Restful whistful piano music like this please...
May 8, 2008 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Classical Music Filter: Can anyone recommend pieces of classical piano music in a similar style to the Sonatica by Bear McCreary from Battlestar Galactica? I have some Olivier Messiaen stuff in a similar vein but would love more in the same mellow, slightly offkilter and whistful piano style. Thanks!
posted by merocet to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like McCreary was ahem 'inspired' by Ludvig Vans' Moonlight Sonata
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2008

Some of Phillip Glass's music is quite similar. Metamorphosis One (I think that's the right number) was used in "Scattered"
posted by fuzzbean at 12:41 PM on May 8, 2008

Response by poster: I'd thought of the Moonlight Sonata but the thing that gets me about this it's just piano and doesn't go as dark or dramatic and thumpy as the Beethoven piece. It just stays whistful rather than miserable! It's much more like some of Messiaen's stuff that I like in that way. There's a longer YT version here so you can see what I mean.
posted by merocet at 12:54 PM on May 8, 2008

Satie's Gnossiennes (page with links to mp3s)

Scriabin nocturne (mp3)

the slinky, exotic 2nd movement from Debussy's Estampes (mp3)

Schubert impromptu (mp3)

All those are from this website that has tons of free, public-domain mp3s of classical piano music. Especially look for ones with "minor" in the title. There must be some good ones among the many Chopin nocturnes, for instance.

On preview, if you really want pieces that stay the same the whole time instead of having an arc, it might be hard to find that with classical music. The slow, minor pieces usually get more energetic in the middle. Most pieces by Satie and Arvo Part are usually pretty static, so maybe look into those composers in particular.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:59 PM on May 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

Mr. Mon Dieu, a classical buff, says anything by George Winston.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:02 PM on May 8, 2008

Seconding Satie and adding Chopin's Nocturnes.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:11 PM on May 8, 2008

Yep. You'll love any of Philip Glass' or Erik Satie's piano works. For Glass, his non-piano works have a different sound (you'll know it when I hear it); so take Jaltcoh's advice and start with Metamorphoses. For Satie, I especially like his Gymnopédies (the first of which I think showed up in Rushmore?)

Oh! And don't miss Arvo Pärt's "Für Alina" — very halting, very beautiful.

Also, I've seen similar questions searching for wistful piano music on Ask Mefi. Check back for some good recommendations.
posted by electric_counterpoint at 1:14 PM on May 8, 2008

(No, wait, that other Wes Anderson movie, The Royal Tenenbaums. Dag.)
posted by electric_counterpoint at 1:16 PM on May 8, 2008

What about Craig Armstrong? Sure, he also does fully-orchestrated movie scores, but his Piano Works are excellent.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 1:57 PM on May 8, 2008

yeah, that bear mcreary is a total moonlight sonata ripoff. not that that's a bad thing.
posted by apostrophe at 2:38 PM on May 8, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Some great recommendations here some of which I already have and have forgotten about and some of which are new to me and I'll check out.

(And yes I know that the original piece I linked owes a lot to Moonlight Sonata, but it's different in a way that is very appealing to me. I think Jaltcoh nailed the feeling with the use of the word "Slinky". Seems I like slinky ;-)
posted by merocet at 2:48 PM on May 8, 2008

Debussy's Arabesque #1 is lovely.
posted by dog food sugar at 2:56 PM on May 8, 2008

Sentimental Walk on the soundtrack to the movie Diva.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:03 PM on May 8, 2008

I will have to add the Debussy Preludes, and various things by Ravel. Maybe Ma Mère l'Oye, or Le tombeau de Couperin, or Pavane pour une infante défunte.
posted by Zach! at 3:21 PM on May 8, 2008

Seconding Erik Satie, particularly Gymnopedie No. 1
posted by keith0718 at 7:19 PM on May 8, 2008

Zach! is right about Ravel, I'd recommend his Sonatines (Modere, Mouvement D, Anime).
posted by saladin at 6:24 AM on May 9, 2008

The Piano Society link Jaltcoh links is amazing! Some of my finds on there that would fit this thread:

John Cage: In a Landscape - beautiful. Transcendent.
Paul de Senneville: Mariage de Amour
Albeinz: La Vega
posted by dog food sugar at 9:02 PM on June 4, 2008

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