Zumwalt Poems Online

Must Listen To Music

Must Listen To Music: Classical, Rock and Jazz

(Most impressive or accessible works/albums in bold)

Messe de Notre Dame

Missa se la face ay pale

Missa mi mi

Robert Fayrfax
Missa Tecum principium Maria plena virtute


Membra Jesu Nostri

Rosary Sonatas (also known as Mystery Sonatas)

Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione, Op. 8 (1-6, 8)
Gloria RV589

The Messiah

J.S. Bach
Mass in b minor
St. Matthew Passion
The six Brandenburg Concertos
Violin Concerto in a minor (BWV 1041)
Violin Concerto in E major (BWV 1042)
Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor for Organ
Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Well-Tempered Clavier
Goldberg Variations
Two-part inventions
Cantata BWV 140, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme”

Franz Josef Haydn
Symphonies 22, 26, 39, 44, 45, 49, 52, 83, 98, 101, 104
Seven Last Words of Christ (original orchestra version)
Piano Trio. Hob. XV/28 (particularly the Allegro Moderato and Allegretto)
Piano Trio. Hob. XV/30 (Presto)
String Quartets, Op. 76
Mass in Time of War (“Missa in tempore belli”, “Paukenmesse”)

W.A. Mozart
Symphonies 25, 29, 31, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40 and 41
String Quartet No. 19 in C major, “Dissonance”, K. 465 (1785)
Requiem in D minor, K. 626 (1791)

String Quartets, all
Piano Trios, Op.1 #3, Op. 97 (“Archduke Trio”)
Symphonies, all (3rd, 5th, 6th and 9th Symphonies)
Piano Sonatas, all (Sonatas #14, #21, #29, #32)

Missa Solemnis
Diabelli Variations for piano
32 Variations in c minor for piano
Violin Concerto in D Major
4th and 5th Piano Concertos

Polonaise in A Major, Opus 40, no.1
Polonaise in A-flat Major, Opus 53
Ballade #1 in G minor, Op. 23
Ballade #3 in A flat Major, Op. 47
Ballade #4 in F minor, Op. 52
Études, Op. 10 (Etude No. 3)
Scherzo #2 in B flat minor, Op. 31
24 Preludes, Op. 28 (Preludes #2, #4)
Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 1 in B minor
Nocturne, Op. 27 No. 2 in D major

Symphonie Fantastique

Third Symphony in F Major, opus 90 (third movement)
Fourth Symphony in E minor, opus 98

Ninth Symphony in C Minor

Tristan und Isolde, Act 1, Prelude
Tannhäuser, Overture
Die Meistersinger, Act 1, Prelude & Hymn
Das Rheingold, Prelude

Pictures at an Exhibition (original piano version)
Night on Bald Mountain

Scheherazade, Op.  35

Requiem in D minor, Op. 48

Symphony No. 2 in C minor (“Resurrection”)
Symphony No. 6 in A minor
Das Lied von der Erde
Symphony No. 9 in D major

Vaughan Williams

The Planets

1910 Firebird
1911 Petrushka
1913 Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring)

Porgy and Bess
Rhapsody in Blue

Roy Harris
Symphony No. 6, “Gettysburg Address”

Olivier Messiaen
Quartet For the End of Time

Leonard Bernstein
West Side Story

Louis Armstrong
Hot Fives, Volume 1
Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, Volume 2 and 3

Charlie Parker
1945-1948 The Best Of The Complete Savoy & Dial Recordings
1949-1954 The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve
1953 The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever
1953 Jazz at Massey Hall

Duke Ellington
Ellington at Newport 1956
And His Mother Called Him Bill

Billie Holiday
The Complete Commodore & Decca Masters
The Silver Collection (Verve)

Coleman Hawkins
The Essential Sides Remastered, 1929-39 (JSP)
Body & Soul Complete Victor Recordings 1939-45 Master Takes (includes Body & Soul)

Thelonious Monk
Genius Of Modern Music: Vol. 1
Genius Of Modern Music: Vol. 2
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
Brilliant Corners

Bud Powell
The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 1

Miles Davis
1949/1950 (released 1957) Birth of the Cool
1954 (released 1957) Bags Groove
1957 Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet
1959 Kind of Blue
1969 In A Silent Way

