5 Classical Pieces For the Sting of Election Defeat

Wednesday, November 09, 2016 - 12:00 AM

(Pabak Sarkar/Flickr)

Losing is never fun, but we all feel the sting of defeat from time to time. Luckily, music can be of comfort and set the mood you need to grapple with all those weird feelings in your soul. The last thing you probably want to do today is look for that music, so we made sure to be one step ahead of you. Here are five works that will ease the pain of electoral defeat.

Note: If you are feeling elated because your candidate won, we have a list for you, too.

Consolation No. 3 (Liszt)

The most popular of Liszt’s “Consolations” is bright and tender, with melodies that cradle you with loving care. It’s a soft reminder that says, “hey, everything will be alright.” This election was a tumultuous one and you didn’t get what you wanted. Let Liszt give you some much-needed peace.

March of the Defeated (Granados)

This particular piece carries a sort of encouraging beauty. It begins darkly, much as you would expect the mood of the defeated to be. But after a rousing fanfare, the listener is met with pastoral melodies. Granados’ defeated don’t hang their heads low for long and the march ends with wholly dignified horns that remind you to keep pressing on in the face of defeat.

"Frozen Tears" from Winterreise (Schubert)

Isn’t it cruel that election day is held in November, just ahead of some of the chilliest months of the year? While the winner has their victory to keep them warm, the loser stares down a stretch of barren trees, icy paths and blistering winds. It’s not unreasonable to expect the loser to shed a few tears, either — tears that will turn to ice once they meet the long and unforgiving winter.

Valse Triste (Sibelius)

When you find out your candidate lost, it feels like the life was just sucked out of you. Luckily, Jean Sibelius composed the perfect piece to match that mood: Valse Triste. The sad waltz accompanies one bummer of a story — a sick woman awakes to the sound of the dance. She sees couples twirling about in time to the music, but none will look at her. And then a knock at the door — death has arrived to take her away.

"Battle on Ice", from Alexander Nevsky (Prokofiev)

There’s always going to be a side that has to deal with defeat, whether you’re a 21st century participant in democracy or a chivalric knight in Medieval Europe. If you find yourself among the former group, listen to Prokofiev’s “Battle on the Ice,” from the soundtrack to the 1938 movie Alexander Nevsky. In this scene, two great armies meet on the frozen Lake Peipus and Nevsky leads his Russians in a staunch defense of the antagonizing Teutonic Forces. The Russians come out on top, but there’s nothing to stop you from using the music to dramatize your own sour feelings.

Still feeling blue? These tunes don’t need to be the end of the line. What else are you listening to in order to get through the day?


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Comments [24]

George from Queens, New York

For those of you who are happy with the outcome of the election, please check out the playlist to celebrate electoral victory here: http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/5-classical-pieces-celebrate-election-victory/ rather than leaving mean-spirited comments on this one.

Dec. 30 2016 12:08 PM
Seattle WQXR Supporter from Seattle

As a supporter of WQXR I'm nauseated at: 1) the injection of politics into ANY of this (it's music for god sakes) and 2) the forgone conclusion that we're all stereotypically irrevocably upset and morose at the results of this election (some of us had perfectly logical reasons to vote for Trump...next time try nominating a candidate who's a little less flawed than Trump and many of us will give them our vote). My advice; ighten up and get out of the New York bubble; the end of the world is not at hand...

Nov. 24 2016 11:25 AM
Owen McManus from Manhattan

It is time to remove these two divisive posts. Why not rise to the occasion as this station did after 9/11. You played beautiful soothing and totally uplifting music to heal. Healing is what we need now, irrespective of what is happening in Politics. Just play music, which is what you do, and leave politics alone

Nov. 14 2016 12:11 PM
Norman from East Meadow,NY

How about some funeral dirges including The Dead March from Handel's Saul?

Nov. 14 2016 10:21 AM

NIMROD from Elgar's "Enigma Variations"

Nov. 13 2016 10:04 PM
Louise from NYC

Slaves' chorus from "Nabucco."

Nov. 13 2016 09:10 PM
Lilly from Fair Lawn, Radburn, NJ

Could we please leave politics out of classical music?!?!?!

We, as a nation, got to this point in a free, democratic process. Could we grow up and take responsibility?!?!?!

To different degrees, but both sides display pathological behavior.
To different degrees, but both sides are full of misconceptions.
To different degrees, but both sides are hateful. The hate is within us when we hate; we possess that hate. Don't get mad, get even by working for a better future.

Neither side's economic promises are realistic. Instead of the diversion of hating each other let's face reality.

