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Berlioz for the Packers, Sibelius for the Vikings, and Elgar for the Bears

Classical music for NFC North and AFC South

Dan Campbell of the Lions
Dan Campbell of the Lions

Continuing on with our pairings of NFL teams and classical music, we focus on the NFC North and the AFC South. The NFC North features legacy teams such as the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers while the AFC South is full of newish teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans.

Video:

Hector Berlioz - Le carnaval romain

ouverture (1844)

ouverture (1844)

The Green Bay Packers are named after a meat packing company. Classical music about meat is rare. However, there is classical music about carnivals. The ancient tradition of carnival entails gorging upon meat before it is given up for the 40 days of lent. It’s the busiest time of the year for those ol’ meat packers. Therefore, Le carnaval romain ouverture by Hector Berlioz is the music of the Packers.

Video:

Sibelius: Finlandia

Performed by  the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo.

Performed by the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo.

The Viking culture came out of, in part, what is now Finland. Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer whose most famous piece of music is entitled Finlandia. The ominous opening brass fanfare of Finlandia could spell doom for the opponents of the Minnesota Vikings.

How about the Chicago Bears who were once called the “Monsters of the Midway”? Believe it or not, one of Joseph Haydn’s symphonies was subtitled “The Bear” but it lacks the theatrical quality we are looking for with this pairing. We go, instead, to Edward Elgar’s “The Wild Bears” from The Wand of Youth.

Video:

Edward Elgar:The wild bears

Mariss Jansons – Berliner Philharmoniker

Mariss Jansons – Berliner Philharmoniker

The final NFC North team is the Detroit Lions. Otello, in Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, is known as the Lion of Venice. In the opening scene, he arrives after having won a great naval victory in the middle of a storm. Lions coach Dan Campbell is a storm of a man. Perhaps he, like Otello, will proclaim the glory of victory at the end of this season.

Video:

Verdi, Otello

"Dio fulgor… Esultate!"
(Jonas Kaufmann, Vratogna, Atkins; The Royal Opera)

"Dio fulgor… Esultate!" (Jonas Kaufmann, Vratogna, Atkins; The Royal Opera)

The first AFC South team is the Indianapolis Colts, formerly of Baltimore. The Colts have a long and storied history of great quarterbacks from Johnny Unitas to Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Their music is the Light Calvary Overture by Franz von Suppé. About halfway through this music everyone invariably says, “Oh, this one.”

The Houston Texans represent the entire state of Texas, apparently. There is one piece of classical music that sounds as if it was written to represent Texans riding their horses, en masse, across the wide plains of the west. That music is the finale movement of Alexander Borodin’s Symphony No. 2.

The music for the Jacksonville Jaguars is going to be a bit of a stretch. Jacksonville is named after Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson was a hero of the War of 1812. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 premiered in 1812. Jacksonville was once called Sack-sonville based on the Jaguar's defense applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks. No piece of music applies constant pressure like the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. Et voilà

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“There are notes between E and E flat that aren’t there on a guitar or piano”
Dan Campbell of the Lions
Dan Campbell of the Lions

Continuing on with our pairings of NFL teams and classical music, we focus on the NFC North and the AFC South. The NFC North features legacy teams such as the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers while the AFC South is full of newish teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans.

Video:

Hector Berlioz - Le carnaval romain

ouverture (1844)

ouverture (1844)

The Green Bay Packers are named after a meat packing company. Classical music about meat is rare. However, there is classical music about carnivals. The ancient tradition of carnival entails gorging upon meat before it is given up for the 40 days of lent. It’s the busiest time of the year for those ol’ meat packers. Therefore, Le carnaval romain ouverture by Hector Berlioz is the music of the Packers.

Video:

Sibelius: Finlandia

Performed by  the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo.

Performed by the BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo.

The Viking culture came out of, in part, what is now Finland. Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer whose most famous piece of music is entitled Finlandia. The ominous opening brass fanfare of Finlandia could spell doom for the opponents of the Minnesota Vikings.

How about the Chicago Bears who were once called the “Monsters of the Midway”? Believe it or not, one of Joseph Haydn’s symphonies was subtitled “The Bear” but it lacks the theatrical quality we are looking for with this pairing. We go, instead, to Edward Elgar’s “The Wild Bears” from The Wand of Youth.

Video:

Edward Elgar:The wild bears

Mariss Jansons – Berliner Philharmoniker

Mariss Jansons – Berliner Philharmoniker

The final NFC North team is the Detroit Lions. Otello, in Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, is known as the Lion of Venice. In the opening scene, he arrives after having won a great naval victory in the middle of a storm. Lions coach Dan Campbell is a storm of a man. Perhaps he, like Otello, will proclaim the glory of victory at the end of this season.

Video:

Verdi, Otello

"Dio fulgor… Esultate!"
(Jonas Kaufmann, Vratogna, Atkins; The Royal Opera)

"Dio fulgor… Esultate!" (Jonas Kaufmann, Vratogna, Atkins; The Royal Opera)

The first AFC South team is the Indianapolis Colts, formerly of Baltimore. The Colts have a long and storied history of great quarterbacks from Johnny Unitas to Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Their music is the Light Calvary Overture by Franz von Suppé. About halfway through this music everyone invariably says, “Oh, this one.”

The Houston Texans represent the entire state of Texas, apparently. There is one piece of classical music that sounds as if it was written to represent Texans riding their horses, en masse, across the wide plains of the west. That music is the finale movement of Alexander Borodin’s Symphony No. 2.

The music for the Jacksonville Jaguars is going to be a bit of a stretch. Jacksonville is named after Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson was a hero of the War of 1812. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 premiered in 1812. Jacksonville was once called Sack-sonville based on the Jaguar's defense applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks. No piece of music applies constant pressure like the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh. Et voilà

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