Any suggestions for a newcommer?

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AllanHall
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Any suggestions for a newcommer?

Post by AllanHall » Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:42 pm

Actually, I have been listening to a couple of classical pieces for many years, just not very often. Recently I have redone my home theater which now includes SACD and DVD-Audio so now I want to listen to more classical music. The problem here is I know the few pieces I have that I like, and no idea where to go for more of the same style.

Currently my favorites are Tchaikovsky's 1812 and Marche Slave (Telarc - Cincinnati Pops), Beethoven's 5th (Berlin) and the stage performance of Chess (the London symphony version, not the US version). I prefer something with some power to it, not something that will put me to sleep, something strong and aggressive. To put it in non-classical terms, I want something that leans more towards Metallica than Billy Joel :-)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Allan

Ken
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Post by Ken » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:31 pm

Strong and aggressive music, you say? You might like to browse through the orchestral works of Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovich, Bruckner, and the operatic music of Wagner.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

ginosec
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Post by ginosec » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:41 pm

I can't help you with specific recordings or DVD-A/SACD releases. But I would recommend you try Beethoven's other symphonies. You'll love nos 3 and 9.

Beethoven: Symphony No 9
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5
Dvorák: Symphony No. 9
Mahler: Symphony No 1
Stravinsky: Rite of Spring
Holst: The Planets

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Post by david johnson » Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:27 pm

Billy Joel scored Christie Brinkley ... you might reconsider :)

dj

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Post by Stonebraker » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:54 pm

keninottawa wrote:Strong and aggressive music, you say? You might like to browse through the orchestral works of Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovich, Bruckner, and the operatic music of Wagner.
I second the above post.
Paul Stonebraker - Promoting orchestral music since '06

AllanHall
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Post by AllanHall » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:02 pm

I listened to a few on Amazon, hard to get a feel with that terrible audio, but wound up ordering Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9 and Dvorák: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9 both on SACD, that should get me started :-)

Thanks for all the suggestions, and if you think of any more I would love to have them!

Allan

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Post by Ralph » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:18 pm

Welcome aboard! Hope you join us regularly.

Give Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony a try as well as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. And stick around for many more recommendations.
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Post by keaggy220 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:28 pm

Tchaikovsky's Fourth & Fifth Symphony - both are great, however I prefer the fourth...

Also you can find SACD classical music review at:

http://www.classicstoday.com/

Mahler
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Post by Mahler » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:06 am

AllanHall wrote:I prefer something with some power to it, not something that will put me to sleep, something strong and aggressive.
I recommend Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy's First Piano Concerto. There is a lot of fire to it, and the whole piece only takes about 20 minutes, which should serve as a good introduction into full-scale orchestra music.
"Auch das Schöne muss sterben."

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Post by Scafell » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:21 am

david johnson wrote:Billy Joel scored Christie Brinkley ... you might reconsider :)

dj
Yes but what an air-head - we can all do better than that.

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Re: Any suggestions for a newcommer?

Post by SONNET CLV » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:36 am

AllanHall wrote: Currently my favorites are Tchaikovsky's 1812 and Marche Slave (Telarc - Cincinnati Pops), Beethoven's 5th (Berlin) and the stage performance of Chess (the London symphony version, not the US version). I prefer something with some power to it, not something that will put me to sleep, something strong and aggressive.
Allan
Many of us started our interests in "classical" music from hearing (and liking) something by Tchaikowsky. For me it was "Capriccio Italian." I still love the piece, and it still conjures up for me that first moment when I heard it and said "Wow! I gotta get hold of more of this." Over the years I have. Way leads to way.

You've received some good suggestions so far. I would say, for now, stick to the big names and the big name pieces. There is a good reason why "war horses" are war horses. In the meantime, check out the few following works. I can't see a Tchaikowsky fan who would find fault with them. And way will lead to way.

