Famous dramatic symphonic classical works

The power of the human spirit and the force of nature


VICTORY SYMPHONY – BEETHOVEN
Mighty, iconic opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (1808).   2:39


DAY OF ANGER – VERDI
Furious, violent orchestra & choir (Dies Irae) from Verdi’s requiem (1869)    1:54


LADY OF SORROWS – MOZART
Sad orchestra & choir. Lacrimosa movement from Mozart’s Requiem (1791).   2:40


FATE – VERDI
Enigmatic, mysterious opening to Verdi opera La Forza Del Destino (1862).   2:15


AQUA MUNDI  – SAINT-SAENS
Watery piano arpeggios & string orchestra. Aka Aquarium (1886).   1:59


SCHEHEREZADE – RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Dramatic, sultry, symphonic opening to wistful violin & mighty build (1888).    3:06


HOMELAND – SMETANA
Patriotic, pastoral & stirring orchestral theme. Aka ma vlast (1882).    1:58


TRIUMPH MARCH – VERDI
Grandiose, ceremonial march from Aida (1871).   1:50


SEA OF IONA –MENDELSSOHN
Panoramic orchestral theme from The Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave) (1830).   2:34


 

Famous elegant classical chamber music

Reflective and elegant, these works have soothed ears for centuries


C’EST LINDOR – FAURÉ
Slow, elegant & reflective choir & orchestra. Aka Pavane (1887).   2:28


NEW WORLD – DVORAK
Nostalgic, reflective orchestra with cor anglais. Choir in 2nd half (1893).  4:39


BUTTERFLY DREAM – PUCCINI
Serene humming chorus over gentle orchestra. From Madam Butterfly (1898).  2:15


WHERE’ER YOU WALK – HANDEL
Formal baroque song for orchestra & treble (1741).   2:39


LULLABY FOR DOLLY – FAURÉ
Gentle, lilting & charming piano & string orchestra (1864).  2:15


BALLET FOR A BEAR – PONCHIELLI
Tentative, jokey ballet movement from the opera La Gioconda (1876).   1:49


LASCIA – HANDEL
Beautiful, slow operatic soprano aria with strings & harpsicord (1705).   1:59


SWAN – SAINT-SAENS
Graceful, serene piano & cello duet (1886).    2:45


 


Famous bright symphonic classical works

The joy of life, of great structures, processions, and banquets 


EXHIBITION – MUSSORGSKY
Optimistic, pastoral orchestral theme – Pictures at An Exhibition (1874).   2:58


1812 OVERTURE – TCHAIKOVSKY
Wistful strings build to symphonic finale with cannon & the works (1882).   3:23


INFERNAL GALOP – OFFENBACH
High kicking, raucous orchestral fling/Can-Can dance (1858).   2:19


ENTRANCE OF THE CLOWNS – FUCIK
Classic orchestral circus theme, aka Entry of the Gladiators (1897).   1:44


CHIT CHAT POLKA – J STRAUSS
High spirited, fast orchestral (Tritsch-Tratsch) polka (1858).   2:14


ROMA RHAPSODY – BRAHMS
Glowering orchestral dance with fiery Romani violin solo (1869).   2:00


THIEVING MAGPIE – ROSSINI
Pompous orchestral march into lilting waltz & climactic build (1817).   2:29


IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA – ROSSINI
Fast, bright instrumental overture to The Barber Of Seville. (1816).    2:31


 

Famous Operatic and Oratorio works

A collection of some of the most famous classical songs ever written


UN BEL DI – PUCCINI
Stunning, emotionally building soprano aria from Madame Butterfly.    3:45


LARGO AL FACTOTUM – ROSSINI
Classic operatic aria from The Barber of Seville for baritone & orchestra.    2:34


CHORUS OF THE HEBREW SLAVES – VERDI
Graceful orchestra & choir chorus from the opera Nabucco.    2:32


PRELUDE TO CARMEN – BIZET
Exuberant orchestral overture with the big tunes from the opera Carmen.   1:54


HABANERA – BIZET
Sassy soprano aria from Carmen for orchestra & chorus (1875).    2:16


TOREADOR – BIZET
Powerful baritone operatic aria from Carmen with orchestra & chorus (1875).   2:28


DIDO’S LAMENT – PURCELL
Sad & beautiful arrangement for orchestra & soprano. (c.1688)
2:11


LIEBESTRAUME – LISZT
Gentle arrangement for choir, soloists & piano.   3:11


AVE MARIA –  SCHUBERT
Arrangement for piano, strings & soprano (1825).  3:48


AVE MARIA – J S BACH/GOUNOD
Gentle, beautiful arrangement for piano, soprano & quintet.   2:37


BARCAROLLE – OFFENBACH
Gently swaying orchestra with choir, soprano & mezzo soprano vocals (1880).   2:55


