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#1018733 - 12/08/08 03:51 PM Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Nov 2008
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FishWagon Offline
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FishWagon  Offline
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Dacula, GA
Hello all,

I love classical music, but never to the point where I could recognize it.

I guess what I mean, is that when I hear it, it's beautiful, but I never purchased any CD's went out of my way to hear it.

Well, I would like to enter this world of music, and if anyone can recommend any CD's to purchase to introduce me to this genre of music, I would greatly appreciate it.


Have a great day everyone,

Rich
Roland FP-7

Father, thank you, for letting me fly this flight, for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.

- Gordon Cooper, orbiting earth, 22May1963
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#1018734 - 12/08/08 04:25 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Nov 2006
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BB Player Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
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Not in Texas
Rich,

As you've no doubt discovered, part of what makes "classical music" difficult to get started in is its vastness. This also makes it hard to make a recommendation.

Narrow the field a little bit. What kind of music do you like:
  • orchestral (symphonies)
  • solo instruments (piano, violin, cello, etc)
  • orchestral with a soloist (concertos)
  • chamber music (trios, quartets, quintets, etc)
  • vocal (opera)
  • etc


and also, what period? No big deal if you don't know the terms (classical, baroque, romantic, etc) but of the pieces you liked roughly when were they composed?

As I say, the amount of material is pretty vast so a little narrowing down would be helpful to me (and others) in providing a recommendation.

And in an attempt not to completely answer a question with a question laugh here are a few choices:

  • Symphonies by Beethoven, Sibelius, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn.
  • Piano concertos by Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Mozart
  • Solo piano music (nocturnes, scherzos, etc) by Chopin.


Note that this is in no way exhaustive, complete or even representative of any particular composer, period or style. Just a few to choose from and it's hard to go wrong with any of them.


Greg
#1018735 - 12/08/08 04:32 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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#1018736 - 12/08/08 04:36 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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One other suggestion. Assuming you have access to classical music either over the radio or the internet, just listen and when a piece catches your ear write it and the name of the composer down. Make a list. After a while, you'll see patterns emerge e.g., you tend to like pieces with a soloist, you like Bach, you like piano music by Scriabin, etc. This will help guide your purchases more than an arbitrary list by me or anyone else since it will be music that you like.

Part of the great joy of listening to and collecting classical music is that it is such a voyage of discovery. You buy a CD to get Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and it also has "The Seasons" and you discover you like Tchaikovsky's solo piano music and off you go....


Greg
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#1018737 - 12/08/08 04:42 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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FishWagon Offline
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FishWagon  Offline
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Dacula, GA
Understood Greg, I guess that was pretty idiotic of me...

While I like the classical symphonies, and have enjoyed going to the orchestra, I really enjoy when the "background music" stops and it then focus's on one instrumetn. The instruments I enjoy more than others are piano and violin. What I am really trying to get into is piano focus'd music in order to learn to appreciate this instrument that I'm trying to learn to the best of my ability.

So I guess I can narrow the question down to what classical CD's can anyone recommend that are piano-centric??


Have a great day everyone,

Rich
Roland FP-7

Father, thank you, for letting me fly this flight, for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.

- Gordon Cooper, orbiting earth, 22May1963
#1018738 - 12/08/08 05:23 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Jun 2006
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gmm1 Offline
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Spokane WA
Hey FishWagon...

Greg has given some good advice. The website offered up by Furtwangler is a great place to build a basic understanding of the history.

I would recommend Bach on solo instruments (piano, harpsicord, guitar). It was easier for me to "hear"the beauty of it from a solo performance. Here's a couple of my favorites to get you started:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlAic9aPoqs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZn_VBgkPNY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F1tgImEymU

(Notice I kinda like Bach???)

Anyway, you tube is a great place to start looking. Notice that on each of the videos it lists many more. Do a search for Solo performances and have fun. Write down what you like and don't like (yet - as you listen you will find your tastes grow and some you don't like now will become your favorites).

I'm excited for ya.....

