In honor of our friends over at Awesöme Orchestra, who planned a perfectly normal 69th session, I’ve decided to put together a roundup of the most sexually explicit works of classical music. Call it my own personal fantasy concert and a casual suggestion for when AO makes it to session 169. Obviously v LEWD and NSFW content beyond, CW: we shan’t be pretending sex doesn’t exist.
Alright, this is my final warning to any youngins or fools who still think I’m going to be posting like, cute metaphors about cuddling. It’s going to start out with some explicit metaphors and heretical sexuality and work its way up to music that walks/falls all over a fine line with pornography so…clutch your pearls and your babies close (actually keep your babies far away from this…) cuz we’re diving in headfirst.
Also, we’re going in chronological order for no good reason. Also, there have been a lot of round-up posts lately. That’s what happens when I get excited about too many posts and then I only have time to write one thing. Apology and explanation corner over.
“O quam bonus es”, Chiara Maria Cozzolani
Hell YES we’re starting with nuns. The best class I ever took in undergrad was a class on sexualized religious music and this piece won my heart as both explicitly gay and beautiful. The piece is about Mary’s sweet tits, which was not a totally uncommon theme in this time since talking about anyone else’s boobs was IMMORAL. It’s also about “christ’s wounds” which could be interpreted very religiously or you could just take yourself on a fun and surprisingly nsfw google search of “medieval christ wounds” and then be unsurprised to discover there’s a lot of works about how much people want to stick their fingers deep into those …uh, wounds…Don’t worry if you’re not a boob-person, because there’s plenty of other works about literally wanting Jesus to nail you with his crucifixion nails (penetrate you with nails…big nails…big, strong, Jesus “nail”…)
ANYWAY, THIS IS ABOUT MARY’S SWEET TITS AND JESUS’S GAPING WOUNDS! LET’S FOCUS!
You can check out the full text below. Harmonically there are sexXxy dissonances and surprising resolutions all over the place expressing all those fun climaxes and resolutions.
O how good you are, o how soft, o how joyful, my Jesus.
O how kind you are, o how sweet, o how delightful, o Mary.
O how good, how kind, how soft, how sweet,
how joyful you are Jesus, how delightful you are Mary,
to the one who seeks and sighs for, possesses and tastes you..
O happy, blessed me. Now I graze from his wound; now I nurse at her breast; I do not know where to turn next. In his wound is life; in her breast, salvation; in his wound, quiet; in her breast, peace; in his wound, nectar; in her breast, honey; in his wound, rejoicing; in her breast, joy; in the wound of Jesus; in the breast, O Virgin.
O happy, blessed me; I do not know where to turn next.
His blood saves me; her milk purifies me; his blood revives me, her milk restores me; his blood inebriates me; her milk makes me joyous. O wounds, O breasts, O milk, golden wounds, sweet breasts.
O lovable blood, sweeter than nectar, happier than manna.
Desirable milk, sweeter than honey, more refined than the honeycomb. I love you, I desire you, I want you, I thirst for you, I seek you, I drink you, I enjoy you.
O happy, blessed me. I love you, I desire you, I want you, I thirst for you, I seek you, I drink you, I enjoy you.
O happy, blessed me, I do not know where to turn next. May I feed on this blood, may I be refreshed by this milk, may I live in His wound, may I die in her breast. O drink, O food, O laughter, O joy; O happy life, blessed death.
“Sì ch’io vorrei morire” Claudio Moteverdi
Many contenders from this era dance around sex, and surely there are going to be people mad that I didn’t put Gesualdo on here but honestly, he murdered his wife and her lover so he’s no friend to sexy times… Anyway back from that tangent, this Monteverdi piece basically works its way from foreplay up to orgasm. The idea of orgasm as a “little death” or la petite morte is well at play here, and only as much of a metaphor as us saying we want to “bone”.
Yes, I would like to die,
now that I’m kissing, sweetheart,
the luscious lips of my darling beloved.
Ah! dear, dainty tongue,
give me so much of your liquid
that I die of delight on your breast!
Ah, my love, to this white breast
ah, crush me until I faint!
Ah mouth! Ah kisses! Ah tongue! I say again:
Yes, I would like to die!
“Endless Pleasure” Semele,
George Frideric Handel
Honestly, Handel had a lot of good contenders for this list….should it be “Upon Thy Right Hand“, a piece about how the queen exists to give the king pleasure? Should it be “As when the dove“, a song which laments how much she misses “loving all day” when her love is in town? Should it be, literally any other piece from this opera which is essentially about how Semele’s way hot bits gain control over gods? Nah, it’s gotta be Endless Pleasure.
