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Classical 101

Playlist: WOSU Staffers Share Their Fave Pieces of Classical Music


Home to Classical 101, WOSU Public Media also encompasses 89.7 NPR News, WOSU TV, WOSU Classroom and more.

We thought it would be fun to ask our WOSU coworkers to tell us about their favorite classical music works. It’s always exciting to see what door people find into the genre.

Bedrich Smetana: Vltava, “The Moldau”
“When I took my first music class in college, this was the first piece they played. I remember thinking, where has this been all my life?!” —Eric French, WOSU radio operations

Johannes Brahms: “Poco Allegretto,” Symphony No. 3
“The Brahms No. 3 I remember hearing in an old noir film and thinking how perfectly it fit, all moody and suspenseful – it stuck with me.” —Jacyln Reith, WOSU underwriting

Claude Debussy: “Clair de Lune”
“It just seems like it would be part of a soundtrack of my life.” —Diana Bergemann, WOSU TV

“I think ‘Clair de Lune’ is absolutely beautiful.” —Kate Quickel, WOSU TV and marketing

Edward Elgar: “Nimrod”
“I played ‘Nimrod’ twice in school orchestra – once as a high school freshman and once as a senior. The first time I hated it – it was so slow, and repetitive, and I always wanted to play fast music.

“But the second time we played it, I fell in love with the cinematic swells. I love how the different parts swirl around each other, and how the different parts playing the melody feel just slightly disconnected.

“I think it was part of the reason why I was later driven to get into post-rock like Mogwai and Sigur Ros – those elements of repetitiveness and grandiosity are really prominent.” —Gabe Rosenberg, WOSU digital media

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
“‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ is one of my favorites. I tried to learn it on the clarinet when I was in middle school. (Key word: tried)." —Elizabeth Curtis, WOSU Classroom

Camille Saint-Saens: “The Swan”
“‘The Swan’ was the intro to my wedding – we had a string quartet – so that’s just sentimental to me (though I ended up walking down the aisle to the string quartet’s version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” which was a completely different tack!) :)” —Jacyln Reith, WOSU underwriting

Hans Zimmer: “You’re So Cool”
“From the True Romance soundtrack. That song makes me happy!” —Micki Hernandez, WOSU TV

Frederic Chopin: Etude, Op. 10, No. 3 in E Major
“It’s not something I heard till recently. I was looking for a classical composer to listen to while working, and I heard Chopin’s Etude No. 3 in E Major, and I loved it. It kind of stopped me in my tracks and made me listen.” —Marylee Williams, 89.7 NPR News

Johann Pachelbel: Canon and Gigue in D
“I know it’s cliche, but I’ve been a sucker for Pachelbel Canon ever since I saw Father of the Bride.” —Kate Quickel, WOSU TV and marketing

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
“I know it gets overplayed all the time in bad movies, but I’m very fond of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart. The reason I like this song is because of a memory.

“I was in a bar in Kent 30 or so years ago. A classic rock cover band was playing. In between songs, a drunk person yelled, ‘Play some Skynard!’ As a joke, I yelled ‘Play some Mozart!’ The guitar player looked up and nodded at me.

“He walked up to the front of the stage and played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – not part of it, but the whole piece. His bandmates watched him in pure horror as he rocked out. It was fantastic! The bar gave him a standing ovation.” —Darrin McDonald, WOSU TV

Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
“It’s ice soda pop for the soul!” —Cindy Gaillard, WOSU TV

Claude Debussy: “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum”
“I’ve always loved Debussy. This is on Bela Fleck’s classical CD, Perpetual Motion, and I love the track. I always perk up when I hear any performance of this piece.

"Hard to pin down one piece as a favorite. You’d get a different answer if you asked again tomorrow.” —Brent Davis, WOSU TV and radio

Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
“The Violin Concerto is just bursting with life and passion, and I like the kickoff with the soloist right out the door.” —Jacyln Reith, WOSU underwriting

Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring
“I like the lyrics of the traditional Shaker hymn (“Simple Gifts”), so that’s always in my head.

"But I like the simplicity (no pun intended) – how it starts off light and fanciful, other instruments join in, it becomes more rich and grand, becomes playful and lilting again, and then there’s this crazy, amazing, majestic crescendo at the end.” —Meredith Hart, WOSU marketing

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7
“A piece I would recommend to a friend just sampling classical music.” —Kent Teeters, Classical 101

Richard Wagner: “Ride of the Valkyries” / “Kill the Wabbit!”
“It has been a favorite of mine since childhood.” —George Welling, WOSU membership

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty Waltz
“I have always loved Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz – it is something I probably would not have picked a few years ago.

“But [my daughter] loves Aurora and Sleeping Beauty and well, all Disney Princesses. And we have watched Sleeping Beauty together, and I loved seeing her experience this piece for the first time.” —Amy Juravich, WOSU radio

Classical 101 Program Director Cheryl Dring moved to Columbus in 2016, having worked in public radio since college. With stops in Austin, Madison, Dayton, Sacramento, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana, she has seen much of the country through the lens of public radio and local arts.
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