What's the first piece of classical music you ever heard?

Was it 'Peter and the Wolf'? Or 'Carnival of the Animals'? John Suchet is asking you which classical work first captured your imagination when you were young.

Silkstone Common Junior and Infant School Orchestr

Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre
From Michele in Oxford: "I was 11 years old and in one of my first music lessons when my music teacher - Mrs Brown - put on the record (yes, ye olde vinyl - no CDs in those  days) and told us to close our eyes and put our heads on our desks and see what pictures came into our minds while listening to it. To this day, even when I hear it as the Jonathan Creek  TV show theme, I still envisage skeletons in top hats with ebony canes dancing in a graveyard at midnight!" 

Ronald Binge: Elizabethan Serenade
From Robert in Alveston: "This piece of music has always stayed with me. I first heard this at a junior school music lesson - I was probably aged 10 then. It has stuck with me since then and responsible for my introduction to classical music some 50 years ago."

Borodin: Prince Igor
From Nicolas in Burbage: "My mother's taste in music was ballet and played hard, 78 RPM on a wind-up gramophone in her bedroom. At the age of three I remember vividly walking round the room while my mother was occupied feeding my baby sister with Prince Igor clasped on the top of my head - and it broke! From this inauspicious start nevertheless I went on to be a Child of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court and then New College, Oxford!"

Sibelius: Finlandia
From Christine in Glasgow: "I have never done this before but am really enjoying the show. It is strange how things align: I was just thinking about this music which sticks with you from childhood. I love Finlandia, which although I am Scottish I feel reflects the landscape of Scotland very well and seems to speak to me. The mad rushing tumble, the calm sunny places and the almost threatening parts are amazing."

Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony
From: Irene in St. Andrews: "Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony takes me straight back to when I was 16 and chosen to take part in a combined schools choir to be in the chorus for a performance at Leeds Town Hall. I remember that wonderful moment when there is a pause before the audience start the applause. The majestic opening still gives me goose bumps."

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto
From Eric in Pontardawe: "I was fortunate enough to be taught trumpet at school and my exam piece for Grade 5 was the 2nd movement which gladly I passed. My teacher then moved me onto the first movement which I had to perform at the parents' day concert with my mother sitting in the front row! Nervous or what?! There were tremeloes that Haydn never included in the score." 

Chopin: Polonaises
From Chris in Congleton: "In my teens my late father would play me one of Chopin's Polonaises - Military or Heroic. I never really knew how well he played them (he was self-taught) until I was much older and heard professional musicians play them. I'm very proud to say that his rendtions compared very favourably with them. I think that being a self-taught pianist is very impressive but he then taught himself to read music and in his final years, when he was too weak to use the pedals on the piano (he wouldn't play without them!), he taught himself the flute!" 

Johann Strauss II: Emperor Waltz
From Julia in Willian: "When I was very small I remember watching a fairy tale film, which may have been Cinderella, and at the ball everyone was dancing to the most beautiful music. My Dad told me then it was the Emperor Waltz and even now when I hear it I think of crinoline dresses, powdered wigs and beauty spots! I just love it and I think I always will."

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2
From Jill in Kirkwood: "My earliest memory of a special piece of music was hearing this at boarding school. The headmistress was a pianist and Friday evenings were spent in the Long Gallery mending any clothes that required attention. That piece has remained a favourite eve since!"

Grieg: 'Morning' from Peer Gynt
From Julie in Windsor: " Every time I hear it I am whisked back to Monday morning school assembly in the early sixties, when a piece of classical music would be played.  If I remember rightly (it was a long time ago now!) you could request a piece.  This was Nelson Haden school in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, if anyone should remember, too!  My Dad started me on classical music at an early age, so I was already a fan!"

Also from Jean in Eastbourne: "I heard it at school when I was about 12.  It had a profound effect on me, and in later years I was able to visit Grieg's home in Norway. Walking up the drive to the house I heard Solveig's Song being sung at an afternoon concert. It was absolutely magical!"

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
From Graham in Salford: "My first memory of  a piece of classical music, which is still a favourite,was in about 1959 when I was  6, at my first year in Infant School. My teacher played Peter and the Wolf.  My wife Ann and I introduced our children to it and we once  had a most enjoyable two weeks in Denmark when the children would not let us play anything else in the car. Despite that, it is still a favourite!"

Puccini: 'O mio babbino caro' from Gianni Schicchi
Jacqueline from Royal Leamington Spa: "When I was a little girl, mother always insisted my sister and I went to bed on a Sunday by 7.30pm so that they my parents could listen to Palm Court.  The trouble was I loved classical music as well but mother would have nothing of it.  I tried sitting on the stairs but every so often mother would shout up are you out of bed and my 'beloved' sister used to say Jack is on the stairs! Then one evening they played Joan Hammond singing 'O my beloved Daddy' and we could hear her faintly through the floor boards.  Her voice was so strong and it was lovely.  It was on louder because it was my Fathers favourite song.  I always loved my Father and I loved the now late Joan Hammond ever since."

Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals
From Jenny in Coalville: "I've loved this ever since listening to it in primary school music lessons. it is so evocative!  

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5, 'Emperor'
From Judy in New Malden: "My Dad did a lot of cine photography and used classical music as his background. I didn't know what they were at the time but now never hear Beethoven's Emperor , Tchaikovsky's Pathetique or Dvorak's Humoresque without thinking of my Dad. My favourite was the Emperor."

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
From Linda in Truro: "My early encounter with classical music was under the bedclothes with my new transistor radio, trying to tune in to Radio Luxembourg without alerting the parents. As I moved through the various stations,I came across a piece of music which captivated me and I have loved the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto ever since."

Johann Strauss II: 'Nun's Chorus' from Casanova
From Valerie in Fleet: "My earliest memory of classical music is hearing 'The Nuns' Chorus' from Casanova with Annie Frind as the soloist. I was about six years old and thought it was absolutely wonderful. My grandfather bought me a 78 rpm record of it which I suspect is still stored in our loft."

Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
From Janet in Hereford: "Happy memories of lots of lovely music I was introduced to by Children's Hour , including Wolf-Ferrari's Jewels of The Madonna . Also at Grammar School in the 1950's I was stage manager for a dance concert at which lots of Mozart, including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was used. Love all Mozart now but this piece especially takes me back."

Offenbach: 'Barcarolle' from Tales of Hoffmann
From Olive in Bristol: "When I was a child we had an old 12-inch record - selections from Tales of Hoffmann . The very last piece on the second side was the 'Barcarolle' which I've loved ever since. I still have the record, unplayable, but just can't throw it away."

Debussy: Prélude à l'après midi d'un faune
From Bruce in Egham:  "Talking of pieces from our childhood, Debussy's Prélude à l'après midi d'un faune had stuck with me ever since studying it as a teenager. 

Elgar: Enigma Variations 

From Sally in Aberdour: "Elgar's Enigma Variations was my first classical 'love'. Still reduces me to tears. My first record purchase was the theme to Z-Cars when I was about 10 - but don't tell anyone!"

Fauré: 'Berceuse' from Dolly Suite
From Carolyn in Romsey: "My earliest memory of classical music - the Berceuse which introduced Listen with Mother on the radio. Happy days!"

What was the first piece of classical music that captured your imagination when you were young? Leave your answer below.  

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