Symphonic 2

Picking up from where Symphonic 1 left off, this album features more pieces by Romantic heavyweights, including Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns and Grieg.

Listen to five tracks from the album

Morning forms part of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt, the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s play of the same name.

Although the composition accompanied a scene in which Peer Gynt is up a tree in the Moroccan desert and fending off a group of apes, the piece is now often associated with a tranquil, glorious sunrise.

The piece has been featured in numerous episodes of The Simpsons, as well as in the classic comedy Carry On Camping.

Danse Macabre is a tone poem for orchestra based on a Medieval French superstition, in which Death – here represented by the solo violin – leads individuals from all walks of life to their graves.

This memento mori, literally ‘remember that you will die’, served as a reminder that earthly life was transient and death was inevitable. Despite its morbid subject matter, it has playful elements such as the xylophone’s depiction of rattling bones and the oboe’s imitation of the cockerel’s crow.

The piece was famously used as the theme tune to British detective drama Jonathan Creek.

With lyrics taken from a poem by William Blake, Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem is regarded as a quintessentially English hymn.

Originally composed as a morale-boosting unison song during World War One, and then adopted by the women’s suffrage movement, the tune has become synonymous with patriotic depictions of Britain.

It is considered something of an alternative national anthem.

The most famous section of the ballet The Nutcracker, choreographer Marius Petipa wanted the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to sound like “drops of water shooting from a fountain.”

The piece features a celesta which, despite its piano-like appearance, produces a sound similar to a glockenspiel.

It is often heard over the Christmas period, in festive films including Bad Santa and Black Christmas.

Written in 1866, Johann Strauss II’s Blue Danube is a consistently popular piece of classical music. Often considered the most famous waltz ever written, it is actually a chain of five interlinked waltz themes.

It has become an unofficial Austrian national anthem, traditionally broadcast at midnight on New Year’s Eve on television and radio, and used for the perennial encore of the New Year’s Day concert in Vienna.

The piece features prominently in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and later appeared in a scene in The Simpsons parodying the film.


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