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#1 FlameMage

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 06:30 AM

I've been getting more interested in this style of music lately, and I'm looking to expand my horizons on the genre. Could anyone recommend some good classical music from any of its eras. I'm open to anything really. I enjoy technical work and pieces with an epic feel to them.

I know you've mentioned growing up with classical music Ungeheuer, so I'm curious as to what you would recommend, if you choose to do so.

Thanks everyone.

#2 Taxes-

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:29 AM

I'm not exactly the most knowledgeable person about classical music, but I can tell you where I started.

Antonín Dvořák - Symphony No. 9 in E minor

The Rafael Kubelik performance with the Berlin Philarmonic (?) in 1973. There might be better performances of the work out there, I hear the Bernstein one from 1962 or the Kabasta one from 1944 are excellent, but when I started, I wasn't really worrying about interpretation just yet (which might not have been the best idea ever, a poor performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony initially led me to believe that it was heavily overrated, which is ridiculous).

Once the interest of this symphony starts to wear off, I'd try the beethoven symphonies or maybe some Franz Schubert. Wilhelm Furtwängler has recorded some truly amazing interpretations of these men's work, I wouldn't miss the Beethoven ninth at the Bayreuth Festival (this is the recording that made me like this symphony), or Schubert's Great C-major Symphony with the Berlin Philarmonic, both from 1951.

String quartets now, the "Death and the Maiden" quartet from Franz Schubert is another work that I liked (worshipped would probably be a better word) when I started listening to classical music. The Alban Berg quartet (live) has a great recording of this.

As for Baroque music now, I'm not all that familiar with the period, but I really liked Bach's Mass in B minor as conducted by Ted Koopman with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir.

And if you ever want to get into late 19th/early 20th century classical, I wouldn't miss works by those composers: Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg (early works only, at least when you start).

#3 Karakorum

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:34 AM

Ahahaha, Eric going from metal to classical.

I know a lot of people who did that, actually.  Complete metal heads in high school but immediately started classical afterwards.  Interesting how that transition works.

#4 omfgzila

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 10:48 AM

Beethoven's 6th symphony was probably the first piece of classical music I liked. Bach's 3rd Brandeburg Concerto is another great thing for the introduction. Mozart symphonies 39, 41 and Schubert symphonies 8 and 9 as well.

hf

#5 PleasureToKill

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 03:15 PM

QUOTE(Karakorum @ Feb 7 2009, 01:34 PM) View Post

Ahahaha, Eric going from metal to classical.

I know a lot of people who did that, actually.  Complete metal heads in high school but immediately started classical afterwards.  Interesting how that transition works.

I can understand that, considering metal has a lot in common with classical, and with other genres as well.



#6 FlameMage

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:35 PM

QUOTE(Karakorum @ Feb 7 2009, 02:34 PM) View Post

Ahahaha, Eric going from metal to classical.

I know a lot of people who did that, actually.  Complete metal heads in high school but immediately started classical afterwards.  Interesting how that transition works.


I'm not switching, just expanding into different music. I like listening to metal that's instrumental or has an epic feel, and I can find a lot of the same in classical...I just don't know where to look.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, I'll look into them soon.

Edited by FlameMage, 07 February 2009 - 05:36 PM.


#7 kvlc

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:48 PM

Classical can mean a specific period of classical music, spanning from around 1750-1820.  The major composers to know are Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

As for classical music as a whole, I'm much more fond of Romantic and later music.  Beethoven's 9th symphony perfectly bridges the Classical and Romantic periods and is of course required listening for every human being.  Then you have people like Wagner, Brahms, Schumann, Berlioz, Verdi, Bruckner and Tchaikovsky.

But my favourite piece of classical music is probably The Planets, by Holst.  That suite is truly mind-blowing.

#8 Ryvian

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 06:13 PM

Go for the pop-est classical music out there. From my personal repertoire of classical music I have Gustav Holst's Planets: A nice place to start since you'll instantly recognize Mars. Apart from that, Jupiter is an epic track, I fucking love it haha.

