January can be a depressing time of year. But fear not: spring is around the corner and we’ve listed five pieces of classical music guaranteed to cheer you up and beat the winter blues!
1. La Gioconda: Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli
The Dance of the Hours was written as a short ballet to feature in the final act of Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda. It has since been parodied by a number of composers and film-makers, including Walt Disney: in the famous film Fantasia the work is danced by hippos, ostriches and elephants wearing tutus. Surely bound to put a smile on anyone’s face!
Discover Dance of the Hours and more on Music for Ballet Lovers. Click here for more.
2. Peer Gynt: Morning Mood by Edvard Grieg
Some people don’t know that Peer Gynt was written by Grieg as incidental music for the play of the same name by Henrik Ibsen. Morning Mood was written to suggest the rising of the sun over the play’s protagonist, who has been stranded in the desert. Grieg later published the music as the well-known Peer Gynt Suite, of which Morning Mood constitutes the first movement.
Discover Morning Mood and more on Impressions. Click here for more.
3. I Was Glad by Hubert Parry
Perhaps the most stirring piece of choral music ever written, I Was Glad is a setting by Hubert Parry of a psalm traditionally sung at royal coronations. It was also recently and famously performed during the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011.
Discover I Was Glad and more on Great Choral Anthems. Click here for more.
4. Organ Symphony No. 5 in F Minor, Op.42, Toccata by Charles Marie-Widor
Often known simply as Widor’s Toccata, the final movement of this organ symphony is instantly recognisable. Famous for being used as recessional music at weddings, the music is notable for being arranged around rapid staccato arpeggios, creating a sense of movement and joy.
Discover Widor’s Toccata and more on Great Organ Classics. Click here for more.
5. The Four Seasons: La Primavera by Antonio Vivaldi
The Four Seasons is a collection of violin concerti for each season of the year, accompanied by poems which may have been written by Vivaldi himself. La Primavera captures the joyful new life of spring: “Spring has arrived, and happy / Birds welcome it with joyful song.”
Discover The Four Seasons and more on The Four Seasons and String Concerti. Click here for more.