Classical For When You’re Gassed: Yes, More Running Talk

Just thought I’d run down some classical pieces I tried to play in my head as I blasted through my 21-mile training run on Saturday:

  • Handel, Royal Fireworks Music. This is fast becoming go-to music to get through 2 tough miles, wherever in the run they happen to fall. The whole thing has a nice stately pace, rhythmic and cheery, and you can repeat the repeated parts for however long you need them to help you get around the next curve.
  • Beethoven Symphony no. 8. The first movement of this is cunningly dense and playful, and of course I got lost trying to remember all its twists and turns. The tick-tock metronome second movement, the minuet, and the finale all served as fine propellant, though.
  • Mozart, Piano concerto no. 21. I got really lost in the middle of the first movement and the middle of the second movement. Didn’t try to remember the finale.
  • Bach, Brandenburg concerto no. 1. This is just dynamite. Don’t know why I haven’t ridden it more or harder. It turns out that you can just select your favorite ritornello and play it in your head over and over, and it just keeps coming up fresh. I think the opening movement took about 15 minutes in my playback.

So, two clear winners, both from the Baroque period, when composers routinely drew on dance idioms and rhythm reigned supreme. Not really surprising. I hope to break out Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7 on the next long run, although since it’s only 12 miles I don’t know whether I’ll need it.

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