EDIT - could not resist - here's a few more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1i_2HYmJkA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mVW8tgGY_w&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASqTgJExCtw&feature=related


"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro
#1018739 - 12/08/08 06:13 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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Coolkid70 Offline
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Irvine, CA
It might not be a bad idea to go out and purchase one of those "Top 100 Classical Works" collections - if you can find one cheaply - even though I personally find the concept such a collection to be ridiculous (that is, you can't classify what is the "top hundred" or whatever number you want). They always put music in there of different types and eras. You would be able to build a base and expand from there.

I also suggest that you look into Wikipedia when you find that you are interested in a particular work or composer. It really does help to understand the motivation behind a composer's style.

Good luck!


Kawai K-3 (2008)
#1018740 - 12/08/08 07:46 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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jazzyprof Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by gmm1:

EDIT - could not resist - here's a few more:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASqTgJExCtw&feature=related
FishWagon, the last video recommended by gmm1 is a great compilation of piano music excerpts. I bet you'll find something there to your liking! If you find excerpts that you like, you might want to buy those from iTunes where you can listen to different versions by various artists before you download.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
#1018741 - 12/08/08 10:49 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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MarkL Offline
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Our library has more classical CDs than you could listen to in a lifetime (music too, by the way). Looks like you're in the Atlanta 'burbs, I'd think you could get them through interlibrary loan even if your local library is small.


Yamaha P90
#1018742 - 12/09/08 07:10 AM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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Posts: 38
FishWagon Offline
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FishWagon  Offline
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Posts: 38
Dacula, GA
Thanks a lot everyone, I appreciate all the feedback.

Now I have to figure out what to tell my children when we are driving in my truck why we are listening to Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Bethoven, et all, versus Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones... hahahaha

I can just hear it now "Daddy, what is THIS??"


Have a great day everyone,

Rich
Roland FP-7

Father, thank you, for letting me fly this flight, for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.

- Gordon Cooper, orbiting earth, 22May1963
#1018743 - 12/09/08 01:43 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 298
Ken. Offline
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I'm not a big classical fan but wanted to hear a basic repertoire so I got "The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection: The 350 Essential Works" by Ted Libbey, from the library and borrowed CD's recommended in the book from the library as well.

I also went to classical.net where their basic repertoire is more extensive and got some more Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart who are supposed to be three of the greatest composers.


Monk - Boo Boo's Birthday
Bach - Two Part Invention No.11
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#1018744 - 12/10/08 02:07 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 12
JoseHeno Offline
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Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 12
Santa Fe, New Mexico
A few thoughts:

Most classical music was not composed with the recording industry in mind, so in my opinion the best introduction to this type of music is by going to concerts. Not only is the experience more intense, but by going to concerts you can get a good sampling of a variety of a lot of music that you would never really think to listen to.

One fact of the matter is that classical music simply requires more focus to appreciate than more modern types. I'm not saying it's hellaciously difficult. It would just be good to keep in mind that it's going to take a little bit of effort to really get the full experience out of more complex music.

Another tip: once you've gotten familiar with a few of the more popular pieces, it's actually a wonderful experience to get a score, plunk down somewhere, put on headphones, and follow along. You only need minimal music-reading skills. The point is not to comprehend everything in front of you, but just to have something to focus on while listening. I think it can really broaden your understanding and open up new channels for experiencing music in different ways.

Final thought: as far as pieces to recommend, I find that people who are just beginning to appreciate classical music tend to connect most quickly with either the earlier stuff, Baroque or even Late Renaissance era, and then the kind of neo-primitive 20th century stuff. The Classical and Romantic Periods in between tend to look either too dense or kind of pale unless you have a lot of listening experience behind you. But everyone is different.

Some early music: Palestrina, Monteverdi (not to be confused with Verdi- who I don't recommend), Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Tartini

Some 20th century choices: Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Orff, Barber, Respighi

Good luck, FishWagon. Enjoy the ride.