Howard Hanson's Symphony No. 2 ("Romantic")
Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 1, and Essays for Orchestra
Erich Korngold's Symphony in F-sharp and Violin Concerto

--SONNET CLV (currently listening to a jazz album by Dr. Nathan Davis, the soprano/tenor sax genius from Pittsburgh -- Makatuka, a 1970 release from Segué on black vinyl. Glorious stuff!)

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Re: Any suggestions for a newcommer?

Post by RebLem » Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:00 pm

AllanHall wrote:Actually, I have been listening to a couple of classical pieces for many years, just not very often. Recently I have redone my home theater which now includes SACD and DVD-Audio so now I want to listen to more classical music. The problem here is I know the few pieces I have that I like, and no idea where to go for more of the same style.

Currently my favorites are Tchaikovsky's 1812 and Marche Slave (Telarc - Cincinnati Pops), Beethoven's 5th (Berlin) and the stage performance of Chess (the London symphony version, not the US version). I prefer something with some power to it, not something that will put me to sleep, something strong and aggressive. To put it in non-classical terms, I want something that leans more towards Metallica than Billy Joel :-)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Allan
Allan, welcome to our goofy little group.

First of all. the Berlin Phil has recorded the Beethoven 5th many times under many conductors. Which performance do you have? Lots of people will recommend the Carlos Keliber recording coupled with the 7th, but, for me, that is a bit too frenetic to have a lot of staying power. Try Reiner, CSO, one of my favorites.

But, Allan, classical music has many delights beyond the bombastic, testosterone-releasing kinds of pieces you seem to be suggesting, although the Beethoven 5th is much more than that. One of the delights of a modern sound system for me is that it produces absolute silence so well. For someone reared in the age of stylus on vinyl, that was really a wonderful discovery, and among my early favorites after I got my first CD player were very quiet records of dulcimer music and some music for the virginal from Cromwellian England.

But I can think of one place where you can get a bit of both--the quiet and contemplative, and, well, even depressing and brooding, plus lots of bombast. I think if you get the Barshai set of the Shostakovich symphonies, you will learn to appreciate both.
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Post by knotslip » Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:14 pm

Allan-

Welcome to the forum...I too, am new to classical - And I can tell you that I have gained a considerable amount of recommendations and suggestions from this forum. I'm sure you will find it well worth the visits.

I came to classical from a heavy metal background and also tend to enjoy classical with some punch. Here are some recommendations based on what I have heard and liked so far.

Dvorak - Symphonies - I like most of them (He wrote 9)
Holst - The Planets - You will love the Jupiter movement
Most of Beethoven's symphonies
Aaron Copeland - Nice meoldies and some heavy percussion throughout - Rodeo especially
More Tchaikovsky as others have mentioned
Rachmaninov - Piano Concertos
Sibelius - Most
Prokofiev - Most - Lieutinent Kije Suite, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, his Symphonies
Mozart - Eine Kleini Nachtmusik
And Vivaldi - The Four Seasons - I'm sure I'm forgetting some but this gives you a start :-)

As you can see, I've expanded my classical music horizons a great deal in the short time I've been listening and I owe much of it to the group of folks here. Enjoy! And let us know what you get and what you like or dislike.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:13 am

Welcome to the site, Allan. Kich your shoes off and set a spell. Post early and often.
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hangos
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Post by hangos » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:24 am

Hi Allan,
You could try Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (don't be fooled by the first couple of minutes - after that things start jumping - I certainly did the first time I heard it!) His Petrushka is also "punchy".
Moving on in time from those two pieces, Shostakovich's 4th Symphony packs a massive punch, as does Bartok's Miraculous Mandarin ; these two pieces are very easy to "get lost in", but very rewarding.
Nielsen's 4th Symphony is very loud, powerful and invigorating too!
Good hunting!
Martin

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Re: Any suggestions for a newcommer?

Post by diegobueno » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:25 am

AllanHall wrote: I prefer something with some power to it, not something that will put me to sleep, something strong and aggressive.
Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring. (often referred to by its French title Le sacre du printemps).

