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Any Suggestions for Dark, Moody Classical Music?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Apr 23, 2003.

  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I know VERY little about classical music, only that I like some of it tremendously and some of it makes me doze off (it's the most varied music out there). I'm most interested in dark, moody pieces, pieces that are very story-like. Also, I tend to prefer strings and piano over horns, but I don't want to limit myself too much. The only references I can list of things that I enjoy are Holst's "The Planets" suite, Bethovens's "Moonlight Sonata," and certain Mozart pieces I've heard but don't know the name of. It's so hard searching for pieces you like with so much out there and not knowing where to begin, so I was hoping to get some suggestions from you guys.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  2. slowburnaz

    slowburnaz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Tucson, AZ
    The Rites of Spring by Igor Stravinsky.

    Very dark and moody stuff, and it's much like he's telling a story with the music. It was originally written for a ballet, and I've heard that it caused a riot the first time it was performed!
  3. You might get more response from the DB forum, lots of those guys play in orchestras, string ensembles, etc.

    My standard answer is almost anything by Wagner....but that is really based on a routine that Victor Borge used to do, so what do I know.:D ;)
  4. Bartók's string quartets are uniformly uneasy-sounding. If you think '70s King Crimson is dark, this is the source material.
  5. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I may have the exact names wrong - "Central Park after Dark" and "The Unanswered Question" by Charles Ives, and "O Sacrum Convivium" by Olivier Messiaen.

    I'm listening to "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste" by Bartók as well, since my taste runs to the "dissonant, but not all the way dissonant".
  6. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Check out some of Philip Glass's stuff. One that's especially good to me is "Kronos Quartet performs Philip Glass." Glass's Ahknaten is excellent but it's an opera so I don't know if you'll dig that. Very dark feeling. Good stuff. Some of Kronos Quartet's other stuff is good too.

    I agree with PeteyMac about Bartok. Weber's "Der Freischuz" is good although that one's an opera too. If you're familiar with Mr. Bungle you can hear a little passing reference to Der Freischuz on their Disco Volante album.

    brad cook
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    "Central Park IN The Dark".
    I would also add Ives' 2nd Symphony & The New England Holidays Suite.
    (I keep about 70 cds on my compooter desk here at home...there's 4 Ives' cds permanately aboard admidst all the 'Trane, Miles, etc.)
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I've always enjoyed Modest Mussorgsky's "A Night on Bald Mountain" for dark classical music.

    Here's some more of my dark favorites:

    "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens

    "Valse Triste" by Jean Sibelius

    "Requiem Mass" by Mozart

    "Song of the Volga Boatmen" by Igor Stravinsky

    "La Bacarole" from Tales of Hoffman" by Jacques Offenbach

    For all-out sad music, "The Dying Swan " from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky.

    I may be alone in this, but I find Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony" to be heavy and dark...even a forerunner of today's heavy metal.
  9. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    i have always thought the same!
  10. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I've always thought the 9th (second movement particularly) was a much darker and metal-ly composition.

    Others to look into for evil classical, Carmina Fortuna by Karl Orff, and the all-time spooky tune, Toccata and Fugue in Dm by Bach.

  11. Had it not been for "A ClockWork Orange" I would have only have known Beethoven's 5th.

    Granted I will never hear "Singing in the Rain" the same way again but you have to take the good with the bad.
  12. For moody, it's hard to beat Barber's Addagio for Strings .

    I also like anything by Arnold Schoenberg. Dark and dissonant.
  13. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    "To Tame The Periolous Skies" is not a "classical" song so to speak, it is a more recent song by a pretty well known band composer. It is a very in depth song, very cool to listen to. The symphonic band I am in is (attempting to) learning it right now, and it is very fun.

    Another really nice song is "The Iliad", movement one of a symphony made with the inspiration of Homer's Odyssey. This song is about the attack of Troy.
  14. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    True dat!

    Messian also came to mind.

    brad cook
  15. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Isn't it Carmina Burana?

    I'm fond of Mussorgsky's <i>Pictures at an Exhibition</i> (I like it much better than <i>Night on Bald Mountain</i>), and Stravinsky's <i>Petrouchka</i>.
  16. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    You might check out Mahler's 10th. I've got that, don't know it too well but it struck me as pretty dark when I got it. I have Slatkin's version w/ the St. Lous Orchestra, I think there are pretty wide variations on this one (since Mahler didn't finish it before he died). The finale is pretty intense.
  17. No one has mentioned Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King".
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Mahler's 10th was unfinished but the completion or "performing version" by Deryck Cooke is pretty much accepted - I've heard 3 version but the latest one conducted by Simon Rattle is incredibly intense.

    The finale should be dark, as it was inspired by a funeral procession that Mahler heard in New York, not long before he knew that he was going to die.

    If you want dark Mahler Symphonies though - my favourite is Number 6 - the Tragic symphony - which has an incredibly intense final and has three hammer blows - it marks tragic events in mahler's life.

    Possibly the saddest most intense music I've heard is Gorecki's Symphony No. 3 - which is based on poems written by concentration camp victims imprisoned by the Nazis in Poland. It is also known as the symphony of sorrowful songs.

    Another favourite for dark intense music is Shostakovich - of course suffering under Stalin and making it through the siege of St Petersburg in the war.

    He wrote 15 symphonies which are all worth having - best are probably 10 and 5 - but I realy like 11 - which tells the story of the revolution, with massacres and triumphal resolution. No 8 is another great work in similar vein.

    Someone mentioned Messiaen - one of my favourite composers - but I rarely hear him as dark - although his work can be dissonant - I hear it as joyful and life-affirming?

    Dark for me is best done by the Russians who really know how to be gloomy!!

    So - Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, - Stravinsky and Rimsky Korsakov occasionally although not always.

    But for dark and moody and telling a story - can anybody beat Wagner's Ring Cycle? Some of the most evocative music ever written and very dark in places.

    But really you could have hundreds of composers in this category, as most modern composers have explored light and dark in their pieces - so I could nominate works by :

    Ravel, Debussy, Nielsen, Sibelius,Janacek, Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian, Arnold Bax - his "Winter Legends" fits the bill pefectly - piano, stories, dark, moody etc.

    As a last recommendation - although I'll probably think of more - how about Lizt's "Faust Symphony" ?
  19. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I was just thinking about these 3 :D

    And how about "Toccata in D Minor" (I can't think of the composer..)? Used to play this everyday in my keyboard class in 11th grade. :D

    Another piece, not really gloomy IMO, but enough to drive ya mad would be Rachmaninov's (sp?) "Rach 3".
  20. "summer" from Vivaldi's four seasons sounds quite dark and aggressive, if uptempo, to me.
    "winter" is dark.