Help!

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

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Lyndsay26
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Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:35 pm

Help!

Post by Lyndsay26 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:01 am

Hi all at The Classical Music Guide!

I'm new to this forum so I thought I would introduce myself a little. My name is Lyndsay and I am interested in the Arts and more recently classical music. When I was looking for groups on the Arts I came across this group and although I only know a little on this subject, I'm interested in learning more. Can anyone help me? If you could suggest any useful links/recommend your favourite composers/pieces that would be great. Thanks!

jbuck919
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Re: Help!

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:18 am

Lyndsay26 wrote:Hi all at The Classical Music Guide!

I'm new to this forum so I thought I would introduce myself a little. My name is Lyndsay and I am interested in the Arts and more recently classical music. When I was looking for groups on the Arts I came across this group and although I only know a little on this subject, I'm interested in learning more. Can anyone help me? If you could suggest any useful links/recommend your favourite composers/pieces that would be great. Thanks!
Welcome to the Classical Music Guide! There is a (very optional) "Introducing Yourself" thread near the top of this board if you'd like to tell us more about yourself, though it is fine if you just post throughout the board as you like.

In the past I have advised beginners to check out classical CDs more or less at random from their local library, and I still happen to think that's a good idea, though the last time I suggested it someone else said that library CDs tend to be too beat-up to be useful. I guess it depends on where you live. It can be a good way to identify what you like without going to the expense of making a lot of purchases to begin with. My advice is colored by the fact that I made extensive use of an LP library when I was first learning about classical music. Live performances (again depends on where you live) are also highly to be recommended.

Other members will soon chime in with their suggestions. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

There's 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

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Help!

Post by maestrob » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:47 am

Hi, Lyndsay26!

Welcome to CMG!

As for ways to find out about music, well, we have threads here with reviews about new CDs, of course, but I would recommend just what jbuck said: check out your local library and try some CDs. Once you've got some ideas of what you;d like to own, search Amazon.com for compositions you like and read reviews there, or subscribe to the Penguin Guide, which has a listing of currently available CDs with reviews.

I've also been highly impressed with the reviews in BBC Magazine for new titles.

For other ideas, keep reading our posts, and you'll have plenty of suggestions to go buy. :wink:

HoustonDavid
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Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Re: Help!

Post by HoustonDavid » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:53 am

Hi Lyndsay and welcome to CMG:

When I started getting serious (again) about classical music, I started listening to the
local radio station specializing in CM and making note of pieces that really turned me on
(so to speak). I'd actually write them down when the announcer told us what was playing.
After a while, my list got pretty long, so I began looking up the composer (or the musician)
and understanding from my research what categories of music they fell into and what era
of music they represented.

After a little while, I started challenging myself to identify what era/composer/piece the music
was from and thereby added new composers and pieces to my growing knowledge of classical
music. It takes a while and a little bit of study, but it sure worked for me. I still do it - try and
guess what piece and composer I'm listening to) unless I happen to happily remember and can
just sit back and enjoy.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

josé echenique
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: Help!

Post by josé echenique » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:55 am

Hi,

Welcome to the Forum. It´s a great place with the finest gang of music lovers in the Web.
First of all, you have to be patient, learning about Mozart, Bach, Handel, etc., takes time, and I mean: a lot of time, but it´s certainly worth it.
I hope we can help you form your own musical likes and dislikes, but remember they have to be your own.
Enjoy the ride, but fasten your seatbelt, there will be some bumps on the way.

Pepe.

piston
Posts: 10767
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:50 am

Re: Help!

Post by piston » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:46 pm

Classical music is a Garden of Eden with a cornucopia of delicious fruits, wholesome vegetables, and gorgeous flowers. Question is, which one will you like the most! You've got to taste and smell a good many of them before knowing what you prefer.

One risk in relying too much on people's opinions here, at CMG, is that some of the works we marvelled at twenty or thirty years ago have not aged as well as others. For instance, several members have stated that they've heard Ravel's Bolero or Dukas's Sorcerer's Apprentice too often and don't want to hear it anymore. But let us not forget that there was a time when they did enjoy such works very much. Each one her/his turn in life.

Welcome to CMG!
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Heck148
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Location: New England

Re: Help!