You could also try Antonio Vivaldi's 4 Season. String quartet I believe, very pop like feel to it, and great for easy listening. Actually started liking this way back when I use to play DDR; there were some techno remix of some classical tracks.

Brahms has a pretty Epic feel to it too. I have a Herbert von Karajan interp for most of Brahms stuff. Check out Symphony Number 3.

As for Schubert, try his symphonies, he has some pretty easy casual listening ones, err try symphonies 5 to 8, since I have those on my comp right now and they are nice. Ok, well 5 is pretty intense. Might try listening to shorter tracks first, since you might lose focus on the longer tracks.

Tchaikovsky is awesome as well. Try his Nutcracker Suites. You might have heard of them in many Christmas Carols. If you've watched the ballet, the entire soundtrack is Tchaikovsky.

Sergei Rachmaninoff has some pretty intense stuff. The only things I have from him though are his Piano Symphonies I and II.

Johan Sebastian Bach has lots of songs you've probably heard of before, like Air from Suite #3 in D major, Jesus; the Joy of Man's Desiring, Tocata en Fugue in D minor, Agnes Dei, Sinfonia etc. Well I've got like an album with his most popular tunes haha.

I have some random Schumann stuff lying around, though most of them belong to my Dad, who has a pretty large collection of classical music. I'll get you some more later.

You should also try Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance or his Enigma Variations.

Also, I suggest if you want a bit entertainment to go with your Classical Music, you should watch an anime called Nodame Cantabile. The show focuses on classical music students and plays a very wide variety of classical music throughout. The show exposed me to a lot of different composers.

#9 Taxes-

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 07:30 PM

I've never really been all that into Holst, but his suites is indeed usually very well liked amongst new listeners. Other composers of interests for a newcomer might include Fryderyk Chopin, ACHILLE-Claude Debussy, Erik Satie and all those silly minimalist composers, but I'm not very familiar with them personally and they only seem to be liked by indie rock fans (I WONDER WHY).

Edited by Taxes-, 07 February 2009 - 07:31 PM.


#10 Metalstar

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 09:57 PM

After Bach it all went downhill.
Listen to the true essence of music, music made for God itself.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiU8xQGr1yU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVadl4ocX0M...feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipzR9bhei_o...feature=channel

Gould playing Bach is always a real entertainment - both musically and visually wink.gif
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyOf_L4cNHc

#11 Metalstar

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 10:13 PM

Oh and sometimes, when I really don't feel good at all, I listen to Rachmaninoff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-Qb7AS1yxg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSO6dfTgVOY...feature=related

Don't tell anyone I listen to anything beyond the baroque era. sleep.gif

#12 omfgzila

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:29 PM

hf http://www.megaupload.com/?d=9OTM1Z8E

#13 002 // F#m

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:57 PM

Classical as in the genre or the time period?

I'm a Mozart junkie myself. Like Beethoven's symphonies (mainly 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9) as well. And various others; Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Haydn, Bach, Strauss, Wagner, etc.

But I'm just really into Mozart over any other composer.

#14 Taxes-

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:48 PM

QUOTE(002 // F#m @ Feb 18 2009, 06:57 PM) View Post

Like Beethoven's symphonies (mainly 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9) as well.

No love for the third? What the fuck man.

#15 Ungeheuer

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:44 PM

Ryvian's post is bad and he should feel bad. Especially the bit about Vivaldi. Can't you fucking count man, you deaf or something? No way in hell the Four Seasons are scored for string quartet and unless you're listening to a really shitty recording you should be able to hear the contiuno (harpsichord or organ). It's a work of sharp contrasts and incredible rhythmic energy, well - if it's performed adequately.

