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Heart Felt Classical Music For Classical Virgin!

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I am new to Classical music, and am bewildered by the array of what i can buy. I am not really keen on HMV own music. i want a "proper" collection of classical works.

So can anyone recommend heart-felt classical to get someone into this genre without being frightened off by the knowledge intensive area it can be. I just want some relaxing classical to listen to. Nothing with cannons in the background! (if u know what i mean).

Relaxing, heart-felt and emmotive Classical music. Suggestions?

Many thanks
stephen
post #2 of 28
Try Meditation at:
http://www.cdnow.com/cgi-bin/mserver.../itemid=141361

At $25 shipped for 10 CDs, it's an absolute bargain. The music and performance are killers, esp. for the first 4 CDs. Oh, as for the sonics, the 2nd CD is a R2D4 by Stereophile!

Any classic music lovers or newbies should own the set, period.

If you like those powerful and emotional ones later on, I can recommend much more.
post #3 of 28
OK. Relaxing, heart-felt and emotive, eh?
Where to start? This is just a (relatively) short list of stuff that spings to mind

I find unaccompanied choral music to be as relaxing as it gets, and Allegri's Miserere Mei would be an excellent beginning. Then moving on to Palestrina's masses, perhaps. Just got a Naxos CD of some of his stuff, recommended. There's an excellent compilation CD out there called Agnus Dei, watch out for it. Then we move on to Faure and his Requiem. Again, look for the cheapie Naxos recording, I haven't found a better one.

OK, composers from the Romantic period now. Rachmaninov has to be my own favourite, and I would heartily recommend his piano concertos and preludes (played by Vladimir Ashkenazy). His Symphonic Dances are awesome, but maybe not quite relaxing at times. On the subject of piano concertos, try and pick up Shostakovich's 2nd, the slow movement is heart-rendingly beautiful! Mendelssohn's music for A Midsummernight's Dream is really quite pleasant too. Staying with pianos, Chopin wrote many wonderful pieces for solo piano.

Cello music. It's great! Bach cello suites, Elgar cello concerto (Jacqueline du Pre), Villa Lobos' Bachianas Brasilieras, any amount of other stuff.

I would suggest getting a nice big compilation set, and then reporting back to us with what you've found that turns you on, and then we can recommend where to go from there!
HTH
Andrew
PS Don't rubbish HMV's own CD's, they're quite often good, older recordings, just repackaged.
PPS Now that the summer is here, look out for cheap Proms-style concerts by local orchestras and go along for a listen.
post #4 of 28
Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat, Op. 100 -- any version other than the one by the Beaux Art Trio (aka the Bozo Trio -- because they clown around with the rhythm too much -- who do they think they are? It may work for more romantic works, but this is _classical_ music, in the traditional sense of the word. This piece is meant to be played staid and conservatively.).
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
thanks alot guys. i'll checking these recommendations out shortly.
post #6 of 28

A few books to help out a fellow newbie

Someone, unfortunately, I forget who, recommended in another thread, which I also forget, to read the Classical Music for Dummies book, and it comes with a CD, you can find it on Amazon.com either new or used (for much cheaper).

I wanted it right away, and couldnt' find that book, so my mom bought me Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music, it is a great book, and while it doesn't come with a CD, after having gotten about halfway through it, I think I really have the knowledge to go to a music store and buy a classical CD because the book has familiarized me not only with classical works and composers but also with conductors and orchestras which becomes important when deciding which of that 60 copies of Beethoven's 9th Symphony you want to buy.
post #7 of 28

Re: A few books to help out a fellow newbie

Quote:
Originally posted by grrr223
Someone, unfortunately, I forget who, recommended in another thread, which I also forget, to read the Classical Music for Dummies book, and it comes with a CD, you can find it on Amazon.com either new or used (for much cheaper).

I wanted it right away, and couldnt' find that book, so my mom bought me [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/103-8330801-3206261]Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music[/URL
That was probably me, since I often recommend it. I can't really congratulate you on that choice since the Idiot's guide is a lot less "fascinating" than the for Dummies. This is of course, my opinion, but I found 2 aspects that make the Dummies books a lot better:
-Pogue's sense of humour. The man has a really contagious humour, and I found perfectly addequate to lighten up the discussion. It is great to be able to laugh while you're learning. The man was definitely the class clown in his days.
-The included CD makes A LOT of difference. Just the fact that you can hear the pieces in detail while reading the second-by-second descriptions will make you see a whole new dimension in the tracks.

