The Greatest Orchestral Works

There are some orchestral compositions that represent a true highlight, and stand the test of time. This following are some of the very best classical works composed and played throughout history.

  • First on the list is Georg Friedrich Händel’s ‘Water Music suites’. The tale behind these suites is that Handel wrote them for King George I of England on the river Thames. These are magnificent instrumental suites and an exquisite orchestral work.
  • ’The Planets’ by Gustav Holst are a collection of thematic movements. There are seven movements in total, each taking on the theme of one of the planets known at the time of composition. For example, the Planet Mars (which was the name of the Roman god of war) is marked by angry. intimidating music. This work is very popular and has been used in numerous sci-fi films.
  • Next on the list is the ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ by Bela Bartok. The piece was written toward the end of the composer’s life in 1943, and was premiered as a posthumous work in 1944. This 36-minute long piece of work is enjoyed by many enthusiasts around the world.
  • ’An American in Paris’ is by American composer George Gershwin. The work is a bold statement and fuses classical music with popular/jazz themes.
  • Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s ‘6th Symphony’ is also known as ‘Symphonie Pathetique’. This was the last symphony he wrote and is centred on the theme of death. He did however regard it as the best composition he ever did. It is powerful, moving emotional work. Some regard it as the saddest symphony ever written.
  • Last on this list is the ‘9th Symphony’ from Dvorak, a work that is part of a larger composition entitled ‘The New World’. Dvorak was very impressed and interested in the music of North America – especially African-American influences.