QUOTE(Taxes- @ Feb 19 2009, 01:48 AM) View Post
No love for the third? What the fuck man.
At the end of the day the Third is probably my favorite Beethoven symphony, in many ways I feel it's his most polished - not to mention the awesomeness of having an abstract narrative (more likely related to Prometheus than to Napoleon) embedded into the structure of a classical symphony with only slightly modified sonata form. It's also the symphony that convinced me fully that following Beethoven's metronome markings is more or less a necessity, because many of the Eroica's rhythmic devices simply don't work at a lower tempo, it's impossible to feel the beat (3/4, dotted half = 180 - this implies the beat has to be felt as one, otherwise Beethoven would've written quarter = 60) in one rather than in three. I still think that that slower performance have their own merits (Furtwängler/live 44, E. Kleiber/studio 50, Klemperer/live 54), though they might miss Beethoven's point to a certain degree.

Also, 8 needs more appreciation, beneath its light, classicist appearance hides some of Beethoven's most concise and thrilling writing, I just love how he gradually tears apart his themes in the development section of the first movement, the violins rising over the stubbornly oscillating bass voice, the trumpets cutting everything up until everything seems almost disconnected - then a huge, relieving crescendo kicks in and everything returns to 'normal'. God I love that part, very few conductors/orchestras manage to keep the tension there though, and no one does it as marvelously as Hermann Scherchen with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anyways OP, get a complete Beethoven recording of Beethoven's symphonies for starters. I'd recommend Harnoncourt's with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the performances of 2, 3, 5, 7 & 9 are real knockouts, the rest is good - though the first movements of 4 & 6 are a bit too slow for my tastes. But it marries transparency with drama like few other cycles, it's easy to find and dirt cheap since Teldec dropped Harnoncourt and eventually went bankrupt. If you don't wanna invest that much right away, get Carlos Kleiber's recording of Symphonies 5 & 7 with the Vienna Philharmonic, both great performance, though not flawless, there's better live versions of the 7th with him.

For people wanting to get into Mozart, go for the Piano Concertos first, then the operas - those are definitely the genres he was best in. The Harnoncourt/Gulda/Concertgebouw recording of the Piano Concertos 23 & 26 is a wonderful place to start, both are popular and represent Mozart at his best. If you're looking to get into his operas, Don Giovanni is the place to start, it marries drama and comedy like no other opera, it's also shorter than the other two Da Ponte operas. Giulini's old recording is brilliant, though he does go a bit overboard with the tempos on occasion, but it's marvelously sung and acted.

As for Bach, get a recording of the St. Matthew Passion, it's probably the most accessible and popular of his large-scale oratorios/masses. Philippe Herreweghe's 1998 and Harnoncourt's 2001 recordings both have their merits, both are brilliantly recorded, Herreweghe has brilliant, very dramatic singing, but enfeebles some of the music's edges, it's a bit too light for my tastes - the instrumental part feels better fleshed out under Harnoncourt, but his singer's are a tad less great. Still very good though. Also make sure to get Arthur Grumiaux' recording of Bach's solo violin works, and Pablo Casals' recording of the solo cello stuff. And, as mentioned before you can't go wrong with Gould in the solo keyboard works, at least in the beginning.

Taxes' recommendations are great as well (the earlier post), I'd go for the earlier Kubelik Dvorak 9 though, it's on Decca I believe. Or the bold Fricsay/Berlin Philharmonic one on Deutsche Grammophon. As for Brahms, I'd start with the 4th Symphony and Ein Deutsches Requiem. The Carlos Kleiber/Vienna Philharmonic recording of the Fourth is all-around great, for the Requiem I really like Klemperer's recording of it, the tempo's are moderate, but like all good Klemperer interpretations everything feels finely chiseled, everything seems to have purpose, it's got that aura of inevitability around it - but it's also very chaste at the same time. Singing is excellent, no one beats Fischer-Dieskau in his prime when it comes to such declamatory roles. There's some slight distortion in the recording during the very loud parts, if that bothers you, Herreweghe has a similarly paced recording that's also all-around excellent, if a bit airier.