If it's major league @ss kicking you want, look no farther.

Carl Ruggles: Sun Treader.

Stand up and take it like a man!

James

Post by James » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:48 am

Definitely Le sacre du printemps...

Gyorgy Ligeti's 13th Etude "The Devil's Staircase"
here is a nifty YouTube vid of it..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZTaiDHqs5s

Bartok's Piano Concertos 1 & 2 (these should beat you into submission)
& his Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta (eerie piece)

Penderecki's Threnody (visceral & intense)

Allegro non troppo - 3rd Movement of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8

Xenakis's Kotto (like fighting a "300 armed giant" :) )

Messiaen's Turangalila Symphonie

Nancarrow's Canon X (humanly impossible ultra-rapid acceleration)

Zappa's Put A Motor in Yourself (driving piece)

Paganinni's 24 Caprices (lots of pyro found in these)

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Post by Wallingford » Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:39 pm

Well--unless I'm mistaken--it seems Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra hasn't been mentioned yet. Just cuz it's a warhorse? Hey, like another poster said, there're reasons warhorses exist. The work's probably numero uno on my own list of faves, and it's been given the cold shoulder in a fair number of quarters--including those of the Bartokian persuasion.

It's got power, juice & orchestral genius to burn.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
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some guy
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Post by some guy » Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:10 pm

I couldn't agree more. Some warhorses ARE masterpieces, too, after all--meaning that they are works that can be listened to over and over again with undiminished delight.

Certainly Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra is one of those.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
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Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
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Post by Sapphire » Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:45 pm

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 7, Piano Concerto No 5, Violin Concerto

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter", Symphony No 39, Requiem, Piano Concerto No. 20

Schubert: Piano Quintet "The Trout", Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished"

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique", Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Fingals Cave Overture

Dvorak: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 9 "From The New World"

Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Piano Concerto No. 2

Schumann: Piano Concerto

Holst: The Planets

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Stravinsky: Rite Of Spring

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

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Post by Chalkperson » Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:49 pm

Hey Alan, welcome to our fast expanding Virtual Village, please keep posting, here is another link for you, it is from The Absolute Sound, a serious Audio Mag here in the US, many of the Warhorses people are mentioning are on this list, as are other SACD's of exceptional quality...


http://www.avguide.com/film-music/music ... cd.new.php

moldyoldie
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Post by moldyoldie » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:13 pm

Let me add a coupla' wall & window shakers:

Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 "Organ"

Jongens: Symphonie Concertante for Organ and Orchestra


Of course, no collection is complete without a collection of Wagner preludes and overtures:

Prelude to Act III from Lohengrin

Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre

absinthe
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Post by absinthe » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:06 pm

Ok, I'll add:

Carmina Burana (by Carl Orff). Don't worry, it isn't all like the opening of O Fortuna that's been done to death on TV for anything baleful. .Bl**dy exciting for the most part though - loads of percussion.
As to a good recording....I got stuck on Ormandy's 1960 recording - the sound shows its age (just slightly) and other members may be able to recommend a more recent, glittery recording. Ormandy had it sussed though - an excellent performance.

Also second or third The Rite of Spring (Stravinsky). You won't go to sleep with that.

....Or if you do then..... no hope! :D

If you get on with those, try Sensemaya by Silvestre Revueltas (Bernstein's recording, which has some other good stuff on it too). Sensemaya is a ritual dance based on a relentltess 7-beats-to-the-bar rhythm.

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Post by slofstra » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:14 pm

Sapphire wrote:Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 7, Piano Concerto No 5, Violin Concerto

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter", Symphony No 39, Requiem, Piano Concerto No. 20

Schubert: Piano Quintet "The Trout", Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished"

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique", Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Fingals Cave Overture

Dvorak: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 9 "From The New World"

Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Piano Concerto No. 2

Schumann: Piano Concerto

Holst: The Planets

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Stravinsky: Rite Of Spring

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
Okay, sapph, you've got the best overall list no question, many very good individual suggestions notwithstanding. In fact, every classical listener should have everything on this list except Scheherazade. But, I ask you, the "Trout"? Important? Yes. But "excuse me while I put on the Trout and crank the gain to 11, and we'll blast away our heebie-jeebies". I don't think so.