Chet Baker
1953 Chet Baker Witt Russ Freeman
1954 Chet Baker Sings

Cannonball Adderley
1958 Something Else

Eric Dolphy
1961 At the Five Spot Volume 1
1964 Out to Lunch

Clifford Brown
1954 Clifford Brown & Max Roach
1955 Best Coast Jazz
1990 Clifford Brown Memorial Album (Blue Note)

Bill Evans
1961 Sunday at the Village Vanguard

Sonny Rollins
1956 Saxophone Colossus

Charles Mingus
1959 Mingus Ah Um
1960 Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus
1960 Mingus at Antibes
1963 The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Hank Mobley
1961 Workout

John Coltrane
1957 Blue Trane
1959 Giant Steps
1961 My Favorite Things
1961 Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
1963 Live at Birdland
1964 A Love Supreme

Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto
1964 Getz/Gilberto

Rahsaan Roland Kirk
1968 The Inflated Tear

Louis Hardin (Moondog)
1969 Moondog

Beach Boys
1966 Pet Sounds

1965 Rubber Soul
1966 Revolver
1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
1969 Abbey Road

1970 Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One

1968 Odessey and Oracle

1970 Desertshore

1970 Chicago (II)

Black Sabbath
1970 Paranoid

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
1970 Jesus Christ, Superstar

Gentle Giant
1971 Acquiring the Taste
1972 Three Friends
1972 Octopus
1973 In a Glass House
1974 Power and the Glory
1975 Free Hand
1976 Interview

Van Der Graaf Generator
1970 H to He, Who Am the Only One
1971 Pawn Hearts
1975 Godbluff
1975 Still Life
1976 World Record
1977 The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome

Peter Hammill
1974 The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage
1975 Nadir’s Big Chance
1977 Over

Annette Peacock
1972 I’m The One

1973 Arbeit Macht Frei
1974 Caution Radiation Area
1975 Crac!
1976 Maledetti
1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano

Museo Rosenbach
1973 Zarathustra

Jethro Tull
1969 Stand Up
1970 Benefit
1971 Aqualung
1972 Thick As A Brick
1972 Living In The Past
1973 A Passion Play
1975 Minstrel In The Gallery

King Crimson
1969 In the Court of the Crimson King
1970 In the Wake of Poseidon
1970 Lizard
1973 Larks’ Tongues in Aspic
1974 Starless and Bible Black
1974 Red
1995 THRAK

1971 The Yes Album
1972 Fragile
1973 Close to the Edge
1974 Tales from Topographic Oceans

Emerson, Lake and Palmer
1970 Emerson, Lake and Palmer
1971 Tarkus
1973 Brain Salad Surgery

Pink Floyd
1973 Dark Side of the Moon
1975 Wish You Were Here

1972 Per Un Amico

1972 Foxtrot
1973 Live
1973 Selling England by the Pound

1974 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
1976 A Trick of the Tail
1976 Wind and Wuthering

1977 Garden Shed

1975 Si On Avait Besoin D’Une Cinquieme

1975 Royal Bed Bouncer

Highly Recommended Albums
One can miss out on listening to these and still have a meaningful life, but life is even more meaningful with any or all of the following:

Fred Katz
1958 Folk Songs for Far Out Folk
Great arrangements of African, Hebrew and American folk tunes in captivating stereo. I often sat in on jazz classes Mr. Katz taught, but was not aware of the genius of this man until listening to Chico Hamilton albums. I would probably place this in the Must Listen To album list, but wanted to make a comment on it also. You probably have never heard of this album, but is one of the best examples of skilfull, highly entertaining, artistically satisfying arranging. Review

Tommy Flannigan
1982 Thelonica
Mr. Flannigan’s personal tribute to Mr. Monk and Monk’s friend, and jazz patroness, Countess Pannonica de Koenigswarter.

Erroll Garner
1955 Concert By The Sea
An amazing opportunity to hear Erroll Garner live, full of endless creativity and artistry.

Cab Calloway
Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions
Cab Calloway was an innovative band leader, singer, showman and composer: overlooked to some degree today.  This set, now out of print, contains tracks from Cab Calloway and other bands including Fletcher Henderson and Teddy Wilson with appearances from Roy Eldridge, Mildred Bailey and Bessie Smith.  If you can’t get a hold of this set, be sure to get at least one CD with Cab Calloway recordings from the 1930s.

Charles Tolliver
1968 Paper Man
Hard to imagine anyone’s debut album being this good, but Mr. Tolliver gets excellent support from Herbie Hancock and others; this is an album worth listening to over and over. 

