Meri’s Musical Musings

The long and short of classical music

Posted on: May 21, 2015

The long and short of classical music

If you’ve heard CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) ‘s radio show called Vinyl Tap in the past year, you may have noticed they’ve done several shows on long and short songs or pieces in more popular genres, such as rock and jazz. Here’s my take on the classical version of that theme. For this post, we will define ‘long’ as in classical works except for operas that are over 20 min in length (for symphonies, over 30 min) and short as in 3 min or less.

Long pieces:

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (around 60 min without repeats, up to about 72 min with repeats depending on the performance)

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis (one of the longest masses in classical music, the longest of the better known ones)

Any Anton Bruckner symphony, the longest which is probably his Eighth Symphony.

Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, K. 622 (one of the longest, if not the longest concerto, for a solo wind instrument with orchestra)

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto

Short Pieces:

Beethoven: Fur Elise (Bagatelle), well under 3 minutes

Mendelssohn: Midsummer Night’s Dream, the bassoon and clarinet duet (comes in at under 1 min, and there are NO repeats)

Mendelssohn: ‘Spring Song’ from Songs without words, just under 2 minutes.

Chopin: ‘Minute’ Waltz (it’s supposed to be performed in its entirety in about 60 seconds)

Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee (well under 2 minutes)


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