With a career that spans over fifty years and hundreds of film scores, Italian composer Ennio Morricone has produced some of the most well-recognised music in the film industry. Most famous for composing the scores to many of Sergio Leone’s westerns, he has also found enormous success composing for Quentin Tarantino and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. Twelve tracks are featured as YouTube videos and the remainder of the playlist can be found in the Spotify Playlist Link below.
Spotify Playlist Link: Ennio Morricone
Ten Song Taster
1. ‘Cinema Paradiso Theme’ (from Cinema Paradiso)
2. ‘Deborah’s Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time in America)
3. ‘The Braying Mule’ (from Django Unchained)
4. ‘Mucchio Selvaggio’ (from My Name Is Nobody)
5. ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ (from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)
6. ‘Guns For San Sebastian’ (from Guns For San Sebastian)
7. ‘For A Few Dollars More Theme’ (from For A Few Dollars More)
8. ‘Il Vizietto’ (from La Cage aux Folles)
9. ‘Once Upon A Time In America Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time In America)
10. ‘Once Upon A Time In The West Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time In The West)
[Or if you sign into Spotify you can listen to the whole playlist here]
Journeying through the variety of styles in the musical genre, the earliest song on the list is Irving Berlin’s ‘Top Hat’ (1935) with the playlist travelling through many different great musicals from the proceeding 75 years. The songs are deliberately not listed in chronological order to keep it flowing and maintain variety:
Spotify Playlist Link: Musicals
- Seasons Of Love (from RENT)
- Put On Your Sunday Clothes (from Hello! Dolly)
- I Get a Kick Out of You (from Anything Goes)
- Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (from Top Hat)
- Good Morning (from Singin’ In The Rain)
- The Trolley Song (from Meet Me In St. Louis) – Performed and re-recorded by the John Wilson Orchestra
- Some People (from Gypsy)
- Defying Gravity (from Wicked)
- Barn Dance (from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers) – Performed and re-recorded by the John Wilson Orchestra
- Prologue And Tradition (from Fiddler On The Roof)
- America (from West Side Story)
- You Can’t Stop The Beat (from Hairspray)
- I’ve Just Seen A Face (from Across The Universe)
- There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This (from Sweet Charity)
- Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from The Lion King)
- Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables)
- Belle (from Beauty And The Beast)
- Omigod You Guys (from Legally Blonde: The Musical)
- Don’t Rain On My Parade (from Funny Girl)
- Let’s Go Fly A Kite (from Mary Poppins)
Invented by expert Italian harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori, the modern piano is celebrated for its resonant sound and versatility of style. This list of great piano pieces encompasses music starting from the 1600s up to the present day. The pieces are listed with the earliest at the beginning and the most recent at the end but are in no particular order, instead arranged in a way to maintain interest when listening to them all in succession (scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full Spotify playlist).
Ten Song Taster
Domenico Scarlatti’s Piano Sonata in E major K380
This performance by Vadim Chaimovich elegantly captures the rhythmic precision of the Baroque period.
Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 – “Moonlight”, Mov 3.
This electrifying performance of the third movement of one of Beethoven’s most famous piano sonatas is by Valentina Lisitsa. The tempestuous energy of this piece has led to comparisons with a storm.
Schubert’s Impromptu in G-flat major, Op. 90 No.3
Full of flowing melodic lines made up of arpeggios and broken chords, contrasting against the languid melody line, this is one of the first pieces to be composed in the unusual key of G-flat major. Performed by Polish classical pianist Krystian Zimerman.
South Korean composer and pianist Yiruma has achieved widespread fame via YouTube with his “contemporary classical” style of composition. Speaking to http://www.hancinema.net, he discusses his inspiration for writing:
I try to recall the memories of my past, my childhood, sometimes my lovers … But it’s all my surroundings that inspire me. That’s the beginning point of my composition, really.
Liszt’s La Campanella
The third of Franz Liszt’s six Grandes études de Paganini, this playful and energetic piece is characterised by large interval jumps and bare octaves. Performed here by Yundi Li.
Chopin’s Waltz in E minor
[You can click on each song individually and a new Spotify link will open in your browser]
- Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 1 a 1 Clav.
- Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos in E Klat, K.365: Rondo (allegro)
- Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major Op. 106 Hammerklavier: I. Allegro
- Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 -“Moonlight” – 3. Presto
- Liszt: La campanella in G-Sharp Minor from Grandes études de Paganini, S 141/3
- Schubert: Impromptus, D. 899 (Op. 90): Impromptu No. 3 in G-Flat Major: Andante
- Chopin: Nocturne for Piano, No. 8 in D flat Major, Op. 27,2
- Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31
- Stravinsky: Les 5 doigts pour piano solo
- Chopin: Waltz No.14 in E minor, Op.posth.
- Pärt: Für Alina, for Piano Solo
- Albeniz: Asturias
- Kaempfert: Strangers in the Night – Live Recording
- Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 In B Flat Major, Op. 83: III. Precipitato
- Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22: III. Presto
- Einaudi: Berlin Song
- Ravel: Piano Concerto in G – 2. Adagio assai
- Yiruma: Fotografia
- Adams: Phrygian Gates
- Poulenc: 2 Novelettes: Novelette No. 2 In B Flat Minor: Tres Rapide Et Rythme
This feel-good list of songs encompasses a mixture of African music traditions with a choral focus. You can listen to the full Spotify playlist can be found at the bottom of the page.
N.B. Check out FOLI’s ‘There is no movement without rhythm‘. Not a song but still an interesting video.
Ten Song Taster
1. Thina Simnqobile – Soweto Gospel Choir
2. Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba
3. Tuli Tuli – Kenyan Boys Choir
4. Mori Keke Kan – King Sunny Ade
5. Jesu – Malawi Mouse Boys
6. He Lives In You – Lebo M (from The Lion King 2)
7. Misahotaka Ny Akama – Rajery
8. Samite Of Uganda – Njabala
9. Famou – Sekouba Bambino
10. Dinosaur On The Ark – The Very Best*
Spotify Playlist Link: African
(Where some of the tracks were not available on Spotify they have been replaced by similar tracks)