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Recommend Classical Music

Recommend Classical Music
December 08, 2007, 10:45:31 AM

This is my first post here, so don't flame if this sort of thread is extremely common.

I'm fairly new to classical music and I'm not sure what to listen to.

By accident, I began listening to mostly Romantic-era composers and that seems to be the style I prefer. Tchaikovsky is my favorite right now from that era.

I like pieces that have atmosphere and feeling to them, pieces that tell a story or paint a picture. Usually, I like melancholic pieces, but I also enjoy loud, violent (for lack of better word) ones.

So recommend composers that are generally consistent with that style.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Recommend Classical Music
December 08, 2007, 11:00:09 AM
Try this thread.

Also, I recommend you get a book. I got the Eyewitness Companions guide to classical music almost a year ago and I still look at it all the time to find new composers. Mostly it helps you find composers that aren't very well known, and recommends particular compositions.


Re: Recommend Classical Music
December 08, 2007, 11:32:41 AM
Work your way through a few Beethoven symphony cycles. I suggest starting at Weingartner and Furtwängler, then move on to some stereo recordings: Klemperer, Szell, Kletzski, Kubelik, and Böhm's early 70s recordings (not in a boxed set, unfortunately). Klemperer's is probably my favorite, and has fine sound quality, to boot.

Yes, it's a shitload of music, but finding what performance suits you best is so, so important. More recommendations:

Ludwig van Beethoven / Yefim Bronfman - Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," Op. 73
Johann Sebastian Bach / Musica Antiqua Köln - The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080
Johann Sebastian Bach / András Schiff - The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
Robert Schumann / Wilhelm Kempff - Klavierwerke
Johannes Brahms / Claudio Abbado - The Symphonies

Work through all of the great German composers, trying multiple performances of each work; they are of the essence. For more Russian (or Soviet, at least) composers, try Igor Stravinsky's Pétrouchka, Firebird Suite and Rite of Spring, Sergei Prokofiev's violin & piano concertos, and Alexander Scriabin's symphonies + later piano sonatas.

One modern recommendation: Olivier Messiaen's Complete Organ Works, recorded by Olivier Latry, on the amazing Cavaille-coll organ in Notre Dame.

EDIT: Regarding Pétrouchka: just get Maurizio Pollini's 1995 CD re-release from Deustche Grammophon, with pieces by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Webern and Boulez, which includes three movements from Pétrouchka. It is widely regarded as a classic and one of the best packages of 20th century piano music, period.

Re: Recommend Classical Music
December 08, 2007, 06:54:26 PM
Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sheherezade" is completely essential, according to your tastes.