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Classical music recommendations for newbie

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I always thought I should like classical music.  Whenever a part of a classical song plays on a movie, TV, or radio I always think it sounds awesome, and that I should try exploring the genre more.  I particularly like the sound of piano and violin, and love modern music that incorporates them.  However, whenever I try downloading the occasional classical track, or pick-up a cheap "best of classical" type CD, I'm always disappointed.  Usually the recording quality is very poor, or the music isn't quite what I was looking for.  I think that I just don't know enough about the genre to know where to start.


Anyways, I was hoping you could point me in the direction of a few good classical (it doesn't even have to be old-classical, just good classical-style music using piano/violin/orchestra type instruments) CD's I could buy, preferably off Amazon.  Please don't point me to downloads, as I'm currently at a remote location using satellite internet, and it is so unbelievably slow (~3 kbps) and unreliable, that it would literally take me overnight to download just one song (if it didn't time out first).  Anyway, thanks for your help.

post #2 of 38

I always enjoy bachsmily_headphones1.gif

post #3 of 38

Where are you using satellite internet? Are you on an island? =p


So, you want modern music with violins and piano in it, right?


Scala comes to mind, four females that play electric violin, pop-classical.

post #4 of 38

Personally, I got into classical music many years ago by the way of music from the Romantic period. Perhaps Brahms or Tchaikovsky may be of interest to you?


I find Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D op 35 with Janine Jansen and Mahler Chamber Orchestra to be exceptional, both in regard to interpretation and sound quality. You can get it cheap on amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tchaikovsky-Violin-Concerto-Janine-Jansen/dp/B001BWQVTA/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1311760396&sr=1-1


Brahm's Sonatas for Violin and Piano are also great. This one, for instance: http://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Violin-Sonatas-Salvatore-Accardo/dp/B00005TO8T/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1311760630&sr=1-2


Hope this helps






Edited by brink - 7/27/11 at 6:08am
post #5 of 38

Trying to get into classical music via chamber music is very unusual ... most people go for orchestral music first ... but that does make this thread a different challenge from the usual. I'd recommend the following, which is beautifully recorded and performed, and is also surprisingly accessible (given that Hindemith is usually accused of being boring!)



Hindemith Sonatas for Viola & Piano and Viola Alone

post #6 of 38

Rachmaninov's second piano concerto made me try classical music, and it's really accessible so you should try it out. Even though it's not exactly what you're looking for.

post #7 of 38

Tchaikovsky "The Nutcracker"

Grieg "Peer Gynt"

Vivaldi "The Four Seasons"

Mozart "Requiem"


A few very popular pieces and a good starting point

post #8 of 38

I started a thread for Baroque music, there's a couple good recommendations there already =] http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/564545/baroque-music-appreciation-thread-v-1-1

post #9 of 38
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

Tchaikovsky "The Nutcracker"

Grieg "Peer Gynt"

Vivaldi "The Four Seasons"

Mozart "Requiem"


A few very popular pieces and a good starting point

Well, okay, but these are no help at all to an o/p who likes the sound of violin and piano.


post #10 of 38

Do you mean Classical as in the Classical period (Mozart, Beethoven, etc.) or the Classical genre in general? Classical music encompasses a wide variety of music, most of which can be divided into one of several categories based on where, why, and when it was composed. I suggest exploring some of the different eras of "classical" music -- Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary -- you might be amazed. wink.gif


Anyway, I fell in love with Liszt the first time I heard a live performance of his Hungarian Rhapsody in c# minor. Chopin's Nocturnes blow me away every time as well. I particularly enjoy Op. 9 No. 2 in E-flat. As for concert artists, Arthur Rubinstein and Murray Perahia are about as flawless as I've ever heard. If you ever get the chance to give either of them a listen, don't pass it up! happy_face1.gif  For something with more lighthearted spice I've always liked short pieces by Debussy and Poulenc. The sound definitely isn't for everyone though.


Piano and strings are the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of classical music, but there's so much more out there! Have you ever heard harpsichord music? Seriously, Bach on piano is a travesty. biggrin.gif


I was born and raised on this stuff, but it wasn't until last year that I began to fully appreciate the power and beauty of classical music. I guess it takes more time for some people than for others. So be patient! And you don't even have to buy CDs from Amazon. If your town is anything like mine, your local library will have a zillion Classical CDs that you can check out and rip at your leisure.smily_headphones1.gif Stop by and give those a listen; it's a great place to start.

Edited by Thursday - 7/27/11 at 3:31pm
post #11 of 38

Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, played by Nigel Kennedy is one of the most famous classical albums. He plays with a passion that I find far more interesting than the usual art-gallery-like plainness with which it has often been regularly performed.


The Bach Violin Concertos played by Hilary Hahn are very good too.


Eiji Oue - Bolero! Orchestral Fireworks is a good, high-quality and very fun intro to some of the more dramatic classical works.


Thomas Talis Spem in Alium sung by Magnificat, which you can download in high-res from Linn Records, while not a violin work, is fantastic.  

post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys for all your help, I've really learned a lot from your recommendations and the research it lead me to.


To answer Thursday, just classical-type music in general. Like I said in the OP, I like the sound of what little I've heard, but I didn't have enough familiarity with the genre to even know where to start. I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan (I wish it was a home town, or an island, lol), so I can't just go to a library or used music store and start burning things, and the internet is so slow I can't download anything. This means that I'm going to have to make a financial investment in any music I buy, so I want to make sure something is good before I start spending $8-$20 per CD. Speaking of this, do any of you know of a good online used-CD site that has a decent selection of classical? The Amazon used CDs are nearly as expensive as the new ones.


To Sordel, I didn't know at first what you meant by Chamber vs Orchestra, but now that I looked up the difference I think your right. I think that chamber music, with a smaller group of performers and instruments, represents most of what I've liked so far from what little I've heard. However, I'd like to try a little of everything as long as it's good.


Thank all of you again for your time and assistance.

post #13 of 38
Pick up NPR's "Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music." It's a fine introduction to classical and recommends a lot of terrific recordings. Keep in mind that it just skims the surface of the genre, but is still a good jumping-off point. You might also want to browse archive.org for free (and legal) downloads. I know you have a slow connection, but remember the site for the future and I want people reading this thread to know.

Not to turn this into a gear thread, but consider picking up a SACD player. The Sony SCD-CE595 is cheap and good. There are lots of inexpensive used ones, too. There are over 5,000 classical recordings on SACD. SACD is practically a guarantee of a good to excellent recording, which is why I like them. Also, classical SACD tends to be priced fairly - the expensive ones tend to be jazz and rock. For an inexpensive intro to classical SACDs, look for the Living Stereo releases. I love the ones I have.
post #14 of 38

Do yourself a favor and purchase this cd




Robert Shaw's version of this is beyond words. It's even better on speakers. I'm a music major with 6tb of classical music and counting. I have never had anyone not like this, whether they listened to classical or not.

post #15 of 38
I've been immersed in quite a bit if classical music an performed alot too. To make some recommendations to you:

Eine kleine nacho musik (a little night music) - Mozart
Symphony no. 5&9- Beethoven
Nutcracker suites - Tchaikovsky
The 4 seasons - Vivaldi
Moonlight & pathetique sonatas For piano - Beethoven
The messiah - handel
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