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Classical Music

iainmentiainment Posts: 992
edited March 2009 in The bottom bracket
Just idling the day away thinking about this and that and realised that classical music is much of a closed book to me although there are pieces I enjoy.

So anyway what are the essential classics that one should have?

Give us a list and I'll give em a go and see if I can get cultured!
Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
Joseph Gallivan
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  • Canon and Gigue by Pachelbel.

    Known better to many as the basis for 'All Together Now' by The Farm.
  • shazzzshazzz Posts: 1,068
    Pachelbel's Canon may be better known to some as the basis of 'Ladies and Gentlemen we are floating in space' by Spiritualized.

    If you really want to appreciate classical music it's helpful to have a mentor. Some of the nuances can be difficult to pick up and therefore wonderful pieces dismissed too quickly. It's also a very wide area that caters for all tastes - a bit like asking what is a great pop record, you'll get lots of different people who like completely different things.

    So, completely igore if you like, but Elgar's Variations is a very pleasing and accesible piece of music. If you like choral work then Palestrina is a good place to start.
  • Some may find it a bit of an obvious choice and maybe even a little cliched, but I always find Holst's Planets a great listen time and again. Some of Walton's more light-hearted stuff (e.g. Facade) is good fun, too, but this might be because they seem - to me - a tad reminiscent of film scores for Ealing comedies (of which I'm a big fan)!

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • softladsoftlad Posts: 3,587
    Prokofiev's 'romeo & juliet' - the first movement of which is used as the basis for Alan Sugar's 'apprentice' programme

    Toccata & Fugue in D minor - classic bit of organ music by Bach

    Nimrod by Edward Elgar

    Mozart - overture to his opera 'the marriage of figaro'

    you hopefully should recognise all of them...
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,367
    Ludwig von's 5th and 9th.
    Anything by Mozart.

    Dennis Noward
  • Red RockRed Rock Posts: 517
    I got one of those £1 classical CDs from Tesco and really like it. My favourite pieces are:

    1, On The Beautiful Danube
    2, Andante - Serenade No.7 In D Major "Haffner"
    3, Canon In D Major
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    softlad wrote:
    Prokofiev's 'romeo & juliet' - the first movement of which is used as the basis for Alan Sugar's 'apprentice' programme

    Dance of the Knights iirc... :)

    I love classical. Rachmaninov, Debussy, Grieg (Piano Concerto in A minor is a fave), Glass... then theres the cross-overs into movie soundtracks like Elfman and Shore's LOTRs stuff that can be enjoyed equally imo
  • ElevatedElevated Posts: 126
    Nice to see there are cultured peeps on here!

    Can anyone identify this piece please?

    http://www.expure.com/temp/unknown_opera_classical.mp3
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  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Mozart for sure: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Requiem, Clarinet Concerto, Horn Concerto - the list goes on.
    Schubert: string quintet
    Smetana: Ma Vlast
    Verdi: Requiem (hang onto your seat, this one is heavy metal in places)
    Faure: Requiem (just stunning)
    Vaughan Williams: Lark Ascending (astonishing)
    Palestrina: Spem et Alium (sublime)
    Palestrina: Sicut Cervus (ditto)
    Schumann: Kindersehnen (gentle)
    Chopin: Nocturnes (more chill than the chilliest chill you ever had)

    You'll recognise most of them. Mozart is supposed to be good for the brain, too.

    Don't buy cheap versions. Deutsche Gramophon is a good brand, conductors/performers like von Karajan and Barenboim are a good bet.


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  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    I'm quite into opera at the moment - echo previous suggestion of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (whole thing though - don't really do this idea of Best of Classical albums where you pair a Mozart overture with a Bach fugue).


    Thing is about opera (& classical music in general) is it needs listening to alot before it starts making sense, I wouldn't suggest listening to a bit of this and a bit of that because you might of heard it on an advert.

    Choose something, listen to it. Listen to it again.

    Anyway, another suggestion - a Haydn symphony? They're relatively short (20 mins or so) so are easier to digest. The London Symphonies are his last and most highly regarded, and you tend to get three per CD. And they're great :-)

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haydn-London-Symphonies-Vol-1/dp/B0000041AQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1235769966&sr=8-1

    Have you got Spotify yet?

    http://open.spotify.com/user/silangdon/playlist/20F6NNTmNzdlSxy2LB0daR
  • +1 for Mozart's Requiem
    Hugo Alfven's Swedish Rhapsodies, etc
    Can't beat a bit of Handel

    Mahler, Nielsen, Shostakovich and Stravinsky are also great, though maybe a bit hardcore! :D

    Here's how to get into classical music:
    Listen to Classic FM
    Get fed up of the number of adverts and the number of times they repeat everything
    Start listening to Radio 3
    Get to know what you like from listening to those stations.
    Buy/download music you like.
    Buy/download music you think you may like.

