The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: It’s Valentine’s Day. What piece of classical music would you give to your Valentine? | February 14, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s Valentine’s Day.


If you want to celebrate, there is always chocolate or roses or champagne or a special dinner.

But there is music too.

Many composers come to mind: Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Antonin Dvorak, Johannes Brahms, Peter Tchaikovsky, Gabriel FaureGiacomo Puccini, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Prokofiev, and  Sergei Rachmaninoff to name a few.

But The Ear thinks one of the most beautiful pieces is a short one, a miniature if you will.

It is the Romance in F-sharp Major, Op. 28, No. 2, by the Romantic German composer Robert Schumann (below with his wife Clara Wieck Schumann). Nobody wrote music about love, music filled with love and yearning, better than Schumann.


Not only does the piece sound intimate.

It IS intimate — with the two thumbs playing the melody a third apart much of the time. It is as if the two thumbs, left and right, are the two lovers.

Little wonder that the composer asked his virtuoso pianist-composer wife Clara to play it for him as he lay dying.

And to top it off, it is not all that difficult to play, so you could learn it and play it for your Valentine.

Here it is, performed in a YouTube video by the late Van Cliburn:

But what about you?

As radio stations like to say ”The Request Line is open!

What piece of classical music – big or small, old or new, hard or easy — would you play or dedicate to your Valentine?

Duets of all kinds seem especially appropriate. But so do songs and symphonies, operas and oratorios, and all kinds of chamber music.

So tell us about your musical gift for Valentine’s Day.

Leave a message in the COMMENT section, with a short explanation and dedicatory comment and perhaps with a YouTube link if possible — the forward it to your Valentine.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Felix Mendelssohn, Andante con moto, Op 38, no. 6 (Songs without Words, Book 3: “Duet” in the Alfred Masterwork Edition by Maurice Hinson. I love the exchange of the melodic line between upper and lower voice.

    Comment by Emily W — February 17, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

  2. Call me corny, but the Salut d’amour by Elgar screams romance the way I understand it and crave.

    Comment by Lucia — February 14, 2017 @ 9:39 am

  3. I have recently fallen in love with Gabriel Fauré’s Chanson d’Amour, set to a poem by Armand Sylvestre. Several lovely examples on the Internet.

    Comment by Ronnie Hess — February 14, 2017 @ 8:13 am

  4. What can be more romantic than the tango and South American music?

    “Cafe 1930” isn’t a tango but is a lovely piece of music for just two instruments (very nice with guitar and trumpet, or with guitar and bandonean) written by the master of tango, Astor Piazzolla.

    Here’s my favorite version with Mark Gould (trumpet) and Ricardo Cobo on guitar). But there are lot’s of good versions out there.

    Comment by FFlambeau — February 14, 2017 @ 7:31 am

  5. Since my Valentine likes loud, lively music, I would probably send him the Overture to Candide (also one of my own favorite pieces). It’s brilliant and fun because, as an overture, it offers samples of many of the themes of the larger work.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — February 14, 2017 @ 6:50 am

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