10. Nocturno for guitar by Federico Moreno-Torroba. This is perhaps his finest piece for guitar out of the many he wrote, but it is the least played.
9. Divertimento in F major, K. 138, second movement, Andante, Mozart. This simple, unassuming piece gets more heart-rending every time you listen to it. Listen especially for the piquant dissonances between the 0:30 and 0:36 mark and their repeats, at, for example the 1:50 to 1:55 mark. I've tried to steal this progression a couple of times, but it only seems to work if you use it the way Mozart did... He wrote this and two other divertimenti, the so-called 'Salzburg Symphonies' when he was sixteen years old.
8. Cordoba from Chants d'espagne by Isaac Albéniz. The best piece of guitar music ever written for piano! In fact, it is played more on guitar than piano these days.
7. Aires de Tirana, a bulerias by Sabicas that shows just how remarkable flamenco was before it was turned into a kind of jazz:
and here is Pepe Romero with another version of the same piece:
6. Plainte faite a Londres pour passer la Melancolie, lequelle se joue lentement avec discretion, for harpsichord by Johann Jakob Froberger (here played on the lute-harpsichord--a harpsichord with gut strings instead of metal ones). The story behind this piece is that Froberger, on a visit to London, was hired to squeeze the bellows for an organist so that he could practice (the days before electric motors), but was so overcome by melancholy that he forgot to squeeze and the organist threw him out in the street. I like the title almost as much as the piece!
5. ...des pas sur la neige, from Preludes Bk 1 for piano, Debussy. This piece has a haunting quality that is impossible to put into words...
4. String Quartet op 59, no 3, C major, Allegro molto, Beethoven. And now for something completely different, if you have had enough of this gloomy music.
The version I was really looking for is by the Emerson Quartet for its sheer manic velocity. But it wasn't on YouTube. However, the next piece is, so here are the Emerson Quartet with:
3. String Quartet No. 3 in F major, third movement, Allegro non troppo, Shostakovich. For the premiere Shostakovich added descriptive titles to the movements, possibly to please his political masters. For the third movement it was "Forces of war unleashed".
2. Mazurka op 17, no 4, Chopin. Here is Arthur Rubinstein:
As one YouTube poster put it, "one of Chopin's most evocative and melancholy themes, known only to pianists. It is almost a secret to other musicians and the public."
1. Fugue in E major, Well-Tempered Clavier, Bk 2, Bach. How could I not end with Bach?
I notice that most of these pieces are in slow tempi and might be what you could call melancholy. They are certainly not designed to wow audiences at first hearing. Which is probably why they are little known. But great, pieces of music.