If you have the chance, I suggest you still get Classical Music for Dummies, or even better, since you already got the Idiot's, you can perhaps buy Opera for Dummies (Also from Pogue, also with a CD with great pieces including an excellent duet from Il Barbiere and the list part from an excellent version of Mozart's Don Giovanni). Even if it takes some time to arrive from Amazon, it's worth it for any newcomer to classical music. (especially those with good humor)

You'll learn about opera the fun way, and if you end up needing "more Pogue" like I did, you can get Classical for Dummies later.

Sometimes it pays up to be patient, to end up making a better choice.
post #8 of 28
Pogue's books are always better than similar books by other authors. He's just a great writer, with a great sense of humor. I actually know him through work, and he's also a great guy -- friendly and personable.
post #9 of 28

Pogue rules.

Ahah yes. He's some sort of Seinfeld, his jokes range from subtle to extremely nasty.

I actually emailed him too about him calling Alceo Galliera "Alcio Galleria" or something like that in the list of composers/performers of the Opera for Dummies book, and he emailed me back a thanks email starting with:

"Good grief. How embarassing!"

I have the Classical and Opera, and will definitely buy more books from him if the subjects interest me.
post #10 of 28

Dvorak - Slavonic Dances - Piano Duo

There's an arrangement of the piece Slavonic Dances, by the composer Dvorak, for a piano duo. And there are these sisters, Katia and Marielle LeBeque (sp?) that play -- and that's some really good stuff. It's all piano, no other accompaniment, and they just play it so well.. very nice.. fast parts, slow parts, driving parts, softer parts..

Give it a whirl. There are a ton of different recordings out there.. but I definitely like the arrangement with this piano duo best, so far.
post #11 of 28

Grieg - Solvejg's Song

From Grieg's Peer Gynt, there's a portion called "Solvejg's Song" (sometimes spelled Solveig). Absolutely gorgeous. It comes in a variety of "colors" -- the complete work with the main melody sung by a soprano, incidental music, and two orchestral suites with the melody played by violins. I was introduced to the piece through the suites, but have developed a taste for the song as sung by a soprano...
post #12 of 28
Then there's that old favourite: Rodrigo "Concierto De Aranjuez".
post #13 of 28
Personal Favorites:

Rachmaninov (Rachmaninoff): Vocalise - Originally performed by a soprano, most recordings I have are orchestral with the strings section doing the soprano's part. Melancholy

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons – heavy on the violins. Leaves you feeling upbeat. Looking at Monet’s landscapes while listening is a good mix.

Bugs Bunny cartoons – Ok, don’t laugh…well, on second thought, you should laugh. They are a treasure-trove of great classical music: Rabbit of Seville – Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture. There is even a “Bugg’s Bunny goes to the Met” CD that’s really great.

Look for pieces done by “pops” orchestras to start with a “light” diet and work your way up to the heavy pieces like Beethoven’s 7th (my favorite by the Big B)

Two more suggestions:
1.Pick your favorite instruments and that will help you find pieces you like.
2.Don’t let the first mediocre performance of a piece make you swear off of it – there are as many bad recordings of good pieces as there are good recordings of good pieces.

(So why does a redneck listen to classical music?)
post #14 of 28
Lots of good suggestions here. Yes, Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez is excellent. I recommend the versions played by Paco de Lucia and also John Williams, both are great.

Vivaldi's 4 Seasons.. hmmm... my favorite has Nigel Kennedy (Violin). I forgot the label...DECCA perhaps... it is the version with the best sound quality.

There are in fact so many recommendations for a beginner, it's still a chaos.
That's why I suggested "Classical Music for Dummies", Pogue has a section where he recommends the best pieces to start building your collection, and his suggestions are very addequate.

Once you pinpoint the works you want to get, it is easier to show up here and ask around WHICH versions are better (when it comes to performance and sound quality).
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks alot. I am checking out all your recommendations as we speak. I think as someone mentioned i should give YOU something to go on, by perhaps giving clues as to what i like already. I'll be checking stuff out and report back!
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