The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Celebrate Commencement Day 2018 with Brahms and Elgar | May 12, 2018

By Jacob Stockinger

Today is The Big Day – Graduation or Commencement Day 2018 — at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The weather may be too rainy and too cold, but there is little choice as an alternative to the huge outdoor ceremony for thousands of graduates, plus friends and family, at Camp Randall Stadium (below) unless there is lightning or dangerous weather that could delay and cancel the ceremony.

Still, there is some great music to celebrate with and perhaps warm up with.

If you have a favorite suggestion for graduation music, leave the name of the composer and work, along with a link to a YouTube video if possible, in the COMMENT section below.

In the mean time, here are the two most famous works that will perhaps stir you or even warm you.

First is the Academic Festival Overture, which uses a student drinking song, that was composed by Johannes Brahms when he received an honorary degree.

And what would any graduation be without the traditional old standby that still never fails to touch most of those who hear it: the stately Pomp and Circumstance No. 1 — one of five composed and then used for a royal coronation –by Sir Edward Elgar

Congratulations to the Class of 2018.

This post is for you.


  1. The Grand March from Verdi’s Aida has always been my favorite.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — May 12, 2018 @ 11:11 am

  2. I first heard the Widor Toccata played in Finney Chapel at Oberlin in 1960 as the graduation recessional and was thrilled.

    Comment by Ron MCrea — May 12, 2018 @ 12:22 am

    • I used that for my wedding march many years ago, and I’ve heard that many people use it now. Such a brilliant piece.

      Comment by Ann Boyer — May 12, 2018 @ 11:15 am

      • We used the Homage March from Grieg’s “Sigurd Jorsalfar” played by brass quintet, to strike a Scandinavian note.

        Comment by Ron MCrea — May 12, 2018 @ 9:22 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,266 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,367,882 hits
%d bloggers like this: