home | contact | sound samples | discography | calendar | reviews and testimonials | photos and press materials | site map | mailing list sign-up

classical: biography | performance programs | repertoire lists | educational talks | film: “Beyond 88 Keys”
jazz: biography | performance programs | tune lists | originals jazz charts | educational talks
off-stage: writings on music | blog | teaching | wedding music | non-music interests


Top Ten Pieces of the Millennium

Here is a possible list of the top 10 pieces of classical music of the past millennium. Many of these pieces were programmed at the Vermont Millennium Music Festival in September 2000. Pieces here were selected based on a consideration of both general quality and historical importance.

What would make your top 10?

In chronological order:

1. Hildegard - Symphonia (composed 1140's)hildegard

2. Pérotin - Viderunt omnes (composed c. 1198)

3. Guillaume de Machaut - Messe de Nostre Dame (composed mid-1300's)

tallis4. Thomas Tallis - Spem in alium
for 40 voices (1573)

a spectacular "surround-sound"
listening experience

5. Claudio Monteverdi - Orfeo (1607)

6. J.S. Bach - Brandenburg Concertos (1717-1721)

7. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - String Quintet in G minor, K. 516 (1787)

8. Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony no. 3 "Eroica" (1803)

9. Igor Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring (1911-1913)

10. Olivier Messiaen - Quartet for the End of Time (1940)

Composed while interned in a prisoner of war camp during World War II, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is a totally complete and satisfying piece of music. Messiaen was really the first composer of the 20th century to develop his own "language" for all the three primary elements of music -- rhythm, melody, and harmony.

In this quartet, Messiaen incorporates into his new and fully-dimensioned sound-world his beloved bird-song and his deeply spiritual visions of the apocalypse. From its first performance to an audience of 5000 prisoners on a freezing January day in 1941, to today, audiences have been moved by one of the twentieth century's great creations.

Back to Vermont Millennium Festival