Examples of Sad Music for Strings
Repertoire: Just want to know what piece of music (strings) that is really sad - emotional like the schindlers list theme for violin.
From Ben Adams
Posted May 9, 2005 at 03:51 PM
Hi Fellow Musicians,
Just want to know what piece of music (strings) that is really sad - emotional like the schindlers list theme for violin. If you know any please let me know. It may sound weird but i enjoy listening to sad music not requirem music please - emotional muisc in general something makes you move.
Try the slow movement of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto. I play that in honor of my mother when we visit the summer house where we have spread her ashes.
I share your enthusiasm for sad music. It doesn't make me feel bad at all. Anyway, try Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, unless that's the piece in Schindler's List (I can't remember).
I think the "Melodie from Orfeo ed Euridice" as published in the Fritz Kreisler Collection all time favorites No. 115 is a very sad song for violin. It is slow, lyrical, and in D minor with some lovely chromatics.
Strauss Metamorphosen!!! YEAH!!! (It is written for strings only, as this topic required :p)
Aase's Death from the Peer Gynt Suite by Greig.
By the way, I got a compilation disc of about 20 violinists playing the Gluck (Melodie from Orpheus & Erudice), with violinists from Kubelik and Elman to Kogan, Heifets, Grumiaux, etc. Fascinating. Also fun trying to identify who is playing without looking at the track list.
4th mvmnt of Lalo, middle part of Zigeunerweizen... the Introduction of Intro and Rondo Capriccioso, Serenade Melancolique by Tchaikovsky.... there's alot for violin.
Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. (-:
Who is the new troll?
Ravel, Pavanne for a Dead Princess
Another vote for Adagio for Strings. For songs, Verve Pipe - The Freshmen has got to be the saddest song ever.
From d w
Posted on May 10, 2005 at 03:54 AM
berg's violin concerto
gaspard de la nuit
Not for strings, but how about some good old lieder? Schubert's great song cycle Winterreise
is one of the bleakest works I know--about a man whose lover was fickle, and who leaves and wanders about in the cold. Each song shows a different stage of despair, until in the last song, The Hurdy-Gurdy Man, he follows a strange man in a cemetary, which symbolizes death. Schumann's Dichterliebe
is also beautiful and has a similar plotline.
The Tennessee Waltz, The Wreck of the Rubin James, Ashokan Farewell, Taps. Not all sad music is in the classical repetoire.
My personal favorite (and frankly, I'm shocked it hasn't been mentioned) is the 2nd movement of the Bruch g minor concerto. It's uber-romantic and has a great climax. Also on the orchestral level, the 3rd movement of Racmaninoff's 2nd symphony.
I don't find that to be sad at all-- more contemplative, maybe a little bitterweet. I guess one's reaction is personal. The Brahms Concerto's Adagio is, to me, very sad. I know that others disagree.
Another I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned yet is Joseph Achron's "Hebrew Melody". Extremely sad and heart-rending and I'm not even Jewish. Maybe it's not played too often now days.
Also, put me down as another who loves listening to slow, sad music of whatever genre.
Elgar cello concerto
Strauss Four Last Songs
Oh yes i so agree with Elgars "Meloncholic Masterpiece". I have a dvd on jaquline du pre and at the end there is a taping of her playing the entire thing with her husband conducting.
I would also have to say Heifetz playing Zigeunerweisen by sarasate. Only heard his recording of it the first time the other day. goodness me that fellow had feeling.
For strings I personally love playing and listening to The Death of Ase by Grieg. It soooo emotional and the crescendos and everything really make you feel the sorrow felt by the composer.It's just so warm and heartfelt, like the whole world is coming to an end because of this terrible sadness.
Just my humble opinion
From D Kurganov
Posted on May 12, 2005 at 09:00 AM
When i think sad, i think Valse Triste by Jean Sibelius
Try the Butterfly Lovers violin concerto
Faure's Elegie is very moving too. And second movement of Wieniawski Violin Concerto is similarly exquisite to the Tchaikovsky's second movement.
