An Interactive Site to Identify the Most Beautiful Musical Compositions of Each Country

Welcome music lovers! Please join the discussion, vote, and offer suggestions for what you think are the most beautiful musical compositions of each country in the world. See my initial posting for the rules of the game. Then click on the country label (on the right side) and use "Comment" to offer your thoughts, votes or suggestions about the music of that country. To suggest candidate compositions, please provide the title and composer of the piece and, if possible, a link to an audio or video sample of the music. Once a number of nominations are received for a country, I will create a "poll" for people to vote on their favorite

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Most Beautiful Music in YOUR Country?

What is the most beautiful single piece of music ever produced in each country in the world? This is the starting point of this new blog, where I will share my own opinions, and invite all of you to nominate pieces of music, debate the candidates, and vote on them. I will create a single page for each country, suggest a single piece of music for each one, and then see what the rest of you suggest and think. There are no right and wrong answers, of course, and the definitions of "country," "piece of music," and "beautiful" are all open to discussion and debate. I would start out by defining "country" as the composer's place of birth or residence. For the kind of music, I would suggest a single composition, and my initial inclination is to focus on "classical" or symphonic compositions that last more than about 10 minutes (thus excluding most contemporary rock music and folk songs, etc.). "Beautiful" is entirely subjective, but for me it is music that moves me emotionally.

I am not at all an expert or specialist in classical music, though I have loved it for as long as I can remember. I played trumpet in high school and college orchestras, and have fiddled with the guitar, the recorder, the piano and the harmonica. But in real life, I am simply a retired professor of political science!

I will begin developing this blog as we go along, but in the meantime I welcome any suggestions, nominations, and comments, which you are free to post here.

As a starting point, allow me to choose my own country as the first one to consider. (For one thing, as far as music goes, it is a whole lot easier than, for example, Germany, Austria, Italy or Russia!)

My choice for the most beautiful piece of music ever produced by an American composer is "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin. A close runner-up would be Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings."

Your thoughts? Try "voting" in the little poll widget on the right hand side of this page.


  1. What a great idea! I think Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" ought to be up there. And if most beautiful doesn't have to go hand in hand with well known, then there are surely others - such as Howard Hanson's Symphony No.2 "Romantic", Alan Hovhaness' Symphony No.6 "Celestial Gate" and Lowell Lieberman's "Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra." There's a lot of great music that has failed to become famous for reasons other than lack of beauty! :)

  2. I completely agree about "Fanfare" which is indeed beautiful! I tried to add it to our "poll" but since people had already voted, I could not edit it. In the future, I will invite nominations before I create the poll.

  3. This is a great idea. I love all types of music, so it will be great to see what people nominate as their favorites. I will chime in at some point with my favorites from Zimbabwe!

  4. My favorite American composition is "Suite Noire"
    by Joseph Waters, a professor of music at San Diego State University. I had the pleasure of
    attending its first public performance two years
    ago in Temecula, CA. It was played by a regional
    orchestra and was a blend of contemporary and classical style--quite masterful. Waters is known
    for his eletronic music, but here he ventured into the symphonic.

  5. Here are a few pieces that I really like:

    1. Liangzhu (Butterfly Lovers, violin)

    2. Erquan yinyue (Moon Reflected on the Two Springs, Erhu)

    3.Sinian (Nostalgia)

    The first two are Han Chinese and are very well-known in China, and the third is a Tibetan song that is not among the most well-known in China but extremely beautiful. The singer's name is Yadong, a Tibetan from western Sichuan.


  6. I have copied this comment on Chinese music to a new posting on "China's Most Beautiful Music"

  7. I have a couple of songs I really like from Zimbabwe. The first is by Oliver Mtukudzi: Todii-
    It is a sad song but just as beautiful. It comes from his 1999 album Tuku Music.
    The second one is by Thomas Mapfumo: Chamunorwa-
    It comes from his 1991 album of the same name. It is truly a classic, its beauty lies in the mixture of the traditional mbira and the bass guitar. Makes me miss my family and friends back home. These two artists are the best to come out of Zimbabwe.

  8. I have posted Brian's suggestions in a new entry for Zimbabwe. For those of you who know music from Zimbabwe, please comment, suggest, and add. Eventually we will vote!

  9. I have voted for Barber's "Adagio For Strings". I am a big fan of Bernstein's music, and think "Maria" from his "West Side Story" is one of the most beautiful.

  10. I agree that "Maria" is gorgeous! Emily's nomination is making me rethink the parameters for "the most beautiful music" in each country. I was thinking primarily concert or symphonic music, but perhaps it should include show tunes as well?

    I will create a separate page for the United States, which shows the nominations so far.