5-Minute Masterpieces

There are nothing but short and sweet masterpieces on this list. None of these videos will set you back more than 5 Minutes, and you’re guaranteed to love all of them.

5 minute masterpieces

1. Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov

You probably know this high-energy piece, but have you ever watched an orchestra perform it before? Watch how the famous melody buzzes seamlessly from one instrument to another.

Why it’s fun: the tune is familiar, the pace is captivating, and it’s just plain impressive.

2. Piano Concerto in G Major, III. Presto by Ravel

Watch the thrilling conclusion to Ravel’s G Major Piano Concerto performed AND conducted by the great Leonard Bernstein.

Why it’s fun: Yeah, “Lenny” misses his share of notes in this performance, but the spirit and guts he brings to this piece are unparalleled.

3. Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams

This most-played work from living American composer John Adams was inspired by a midnight ride in a Lamborghini.

Why it’s fun: Like many of the other works on this list, once this brilliant fanfare starts it is all out until the finish.

4. Spinning Song by Mendelssohn

Spinning Song comes from Mendelssohn’s set of works called “Songs without Words”: the pieces tell such beautiful stories that one can imagine them being sung and having beautiful lyrics.

Why it’s fun: This piece is cheerful, short, and sweet—but with plenty of notes thrown in to keep your attention!

5. “Black Key” Etude, Op. 10, No. 5 by Chopin

Chopin published two books of 12 etudes. All of them are devilishly difficult, and this one is particularly delightful to listen to. After watching Horowitz, check out Lang Lang performing an alternative version with the help of an orange. Don’t try this at home (and definitely not at your teacher’s piano)!

Why it’s fun: It is impossible to listen to this piece and to be unhappy.

6. “Butterfly” Etude Op. 25, No. 9 by Chopin

Check out this cool resource that helps you visualize all of the details within the music.

Why it’s fun: It was composed by one of the greatest musical minds of the 19th Century, and yet it has the soul of an old saloon tune.

7. In the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg

This infamous work from Edvard Grieg will keep you on the edge of your seat and your imagination churning.

Why it’s fun: Suspense, endless staccatos, and always getting louder and faster. What’s not to love?

8.  Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, No. 7 “Traumes Wirren” by Schumann

Schumann, a composer full of imagination wrote many pieces that are made up of several short movements. This movement from his Fantasiestücke (Fantasy Pieces) is titled “Traumes Wirren”, which translates roughly to mean “Tangled Dreams”.

Why it’s fun: Far and away the most playful piece on this list—or on any list, for that matter.

9. Toccata in d minor by Prokofiev

This perpetual motion work from Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev will make you think of a poltergeist rushing around causing all kinds of trouble.

Why it’s fun: Dissonances have never sounded so good.

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