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MeSue
2013-09-28, 15:54
I'm a total rocker girl, but I am getting bored with my library, and it has been kind of a crappy year for new music. Either that or my music discovery resources are letting me down. Anyway, I have been thinking of dipping my toe in the classical music world. Where should I start?


(Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk. Please pardon any typos!)

w3wilkes
2013-09-28, 22:22
I think these would all be a pretty easy dip of the toe into the pool;

George Frideric Handel - Water Music (Suite) and The Musick for the Royal Fireworks
Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons
Franz Joseph Haydn - Symphony 6 in D Major The Morning (4 movements), Symphony 7 in C Major The Afternoon (4 movements), Symphony 8 in G Major The Evening (4 movements)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik Serenade

These are all a pretty easy transition from Rock. I had this same dilemma back in the 80's, after a great couple of decades of the 60's and the 70's I decided to try some classical. At the time "Time - Life" had a series called "The Great Men of Music". Seemed like a new composer every month with 4 records in the box. The series ran for 30 months so I got a bunch of music. I'll admit that some of it didn't appeal to me at all.

I know there are some folks on the board here that have really extensive classical collections and I'm sure they'll chime in. My classical listening almost reaches the novice level!

(Sent from my laptop using a keyboard)

StridingEdge
2013-09-28, 23:22
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RonM
2013-09-29, 06:41
I'm a total rocker girl, but I am getting bored with my library, and it has been kind of a crappy year for new music. Either that or my music discovery resources are letting me down. Anyway, I have been thinking of dipping my toe in the classical music world. Where should I start?


The problem I have with the whole question of "classical music" is that it's often not clear just what the boundaries are. In theory, "classical music" comes from what was the European tradition, and mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries (one definition is " Music written in the European tradition during a period lasting approximately from 1750 to 1830"). Of course there is earlier music and later music in the same kind of style, but it does tend to mean lots of 20th century music gets left out of the lists.

"Serious music" as a label is also problematic (John Coltrane wasn't serious?). Orchestral music -- what about all that solo piano music? It becomes very difficult. . .

So I'm reluctant to make any particular prescriptions from the classical canon. Lots of people can speak to Vivaldi and Bach and Beethoven and Brahms and Mozart and Wagner, much more cogently than I. But do bear in mind that much of the pleasure comes from hearing different interpretations of the same piece -- if there is anything that distinguishes classical music it's that it is NOT improvisational; the music is notated, orchestras or individuals play the notes, but how they interpret the notes can vary greatly.

I'd recommend that you check out some of those big orchestral pieces or smaller chamber music suggested by others (Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc), but try finding a couple of recordings of the ones you choose to listen to that are perhaps reviewed as being different from each other, or exceptional. And don't ignore the opera field -- Wagner is sort of like death metal in the context of classical.

Personally, I find I get the greatest pleasure from some classical solo-instrument pieces, and some from the 20th Century. For instance, it's always enjoyable for me to listen to Glenn Gould's take on Bach's Goldberg Variations, coupled with the version by the contemporary pianist Simone Dinnerstein. Lots of purists look down their noses at Dinnerstein, but her interpretation is more lush and romantic, Gould's precise to the ultimate degree. Gould plays the series in half the time that Dinnerstein does. It's educational to hear two such different takes, not to mention pleasurable.

I also like works by Stravinsky and Villa-Lobos, two 20th Century composers. You can't go wrong with the former's Rite of Spring, still has a contemporary feel. And I'm particularly drawn to the mid-20th Century Brazilian, Villa-Lobos, who sought to bring a Bach-ian feel to music influenced by the nature and sounds of Brazil. His Bachianas Brasileiras no. 6 for Flute and Bassoon is, to me particularly lovely with the two wind instruments twining around each other like lovers on a stroll in the jungle. And Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 for Voice and Cello Orchestra is a classic test case for up-coming sopranos, and the very first classical music I listened to closely -- in the version by Joan Baez from her "5" album. Not especially well done by classical standards, but it mesmerized me as a teenager.

But keep in mind that I'm more of a roots/folk/jazz guy than a rocker, maybe those big orchestral pieces are more likely to do it for you!