Franz Josef Haydn
Symphony 54 in G Major
Yes, I list several Haydn symphonies above, but there are many others that should not be missed.  Symphony 54 is a composer’s symphony — well crafted, getting the most of the musical material. Has a memorable slow movement with developmental treatment in the second section, a clever minuet, and a closing presto that is one of the best upbeat and energetic 1770s classical symphony finales. There are three versions, the first in 1774, the second in 1776 with an additional bassoon part (not just doubling the bass) and a later version that also adds two flutes and two trumpets.

Symphony 60 in C Major
Recycled material written for the play, Le Distrait, by Jean-François Regnard, this is one of the most far-out imaginative works of one of the most far-out imaginative composers of the late 18th Century.  Pay attention to the last movement which includes the strings pretending they are trying to re-tune.  Imagine a bunch of aristocrats with white wigs in the audience whispering in astonishment to each other. Haydn was never one to let musical conventions get in the way of good entertainment!

Symphony 57 in D Major
A particularly whimsical symphony with a slow introduction that leads into a spirited allegro followed by a oddly sparse, simple (late mid-18th century minimalism, let’s say) adagio in theme and variation format and a much more friendly and slightly eccentric yet totally endearing minuet ending with a rocketing and slightly raucous prestissimo finale that includes alternations between loud and soft and rapid and slow note motion as well as musical representation of laughter in the development section with the violins descending down a diminished seventh chord much like you would hear in the representation of laughter in 1930s and 1940s cartoons — possibly derived from this passage in this symphony.

Il Ritorno di Tobi
Written in 1775 for a Viennese public with a thirst for Italian-style oratorios and that were accustomed to hearing Handel’s oratorios translated from English or German into Italian, Haydn went all out on this masterwork, borrowing elements from the late baroque and incorporating them into a contemporary work with some crowd-pleasing arias.  Even the recitatives on this work are musically compelling.  Currently I know of three recordings of this work; the 1987 Hungaraton, 2007 Naxos and 2020 Sony Classical recordings are all enjoyable.

Symphony 68 in B-flat Major
Another display of both cleverness and technical mastery, this symphony highlights the bassoons which are independent from the bass part, particularly liberating them to contribute them to the highly animated first movement.  This is followed by a minuet with a trio with the third beat marked loud (f for forte) following the first four bars which establish the minuet rhythm just enough to be thrown into disarray.  The slow movement, the adagio, is placed after the minuet, and it is one of the more lively and interesting slow movements up to 1775, with Haydn making effective use of bursts of dynamic contrast and a general whimsical atmosphere. The fourth movement is fast paced rondo in ABACADA form with the bassoons again taking a prominent role in the B section, the oboes dominant in the C section and a D section providing dramatic contrast in G minor.

Symphony 67 in F Major
Haydn provides a wealth of inventiveness and ingenuity embedded within a relatively conservative yet energetic symphony.  The second movement is one of his most musical slow movements up to 1775 with a quirky staccato use of the wood part of the bow for all string parts for the ending.  Haydn often excels in creating memorable contrasting trios in the minuet and achieves this nicely in this symphony’s minuet with a pair of violins playing on single strings. The closing movement is energetic, self-assured and playful up to its surprise beautifully reflective middle then later joined by the oboe, horns, bass and bassoons which functions as a B section preceding the return of the opening material.

Symphony 69 in C Major
The first movement with timpani and horns fully unleashed is invigorating and engaging and hints at later works by Beethoven and Mozart, as does the minuet.  The last movement is so fast paced and so organically symphonic in character that it was deemed inappropriate for the published piano version of the work. 

Symphony 61 in D Major
The adventurous first movement with its recurring use of rapid repeating is particularly notable. In the second theme, the oboes and bassoon provide repeated eight notes for measures followed with the flute taking over the rhythm while the oboe and basson just play a single quarter for each of the subsequent four measures — however, there is still the sense of the bassoon and oboe continuing their repeated eighth notes, an auditory illusion which is clearest felt in the Thomas Fey/Heidelberger Sinfoniker recording and non-existent in the much slower rendition by Dennis Russell Davies and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra recording.

Symphony 53 in D Major
Nicknamed “L’impériale”, the first movement starts with a majestic, palatially stately largo introduction and an upbeat vivace main section.  Their are two versions of the last movement, so best to check out each — most have the “A” version, with the Dorati recording having the “B” version. 

