12. Symphony No. 3 in E Flat, “Eroica” - Ludwig van Beethoven (1904)
As arguably one of the top 2 most influential symphonies of all time, the Eroica symphony is one of Beethoven’s greatest pieces ever. As the true transition of the Classical to the Romantic era, Eroica is daring, intense, emotional, and quite progressive for its time. It’s also an extremely easy listen.
Elegant, proper, sprightly, clean. Just the name exudes sophistication; however, Berlioz’ masterpiece is great without being too showy. It’s the perfect early-romantic piece and extremely characteresque. It’s also very structured in its storytelling, and I love it!
15. Symphony No. 8 in E Flat, “Symphony of a Thousand” - Gustav Mahler (1906)
Probably the most bombastic of all symphonies on the list. Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand is a superior example of classic romanticism inspired by Gothic works. You just don’t get any bigger than this in terms of scope. Not nearly as “sophisticated” as some of his other works, and lacks the passion that Resurrection has, but this is some quality symphony.
16. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, “Pastoral” - Ludwig van Beethoven (1808)
Symphonically, Beethoven can do no wrong. His nine symphonies are all great, but I’ve only three on my list here today. His Pastoral is that perfect blend of romanticism and classicism. It’s dramatic and nationalistic and all fun post-realist sounds and tones. Sadly I’m not including his 5th symphony because I haven’t engrossed myself with it. But 6th time’s the charm.
17. Symphony No. 4 in E Minor - Johannes Brahms (1885)
I don’t love the composer, but I love this piece. Transcends his own genius. He’s certainly not my favorite composer, but there’s something about this symphony that’s full, illuminating, almost desperate, and very romantic (even with all his Classical influences).
18. Symphony No. 41 in C Minor, “Jupiter” - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1788)
It’s got color, life, exuberance, and spirit. Like most Mozart pieces, tightly controlled and elegant, with some playful emotions. There’s also a level of striking maturity that only came with time. His best, and last.