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Post by Chalkperson » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:20 pm

slofstra wrote:
Sapphire wrote:Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 7, Piano Concerto No 5, Violin Concerto

Mozart: Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter", Symphony No 39, Requiem, Piano Concerto No. 20

Schubert: Piano Quintet "The Trout", Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished"

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique", Piano Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto, Fingals Cave Overture

Dvorak: Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 9 "From The New World"

Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Piano Concerto No. 2

Schumann: Piano Concerto

Holst: The Planets

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Stravinsky: Rite Of Spring

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
Okay, sapph, you've got the best overall list no question, many very good individual suggestions notwithstanding. In fact, every classical listener should have everything on this list except Scheherazade. But, I ask you, the "Trout"? Important? Yes. But "excuse me while I put on the Trout and crank the gain to 11, and we'll blast away our heebie-jeebies". I don't think so.
It's after Mozart's Requiem and before Schubert's Unfinished, everyone puts a slow track on here and there you know... :wink:

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Post by Wallingford » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:07 am

If you're looking for just one CD that'll do the job in the area concerned here, look no further than EARQUAKE, done by Leif Segerstam & the Helsinki Phil. (on the ONDINE label, ODE 894-2)

THERE's where you'll find the "blast 'em" stuff in abundance.

Buying a new copy, you'll even get a free pair of earplugs.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
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Lanesfield
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Fives

Post by Lanesfield » Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:55 am

For a newcomer why not play the 'Fives'
Sibelius Symphony 5
Tchaikovsky 5
Beethoven 5
Mahler 5
Mendelssohn 5
Shostakovich 5
Schubert 5
Dvorak 5

Lanesfield

AllanHall
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Post by AllanHall » Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:48 pm

Well after spending some time with the two SACDs I bought I thought I would let you all know what I though, thereby improving the accuracy of the suggestions I get :-)

Dvorak's 8th and 9th. Where has this been my whole life? The 9th is awesome! The copy I got was conducted by Ivan Fischer with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Are any other of Dvorak's works this full of energy?

Shostakovich's 5th and 9th. The way I explained this music to my wife was it was like you took a great piece of music, covered up the page numbers, shuffled them up real well, then had the orchestra play them in the new sequence. I felt like I was hooked up to an electrical cord and someone kept flipping the switch at random intervals. Supposedly he was influenced by Tchaikovsky? I can't help but think Tchaikovsky would have rather shot him than listen to his music.

Now that I have finished my new home entertainment center I have about six more SACDs coming of various artists, hoping for another jewel like the Dvorak I have to be among them. Thanks for all the suggestions and by all means keep them coming!

Allan

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Post by some guy » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:33 pm

AllanHall wrote:Shostakovich's 5th and 9th. The way I explained this music to my wife was it was like you took a great piece of music, covered up the page numbers, shuffled them up real well, then had the orchestra play them in the new sequence. I felt like I was hooked up to an electrical cord and someone kept flipping the switch at random intervals.
Allan, my advice is to hang on to these. Their beauties (and total lack of randomness) will become apparent to you by and by.

New music bashers generally, note this comment of Allan's. You all know how logical and traditional Shostakovich's music really is, right? But even that can seem random and illogical to a certain kind of listener, apparently, just as Ligeti and Carter, et. al., can seem random and illogical to you.

I hasten to add that randomness and illogic are not bad things!

Anyway, Allan, do keep posting here for sure. Reading about people discovering great music never gets old.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

AllanHall
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Post by AllanHall » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:22 am

Well I sincerely hope you did not take my comments as bashing, I really did not mean them like that. I will be the first to admit I know nothing :-) I did however buy a copy of "Classical Music for Dummies" so soon I may half way knowing what I am talking about :roll:

Allan

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Post by some guy » Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:05 pm

I did not.

