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What is a good way to get in to classical music?

JamesOK

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May 24, 2008
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My classical collection currently consists of about 3 CDs and one of those is Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which is probably the only one that I actually listen to regularly.

Can anyone recommend some good ways in to classical music? I'd just like suggestions on some well recorded, well performed stuff to wet my classical appetite a little more than it currently is!
 

ESP2009

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Feb 16, 2009
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Well, Classic FM offers a nice and easy intro to the genre. Also, if you use Spotify, you can try typing a few searches for well-known composers, although I have to say that this tends to be a hit-and-miss because 'Artist' tends to refer to the performing orchestra or conductor rather than composer!

Either will give a taster and widen those horizons.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Agree with ESP, but Classic FM does tend to play the lighter side of classical. Try some of their range with HMV at £5.99 a pop, or some bargains to be had on eBay once you get a feel for the types of classical sub genres you like.

Try one of the excellent Classic FM compilations too.

My personal recommendations would include Vaughan Williams/Hickox/LSO A London Symphony (original 1913 version) which is outstanding both musically and recording standard, and includes The Banks of Green Willow by Butterworth as an extra treat (beautiful). Also Strauss' Four Last Songs with Renee Fleming, or even better Jessye Norman (get the remastered version).

Enjoy, and let us know how you get on.
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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I would recommend the live experience of classical music. I am no fan of the stuff, but have enjoyed it live due to the sheer scale of the music and witnessing the musicianship.
 

JamesOK

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May 24, 2008
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idc:I would recommend the live experience of classical music. I am no fan of the stuff, but have enjoyed it live due to the sheer scale of the music and witnessing the musicianship.

Thanks for the tips all. I have actually seen a couple of classical concerts in the RFH, and very much enjoyed them.

Good idea on the compilations too - I'll have a look at whats about on line.
 
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Anonymous

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The proms:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2010/whatson/season/

Radio 3 generally is good, too.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Tarquinh:
Radio 3 generally is good, too.

Good call, I was about to say that myself. It's excellent quality (well, it is through digital freeview into the amp) and you get a superb mix of things old and new.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
The best introduction to classical music is undoubtably via the radio, so either Radio 3 or Classic FM. The BBCs iPlayer is also full of interesting stuff around and about classical music. These platforms are of course free, so you can dabble without cost. One of the best and most comprehensive catalogues available, when you hear something you like, also happens to be one of the cheapest. Chandos can be found here http://www.chandos.net/ .
 

JamesOK

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May 24, 2008
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I have an internet radio which is regularly used to listen to the iPlayer output, so yes thats a good idea too. I have to admit, I dont even know where Radio 3 is on the dial!
 

Andrew Everard

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If you have an internet radio, try the AVRO Klassiek stations from the Netherlands - good performances and excellent internet sound quality.
 

JamesOK

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May 24, 2008
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Andrew Everard:If you have an internet radio, try the AVRO Klassiek stations from the Netherlands - good performances and excellent internet sound quality.

Thanks Andrew - added via reciva.com ready for tomorrow.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi James,

There is a lot to discover! I am not an expert, but here are a few tips that worked for me:

I think it pays off to read just a little bit more about the main periods in classical music, with their composers, and then listen to, say, orchestral works from these periods. It allows you to find out what you like, and also put some order in your mind. Start with Baroque (like Vivaldi, other Italians, Bach - orchestral suites or Brandenburg conc's for instance, Haendel, Telemann), Classical (Mozart Haydn symphonies), early Romantic (Beethoven, Schubert) and late Romantic (Brahms, Dvorak) up to the massive works of Mahler and Bruckner. You will soon discover what you like and do not like (and things you do not like now may come back in the future). You can do the same for solo concerto's (piano, violin), chamber music, vocal music, church/religious music, opera.. but take your time.

Concerning performances there is quite a difference between, for instance, a Mozart played by a fairly big orchestra, and the same work by a small ensemble, often playing on instruments of that time. I just listened to Vivaldi's 4 seasons, by Janine Jansen - one of >200 available recordings apparently. Have a look at amazon reviews to read how different opinions can be.

Finally, a few of my (old) favourites you might perhaps also like (I admit these are not cheerful works though..): Mozart's Requiem, Brahms Deutsches Requiem, Opera: Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, Gluck's Orphee & Euridice - (some great dvd's around also).

Enjoy!
 

stevenbee

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Dec 12, 2008
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For experimentation, you might want to see what your local Library has or can order in. Here in Suffolk, there are a couple of thousand to rent for £1.25 for three weeks - for single and boxed sets/complete operas.

Radio 3 of course has the Proms at the mo: a superb resource with world-class British, European and other orchestras et al all broadcast live and many repeated. I can also recommend the morning "Classical Collection" (though be wary of setting a timed recording as the listed times are often wrong. Record the whole bally two hours: you'll have a free concert of varied classics and brief intros. Ditto Classic FM's "The Full Works", but expect ads.

Try to hear some of Saturday's "Bach" prom, tomorrow (Thurs.) 14.00, Radio 3!

If you like Vivaldi, you can Spotify-download the Naive label complete Operas (2-3 hours might be a lot without a libretto or knowledge of the plot, but it is strangely good in the background). Many of these are £6.99.

Overall, lots of styles: big orchestra, earlier "period" ensembles, piano music of all hues, string (and glorious woodwind-) chamber music, choral music, both secular and sacred...sometimes both!

Break a viola!
 

JamesOK

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May 24, 2008
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Thanks Pete10 and Stevenbee, I think I need to do a little research with help from Spotify to start off with. Very useful information.
 

ESP2009

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Currently listening to Spotify:

Murray Perahia;Sir Colin Davis;Symphonie Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 16: I. Allegro molto moderato

Luvverly background to working.


Hope the Spotify URI works.

