Playlist: WFMT Listeners’ First Favorites

By Adela Skowronski |

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A marching band, a parade, a school concert, a dusty LP, cassette, or CD. We all came to love classical music in different ways.

In a post on WFMT's Facebook page, we asked you what classical piece was your first favorite, and we received scores of responses!

Here are some of the musical first loves of our WFMT listeners, in their own words. [Jump to playlist]

Camille Saint-Saëns: The Swan from Carnival of the Animals

The Swan from Carnival of the Animals was my own favorite. It was on a little 78 RPM that I played on my equally little record player. I was about 5 years old. 🙂 (I have most sweet memories of my parents' special 78 RPM favorites: My father's were Capriccio Italien, Schwanda the Bagpiper, Enesco's Rumanian Rhapsody, & Beethoven's 7th; my mother's were Mozart, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos and Italian operas. All are still very nostalgic to me, all these years later!)

— Ann M.

Gustav Holst: The Planets Suite

I had never heard The Planets until a live performance by Elgin Symphony Orchestra. The off-stage chorus seemed like magic.

— Jolene K.

Frédéric Chopin: Étude No. 25, Op. 12 “Ocean”

At 6, I heard plenty, liked all. Mom used to buy me tapes to listen to classical music. One day, one of the pieces from my cassettes caught my attention. Chopin's Ocean Étude. Have been in love with Chopin ever since.

— Sue S.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Suite No. 4, Op. 61 “Mozartiana”

Mozartiana, on the flip side of an old Columbia LP (ML4048) with The Nutcracker Suite, by Artur Rodzinsky and the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York. I, of course, loved The Nutcracker Suite, but I was fascinated with the melodies in Tchaikovsky's interpretations of Mozart. And then WEFM, WNIB, and WFMT took me down that lovely rabbit hole of classical music, and now, I have so much because of that LP and finding WFMT. I also continue with other influencers such as TwoSet Violin (Brett & Eddy), who continue along with 'FMT helping me find more and more good classical music!

— Bryan T.

George Frideric Handel: Water Music Suite

Water Music. No background in classical music at all… listened to my local NPR station, hearing the music, waiting for the news. Then I heard this music. Called the station to ask for the name. Literally changed my life. Literally.

— Carolyn L.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

My first concert was the CSO in Bartlesville, OK and Solti conducting the Beethoven Symphony No. 5 when I was a kid. I still remember it vividly. I absolutely fell in love at the first concert after moving to St. Louis my freshman year in high school with the haunting opening theme of that repeated A-flat of the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4...

— Paul D.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

Introduced me to classical music. An incredible music teacher introduced me to it. I never hear it without thinking of him. He changed my life.

— Hovey R.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 555

When I found an old 78rpm record of Mozart Symphony No. 40 in my parents' bookcase.

— Lee B.

Camille Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccio, Op. 28

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso on the first CD I ever had, as a child: Violin Greatest Hits!

— Alexandra N.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23

Seeing Van Cliburn was a clincher…

— Miriam D.

Igor Stravinsky: Suite from Petrushka

Stravinsky’s Petrushka. I still have a soft spot in my heart for it. I’ve heard a two-piano arrangement of it that was terrific.

— Alexander W.

Enjoy the full playlist!

Some listener responses have been edited for length and clarity