I remember some music that was played at JFK's funeral: Chopin's Funeral March. It always sounds especially sad to me because of that association.
Barber's Adagio for Strings, for sure. Also Tchaik's Symphony #4.
Something I can't quite recall from Madame Butterfly, sung by the heartbroken heroine. I remember my father listening to a recording of it with tears running down his face.
Never forget Tartini's "Devil's Trill" Sonata. The slow movements are achingly beautiful.
Bartok, 6th quartet, final (4th?) movement...actually, the sad sounding theme begins each movement, but the mood takes over this one completely.
My favourite sad piece has to be Shostakovich's 2nd piano concerto second movement.
I just recently attended the final concert of the season for the North Carolina Symphony where they performed two of the pieces mentioned already—-Bloch’s “Schelomo” with Lynn Harrell on the cello and “Fantasia on a Theme of Tallis” by Williams. It was one of the most moving concerts I’ve ever attended. After both of these pieces, there were very long pauses of complete silence before there was any applause. I don’t think anyone wanted to be the first one to clap and break the spell. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it before.
Although 'Schelomo' uses some cheap tricks to yank the tears, it's damned effective! I have an old record of it by Leonard Rose. Wow!
Has anyone ever heard the Requiem for Three Cellos and Piano by Popper? I played it last summer (piano part) and one day just rehearsing it, one of the cellists stops and just sits back and says "Woah, that was so intense I think I'm going to pass out." I have a recording if anyone wants it, email me.
From leo knoll
Posted on June 2, 2005 at 05:59 PM
From John F
Posted on June 2, 2005 at 10:20 PM
RVW (Ralph Vaughan-Williams for the non-enthusiasts out there) vocal music is very poignant and touching. His folk-like sound give me a much *real* sense of the music than something in a more complex setting. Song's Of Travel - The Vagabond is particularly morose and his small male vocal ensemble piece The Turtle Dove resonate with me whenever I hear them.
Going back to the "complex setting" Bach's Chaconne strikes a chord in me. Going back to whoever mentioned the Tartini, all the parts are a kind of sadness. It seems to me that it is the intensity that changes, while the theme itself remains the same. Glass' Knee Play 5 from Einstein on the Beach also provokes a kind of tragic sadness in me.
Just goes to show how music can affect you no matter what the medium is.
From Alex Belai
Posted on June 2, 2005 at 11:18 PM
Bloch Schelomo, Tchaikovsky concert 2nd mvmt, bruch gm 2nd mvmt...many more
wow, I cant believe that nobody has mentioned the development section of the Beethoven concerto. So very sad and moving!
lots of beethoven is sad, but the moods are always more complex. for pure unabashed sadness i always think of albinoni adagio.
From Kay Canama
Posted on June 4, 2005 at 03:06 PM
Meditation de Thais - J. Massanet, absolutely beautiful and emotional piece.
Dvorak Cello Concerto in B Minor (Adagio) make sure it's played by Jacqueline Du Pre, one of the greatest cellists of the century.
From d w
Posted on June 4, 2005 at 03:57 PM
also: henryk gorecki's symphony no.3
grandiose orchestral/choral stuff is my favorite outlet for "sad" pieces. Mozart Requiem=amazing. Also all the different pieces with the "Dies Irae" them. Beethoven's 7th, 1st mvmt-surprised no one has mentioned. Love Barber's adagio, but Platoon kinda ruined it for me, thats all i can see when i hear it. :) I don't see sad music as depressing (as a definition of sad) though, sad is perhaps the best sort of music, the really emotional side of music that this language expresses best. Music is after all the medium for things unexpressable by words...
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the second movement of the Khachaturian concerto yet. For me, it's heartwrenching ... every time. The first movements of Sibelius, Elgar, and Miaskovsky as well.