EDIT: I see the thing doesn't work. Ho hum. Anyway, it's a recording of the Schumann and Grieg Piano Concertos in A - great stuff.
 

Charlie Jefferson

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Sep 2, 2007
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Graham_Thomas:Agree with ESP, but Classic FM does tend to play the lighter side of classical. Try some of their range with HMV at £5.99 a pop, or some bargains to be had on eBay once you get a feel for the types of classical sub genres you like.

Try one of the excellent Classic FM compilations too.

My personal recommendations would include Vaughan Williams/Hickox/LSO A London Symphony (original 1913 version) which is outstanding both musically and recording standard, and includes The Banks of Green Willow by Butterworth as an extra treat (beautiful). Also Strauss' Four Last Songs with Renee Fleming, or even better Jessye Norman (get the remastered version).

Enjoy, and let us know how you get on.

I was born and braised on Elizabeth Schwarzkopf's rendition of Strauss' Four Last Songs. I've never strayed from her recording of it, but now it might be time. Heresy in my father's eyes, no doubt, but I'll Spotify for alternatives. I wonder if my untrained ears can appreciate the differences.

On a broader note more pertinent to the thread, my aversion to classical music was overcome around a decade ago when I realised all the stuff my parents played was really interesting and could complement my rock/pop leanings. I started with Mozart piano sonatas, Beethoven symphonies, the aforementioned Vaughan Williams piece and took off from there.
 

DJEPSON

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Jul 29, 2009
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I have recently subscribed to B&W Society of Sound and they release 2 albums a month on FLAC (even 24 bit) and Apple Loseless plus you get access to previous releases and the last couple of months there have been some classical albums which are a good intro I think, plus you get other genres, there was a Brett Anderson acoustic album in June. All it costs is about £35 for the year and you get them all loseless
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Not sure how you do this but I have seen it done before by pwiles 1968 on this forum.

How about creating a Spotify playlist that folks can add their favourite classical tracks?

I would if I new how.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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BBC Music Magazine. Excellent cover CDs featuring performances of full works from the BBC archives, and a really good magazine too.

The Naxos website is a treasure trove and their music library online access is excellent for getting to know all sorts of composers and music.

BBC Radio 3 is a national treasure and, along with the Proms, one of the best sources of classical music.
 

JamesOK

Well-known member
May 24, 2008
86
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DJEPSON:I have recently subscribed to B&W Society of Sound and they release 2 albums a month on FLAC (even 24 bit) and Apple Loseless plus you get access to previous releases and the last couple of months there have been some classical albums which are a good intro I think, plus you get other genres, there was a Brett Anderson acoustic album in June. All it costs is about £35 for the year and you get them all loseless

I was aware of the B&W society, but never really considered how good value it is! £33 for a year and two albums a month is pretty good going.

My path to classical enlightenment has started today, first off ESP2009's recommendation from Spotify.
 

ESP2009

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Feb 16, 2009
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JamesOK:

DJEPSON:I have recently subscribed to B&W Society of Sound and they release 2 albums a month on FLAC (even 24 bit) and Apple Loseless plus you get access to previous releases and the last couple of months there have been some classical albums which are a good intro I think, plus you get other genres, there was a Brett Anderson acoustic album in June. All it costs is about £35 for the year and you get them all loseless

I was aware of the B&W society, but never really considered how good value it is! £33 for a year and two albums a month is pretty good going.

My path to classical enlightenment has started today, first off ESP2009's recommendation from Spotify.

Wrap your ears around some Mozart piano, flute and oboe concertos - bootiful. However, be warned, if you don't have Spotify Premium it can be disconcerting (smirk), not to say irritating, when they stick adverts between the movements of your favourite classical work! Imagine that at the next Proms..."that concludes the 1st movement, and here's a word from our sponsors..."!
 

JamesOK

Well-known member
May 24, 2008
86
4
18,545
ESP2009:JamesOK:

DJEPSON:I have recently subscribed to B&W Society of Sound and they release 2 albums a month on FLAC (even 24 bit) and Apple Loseless plus you get access to previous releases and the last couple of months there have been some classical albums which are a good intro I think, plus you get other genres, there was a Brett Anderson acoustic album in June. All it costs is about £35 for the year and you get them all loseless

I was aware of the B&W society, but never really considered how good value it is! £33 for a year and two albums a month is pretty good going.

My path to classical enlightenment has started today, first off ESP2009's recommendation from Spotify.

Wrap your ears around some Mozart piano, flute and oboe concertos - bootiful. However, be warned, if you don't have Spotify Premium it can be disconcerting (smirk), not to say irritating, when they stick adverts between the movements of your favourite classical work! Imagine that at the next Proms..."that concludes the 1st movement, and here's a word from our sponsors..."!

Well my classical discovery mission is coming along nicely. Handel and Mozart have been played a great deal over the last few weeks, along with a load of other stuff too.

Youre right about the adverts though. I am just not convinced on spending to tenner a month yet.
 

ESP2009

New member
Feb 16, 2009
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JamesOK:

Youre right about the adverts though. I am just not convinced on spending to tenner a month yet.

To some extent it depends on how long you actually spend listening to Spotify per month. I tend to think on it as the equivalent of one CD I could have purchased vs a whole host I can try out before buying. Plus, I got really cheesed off by ads between movements of classical pieces! Didn't mind so much with rock and pop, but really irksome and completely out of place with Bruch, Rachmaninov and the rest!

Anyway, glad you're enjoying your journey of discovery.
 

DavidNorway

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Aug 26, 2010
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James ok

After reading your post it made me want to have a listen,i have just put in to Spotify (classical) and it came up with Classical Chillout,i bought this for my mother years ago and its very light and easy to get in to.Its sounding lush on my set up.Enjoy
 

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