saint-Saëns, Camille : The Carnival of the Animals
>Liszt, Franz : Nuages gris (Grey clouds)
>Berlioz, Hector : Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
>Sibelius, Jean : Lemminkainen Suite, Op. 22
>Stravinsky, Igor : The Rite of Spring
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Reqiuem
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 3 in E flat major, "Eroica"
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3
>Barber, Samuel : Adagio for Strings
>Marcello, Benedetto : Concerto for Oboe in D minor
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 10 in E minor
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Swan Lake Suite
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Toccata and Fugue for Organ in D minor, BWV 565
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 7 in A major
>Pärt, Arvo : Fratres
>Schubert, Franz : Symphony no 4 in C minor, "Tragic"
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Suite for Cello no 5 in C minor
Performers Conductors Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Some of the great classical composers have a dark side and while perhaps hidden in their personal lives, it comes alive in their music. There exists a rich variety of gloomy numbers from the darker regions: Beethoven's 5th, the gothic blueprint of Orff's Carmina Burana, and Liszt's Totentanz to name a few. All of the titles not only showcase the tortured souls of these great composers, but also connect with our universal fascination for the darker side of humankind.



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Works Details

>Liszt, Franz : Totentanz, for piano, S. 525 (LW A62)
  • Performer: Michael Ponti (Piano)
  • Conductor: Volke Schmidt-Gertenbach
  • Notes: Composition written: 1865.
  • Running Time: 15 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1865

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : The Nutcracker :: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
  • Conductor: Heribert Beissel
  • Running Time: 2 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1892

>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt Suite no 1 :: In the Hall of the Mountain King
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 2 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874-1875

>Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) : Danse macabre in G minor, Op. 40
  • Conductor: James DePreist
  • Running Time: 7 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1874

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor :: Allegro molto
  • Ensemble: Moyzes Quartet
  • Notes: Composition written: 1960.
  • Running Time: 3 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Holst, Gustav : The Planets :: Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
  • Conductor: Walter Susskind
  • Running Time: 9 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1914-1916

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Requiem :: Dies irae
  • Conductor: Tamàs Gàl
  • Running Time: 1 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1791

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Moonlight Sonata :: Adagio sostenuto
  • Performer: Finghin Collins (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1801

>Prokofiev, Sergei : Romeo and Juliet Suite :: Montagues and Capulets
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Notes: Composition written: 1937.
  • Running Time: 5 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1937

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Pictures at an Exhibition :: Gnomus
  • Conductor: Leif Segerstam
  • Running Time: 3 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874-1922

>Satie, Erik : Gnossienne 1
  • Performer: Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1890

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Symphony no 40 in G minor :: Allegro molto
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1788

>Vivaldi, Antonio : The Four Seasons "Summer" :: Presto
  • Performer: Emmy Berhey (Violin)
  • Conductor: Alun Francis
  • Ensemble: Camerata Antonio Luco
  • Running Time: 3 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1725

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 5 in C minor, "Fate" :: Allegro con brio
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 7 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1808

>Orff, Carl : Carmina Burana :: O Fortuna
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 2 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Béla Bartók (Composer) (1881 - 1945) : Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta :: Adagio
  • Conductor: Zoltán Peskó
  • Running Time: 7 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Holst, Gustav : The Planets :: Mars, the Bringer of War
  • Conductor: Walter Susskind
  • Running Time: 7 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1914-1916

>Léon Boëllmann (1862 - 1897) : Suite Gothique :: Toccata
  • Performer: Hans Fagius (Piano)
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 3 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1895

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Egmont :: Overture
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 7 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1809-1810

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Sonata for Piano no 2 in B minor :: Funeral March
  • Performer: Mitsuko Uchida (Piano)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1837

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Requiem Mass :: Dies Irae
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 3 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874

>Handel, George Frideric : Organ Concerto no 10 in D minor :: Adagio
  • Performer: Harald Feller (Organ)
  • Conductor: Paul Kantschieder
  • Ensemble: Capella Istropolitana
  • Running Time: 6 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: circa 1744

