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Recommendations for Classical Music

For under $100 (depending on format; I used the CD version), this is the equivalent of a semester college course in "Music for non-Music Majors." (Having taken both, I can vouch for that).
No only will you come away knowing all the "language" and names to drop, but also you'll be exposed to so many examples of the full spectrum of what's called "classical music" of the last 700 years, that you'll know what will appeal to you. And (believe it or not) it's vastly entertaining - you won't be bored!
(I have no connection whatever with the company that puts this out).

http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/CourseDescLong2.aspx?cid=700
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
Moderator Emeritus
Find a library with a good CD collection, and get a card. Easiest way to find out what your tastes are. FWIW, this wasn't necessarily an option ten or 15 years ago.
... best suggestion yet!

Try a few different composers, and tell us what you think of each. A few comments like "man that Mozart bores me to tears but Bruckner absolutely rocks!" will let us know in which direction to steer you.
 
Find a library with a good CD collection, and get a card. Easiest way to find out what your tastes are. FWIW, this wasn't necessarily an option ten or 15 years ago.
+1 - I get 8-10 CDs usually a few well known ones and few random picks - it's an ear opener after years of rock and jazz.
 

Alacrity59

Wanting for wisdom
Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
One of my favourite choices for music is Gershwin "Rhapsody in Blue" Probably too modern to be classical and too old for . . . ah . .

I just like it.
 
One of my favourite choices for music is Gershwin "Rhapsody in Blue" Probably too modern to be classical and too old for . . . ah . .

I just like it.
Well, technically anything outside of the ~80 years between the mid-18th and early 19th century isn't Classical music, so hardly anything in this thread counts :wink:
 
Mark my words and mark them well: You cannot go wrong with anything composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.
 
Try Rachmaninoff's Morceaux de salon, Four Pieces, and Three nocturnes. As well as piano concertos 1&2. Good for afternoon tea chat.
One of the most sublime 5 minutes I know is Rachmaninoff's Vocalise, arranged for piano & cello (I have a 1984 Philips recording by Schiff & Leonskaja).

Also, any of Chopin's piano works performed Vladimir Ashkenazy.

And +1 to all the foregoing. So much good music out there.
 
It occurs to me that with Christmas coming, and the inevitable onslaught of sugary, vapid holiday music, that it might be useful to recommend some "classical" (as noted above, the Classical period doesn't cover much of what we could consider "classical" music, so I use the term colloquially) music for the Holidays.

Handel's Messiah -- the whole thing -- is an amazing orchestral/choral work and worth listening to. The Christmas section isn't very long, and it's a great narrative of the Nativity story set to music. There are a lot of recordings and a lot of interpretations. Don't go far afield from the original, at least for your first listen. I like Charles Mackerras' version from 1967. It's on EMI.

Bach's Christmas Oratorio is a less popular piece, and it's long, but I love it and it's worth listening to. Yeah, it's in German, and the best recording I know of is/was East German (the Dresdner Kreuzchor), but it's on CD now.

If this idea doesn't resonate with you, feel free to say you're looking for non-seasonal works. In my opinion, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, these pieces are beautiful music.
 
Sometimes, you find a place in your heart for a particular orchestra. The Cleveland Symphony will always be important to me, and I'll make the effort to track down their recordings if given a choice.
 
Music is such a personal thing and classical music caters for such a wide range of tastes and moods. I found my way in through the music of Dvorak and Tchaiskovsky but found my most rewarding to be Elgar, Holst and Vaughan Williams.

Vivaldi, Bach and Tartini are my most played currently (especially on period pieces) and I have found classical music to be incredibly cheap on CD (Naxos label in particular are often bargains) allowing me to make mistakes that are not drastic!

The Penguin Guide to Classical Music is a great read and makes some great recommendations.

I'm still a bluesman at heart but read pictures into classical music that is like a good book. Explore and enjoy.
 
Well, technically anything outside of the ~80 years between the mid-18th and early 19th century isn't Classical music, so hardly anything in this thread counts :wink:
pff. Geek:001_rolle

Personally, I think you might like to listen to music more modern, and work backwards.

Some ideas:
Aaron Copland (Billy the Kid, Appliachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man)
Igor Stravinsky (Firebird Suite)
Dvorak (New World Symphony, Cello Concerto)
Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition)
 
While we're offering strategies to figure out what you might like -- how about renting Fantasia and see if any of that "classical" music strikes your fancy?
 
I' m a bit of a nut about classical music but in a fairly constrained way. I echo the recommendations for JSBach but would like to suggest you also try some of the choral music. I highly recommend the Magnificat, the Motets, and I am currently collecting Suzuki and the Japan Bach Society's approach to the cantatas. Right now, they've released 40 CDs in the series.

That is not a misprint. Moreover, I think this is stunning music, though it sometimes takes several times through to begin to get it.

Also in the Baroque line, try Buxtehude (who was an inspiration to Bach). I'm thinking here of his cantatas (look for recordings with Emma Kirkby as the soprano) and his sonatas. I haven't quite gotten the hang of the organ works (for which he is most famous).

I also like and collect earlier music. I highly recommend works of Orlando Lassus. This is late Renaissance and spectacularly melodic. Palestrina is another good choice.

Lastly, in this era, there is a contrast between traditional orchestral/choral approaches and the period/one voice per part (OVPP) theories that are more contemporary in approach. Look for examples of each to figure out what you like most.
 
pff. Geek:001_rolle

Personally, I think you might like to listen to music more modern, and work backwards.

Some ideas:
Aaron Copland (Billy the Kid, Appliachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man)
Igor Stravinsky (Firebird Suite)
Dvorak (New World Symphony, Cello Concerto)
Mussorgsky (Pictures at an Exhibition)
I have an incredible rendition of this piece, arranged for and performed on organ by Jean Guillou. It's particularly impressive if you have a very good stereo; it'll make you wish your speakers could produce a solid 16 hz.

http://www.dorian.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=5519

It's a good piece, and it's well worth owning the original piano version and Ravel's famous orchestrated version, too.
 
Man, all of this advice is great! It figures that I'd find what I was looking for, and more, right at the end of the semester. I'm elbow-deep in papers and work at the moment so what I think I'm going to do is put this on hold until winter break. I'll be around a much nicer library then, anyway.

Thanks, gents! I'll get back to you all with my initial responses in a couple of weeks. (But in the short run, I'm not really looking for more modern classical music. I'm not such a huge fan of John Williams, Aaron Copland, and the like. It's too... clean? I'm not sure how to describe it.)

And to clarify other thoughts:

I'm also a budding fan of classical guitar: I adore my albums by Narciso Yepes and Laurindo Almeida.
I'm also growing fonder of the Brandenburg Concertos 4, 5, and 6. Specifically 5.
 
Lots of good suggestions from fellow members. I suggest you try pandora.com, which allows you to set up personal stations to listen to over the web. You can enter a composer to create a station. It then streams not only that composer, but similar ones as well and displays their titles, performers, etc. Could be quite useful to you as you explore the diversity of "Classical" music.

Peter
 
Find a library with a good CD collection, and get a card. Easiest way to find out what your tastes are. FWIW, this wasn't necessarily an option ten or 15 years ago.
It can't be over-emphasized. Got my intro into classical music this way.

Oh, and I do like Bruckner. :blushing:
 
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