Recommendations Wanted...

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by Fireman Sam, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Fireman Sam

    Fireman Sam

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    Good afternoon all,

    I wonder if the kind people amongst you can recommend some classical CDs? I've only got 2 classical discs in my collection and really would like to explore this genre further.

    The two discs I currently own are "Piano Dreams - Erik Sartie by Pascal Rogé" and "Classical Moods - Compilation". Favourites include the Gymnopédies and the Gnossiennes from the Satie disc, and Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Barber's Adagio from the compilation disc.

    From that information could any of you speculate as to what else might float my boat?

    I should add that recording quality is also important to me too.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Sam
     
    Fireman Sam, Jan 8, 2004
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  2. Fireman Sam

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

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    Welcome!

    I'm not really the best person to advise you, but I'll try.

    Johann Pachelbel's Canon (Pinnock, Archiv)

    Perhaps Albinoni's Concerto for organ and strings

    Sibelius' last Symphony

    Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht

    Mahler's Adagietto from the 5th Symphony

    Gorecky's 3rd Symphony

    Tomas Luís de Victoria's Requiem (The Tallis Scholars, Gimmel)

    Bach's Orchestral Overture no 3 - the Aria.

    Perhaps you'll like Froberger. Try to get Leonhardt's.

    Buckner's 9th Symphony (Günther Wand, RCA), chiefly the 3rd movement.

    Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata, the 3rd movement.


    There's a lot more. If you can persuade a friend who is into classical to lend you some records (no mere then 3 at the time, otherwise one gets confused) that would be, IMO, the best way.
     
    Rodrigo de Sá, Jan 8, 2004
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  3. Fireman Sam

    tones compulsive cantater

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    Check out our "Beginner's guide to classical music", Sam.
     
    tones, Jan 8, 2004
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  4. Fireman Sam

    Fireman Sam

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    Thanks guys, especially RdS for taking the time to make the list etc.

    Sam - off to read the beginner's guide...
     
    Fireman Sam, Jan 8, 2004
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  5. Fireman Sam

    Rodrigo de Sá This club's crushing bore

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    Sam:

    You're very welcome.

    And, Tones - I am recommending and defending the thread you mention at Naim's (I got some very nasty replies :) ) and I forgot to recommend it here :rolleyes: But I tried to get myself in the mood of the music Sam mentioned.
     
    Rodrigo de Sá, Jan 8, 2004
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  6. Fireman Sam

    GrahamN

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    Hi Sam,

    Welcome to a big wide world of infinite variety!

    The pieces you list are all pretty/very laid back, so I guess you're starting at the "chillout" end of the market. (There's also someone in just about the same position as you - looking for chillout piano stuff - over at Pink Fish ATM).

    As Tones says, check out our beginners' guide - although many of the suggestions there are targetted at a more upbeat approach, as it's that end most people are coming from (and the most common criticism of 'classical' is that it's lacking in rhythm/drive etc)

    RdS has some pretty good reccos there. Most of them though are single movements within larger pieces with very different surroundings (one of the major principles of symphonic writing is to combine music of greatly differing moods into a single organic whole - Mahler's premise was that a symphony should encompass the whole world!). You may well get a good part of what he suggests on a Classical chillout compilation (ugh - but useful in your position). This would certainly apply to the Mahler Adagietto, Pachelbel Canon (I actually have this on an LP of music used in adverts, IIRC it was used by the British Wool Council!), the Bach Aria ("Air on a G-string"), and possibly the Gorecki (that actually hit the top 40 a decade or so back!)

    Schoenberg is not always top of my list in newbie recommendations (to say the least), but I think "Verklaerte Nacht" is just about perfect for what you're after. Be VERY careful with almost anything else by him though - seriously scary stuff.

    I'd also add Sibelius's 3rd and 6th symphonies (probably even in preference to the 7th) - these are his most relaxed symphonies, but in a good performance (e.g. Osmo Vanska, Lahti SO on BIS) are quite enthralling.

    The "Moonlight" raises an interesting question. Are you talking about the whole sonata or just the famous 1st movement. If the whole thing, how do you feel about the other two movements? If the last really does it for you, then we're in a completely different ballgame. I would then thouroughly recommend the Chopin Etudes played by Murray Perahia on Sony. For a great combination of the sublime and what I always reckon is the first jazz/stride piano piece ever( :eek: ), I would also suggest you try Beethoven's last sonata (Op. 111) and its predecessor (Op. 110) - quite a stunning piece (my favourite is Barenboim on DG, but others loathe him). Pretty much ant of the named Beethoven piano sonatas are a must (although the "Hammerklavier" is probably not quite the place to start - if you don't like the first few minutes, you've still got another 48 or so to sit through!). The late Beethoven quartets are also quite staggering - they still sound modern 200 years after they were written - but you do need to like the string quartet sound. And if you do, there's also the wonderful Schubert String Quintet (my entry into chamber music many moons ago), and a great Naxos CD of Vaughan Williams' Phantasie Quintet etc. (performed by the Magginis - real specialists in pastoral English chamber music)

    How about choral singing? Arvo Part could well be worth checking out. Some of his stuff (e.g. the Berliner Messe) is a bit samey, but I really like the recent Hyperion CD called "Triodion", performed by Polyphony - all quite meditative but with enough going on to keep you coming back. There's also a pretty good cheap CD from HMV's own label with Tabula Rasa and "Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten" etc on it (violin and chamber orchestra).

    And for something a bit more bouncy - Vivaldi. There's of course the "4 seasons". I have a rather off-the-wall version by Gidon Kremer (and the Kremerata Baltica), which intermixes his 4 concerti with a '20th century 4 seasons', by Astor Piazolla, the tango king. I love this, although the violin could be a bit smoother in Vivaldi's "Autumn". For something equally impressive, but within the current fashion for the "authentic" sound, Rachel Podger's 2CD set on Channel Classics of his "La Stravaganza" is one of my discs of the last year.

    One thing you should probably do is register at www.naxos.com, where there are thousands of tracks to listen to on-line. I've not actually registered myself, but it looks like you get to listen to full tracks, rather than just a 1 minute clip (which is probably enough to tell you you hate something, but not enough to tell you whether it's worth buying). You will probably then get lots of marketing emails etc, but it's probably worth it. Their discs are also dirt cheap (4.99 max), so you don't lose out much if you don't like. Some of their disks are wonderful...but some you get what you pay for - and they can be a real turn-off.

    I'd suggest giving the Naxos site a real whirl (they've also got a whole "Learning Zone" with recommendations and explanations of periods, forms etc) that you may find useful. Give us a shout if anything takes your fancy.
     
    GrahamN, Jan 8, 2004
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