Music to Read By: A Playlist for Fall

The article below was originally published as a Salon97 guest post for BookRiot.

Though we tend to save our reading lists for summer, the longer nights of autumn provide a perfect opportunity to catch up on some of the books we didn’t get through in the warmer months. Give those light, summer reads a more autumnal feel with this playlist of music to read by. Time to get your “adagio” on!

The Seasons, Op. 67 

Autumn: Petit Adagio—Alexander Glazunov

Alexander Glazunov rose to fame quickly at the beginning of his composition career; he studied piano for two years before he began composing and his talent was seen immediately. Some of his best works were written while he worked as the director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

The Seasons are one of three ballets Glazunov wrote and one of his most popular works today. An allegorical ballet with one act and four scenes, it was choreographed by the renowned Marius Petipa, who also choreographed Giselle, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty. 

Glazunov’s Petit Adagio is a pleasant and beautifully pensive listen.


Quartet in a minor, Op. 132

3rd movement: Molto Adagio “The Song of Thanksgiving”—Ludwig van Beethoven

If your first thought was, “But wait, the Thanksgiving holiday we know and love didn’t exist for Beethoven!” you would be correct. However, Beethoven fell ill in the writing of his 15th string quartet and composed the third movement as a song of thanksgiving for his returning health.

Despite the fact that Beethoven’s giving of thanks does not directly relate to our upcoming holiday, gratitude is one of the aspects of Autumn that makes this season so special.

“The Song of Thanksgiving” is a lovely twenty-minute roller coaster ride but certainly mellow enough for your evening reading session.


The Four Seasons, Op. 8

Autumn: Adagio molto—Antonio Vivaldi

What would a seasonal playlist be without an appearance by Vivaldi?

Antonio Vivaldi was known as il Prete Rosso, or, The Red Priest as a result of his famous shock of red hair. He additionally composed music in the Baroque style and was a virtuosic violinist. His work The Four Seasons is one of the most popular classical works of all time and has been sampled numerous times across popular culture.

The adagio molto in Autumn is a thoughtfully hopeful piece and a perfect end to your fall reading playlist.

Each of the pieces in this playlist is available for download in most online music stores. Best wishes for your autumn reading!

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