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Jul. 31 2014

Putting a different spin on classical music

By Dyana Neal | Posted in Host Blogs | 4 Comments

If you’ve taken an exercise class or two over the years, you’ve probably heard quite a variety of music while pedaling away on a stationary bike, pounding on a punching bag, or performing other sweat-inducing moves. Some people don’t much care what’s on the sound system during class; they’re just in it for fitness. Others, myself included, find it impossible to tune out music they dislike and consider spending 45-60 minutes trying to burn off last night’s pasta indulgence while listening to (in their opinion) The Worst Band Ever or My Least Favorite Genre On The Planet a form of torture. With that in mind, and at my spin instructor’s request, I recently spent a couple of hours putting together a list of classical selections that might serve well as workout music.

This is a risky undertaking – those of us who are picky about our exercise tunes also tend to be rather *ahem* vocal when a given playlist makes them grit their teeth. People who bring in spectacularly unpopular music tend to hear about it for a while. That said, my instructor is a great teacher and a cool guy, and I know how time-consuming making playlists can be. Then there’s the optimistic side of me that hopes one person – maybe even two people! – out of the sixteen or so who attend my gym’s early-morning spin classes will ask me “what was that piece with the chorus in it?” and get at least a little bit interested in classical music. I may be crazy, or at best, naive, but so be it. At any rate, here’s my list of Classics to Spin By.

Sullivan: Overture to the  Mikado
Bach: Violin Concerto #2, 1st mvt.
Verdi: Requiem (Dies Irae)
Torke: Run
Bizet: Carmen (Les Voici)
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Great Gates of Kiev)
Orff: Carmina Burana (O Fortuna)
Verdi: Aida (Triumphal March)
Schoenfield: Vaudeville (Prelude)
Rimsky-Korsakov: Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite (Flight of the Bumblebee)
Bach: Cantata #208 (Sheep May Safely Graze)
Offenbach: Tales of Hoffman (Barcarolle)
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves
Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik  (1st mvt.)
Smetana: Bartered Bride (Dance of the Comedians)

JohnAdams Short Ride…
Holst: The Planets (Mars, the Bringer of War)
Wagner: Die Walkure (Ride of the Valkyries)
Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade (trans. Liszt)
Schubert: String Quartet #14, Death and the Maiden (last mvt.)
Paganini: Perpetual Motion

Are you tired yet? I’m unsure how many of these pieces will meet with my instructor’s approval, but if all goes well, there’s over two classes’ worth of material on this list. Watch this space for a report on my classmates’ reactions!

Oh, and here’s a picture of my personal bike. Ride on!

DN's Bianchi Milano Dama

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Dyana Neal


Dyana is WBJC's midday host. Her full bio can be read here.

4 Responses to Putting a different spin on classical music

  • Jane Buxton Brown says:

    This is such a spectacular idea, Dyana. I am passing it along to my Water Aerobics Instructor with all of the credits due to you. Thank you for being such a creative thinker and doer! Jane Buxton Brown

  • Linda Cades says:

    Great idea! I was driven away from several exercise classes a coup[le of years ago because I couldn’t stand the music. I wanted to know why we couldn’t step to Stravinsky. Now I walk and listen to WBJC instead!

  • Klas Britse says:

    Hi Dyana!

    Have you had the opportunity to join a spin class with classical music yet?
    I have!
    In fact, your blog was one of the sources that inspired me. 🙂
    I’m a spin instructor at a gym called “Friskis & Svettis” in Norrkoeping, Sweden, and I put together a playlist for a spin class with only classical music a few months ago.
    It works – the feedback I’ve got from the participants has been good, so they liked it!
    Unfortunately, Norrkoeping in Sweden is a bit far away for you to come and try it. But – please feel free to use this as an argument to your own spin instructor. 🙂

    Best Regards
    Klas Britse
    Norrkoeping, Sweden

  • Geraldine Pang says:

    This is nice blog. Thanks for sharing your information.

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