The Best Classical Music on YouTube

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

YouTube offers a wide variety of classical music videos, from complete symphonies to performances of individual pieces. Here are our picks for the best classical music on YouTube.

The Best of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most celebrated classical composers of all time. His work spans across multiple genres and his influence is still felt today. YouTube is a great place to find Bach’s work, and there are a few channels in particular that stand out. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best of Bach on YouTube.

The Goldberg Variations

The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is an aria and a set of 30 variations for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach. First published in 1741 as Clavier-Übung IV, it is considered to be one of the greatest works in the history of western music. The work was named after Bach’s patron Count Kaiserlingk von Goldberg, who may have been the person for whom the work was originally intended.

The Well-Tempered Clavier

The Well-Tempered Clavier (BWV 846–893), BWV 846–893, is a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the German of Bach’s time Clavier (keyboard) was a generic name meaning either harpsichord or clavichord – apparently Bach used it mainly for the former. The modern German spelling for the collection is Das wohltemperierte Klavier.

Some 20 years after Bach’s death, Ferdinand David published a edition of The Well-Tempered Clavier with fingering and performance suggestions. Since then many editions of The Well-Tempered Clavier have been published, usually with some editorial fingering added.

The Best of Beethoven

If you’re looking for some classical music to listen to, look no further than Beethoven. Beethoven is one of the most well-known and respected classical composers of all time. His music is enjoyed by people all over the world. YouTube has a wealth of Beethoven’s music, and in this article, we’ll be sharing some of the best pieces that you can listen to.

Symphony No. 5

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, was written between 1804 and 1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music and one of the most frequently played symphonies. First performed in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward.

E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as “one of the most important works of the time” and as “a miracle of art”, while Goethe remarked that Beethoven’s Fifth “is not music at all”. Its opening motive – often referred to as the “fate motif” – is one of the most famous and recognizable themes in all of Western music.

This video features the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Claudio Abbado.

Symphony No. 9

The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is a choral symphony, the final complete symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, composed between 1822 and 1824. It was first performed in Vienna on 7 May 1824. The symphony is regarded by many critics and musicologists as Beethoven’s greatest work and one of the supreme achievements in the history of music.

The Best of Mozart

Though there are many great classical composers, we have chosen to focus on the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart’s music is some of the most beautiful and moving ever written, and his influence is still felt today. Many of his pieces have become household names, and his work continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

The Marriage of Figaro

The Marriage of Figaro (Italian: Le nozze di Figaro), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) in four acts composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1 May 1786. The opera’s libretto is based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (1784), which was at that time banned in all of Austria.

The opera is a cornerstone of the repertoire and appears consistently among the top ten operas performed worldwide. Beaumarchais’s earlier play The Barber of Seville (1775) had already made a successful transition to opera in a version by Paisiello. Mozart’s librettist sought to capture much of the original play’s spirit by often setting the action in quarters close to or adjoining those occupied by various members of the aristocracy, with their attendant noise and commotion in the next room.

The characters of other plays by Beaumarchais appear in The Marriage of Figaro, including Dorine from Tartuffe and Suzanne from The Barber of Seville as well as Third Servant from Le Mariage de Figaro and Second Maidservant from La folle journée ou le Mariage de Figaro. Philadelphe from La Mère coupable also appears as Antonia’s cousin, Maximilian.

The Magic Flute

The #1 best Mozart piece is undoubtedly his 40th symphony in G minor. Many classical music lovers consider this to be the greatest piece of classical music ever written. It is powerful, emotive, and truly captivating.

The #2 best Mozart piece is his “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.” This serenade for strings is one of the most popular pieces of classical music, and for good reason. It is elegant, romantic, and endlessly charming.

The #3 best Mozart piece is his Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, also known as the “Elvira Madigan” concerto. This beautiful concerto features one of the most gorgeous slow movements in all of classical music.

There are many other great Mozart pieces, but these are the three that stand out above the rest. If you want to experience the best that Mozart has to offer, make sure to listen to these three pieces.

The Best of Tchaikovsky

If you want to find the best of Tchaikovsky, look no further than YouTube. This popular video sharing site has a wealth of videos featuring this talented composer. You can find full symphonies, individual pieces, and more. Whether you’re a fan of classical music or not, you’re sure to enjoy these videos.

Swan Lake

Swan Lake, Op. 20, is a ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875–76. Despite its initial failure, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian and German folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger. The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet on 20 February 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their productions both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet on 15 January 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg.

Tchaikovsky’s score has become one of his most famous compositions; it was once written about as “catchy as any piece of music ever written”, despite Tchaikovsky’s own comments to the contrary. One reviewer even went as far as to proclaim that “if Tchaikovsky had written nothing but Swan Lake his name would still be one of the greatest in music”.

The Nutcracker

There are few pieces of classical music more recognizable or beloved than Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” The ballet, which tells the story of a young girl who is transported to a magical kingdom of sweets, has been performed all over the world for over a century.

While the entire ballet is wonderful, it’s the iconic “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” that is most associated with “The Nutcracker.” This enchanting piece has been used in countless commercials, movies, and television shows, and its melody is instantly recognizable.

If you’re looking for the best performance of “The Nutcracker,” you can’t go wrong with Tchaikovsky’s original composition. But there are also many wonderful interpretations of this timeless piece, so feel free to explore and find your favorite!

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