I always know I can count on Germany to come through with a particularly sexy production to back it up too, although these choreographed giggles at the end are a little much. Semele has fallen in love with Jupiter/Zeus and she is totally reveling in the benefits of being a god’s mistress. The text is about as explicit as baroque opera gets :
Endless pleasure, endless love,
Semele enjoys above!
On her bosom Jove reclining,
Useless now his thunder lies;
To her arms his bolts resigning,
And his lightning to her eyes.
“Useless now his thunder lies” is a great line to pull out and use in your day to day conversations with limp-dicked people. This particular production uses the chorus number afterward to just bust into a full orgy, although honestly still a pretty tame one for Berlin
MOZART TRIPLE HEADER! “Leck mich im Arsch”, “Leck Mir den Arsch” and “The Catalogue Aria” aka “Madamina, il catologo è questo” from Don Giovanni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“Leck mich im Arsch” probably more literally translates to “kiss my ass” than “lick my butthole” but the novelty of having a work by Mozart that expresses either of those ideas earns him a solid mention on this playlist. Oh did I say a singular work? Just kidding there are two, and the second text is even LEWDR than the first. The man loved sex jokes and they’re peppered throughout his music, probably more than we’ve even realized, but there was no way to make it through this list without including the Catalogue aria from Don Giovanni. In it, Don Giovanni’s assistant explains his boss’s sexual preferences (or lack thereof) in magnificent detail, which Mozart accentuates with varied musical styles to support the listed variety of women.
“La Chevelure” from Les chansons de Bilitis, Claude Debussy
A lot of people brought up “C’est l’extase”, another Debussy song which strongly hints at sexy times but nothing quite tops “La Chevelure”. The text comes from French poet Pierre Louÿs, who is best known for being a man who wrote a lot of poetry about “pagan, lesbian, sensuality” whatever that means to …whoever wrote that wikipedia entry. This particular set of poems, Les Chansons de Bilitis/The Songs of Bilitis are claimed by Louÿs to be a translation of an ancient greek Sapphic poem, but it seems to be the general opinion that he added and changed enough that we can only call it a pseudo-translation. Nonetheless- these poems inspired the Daughters of Bilitis and that’s a dope fact I just randomly dropped in here to say that this is genuinely sexy, even if it was translated within in an inch of its life and/or just totally made up based on Sappho’s poems by a french dude. Translation below. Enjoy some hairy sex.
Il m’a dit: « Cette nuit, j’ai rêvé. He told me: “Last night I had a dream. J’avais ta chevelure autour de mon cou.Your hair was around my neck,
J’avais tes cheveux comme un collier noir it was like a black necklace
autour de ma nuque et sur ma poitrine. my nape and on my chest.
« Je les caressais, et c’étaient les miens ; “I was stroking your hair, and it was my own;
et nous étions liés pour toujours ainsi,par la même chevelure, the same tresses joined us forever,
la bouche sur la bouche, our mouths touching,
ainsi que deux lauriers n’ont souvent qu’une racine.» just as two laurels often have only one root.”
« Et peu à peu, il m’a semblé,“And gradually I sensed,
tant nos membres étaient confondus,since our limbs were so entwined,
que je devenais toi-même, that I was becoming you
ou que tu entrais en moi comme mon songe. » and you were entering me like my dream.”
Quand il eut achevé, When he’d finished,
il mit doucement ses mains sur mes épaules,he gently put his hands on my shoulders,
et il me regarda d’un regard si tendre, and gazed at me so tenderly
que je baissai les yeux avec un frisson. that I lowered my eyes, quivering
“Der Genügsame Liebhaber” from Brettl-Lieder, Arnold Schoenberg
If you know Arnold Schoenberg’s music at all, you probably weren’t expecting to see his name on here, but as it turns out, this whole song cycle is littered with seXXXy filth. This one is the most thinly-veiled double entendre I’ve ever seen. Translation below (courtesy of Oxfordlieder.co.uk):
Der genügsame Liebhaber /The Contented Suitor
Meine Freundin hat eine schwarze Katze, / My girlfriend has a black cat
Mit weichem knisterndem Sammetfell, / With soft, rustling, velvet fur,
Und ich, ich hab’ eine blitzblanke Glatze, / And I, I have a shining bald pate,
Blitzblank und glatt und silberhell. / Shining and smooth and silvery.
Meine Freundin gehört zu den üppigen Frauen, /My girlfriend’s one of those voluptuous women,
Sie liegt auf dem Divan das ganze Jahr, / She lies on the sofa all year round,
Beschäftigt das Fell ihrer Katze zu krauen, / Busily stroking her cat’s fur,
Mein Gott, ihr behagt halt das sammtweiche Haar. / My God, how she loves that soft, velvet fur.
