A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness;
— John Keats
Following the cut, some music that has nothing in common except that I consider it to be exceptionally beautiful.
We’ll start with this silly, rather minor song by Paul McCartney, distinguished only by the fact that its tune is ethereally lovely.
And now we segue to a piece you may recognize even if you don’t listen to classical music. It’s certainly the only piece by Faure I know.
The first two have been lovely and slow. This one has a bit more pep. What brought it to mind is the first scene of the film Amadeus. Salieri sings a new acquaintance some of his best-known work, but the fellow has never heard any of it. Then, with a grimace, Salieri asks “What about this one?” and proceeds to hum the following. Of course, his companion knows and adores it, and asks “Was that yours too?” “No”, Salieri retches. “That was Mozart.”
Here’s a Dire Straits song that I love all the way through, but whose instrumental coda is especially gorgeous.
Beethoven’s music is usually considered powerful or emotional rather than pretty, but there are exceptions: the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata:
and the Pastoral Symphony, especially the finale:
Simon and Garfunkel’s first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM is largely self-conscious and precious, but this song (which you might recall from the Mad Men episode The Suitcase) is simple and lovely.
Likewise, the Kinks, better known for being wild or funny or music-hallish, could occasionally achieve lovely as well:
In the film version of Slaughterhouse-5, the beauty of the still-medieval city of Dresden (before being annihilated by saturation bombing) was accompanied by this bit of perfection:
And just to demonstrate that beauty is purely in the ear of the beholder, I’ve always found this utterly gorgrous, much moreso than the prettier Byrds version.