The Canon

The following is a list of the 500 works that I believe comprise the Canon of Western Art Music. I hope this list will be a study guide for students, a reference for a professionals, and a listening list for the lovers of music. I want to stress that this is NOT a 500 "Best" or "Most-Important" pieces in Music History. Rather, it is a list of pieces I believe one must be intimately familiar with to become a complete and knowledgeable musician. Every work on this list has had an important and positive impact on both my writing and theoretical understanding. I hope you enjoy.                                        -Benjamin C.S. Boyle

bruegel-rebel-angel.jpg

de Machaut, Guilliame (1300-1377)
Messe de Nostre Dame
Quant Thesus

DuFay, Guillaume (1397-1474)
Ave maris stella
Nuper rosarum flores
Resvellies vous et faites chiere lye

des Prez, Josquin (1450-1521)
Missa L'homme armee super voces musicalis
Missa de Beata Virgine
Miserere
Adieu mes amours

Issac, Heinrich (1450-1517)
Choralis Constantinus

Tallis, Thomas (1505-1585)
Lamentations of Jeremiah
If ye love me
Missa Puer nobis est nobis
Spem in alium
O salutaris hostia

Le Roy, Adrian
O madame pers-je mon temps

da Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi (1525-1594)
Missa sine nomine
Sicut cervus
Missa Papae Marcelli
Stabat Mater

le Jeune, Claude (1528-1600)
Recevy venir du printemps

de Lassus, Orlando (1532-1594)
Prophetiae Sibyllarum

Byrd, William (1543-1623)
Mass for 4 voices
Mass for 5 voices
Ave verum corpus

de Victoria, Tomas Luis (1548-1610)
Ave Maria a 4
Missa Ave maris stella
O vos omnes
O magnum misteriosum

Monteverdi, Cluadio (1567-1643)
Sestina SV 111
Lamenta della ninfa SV 163
Incoronazione di Poppea SV 308
L'Orfeo SV 318

Allegri, Gregorio (1582-1652)
Miserere

Lully, Jean-Baptiste (1632-1687)
O Lachrymae LVW 26
Cadmus et Hermione

Buxtehude, Dieterich (1637-1707)
Jesu membra nostri BuxWV 75

Charpentier, Marc-Antoine (1643-1704)
Te Deum H 146

Corelli, Arcangelo (1653-1713)
Christmas Concerto Op. 6 No. 8

Marais, Marin (1656-1728)
Semele

Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)
Dido and Aeneas Z. 626
The Diocletian Z. 627
The Fairie Queene Z. 629
Timon of Athens Z. 632

Scarlatti, Alessandro (1660-1725)
Stabat Mater

Couperin, Francois (1668-1733)
Lecons de tenebres
Les concerts royaux

Bach, J.S. (1685-1750)
Cantata No. 4 Chirst lag in Todesbanden BWV 4
Cantata No. 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen BWV 51
Cantata No. 56 Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen BWV 56
Cantata No. 80 Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott BWV 80
Cantata No. 82 Ich habe genug BWV 82
Cantata No. 140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 140
Cantata No. 147 Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben BWV 147
Cantata No. 196 Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl BWV 198
Cantata No. 227 Jesu meine freunde BWV 227
B minor mass BWV 232
Magnificat BWV 243
St Matthew Passion BWV 244
St. John Passion BWV 245
Christmas oratorio BWV 248
6 Motets BWV 255-260
Passacaglia and Fugue BWV 582
Clavier-Ubung III BWV 669-689
15 Inventions BWV 772-786
15 Sinfonias BWV 787-801
6 English Suites BWV 806-811
6 French Suites BWV 812-817
The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 BWV 846-869
The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 BWV 870-893
Italian Concerto BWV 971
Goldberg Variations BWV 988
6 Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin BWV 1001-1006
6 Suites for solo cello BWV 1007-1012
Concerto for two violins BWV 1043
6 Brandenburg Concertos BWV 1046-1051
Keyboard concerto No.1 BWV 1052
Concerto for Violin and Oboe (or 2 harpsichords) BWV 1060
4 Orchestral Suites BWV 1066-1069
A Musical Offering BWV 1079
Art of the Fugue BWV 1080
Chorale 'Christ ist erstanden' BA 39 No. 24

