The Well-Tempered Ear

What classical music goes with a blizzard?

February 3, 2011

By Jacob Stockinger

Well – all the dire predictions came true: We in the Midwest finally got walloped with The Winter Storm.

Some described as  “colossal” or a “monster,”  and say it is the biggest winter storm in a decade.

But I have also heard that the blizzard, complete with freezing rain, really cold temperatures and howling wind, is the biggest ever on record, affecting more than 100 million people in the US.

Anyway, I found myself thinking: What would be good music for a storm of such proportions and such hardship?

I don’t think Handel ever wrote “Blizzard Musick” to go along with the “Water Musick” and “Fireworks Musick.”

Some obvious choices come to mind.

One is the Winter section of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, though it seems tame for this storm.

Another piece is Debussy’s “Snowflakes Are Dancing” from “The Children’s Corner Suite.” But that piece sees too charming and gentle, almost a mockery of serious, life-threatening weather.

A bit more ferocious is Liszt’s “Chasse-Neige” or Snow Storm.

But I am sure there are many more.

Maybe a song by Schubert, from “Winterreise” (Winter Journey), or someone else?

Maybe a Renaissance motet?

Richard Strauss‘ “Alpine Symphony“?

Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Dreams” Symphony?

Maybe something by a Nordic composers like Grieg, Nielsen or Sibelius?

Right now, I think Chopin‘s turbulent “Winter Wind” Etude most closely matches both the weather and my mood.

Can you help me out?

Is there a piece of classical music you think captures a blizzard or treacherous snowy weather?

Write a Comment and send a link to a performance on YouTube.

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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