Symphony 71 in B flat Major
Though not usually classified as one of Haydn’s Sturm and Drang symphonies, there is plenty of storminess (sturm) and propulsive drive (drang.)  Check out the opening slow introduction starting in B flat major to C minor to C major, presenting thematic material used in the following main theme of the allegro section. 

Symphony 70 in D Major
The first movement brims with humor as Haydn starts off by rhythmically displacing a D major arpeggio to initially obfuscate the 3/4 time signature. The second movement is one of the more interesting slow movements of all of Haydn’s symphonies with its use of imitative counterpoint in the minor sections. The minute starts off full of pomp with a tender trio section providing the necessary contrast. The finale is juxtaposition of whimsy and seriousness, with the violin simply squeaking out five upper register Ds dropping down two octaves for the top note in concert with the other strings, repeating this, followed by another set of  solo Ds, which are then repeated by the entire orchestra, followed soon after by the violin repeating the Ds with this playfulness displaced by a weighty and utterly invigorating fugal-like contrapuntal section.

Symphony 85 in B-flat Major, “La Reine” (The Queen)

Named “La Reine” as is was a favorite of Queen Marie Antoinette, symphony opens up with dramatic slow introduction before launching into a single-themed sonata allegro main section.  The second movement, allegretto, is a set of variations on a French folk tune.  The minuet is finely crafted, impressively designed with the inclusion of a coda. The finale is a lively rondo that provides an appropriately satisfying close to a symphony impressive in both its craftsmanship design and pleasurable musical content.

Symphonies 86 in D Major and 82 in C Major, “L’ours” (The Bear)

Symphony 85  was one of six symphonies commissioned Count of Ogny, who played cello in a Parisian orchestra, Le Concert de la loge Olympique.  All six symphonies are remarkable for their craftsmanship and use of thematic material.  Two of my favorites, in addition to Symphony 85, previously mentioned, are the C Major and D Major Paris Symphonies.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

This is a stunning musical work, that certainly should be considered as Must Listen To Music, with the caution for some listeners that the work is comprised of eight slow movements, all excellent, that precede a stunning presto movement that represents an earthquake just about as close as could be expected from any eighteenth century classical-styled composition.  The slow movements, except for the introduction, represent the seven famous attributions of Christ’s words during his crucification.  The work was originally written for orchestra, and that is a good place to start one exploration of the work, but was also effectively arranged, later, by Haydn for string quartet. There are also several arrangements for keyboard, with one version possibly Haydn’s own arrangement.

Symphony 93 in D Major

Symphony 93  is one of six symphonies Haydn composed in 1791 and 1792 during Haydn’s first visit to London and is commonly classified as one of the twelve London Symphonies composed from 1791 through 1795. During this period, Haydn continues to develop as a craftsman producing twelve of the most thoughtfully composed and compositionally impressive symphonies up to that point in time.   Note that 98 and 104 are included in the Must Listen To Music section earlier on this page.


Additional Links

Top Progressive Rock Albums: http://tinyurl.com/mknchn
100 “Must Buy” Classical Albums: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3670355/100-classical-albums-you-must-hear.html
Western Classical Music Recommendations by Category: http://www.cs.rochester.edu/~bh/must_listen.html
Top Jazz Albums: http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/jazz100/top100.html
Best Albums Ever: http://www.besteveralbums.com/overall.php?rank=5717#25706


Comments on: "Must Listen To Music" (3)

  1. Have you listened to Maurizio Pollini’s renditions of the Chopin Polonaises, Preludes, and Études? They are simply magnificent. His dynamic control and emotion are so exquisite that I imagine that with the way Pollini plays Chopin’s pieces, Chopin himself would be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have some Pollini, but it was great when I could access more of his recording at college. I love Pollini — amazing delicacy and control and most importantly musicality. Just magic!


  2. Leo the Deacon said:

    Z-man, I know better than to argue with your musical knowledge (and I strongly endorse your ‘Trane selections) but might I humbly suggest that some of the late great Bill Evans’ work be included in your list? Perhaps his “Live at the Village Vanguard” album? Every time I hear that I am envious of the audience that got to hear that live one Sunday afternoon. Also, I would add Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue to the list–just because it’s accessible doesn’t mean it’s not a work of genius.

    Liked by 1 person

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