Actually, I surprised that no one mentions Shostakowitch! It's the most heart breaking music, especially 3rd mov of e-minor piano Trio or 3rd mov of the 1st violin concerto. And then e minor Sonata by Mozart which he wrote when his mother died.
From Scott 68
Posted on June 27, 2005 at 04:05 PM
brahms hungarian dance 4
Come on! Chausson Poeme, right? Or maybe "Nigun" by Bloch (rip your heart out) from Baal Shem. Here's another that hasn't been mentioned: Vitali Chacconne. Maybe our good ol' favorite La Folia . . . What do you think?
Brahms Hungarian Dance no.17
Salut d'amour by Suk... played by Szeryng. Beautiful.
Certainly the Barber Adagio, as already mentioned.
The pure feeling of sadness has some basic dimensions, generally influenced by the cultural area and sentimental sources.
It's strange no one mentioned the slow movement from Wieniavsky's 1st concerto. Played by Gil Shaham, it is heartbreaking. Dvorak's Dumky trio explores feelings from jubilation to tragicism but also prooves how close they are. Chopin's concertos..well, they need no presentation. I can guide you to some romanian music: Porumbescu's balada can be regarded from 2 perspectives: pathetism, which most violonists create when playing it, but more closed to the folk spirit is the resignation. Enescu's balada for violin has a brahmsian air, a very pure and generous music. Also Enescu's rapsodies, especially the D major one, which is not so known as the A major one. The second movement from Enescu's second sonata in f minor is by an intense sadness.
Has anyone heard the choir version of Barber's Adagio? WWWWOOOOOWWWWW... I've never heard anything so amazing. I think it's on a cd with a lot of versions of Barber's Adagio. The choir version is a MUST!! Besides that, 1st movement of Prokofiev's 1st violin sonata (that section where the violin plays phrygian scales above the piano... wow), Prokofiev's 1st violin concerto, Shostakovich 2nd piano concerto's 2nd movement, 1st movement of Bartok's 1st quartet (written after he got rejected from a woman he liked :( ) And lets not forget all those tragic operas [cough PUCCINI cough cough VERDI]. Oh, and I'll put in another vote for Thaikovsky's canzonetta.
Two more I just thought of, and the 2nd movement of Vivaldi's Gloria, and a Choral piece by Brahms called "Geistliches Lied" or something like that. I think it's op. 30.
Dvorak's American Quartett, 2.movement..
the whole quartet is incredibly fascinating, but the second part.. Really, really emotional..
I played it one time in a church and one woman started to cry:)
YES, DAVID! I have heard Barber's Adagio for vioces. Even though I'm totally dedicated to strings, THAT WAS THE BEST RECORDING I EVER HEARD of it! Wow! That was so----- passion-filled, I guess you would say. Incredible. A must-hear.
ditto--I have an idea that that vocal version is so powerful because the voices are so incredibly on pitch the whole time. It is amazing at the emotion a human voice can inspire . . .
Of course, the human voice can inspire a direct emotion while instruments are more apollinic. An instrument which affects you is usually when it is more closed to the human voice.
It is a paradox that the church lanced the theory that an instrument provoques a more estetical and material emetion and makes the auditorium be away from the pray ambient. The lutherian church, when accepted the musical instrument, was aware of the difference of intensity in emotions?
What about Elgar's Violin Concerto?
I have a recording of it from 1948 by Heifetz, and the accompanied cadenza is so sad.
My ALL-TIME fav sad piece is the Adagio from Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. He wrote it when his wife was seriously sick in the hospital and he couldn't sleep because he worried for her so much. It's very beautiful.
Also try the eighteenth variation from Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. One of my favorites, and my mother's favorite piece.
all right...nobody mentioned this one.
The 2nd mvt. from Barber's Vioin Concerto is what I want at my funeral.
Also, the Vitali Chaccone.
I would prefer Chopin's funeral march from second sonata. That's good: I don't know how I am gonna live my life, but I've already chosen what should be played at my funeral:)
Is there a recording of Elgar with Heifetz? It should be fantastic!