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:59 pm

Lyndsay26 wrote:Hi all at The Classical Music Guide!

I'm new to this forum so I thought I would introduce myself a little. My name is Lyndsay and I am interested in the Arts and more recently classical music.
Hi, Lyndsay - welcome aboard!! :)

I think if you just dive in, search the thread titles a bit, and tune into the discussions you'll get some good leads very quickly -
we have a broad spectrum of music lovers here - from newcomers to life-long afficiondos - musical professionals - performers, composers, teachers, etc - to very experienced and knowledgeable listeners, to amateurs of every level who simply love music.

there is so much great music you can scarely go wrong. if you try something, and don't particularly respond, try something else, and revisit later...great music is like any great art - some is immediately appealing, some reveals the riches more gradually, after more intense investigation...that's the fun part!! :D

stenka razin
CMG's Chief Decorator
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Location: In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Re: Help!

Post by stenka razin » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:59 pm

Hiya Lyndsay,

Welcome to the friendliest and best Classical Music Forum anywhere on the internet. You will love it here and you will be inspired by our fellow CMGers to listen to even more great music. 8)
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THEHORN
Posts: 2624
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Re: Help!

Post by THEHORN » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:56 pm

Welcome to to CMG! You couldn't have joined a better classical music forum. It's wonderful to know that there are still people who want to make classical music a part of their lives! You'll never regret doing this.
Classical music is a movable feast with an incredible variety of mouth-watering dishes to savor. People who are unfamiliar with it don't know what they're missing!
Please try my classical music blog The Horn at the website blogiversity.org, a site with blogs on a wide variety of topics and any one can sign up to do a blog on virtually anything. I cover classical music for the site and muy blog is geared toward people who are new to this kind of music. I try to explain all about classical music for newbies , and I cover just about any aspect of this kind of music;orchestral music,chamber music ,opera, choral works, music history, current events in the field,
great composers and their works, great conductors,instrumentalists and singers etc,and even classical music jokes.
Just go to blogiversity.org and click on my blog The Horn on the home page. You might start back on some of my earlier posts.







:D :D :D :D

Prometheus
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Re: Help!

Post by Prometheus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:41 am

Hello, Lyndsay26 and welcome to cmg! :D

In addition to the library, I would also suggest looking through used cd stores or listening to pieces on youtube as a way of sampling a variety of music.

When I was new to classical music I found this web site to be informative.

http://digitaldreamdoor.nutsie.com/page ... c-wks.html

I would not use it as a ranking method, but rather as a guide of what is out there and to get an understanding of the amount of composers, pieces, and forms of music.

Fergus
Posts: 4197
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Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Help!

Post by Fergus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:01 pm

HoustonDavid wrote:Hi Lyndsay and welcome to CMG:

When I started getting serious (again) about classical music, I started listening to the
local radio station specializing in CM and making note of pieces that really turned me on
(so to speak). I'd actually write them down when the announcer told us what was playing.
After a while, my list got pretty long, so I began looking up the composer (or the musician)
and understanding from my research what categories of music they fell into and what era
of music they represented.

After a little while, I started challenging myself to identify what era/composer/piece the music
was from and thereby added new composers and pieces to my growing knowledge of classical
music. It takes a while and a little bit of study, but it sure worked for me. I still do it - try and
guess what piece and composer I'm listening to) unless I happen to happily remember and can
just sit back and enjoy.
I would also be an advocate of the method detailed above by David. It is the way that I started out many years ago and it can be easily done at home, in the car, on public transport....all you need is a portable radio. A good commentator on the music can also be very helpful as they can provide useful insights as well.
Best of luck on your journey and welcome to CMG :D

StephenSutton
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 5:49 pm

Re: Help!

Post by StephenSutton » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:19 pm

Someone mentioned BBC Music Magazine: as a general publication for info on composers, events, and general articles, which you;d find helpful, it is fine, but for CD reviews not the best by any means (Speaking as a record company) - they have much less space than other mags, and thus can be very selective; for in depth reviews and artciles (but with fewer 'background' articles, you should subscribe to Gramophone or International Record Review (UK publications also distributed in the USA) or Fanfare and American Record Guide, both US. The former, however can be a bit daunting in its approach even to seasoaned readers - reviews can be (not laways) long, very scholarly or pretentious.....
rather than do that I suggest at first browsing MusicWeb, probably the best review website (http://www.musicweb-international.com) - you can arrange to have each week's reviews emailed to you too.

