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Best classical music

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/5/2014 Category: Music
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,333 times Debate No: 43418
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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For this debate, my opponent and I will select the best pieces of classical music in four categories after their acceptance which will be Round 1. The categories are as follows:

Round 1. Acceptance
Round 2. Best piano piece.
Round 3. Best classical guitar piece.
Round 4. Best cello piece.
Round 5. Best violin piece/closing.

If you're not into classical or just have a passing interest, please simply leave your thoughts in the comments section.

My opponent can select any piece or composer from any century whether it be a concerto, suite, or sonata, or the composer is Bach, Tchaikovsky, Aaron Copeland or even modern musicians like Li Yundi.

While this is debate for fun, as with any debate, grammar, spelling, conduct and use of sources still apply.

Good luck!


Challenge accepted.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to apologize to Con for being so late in posting my choice for Round 2. I can see from his profile that he is a lover of classical music as well, so this should be a fun debate. Before I begin, I would like to apologize to Con for taking so long to post my opening argument and selection for piano. As Whatledge said in the comments section, the idea of there being a "best" in any of these categories is subjective. Even so, I think that this is could be an educational experience for all who wish to observe this debate.

Unfortunately, there aren't very many people who appreciate classical music these days. But those of us that do know its beauty and intrinsic value. It enriches our lives and begs us to consider what our lives would be like without it. Like any other child growing up, listening to classical music was never intentional and often grating to my nerves. It was like a dentist's drill on a chalkboard to me. If I had to suffer any length of time listening to it, I would run to the safety of my bedroom, slam the door shut, and with headphones over my ears, blast the sounds away with screeching guitars and hypnotic, pounding basslines.

However, my musical sensibilities have greatly changed and improved since the days of my youth. I still indulge in the frenetic pace of metal, Opeth being my favorite band within the genre, who employs a lot of classical compositions in their music [1]. And from time to time I feel the need to embrace the chilled soundscapes of ambient music [2]. But if it weren't for the influence of classical music, we may not have the music and bands that many of us enjoy today.

I'm not very good at piano. I know enough to fool anyone into believing I really can play, but I'm nowhere nearly as good as I'd love to be. I spent the past 36 hours listening to well over 100 pieces in an attempt to offer a selection that will rival my Con's. I intentionally chose not to include a piece from Chopin for my choice of piano piece since that's his realm of expertise. Somehow, I feel like that would be breaking into his house and stealing.

With that in mind, I offer Ludwig von Beethoven's final piano concerto "Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 73," by Ludwig von Beethoven [3], performed by Hélène Grimaud, recorded December 2006 in Dresden, Germany; Vladimir Jurowski conducting.

[1] Wikipedia, Opeth. Retrieved January 7, 2014
[2] Wikipedia, Ambient music. Retrieved January 7, 2014
[3] Wikipedia, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73. Retrieved January 7, 2014.


Wow. I hope you, the audience, are not put off by the length of my opponent's video. If you wish to judge correctly, please put your time into thoroughly enjoying Beethoven. Thanks!

My round will not be very long.

The piece I've selected is written by Marc Andre Hamelin, an incredibly talented modern pianist who is known for having an excellent musical abilities (e.g. perfect pitch) and pretty much unparalleled technique (actually, Hamelin believes technique to be the ability to bring out the musical aspects of a piece; Hamelin considers what many refer to as technique as 'mechanics') My opinion? Hamelin is, in my opinion, the most skilled pianist-composer alive today. Enough with the intros to the composer! To the work itself!

The following piece is Hamelin's adaptation of Liszt's 3rd Grande Etude de Paganini which is, in turn and adaptation of 19th century violinist Niccolo Paganini. It's Hamelin's Etude no. 3 in b minor. The more popular variant, written by Liszt, is known as La Campanella.

It was a difficult choice between Yundi Li's 23 minute performance of Chopin's Piano Sonata no. 2 op 35 (more commonly known by it's alias: Funeral March), Martha Argerich and Evgeny Kissin's duo performance of Mozart's Piano Sonata for four hands KV 521 (it's in 2 parts on youtube), and the piece I finally selected. You should still check those out as they are no less awesome!

Added note: apparently the original video I had intended to post was copyrighted, but the pianist here plays the piece very well (the kind of technique/mechanics that I can only dream of having). Apologies for the sound/video quality and long intro (really wanted to advertise Hamelin a bit . . heh). On to Cygnus!
Debate Round No. 2


That performance was absolutely stunning. I have enough difficulty trying to play "Subdivisions" by Rush [1]. I can't imagine the level of skill required to play at such a level. It is going to be hard to present a guitar piece after such an astounding clip that Hamelin gives us.

When someone says that this or that person is the greatest guitarist of all time, I feel a mix of amusement and disgust. Usually, the guitarists that most people think are the greatest are Hendrix, Van Halen, SRV, Jimmy Page, Slash, or even Chet Atkins. There is no doubt that these musicians have left their mark in music, but when it comes to pure talent, they couldn't hold a candle to a classically trained guitarist.

In 2007, I discovered Peruvian-born, Jorge Caballero [2], and he has been my favorite classical guitarist ever since. His playing is fluid and beautiful, and to me, his playing is perfection. There are times that his playing moves me nearly to tears.

So, for my choice of classical guitar piece, I choose "Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue," by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by the great Jorge Caballero.


[1] Wikipedia. Subdivisions (song). Retrieved January 10, 2014.
[2] Wikipedia. Jorge Caballero. Retrieved January 10, 2014.


Beginner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


If Con would like, he can post his selection for best guitar piece in the comments section.

As I ponder my selection for best cello piece, I'm overwhelmed with choices. I realize that I'm being very subjective, but of all the classical instruments I think the cello would be my favorite because it has such a deep, warm sound.

I won't be too long this time in offering my selection. While there are so many beautiful pieces, I would be remiss if I did not give Johann Sebastian Bach's "Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007" [1], as performed by Mischa Maisky.

[1] Wikipedia. Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
[2] Wikipedia. Mischa Maisky. Retrieved January 16, 2014.


Beginner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


My final selection of classical music is a no-brainer. There are hundreds of great violin pieces to choose from, but the composer I choose from is none other than Niccolo Paganini [1].

It has been said that Paganini was the first metal musician. In fact, due to the titles he gave some of his pieces, as well as his stupendous skill, he was suspected of being in league with Satan. This was so believed that even on his death bed, Paganini is said to have denied his Last Rites. However, he only denied the ritual as he thought his health was improving.

I have heard the piece before, but when I watched Virginia-born, Hilary Hahn's performance of Paganini's "Caprice No. 24 in A minor," my jaw dropped [2].

So, for my final choice of classical music, I select Paganini's stunning "Caprice No. 24 in A minor" as my choice for best violin piece, with "Paganiniana" as a bonus. Buon appetito!

[1] Wikipedia. Niccolò Paganini. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
[2] Wikipedia. Hilary Hahn. Retrieved January 20, 2014.;


Beginner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Cygnus 5 years ago
No worries...
Posted by Beginner 5 years ago
My grammar D:
Posted by whatledge 5 years ago
I don't really see a debate here, as "best" is entirely subjective.

But my vote would be:
1.Beethoven- Fur Elise
2. Paganini- 24th Caprice
3. Bach's Cello Suite No. 1
4. Paganini- 4th Caprice

I am interested to see your/other's picks.
Posted by RhysJaxson 5 years ago
I'm very interested in this, but not well-versed enough to participate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.