Orientalism in Classical Music

Part 2

The “Orient” in the term “Orientalism” is generally taken to mean either the Islamic Middle East (North Africa, Turkey, Arabia, Persia…), or East and South Asia (India, Indochina, China, Japan…), or all of these together. There is a long tradition of classical composers wrote music evoking the exotic non-western world, and many operas and other works attempt to depict the exotic and the oriental. The “Orientalism” adds to music spices and colors, wonderful rythms and can be wildly riotous or sweetly languorous… Reality and fantasy mix togheter to create enchanting works.

Giuseppe Verdi : Ballabili from “Otello” 0:00:21
Johann Strauss Jr. : Egyptian March 0:06:15
Gioachino Rossini : “L’Italiana in Algeri” Overture 0:10:10
Ludwig Van Beethoven : Turkish March 0:18:12
Arthur Sullivan : “The Mikado” Overture 0:19:55
Leo Delibes : Flower Duet from “Lakme” 0:27:18
Camille Saint-Saens : Rhapsodie Mauresque 0:31:25
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Rondò alla Turca 0:36:14
Claude Debussy : Arabesque No. 2 (0:39:18)
Claude Debussy : Arabesque No. 1 (0:42:41)
Camille Saint-Saens : Bacchanale (0:46:14)
Giuseppe Verdi : Sacred Dance of the Pristesses (0:53:02)
Giuseppe Verdi : Dance of the little Moorish Slaves (0:55:13)
Giuseppe Verdi : Ballabile from “Aida” (0:56:42)
Giacomo Puccini: Intermezzo from “Madama Butterfly” (1:01:08)
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky : Arabian Dance (1:09:30)
Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky : Chinese Dance (1:13:00)
Edvard Grieg : Arabian Dance (1:14:01)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” Overture (1:18:14)
Claude Debussy : Pagodes (1:23:37)
Johann Strauss Jr. : Persian March (1:27:33)
Georges Bizet : Duet from “The Pearl Fishers” (1:29:40)
Alexander Borodin: Polovetsian Dances (1:35:50)
Ippolitov-Ivanov : Procession of the Sardar (1:46:33)

20 thoughts on “Orientalism in Classical Music

  1. I hate to get political but it must be said… This all but guarantees that statues of these composers will be taken down by _them._

  2. as a Turkish man Beethoven’s Turkish march sounds exactly the western equivalent of Mehter music.

  3. I don’t care that western music incorporated these themes; I only care that they are often so beautiful.

  4. Merci pour ce long moment musical d’airs bien connus !!! se détendre en lisant ou peignant par exemple :-)) Ma préférence pour Borodin …. Excellente la vidéo d’accompagnement !! Du beau travail vidéo délicat ….. Félicitations et remerciements 🙂

  5. Exotic atmosphere makes me euphonic .

    I may be able to meet Scheherazade in my dream while listening to these music .

    Tokyo of the Land of the Rising Sun 🇯🇵

    Which national are you watching this video ?

  6. Whoa, those French horns at 1:39 came out of nowhere and sounded a little too uncomfortably good. Quite a moment.

  7. Oof, I thought it would be a video essay discussing Orientalism in music, not just Orientalist music.

  8. I wish there was some Turandot on here! many of the songs have a very “”oriental”” feel to them. very good mix though! and thanks for giving composer/name/timestamp :))

  9. I always thought Debussy’s arabesque no.1 and no.2 was in reference to the ballet position?? not to literally be “Arab–esque”??

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