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Thread: Music that moves you to tears?

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Question Music that moves you to tears?

    Here's an interesting question to pose to everyone here-- pure subjective of course: Are there specific pieces of music that can often make you cry or tear up?

    But I'm interested in those pieces that might move someone that deeply and WHAT pieces those might be and if there might be certain common pieces that recur.

    One of the things I love about classical music is it is often able to reach me that deeply in ways that other kinds of music does not (there are a few exceptions in rock music, but it is not a common).

    Of course not everyone is moved the same way and of course music doesn't need to be "sad" in order to make one cry. And there are many pieces of music I adore but without being THAT deeply moved by it (there's no necessary correlation between the greatness of a piece of music and its potential to make one cry and there is also no correlation between one's appreciation of music and being moved to tears-- we are all different).

    Here are some pieces that immediately comes to mind that often moves me to tears:

    Pachelbel: Canon in D (but it must be Paillard's recording. Specifically there is a moment close to the end where a suspended 4th appears and I can't explain where this aching feeling comes from, but it hits me quite suddenly).

    Bach: Air (from Orchestral Suite No. 3) What else can I say?

    Beethoven: the finale from Symphony No. 6 (the French horn call sections in particular)
    Beethoven: "Holy Song of Thanksgiving by a Convalescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode" (3rd movement from String Quartet No. 15)
    Beethoven: The third movement from String Quartet No. 16

    Schubert: Nacht und Traume

    Faure: "Pie Jesu" from Requiem

    Debussy: The Afternoon of a Faun (particularly the big sweeping string passage in the middle of the piece)
    Debussy: Clair de Lune
    Debussy: Pelleas et Melisande (there are many many passages: oddly enough, the passage where Genevieve is reading Golaud's letter; the perverse scene where Golaud is using his son to spy on Melisande; of course the final meeting of Pelleas et Melisande; much of the final scene and several other passages)

    Holst: Mars, The Bringer of War, from The Planets (this is, if anything, a musical representation of the inhumanity of war-- it does not glorify it)

    Vaughan-Williams: Silent Noon

    Copland: Appalachian Spring (especially the violin solo at the end)

    Barber: Adagio (the string orchestra version certainly, but especially the original 4tet version)
    Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (there are quite a few passages in this piece)

    Britten: Sinfonia da Requiem (all three movements of this piece moves me deeply)

    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 (several passages-- knowing the context that this was written right after Stalin's death only make it more powerful)
    Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8 (like Britten's Sinfona da Requiem, this piece moves me greatly from start to finish)

    Bernstein: Mass --Not exactly "classical" but there as SEVERAL songs from Bernstein's "Mass" (which is sort of a musical about a mass service, not an actual mass, though the Latin text is incorporated into it throughout), but especially the terrifying Agnus Dei where the congregation is DEMANDING peace. It has not dated well (incorporating rock music that especially has not dated well), but I still have a fondness for the it.

    Part: Spiegel im Speigel (the version for violin and piano-- it sneaks up on me unexpectedly sometimes)

    What about others here? What pieces (or certain moments in certain pieces) move you to tears?
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Elgar - first movement of his cello concerto. It's the first that comes to mind.
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    Very good topic!

    I have to agree with you on the Shepherd's Song (finale) from Beethoven's 6th. That piece was on the very first classical album I ever owned. Also, the second mv't from the 4th symphony and the first mvt of Pno Sonata no. 30, both by Beethoven.

    To mention others, the Adagio Cantabile from Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius, and sometimes Solveig's Song from Grieg's Peer Gynt. And, on several occasions, the choral from the Finale of Brahm's first symphony has made my eyes well. For me, the emotional value stems from my experiences of the first time I heard it. But, that's the power of music.

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    Here are some of the pieces I find extremely moving:

    Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending, Norfolk Rhapsody No 1, 5th Symphony (1st movement)

    Ravel - Mother Goose Suite, Daybreak from Daphnis & Chloe (this piece makes me go weak at the knees)

    Barber - Knoxville, Summer of 1915 (another piece that takes my breath away)

    Finzi - Dies Natalis (Rhapsody)

    Sibelius - The Swan of Tuonela
    "Look here, I have given up my time, my work, my friends and my career to come here and learn from you, and I am not going to write a petit menuet dans le style de Mozart." - Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maurice Ravel

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rondo View Post
    Very good topic!

    I have to agree with you on the Shepherd's Song (finale) from Beethoven's 6th. That piece was on the very first classical album I ever owned. Also, the second mv't from the 4th symphony and the first mvt of Pno Sonata no. 30, both by Beethoven.

    To mention others, the Adagio Cantabile from Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius, and sometimes Solveig's Song from Grieg's Peer Gynt. And, on several occasions, the choral from the Finale of Brahm's first symphony has made my eyes well. For me, the emotional value stems from my experiences of the first time I heard it. But, that's the power of music.
    Oh, yes, the Swan of Tuonela! I love that piece-- it is definitely a deeply moving piece!

    Beethoven's 6th Symphony was one of my very first classical records too!

