Essential Classical Music for Postmoderns, Part 2


…continued from Part 1

Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin No. 2 in D Minor (BWV 1004) Part V: Chaconne

Considered by aficionados to be the greatest single piece of music ever written (Bach will blow your mind, man). This is the piece Joshua Bell played in the Washington subway posing as a simple street musician.  Some of the same people who paid $50 a ticket to see him in the Kennedy Center passed him by in the subway without so much as a dime flipped his way.  Here it is in two parts.  The complete piece is somewhere around 18 minutes.

O Magnum Mysterium by Tomas Luis de Victoria

Technically a Christmas song, about the great mystery of the Incarnation, it is probably my favorite choral piece.  When I taught those little satans known as 9th graders I would spend my lunch break listening to this in order to calm my frayed nerves.

Palestrina’s Missa Brevis

The whole thing is brilliant, but here’s the  Agnus Dei and the Santus et Benedictus

Carmina Burana

Finally, rounding out my choral selections as well as my post, is the Carmina Burana, a cantata composed by Carl Orff, the lyrics being based on a medieval collection of poems which was apparently written by a group of very disillusioned monks.  This youtube video is really trippy and features the original wheel of fortune.  It includes the first two movements of the piece.  Awesome. 



  1. Seriously, that Bach piece blew my fucking mind. And yes, that was the only word available. I would also suggest you check out his “Mass in Bminor” which is also considered a “best ever in the history of the world” type piece.

    Fantastic all around


  2. Hee Hee, you said a naughty word. I’ve heard bits and pieces of the Mass in B minor. I’m listening to as much as I can find on youtube now, thanks.


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