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Sonata for Cello in D minor :: 2. Allegro
  • Performers: Viktor Yampolsky (Piano); Markus Stocker (Cello)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1934.
  • Running Time: 3 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1934

>Mussorgsky, Modest : Night on the Bare Mountain
  • Conductor: Leif Segerstam
  • Running Time: 11 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1886

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Masonic Funeral Music in C minor, K 477 (479a)
  • Conductor: Ernest Bour
  • Running Time: 5 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1785

>Vivaldi, Antonio : Stabat Mater :: dolorosa
  • Conductor: Jakub Burzynski
  • Ensemble: La Tempesta
  • Running Time: 2 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: by 1742

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62
  • Conductor: Günter Ludwig
  • Running Time: 7 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1807

>Wagner, Richard : Die Walküre :: Ride of the Valkyries
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 5 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1854-1856

>Vivaldi, Antonio : Sopranino Flute Concerto in C major :: Largo
  • Performer: Karl Stanberg (Flute)
  • Conductor: Hans Stadlmair
  • Running Time: 3 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: by 1742

>Orff, Carl : Carmina Burana :: Fortunae plango vulnera
  • Conductor: Ilya Stupel
  • Running Time: 2 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1935-1936

>Giazotto, Remo : Adagio in C minor for strings & organ (previously attributed to Tomaso Albinoni)
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 8 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 - 1921) : The Carnival of the Animals :: Aquarium
  • Conductor: Ferdinand Roth
  • Running Time: 2 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1886

>Liszt, Franz : Nuages gris (Grey clouds)
  • Performer: Andreas Muehlen-Wester (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1881

>Berlioz, Hector : Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 :: The March to the Scaffold
  • Conductor: Anton Nanut
  • Running Time: 4 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 04/1830

>Sibelius, Jean : Lemminkäinen Suite, Op. 22 :: The Swan of Tuonela
  • Performer: Per-Olof Gillblad (Oboe)
  • Conductor: Jan-Olav Wedin
  • Running Time: 8 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1895

>Stravinsky, Igor : The Rite of Spring :: L'adoration de la Terre (Adoration of the Earth)
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Running Time: 15 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1911-1913

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Reqiuem :: Lacrimosa dies illa
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 2 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1791

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 3 in E flat major, "Eroica" :: Marcia funébre
  • Conductor: Woldemar Nelsson
  • Running Time: 15 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1803

>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3
  • Performer: Tomislav Bavnov (Piano)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1892

>Barber, Samuel : Adagio for Strings
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 8 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Marcello, Benedetto : Concerto for Oboe in D minor :: Adagio
  • Performer: Emanuel Abbuhl (Oboe)
  • Conductor: Howard Griffiths
  • Running Time: 3 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1717

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Symphony no 10 in E minor :: Allegro
  • Notes: Composition written: 1953.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1953

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Swan Lake Suite :: Scène (Lake in the Moonlight)
  • Conductor: David Parry
  • Running Time: 3 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1875-1876

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Toccata and Fugue for Organ in D minor, BWV 565
  • Performer: Klemens Schnorr (Piano)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: by 1708

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 7 in A major :: Allegretto
  • Conductor: Vladimir Fedoseyev
  • Running Time: 9 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1812

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Fratres
  • Running Time: 9 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1991

>Schubert, Franz : Symphony no 4 in C minor, "Tragic" :: Allegro
  • Conductor: Hans Swarowsky
  • Notes: Composition written: 1816.
  • Running Time: 10 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1816

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Suite for Cello no 5 in C minor :: Sarabande
  • Performer: Torleif Thedeen (Cello)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1720

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Moonlight Sonata :: Presto agitato
  • Performer: Dubravka Tomsic (Piano)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1801

>Holst, Gustav : The Planets :: Neptune, the Mystic
  • Conductor: Walter Susskind
  • Running Time: 7 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1914-1916