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Classical for Beginners (How I stopped hating it)  

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I asked knowledgeable people about how to enjoy classical music.  Ask a head-fier.  They're very helpful.


Edited by sugarkang - 1/23/11 at 4:00pm
post #2 of 32
I don't entirely agree with your assessment, but I do recommend people try classical. It's the most exciting genre - and the most radical. I almost wish it wasn't called "classical," because that makes it sound stuffy, academic and, well, dead. It isn't. No genre has this breadth of experimentation and overturning of conventions. The catch is that you have to spend some time listening to it and learn about how it has evolved over the centuries. A little music theory helps, as well. But once you know what you're listening to, there's a lifetime's worth of music to keep you interested.

Also, have you thought about picking up the piano again? Maybe you'd enjoy it more now that you're older. Playing favorite pieces is a lot of fun.
post #3 of 32

Join an orchestra...really, it's as simple as that.  If you try a subject for yourself and understand the difficulties/nuances involved, it's easier to appreciate.

post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 

This thread is for beginners.  I would appreciate discussion limited to that or else let it die. 

post #5 of 32

I agree. The people who really love listening to classical music are people who study music (an instrument, music theory and such) and have good headphones. I have studied music for 10 years now but only have started listening to it after i got my M50s.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bop View Post

Join an orchestra...really, it's as simple as that.  If you try a subject for yourself and understand the difficulties/nuances involved, it's easier to appreciate.

post #6 of 32

I don't like much classical at all, but I do enjoy Debussy, especially Clair De Lune, so I suggest any beginners to check that out.

post #7 of 32

Great intro for beginners! :)

 

I actually learned a ton from the "Classical Music for Dummies" book. It contains a lot of info about the history, different types of pieces, different instruments, etc. I mean, it's a pretty lightweight explanation of all of it, but that's stuff I never learned anywhere else, not having taken band in school. 

 

Also, the library is a great place to check out lots of different types of music to see what you like. I know mine is stuffed with classical CDs. There are also some good classical channels on Pandora.

 

And I know a lot of people trash-talk those "best of" classical CDs, but I think they can be a great intro for somebody just getting their feet wet. If you hear, say, Mussorgsky's "Promenade" and think it's fantastic, then you know you might want to check out the rest of "Pictures at an Exhibition," and if you dislike what you hear from Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, then you know Baroque probably isn't your thing.

post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post

This thread is for beginners.  I would appreciate discussion limited to that or else let it die. 


This forum is a public forum. Unless you are a moderator of head-fi I don't see why you have the right to tell us what to post and what not to post.

It's wrong to say that the wiggle room for a performer’s “interpretation” is very tiny; if anything the interpretation ability for a classical music performer is probably more important than that of a jazz performer. Because no matter how a jazz performer flip and twist a well known song into unrecognizably there's no wrong or right way to perform a jazz piece, while the same piece performed by different performers can invoke different meanings to a piece. And if the classical music performer doesn't know what he's doing he can very easily ruin a piece and make you hate it. Maybe for a beginner the performer isn't that important; but as you find your favorites and spend more time seriously listening to them you'll know the night and day differences between Solti and Karajan; and between Gould and Pollini. Different people have different tastes, and the performer that someone likes is often someone whom you will hate, so you need to learn to take reviews of performances with a grain of salt. But performers certainly do matter.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 

Nowhere did I say that I have the "right" to tell you what to do.  I said that I would "appreciate" it.  You know, because that's been common courtesy on message boards to stay relevant to OP's topic since, oh, the beginning of the internet. 

 

I'm trying to give beginners a way into classical.  Only 2-3% of the general population listens to it.  There's a reason.  The classial music scene is full of uninviting, arrogant douchebags that always feel the need to display their knowledge over others.  Beginners don't care about that stuff.  The last time I checked, classical could use some new fans. 

 

Incidentally, does anyone have a good recommendation on a newer Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2?  

I'd like a recording after 1990 and preferably after 2000 even.  New recordings are much more enjoyable.  

I have Richter and Ashkenazy already.     

post #10 of 32
This might be the ticket :
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/4748132

 

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that link.  Listening now. 

I actually just bought a one day pass to the Berlin Philharmonic "virtual concert hall."

The acoustics in there are just amazing. 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisjackson View Post

This might be the ticket :
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/4748132

 

post #12 of 32


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarkang View Post

This thread is for beginners.  I would appreciate discussion limited to that or else let it die. 




This forum is a public forum. Unless you are a moderator of head-fi I don't see why you have the right to tell us what to post and what not to post.
 


I am a moderator. Please don't derail the intend of his thread. smile.gif

 

It's a good thread.  I'll throw in my $0.02 later.  For now, I'll say that where people might ask what kind of music you like, with classical music, it's "What conductor/performer/etc. do you like?". Also, unlike our usual 4 minute hits, classical takes more time to appreciate, with longer tracks and single pieces amounting to whole albums. It can requite somewhat of a different mindset to appreciate.

post #13 of 32

Very nice thread! Brings me back memories when I was a classical newb

 

 

"You don’t have to like everything."   <- this is so true.  Classical music is such a huge genre that it is almost impossible to like it all. You're going to hate some parts and enjoy others. However, the more you get into it the more you will appreciate. I used to hate Bach and his damn twangy harpsichord... Now i know better.

 

I have to disagree about "choosing performers last." A performer has the ability to take great piece of music and make it sound mediocre or freakin' amazing. I randomly borrowed Mahler Symphony no.1 performed by Zubin Mehta-New York Philharmonics and was so completely moved and energized by the work that I kept on playing it in my car nonstop.  A few days later I borrowed a more recent version, by a different conductor, of the same symphony and suddenly the music felt lifeless and a bit boring.  Same composer, same symphony, same notes, but I enjoyed one cd way more than the other.

 

post #14 of 32

Good thread, I'd only disagree a little about performers.  A bad interpretation can put you off a piece of music as quickly as a poor recording.

 

Also, some stuff is an acquired taste.  I'd advise new listeners to give some period performances (like harpsichord performances of keyboard music) a pass, at least initially.

post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 

Okay, since it's been mentioned a bunch of times already, I'll respond to the point about performers.  It's going to matter eventually, but not for absolute beginners.  You can't honestly think that a person who is absolutely virgin to this kind of music will know the difference between Perahia and Ashkenazy on Beethoven.  Like I mentioned in my first post, it will matter eventually but not for absolute beginners.  A big potential draw for classical is the sonic "wow" factor of a really good DDD recording.  And since all of us on here have good headphones, the chance of "wow" is much higher with newer recordings.  A beginner can always back track and get the "best" interpretations later. 


 

 

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