BRINDISI –  VERDI
Cheerful drinking song from La Traviata with orchestra & chorus (1852).  2:20


FLOWER DUET –DELIBES
Elegant, lilting soprano duet from Delibes’ opera Lakme (1883).   1:39


LA DONNA E MOBILE – VERDI
Arrangement for orchestra & tenor of famous aria from Rigoletto (1851).   2:18


 


Famous small ensemble classical classics


AIR ON A G STRING – J S BACH
Peaceful orchestral arrangement of famous baroque work (c.1720).   3:08


EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK ALLEGRO – MOZART
Bright chamber orchestra opening movement to Mozart’s serenade (1787).    2:22


EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK ROMANZE – MOZART
Measured, thoughtful 2nd movement of Serenade for small orchestra (1787).   2:25


FOUR SEASONS SPRING – VIVALDI
Iconic stately baroque chamber orchestra. Opening, allegro (1720).    2:27


FOUR SEASONS SUMMER – VIVALDI
Stormy, violent baroque chamber orchestral arrangement (1720).     2:23


FOUR SEASONS AUTUMN VIVALDI
Fresh, bright baroque arrangement for chamber orchestra. Allegro (1720).   2:04


FOUR SEASONS WINTER – VIVALDI
Tempestuous final, Winter (or Storm) movement of baroque masterpiece (1720).    2:31


PIZZICATI – DELIBES
Jaunty & playful pizzicato strings from Delibes’s ballet Sylvia (1876).   1:59


PIZZICATO POLKA – J STRAUSS
Cautious pizzicato strings which get occasional bouts of confidence (1892).   2:03


CELEBRATED MINUET – BOCCHERINI
Stately & charming string quintet arrangement of Boccherini classic (1771).   2:06


LULLABY –  BRAHMS
Peaceful, snoozy chamber orchestration of Brahms’s Lullaby (1868).   2:18


PRINCE OF DENMARK’S MARCH –  CLARKE
Grand trumpet voluntary with chamber orchestra.    2:12


TRUMPET TUNE –  PURCELL
Optimistic, regal trumpet & orchestra processional.    1:11


TROUT –  SCHUBERT
Pretty, euphonious piano quintet. Perky, tuneful & playful.   1:46


BRIDAL CHORUS – WAGNER
Formal small orchestral arrangement of ‘Here Comes the Bride’.   1:30


 


Mighty, and famous symphonic pieces


RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES WAGNER
Stormy & mighty orchestra with symphonic brass & much heroism (1851).    2:08


NIGHT ON A BARE MOUNTAIN MUSSORGSKY
Threatening, demonic arrangement for orchestra & choir (1858).   2:26


ODE TO JOY BEETHOVEN
Final choral movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Builds all the way. (1824).     3:02


SYMPHONY NO. 40 IN G MINOR MOZART
Elegant, grand opening to Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. (1788). 1st Movement.   2:28


IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING GRIEG
Orchestral build from cumbersome trolls to frenetic climax. (1867).    2:13


HALLELUJAH CHORUS HANDEL
Final rousing chorus from Handel’s Messiah with orchestra & choir (1741).   2:21


WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE ROSSINI
Very fast orchestral chase. Fanfare into galloping mayhem.   2:41


FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLE BEE RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
Frantic orchestral arrangement played at hair-raising speed (1899).    1:20


 

Timeless, elegant, emotions and moods


ANGST
Beautifully brooding orchestral with a wink at Beethoven.   3:28


GRAND WALTZ
Bright elegant orchestral waltz.   3:05


MAN’S SPIRIT
Regal choir & orchestra in the style of G.F.Handel with positive lyrics.   3:50


RUSSIAN TEA DANCE
Brisk Russian classical dance for violin & chamber orchestra.   2:12


TSAR’S DASH
Colourful light hearted orchestral romp.   2:42


GIVE US PEACE
Slowly growing orchestra erupts with a grand choral explosion.   2:13


 

Very English period orchestral drama


ENGLISH SUMMER
Light, airy strings, melody shared by piano, clarinet & violin.   2:12


FALLEN HEROES
Poignant, nostalgic theme featuring piano, clarinet & strings.   1:49


FINAL VERDICT
Tense & mysterious with rhythmic strings, piano, clarinet, marimba & vibes.   2:42


DEVOUT
Mournful yet fluent elegy for cello with strings & piano.    2:40


RUNNING OUT
Tense chamber orchestra with piano & percussion. A race against time.    2:10


ENGLISH WALTZ
Charming orchestral waltz with lilting clarinet melody.    2:21


TRAVELLING COACH
Bustling, nostalgic chamber orchestra with bassoon & strings.   2:15


YEARN
Passionate lament with sorrowful cello & string orchestra. Minor ending     2:28


