February 11th 2011

Think you don’t know classical music? Think again.

You might not think you know a thing about classical music, but chances are, you know more than you think. I don’t necessarily mean classical music straight from the Classical period, but art music in general. A wide variety of Romantic, Baroque, Classical, and Modern music is played over and over again… And you might actually be a fan.Here are five pieces you may have never heard of, but you’ve definitely heard.

O Fortuna from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff

This piece of music has been featured in loads of movies, TV shows, and commercials. It’s often highlighting something in slow motion. The work is from the opening movement of  Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, a large work for orchestra, choir, and soloists. It’s best known from Jackass, Cheaper by the Dozen, Natural Born Killers, and The Bachelor. Listen here.

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin

This tune has been featured in many movies and TV shows as well, with it’s jazz-inspired flavour kicked up with classical music. You’ll know it from Fantasia 2000 and Manhattan. Here’s the scene from the former.

Dies Irae from Verdi’s Requiem

Even if you don’t know Requiem, chances are you do know this. You’ve heard it when someone is chasing after you, when something intense is going to happen, or when someone is on the run (all in the movies, of course). Check it out in X-Men 2, Duplex, and The Incredibles and bask in its intensity here.

Habanera from Carmen by Georges Bizet

Sexy and sultry, you’ve probably heard it but never seen it. Television commercials have used it time and time again. Movie-wise, not too sure, but it’s familiar tune will have you whistling throughout the day. See the scene here from the film.

Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre by Richard Wagner

If you said you didn’t know this, you’d be lying. This intensity-building piece of music is familiar to most–if not all-ears. It’s been featured in cartoons, movies, commercials, TV shows, and everything else you can think of. Listen for it Apocalypse Now, The Blues Brothers, and Full Metal Jacket, and check it out here.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.