"The Poet Acts " composed by Philip Glass and part of the soundtrack to the fantastic movie The Hours. could perhaps be added to this list.
The choral version of the Barber Adagio that I have is called "Agnus Dei" and it says it's by Barber... I've never looked into whether or not he did the arrangement but I agree that it is simply amazing... Here's a website where you can download at least part of it... http://homepage.smc.edu/lanoue_gerald/Files/musical_examples.htm
As far as choral works that have been recommended... Ave Maria by Chanticleer and Prayer of the Children by Kantorei found on the "Lullaby for Columbine" cd.
for me its Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. 3rd mouvement. i cry everytime i hear it. best recording,by the way, with Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists.
I can't believe nobody has mentioned the adagietto from Mahler's symphony number 5...absolutely heart-breaking, especially if you've seen the film "Death in Venice", after which you won't be able to disassociate those poignant images from the music. Also, Gorecki's Symphony Number 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs"...doesn't get any more sorrowful than that. I've heard one the Polish orchestra from Gorecki's hometown made a recording of it at Auschwitz, which appears in a BBC documentary about the Holocaust...they made the recording in the middle of winter and the soloist was crying as she sang because of the cold and the overwhelming emotion.
i've changed my mind: tchaikovsky's 3ird movement + Mozarts Requiem,the first part. i cryed today when i listened to it...with Mutti. sometimes i even forget that its Mozart. i cant imagine. its just too sad for Mozart...
Tchaik's Serenade for Strings, Barber's Adagio for strings, or his Andante from his violin concerto, and his first essay for orchestra.
Barber is my "new favorite" composer. I love it!
Some of the Bach solo violin stuff is amazing, too! ;-)
I love the heart wrenching stuff!
I got this cd from the library called Classical Heartbreakers. I recommend it. It's lovely!
From Wenhao Sun
Posted on July 9, 2005 at 10:14 PM
I am a particular fan of Saint Saens The Swan. I don't know whose recording I have, but the high notes are like... aughauhgaughaugohg.
Also, 3rd Movement of Brahms Horn Trio (Piano Violin Horn). Written when his mother died... very very sad, especially playing it.
Try Enerst Chaousson's Poeme for Violin and Orchestra and/or Ralph Vaughan-Williams' The Lark Ascending.
I believe that a piece from an anime is very beautiful:
Setsuna's theme from Angel Sanctuary is very very heart rending. Especially since the ending is so unexpected.
I agree though, Schindler's list has got to be one of the saddest compositions ever.
I didn't find Angus Dei sad, or Adagio in G, perhaps because there's no really part that stays in your mind that you can hum.
Winter Wind by John Shmidt is not too sad, but it's amazing to listen to, I can't put a finger on wether it's more happy or sad.
I'm surprised no one mentions Beethoven's Funeral March.
Mozart Requiem in D minor is amazing:
Lacrymosa, Kyrie, Rex Trumbo (spelling?)
If you haven't heard Scottish fiddler Alaskair Fraser play... get a copy of "The Road North." He plays wonderful fast Celtic tunes... AND some lovely, lovely, slow melodies that run a full range of emotions. (I love 'Adagio for Strings' also. :)
Intrada by Desplanes is lovely and it's sad I can't play it well.
for me is the recording from Joseph Hassid-Achron :Hebrew Melody one of melodies where i always have to cry...also the 3 part from the Schostakowic piano trio no 2 played by the Karvay/Karanovic/Stroissnig Trio is very,very sadly...
and also the Chaconne from Bach partita no 2 for violin solo...
^^^ I completely agree. Bachs' Ciaccona movement in the S&P's. About half way through, at the key change. I remember the first time I heard it. And also, an old song that my grandparents knew: 'An Ashoaken Farewell'
The "Ashokan Farewell" IS a lovely tune... but it's not very old. It was written by Jay Ungar fairly recently. Here is the web page for Jay and Molly's music:
The "Ashokan Farewell" is in the first volume of the 'Waltz Book" that I mentioned in an earlier posting of this thread. Jay's "Lover's Waltz" is a favorite lovely tune also.
