Dan Walker reveals his all-time favourite pieces of classical music

4 January 2024, 16:42

What are Dan Walker’s favourite pieces of classical music to start the day?

Classic FM

By Classic FM

Classic FM Breakfast’s Dan Walker shares his favourite classical music – from the piece he had at his wedding, to the duet he thinks would make the perfect theme for a football championship!

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From 8 January 2024, much-loved broadcaster Dan Walker will be back at Breakfast, presenting brilliant classical music to start the morning on Classic FM.

A lifelong classical music fan, Dan has chosen ten of the pieces of music that move him, uplift him and have a special significance to him.

And you can hear plenty of music just like this, from 6.30am to 10am on the all-new Classic FM Breakfast in 2024…

  1. Band of Brothers Theme – Michael Kamen

    “I studied history at university and when Band of Brothers came out,” Dan says. “I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen. The music is perfect and brings back all sorts of memories.”

    Read more: Dan Walker to host all-new Classic FM Breakfast show

    Main Titles from the HBO Miniseries | Band of Brothers (Original Motion Picture Soundtr...

  2. ‘Benedictus’ from The Armed Man – Karl Jenkins

    “I once presented a programme with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and I sat two metres away from the cellist for this,” Dan says of the Welsh composer’s moving melody. “I could feel it crackling through my body.”

    Jenkins: The Armed Man - A Mass For Peace - XII. Benedictus (Piano Version)

  3. The Pearl Fisher’s Duet – George Bizet

    Opera and football have a long, storied history together, but for Dan, there’s one tune that would set up the sporting drama perfectly.

    Bizet’s Pearl Fishers Duet always makes the spine tingle. I have always thought this would make the perfect theme tune for a major football tournament.”

    Bizet's The Pearl Fishers ǀ English National Opera

  4. Messiah – Handel

    Handel’s Messiah is a staple of the festive season. Premiered in Dublin in 1742, it has been performed by choirs the world over, almost every year since.

    “I have gone to see this with family and friends most Christmases for many years,” Dan says. “I just love now musically perfect it is. So many magical moments.”

    Handel's Messiah Live from the Sydney Opera House

  5. Adagio for Strings – Barber

    Barber’s Adagio is a work of near devastating melancholy, that’s filled with beautifully satisfying and moving harmonies.

    “I love music that moves you and this happens every time I listen to this gorgeous piece of music.”

    Vienna Philharmonic – Barber: Adagio for Strings, Op.11 (Summer Night Concert 2019)

  6. Grandstand Theme tune

    “I love music that brings back memories and, as soon as I hear that opening double drumbeat, I start smiling. One of the highlights of my career was when the Wembley brass band played this for us live for my final ever episode of Football Focus.”

    Grandstand Theme Tune

  7. ‘O Fortuna’ (Carmina Burana) – Carl Orff

    “Still not sure how some 13th-century poems inspired Orff to come up with this banger but – who cares – it’s wonderful. It rips your face off in the first 15 seconds.”

    O, Fortuna (Cello Craziness)

  8. Star Wars Theme – John Williams

    “The film and the score captivated me as a young boy – like millions of others. The film wouldn’t be the same without the music and it’s impossible to see Darth Vader without hearing the music which accompanies his heavy breathing and menace.”

    Classic FM Live: Star Wars Finale – Anna Lapwood and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

  9. Ashokan Farewell – Jay Ungar

    A lilting, slightly mournful waltz, American musician Jay Ungar’s string-led ‘Ashokan Farewell’ has an extraordinary power to bring a tear to the eye.

    “I know it’s pretty simple and repetitive, but that’s what I love about it. The first time I heard it I listened to be back-to-back, five or six times.”

    Folk Alley Sessions: Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band, "Ashokan Farewell"

  10. Pachelbel’s Canon

    “It’s on most lists, but with good reason! It builds beautifully and just seems to accompany any occasions perfectly. Like about 82 percent of the population, we had it at our wedding.”

    Read more: 30 pieces of classical music for your wedding

    Pachelbel Canon in D Major - the original and best version.

Explore the full new exciting radio schedule for Classic FM in 2024 here, and listen to Classic FM Breakfast with Dan Walker every weekday from 6.30am, from Monday 8 January.