Rameau, Jean-Phillipe (1683-1764)
Les Boreades
Les Indes gallantes
Grand Motets
Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin

Handel, George Frideric (1685-1759)
The Messiah HVW 56
Semele HVW 58

Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710-1736)
Stabat Mater

Bach, C.P.E. (1714-1788)
Magnificat H. 772
Die Auferstehung Jesu H. 777

Haydn, Joseph (1732-1809)
London Symphonies Hob. I:93-104
Missa in tempore belli Hob. XXII:9
Lord Nelson Mass Hob. XXII:11
The Creation Mass Hob. XXII:13

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791)
Violin Sonata No. 21 K. 304
Piano Sonata No. 12 K. 332
Gran Partita K. 361
Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra K. 364
Symphony No. 35 K. 385
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor K. 491
Le nozze di Figaro K. 492
Don Giovanni K. 527
Sypmhony No. 39 K. 543
Symphony No. 40 K. 550
Symphony No. 41 K. 551
Clarinet Quintet K. 581
Cosi fan tutti K. 588
Ave verum corpus K. 618
Die Zauberflote K. 620
Clarinet Concerto K. 622
Requiem Mass K. 626

von Beethoven, Ludwig (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No. 8 Op. 13
Sypmhony No. 1 Op. 21
Violin Sonata No. 5 Op. 24
Piano Sonata No. 14 Op. 27 No. 2
Violin Sonata No. 9 Op. 47
Piano Sonata No. 21 Op. 53
Symphony No. 3 Op. 55
Piano Sonata No. 23 Op. 57
Piano Concerto No. 4 Op. 58
Rasumovsky String Quartets Op. 59
Violin Concerto Op. 61
Symphony No. 5 Op. 67
Symphony No. 6 Op. 68
Piano Concerto No. 5 Op. 74
Symphony No. 7 Op. 92
An die ferne Geliebte Op. 98
Octet Op. 103
Piano Sonata No. 29 Op. 106
Piano Sonata No. 30 Op. 109
Piano Sonata No. 31 Op. 110
Piano Sonata No. 32 Op. 111
Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Missa solemnis Op. 123
Symphony No. 9 Op. 125
String Quartet No. 15 Op. 132
Grosse Fugue Op. 133
String Quartet No. 16 Op. 135

Schubert, Franz (1797-1828)
Gretchen am Spinnrade D 118
Hiedenroslein D 257
Erlkonig D 328
Auf dem Wasser zu singen D 774
Moments musicaux D 790
Die schone Mullerin D 795
String Quartet No. 14 D 810
Grand Duo D 812
Sonata for arpeggione and piano D 821
Four Impromptus D 899
Winterreise D 911
String Quintet No. 15 D 956
Schwanengesang D 957
Sonata for Piano in A Major D 959
Sonata for Piano in Bb Major D 960

Berloiz, Hector (1803-1869)
Les nuits d'ete Op. 7
Sinfonie fantastique Op. 14

Mendelssohn, Felix (1809-1847)
String Octet Op. 20
A Mid Summer Night's Dream Op. 21 and 61
Piano Trio No. 1 Op. 49
Variations serieuses Op. 54
Violin Concerto Op. 64

Schumann, Robert (1810-1856)
Papillions Op. 2
Davidsblundertanze Op. 6
Carnavale Op. 9
Kinderszenen Op. 15
Kreisleriana Op. 16
Fantasie Op. 17
Myrthen Op. 25
Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26
Frauenliebe und -leben Op. 43
Piano Quintet Op. 44
Piano Quartet Op. 47
Dichterliebe Op. 48
Piano Concerto Op. 54
Piano Trio No. 1 Op. 63
Album for the Young Op. 68
Introduction and Allegro appassionato Op. 92
Marchenbilder Op. 113
Spanische Liebeslieder Op. 138

