Best classical movie music? (need some work music)

Hi everyone. I’m looking for a few good classical movie soundtracks to help my concentration as I do some work on my computer. Please post some of your favorite classical msuic to work to.


“The Man Who Wasn’t There” is chock full of Beethoven piano sonatas which I can’t turn down. Why limit the choice to movie music though?


“Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid” Boccherini, used in Master&Commander is a great piece, mostly the middle part.

“Kaleidoscope of Mathematics” from “A Beautiful Mind”

Not exactly classical, but:
“Villagers begin building” from “The Englishman Who Went up a Hill But Came Down A Mountain” is a great work inspiring tune.
The fife&drum classic “British Grenadiers” from Barry Lyndon never fails to bring me back from my procrastination drifts.

The Excalibur soundtrack is good if you’re in the mood for “big” classical music (Wagner, et. al.).

I liked the music in Immortal Beloved.

How about Michael Nyman- The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, The Draughtman’s Contract, The Piano.

Wait, do you want Movie Soundtrack music that’s performed with a classical orchestra or actual Classical Music suggestions?

For just concentration improving music, anything without vocals and not too boisterous will work. Go straight to the budget priced CDs of the big names: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Debussy. They’ll be like $5 or under for compilations of either old recording of classic performances or new mediocre recordings of abscure symphonies. Either way, it will still be good enough for the uninitiated to classical music.

If you’re just looking to get into Classical music in general and not just for background listening, start with the above but also get Gustav Holst’s The Planets. It’s a microcosm of late 19th, early 20th century music which is the inspirational force behind almost all big movie music you hear today. Now I said stick to the budget titles to start with, and that’s true with the composers I listed above because you just can’t go wrong with them. However, the more you listen to classical recordings the more you realize how important the quality of the recording and your personal connection to the performance style is. It really can make all the difference. So I’d recommend getting a quality copy of The Planets.

Which one’s best is, of course, is huge debate and others might have suggestions, but my favorite pick is this one. It’s the Chicago Symphony at it’s prime when conducted by America’s most celebrated conductor. The Planets is often heavily dependent on the horn section and they get no better than this recording.

2001 fool! Recognize!

It isn’t exactly classical, but if you’re in the mood for something more whimsical, the soundtrack to Amelie is great.

And the generic favorite is The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack.

If you’re into streaming, KWAX is the best classical radio I’ve ever heard.

What about Fantasia? It includes:

-Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
-The Nutcracker Suite by Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky
-The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas
-The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
-The Pastoral Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven
-Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli
-Night on Bald Mountain by Modeste Moussorgsky
-Ave Maria by Franz Shubert

As well as others.

I like Philip Glass tracks, they’re not too distracting with their repetition.
Mishima, Powaqatsi, The Hours et al.

If you don’t want to limit this to classical music from films, the Proms have just finished. You can stream them from the BBC website.
Some excellent choices this year, but I missed the last night.


By classical do you mean actual classical music, or just an orchestral score?

For the former, if we are limiting ourselves to movie soundtracks, I guess I’d echo 2001 and Fantasia and add Amadeus; probably also Impromptu since it should contain lots of Chopin, and 32 short films about Glenn Gould since it probably contains lots of Gould playing Bach. But then, one can just as easily listen to Bach and Chopin music without the “movie soundtrack” middleman.

For original orchestral scores, I like Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo score; a number of John Williams scores including Raiders/Temple/Empire/Star Wars/Jaws/Superman, several Jerry Goldsmith scores including Star Trek TMP, Chinatown, and Alien; Max Steiner’s work in King Kong and Casablanca… there’s lots of other good stuff but I’m drawing a blank at the moment.

How about “Alexander Nevsky”? Real classical music (by Prokofiev) written as a movie soundtrack.

If you’re limiting the choices to film music, you can’t go wrong with John Corigliano’s soundtrack to The Red Violin. He’s one of America’s premiere “legit” composers, who also happpens to dabble in more commercial stuff from time to time. The soundtrack is not exactly “classical,” but many of the pieces are composed in that sort of style. It’s really good stuff.