25 pieces of Classical Music about Water

To celebrate contributions of agriculture in Nebraska, NET has created lists of music along the themes of Farming, Ranching, Gardening, Forestry & Arboriculture, and Water. Here is the first in observance of National Agriculture Day March 20, and National Agriculture Week March 18—24. You might find some interesting connections between classical music and the land in these pieces. Try requesting one for an upcoming Classics By Request in honor of someone you know in Agriculture.

Incidentally, in the pictures above, starting in the upper left and going clockwise you see a random picture of fish, a pond at Louisville State Recreation Area in Nebraska, stones at the bottom of Long Pine Creek and a curve of the Dismal River.

above: The Moldau in Prague, photo by Lora Black

below: the Smetana Museum, photo by Lora Black

1. Armand Marsick - La source

2. George Frederic Handel - Water Music This music is for a party, specifically on a barge while floating down the River Thames. You could listen while tanking down the Calamus or Loup.

3. Bedrich Smetana – The Moldau The music depicts the Czech river as it flows through the countryside, starting from mountain springs and becoming a mighty, rushing river. It even flows past a museum about and sculpture of Smetana.

4. Maurice Ravel – Jeux d’Eaux The title translates to either "Water Games" or "Playing Water."

5. Eric Whitacre – The River Cam He wrote this in his head, walking past a river, but also hearing echos of music by Elgar and Vaughn-Williams.

6. Clause Debussy – Poissons d’Or (Goldfish) & Ondine (Water Siren)

7. Paul Dukas – Sorcerer’s Apprentice Poor Mickey, those water buckets in Disney's Fantasia just kept multiplying!

8. Amy Marcy Cheney Beach – By the Still Waters This piece has a companion piece, both inspired by Psalms. Beach wrote this following the deaths of loved ones. The music flows calmly.

9. Philippe Gaubert – Over the Water

10. Aaron Copland – Old American Songs, Set 2: "At the River"

11. Sergei Rachmaninoff – Spring Waters

12. Charles Wakefield Cadman – From the land of the sky-blue water The melody of this piece was inspired by an Omaha song. But, the land referenced in the title may actually be Minnesota.

13. Jacques Ibert – Reflections in Water

14. Robert Schumann – the Water Sprite

15. H.R.H Queen Lili’uokolani – Twisting Water

Walgren Lake

Niobrara at Agate Fossil Beds

Creek in Sowbelly Canyon

Pelicans at Merritt Reservoir

16. Franz Schubert – Songs: The River, By the River, On the River

17. Steven Bryant – Ecstatic Waters A modern piece with some sections more accessible than others. Bryant combines band and electronics in this piece. This music might be heard occasionally on NET Radio's The Verge.

18. Tony Banks – Still Waters

19. Franz Liszt – At the Source

20. Virgil Thomson – The River Suite Thompson wrote this for a New Deal documentary that focused on waterways in the U.S., even featuring a 1937 flood on the Mississippi. The four movements include American tunes and hymns with a returning trumpet motif throughout the piece. The movements include "The Old South,", "Industrial Expansion in the Mississippi Valley," "Soil Erosion and Floods" and "Finale: We Won't Get Home Until Morning."

21. Frederic Delius – Summer Night on the River While composing this music, Delius was surrounded by flowers as a tributary of the Seine in France flowed by. It is a meditation on peace and tranquility.

22. Xian Xinghai – Yellow River Piano Concerto

23. Ferde Grofe – Hudson River Suite

24. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – Deep River

25. Robert Lowry – Beautiful River

North Loup River

Dismal River

Niobrara at the confluence with Missouri

Listen to classical music on NET Radio from 9am to 4pm each weekday and overnight starting at 7:30pm. Learn more about issues of food, fuel and field from Harvest Public Media.