28 pieces of Classical Music for Farming

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.

1. Aaron Copland – The Tender Land

2. Aaron Copland – Music for Movies Suite: mv. 1 "New England Countryside," mv. 2 "Barley Wagons" and mv. 5 "Threshing Machines." This suite was derived from music Copland wrote for various films, “New England Countryside” is from the documentary The City, “Barley Wagons” and “Threshing Machines” from Of Mice and Men.

3. Aaron Copland – Appalachian Spring

4. Camille Saint-Saens – Carnival of the Animals: mv. 2 "Hens and Roosters"

5. Modest Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 5 "Ballet of Unhatched Chicks"

6. Eric Whitacre – Cloudburst This piece musically imitates a rainstorm.

7. Joseph Curiale - Prairie Hymn This piece was directly inspired by seeing farmlands of Nebraska from an airplane and subsequently seeing Nebraska poet Ted Kooser on television. Curiale completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

8. Joseph Curiale - Awakening (Songs of the Earth) This was written as a sort of emotional catharsis for Curiale after a near-death experience. The three movements are "Compassion," "Forgiveness" and "Joy." The sounds might make one think of cinematic, wide-open spaces. This music came right after his work Prairie Hymn.

9. Joaquin Rodrigo - In the Wheatfields

10. Alberto Ginastera - Wheat dance

11. Frederic Chopin – Prelude, Op. 24 No. 15 (Raindrop)

12. Sergei Prokofiev – Love for 3 Oranges

13. Eric Satie – Piece in the Shape of a Pear

14. From the Rowallan Lute book: "Corn Yairds (Corn Yards)" This is a piece from around 1620, some think the title references an open space where a farm would store the corn once it’s been harvested.


15. John Adams – Short Ride in a Fast Machine

16. Robert Schumann - The Happy Farmer

17. Mauro Guiliani - variations “I am a Cabbage Farmer’s Kid”

18. Rene Gerber -The Old Farmer’s Almanac

19. Bohuslav Martinu - “On the Farm” and “The Chicken”

20. Leroy Anderson - Chicken Reel

21. Edward MacDowell - A Deserted Farm Sad but lovely.

22. Francis Poulenc - Ah! Mon beau laboreur (O my handsome farmhand)

23. Camargo Mozart Guarnieri - Cancao sertanaja (Song of the Farmlands)

24. Don Ray - Homestead Dances

25. Virgil Thompson - The Plow that Broke the Plains

26. John Williams – War Horse soundtrack:  “Plowing”

27. Claude Debussy – Le Petite Berger (the Little Shepherd)

 28. Any of the “Seasons pieces" by Vivaldi, Schumann, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, & Glazunov

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.