R

JohnB
2013-09-29, 09:17
An interesting question!

The trouble is that it depends so much on individual taste. Many recommend starting at the "easy" end with, say, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven but instead of that I would definitely recommend something more visceral as a starting point, e.g. listening to some of the 20th Century composers. And then, the pieces are much longer than most non-classical music - you need to allow yourself the time, and patience, to let the music work its magic.

Clive Gillinson (now Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall) when he was director of the London Symphony Orchestra once commented that more first timers return to hear more if their first experience of live classical music was Shostakovich and I can certainly understand that. In fact, some years ago I took a friend who had no experience of classical music to a concert that included Shostakovich's Symphony No 4 (Gergiev conducting the then Kirov Orchestra) and she was totally enthralled and very excited by what she experienced.

(My own introduction was through a music teacher at school who played recordings of Stravinsky, Walton, Holst, Hindemith, etc, etc, as well as the 19th C staples.)

Going to a live concert is definitely the best way to experience music. Sometimes I have come out after hearing, say, a Mahler or a Shostakovich symphony feeling that the world had changed - the music spoke to me in a way that was so profound.

One advantage of Shostakovich is that his very difficult life in the USSR provides a context (see Wikapedia) which illuminates the scathing sardonic nature of some of the passages and the profundity of some others and gives a 'way in' to the music. Symphonies 5, 7, 10 are good places to start. (Lenny with Shost 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FF4HyB77hQ). No 1 is a tremendously brilliant student work (well worth hearing), 2 and 3 are more experimental (not for regular listening), No 13 is a dark, excoriating vocal work (not for the faint hearted).

Other music - try out Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. First performed in 1913 it still sounds revolutionary and startling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGFRwKQqbk4

Rachmaninov Piano Concertos 2 and 3 - think of romantic film music.
No 2 (sound not ideal): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3c8Vj87JDc

Then there is Mahler who once said "The symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything." His symphonies are long, sometimes very long, but they are wonderful once you get into his music. You would probably recognise the Adagietto from his Symphony No 5 (the 4th movement) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYjRI1LC-X0. It was intended as a love song to his wife, Alma Mahler and is an extremely beautiful movement.

And then there is Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQb3VUljpa0, Mussorgsky (Pictures from an Exhibition), etc, etc ... the list is endless.

And Beethoven - yes his music is early 19th century but its (sometimes elemental) power and heroic originality still hit you if you listen with open ears. Of course the most famous symphonies are the 5th, 3rd, 7th and 9th and the 5th is a very good place to start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpG1HPClIUo. (His piano sonatas (say, the Waldstein Sonata) and string quartets are also amazing works .... but perhaps those are for later.)

Just out of interest, these are some performances of the Waldstein Sonata by very great pianists:

The great Russian, Emil Gilels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZYuHFYQLCQ
Artur Schnabel from the 1930s - more elemental (sorry about the crackles but it's worth it): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WefVOIZ1DMc
Claudio Arrau: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL0JLNt_3EE
Do give the Schnabel a listen, even through the crackles it is a tremendously elemental performance and somehow seems to connect directly with Beethoven

A lot of this music is available on YouTube.

Just one other point. Performances on CD (and YouTube) can be very variable - the same work can feel earth shattering when performed by one conductor/orchestra and leave you totally unmoved when conducted by someone else.

Sorry for rambling on but, as you have probably guessed, I am passionate about this music.

MeSue
2013-09-29, 10:44
Thanks for all the suggestions, and keep them coming. You are getting me excited to check this out! Unfortunately, my pitiful DSL connection is in the crapper* as it has been every weekend and evening this year, so I will have to wait until my speed gets better and I can use Rhapsody. I don't want my first experience to be "rebuffering" every 10 seconds.

* My greedy, sleazy ISP (Windstream) knows about the problem and has been deliberately hosing customers because they know we have no other choice but satellite. I'm switching to a business account and getting a second DSL line this week, so hopefully I can start listening soon.


(Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk. Please pardon any typos!)

d6jg
2013-09-29, 10:58
Get the "Classic Experience" Full Set (4 * Double CD when first released) via MP3 download from Amazon uk. About 5. A varied mix of stuff but all decent recordings / performances. Then you can decide which types you like and proceed from there. Not sure if its available outside UK

JohnB
2013-09-29, 11:06
That set might be fine for lots of people but the track listing of one of the albums in the series gives the impression of lots of smallish pieces or snippets from larger works. Nothing to frighten the horses or to disturb elderly ladies taking afternoon tea.

Give me music with "guts", music that has something to say, music that hits me viscerally, music that changes my world.

(But I do love Schubert, Mozart, Bach, etc as well.)

d6jg
2013-09-29, 11:19
Agreed but the 8 CDs worth of mp3s - 135 tracks - is ridiculously cheap (in UK) and therefore not a problem if you end up hating it all or like something and end up buying it again in full.

Mnyb
2013-09-29, 12:18
You can also start in the Baroque end of stuff can be more "fun" than full orchestra like Jordi Savall's recordings ,now some serious aficionado probably has opinions ,and yes I would not understand any of them :)

JohnB
2013-09-29, 12:37
This is a MUST WATCH:

The Grieg Piano Concerto "played" by Eric Morecombe with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by someone called Andre Preview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7GeKLE0x3s

d6jg
2013-09-29, 12:55
I remember seeing that first time round on the M&W Show. Brilliant.

SlimChances
2013-09-29, 13:28
While I am not versed in the nuances of Classical music I do enjoy Ana Vidovic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN9P3YyX-Co). Her guitar music will give you exposure to Spanish Classical music by composers such as Moreno Torroba

MeSue
2013-09-30, 12:13
I finally got some bandwidth last night and today to start checking out your suggestions... so far I like what I have heard!

I also tried the Classical Essentials station on Rhapsody. It kept putting in songs with vocals, though, and I'm not ready for that yet. Switched to Slacker's Classical Hits station and that was pretty good. Now back to sampling your suggestions.

Dogberry2
2013-10-01, 08:56
I think these are excellent pieces for an introductory/early exposure to some of the more "classic" classical music:

Piano concertos:
Beethoven #5 ("Emperor" - I'm very fond of the Ashkenazy recording, though many people prefer other pianists)
Mozart #5, 14, 24

The Mozart "Divertimenti" (the D-major KV 136 is very cool, with some "proto-rock/pop" phrasing) and the Serenades (someone already mentioned "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", which is the most famous, but you might also check out the "Gran Partita" and "Haffner")

There are some very good guitar interpretations of various baroque pieces (Bach, Telemann, Handel and others) on the album "For Thy Pleasure" by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Eliot Fisk's guitar album of Paganini's caprices is very good. I can also recommend Paul Galbraith's guitar interpretations of Bach's "Sonatas and Partitas" (originally written for violin). For that matter, the Sonatas and Partitas on violin, by Itzhak Perlman.

If you decide to try something from the more "modern" classical era, you might consider starting with Prokofiev, who might be a little more "accessible" than some of the other 20th century composers. His piano concertos are fun (I'm especially fond of the 3rd), as is "Peter And The Wolf".

JohnB
2013-10-01, 09:41
Talking of Beethoven Piano Concertos there is a very fine performance by Mitsuko Uchida from this year's BBC Proms posted on YouTube:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9a7XiHRjTGI

Included in the announcer's introduction is a short interview with Mitsuko Uchida who is always worth hearing when she talks about music as she does so with such passion and enthusiasm.

For the classical guitar one of my heroes has always been Julian Bream, one of the very finest classical guitarists of the 20th C. Someone whose playing is very special IMO.

