In the mid-2000s, Time-Life released a compilation of the "heaviest" orchestral pieces - stuff that they figured would still move modern audiences jaded by years of rock-n-roll and heavy metal. They called it "Classical Thunder", it was technically all from the Romantic and Modern periods.
Most of the pieces were good, though they were all very famous stuff and tended towards the loud and thinly scored. But what makes music powerful is the emotion it draws out in the listener, and straight loud (or just familiar) is about the worst way to do that. Good instrumental music doesn't just overpower you - it tells a story; it draws you into its world; it moves you.
So here's my effort to come up with a playlist of stuff that is largely symphonic in nature and will - if you understand a little bit of background on the pieces - totally blow your mind. This will likely be a recurring feature on this blog.