    I'll have to make note of some of the pieces I am not familiar with (such as the Elgar cello concerto).

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark Ascending View Post
    Here are some of the pieces I find extremely moving:

    Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending, Norfolk Rhapsody No 1, 5th Symphony (1st movement)

    Ravel - Mother Goose Suite, Daybreak from Daphnis & Chloe (this piece makes me go weak at the knees)

    Barber - Knoxville, Summer of 1915 (another piece that takes my breath away)

    Finzi - Dies Natalis (Rhapsody)

    Sibelius - The Swan of Tuonela
    Hmmm that's the second appearance of Sibelius' Swan (I love it too, and though it is deeply moving I don't think I've teared up listening to it). And a second appearance of Barber's Knoxville (I TOTALLY agree with you Lark!).

    And the Fairy Garden section of the Mother Goose suite gets to me too (its been awhile since I've listened to it).

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. ~ Claude Debussy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark Ascending View Post

    Ravel - Mother Goose Suite
    Hmm...that's a new one for me.

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    Ok, this might be a long list...

    Piano Concerto no. 23, second movement - Mozart
    Clarinet Concerto, second movement - Mozart
    All of the Requiem Mass in D minor - Mozart
    Ballade in G minor - Chopin
    Ballade in F minor - Chopin
    Nocturne Opus 48 no. 1 - Chopin
    Nocturne Opus 72 no. 1 - Chopin
    Barcarolle - Chopin
    Berceuse - Chopin
    Piano Concerto no. 3, first movement - Rachmaninoff (especially the cadenza!)
    Piano Sonata no. 31, third movement - Beethoven
    A lot of Preludes - Debussy
    Piano Concerto no. 2, second movement - Shostakovich
    Symphony no. 2, third movement - Brahms
    Nocturne no. 4 - Faure

    And a lot more...

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    Does anyone know where I can find an arrangement (I usually dont go for them, but in this case...) which includes the choral theme (or variations thereof) from the finale of Brahms' First symphony?

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aristocrat View Post
    Ok, this might be a long list...

    Piano Concerto no. 23, second movement - Mozart
    Clarinet Concerto, second movement - Mozart
    All of the Requiem Mass in D minor - Mozart
    Ballade in G minor - Chopin
    Ballade in F minor - Chopin
    Nocturne Opus 48 no. 1 - Chopin
    Nocturne Opus 72 no. 1 - Chopin
    Barcarolle - Chopin
    Berceuse - Chopin
    Piano Concerto no. 3, first movement - Rachmaninoff (especially the cadenza!)
    Piano Sonata no. 31, third movement - Beethoven
    A lot of Preludes - Debussy
    Piano Concerto no. 2, second movement - Shostakovich
    Symphony no. 2, third movement - Brahms
    Nocturne no. 4 - Faure

    And a lot more...
    Oh oh oh yes the andante from Shostakovich's 2nd piano concerto is heartbreaking! Its one my my favourites...
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Oh, I'd like to add (as strange as this might sound) Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, in various places but particularly the very ending. I don't know why, but it I find it so overwhelming.

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. ~ Claude Debussy

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    Quote Originally Posted by fool on the hill View Post
    Oh, I'd like to add (as strange as this might sound) Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, in various places but particularly the very ending. I don't know why, but it I find it so overwhelming.

    ~josh
    Now there's one I didn't see coming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fool on the hill View Post
    Oh oh oh yes the andante from Shostakovich's 2nd piano concerto is heartbreaking! Its one my my favourites...

    Quite. It's really lovely. I think heartbreaking is the right description. The whole concerto is stunning.

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    A long time ago when I was a teenager and I was first getting seriously into classical music, there was a radio programme I used to record onto cassette on Sunday evenings and they played a variety of classical music. One time they played that Shostakovich concerto and I was so thankful I got it on tape! I wore that tape out to death! I was so delighted when a few years later I got it on CD. There's a section close to the end of the first movement that is really thrilling too, where the brass join in at the end.

    Regarding Stravinsky's Rite-- there's something about certain loud dissonant pieces that get to me (though certainly not all!)... Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem or Holst's Mars is one thing-- at least it is connected in my mind to the savagery of war (I think of them as strongly anti-war music-- it is hardly glorified in these two pieces). I can't help but make the connection with the music with what it represents (this is true with much Shostakovich as well).

    The dissonance of Sinfonia da Requiem is connected (in my mind) with the death and suffering and deumanisation of so many people. The Holst piece is simply inhuman (a terrifying "march" in 5/4) and also represents (in my mind) how soldiers are dehumanised (all the more remarkable because Holst write this BEFORE WWI). Though even without those extra-musical associations, I think they would still move me like they do. But with the Rite I don't even associate it with the basic storyline of the original ballet.

    I can't explain why I react to the Rite that way-- the ferocity of it is just so overwhelming. (I have similar odd moments like this with certain movies, crying in some of the most unexpected moments)

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. ~ Claude Debussy

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    The second mvt of Beethoven's Vln Concerto in D is very moving...brings back memories of one of my favorite movies.

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