The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: What piece most embodies Fall for you and do you most look forward to hearing when autumn arrives?

September 22, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Today, Fall arrives in the Western Hemisphere – at 9:49 a.m. this morning.

Sometimes I ask readers: What is the best piece of classical music to honor spring or fall or a certain holiday?

But music, and all art really, is really much more subjective than that.

So today I simply ask: What piece of classical music best embodies Fall FOR YOU? What musical work do you most look forward to hearing and listening to – either in a recording or a live performance – when the weather cool and Autumn arrives?

A couple of decades ago, The Ear was riding around the lovely Wisconsin countryside at harvest time, with rows of dried corn stalks in the fields. He was listening to Brahms’ three violin sonatas played by Itzhak Perlman with pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy (at bottom).

Oh, my!

Somehow Brahms – whose late works for piano, strings, winds and orchestra have often been described as “autumnal” because of the bittersweet melancholy they possess – seemed a perfect choice.


And so ever since then, when I want to take a fall ride through the countryside – and this year it seems so unfair that a cold Fall has come early, too early, on the heels of a blazingly hot, record-setting summer — I make sure to bring that Brahms CD (below) with me. Curiously, my favorite sonata  of the three changes from year to year. They all work their magic superbly. But overall, I favor the last movement of No. 1 and the second movement of No. 3.

So, tell us a similar story about you and your favorite Fall music.


It could be a well-known work or a rarely heard work.

It doesn’t matter.

It might be Vivaldi’s familiar “Fall” from “The Four Seasons” or Haydn’s “The Seasons” or Astor Piazzolla’s reworking of Vivaldi in Argentina. It could be a song or aria or choral work, a piano or string piece, chamber music or orchestral music.

We all end up with our own personal traditions of listening, made up by experience as we go along.

Just share yours with the rest of us  and help all of us enjoy the coming of Fall – even if it is a bit early this year.

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