Chopin, Frederic (1810-1849)
4 Mazurkas Op. 4
3 Nocturnes Op. 9
12 Etudes Op. 10
Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 11
3 Nocturnes Op. 15
4 Mazurkas Op. 17
Andante spinato et grande polonaise brilliante Op. 22
Ballade No. 1 Op. 23
12 Etudes Op. 25
2 Nocturnes Op. 27
24 Preludes Op. 28
Scherzo No. 2 Op. 31
Piano Sonata No. 2 Op. 35
Scherzo No. 3 Op. 39
1 Polonaise Op. 44
1 Prelude Op. 45
2 Nocturnes Op. 48
Fantasy Op. 49
Impromptu No. 3 Op. 51
Ballade No. 4 Op. 52
2 Nocturnes Op. 55
Berceuse Op. 57
Piano Sonata No. 3 Op. 58
Barcarolle Op. 60
Polonaise-Fantasy Op. 61
2 Nocturnes Op. 62
3 Mazrukas Op. 63
3 Waltzes Op. 64
Cello Sonata Op. 65
Fantasy Impromptu Op. 66 post.
Trois nouvelles etudes B. 130

Lizst, Franz (1811-1886)
Buch der lieder I A 97
Piano Sonata in B minor A 179
Nuage gris A 305
Piano Concerto No. 1 C 8
Totentanz H 8
Annees de pelerinage S 160-1, 163

Wagner, Richard (1813-1883)
Tristan und Isolde WWV 90
Parsifal WWV 111

Verdi, Guiseppe (1813-1901)
Otello
Falstaff

Franck, Cesar (1822-1890)
Piano Quintet M. 7
Violin Sonata M. 8
Symphony

Smetana, Bedrich (1824-1884)
Ma vlast JB 1:112
The Bartered Bride JB 1:100

Brahms, Johannes (1833-1897)
Piano Trio No. 1 Op. 9
Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 15
Piano Quartet No. 2 Op. 26
Piano Quintet Op. 34
String Sextet No. 2 Op. 36
Cello Sonata No. 1 Op. 38
A German Requiem Op. 45
2 String Quartets Op. 51
Liebeslieder Waltzes Op. 52
Variations on a theme of Haydn Op. 56
Piano Quartet No. 3 Op. 60
Neue Liebeslieder Op. 65
Symphony No. 1 Op. 68
Violin Concerto Op. 77
2 Rhapsodies Op. 79
Academic Festival Overture Op. 80
Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 83
Symphony No. 3 Op. 90
2 Songs for alto, viola, and piano Op. 91
Symphony No. 4 Op. 98
Cello Sonata No. 2 Op. 99
Violin Sonata No. 2 Op. 100
Piano Trio No. 3 Op. 101
Double Concerto Op. 102
Zigeunderlieder Op. 103
Violin Sonata No. 3 Op. 108
Clarinet Trio Op. 114
Clarinet Quintet Op. 115
7 Fantasias Op. 116
3 Intermezzi Op. 117
6 Pieces Op. 118
4 Pieces Op. 119
2 Clarinet Sonatas Op. 120
11 Chorale Preludes Op. 122
21 Hungarian Dances WoO 1

Saint-Saens, Camille (1835-1924)
Samson et Delila Op. 47
Symphony No. 3 Op. 78
Le carnaval des animaux Op. 125

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich (1840-1893)
Swan Lake Op. 20
Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 23
Violin Concerto Op. 35
Serenade for strings Op. 40
1812 Overture Op. 49
Symphony No. 5 Op. 64
Iolanta Op. 69
The Nutcracker Op. 71
Symphony No. 6 Op. 74
Romeo and Julliette

Dvorak, Antonin (1841-1904)
Slavonic Dances Op. 46
Symphony No. 8 Op. 88
Piano Trio No. 4 Op. 90
Symphony No. 9 Op. 95
Te Deum Op. 103
Rusalka Op. 114

Grieg, Edvard (1843-1907)
Piano Concerto Op. 16
Peer Gynt Op. 23
Holberg Suite Op. 40
Violin Sonata No. 3 Op. 45