Waltzes can be beautiful... sad... lovely... almost anything you want them to be. :)
I absolutely love sad music! My favorites are the second movement of the Bruch violin concerto no. 1, 4th movement of Lalo (that one breaks my heart--especially the way Vengerov plays it), the 2nd movement of Vieuxtemps violin concerto no. 5 "Gretry", 2nd movement of Bach's double violin concerto, definitely Meditation by Massenet and Meditation by Tchaikovsky, Pas de Deux from the Nutcracker is also very melancholy. For some reason, this music doesn't make me depressed, it actually inspires me when I'm feeling down and hearing this music reminds me why I play violin.
Thanks for clearing that up for me Katie. I just asumed that since my grandparents were old that their music must be old too, and most of it is. Sorry if I mislead anyone, it was my mistake.
I love sad music too! Definitely the Barber Adagio (string and choral versions), the Largo from the Bach Double, the Andante from the Barber concerto and Vaughan William's The Lark Ascending.
ive changes my mind. Mozarts requiem. first part and "Lacrimosa". nothing in the world is more sad than that...
"Blue Violin" by Electric Light Orchestra//Violinist is Mik Kaminski, who played the violin solos on ELO's releases from 1973 to 1986 and was usually backed up by 4 cello players. "Blue Violin" is only 1:11 in length. Mik said in an interview that he couldn't finish it because it was so sad.
Barber's "Adagio" for sure.
Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy"
2nd MVT of Mozart's "Symphonia Concetrante"
Also the Theme of "Godfather" is quite sad in a Soprano's kind of way :)
Some of Brahms' Hungarian Dances are nicely melancholy--#4 and #11 spring immediately to mind. So is the first movement of his Sonata #3.
Sibelius concerto (2nd mvmt.)
Beethoven's Symphony no. 7 (2nd mvmt.)
Britten Simple Symphony: Sentimental Sarabande
Dvorak New World (2nd)
Mendelssohn concerto (1st)
Wieniawski Caprice no. 2 for two violins
(aside from many already listed)
From bilbo Pratt
Posted on November 28, 2006 at 09:00 PM
New World makes me happy.
There's a Celtic tune called Star of County Down that's pretty melancholy.
From Brian R
Posted on November 29, 2006 at 09:36 AM
Beethoven 7th symphony allegretto as Andrew mentioned is just about perfect for that type of mood. I believe it was the Philadelphia Orchesta under one of their previous conductors that always played it upon hearing that any former orchestra member had passed away. I saw a video of it as a great ballet too.
I find the 3rd mvt of his quartet op. 132 sad (not exactly the right word) with a few triumphs in it to break the mood. Very moving- about the best thing he or anybody else has written in my opinion.
In a similar vein to the Schindler's List theme, what about Princess Leia's theme from Star Wars? There is a scene in the movie where Luke goes outside and looks up at the two moons above Tatooine and seems to be thinking that he'll never get off this planet, and the violin section comes in in the background playing that theme, and it's actually quite moving. You feel for him and his frustration at being stuck there and longing for something more.
You missed the point of that music completely. The music in that scene is NOT about escape from a boring planet and suffocating homelife but is instead a brilliant forshadowing of the "oh my God, I kissed my sister" theme developed later in the series. The two suns of tatooine ("sun" and daughter??)are an obvious symbol here and really, it's no wonder Darth Vader wore a mask.
And on a more serious note... did anyone mention Bloch's "Nigun"? Sad with an admixture of still smoldering anger...
1. The Tchaik. piano trio; 2. The Schnittke piano quintet; 3. Finzi, Elegy for Violin and Piano.
YES, the Schnittke piano quintet!!!!