However, could we please leave politics out of classical music?!?!?!

Nov. 13 2016 10:08 AM
deplorable listener from Massachusetts

> "For those of you who think some of us are complaining about the election too much, let's see how you feel when this new administration is asked to support the arts. What do you think their reaction will be?"

I hope their reaction will be the same as mine: Why on earth should the Federal Government of the United States have anything to do with art at all?

Yeah, "government art" -- that's a great idea.

Nov. 11 2016 01:11 PM
Rosanna from NYC

I very much appreciated the comforting sound of Clayelle Dalferes announcing Bach's BWV 11 (Ascension Oratorio) around 1 AM on Nov. 9. Indeed, praise God and ask for strength to defeat the forces of bigotry and tyranny in the world!

Nov. 10 2016 09:18 PM
Madeleine DIGNEFFE from brussels

Thank you for the beautifull music, no needed is these times of deception and

sorrow. Lets hope something good might comme out of it, time is necessary

to understand how a situation can all of a sudden turn around and surprise

us with unexpected hope. Anyway, it was nice to give us this music joind

with peace and dignity.

Nov. 10 2016 05:20 PM
jlc from NYC

For those of you who think some of us are complaining about the election too much, let's see how you feel when this new administration is asked to support the arts. What do you think their reaction will be? Perhaps they will sponsor a nationwide tour of the Mravinsky.

Nov. 10 2016 02:56 PM
Steve from Port Chester NY

How about "Nearer My God to Thee"- played as the Titanic was sinking.

Nov. 10 2016 01:50 PM
Heidi from NYC

To David in Gr.Rapids, I'm with you.
Get over it folks.

Nov. 10 2016 01:14 PM
juan carlos correa from Santiago, Chile

I am a faithful wqxr listener, and i contribute during the fundraising drives. However, I am troubled and dissapointed wih the frivolous approach that the radio station has taken regarding the tragic events of election day 2016. This was not a simple contest with winners and loosers. It was a very serious election process, in which the ungliest positions were the ones that prevailed, with consequences that I do not dare to imagine, what they will be

Nov. 10 2016 12:23 PM
Norman from East Meadow,NY

How about the procession of the nuns to the guillotine in Dialogues of the Carmelites-along with
all of Doctor Atomic?

Nov. 10 2016 12:01 PM
David from Grand Rapids, Mi

Am I the only one in your audience that's feeling pretty good?

Nov. 10 2016 11:10 AM
Floria from NYC

Slated4U - can't agree with you more! "Traugkeit" from Brahm's Requiem could be added to the list. Didn't Trump say the election was rigged a few weeks ago? Just sayin..... The dark, evil side of people has been unleashed and given validity. There is no music for that. Good luck everyone, stay strong.

Nov. 10 2016 11:08 AM
Pat from Washington, D.C.

Bach cantata "Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir," BWV 131.

Nov. 10 2016 06:16 AM

I enjoyed most of this playlist, but alas, it wasn't enough to sooth the troubled soul that I have currently. I'm in shock and paralyzed with grief over this. I'd no idea just how much the country HATES Hillary Clinton, a woman and politician who I have always admired, but I never had been more impressed with as I was in the last couple of months and I had ecery reason to expect her to become President, she was leading in the polls, what happened? She became the proverbial American version of the beheading of Marie Antoinnette. A nihilistic element of the country wanted that, and they got it! A purposeful and insidious attack like something from the late 1700'is.

Nov. 09 2016 09:31 PM

Anita, if you page back you will see that there is also a list of 5 pieces for those who feel that the election results are cause for celebration. Obviously the country is pretty evenly split so half the country is rejoicing, half is pretty upset (of full of abject despair, but i digress). There goes your theory that QXR is part of the "HRC Regime"

Great list!

Nov. 09 2016 02:09 PM
anita from nyc

There is not sting of election defeat, there was a victory today for the country & the world. Even WQXR is part of the corrupt HRC regime. God help us - supposedly purveyors of what is good, lovely & beautiful - certainly not her.

Nov. 09 2016 01:04 PM
Annette Shandolow-Hassell from North Bergen, NJ


Nov. 09 2016 11:46 AM
Mark from West Orange, NJ

How about Barber's Adagio for Strings (yt: https://youtu.be/izQsgE0L450)? A good sort of end-of-the-world piece; seems rather appropriate.

Nov. 09 2016 09:36 AM
Tom in Tokyo from Japan

How about Le Gibet from Gaspard de la Nuit? Night on Bald Mountain, anyone?

Nov. 09 2016 08:31 AM

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