A winter classical playlist

A Schubert lied, a Puccini opera, or a Tchaikovsky symphony: here is the ideal playlist to warm up the long winter nights!

A winter classical playlist
A winter classical playlist, © Getty / Cultura RM Exclusive/KMM Productions

Get out your scarves and hats! "Winter is coming", as they say... From late December to late March, we are officially in the dark winter months. Though some dread these silent months, others marvel at the calm snowy landscapes.

Here is a playlist to accompany this cold (but no less romantic) season...

Henry Purcell | The Fairy Queen: Next, Winter comes slowly

First performed in London in 1692, The Fairy Queen is one Henry Purcell most famous operas. Inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare, it tells the story of Oberon and Tatiana, King and Queen of the fairies and the four seasons. And when rises the deep voice of the bass, it is to announce that "Now Winter comes slowly."

Franz Schubert | Winterreise: 1. Gute Nacht

The quintessential soul of romanticism and melancholy, Franz Schubert composed his Winterreise during a dark period in his life. The Winterreise is a lieder cycle, a musical journey throughout which a stranger wanders through the darkness, comforting his heartbroken soul. Gute Nacht (Good Night) opens this winter pilgrimage.

Jean-Baptiste Lully | Isis: L’hiver qui nous tourmente

"The winter that torments us freezes us inexorably", sings the shivering choir of natives of the frozen lands in the fourth act of Jean-Baptiste Lully's lyrical tragedy Isis. "The snow and ice cause deadly shivers."

Antonio Vivaldi | Le quattro stagioni: Winter, 2. Largo

The famous Four Seasons, four violin concertos composed in the early 1_th century by Antonio Vivaldi. Whereas the first movement Allegro from Winter warns us of the cold and the biting wind, the Largo is call for peace and quiet. "Spending peaceful and contented days by the fire, while outside the rain falls heavily."

Reynaldo Hahn | Hivernale

The penultimate piano work from the Rossignol éperdu [The Lost Nightingale], this poem composed by Reynaldo Hahn in 1910 evokes the cold and quiet atmosphere of the Versailles gardens during the winter months.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Symphony no.1 “Winter Dreams”, I. Allegro tranquillo

"Winter Dreams" was composed by Tchaïkovski in 1866, having recently moved to Moscow. At the age of 26, he worked fervently composing his first symphony, despite a series of panic attacks and persistent insomnia. The work was nonetheless completed, and was met with great enthusiasm.

Giacomo Puccini | La Bohème: Che Gelida Manina

What could be better than a bit of bel canto to warm our bones during a cold winter's night? Puccini, one of the great names of the Italian vocal repertoire, and his opera La Bohème, first performed in 1896, depict four penniless artists, amongst which the young poet Rodolfo. On the night of Christmas, he encounters Mimi and holds for the first time her gelida manina (tiny frozen hand).

Gabriel Fauré | L’hiver a cessé [Winter has ended]

Gabriel Fauré decided to use the words of Paul Verlaine for his collection of songs La Bonne chanson, composed at the end of the 19th century. Last of the nine melodies, L’hiver a cessé [Winter has ended] announces not the start of a new season, spring, but rather the amorous encounter of a new loved one, the singer Emma Bardac to whom Fauré dedicated these nine melodies.