10 Classical Songs Inspired By Cats
For many composers in the classical world of music, animals have provided a starting point for creativity and given us some of our most treasured musical pieces. In this article, we will share with you 10 selections of classical music that were inspired by cats. 10 Classical Songs Inspired By Cats
Fuga del gatto | Domenico Scarlatti
The Fugue in G minor by Domenico Scarlatti is a one-movement harpsichord sonata popularly known as the Cat fugue or Cat’s fugue. The nickname, which was never used by the composer himself but was introduced only early in the 19th century, originates from a story about how Scarlatti came up with this unusual motif on which the fugue is built. According to the legend, Scarlatti had a pet cat called Pulcinella, who was described by the composer as prone to walking across the keyboard, and always curious about its sounds.
Duetto buffo di due gatti | Gioachino Rossini / Robert Lucas Pearsall
The Duetto buffo di due gatti “humorous duet for two cats” is a popular performance piece for two sopranos which is often performed as a concert encore. The “lyrics” consist entirely of the repeated word “miau” (“meow”). Sometimes it is also performed by a soprano and a tenor, or a soprano and a bass.
Pueblo de los Gatos | Per-Olov Kindgren
There is a village in Spain called “Village of the Cats”. Most of the people left for the big city, but they left their cats behind. So now the village is mostly inhabited by stray cats. This fact fascinated the composer and inspired him to compose this piece. 10
5 Canciones populares argentinas | Alberto Ginastera
Argentinian composer Ginastera wrote this set of five songs for voice and piano in 1943, and the last piece was titled Gato. Each song is associated with Argentine and South American folk and dance elements. Gato is set in a six-part traditional dance structure, and the lyrics are about a mischievous cat.
Berceuses du chat | Igor Stravinsky
This set of 4 Russian songs for voice and 3 clarinets was written in 1915 when Stravinsky was in Switzerland avoiding the first World War. Stravinsky found a collection of folk songs by Pyotr Kireevsky. He adapted some songs from the collection and wrote Berceuses du chat.
L’Enfant et les Sortilèges | Maurice Ravel
In Ravel’s opera about a child being punished for his constant outbursts of anger, a scene with two cats in love stands out under the moonlight. The composer himself adored cats (especially Siamese) while claiming that he knew how to speak their language.
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat | Igor Stravinsky
This is Stravinsky’s latest work, written half a century after Berceuses du chat (1914). It sounds like a cat walking on piano keys.
Ba, Be, Bi, Bo, Bu | Francis Poulenc
La courte paille is a set of lullabies and children’s songs. Set by the poems of Maurice Carême, the song cycle was dedicated to Denise Duval for her son. Ba, Be, Bi, Bo, Bu is a really short song that lasts about 25 seconds, and it is based on the well-known fairy tale of Puss-n-boots. Although the composer’s true love was dogs, that did not stop him from writing this short piece about cats.
Light Flowers Dark Flowers | Alvin Curran
Alvin Curran was a student of Elliott Carter. This atmospheric piece mainly includes piano and electronic instruments and starts with a long recording of a cat’s purr.
The Monk and his Cat | Samuel Barber
A 19th century monk writes a poem full of love for his white cat, Pangur and Samuel Barber composes the music.
Photo Shoot: Pacto Visual
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