I was just reminded of some bashing that's gone on elsewhere, that's all.

There's a lot of great stuff out there--be very wary of advice to avoid this or that!

(Oh, OK. You can be wary of advice to try this or that, too. Just not AS wary, that's my point.

And I don't think you ever need to worry about knowing stuff. None of us started out knowing anything, and many of us just blundered along all on our own. When I first started listening to classical music, around second grade, I felt I was the only person in the world who listened to it. I was certainly the only one in MY world who did.)
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Post by diegobueno » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:32 pm

AllanHall wrote: Shostakovich's 5th and 9th. The way I explained this music to my wife was it was like you took a great piece of music, covered up the page numbers, shuffled them up real well, then had the orchestra play them in the new sequence.
Allan
Listen to them a few more times and you'll realize that the pages were out of order before he got to them and put them where they should have been all along.

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Post by karlhenning » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:50 pm

some guy wrote:New music bashers generally, note this comment of Allan's. You all know how logical and traditional Shostakovich's music really is, right? But even that can seem random and illogical to a certain kind of listener, apparently, just as Ligeti and Carter, et. al., can seem random and illogical to you.
And over on GMG, I was just now posting to the effect that 'structure' is actually a more flexible notion in music than in such disciplines as (say) architecture. Even the example of any historical survey of style must serve as an obvious example that the 'terms' of musical 'logic' vary, and the music must be taken on its own terms. And I have an idea that it was here on CMG that I was shocked to read someone suggest that the Rakhmaninov piano concerti were . . . I forget the exact phrasing, something like formless.
some guy wrote:I hasten to add that randomness and illogic are not bad things!
Well, and a lot of music whose logic is plain to the meanest intelligence, starts getting dull even before the second listening.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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Post by RebLem » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:26 pm

You mentioned Classical Music for Dummies.

Two books I heartily recommend:

!. What to listen for in music by Aaron Copland. The best music appreciation primer around, and available for about a buck in a well stocked used bookstore.

2. The All Music Guide to Classical Music by numerous writers. This is a large paperback; my copy of the 2005 edition is 1,607 pages long and was priced at $34.95 USD. It is revised regularly; I recommend getting a new one about every 5 years. Its wonderful. They have brief bios of most important composers, both the who, what, when, where stuff and interpretive information about how they fit into the whole scheme of things. Then essays on each of what they consider said composer's major works, and their judgment in these matters, while not flawless, is pretty good. Then, a list of recommended recordings for each one, also pretty good, though not flawless. At least, I find myself tearing my hear out and yelling, "Why the hell did they recommend that record?" a lot less than with other books which recommend specific recordings.

For the Dvorak 9th, for example, they recommend the Kubelik/BPO set of all nine, and individual recordings by Ashkenazy, Szell, Davis, and Kertesz. Actually, I haven't heard the Ashkenazy or the Davis, but the others are excellent. I do wish they had added three more, though--Ancerl, Giulini/CSO, and my all time favorite, the Zdenek Macal/London Phil recording on the budget Classics for Pleasure label. But, fact is, this AMG list is pretty good, so good that I am putting those Ashkenazy and Davis CDs on my want list today.

In addition to composers, they have articles on specific orchestras and chamber ensembles, conductors, and various soloists.

One thing that people find some difficulty with when starting out is finding out something about the vocabulary of whatever discipline it is. One resource which I find very valuable is a free on-line music dictionary at Virginia Tech. http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/

The have definitions for thousands of musical terms. One other thing they have that I think is unique (at least, I haven't come across it anywhere else) is that they have an audio pronunciation guide for every word in the dictionary. You click on a button near the word, and you hear a knowledgeable person actually pronounce the word for you. Unfortunately, they don't have the names of any composers or performers or ensemble names, just generic musical terms, but it is a very valuable resource.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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