Und komm’ ich am Abend die Freundin besuchen, / And when in the evening I visit my girlfriend,
So liegt die Mieze im Schoße bei ihr, / Her pussy-cat’s always on her lap,
Und nascht mit ihr von dem Honigkuchen, / Nibbling with her the gingerbread,
Und schauert wenn ich leise ihr Haar berühr’. / And trembling whenever I stroke its fur.
Und will ich mal zärtlich tun mit dem Schatze, / And if I become amorous with my love,
Und daß sie mir auch einmal ‘Eitschi’ macht, / So that she might call me ‘honey-bun’,
Dann stülp’ ich die Katze auf meine Glatze, / I lift the cat onto my bald pate –
Dann streichelt die Freundin die Katze und lacht. / And my girlfriend strokes the cat and laughs.
English Translation © Richard Stokes
Daphnis et Chloe III.”Danse generale”, Maurice Ravel
This work came across my desk as it was boldly claimed by a famous musicologist to be the most explicit representation of orgasm in classical music…although by the end of this post you will probably not feel that way…it is pretty damn explicit. Haters call it a ballet, Ravel called it a choreographic symphony. The story is based in an ancient Greek work about the goatherd Daphnis and shepherdess Chloe…a classic goat meets sheep kind of love story… The details of the story are totally unimportant to this post except that it ends in their “tender embrace” which is followed by a “Bacchanale”, which we all know is code for “an orgy with more wine than usual”. Ravel is known for his masterful use of orchestration, meaning he is so good at recognizing the unique colors/flavors each instrument brings to the table and utilizes them in ways that give them special little personalities throughout his works. As an extra special color, Ravel adds an extraordinarily sensual choir right at the end of this dance that exists purely to make sexy moaning sounds. It’s hard to pull off eXXXplicit in completely lyric-less music but Ravel gets it.
Sonata Erotica, Erwin Schulhoff
Schulhoff is a funny kind of composer who likes to pull unexpected moves like his silent In Futurum, but probably none quite as shocking to classical music audiences as his Sonata Erotica. I wish desperately I could show you the sheet music but it is still under copyright lock and key, but I have been assured that it is an extremely intricate and specific scored orgasm over four minutes. Watch this very professional looking woman perform it below. Don’t forget kids, this is art. This is high, classical music. This is the kind of stuff that people obsessively gatekeep. This is so much classier than that ARIANA GRANDY GIRL.*
Sancta Susanna, Paul Hindemith
This is straight up nun porn. I mean you could call it “an examination of the relationship between celibacy and lust in Catholicism” or you could call a spade a spade. This 30ish minute, one-act opera was written in two weeks and depicts the descent of a nunnery into a sexual frenzy. It’s…quite a thing…Sorry this link only has French subtitles but I think you get the idea…
“Si Puer cum Puella”, “Dulcissime” from Carmina Burana, Carl Orff
I just found out Orff was a Nazi and lied about it after to save face. If he wasn’t actually a Nazi, he did a very good impression and thrived under their regime.
I GUESS NAZIS HAVE SEX TOO.
Here are two movements from Carmina Burana. All of the movements are about gambling, drinking or sex but these two are the most explicit in my humble opinion. First is “Si puer cum puella”, which is doubly great because it has “cum” right in the title and because the text is basically “if a boy and a girl are in a place they will do the sex”. Second is the very brief soprano solo “Dulcissime”, which I’m pretty positive is supposed to be an orgasm, and it ends on a very sexy half-cadence, leaving you asking for more.
Si Puer cum Puella
Si puer cum puellula
moraretur in cellula,
pariter e medio
propulso procul taedio,
fit ludus ineffabilis
membris, lacertis, labiis.
If a boy lingers with a little girl in a cellar, their meeting is fortunate. As Love increases and for both (pariter) boredom is dispatched far from their midst, an indescribable game occurs with limbs, shoulders, lips.
totam tibi subdo me!
Sweetest of men, I give myself to you wholly!
“The Blow Job Aria” from Powder Her Face, Thomas Adès
This is a very respectable opera composer who is very proud of himself for getting the first blowjob on stage in opera. The whole opera is about the sexual exploits of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyle and there are sexually explicit moments galore. It’s basically a super-hyped up version of Berg’s Lulu, which would very nearly make this list except that it just can’t top how explicit his contemporaries are. He wrote a whole aria to accompany it too, as the Duchess seduces the room service waiter. There’s no video and you don’t need it to get the gist of what’s happening.
Well that’s about all I can take friends. This is very out of my normal writing comfort zone, but I felt it was important to remind us all that classical music was written by normal humans who do gross stuff and titter when they hear the number “69” in casual conversation. Sometimes they achieve something inhumanly beautiful and transcendent, and sometimes they just make porn.
*Special footnote to say, I love Ariana Grande