Poster Broken heart on a string
Here's a list of classical music to listen to for an anti-Valentine's Day.
Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

7 classical works to listen to if you hate Valentine's Day

Around Valentine's Day, it can seem that every piece of music is a love song or sappy. From arias to serenades, it's hard to escape romantic music this time of year.

But don't fret — there's plenty of classical music for those that abhor the holiday. Check out these works to get you into the anti-Valentine's Day spirit.

Hector Berlioz — Symphonie Fantastique IV: Marche au Supplice

Yes, this work was written so Berlioz could attract a girl he had a crush on, but don't let that fool you. This opium-induced fever dream ends with the hero getting his head chopped off via guillotine. Very anti-love if you ask me.

LISTENHector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique: Marche au Supplice


Johannes Brahms — Tragic Overture

Johannes Brahms' Tragic Overture is a companion to his Academic Festival Overture, and he described the difference in character by saying "one laughs while the other cries." If you want to cry your heart out, this is one of those pieces to listen to.

LISTENJohannes Brahms: Tragic Overture

Johannes Brahms - Tragic Overture

Alban Berg — Lied der Lulu

Oh boy, nothing like a good murder to kill any romance. In Berg's opera, the main character Lulu sings this song to ask for a divorce. When her husband says he'd rather kill her and make it look like a suicide than get a divorce, she shoots him 5 times when he's distracted.

LISTENAlban Berg: Lied der Lulu

Alban Berg - Lied der Lulu

If you're in the mood for more dramatic opera death scenes, check out this list from Limelight Magazine.

Kurt Weill — Je ne t'aime pas

Kurt Weill's cabaret song translates to "I Don't Love You," and its lyrics just drive home the feeling of heartbreak and seeing someone else with the person you love:

Pull back your hand, I don't love you
For you wanted it, you're just a friend.
The crook of your arm was made for others
And your dear kiss, your sleeping head.

I don't think there's a song more fitting to listen to while cracking open a pint of Ben and Jerry's.

LISTENKurt Weill: Je ne t'aime pas

Kurt Weill - Je ne t'aime pas

W.A. Mozart — "In uomini, In Soldati"

The aria sung by Despina from Cosi Fan Tutti has a mantra you can repeat to yourself on Valentine's Day — basically, all men are pigs and cannot be trusted. Better to just trust yourself and stay single!

LISTENW.A. Mozart: In uomini, In Soldati

W.A. Mozart - In uomini, in soldati

Songs of a Wayfarer — Mahler

The first song in Mahler's cycle is called "When my love has her wedding day," and it outlines the grief associated with seeing someone you love to get married to someone else. Even if your unrequited love isn't joining a lifelong bond with someone else, Mahler's song will resonate with you.

LISTENGustav Mahler: Songs of a Wayfarer

Gustav Mahler - Songs of a Wayfarer: Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht

None but the Lonely Heart — Peter Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky set a poem by Lev Mei to music, and boy did he capture the feeling of being alone and heartbroken. "None but the lonely heart/can know my sadness" opens up the song, and highlights the feeling that no one else can understand the pain of being alone. The recording featured is an orchestration with a violin soloist, showing that even without the words the song is heart-wrenching.

LISTENTchaikovsky: None but the lonely heart

Peter Tchaikovsky - None but the lonely heart (orch. Breiner)

Still, looking for more anti-Valentine's Day songs? Check out our playlist with plenty of sad classical works to fit your needs.

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