We challenged this guy to listen to the entire history of classical music, non-stop, for 24 hours

A new release documents the entire 1,200 year history of classical music, over 24 CDs. What if you listened to it all in one go?

The history of classical music, in 24 CDs

There's an epic new box set just out on Deutsche Grammophon. 24 CDs that span classical music history from c800 to the present day. Those CDs are packed full of the finest recordings from the yellow label's peerless catalog, with artists like Leonard Bernstein, Martha Argerich, Claudio Abbado and Wilhelm Kempff. (more about the set here)

The History of Classical Music in 24 Hours










We thought what if you were to listen to it all in one epic session?

Meet our Social Media Editor, Kyle Macdonald (with Beethoven). Notice his smile. It may fade.

 Kyle Macdonald Classic FM 











We thought we'd challenge Kyle to listen to the set - the history of classical music - in one epic sitting. That's right, 1,200 years of music, in one 24 hour session.  And just to add to the challenge, we're adding a few complete operas and an epic mass in there. Because who doesn't want to hear Wagner's Parsifal complete, without a break, when you've been listening to music for 15 hours? (Answer: no-one.)

Kyle, here's your schedule:

Friday 13 November:

7am: Disc I Music of The Middle Ages (Pérotin, de Machaut)

8am: Music of the Renaissance (Anonymus, Dufay, Desprez, Dowland, Byrd)

9-10am: Bach B minor Mass

11am: The Classical Symphony (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven)

12pm: The Classical Concerto (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven)

1pm: The Romantic Symphony (Schubert, Brahms)

2pm: Cycles and Songs (Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert)

3pm: The Virtuoso I (Chopin, Brahms, Liszt)

4pm: The Romantic Cello (Dvorák, Elgar)

5pm: The Virtuoso III (Schumann, Rachmaninov)

6pm: Big Voice, Big Orchestra (Brahms, Wagner, Mahler, R. Strauss)

7-9pm: Verdi: La Traviata

9pm Get Your Program (Sibelius, Smetana, Holst)

10pm-2am Wagner: Parsifal

2am: New Currents (Prokofiev, Bartók, Shostakovich)

3am: A World Re-Arranged (Barber, Britten, Ives, Stravinsky)

4am: Lasting Impressions (Ravel, Debussy)

5am: 12 Points of View (Berg, Webern, Schoenberg)

6am: Minimalism (Rihm, Adams, Glass)

How did he get on?

Kyle rose early (for him) - 7am, to begin his epic listening session. Over the next 24 hours, he sat in his seat, listening to every note intently and documenting every thought, reflection and urge with #Classical24 on Twitter. Let's see how he got on.

7am - Easy, Early Music beginnings

A couple of hours of chant and Renaissance choral music. Maybe not your usual choice for early morning music... 

Slightly underwhelming beginning...

A video posted by Kyle Macdonald (@khrmacdonald) onNov 12, 2015 at 11:15pm PST

And he came prepared...




9am - Then it was on to two hours of Bach. We were a bit concerned that this was too much of a pleasure for him. 


11am - And the journey continued into the classical era. And our victim was having to draw on the caffeine to maintain concentration.


4pm - Ah, Lieder. Surely that will dent his enthusiasm? (Legendary tenor Fritz Wunderlich is pretty awesome though)



5pm - 10 hours in, and are the cracks are beginning to show?



Yep - it looks like he might be done for. Too much good music.



7pm - It was all getting to be a bit too much...



Damn you, Snacks and Beer, and your magical powers...

8pm - Kyle was on to 6 hours of opera

Verdi's La traviata and Wagner's Parsifal



12am - and Wagner's epic masterpiece was proving a challenge



Four hours of Wagner begins. #Classical24

A video posted by Kyle Macdonald (@khrmacdonald) onNov 13, 2015 at 2:09pm PST



But after 4 hours of bass-baritones and trombones (and well into the morning) the epiphany came...



3am - Twenty hours of classical music, tea, coffee, beer, wine, cheese and pretzels. Kyle, you're a mess.



4am - and despair starts to set in



5am - and just what everyone craves after 22 hours of continuous listening - the atonality of Berg, Webern and Schoenberg



After 22 hours you feel like Serialism. #Classical24

A video posted by Kyle Macdonald (@khrmacdonald) onNov 13, 2015 at 9:07pm PST


6am - 23 hours in, and he's beginning to fade. STAY STRONG KYLE. Just the CD of minimalism to go...



7am - 24 hours of music. Sun rising. And by the looks of it, if we asked him to listen to another concerto, he might die.



24 hours done. #Classical24

A video posted by Kyle Macdonald (@khrmacdonald) onNov 13, 2015 at 11:00pm PST

 He's never been the same since. In a good way. Fancy taking the challenge yourself. Grab the set here, and press play.