As for my current listening, I've been going backwards from Bach and forwards from Mahler recently and discovered profound love for the music of Heinrich Schütz, Alban Berg and Leos Janacek recently.

Edited by Ungeheuer, 19 February 2009 - 06:46 PM.


#16 taviona

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 10:44 AM

Great post there, Ungeheuer. Lovely to see a fellow Austrian with such good English :> (and taste in music) Harnoncourt rocks, yeah. I've got his recordings of the Beethoven piano concertos and I'm going to see him live in the Konzerthaus this May (with the Wiener Philharmoniker, playing Haydn. Can't wait).  When listening to classical music, it's always good to get some idea of how it's usually built up, as it is very different from most modern music. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonata is a good start. Anyways, here's some stuff I enjoy listening to:

Beethoven's Piano sonatas in general (there are 32, so there's plenty) are great works; I'd start off with some of the more accessible ones like the Pathetique (no. 8) or the Appassionata (23 as far as I remember) although, as with most of Beethoven, my favourites are the late ones. Here is a recording of his last sonata, 32 in c minor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBgSSK0m5kA

Beethoven's Missa solemnis: Some think this is his magnum opus, I agree. It's not very well known (due to its length) and, apart from Austria and Germany, hardly ever performed (at least Wikipedia says so) because of technical difficulties (especially for the chorus and the soloists). You might not enjoy it when hearing it the first time but give it a few weeks and it'll grow on you. Here's the Gloria movement:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpNiQLaX9_4

I'll add more.

Edited by taviona, 19 February 2009 - 10:45 AM.


#17 Taxes-

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:11 AM

QUOTE(taviona @ Feb 19 2009, 01:44 PM) View Post

Beethoven's Piano sonatas in general (there are 32, so there's plenty) are great works; I'd start off with some of the more accessible ones like the Pathetique (no. 8) or the Appassionata (23 as far as I remember) although, as with most of Beethoven, my favourites are the late ones. Here is a recording of his last sonata, 32 in c minor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBgSSK0m5kA

Artur Schnabel's complete set of sonata is of excellent quality overall, not even regarding the fact that they're some of the most historically important recordings in the history of classical music, being the first complete recording of all Beethoven's sonatas. The recording value is weak though (30s oblige), so I'd probably recommend something else if that's somehow very important to someone. What I've heard of Gulda is great, and I've heard that Brendel, Kempff and Fischer are also very good. I didn't really like arrau all that much, though I have only heard a few of his and since my computer died yesterday, I can't hear this one either =/.

Edited by Taxes-, 20 February 2009 - 11:36 AM.


#18 taviona

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:52 AM

QUOTE(Taxes- @ Feb 20 2009, 01:11 PM) View Post

Artur Schnabel's complete set of sonata is of excellent quality overall, not even regarding the fact that they're some of the most historically important recordings in the history of classical music, being the first complete recording of all Beethoven's sonatas. The recording value is weak though (30s oblige), so I'd probably recommend something else if that's somehow very important to someone. I didn't really like arrau all that much, though I have only heard a few of his and since my computer died yesterday, I can't hear this one either =/.

I just picked the first recording of the sonata I could find on Youtube (I own the 1965 (?) recording by Wilhelm Kempff which is great). I might look at the recording by Schnabel though, sounds intereting.

#19 a0dragon

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 05:46 PM

I've mostly just listened to collections of the best of Classical - and I quickly found out that I really, really dislike Mozart.

However, my favorite composer of all time must go to Bizet - his operas and compositions are definitely worth checking out.

#20 Taxes-

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 08:34 PM

QUOTE(a0dragon @ Feb 25 2009, 08:46 PM) View Post

I've mostly just listened to collections of the best of

Really, really not the best way to form an opinion about anything even remotely musical, let alone on a composer like Mozart.




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