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From the romantic to the sensual, here’s our pick of 50 sexy pieces of classical music, inspired by E L James’ erotic novel
Saucy opera Lulu, was written in 1937 by Austrian composer Alban Berg. It’s packed with love and death, and there’s even a brothel thrown in for good measure.
Some sexy moments just can’t be described musically… but British composer Thomas Adès certainly gives it a go in his x-rated opera Powder Her Face, which centres around a sex-obsessed duchess.
Widor’s four movement Piano Quartet in A minor is an emotional roller coaster, but the second movement is definitely the most sexiest. It’s even been described as ‘erotic’!
This piece by Richard Strauss isn’t for the faint-hearted! It includes a musical portrait of his domestic life with his family, with an x-rated musical love scene between the composer and his wife.
Walton's opera, The Bear, boasts a saucy plot involving unfaithful lovers, resulting in a duel where they point loaded pistols at each other. Luckily, neither can fire as they’re too in love.
‘It was a lover and his lass, with a hey and a ho and a hey nonny no!’ We’re not sure what Finzi was insinuating by using Shakespeare’s saucy lyrics, but the wonderful music of his springtime love song speaks for itself.
It’s not just for fireworks in the bedroom – Handel’s brilliant 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' is just as lively now as it was when it was written in 1749.
Two sexy sopranos indulge in a diva-style cat fight in Rossini’s comic duet. The singers need not worry about forgetting the words, as the lyrics are only made up of one word: ‘Meow!’
It’s not just Tine Thing Helseth’s playing that makes Arutunian’s Trumpet Concerto so sensuous. The orchestral playing is wonderfully meaty and the lush string chords complement the trumpet playing perfectly.
Marie Reynolds on Facebook suggested The Pearl Fishers duet, as performed by Andrea Bocelli and Bryn Terfel. Of course she did. Two of classical music’s biggest hunks, displaying their enormous… voices. Marie, a fantastic choice, and we salute you!
Matthew Haywood on Facebook suggested Offenbach’s Fly Duet. And why wouldn’t he? As the opera – Orpheus in the Underworld – that spawned the Can-Can (The Infernal Gallop from Act II, Scene 2), here’s another reason to turn up the romantic heat.
Stunning Katherine Jenkins is the perfect singer to transport us to musical paradise, singing glorious music by Fauré from his Requiem. It’s simply angelic.
There are few things sexier than a healthy dose of Spanish guitar music, and who better to provide us with a good strumming than Rodrigo? His 'Fantasia para un gentilhombre' embodies the best of steamy Spanish charm alongside lively dance themes.
Wouldn’t you like to have a piece of sexy classical music written especially for you? Lucky Clara Schumann (pictured), wife of the great Romantic composer Robert Schumann, was treated to music written by her husband.
The violin and piano play together in sweet harmony in Brahms’ intimate sonata. It’s not just the musical conversation between the players that will make your hair stand on end – Brahms’ writing is just delicious!
Mendelssohn captures the mood of a balmy summer evening in his magical A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairies come out to play, and perhaps love is in the air…
Beethoven’s overtures aren’t exactly sexy in themselves, but Jane Jones has discovered a fresh recording by the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra and David Zinman, which she describes as ‘feisty and raw’! Perhaps Beethoven was a secret lothario…
Used in the soundtrack to the haunting film Black Swan, the theme from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is used as a naïve dancer, played by Natalie Portman, lives out her unhealthy obsession with fellow ballet star, played by Mila Kunis.
One thing’s certain – the ladies love Mr Darcy. But we think the wonderful piano theme tune to Pride and Prejudice, written by Carl Davis, is almost as sexy as Colin Firth.
Suburban housewives! Affairs! Violence! Liberally used in the film Brief Encounter, Rach’s masterpiece will be forever linked to this racy film.
As a twenty seven year old, Mascagni launched this gem on the world. A one act opera that packs in plenty of adultery and blind fury, it’s a sure-fire way of getting the pulse racing.
Mozart’s crazy comic opera, The Marriage of Figaro, features the gorgeous aria ‘Porgi, Amor’. The music may be pretty, but the subject matter is a bit more raunchy – at this point in the opera, the Countess is singing about her husband's infidelity.
Opera singers, a love story, and a lot of alcohol – what could possibly go wrong? The famous drinking song from Verdi’s opera La Traviata encourages us to ‘drink for the ecstatic feeling that love arouses’, but we’ll leave it up to you whether you follow the composer’s advice.
This gorgeous duet is a highlight of Delibes’ exotic opera, Lakmé. It’s also mentioned in E L James’ erotic novel, 50 Shades of Grey – but the music is pretty exciting on its own.
Marcello’s tragically beautiful oboe concerto needs no introduction, especially in its piano transcription by Bach. It’s also a favourite of Christian Grey’s, the sexy star of 50 Shades of Grey – he likes to play it almost as much as we enjoy listening to it.