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai (1844-1908)
Scheherazade Op. 35

Faure, Gabriel (1845-1924)
2 Songs Op. 4
3 Songs Op. 7
3 Songs Op. 8
Violin Sonata No. 1 Op. 13
Piano Quintet Op. 15
3 Songs Op. 18
3 Nocturnes Op. 33
3 Songs Op. 39
2 Songs Op. 46
Requiem Op. 48
Pavane Op. 50
La bonne chanson Op. 61
Pelleas et Melisande Op. 80
2 Songs Op. 83
8 Short Pieces Op. 84
Piano Quintet No. 1 Op. 89
La chanson d'Eve Op. 95
9 Preludes Op. 103
Masques and bergemaqsues Op. 112
Piano Quintet No. 2 Op. 115
L'Horizon chimerique Op. 118
Piano Trio Op. 120
String Quartet Op. 121

Duparc, Henri (1848-1933)
L'Invitation aux voyages

Chausson, Ernest (1855-1899)
Chanson perpetuelle Op. 37

Janacek, Leos (1854-1928)
The Cunning Little Vixen JW 1/9
Sinfonietta JW 6/18
String Quartet No. 2 JW 7/11

Elgar, Edward (1857-1934)
Salut d'Amour Op. 12
Serenade Op. 20
Enigma Variations Op. 39
Cello Concerto Op. 85

Puccini, Giacomo (1858-1924)
La Boheme
Madame Butterfly
Tosca
Turandot

Mahler, Gustav (1860-1911)
Kindertotenlieder
Das Lied von der Erde

Debussy, Claude Achilles (1862-1918)
Beau soir L 6
La romance d'Ariel L 54
Ariettes oubliees L 60
Poemes de Baudelaire L 64
Petit suite L 65
Suite bergemasque L 75
Fetes galantes I L 80
Prelude de l'apres midi d'un faune L 83
String Quartet L 85
Chansons de Bilitis L 90
Nocturnes L 91
Pour le piano L 95
Estampes L 100
Danses sacree et profane L 103
Fetes galantes II L 104
La mer L 109
Images Livres I L 110
Images Livres II L 111
Children's Corner L 113
12 Preludes L 117
Ballades de Francois Villion L 119
Images 3 L 122
12 Preludes L 123
Le martyre de Saint Sebastien L 124
Poemes de Stephane Mallarme L 127
Cello Sonata L 135
12 Etudes L 136
Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp L 137
Violin Sonata L 140

Strauss, Richard (1863-1949)
8 Poems Op. 10
Don Juan Op. 20
Death and Transfiguration Op. 24
Also sprach Zarathustra Op. 30
Don Quixote Op. 35
Salome Op. 54
Der Rosenkavalier Op. 59
Ariadne auf Naxos Op. 60
Ophelia Lieder Op. 67
Four Last Songs

Sibelius, Jean (1865-1957)
Finlandia Op. 26

Satie, Erik (1866-1925)
Parade

Granados, Enrique (1867-1916)
Goyescas Op. 11

Vaughan Williams, Ralph (1872-1958)
Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Dona nobis pacem

Rachmaninoff, Sergei (1873-1943)
Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 18
Cello Sonata Op. 19
Variations on a theme of Chopin Op. 22
10 Preludes Op. 23
Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 30
14 Songs Op. 34
The Bells Op. 35
All-night Vigil (Vespers) Op. 37
Variations on a theme of Corelli Op. 42
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini Op. 43
Symphony No. 3 Op. 44
Symphonic Dances Op. 45

Schoenberg, Arnold (1874-1951)
Verklarte Nacht Op. 4
Pelleas und Melisande Op. 5
Pierrot Lunaire Op. 21

