Classical Clocks: Top 5 Musical Time Pieces

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The sun seems to be coming up earlier now, thanks to the end of Daylight Saving Time. In celebration of the seasonal switching of the clock, hear how a few famous composers have kept track of time, with the sound of clocks clicking, ticking and clanging.

1. Haydn

Haydn: Symphony No. 101.
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Haydn's Symphony No. 101 is nicknamed "The Clock" for obvious reasons: In the beginning of the second movement, you'll hear bassoons "ticking," setting the stage for a soaring and rhythmic melody in the strings.

Claudio Abbado conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. (DG 429 776)

2. Beethoven

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 -- "Allegretto scherzando"
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The beginning of the second movement of Beethoven's Eighth Symphony is imitating something mechanical. It sounds like a clock, but Beethoven is actually imitating another time keeper: a metronome.

John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. (DG 439 900)

3. Kodaly

Kodaly: "Hary Janos Suite"
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Kodaly's opera Hary Janos is full of tall tales, including Hary's preposterous claim that he rescued the Austrian emperor's daughter. To thank him, she whisks him off to a Viennese castle where a musical clock plays horn signals as well as the more typical bells.

Ivan Fischer conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra. (Philips 289 462 824)

4. Prokofiev

Prokofiev: "Cinderella"
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Cinderella learned the hard way that time flies when you're having fun. The clock strikes midnight and interrupts a waltz with her dreamy prince, propelling her into panicked flight. In his ballet, Prokofiev depicts Cinderella's surprise and desperation with the sound of a cacophonous clock that ticks unrelentingly toward the final moment of enchantment.

Mikhail Pletnev conducts the Russian National Orchestra. (DG 445 830)

5. Anderson

Anderson: "The Syncopated Clock"
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Leroy Anderson's "Syncopated Clock" sometimes tocks when you expect it to tick.

Erich Kunzel conducts the Rochester Pops

Naomi Lewin is the midday music host at WGUC, Cincinnati, where she also writes and hosts the award-winning Classics for Kids – a program that airs on public radio stations around the country. Lewin also produces Met Cameo intermission features for the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.

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Haydn: Symphonies 93 & 101

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Haydn: Symphonies 93 & 101
Artist
Claudio Abbado
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
1990

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Kodály: Háry János, etc.

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Album
Kodály: Háry János, etc.
Artist
Ivan Fischer
Label
Philips
Released
1999

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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies

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Album
Beethoven: 9 Symphonies
Artist
John Eliot Gardiner
Label
Archiv
Released
1994

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Prokofiev: Cinderella

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Album
Prokofiev: Cinderella
Artist
Mikhail Pletnev
Label
Deutsche Grammophon
Released
1995

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