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Music to stir up your morning and wake the neighbors

Bach, Beethoven, Ravel, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Prokofiev, Richard Strauss

Bach’s cantata *Wachet auf, ruft ans die Stimme* (“Awake, the voice is calling us.”) The dotted rhythms invite us to get up and get moving.
Bach’s cantata *Wachet auf, ruft ans die Stimme* (“Awake, the voice is calling us.”) The dotted rhythms invite us to get up and get moving.

Few things in life give me more pleasure than having a cup of classical music coffee on a sunny San Diego morning. If I actually drank coffee it would probably be even better. Even so, going about a morning routine with a classical soundtrack gets the day started off right. Here are the top five pieces of classical morning music.

Video:

J.S. Bach - Chorus "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"

from Cantata BWV 140

from Cantata BWV 140

The first is the opening chorus of J. S. Bach’s cantata Wachet auf, ruft ans die Stimme. The title translates to “Awake, the voice is calling us.” The dotted rhythms which open the piece invite us to get up and get moving. The music keeps pushing forward through a choral fugue before returning to the opening dotted sequence.

The opening movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4 is next. Anytime I listen to this music it gives me the impression that it is taking flight. The rest of the symphony doesn’t quite live up to the opening movement but there’s nothing better in the morning.

Video:

Felix Mendelssohn - Symphony No.4 in A, "Italian" -

1st Movement

1st Movement

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 shares the fate of his Symphony No. 4. It is squished between two monsters in the Seventh and the monumental Ninth. Yet the opening movement is an ideal piece of morning music. Opening movements dominate the morning hours. Despite his legendary misanthropy, few composers are as optimistic as Beethoven, and optimism is what is needed in the morning.

Video:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93

I. Allegro vivace e con brio

Berliner Philharmoniker with Herbert von Karajan

I. Allegro vivace e con brio Berliner Philharmoniker with Herbert von Karajan

It doesn’t seem fair to include “Morning Mood” from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg but no piece of music replicates the dawning of a new day better. The atmospheric quality of the music has often been associated with Grieg’s native Norway but the action is taking place in Africa as the stranded Peer Gynt watches the sun comes up over the Moroccan desert.

Video:

Maurice Ravel - Daybreak

(Daphnis et Chloé)

(Daphnis et Chloé)

Before we get to the final piece, there are a few honorable mentions based on the rising sun. If one is in the mood to awaken the neighbors there is nothing better than “Sunrise” from Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. On the other hand, one might be looking for a little morning romantic intimacy. In that case, nothing surpasses the orgasmic “Daybreak” section from Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe.

Video:

Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op. 60 - IV. Troïka

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The final piece of morning music is “Troika” from Sergei Prokofiev’s * Lieutenant Kijé*. A troika is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses abreast. Judging by the music, Prokofiev’s horses have been given a mixture of oats and meth. I’m not suggesting that anyone should stir meth into their oatmeal but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has happened at some point. Maybe just give the Prokofiev a listen for now.

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Bach’s cantata *Wachet auf, ruft ans die Stimme* (“Awake, the voice is calling us.”) The dotted rhythms invite us to get up and get moving.
Bach’s cantata *Wachet auf, ruft ans die Stimme* (“Awake, the voice is calling us.”) The dotted rhythms invite us to get up and get moving.

Few things in life give me more pleasure than having a cup of classical music coffee on a sunny San Diego morning. If I actually drank coffee it would probably be even better. Even so, going about a morning routine with a classical soundtrack gets the day started off right. Here are the top five pieces of classical morning music.

Video:

J.S. Bach - Chorus "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme"

from Cantata BWV 140

from Cantata BWV 140

The first is the opening chorus of J. S. Bach’s cantata Wachet auf, ruft ans die Stimme. The title translates to “Awake, the voice is calling us.” The dotted rhythms which open the piece invite us to get up and get moving. The music keeps pushing forward through a choral fugue before returning to the opening dotted sequence.

The opening movement of Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 4 is next. Anytime I listen to this music it gives me the impression that it is taking flight. The rest of the symphony doesn’t quite live up to the opening movement but there’s nothing better in the morning.

Video:

Felix Mendelssohn - Symphony No.4 in A, "Italian" -

1st Movement

1st Movement

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 shares the fate of his Symphony No. 4. It is squished between two monsters in the Seventh and the monumental Ninth. Yet the opening movement is an ideal piece of morning music. Opening movements dominate the morning hours. Despite his legendary misanthropy, few composers are as optimistic as Beethoven, and optimism is what is needed in the morning.

Video:

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93

I. Allegro vivace e con brio

Berliner Philharmoniker with Herbert von Karajan

I. Allegro vivace e con brio Berliner Philharmoniker with Herbert von Karajan

It doesn’t seem fair to include “Morning Mood” from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg but no piece of music replicates the dawning of a new day better. The atmospheric quality of the music has often been associated with Grieg’s native Norway but the action is taking place in Africa as the stranded Peer Gynt watches the sun comes up over the Moroccan desert.

Video:

Maurice Ravel - Daybreak

(Daphnis et Chloé)

(Daphnis et Chloé)

Before we get to the final piece, there are a few honorable mentions based on the rising sun. If one is in the mood to awaken the neighbors there is nothing better than “Sunrise” from Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. On the other hand, one might be looking for a little morning romantic intimacy. In that case, nothing surpasses the orgasmic “Daybreak” section from Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe.

Video:

Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite, Op. 60 - IV. Troïka

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The final piece of morning music is “Troika” from Sergei Prokofiev’s * Lieutenant Kijé*. A troika is a Russian sleigh pulled by three horses abreast. Judging by the music, Prokofiev’s horses have been given a mixture of oats and meth. I’m not suggesting that anyone should stir meth into their oatmeal but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has happened at some point. Maybe just give the Prokofiev a listen for now.

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