Is your Dad a classical music buff? Father’s Day is here and we’ve listed our top picks for the most robust, strong and powerful classical favourites that would make the perfect Father’s Day gift your Dad’s collection.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5

In addition to its stormy introduction and heavy notation, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is one of the most important pieces in music history. The popular “dit, dit, dit, dah” is translated in Morse Code as the letter “V” and was referred to as “The Victory Symphony” during World War II. Beethoven composed his fifth symphony during a period where his hearing was growing worse, which can be discerned in the anger and fury found in the opening lines. It’s perhaps no surprise that Austria was at war with Napoleon by the time the piece was finished, making this work a symphony for European wars throughout history.

Hailed by The New York Times as a perfect recording, Carlos Kleiber’s conducting definitely delivers: http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Symphonies-Nos-5-7/dp/B000001GPX

Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and The Flying Dutchman

Another piece absorbed by popular culture in war themed renditions, Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries is a popular work your dad would have come across in episodes of Superman or while watching the 1979 classic Apocalypse Now during the tragic helicopter assault.

Wagner’s initial impetus for his famous opera The Flying Dutchman was derived from Heinrich Heine’s retelling of the legend as well as the stormy sea voyage Wagner endured with his wife from Riga to London. Wagner breathes life into this tale of The Flying Dutchman, an eerie story about a cursed ghost ship which roams the seas unable to make land.

NPR recommends lending an ear to Georg Solti’s “Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen” and James Levine’s “Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer” for the best performances of Ride of the Valkyries and The Flying Dutchman: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90724232

Brahms’ Symphony No. 1

Echoing the same heavy notes and marching rhythm as Beethoven’s fifth symphony, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 is often referred to as “Beethoven’s Tenth” given the similarities in musical style between both composers. Brahms devoted at least 14 years to writing his first symphony, which may have been because he destroyed much of his earlier work as he was excessively critical of himself. He was also expected by critics and colleagues to continue Beethoven’s music legacy – a very tall order, indeed.

Ranked as the number one conductor for Brahms’ symphony recordings, Wilhelm Furtwängler’s “live performances and could hardly be described as perfect” according to The New York Times: http://www.amazon.com/Furtw%C3%A4ngler-Conducts-Brahms-Complete-Symphonies/dp/B00002062I

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