Naturally I hope you investigate some of our recordings too, and as well as following advice on 'introductory' music, try some experimentation and 'pot luck' too - there's a mass of really fantastic but generally lesser known music out there, that's how I developed my love for music.

And welcome to the club!
Stephen Sutton
Divine Art Recordings Group

RichardMitnick
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Contact:

Re: Help!

Post by RichardMitnick » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:08 pm

Welcome.

I am not new to Classical music; but here are suggestions based upon my own searchings.

Read the book The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross. This book, by the current Dean of American critics starts at the beginning of the twentieth century and comes up to pretty recent times.
Image

Visit the web site http://musicmavericks.publicradio.org/programs/ and listen to the thirteen programs. The series, American Mavericks, by Minnesota Public Radio and curated by Michael Tilson Thomas deals by necessity with much more than our home grown mavericks.

Visit also from the same series http://musicmavericks.publicradio.org/features/, read the essays by Kyle Gann and the interviews. Again from the series visit
http://musicmavericks.publicradio.org/listening/ and listen to the interviews listed there.

You will learn a lot from all of this. Sometimes a composer will leap out at you and you will want to buy his or stuff, 500 years old or just newly written.


Listen to lots of Classical music radio. The best source these days is via the internet. My choices are http://www.wqxr.org for straight up traditional Classical, and http://www.wqxr.org/q2 for especially New music and special projects. Also a daily listening habit for me weekday mornings is http://www.wprb.com from about 6:00AM-11:00AM. Very important, stay away from any station which uses "Classical 24", a music service for rent by Minnesota Public Radio. Along with those I like, try http://www.wcny.org, Syracuse, NY, and http://www.wcpe.org, Winston-Salem, NC

Listen a lot before you buy anything. You cannot buy everything, so try to figure out what you would like to hear on a repeat basis. I buy everything in .mp3 from Amazon. There are very good prices on complete packages like all of the Beethoven or Tchaikovsky symphonies. A lot of folks here will buy only specific pieces by specific orchestras with specific conductors and soloists. But they are very sophisticated listeners and you say that you are not. In the Beethoven, I cannot tell the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle from the Vienna Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan, so I bought the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein.

This is a great forum, if you stick to music. Have fun.
>>RSM
Image
Please visit my blog
"MusicSprings"
http://musicsprings.wordpress.com

Are you a cruncher? Please visit
http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org
http://boinc.berkeley.edu

RebLem
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Re: Help!

Post by RebLem » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:30 pm

Lyndsay, welcome to our contentious little group. You will find that we are a somewhat fractious, dysfunctional little family, but I hope you'll come to love us anyway. Lots of us differ on many things--if you visit the Corner Pub, where we discuss everything EXCEPT classical music, and mostly politics and economic and world affairs, you will find that we differ on virtually all the Hot Topics of the day. I am one of a fairly small band of liberals around here--on most issues, anyway. When it comes to music, though, my tastes are pretty conservative.

Just to show you how contentious we are, let me tell you some of the advice you have received so far that I think you should ignore. :wink:

First of all, avoid Grammophone and more especially the Penguin Guide--the former like you would avoid the flu, the latter like you would avoid the Plague. Grammophone is filled with a bunch of writers strongly prejudiced in favor of British performers and ensembles. Their writers have the same relationship to the British classical music community that the White House press corps has to whatever Administration is in power. They tend to obsequiousness out of fear they will be cut out of the loop if they have any sharp edges. They forget they are supposed to be working for us, not for the people they are reporting on. As for the Penguin Guide, their recommendations just seem to me downright bizarre far too often to be a reliable guide.

As for the BBC Music Magazine, to which I subscribe, it is good for the CD that comes with each issue--full length works--not samplers or highlights or excerpts, a few of them classic recordings, though most are performances of standard repertoire by third rank performers and orchestras. They tend, however, to be very good--new performers on the way up, so its not a good idea to sniff too much. On the negative side, however, the printed coverage seems much too often to be to classical music what People Magazine is to pop culture--mostly froth, very little substance, facile and shallow.