Schmidt, Franz (1874-1939)
Symphony No. 4
The Book with the Seven Seals

Ravel, Maurice (1875-1937)
Pavane pour une infante defunte 19
Jeux d'eau 30
String Quartet 35
Miroirs 43
Introduction and Allegro 46
Gaspard de la nuit 55
Daphnis et Chloe 57
Valses nobles et sentimentales 61
Trois poemes de Mallarme 64
Piano Trio 67
Tombeaux de Couperin 68
L'enfant et les sortileges 71
La valse 72
Sonate pour violon et violoncelle 73
Violin Sonata No. 2 77
Chansons madecasse 78
Bolero 81
Piano Concerto for the left hand 83
Piano Concerto 84

de Falla, Manuel (1876-1946)
The Three-Cornered Hat

Ireland, John (1879-1962)
Piano Concerto
Legend
Trio No. 3

Bartok, Bela (1881-1945)
Bluebeard's Castle SZ 48
String Quartet No. 2 SZ 67
Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste SZ 106
Mikrokosmos SZ 107
Concerto for Orchestra SZ 116

Stravinsky, Igor (1882-1971)
The Firebird
Petrushka
The Rite of Spring
L'histoire du soldat
Symphony in C
Symphony of Psalms
Octet

Varese, Edgard (1883-1965)
Ameriques
Integrales
Ionisation

Webern, Anton (1883-1945)
Symphony Op. 21
Piano Variations Op. 27

Berg, Alban (1885-1935)
Piano Sonata Op. 1
Wozzeck Op. 7
Lyric Suite
Violin Concerto

Prokofiev, Sergei (1891-1953)
The Love for Three Oranges Op. 33
Romeo and Juliet Op. 64
Peter and the Wolf Op. 67
Alexander Nevsky Op. 78
3 War Sonatas Op. 82-84
War and Peace Op. 91
Symphony No. 7 Op. 131

Howells, Herbert (1892-1983)
Like as the hart
Take him, Earth, for cherishing
Hymnus paradisi
Magnificat and Nunc "Collegium Regale"
Thee will I love

Boulanger, Lili (1893-1918)
Pie Jesu
Faust et Helene

Korngold, Eric (1897-1957)
Die tote Stadt Op. 12
Violin Concerto Op. 35

Poulenc, Francis (1899-1963)
Two Piano Concerto FP 61
Telle jour, telle nuit FP 86
Organ Concerto FP 93
4 Motets for Lent FP 97
Sextet FP 100
Fiancailles pour rire FP 101
Banalites FP 107
Un soir de neige FP 126
Les mammelles de Tiresias FP 129
Cello Sonata FP 143
4 Motets for Christmas FP 152
Dialouges des Carmelites FP 159
Flute Sonata FP 164
Gloria FP 177
La courte Paille FP 178

Copland, Aaron (1900-1990)
Appalachian Spring
Billy the Kid
Lincoln Portrait
Rodeo
Symphony No. 3
Clarinet Concerto

Finzi, Gerald (1901-1956)
Let us Garlands bring Op. 18
Five Bagatelles Op. 23
Lo, the full final sacrifice Op. 26
Cello Concerto Op. 40

Durufle, Maurice (1902-1986)
Suite Op. 5
Prelude et fugue sur le nom d'Alain Op. 6
Requiem Op. 9
Messe cum jubilo Op. 11

Messiaen, Olivier (1908-1992)
L'ascension
Poemes pour Mi
Quatour pour le fin du temps
Turngalila-Symphonie

Barber, Samuel (1910-1981)
Dover Beach Op. 3
Adagio for strings Op. 11a
Violin Concerto Op. 14
Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Op. 24
Piano Sonata Op. 26
Hermit Songs Op. 29
Prayers of Kierkegaard Op. 30
Summer Music Op. 31
Piano Concerto Op. 38
Anthony and Cleopatra Op. 40
Despite and Still Op. 41
3 Songs Op. 45

Britten, Benjamin (1913-1976)
Les Illuminations Op. 19
Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings Op. 31
Peter Grimes Op. 33
Rape of Lucretia Op. 37
Canticle 2: Abraham and Issac Op. 41
The Turn of the Screw Op. 54
Nocturne Op. 60
A Mid-Summer Night's Dream Op. 64
Cello Sonata Op. 65
War Requiem Op. 66
Cello Suite No. 1 Op. 72
Death in Venice Op. 88