We are often told to relax while listening to classical music, but these works will help you do the opposite. Do you listen to classical music while you run? Tell us what makes you move in the comments section below.
Mars, the Bringer of War – Gustav Holst
The first and most famous movement from Holst’s The Planets opens with a menacing rhythm, played by the string sections with the wooden backs of their bow (a technique called col legno, or ‘with wood’). This dramatic ostinato is present for almost the entire piece, making it the perfect music to raise your heartbeat and find your pace.
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor – Johannes Brahms
This is one of Brahms’s most recognisable works, based on a traditional Hungarian theme. It was originally written for piano four hands, then later orchestrated by Martin Schmeling. Moments of calm occasionally interrupt the flow of this energetically whirling music – a good time to take a breather, perhaps?
The dignified horn theme that opens this moment in Tchaikovsky’s ballet is in stark contrast to the excitable strings that gradually take over in this party-piece. If you are looking for more music to add to your running playlist, The Nutcracker is full of energetic moments, such as the fight between the Nutcracker and King Rat, or the jumping Russian ‘Trepak’ dance that is performed for Clara and her Prince Charming.
Beethoven Symphony No. 7, IV. Allegro con brio – Ludwig van Beethoven
No moment of Beethoven packs a better (and more rhythmic) punch than the final movement of his Symphony No. 7. Full of Bacchic fury, Beethoven’s Seventh zips along at such a pace that you’ll need to work hard to keep up.
Candide: Overture – Leonard Bernstein
Bernstein’s comic operetta opens with a bang. Such a brilliant bang in fact, that it is more commonly performed in its own right. Listen out for quote from songs ‘The Best of all possible worlds’, ‘Battle music’, ‘Oh, happy we’ and (of course) ‘Glitter and be Gay’.
Short Ride in a Fast Machine – John Adams
This fanfare has just the right amount of irresistible energy and an inevitable forward motion to keep you motivated right to the end of your run. Keep pace with the wood block ostinato, which falls in and out of time with the rest of the orchestra.
Festival Overture – Dmitri Shostakovich
Composed in just three days, this celebratory overture should keep you on similarly speedy toes. The organisers of the 1980 Olympics must have agreed – it featured in the opening ceremony in Moscow.
Conga del Fuego – Arturo Márquez
There’s no better way to end a run than with a conga, especially one as full of fun as this. Born in Mexico, Márquez grew up surrounded by mariachi and folk music, and often uses traditional musical styles and forms in his orchestral works.
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