FOND REFLECTIONS
Sensitive, romantic theme with warm strings, piano & wistful clarinet lead.   2:27


HEARTACHE
Plaintive violin & bassoon duet supported by strings & piano motif.   2:18


MORAL DILEMMA
Sparse, wistful piano motif over sustained strings.   2:22


SNEAKY SCOUNDREL
Stealthy strings with bassoon & clarinet. Playful with a hint of intrigue.   2:08


TWO TO TANGO
Passionate Argentine tango with violin & string orchestra.   3:02


 

Elegant classical string quartet themes


SUNNY SIDE UP
Positive yet wistful string quartet with piano, celeste & banjo.   2:04


ROYAL GARDEN PARTY
Genteel string quartet minuet.   2:37


SLAPTANGO
Stealthy Argentine tango featuring marimba, body slaps & pizzicato strings.   2:16


 

Working for production music libraries is almost always about writing new music. While there are some constant exceptions such as Christmas music, even then, more often then not, we are writing something new.

But recently David and I, with our good friend Julian Gallant, have been putting together a huge project of Classical favorites for Audio Network. We have painstakingly chosen 34 pieces to re-arrange and shorten to about 2’30” for media use. All will be recorded in two days at Abbey Road studios with the finest musicians London has to offer. Above, I have used the word recently very casually. Actually, we have been carefully planning and working on the project for over a year now and we are just coming to the recording phase.

There are many phases to these projects actually.

  • Planning – Choosing the repertoire and overall scope of the project. This has included both musical and legal considerations of which works are universally popular, and which of those are available within the public domain.
  • Budgeting – Working with Studios and Contractors and the like to establish all possible costs for completing the project.
  • Arranging – Taking these existing pieces and morphing them into something that is our own that meets our original brief.
  • Recording – Logistics of the session. Everyone will be looking to us on recording day to answer all question and know exactly how the recording session is to be run.
  • Comping/editing – Fitting together the most useful takes from recording day and adding any needed overdubs
  • Mixing – Taking all of the bits and making it into a finished track!
  • Versioning – Editing the mix to create multiple versions of the pieces e.g. 60, 30 sec mixes, and short “stings” (which might be used to cut to a commercial, for example).
  • Paperwork – Various forms including a track information sheet is done for each piece. These forms give all information about a piece, from keys and tempo to mix lengths and the keywords used to help clients find our works when searching.

The biggest part has been what to cut out and what to add in.

Building a new arrangement of pieces we’ve lived with our whole lives

The grand scope of this project will be most evident on recording day with over 100 musicians and vocalists coming in to lend their talents to the likes of Mozart and Beethoven, but that is really the smallest and easiest part of the project. The biggest part, and what I‘ll focus on now, has been what to cut out and what to add in. Building a new arrangement of pieces we’ve lived with our whole lives

Classical favorites, as you may have figured out, are the most famous classical pieces by the best-known classical composers of all time. We had an incredibly hard job choosing the top pieces and had many good natured arguments over the matter!

Our list includes Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Vivaldi, Brahms, and, Tchaikovsky to name a few. Tasked with editing these great works, the constant questions are:
“What makes this piece most memorable?”
“Which parts are the most important for an editor or music supervisor?”

In some cases it’s easy. For example: Flight of the Bumblebee” (Rimsky Korsakov) is lively and short – only about 1’20 long… and almost perfect for modern media uses already, as it is to the point and has easy starting and ending points. But what about Wagner’s “Ride Of the Valkyries”? It’s 5’20 from start to finish and too long for our purposes. It also has absolutely no breaks from start to finish.

So the cuts begin! We extract what we consider to be the most famous bits and write new parts to join them together. We mould the original composition to fit our line up of instruments and add a bit of extra panache along the way. Once the composition is complete, we move on to stage two: adding edit points.

Edit points are places where an editor may want to start or stop to fit the music into whatever video they are working on. It’s like turning a piece of music into Swiss cheese. We add holes in logical places. ( In many cases this adds to another round of writing to make alternative endings for melodies within the piece where we have added a hole) You’ll be able to hear this on the rough audio file on the right. This is a really basic computer-generated version of audio from our scoring program and it forces you to use your imagination to hear what it will sound like in the end. Notice the starts and stops (edit Points) throughout. These will be edited together in our audio editing program Protools after the recording is done and prior to mixing.

What’s next?? We’ll save that for another blog about the editing, mixing and versioning processes.

Stay Tuned!!!

Since this blog was written, Audio Network have asked to extend the scope of this project further still, to incorporate some opera favourites. This means replicating the processes shown above but with the added challenges of incorporating opera singers alongside a symphony orchestra – all of which will be recorded at the same time in Abbey Road studio 1 – singers and players together. Much more to say on this in the coming weeks and months – so watch this space!