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Famous Piano Solo Compositions

Updated on February 29, 2012

Famous Piano Solo Music

Note: you’ll find a ‘youtube’ link below every piano piece discussed.

Famous piano solo compositions - piano solo music that is played on a regular basis, which composition is number one and “most famous of all?” It’s no coincidence that I used quotation marks for the words “most famous...” The words "fame" and “greatness" have little if anything in common with one another. In fact, when it comes to judging art (music, literature, painting and poetry) as a whole, “great and famous” should not even be used in the same sentence most of the times.... However, there are many classical music compositions that are famous and musically great at the same time. (e.g., Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, etc...) Case in point: I was reading up on some very famous movies - big box office hit movies I might add - come to find out most of them were given very low rating scores by film critics/experts!... Not that I’m influenced by these film critics, as I’ve come to the conclusion that when film critics don’t like a movie, I usually do...point being, the most important thing of all is that you enjoy what it's you're listening to...

My article will discuss piano solo compositions that are very famous and played on a regular basis: commercials, movies and television.... This will be another article of mine in the “most famous” series of articles I’ve written for HP...

Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
I had little trouble in choosing this as “the most famous” of all piano music compositions... This piece is so famous, that it has become a cliché in classical music. (Romantic actually...) For many years, few if any serious music scholars would ever mention Liszt and Chopin in the same breath...”times they are a changing...” Liszt has always been considered one of music’s greatest innovators, but for a long time few thought very much of him as a composer.... What’s interesting about this piece is how extremely difficult it’s to play. Many have called Liszt the greatest pianist of all times. Now ask yourself, if you were the greatest pianist of all times, and you happened to be a composer, would you write piano music that was difficult to play? - Ditto! Liszt’s piano music is very difficult to perform by even the most accomplished artists... And, since Bugs Bunny is a world class artist in his own right, here he is performing the beginning of this very famous piano composition by Liszt...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYM84n-2Sas

Chopin - Polonaise in A flat major op. 53
Liberace’s favorite piano piece of all times...this work of Chopin is very famous... Chopin was a contemporary of Liszt, and he tried to emulate Liszt’s exaggerated piano playing style in many ways, this piece being an example. Chopin wrote many polonaises, but this one has become synonymous with his name. Most people aren’t even aware that Chopin wrote more than one polonaise; likewise, many people worldwide aren’t aware that Liszt wrote more than just one Hungarian Rhapsody...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFvqvZOtCF0

Brahms - Lullaby
Brahms is one of the giants of music. His symphonies are amongst the greatest and most intellectual ever composed - go figured, this would be his ticket to fame. Unless and if you’re into classical music, this is how the most part of the world knows Brahms by...

Debussy - Clair de Lune
Debussy was inspired by the great late “fin de siecle” 19th Century French poets which were many at the time. Verlaine and Mallarme were two giants of this period, both of whom inspired Debussy to compose music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIsQPdC9YnY

Beethoven - Fur Elise
The piece every parent aspires their child to be able to play one day. This piece gets played virtually everywhere and for many different occasions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mVW8tgGY_w

Schumann - Traumerei
One of the most beautiful pieces ever written for the piano. A fairly easy piece to learn to play. It’s from Schumann’s “Kinderszenen”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq7ncjhSqtk

Mendelssohn - Spring Song
Famous piano solo which is heard very much in cartoons. It’s from Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words”

Bach - Prelude No. 1 in C major
I’m something of a purist...I don’t like to include Bach’s music in a discussion of piano compositions, because, the piano did not exist when Bach was around. Nevertheless, this has not stopped piano music teachers from teaching Bach to their students, nor has it reserved Bach’s music to be played exclusively on the harpsichord...blah...lovely piece.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0egJr6nvCQI
Satie - Gymnopedies No. 1
Famous and relaxing piano piece of music by this above average French composer, who is not as well known as the other composers mentioned in this article are...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBiPQKK1upk
Dvorak - Humoresque No. 7
A composer who wrote very little piano music. Dvorak was one of the few great composers who was not a gifted pianist. Dvorak’s instrument was the violin, and the piano did not interested him very much. However, Dvorak wrote some of the most beautiful melodies ever written by any composer and here’s one of them...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4yUeb06QfY



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    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hello Ingenira, I love Beethoven very much, especially the 5th Piano Concerto, it's my favorite of his.

      Take care and thanks for stopping by

      John

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 

      6 years ago

      Good list of popular classical pieces. I like Debussy - Clair de Lune. Now, I am into Beethoven piano concertos.

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you so much agvulpes, Fur Elise is very famous.

      "Flight of The Bumblebee" is not a piano piece. It's from Korsakov's opera entitled "The Tale of Tsar Saltan," however, it's played in different renditions - even a jazz rendition, so I won't tell if you don't....

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my article

      Take care of yourself

      John

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for sharing this great list of 'classics' my favorite for personal reasons is Beethoven's - Fur Elise.

      I'm not sure if it would qualify but I love listening to 'Flight of the Bumblebee'

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks Derdriu!

      Satie was an important composer who doesn't get the respect he's entitled to these days. "Les Six" were an important French group and Satie was one of the most gifted of his group.

      Take care

      John

    • profile image

      Derdriu 

      6 years ago

      John, What an effortless, endearing, excellent summary of famous piano solo compositions and their composers! In particular, I like your mentioning Eric Satie, whose works would have more admirers if only he and his accomplishments were better known. Additionally, you do an excellent job on the interesting anecdotes which speak volumes of the composer's personality and works.

      Thank you for sharing, voted up + all,

      Derdriu

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      You asked me a question, just thought I'd forward you to my hub. I believe it had the answer you were looking for...

      Thanks and take good care

      John

    • arthsabi profile image

      arthsabi 

      6 years ago from World

      Great hub, exactly what I've been looking for =)

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you Katrine. I've been doing a series of "most famous" and just thought I'd throw this article in the bunch...

      Take care and thanks again

      John

    • profile image

      KatrineDalMonte 

      6 years ago

      Hi John, you have made a very good selection here. Thanks for the list of wonderful compositions.

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