#1018745 - 12/13/08 02:57 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 36
Daniel J Offline
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Daniel J  Offline
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Vermont
Yes! I couldn't agree more with the above suggestion to experence the classical repertory live. Just this past Saturday I went to a faculty concert given by the folks who teach at the school where I go for lessons. (My teacher played some beautiful Beetoven.) There was Corelli and more. What a great evening. This music is meant to be heard live.
Daniel
Oh yeah...anything by Bach

#1018746 - 12/15/08 12:20 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Sep 2008
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Kymber Offline
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Kymber  Offline
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MA
I really like Chopin. especially the etudes op25
This is a good cd http://www.amazon.com/Chopin-Piano-...p;s=music&qid=1229361520&sr=8-11


“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee
#1018747 - 12/15/08 01:21 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
signa Offline
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signa  Offline
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Ohio, USA
if you like piano and violin, i would recomemd listening to some violin(piano) sonatas from Beethoveen, such as his 'Spring' sonata which you might recognize hearing before. you can check CD such as this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-The...p;s=music&qid=1229365161&sr=8-25

there're also violin sonatas from Mozart, Brahms and some others you can take a listen.

also, Beethoveen has some great cell/piano sonatas you can listen to, such as on this CD:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Com...mp;s=music&qid=1229365388&sr=1-2

#1018748 - 12/15/08 04:12 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Nov 2008
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FishWagon Offline
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FishWagon  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 38
Dacula, GA
Thanks alot everyone, I really appreciate the feedback.


Have a great day everyone,

Rich
Roland FP-7

Father, thank you, for letting me fly this flight, for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.

- Gordon Cooper, orbiting earth, 22May1963
#1018749 - 12/15/08 09:21 PM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 204
Otis S Offline
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Otis S  Offline
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Rich:

Here are some specific recommendations that I have for classical pieces which feature the piano. For every single one of them, you can find multiple recordings on YouTube encompassing a wide range of interpretations. Note that many of these works consist of multiple movements. Each movement may be in a different YouTube video.


Beethoven: All of the 32 piano sonatas and 5 piano concerti. Particularly accessible sonatas are
#8 in C Minor, op. 13 (Pathetique)
#14 in C sharp minor, op 27 no 2 (Moonlight)
#17 in D minor, op 31 no 2 (Tempest)
# 21 in C Major, op. 53 (Waldstein)
#23 in F Minor, op 57 (Appassionata)
#26 in E Flat major, op. 81a (Les Adieux)

If I had to pick 2 of the Beethoven piano concerti, I would choose numbers 4 and 5.

Mozart: piano concerto #9 and 14-27 are all great works. For contrasting works in major and minor keys, here are 4 choices
#17 in G major, k. 453
#20 in D Minor, K. 466
#23 in A Major, K. 488
#24 in C Minor, K. 491

For piano sonatas by Mozart, try
Piano sonata in A Minor, K. 310
Piano sonata in A Major, K. 331
Piano sonata in D Major, K. 576

Chopin wrote some of the greatest solo piano music. Some works of particular interest are:
4 ballades
Barcarolle
Piano sonata #2
Piano sonata #3
Etudes, op. 10

There are also many other great works of Chopin among his nocturnes, scherzi, waltzes, preludes, mazurkas, and other works.

Schubert
Impromptus, op. 90
Wanderer Fantasie

Liszt wrote many virtuoso works for the piano and was the greatest pianist of his day. One of his greatest works is the
Sonata in B Minor

Schumann piano concerto in A minor

Brahms Piano Concerto #1
Brahms Piano Concerto #2

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2

#1018750 - 12/23/08 10:01 AM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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FishWagon Offline
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FishWagon  Offline
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Dacula, GA
Otis, that was a lot of help, thank you for the post!!


Have a great day everyone,

Rich
Roland FP-7

Father, thank you, for letting me fly this flight, for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.

- Gordon Cooper, orbiting earth, 22May1963
#1018751 - 12/23/08 10:04 AM Re: Introduction to Classical Music  
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ll Offline
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ll  Offline
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-RIlD0l9xs&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlvUepMa31o

I listen to these songs 20 times in a row at least 3 or 4 times a day.

Otis named most of the other pieces I would start with...


II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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