Thursday, December 10, 2009

Classical Music Recommendations?

Until recently i have never been interested in classical music or opera. However in my old age (26) i am growing more attracted to it. Can anyone recommend a good CD to start me off. I really love opera sung by women and generally speaking i like the kind of classical that you might hear on an advert or while you're on hold on the telephone; the easy accessible stuff basically. Any advice gratefully received!

Classical Music Recommendations?theatre tickets

Judging from what you wrote you will probably like operas by Rossini (e.g. The Barber of Seville, Cindarella), Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni), and for intrumental music: Mozart's and Haydn's Symphonies, Vivaldi's concerti, Handel's Concerti grossi (as well as Water Music and Fireworks Music), but here is what I would do if I were you (if you really want to develop your taste for classical music):

- sign up to your local music library, preferably one with large classical CD section (e.g. in London: Barbican or Victoria Music Library, in Manchester: Central Library) - that will give you a chance to listen to different things and choose what you want to buy.

- buy yourself one of those "Good CD guides" (like the one published by Penguin) - that will help you to avoid some of those overvalued compilations which are pushed down the throats of the unsuspected public by the record companies. Having access to a music library will help you choose your recordings very carefully, and those that you buy will stay with you for the rest of your life. Buy yourself also a good concert guide, which would have some programme notes on the most popular pieces in the repertoire.

- listening to "bleeding chunks" on Classic FM is fine, as it helps you to "try before you buy", but if you decide to invest into a recording, why not buy the proper thing, a complete piece. An added bonus is usually a booklet with good background information about the pieces on the recording - something which is rare in compilations. Understanding does increase enjoyment.

- I would make my "discovery" journey through classical music in chronological order. The best starting point would probably be the end of 17th C (J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi) - the beginnings of proper orchestral music. Then move on to Haydn,Mozart Beethoven, then (sorry if miss anybody important) Schubert, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Berlioz, Chopin, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Johann Strauss (father and son), Dvorak, Puccini, Verdi, Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Rachmaninov, Richard Strauss, Elgar, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, Steve Reich, John Adams. This should give you a good overview of the major pieces in the repertoire.

- go to live concerts!!! but go prepared - have a listen to at least some of the pieces and read about them before you go - that'll make huge difference. The best information on concerts in Britain one can find in BBC Music Magazine.

When you approach this take your time, do not rush, and avoid cheap stuff. It is like learning about wines - you would not go for cheap plonk (if you did you would probably be better off sticking to Coke or Pepsi...:-)), and you would taste different bottles before buying a whole crate.

Get a decent HiFi and good speakers - you would not drink a good bottle of vintage Moet %26amp; Chandon from plastic cups, would you? As a hint - I use Teac Reference 300 mini-system with Tannoy speakers (Teac is just introducing the new model MkIII and it should cost below 700 GBP).


Greetings (from an orchestral conductor...:-))

Classical Music Recommendations?opera house opera theater

Leslie Garret might be just what you are looking for her lady in red CD is wonderful
I got into Classical music at a late age by listening to a compilation cd called The Classic Experience. It has 33 well know pieces %26amp; has 3 other cd's in the series (I have them all).
It depends what type of classical music you like and what kind of composers and the style aswell. Well personally I love piano classical music. I always go to the library down my street and borrow Balazs Szokolay's Romantic Piano Favourite CD's. It has pieces from the different musical periods. I'm not sure of the CD but I think Johann Sebastian Bach's concertos are good to listen to, but he is in the baroque era. If you are looking for something different I recommend 20th century music. I say Maurice Ravel is the best especially his 'Pour Piano et Orchestre.' It's mad!! .
Classical music is fantastic and I, too, discovered its joys late in life. Now, with over 1000 recordings, I am in a good position to answer you. Since you love opera sung by women, there is only one answer: buy recordings of Mozart's The marriage of Figaro and Bizet's Carmen. They are the two most popular operas and also have great parts for the ladies.------Vittorio Gui's recording on the Classics For Pleasure label of Figaro is cheap but remains a top choice. The ideal Carmen is more difficult to decide upon but you will be well served by Claudio Abbado's on the DG label. Ask your music shop for these.------It is a good idea to buy whole works, and get to know them, rather than compilations full of snippets as they do not do justice to the glory that is classical music. This is especially true in opera as a compilation can never bring you the romance, story, drama and emotion that is opera.------Good luck with your new interest and my very best wishes, Philip.
Try 'Four last songs' by Richard Strauss. Beautiful female vocal, great lyrics, awesome orchestration. Moving and beautiful. Get the Gudula Janowitz version, called 'Vier letzte Lieder' on Deutsche Grammophon, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. AWESOME.
The opera LA TRAVIATA by Verdi is absolutely fabulous. Its music is unbelievably beautiful, and when I began an interest in classical music, this was the first opera I ever heard. It is still my favorite.

For instrumental or symphonic music, I'd recommend Mozart whose music is generally relaxing, and Beethoven.


Classic FM have a daily chart show that will give you some inspiration or check out their website. you might like one of Kiri Te Kanawa's early albums
Mozart Mozart Mozart, by all means.

Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is funny and is available in English.

Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) has some great music.

See if you can find a CD by Beverly Sills. She is an extremely talented artist and a comedienne as well.
Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy is my favourite

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