TheOctavist
2014-01-06, 02:14
mozart should always be the entry. . his chamber pieces were written for himself, and as a result... are really wonderful.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mozart-Mature-Sonatas-Violin-Piano/dp/B0040Y7F5U/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356663487&sr=8-1-spell

bach's famous christmas piece. a must. harmoncourts rendering is peerless.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Weihnachtsoratorium-Christmas-Nikolaus-Harnoncourt/dp/B001E1TGA4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1364656624&sr=1-1

beethoven- jackie du pre..zuckerman/barenboim. no one has done these bette.r
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Piano-Trios-Opp-1-Archduke/dp/B000EMSI9Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356663734&sr=1-2

lux aeterna- morton feldman- LA Master Chorale. shivers down the spine.
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lauridsen-lux-aeterna-los-angeles-master-chorale/7658459

schubert. there are a lot of interpreters of his lieder, but the bostridge is the most well known/loved. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Schubert-25-Lieder-Ian-Bostridge/dp/B0009VYPCO/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356663870&sr=1-1

the pinnacle of english music. dowland.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dowland-Second-Consort-Musicke-Rooley/dp/B00000E46D/ref=sr_1_14?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356663972&sr=1-14


arvo part- alina. want to hear composing with no notes wasted?? here it is. just transcendental. http://www.amazon.co.uk/P%C3%A4rt-Alina-Arvo/dp/B000024HL1/ref=sr_1_6?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1364657276&sr=1-6


the four seasons... so many recordings of this. but this is magnificent. perfect blend of musicianship/interpretation and sound quality.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vivaldi-Four-Seasons-Janine-Jansen/dp/B0007ZIYM4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356664284&sr=1-1




the best of the romantic- faure http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kun-Woo-Paik-G-Faure/dp/B00005Y359/ref=sr_1_10?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356664475&sr=1-10

BACH- maybe the most important recordings of Bach in the past 30 years.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Cantatas-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B00000INV4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356663573&sr=1-1

if bach were to give a rock and roll interview and ask who his influences were... hed say " man, palestrina blew my fucking mind. pure poetry, man"

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Palestrina-Missa-Papae-Marcelli-Stabat/dp/B000024K3X/ref=sr_1_8?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356664537&sr=1-8



and my personal favorites...these persisted over decades.still going strong.

http://www.amazon.com/Lauridsen-Aeterna-Salamunovich-Angeles-Chorale/dp/B000006OF1


http://www.amazon.com/Gorecki-Symphony-No-Opus-36/dp/B000005J1C/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388996862&sr=1-1&keywords=symphony+of+sorrowful+songs

http://www.amazon.com/Arvo-Part-Te-Deum/dp/B000024ZDF/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388996899&sr=1-1&keywords=te+deum


http://www.amazon.com/P%C3%A4rt-Estonian-Philharmonic-Chamber-Choir/dp/B000025LF7/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388996932&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Lily-Lamb-polyphony-medieval-England/dp/B000QQRF5Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388996987&sr=1-1&keywords=lily+and+the+lamb

http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Lions-Frederic-Yorks-Ensemble/dp/B003F4JKOU/ref=sr_1_8?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388997040&sr=1-8&keywords=danielis+ludus

http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-String-Quartet-Prokofiev-Hindemith/dp/B000003XIX

http://www.amazon.com/Whitacre-Cloudburst-Other-Choral-Works/dp/B000E1XOUS/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388997218&sr=1-1&keywords=whitacre+cloudburst

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Fugue-J-S-Bach/dp/B000M05VMU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388997588&sr=1-1&keywords=Helmut+Walcha+Art+of+Fugue

http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Cosmic-Speculation-Gandolfi/dp/B000ZU98F8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388997816&sr=1-1&keywords=garden+of+cosmic+speculation

http://www.amazon.com/Petrouchka-Firebird-Suite-Scherzo-Russe/dp/B00008GENY/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388997892&sr=1-1&keywords=TELARC+CD-80587

http://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Violin-Concerto-Double/dp/B002TBZ3XC

http://www.amazon.com/Falla-Three-Cornered-Hat-Ansermet-Berganza/dp/B00004TEUY

http://www.amazon.com/Sibelius-Lemminkainen-Legends-Kalevala-Tapiola/dp/B000PGTHRG/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1325645713&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Messiaen-Turangalila-Symphony-LAscension-Olivier/dp/B00004WJVS/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388998203&sr=1-1&keywords=wit+turangalila

http://www.amazon.com/Passio-Domini-Christi-Secundum-Joannem/dp/B00008IHVX/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388998349&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Naxos%3A+P%C3%A4rt%2C+Passio.+2001.

