Recommended Order When Tackling My List of Classical Masterpieces [NOTHING NEW ... ARCHIVED]

  1. 5.5
  2. Symphony #5 in C Minor-Beethoven (1808)
  3. Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor-Bach (1707)
  4. Symphony #7 in A Major-Beethoven (1812)
  5. Symphony #5 in E Minor-Tchaikovsky (1888)
  6. Tabula Rasa-Part (1977)
  7. Piano Sonata #23 in F Minor "Appassionata"-Beethoven (1807)
  8. Violin Partita #2 in D Minor-J.S. Bach (1723)
  9. Symphony #3 in F Major-Brahms (1883)
  10. Symphony #4 in E Minor-Brahms (1885)
  11. Symphony #9 in E Minor "From The New World"-Dvorak (1893)
  12. Symphony #9 in D Minor "Choral"-Beethoven (1824)

  13. 6.0
  14. Symphony #6 in B Minor "Pathetique"-Tchaikovsky (1893)
  15. Symphony #3 in E-flat Major "Eroica"-Beethoven (1804)
  16. Symphony #8 in B Minor "Unfinished"-Schubert (1822)
  17. Symphony #9 in C Major "The Great"-Schubert (1828)
  18. Glagolitic Mass-Leos Janacek (1926)
  19. Symphony #1 in C Minor-Brahms (1876)
  20. Piano Concerto #2 in B flat Major-Brahms (1881)
  21. Symphony #2 in D Major-Brahms (1877)

  22. 6.5
  23. String Quartet #14 in D Minor "Death & the Maiden"-Schubert (1824)
  24. Rite of Spring-Stravinsky (1913)
  25. String Quartet in B flat major "Grosse Fuge"-Beethoven (1826)
  26. Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor-Beethoven (1822)
  27. Piano Sonata #29 "Hammerklavier"-Beethoven (1818)

  28. 7.0
  29. Concerto for Orchestra-Bartok (1943)
  30. Symphonie Fantastique-Berlioz (1830)
  31. Symphony #9 in D Major-Mahler (1910)

  32. 7.5
  33. Requiem-Verdi (1874)
  34. Mass in B Minor-Bach (1749)
  35. Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps-Messiaen (1940)
  36. Symphony #15 in A Major-Shostakovich (1971)
  37. Dolmen Music-Meredith Monk (1981)

  38. 8.0
  39. Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima-Penderecki (1960)
  40. Repons-Boulez (1984)
  41. A Symphony of Three Orchestras-Carter (1976)
  42. Ostrobothnian Symphony-Balakauskas (1989)

  43. 9.0
  44. Gesang der Junglinge-Karlheinz Stockhausen (1956)
Author Comments: 

Ranked here on "challenge level" alone, from least challenging to most challenging. Only masterpieces (9/10+) have been included. I recommend discovering the albums in the above, laid out sequence (or similar), as this allows one to gradiently connect to each and every work.

Of course, this isn't even close to completion. It will be added to over time.

Challenge ratings scale is as follows:

3.0 EASY

Thankyou for making this list!
I will most definitely be using it as a source to work from. I would probably place that Stockhausen as a 9 though, it's pretty challenging stuff if I remember.

You might be right. Due to my thorough experience with the rock/jazz list I don't really find anything challenging anymore so these days I have trouble placing them according to what others would probably think. It seems to me to be about as challenging as Faust. If it had a bit more content I would think it was a 9, but due to its shortness it's easier to wrap ones wits around than TMR or Twin Infinitives, even though per minute it might be tougher. Still I'll definitely consider changing it to a 9, especially if more and more people agree with you.

Yep, just listened to it again. You're right. Thanks ( :

No problem! :)

I think perhaps the difficulty of an album is dependant on the musical background, and cannot be certifiably ordered, though for such a mammoth task you do a very good job AfterHours!
For instance, if someone had an extensive background in electronic music (particularly minimalism and ambient), Irrlicht sounds instantly like a masterpiece, not too distant from works of Terry Riley, Biosphere and Tetsu Inoue, but Trout Mask Replica is an alien mash up of avant garde rock and blues techniques done in a way dissimilar to most rock and is extremely hard to grasp. However, on the other side of the spectrum, someone with a background in rock who enjoys The Doors, The Velvet Underground, Faust etc will find TMR to be relatively easy to listen to, but Irrlicht will be the album which is unapproachable.

That's how I see it anyway, don't mean to insult this list, I still find this and your rock one to be extremely helpful :)

I'm glad it helps and I definitely agree with you. There is probably noone who will find this totally accurate, due to variable music experiences as you mention. What I try to do is find an average, as well as provide a gradient approach. Most of the works/albums from challenge level to challenge level tend to build upon the experiences of the last, but also some works are so unique this is virtually non-existent.

I would love to hear feedback on this, especially on how accurate or inaccurate various people find the albums to be placed per their respective challenge levels and why. It's becoming quite difficult for me to do this by myself since very little is higher than, say, a 5.5 for me these days (for instance, I enjoyed Gesang der Junglinge immediately and really wrapped my wits around it by the 2nd or 3rd listen, and now it simply gets more profound with each successive listen). Silly as it may sound, I actually find something like Pet Sounds or especially a band like Coldplay to be considerably more "difficult" to listen to than Gesang der Junglinge or Trout Mask Replica, but that's due to interminable boredom (Colplay much more than Pet Sounds) rather than difficulty in grasping or duplicating the compositional nature and emotional content.

I didn't know where else to post this as I can't find a totally relevant list but I just got hold of the full half hour Rite of Spring by Stravinsky and was blown away. I'm thinking possible 9.75, it's truly a masterpiece, I'm finding it very hard to truly comprehend its message/emotions, but the force with which I'm experiencing them is immense (if that makes any sense).

Are any of his other works close to this monumental epic?

Very cool to hear. I love Rite of Spring! Aside from that though, I'm not too familiar with Stravinsky. Try Lukeprog.

I'd recommend Symphony of Psalms. It's not nearly as intense as Rite of Spring, but then again, few works are. Petrushka, the ballet written immediately before, would be a close second.

Thanks for that! I'll definitely check them out.

I now have them, plus a couple of other Stravinsky works, and they're all great. I really like Symphony of Psalms a lot, thanks for the reccomendation!