Also (sorry for the really broad generalization), basically anything Jewish. :)
1st mvt of the Kodály solo cello sonata
Bartók 6th quartet
Bach "Erbarme Dich, mein Gott" (from I think the St. Matthew Passion)
3rd mvt of Shosti symphony #11, also sym. #5, and the entirety of sym. #13
As a follow-up on the Schnittke quintet, I really think it's a piece that anyone who hasn't heard should listen to. It's an amazing piece.
In this connection (and I don't work for Naxos), did you know you can sign up with Naxos for $20 a year and for that year listen to their entire classical library (except for the vintage performances which are unavailable in the U.S.)? I mention this b/c there's an excellent performance of the Schnittke quintet on Naxos with Boris Berman. To me that performance is worth the $20 right there.
Just my 2 cents. (or 20 dollars:))
I tend to be touched by the poignant side of the repertoire. For example:
Brahms' "Geistliched Wiegenlied" (Sacred Lullaby). I have the Marilyn Horne/Pinches Zuckerman/Martin Katz recording.
Also, "The Humming Chorus" from Puccini's "Madama Butterfly". I played that piece on a recital awhile back- I just played the vocal line (on violin) and used the Rutter piano reduction...very effective.
themes from moldau
Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde" - I forget which piece in it exactly. And this says a lot as I don't really like Wagner.
Mozart g minor quintet
Beethoven op. 59 #1, 3d movement
HOW could I forget late Beethoven quartets?! The Cavatina from op. 130 is absolutely heart-melting, as is the rest of that piece in general. The last mvt from op. 135 ("Muss es sein?") is a real kick in the gut--youve never heard quartet writing like that until Shostakovich. Lots of tragic stuff in op. 95, and the Heiliger Dankegesang, although essentially joyful, has lots of melancholy in it. And as usual, I highly reccommend the Takacs Quartet's recording of all of these. :)
Brahms Piano Quintet, especially the 3rd movement. I always listen to it when I'm feeling melancholy.
second movement of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's guitar quintet is also good (hey, it's still strings ;) ), his Tonadilla on the name of Andres Segovia I also find has a wonderful melancholy about it. (IMO he wrote a lot of stuff that would fit into the 'sad' theme but I'm only familiar with his guitar works.)
Suk four pieces as played by Ginette Neveu (number 1 and number 3) and Grave by Fritz Kreisler as played by Ginette Neveu... very sad...
Specially dedicated to the fans of Serenade for Strings...the bittersweet The Moldau from My Fatherland by Smetana. Three of his four children died, then his wife died. Later he went deaf and ended up in a lunatic asylum - is it any wonder his music sounds so tragic, but it's still beautiful.
Szomorú Vasárnep - Sad Sunday, is said to have driven many people to suicide. How much sadder can you get?
From Dana Taylor
Posted on December 7, 2006 at 01:47 AM
Thanks for reminding me of "The Vagabond" - I sang that in HS at contest!
I'm sure there's a violin version of Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise".
Yes, Butterfly's aria toward the end.
I don't really think of Barber's Adagio as sad, but I can see it. I hear yearning, which is different(?)
vocal: "Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind" by Rutter.
Faure's "Apres un Reve",
anything by Piazolla.
From Sue Bechler
Posted on December 7, 2006 at 02:11 PM
Funny, I find reading a few replies that "sad" is just too general a word for me. I have pieces I'd call wistful, melancholy, heart-wrenching, lonely, blue, etc., any of which might be termed sad. There are some great "sad" fiddle tunes. Take a listen to Jay Ungar playing his compositions, Ashokan Farewell, Mardi Gras section of his Appalachian recording or themes from the film, Brothers Keeper. Also Michael Doucet playing Valse Acadienne by Wayne Perry. Larry Unger (no relation), writes excellent waltzes including the haunting Cumberland. Gordon Bok singer/song-writer /guitarist has some maritime and other folktunes filled with great longing and resignation. My opinion is when you look into folk sources, in part because there's often a lot less going on, you find more keys to what evokes various feelings in us. Sue