Composer recommendations

Lark Ascending
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Composer recommendations

Post by Lark Ascending » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:26 pm


I am new to classical music. I enjoy listening to British composers such as Vaughan Williams, Holst, Delius, Butterworth and Finzi and I wondered if anyone could recommend other composers in a similar vein?

Aside from the English "pastoral school", I like piano music (Chopin, Debussy, Satie). I don't read music or play an instrument but am thoroughly enjoying exploring a world of music that six months ago was unknown to me. Thanks for any suggestions anyone can offer

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:29 pm

I'm gong to leave this to my colleagues, who undoubtedly have good ideas, and just welcome you to the board. You have a huge universe to explore. May you find in it great joy.

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Post by Werner » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:33 pm

Welcome to CMG, and the ever-wonderful world of classical music. You'll find here a varied group of music lovers - young, old, professional and amateur, with tastes reanging over the range of usic literature.

You already know that it's not mecessary to read music or to play an instrument to appreciate the treasures of the field. Do keep listening, and by all means do keep posting here - you'll find a lot of friends who will be happy to help you with any questions you have. And your reactions to what you'll hear, or read here, will be welcome, too.
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Post by Haydnseek » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:44 pm

I recommend a piece of American pastoral music: Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring.
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Post by rogch » Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:10 pm

Welcome to the forum!
If you like Satie and Debussy, you definetely have to check out Ravel. And Mozart's piano concertos no. 23 and 24 should also be good works to start with.
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Post by DavidRoss » Sun Nov 06, 2005 3:23 pm

Welcome, Lark. I think you might also like Bax and Bridge. And since many of these fellows (Bax & RVW in particular) were great admirers of Sibelius, you might like him, too.
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Post by johnQpublic » Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:30 pm

Trying to move out someone favoring mild 20th centtury Brits. I'd recommend:

1) Sibelius - start with the Symphony #2 & Finlandia
2) Shostakovich - start with Symphony #5

Both are more aggressive than the pastoral English stuff, but I think you'll relate to them all the same.

Slightly closer to the British pastoral:

1) Chausson - Poem for Violin & Orch and if vocal is OK try his "Poems of Love & the Sea
2) Any chamber music of Faure
3) D'Indy's "Symphony on a French Mountain Air", Op.25

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Post by jserraglio » Sun Nov 06, 2005 6:22 pm

I don't consider it limiting to suggest a slew of British composers. They deserve recognition and they didnt all get it.

Besides Bridge, Bax, Boughton, Blackwood, and ELGAR . . . there's Benjamin BRITTEN, Malcolm Arnold, Robert Simpson, Edmund Rubbra, John Ireland, George Lloyd, George Dyson, Ernest John Moeran, Alan Rawsthorne, Nicholas Maw, Eugene Goossens, etc. And the Scottish Romantics might be worth a listen sometime (Wallace, MacCunn, McEwen, Mackenzie, Lamond)--I love what I've heard of their music.

Arnold and Simpson composed some of the most moving and penetrating music of the last century--Arnold's is very approachable--e.g. the English, Scottish and Irish Dances available on Naxos, which is a great label to start exploring music of all sorts with--though their British series is outstanding in and of itself.

For a change, how bout Carl Nielsen?

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Post by gfweis » Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:52 am

I would recommend Faure's Piano Quartet No. 1, Op. 15. It's full of beautiful, and quite catchy, melodies.
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Post by Lark Ascending » Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:34 pm

Thank you everyone for your words of welcome and your composer suggestions which I will certainly investigate further. Some of the composers mentioned I have in my ever expanding CD collection (Ravel, Faure, Elgar, Britten) and I recently saw a performance of Nielsen's Symphony No 3 given by my city's orchestra.
My current favourite listening is a CD entitled The World of Percy Grainger. I like his interpretation of English folk songs.

Thanks again for your responses to my query.

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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:40 pm

Welcome, Lark. Some excellent recommendations have been made. If you want something somewhat pastoral or serene, I would greatly recommend the Nocturnes of John Field. And, in a different vein, but absolutely gorgeous - the motets of Anton Bruckner.

Come to think of it - if not now, perhaps down the road - the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, in particular, numbers 4-9, each of which contains movements of bold grandeur and even crashing crescendos, coupled with softer movements and passages which are absolutely sublime.

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Give the scandinavians a try

Post by PJME » Fri Nov 18, 2005 10:02 am

On Naxos you'll find several collections of short(er) works that will give you lots of listening pleasure:
Scandinavian String Music on 8.553106 (Dag Wiren, Johann Svendsen, Carl Nielsen etc)
Swedish orchestral favourites 80553715 : the Pastoral suite by Gunnar de Frumerie is a little gem,and the other works are equally pleasing (neo classical , impressionistic)
Naxos has similar Finnish and Norwegian collections - fresh,unpretentious music for many happy hours !

If you are not afraid of the unknown, visit KLARA at (Flemish classical music radiostation) - and have a look at their CD's. There's a lot of old music in state-of-the-art performances and a small series "The Flemish connection" .Composers like Arthur Meulemans, Lodewijk Mortelmans, Peter Benoit and Flor Alpaerts ...wrote all fine music in a very accessible (neo/late)Romantic/ early Impressionistic style . The latest instalment has Arthur De Greef's second pianoconcerto and 5 elegant french songs for soprano & orchestra. De Greef ((1862-1940) is largely forgotten now, but as an interpreter of Grieg's pianoconcerto he was once a worldfamous artist.

Arthur De Greef - Flemish Connection V
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Charlotte Riedijk, sopraan
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Dirigent: Yannick Nézet-Séguin
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Post by MaestroDJS » Sat Nov 19, 2005 7:28 am

Haydnseek wrote:I recommend a piece of American pastoral music: Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Sat Nov 19, 2005 7:34 am

Although not exactly pastoral, Igor Stravinsky composed 2 beautifully lyrical ballet scores. Orpheus (1948) is subdued and reflective almost throughout, and it is one of the most beautiful pieces of its time. Orpheus's lyre is portrayed by the harp. One of its most lyrical sections is the central Air de Danse for two oboes and harp solo, with solo and full strings. There is a loud but brief outburst near the end of the ballet, which is followed by a reprise of the hushed, soft, radiant, gorgeous, shimmering music heard at the beginning. [Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Igor Stravinsky] Apollo (1928) is scored for string orchestra and it has an austere beauty not unlike ancient Greek sculptures. Stravinsky himself referred to it as his "ballet blanc", because the translucence of the string orchestra shimmers like a fine black-and-white photograph. [Columbia Symphony Orchestra / Igor Stravinsky]


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