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Enjoy 30 of the World's Most Famous Piano Pieces

Edited By: Sheldon O'Riley
 The modern piano was invented sometime between 1698-1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Italy. Bartolomeo named his invention 'un cimbalo di cipresso di piano e forte' ("a keyboard of cypress with soft and loud"), which eventually was abbreviated into “Piano”. Since its invention, the piano has have been used to create some of the most beautiful classical music known to man, and this collection presents 30 of the most famous pieces ever composed.
 

 

 
Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata
The Moonlight Sonata, a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven, was completed in 1801. In 1802, Beethoven dedicated it to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. It has since become one of the most popular piano songs of all time.
 
Beethoven - Für Elise
Für Elise is one of Ludwig van Beethoven's most famous piano songs. Composed in 1810, it was only published in 1867 - 40 years after the composer's death in 1827. The composition was hidden away until Ludwig Nohl found it and gave it back to the world.
 
Beethoven - Sonata Pathétique
Ludwig van Beethoven wrote Sonata Pathétique in 1798 when he was just 27 years old. This composition remains one of his most famous piano songs to this day.

Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
The Diabelli Variations was written between 1819 and 1823 by Ludwig van Beethoven, and based on a waltz composed by Anton Diabelli. Diabelli distributed his version of the waltz to several known composers, asking them to write their own variation, but Beethoven went ahead and wrote 33 of them, and classical piano music has never been the same since then!
Debussy - Clair de Lune
The name Clair de Lune comes from a poem by Verlaine's of the same name. It took Debussy a staggering 15 years to complete this popular composition.
 
Debussy - Reflets Dans l'Eau
Following in the footsteps of great impressionist painters, Debussy exploited his piano's ability to create both still and rippling water effects. Who would have though that this experimental creation would have gone on to create one of the most famous piano songs ever?
 
Debussy - Golliwog's Cakewalk
Dedicated to Debussy's young daughter, this brilliant piece alludes to both ragtime as well as African-American minstrelsy.
 
Debussy - Pagodes
This orient-inspired masterpiece features the pentatonic scale, set against a rich European background.
 
Chopin - March Funèbre
Popularly known as The Funeral March, March Funèbre was composed in 1839 by Chopin. However, the third movement, whence comes the sonata's common nickname, had been composed as early as 1837.
 
Chopin - Minute Waltz
The Minute Waltz is a piano waltz composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1874. It is dedicated to the Countess Delfina Potocka, whom Chopin considered to be his muse.
 
Chopin - Nocturnes, Op. 9
Composed between 1830 and 1832, Chopin dedicated his famous Nocturnes to the French virtuoso pianist and publisher, Camille Pleyel.
 
Chopin - A Young Girl’s Wish
Chopin truly loved the traditional culture of Poland, which is why he decided to compose background music for a famous Polish poem, called 'A Young Girl's Wish.'
 
 
Schumann - Arabeske
Schumann composed the Arabeske in 1839 to express sadness and longing for his beloved - Clara Wieck. Clara's father did not approve of their relationship, which resulted in Schumann moving to another city, but his love for Clara never died.
 
Schumann - Kinderszenen
Kinderszenen was composed in 1838 to represent Schumann's memories of childhood. The original piece had 30 movements, but the final version kept only 13 of those.
 
Schumann - Waldszenen
Waldszenen is a collection of 9 outstanding piano pieces. They were composed between 1848 and 1849, and were eventually published between 1850 and 1851 by Bartholf Senff.
 
Schumann - Carnaval
Schumann's Carnaval is made up of 21 short pieces, which are meant to represent a group of masked revelers at Carnival. It is dedicated to the violinist Karol Lipinski.
 
Mozart - Rondo Alla Turca
"Alla Turca", popularly known as The Turkish March, is one of Mozart's most well-known piano pieces. Mozart wanted to imitate the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, which were quite popular at the time.
 
Mozart - Piano Sonata 16 in C Major
One of Mozart's most famous piano pieces, this is also surprisingly one of his most simple compositions, and was described by Mozart himself as being 'for beginners'.
 
Mozart - Piano Sonata No. 11
One of Mozart's more mysterious works, this piece is believed to have been written in 1783 in either Salzburg or Vienna, however some historians have suggested that it may have even been composed while Mozart was visiting Paris.
 
Mozart - Adagio in B minor
This brilliant piece is a standalone composition for solo piano, and made it into his 'Verzeichnis aller meiner Werke' in 1788.
 
Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
The second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt, is considered to be the most famous one. The composition has received quite a lot of fame thanks to its use in several animated videos and movies.
 
Liszt - Piano Sonata in B minor
Dedicated to Robert Schumann, Liszt completed this composition in 1853 after retiring as a successful traveling virtuoso.
 
Liszt - La Campanella
The third of his six 'Grandes études de Paganini', La Campanella's main melody is derived from Niccolò Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor.
 
Liszt - Un Sospiro
Un Sospiro is the final of three piano piano études that list composed between 1845 and 1849. The title literally means 'a sigh' in Italian.
 
Rimsky-Korsakov - Flight of the Bumblebee
This composition was written as an orchestral interlude for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.
 
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
Composed by Gershwin in 1924, Rhapsody in Blue uses both jazz and classical elements in a way that was not heard before that time. It's the piece that made Gershwin a famous composer.

Dvořák - Humoresque
Dvořák composed this piece on a vacation to Bohemia during the summer of 1894. It is said to be the second-most famous piano composition after Für Elise.
 
Bach - The Well-Tempered Clavier
Bach's 'The Well-Tempered Clavier' helped pave the way for future pianists ever since it was first played thanks to its sheer innovation.
 
Tchaikovsky - The Seasons, Op.37
An absolute delight of a melody, consisting of sharp harmonic tangents and deliciously orchestral articulation, and as a result is rightly regarded as a classic.
 
Brahms - Piano Sonata in F Minor
One of the main reasons that this piece made it to this list is because Brahms manages to combine his youthful enthusiasm with the darker mood of his later years, resulting in a composition that's almost Wagnerian in its execution.
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