My favorite classical music periodical is Fanfare, which is subtitled as "The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors." But I do agree with others here that it is a bit too serious and detailed to be helpful to someone just starting out in classical music. There are absolutely NO graphics or pictures in it except from advertisers. ALL of the editorial content, except for the front cover, is print. It comes out six times a year, and each issue looks more like a hefty paperback book than a magazine. I think it would be a good idea, though, for you to find a newsdealer in your community who carries it and pick up the November/December issue every year. In that issue, each of the reviewers picks the five issues from that year they feel is most important and which they especially want to recommend to the readers. These people tend to be people who do not, as a rule, have much contact with the performers whose recordings they review. They are mostly much more marginal characters than that, but most of them are highly knowledgeable and reliable, and when someone who reads them thinks they aren't, they write letters to the editor, and the editor publishes them. The editor does not spare the feelings of the writers who work for the magazine. He understands he is working for us, not them, which is one of the biggest reasons I like the magazine.

I would recommend you get a copy of Aaron Copland's What to listen for in music. Its a great little paperback and you can usually find one in a good used bookstore very cheaply. It is a very good guide. Read it several times. You don't have to go through it like you're taking a course, unless you like to do that sort of thing. Dip into it here and there, skip around. Then, at some point, it might be a good idea to go through it very seriously and systematically--but don't do that in the first couple years, or it will just overwhelm you. Do it when you are eager to learn more, not as a chore you have to get through before you can start enjoying music. That is a deadly approach to music, one I strongly recommend against. Someone did an experiment many years ago--played rock music underwater to a lot of fish. They all scattered, except for a blowfish, who puffed himself up, which is what they do when they sense a dangerous threat. Then they played something by Bach, the Goldberg Variations, or some other solo harpsichord piece, and the fish all gathered around the speaker, beating their tails in time to the music. What this shows is that you need no more than the intelligence of a blowfish to enjoy much of good classical music at the most basic level. You may miss many things, many special felicities that delight more sophisticated and knowledgeable listeners, but the best way to become a sophisticated and knowledgeable listener is to start listening, and listen regularly. Study is a supplement to that, not something you need to "get through" before you can start understanding music and having a good time. I think the recommendation of the Copland book is something virtually everyone here would agree on, but keep in mind--it is a supplement that will help you understand better when you feel the need. Its not the main course, and you should never focus you musical life on it.

Another publication I recommend is a little more contentious. I like a big book called The All Music Guide to Classical Music. It is a huge volume with fairly small print that is jam packed with information--1,607 pages of it, and that's after 7 pages at the beginning that tell you how to use the book, provide a table of contents, etc. The blurb on the back cover gives a brief summary of what you will find in it--1,500 biographies of composers and performers, 4,000 descriptions of composers' works, 12,000 recordings recommended by AMG editors, 560 opera and ballet synopses, and concise essays on major classical periods and genres, plus introductory essays for beginners. I do recommend a thorough reading of the Introduction. It is only one page, but it is a page of small type, and nothing but writing--no graphics.

A couple of caveats about the above, however. It is fairly expensive. The price on my copy is $34.95. I find it is worth it. BUT, it was published in 2005. You might want to wait until they come out with a new edition. The second caveat is with regard to the recommended recordings. On the one hand, I find it to be the most reliable list of recommendations I have seen anywhere by anyone--better than Grammophone, better than Penguin, better the Jim Svedja, better than the NPR Guide to Classical Music, better than any of them. With all the others, I find myself frequently screaming into the void, "Why the hell did they recommend THAT recording? Its bizarre, there are a dozen performances that are much better!" I find that happening much less often with this book than with any other. BUT, they just recommend the recordings. They don't say why, or why other recordings are not on the list. That is somewhat limiting, but it would have to be much longer than the 1,607 pages it already is if they did.

I can also recommend two books by a fellow named David Ewen. They are both OOP, but widely available from used bookstores, some of them online. One is somewhat immodestly, and inaccurately titled The Complete Guide to Classical Music, and the other is The World of Twentieth Century Music. They are both written in the same format. You have articles on composers. In the first volume, they are listed chronologically by birth date, in the second, they are listed alphabetically. Each section on each composer is divided into three parts. First is a brief essay on the place of the composer in musical history, and how and in what ways he influenced the development of music. The second part is a brief essay giving just the facts, the who, what, when, where of the composer's life. The third section is a serious descripion of each of he composer's major works--or at least what David Ewen thinks are his major works. Each work is listed separately with a header. Very orderly, systematic, and easy to follow. How long are they? Well, let me give you a description of the articles on two composers, one which I think of as very minor, the other a major one, so you can get an idea of the range of lengths.

First, Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964). The essay on his place in musical history is one page long. The WWWW essay is just a tad short of one page. Then there is a two page article on his opera The Cradle Will Rock , a half page article on The Airborne Symphony, and then a whole page plus 3 lines on his opera Regina. That's it for Marc Blitzstein.

Now, Beethoven. The essay on his place in the history of music is two pages long. The WWWW article is a page and a half. Then, from the middle of page 291 of the first book through almost all of page 338--you have what amounts to 46 pages of writing about the major works.

One thing I don't particularly like about the Ewen books is that he is very anal about the division between "Classical Music" and "Twentieth Century Music." Composers whose work spans the two centuries get articles in both volumes. The article on Gustav Mahler, for example, in the earlier volume starts on page 840, ends on page 846, and covers Songs of a Wayfarer and the first three symphonies; the one in the 20th century volume goes from the middle of page 449 through the first quarter of page 461, and covers the Symphonies 4-10, the Kindertotenlieder, and Das Lied von der Erde. The essays are somewhat different in the two volumes; they are not duplicates.

Some recommendations you have received before, I would reiterate. Your local public library is a good source for recordings to listen to. The classical radio station in your community, if there is one, may or may not be a good source.

The internet is a good source, too. Many performance of long, whole works are available on YouTube--usually in sections, so the Brahms violin concerto will be a separate video for each movement, but you will find multiple performances, too. The internet is a good source for information about composers. Essays on most composers, including lists of works, can be found in Wikipedia, which is an invaluable resource. The Virginia Tech Music Department has a resource which is valuable for beginners--a multimedia musical dictionary @ http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/ You will find musical terms defined there; in addition, each word has an audio clip of how the word is pronounced, which can be very helpful. However, only general terms are defined. There isn't any section, for example, on how to pronounce composers' names. But it you want to know what an allegro is, or any other general musical term, this is the place to go, and its totally free. Put it in Favorites. There are other websites, including a voluminous Bach website and one on German lieder (lied is the German word for "song," lieder is the plural).

Finally, we'll like you better if you go back and fill out some information--as much as you feel comfortable revealing--about yourself in your profile, like what city or at least state or country you live in, etc. You're welcome to visit my profile for a model, if you wish. And, once again, welcome!
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.

HoustonDavid
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Re: Help!

Post by HoustonDavid » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:58 pm

Rob and Lyndsay:

I looked on Amazon US and found "The All Music Guide to Classical Music" selling for
$23.00 US new and $6.00 US used (plus change and shipping costs). I find AMG on-line
an excellent website for all kinds of music and information about composers, musicians,
reviews, and music in general. I go there all the time to learn about some aspect of any
kind of music. Just type in All Music Guide in your search engine. They also have a site
for Movies and Books. Highly recommended, Lindsay.
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
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Re: Help!

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:12 pm

RebLem wrote:Some recommendations you have received before, I would reiterate. Your local public library is a good source for recordings to listen to.
Whew! My recommendation survived unscathed. :)

There's 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

HoustonDavid
Posts: 1222
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am
Location: Houston, Texas, USA

Re: Help!

Post by HoustonDavid » Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:04 pm

Just out of curiosity, John, why would it be "scathed"? :o
"May You be born in interesting (maybe confusing?) times" - Chinese Proverb (or Curse)

ch1525
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Re: Help!

Post by ch1525 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:06 am

I wonder if she will ever return?! :cry:

Edit: Assuming she is a girl, which I am assuming, although, I may not be correct in that assumption, I assume.

LSAmadeus
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Re: Help!

Post by LSAmadeus » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:28 am

Welcome to the forun Lyndsey! I'd definitely say the radio is a good way of discovering and learning about classical (says one who doesn't have a radio)
I used to llisten to BBC Radio 3 a lot back in the day-Im sure one could find it online too.
'An artist must have the freedom to express himself' - Edward Weston
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