Classical music might not sound too sexy next to the new paradigms of sexiness achieved in American popular music. But tucked into so many of those powdered wigs in the classical era was a dry sheepskin condom that you had to soak in warm milk overnight to before using. What could be sexier ?
Part of being sexy is not being predictable. Romantic/gushy composers might seem like the obvious choice for most sexy, but that’s wrong.
- Ravel – Too carny
- Debussy – Too nostalgic
- Beethoven – Potentially abusive or habit-forming
- Mozart – Too bawdy or too saccharine
- Liszt – No one likes a show-off, especially in the bedroom
- Rodrigo – Too war-torn
- Bizet – No endurance, too easy. Daintiness is false modesty
- Chopin – Too weepy
With those out of the way, space opens up for some real contenders.
1. LIKE DOING YOUR COWORKER SEXY
The first piece I’ll mention is by Charles Ives, Orchestral Set No. 2, first movement, subtitled “An Elegy to our Forefathers”. You might think this is the least sexy combination of words possible. But true sexiness doesn’t meet our expectations, in that slatternly Britney Spears way, it creeps out of the smoke, it is sprawling and seems to make everything around it blush. This piece sound like a bluesy mess but it’s notated perfectly. It oozes moist heat. If this piece was a co-worker I’d be emailing my supervisor asking to be transferred so I could try to date it.
2. LIKE ZIP-OFF PANT LEGS SEXY
Next up: Nobilissima Visione, first movement, by Paul Hindemith. Once again the composer’s intended subject matter must be laid to one side, or on it’s back as it were. Open your mind, shut your eyes, and start reaching around; you’ll find several penetratingly intriguing possibilities in this piece. It starts slow and cool but midway through, sexiness grabs the stick shift and changes gears. Suddenly we have a couple of wandering melodies that seem to be sniffing their way into your pants. The parallel fifths offer the kind of atavism that strikes us when we see something truly sexy; that sexy has been around for a very, very long time, it is not some novelty like night vision video, invented bewteen plastic bags and zip-off pant legs. Hindemith has got the intimidating side of sexy down pat; after all if you’re truly hot, something is bound to be melting.
“If this piece was a co-worker I’d be emailing my supervisor asking to be transferred so I could try to date it.”
3. LIKE PUCKER UP SEXY
On the poutier side of sexiness I would throw in Khachaturian’s ripping Piano Concerto, especially as played by William Kapell. It has it all; a movement of brooding seriousness with a huge climax, then one that starts languid and lovingly lethargic and takes this to its peak by just pouring on the emotion, and finally a rip-roaring barn-burner. The relationships between all the harmonic materials in the peice, the theme developement, reaches the complexity needed to take it from cold nerd to hot nerd. And we all know how hot the hot nerds are.
Armenians, Americans and especially 1930s Germans aren’t especially known for their sexiness, but if I don’t represent these sides of sexiness no one will.
“And we all know how hot the hot nerds are.”
More runners-up to displace the Spanish/French/Italian hegemony on sexy:
- Gustav Holst – Venus from The Planets – Long upward string solos do some very heavy lifting
- Leonard Bernstein conducting anything by Aaron Copland – New York squared. Prequel to Sonic Youth/Betty Davis
- Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – Sheherazade – Sexy in an almost industrial/objectification kind of way, like spending two entire days in bed with someone. More string solos
- John Cage – 4’33 – Basically a very hot musical peep-show if you’re into that sort of thing