http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Koechlin-Quintette-Primavera-dAquitaine/dp/B00008F4Y6/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388998535&sr=1-1&keywords=quintettes+of+Charles+Koechlin

http://www.amazon.com/Englund-Concerto-Cellos-Suite-Sonata/dp/B001D71R2Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388998608&sr=1-2&keywords=cello+music+by+Einar+Englund

http://www.amazon.com/Musique-Grece-Antique-Ancient-Greek/dp/B00004TVG7/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388998796&sr=1-1&keywords=MUSIQUE+DE+LA+GRECE+ANTIQUE-GREGORIO+PANIAGUA-HARMONIA+MUNDI+HM+1015

http://www.amazon.com/Arcana-Integrales-Varese/dp/B0000042DU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388999297&sr=1-1&keywords=VARESE-ARCANA%2FINTEGRALES%2FIONISATION-MEHTA

http://www.amazon.com/Basso-Profondo-Russia-Russian-Traditional/dp/B00000JQGJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1388999408&sr=1-1&keywords=basso+profondo - as someone who was blessed with a very deep, resonant, rich voice, i always come back to this recording. it singlehandedly instilled in me the desire to sing(and I have professionally since age 14)

Nonreality
2014-01-30, 18:54
Sure I've been exposed to Classical all my life but I never know what to pick. It's not like Rock where you pick an artist and an album and go. So many variables makes it hard, especially to buy. I just signed up for Spotify and was thinking of Classical.com but then I searched Spotify for some of the choices presented here and they actually have a good selection I think. I really love the sound quality and feeling that you are touching upon something beyond the norm when listening to a good piece of classical. I thank everyone for offering up some choices.

Daverz
2014-03-27, 08:27
If you like big boxes with tons of goodies, here is a great place for the budding classical fan to start:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41lrboIR0bL._SY300_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Decca-Sound-Analogue-Years-Limited/dp/B00E0H8KAQ/

Almost all great performances in great sound. I think there's only one dog in the box, the Ute Lemper CD. I can't stand her mannerisms, but that may just be me.

matka
2014-03-28, 13:05
Sure I've been exposed to Classical all my life but I never know what to pick. It's not like Rock where you pick an artist and an album and go. So many variables makes it hard, especially to buy. I just signed up for Spotify and was thinking of Classical.com but then I searched Spotify for some of the choices presented here and they actually have a good selection I think. I really love the sound quality and feeling that you are touching upon something beyond the norm when listening to a good piece of classical. I thank everyone for offering up some choices.
You might want to try classical review website http://www.classicstoday.com/. They have a paywall for the advanced collectors, but since you are starting the free portion is probably sufficient for now. Reviews are compact and void of bloated language, one of course might disagree with individual choices but overall they seem to me balanced and informative. Most of the time, a CD review is also compared to a "reference" recoding in the opinion of the reviewer, so you actually can compare yourself what the review is all about. Quite often there are short music bits posted to illustrate reviewer point of view.

Then pick the recordings from spotify or qobuz and get attuned to the musical language, along the way you will discover that you like some types more than other and then continue the journey.

If you need place to start, I recommend Baroque, especially Vivaldi (please move beyond Four Seasons) and J.S.Bach.

Nonreality
2014-04-22, 15:20
You might want to try classical review website http://www.classicstoday.com/. They have a paywall for the advanced collectors, but since you are starting the free portion is probably sufficient for now. Reviews are compact and void of bloated language, one of course might disagree with individual choices but overall they seem to me balanced and informative. Most of the time, a CD review is also compared to a "reference" recoding in the opinion of the reviewer, so you actually can compare yourself what the review is all about. Quite often there are short music bits posted to illustrate reviewer point of view.

Then pick the recordings from spotify or qobuz and get attuned to the musical language, along the way you will discover that you like some types more than other and then continue the journey.

If you need place to start, I recommend Baroque, especially Vivaldi (please move beyond Four Seasons) and J.S.Bach.

Sorry I somehow missed your response until today. Thank you very much and I'll make use of your suggestions right now.

Tapatalk gave me this handy App for my Nexus 7 :-)