Love affair kicks off with plenty of promise and gusto! Love affair goes horribly wrong and ends tragically! There’s barely a dry eye in the house towards the climax (!) of Madama Butterfly, but rarely has romance been staged so poignantly.
Fall in love with Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti in Puccini’s tragic romance. Their duet captures the exact moment the operatic lovers fall for each other, and it’s a musical match made in heaven.
Monteverdi may have been writing in the 17th Century, but he’s still treated us to a fair share of naughtiness. The raunchy story tells of adulterous liaison between Nerone, the Roman emperor, and his mistress Poppea.
Wagner’s Romantic love story between a nobleman and an Irish princess is one of the most intense operas of its time. It’s seen as an accurate musical portrayal of all a couple’s emotions, both sexy and destructive.
A beautiful wedding favourite from 16th century composer Thomas Tallis. The choral piece can be performed with a small choir to heighten the intimacy between the parts.
Verdi’s passionate opera, Aida, tells the story of an Ethiopian princess who is captured as a slave. Military commander Radamès falls under her spell and their turbulent love affair is played out on the opera stage.
The clue’s in the title with this symphonic poem by Scriabin. He wrote a poem to accompany the music, which was split into three movements – one of which is said to describe a soul in the orgy of love!
Used in the film Eyes Wide Shut, Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite provides a soundtrack to the sexually charged adventures of Dr. Bill Harford, played by Tom Cruise, and his wife, Nicole Kidman.
After the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, Paul Mealor’s charming anthem has burst onto the classical music scene in time for this summer’s wedding season. It’s a simple choral piece, but less is definitely more in this beautifully sweet composition.
A boy and a girl, 'giving their kisses like waves exchanging foam'. If the lyrics to Whitacre’s luscious song don’t give you goosebumps, the dense chords and sensuous choral writing certainly will.
Bernstein’s overture captures the cheeky mood present throughout his satirical operetta, Candide. A raunchy favourite is the Old Lady’s Tango, ‘I Am Easily Assimilated’, with a touch of Spanish charm.
Take a trip to the sunny market square in 1820s Seville, where we discover the story of the beautiful gypsy girl, Carmen. A true flirt, she tosses a flower to Don José and tries to tempt him away from the army with a seductive dance.
This sexy song is performed by Delilah in Saint-Saens’ opera as she attempts to seduce Samson and lure him into revealing his strength. Despite containing this beautiful aria, the sultry opera caused controversy due to its Biblical themes, and was banned by the Lord Chamberlain until 1909.
The tragic romance between Shakespeare’s best-loved couple has inspired many pieces of music through the years, but none so passionate as Tchaikovsky’s Overture to Romeo and Juliet. It’s even been used on TV shows such as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and on The Sims as the soundtrack to a romantic kiss!
Mozart isn’t best known for his sex appeal, but he created his fair share of seductive sopranos in his operas. In Don Giovanni, after Zerlina is accused of cheating by her fiancé, Masetto, she sings her flirty aria ‘Batti, batti o bel Masetto’, teasing him by asking him to punish her, beat her, and pull her hair.
Poulenc is almost as well-known for his wild social life as he is his music. His sexy song, ‘Hôtel’, from the Banalités cycle is at its most gorgeous when it’s sung by the velvet baritone voice of Simon Keenlyside.
Indulge your ears in Nyman’s beautifully intense soundtrack to The Piano. In the sensuous film, a young man is seduced by the passionate piano playing of a mute woman, who uses music to communicate her emotions.
Originally part of Walton's film score to Henry V (starring Laurence Olivier, pictured) composed in 1943, the intimate string music of 'Touch her soft lips and part' tells the tale of an emotional parting kiss between the king from his lover.
Don’t be fooled by the 11th century Latin and German words – Orff’s Carmina Burana is pretty naughty in places! Themes of love, lust, and drinking songs make up the backbone of this piece, written in 1935-6, which includes such lyrics as: “Look at me young men, and let me please you…”
Strauss’s seductive heroine, Salome, performs a strip tease at this point in the opera, dancing for King Herod so he will grant her wishes. More risqué productions involve the singer slowly removing each of her seven veils one by one, ending the song naked on stage.
If the masculine charms of singers Sébastien Izambard, Carlos Marín, David Miller, and Urs Bühler don’t get your heart beating, their beautiful voices certainly will. So far more than 25million people have fallen under their spell and bought their CD.
'Now is the month of Maying, where merry lads are playing!' What exactly the merry lads are getting up to is left to our imagination in Morley’s naughty madrigal, as the words are replaced with mischievous ‘fa la la’s.
Bizet takes us on a musical journey to sunny Spain, where flirty flamenco skirts and castanets give us a flavour of the sultry summer, whatever the weather.
Tallis’ glorious motet has enough musical excitement in its 40 individual parts to get our pulses racing. No wonder its admirers range from Ana and Christian in 50 Shades of Grey to the Tallis Scholars (pictured).
It’s not just ice skaters Torvil and Dean who are heating up with Ravel’s steamy music. It also features in the sexy Eighties film, 10, starring Bo Derrick.