    Or, alternatively, learn a musical instrument and join an orchestra or other ensemble. I got into classical music through playing in loads of orchestras, etc when at school and uni. Don't play so much any more. :(

    Also agree with mr_si's recommendation to listen again and again.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    pneumatic wrote:
    Chopin: Nocturnes (more chill than the chilliest chill you ever had)
    The Chopin Nocturnes do it for me too. Dim the lights, glass of wine, roaring fire............ you get the picture. The Bach Goldberg Variations have a similar effect on me too. Must be something about the simplicity of solo piano.

    Has anyone mentioned the Elgar 'Cello Concerto yet?
    Or the Bruch Violin Concerto?
    Dvorak's 9th (New World) is pretty good, (you'll recognise the 2nd movement as the Hovis ad) but I think I prefer the 8th, lots of good tunes.......

    But I'd also go for anything by Bach, Telemann or Vivaldi (eg. guitar concerto, or the Gloria?)

    Ruth
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Try these -

    Polovtsian Dances by Borodin
    Lt Kije suite by Prokofiev (Particularly the Romance piece, sublime!)
    Mahler's 3rd Symphony (particularly the parts Comodo, scherzando and Ohne Hast)
    Alpine Symphony - Strauss
    La Mer and pretty much any piano piece by Debussy such as Claire de Lune

    I have spent far more on Hifi and subsequent CDs than on my cars and bikes combined as a result of being introduced to pieces like these!
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    LazyBoycp wrote:
    Also agree with mr_si's recommendation to listen again and again.
    +2. I never enjoy music until I know it. If it's a long piece it might take some getting to know, so I'd definitely agree with listening to it over and over.

    Better still is to have played it - like Lazyboycp I got that chance in my school days eg. Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in Canterbury Cathedral and Elgar's 1st Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall. Some of the best experiences of my life......... ah, happy days! I've no idea how music manages to turn your insides inside out, but it certainly does when you're in the middle of it, creating it.

    Ruth
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    LazyBoycp wrote:
    Also agree with mr_si's recommendation to listen again and again.
    +2. I never enjoy music until I know it. If it's a long piece it might take some getting to know, so I'd definitely agree with listening to it over and over.

    Better still is to have played it - like Lazyboycp I got that chance in my school days eg. Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in Canterbury Cathedral and Elgar's 1st Symphony in the Royal Festival Hall. Some of the best experiences of my life......... ah, happy days! I've no idea how music manages to turn your insides inside out, but it certainly does when you're in the middle of it, creating it.

    Ruth

    +3 - some music I haven't 'got' until a few listens and then it just becomes wonderful...
  • Gorecki's 'Sorrowful Strings' has to be thee most emotional and cinematic piece of music I have ever heard there is nothing quite like it so I've been told as I have searched and asked classical music coniseurs - BTW if anybody does know of anything that is close to this please let me know ( not debussy etc etc)
    '..all the bad cats in the bad hats..'
  • Gorecki's 'Sorrowful Strings' has to be thee most emotional and cinematic piece of music I have ever heard there is nothing quite like it so I've been told as I have searched and asked classical music coniseurs - BTW if anybody does know of anything that is close to this please let me know ( not debussy etc etc)

    Do you mean his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (no. 3)? Preisner's Requiem for my Friend may be close, though I haven't listened to either piece for ages. Having said that, I can see the Preisner in my CD rack...
  • FCE2007FCE2007 Posts: 709
    Hmm, I am limited to Bond.
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  • When I really have to use the car I have "The Lighter Elgar" or some Mozart opera but what really keeps me calm inheavy traffic is Vaughan Williams. Quintescentially English, it says to me what is great about the countryside around my area of the South Downs. (I really must put it on my mp3 player for my rides around the lanes) My particular favourite is VW's "Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis" - so haunting. Give it a go, I promise you'll love it.
    By the way, somebody mentioned the Ealing comedies - does anybody know if you can get recording of Muir Matheison's music? He was the chap who composed/conducted so many classic themes from british films in the 40s, 50s and early 60s.
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  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    We forgot Bach's Brandenburg Concertos!
    And Mahler's 5th.

    Agreed about Vaughan Williams and England - for me the music just fits the place, like Debussy and France, Verdi and Italy.

    Iainment, you might find that your local library lends out classical CD's - it is a good way of working out your taste without wasting money on things you don't like.


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  • plug1nplug1n Posts: 204
    Agreed about Vaughan Williams and England - for me the music just fits the place, like Debussy and France

    Debussy wrote "La Mer" in Brighton, I believe.

    I always wanted to do an alpine descent to Ride of the Walkyries or maybe Gotterdamerung (apologies to the Germans for the absence of umlauts..)
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Last time I was in Brighton, there were more French people there than English! :D


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  • Anything by Vaughan-Williams
    Anything by Andreas Scholl
    AT MY AGE, I SHOULD KNOW BETTER !!!
  • Frank the tankFrank the tank Posts: 6,806
    I, like a lot of people I suspect, like various kinds of classical music but just don't know which pieces they are.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • There is so much - I think starting with listening to Radio 3 or Classic FM will give you a nice introduction so you can find you own taste.

    When I was studying at the Royal Academy of Music one of the professors there refused to mark concerts given by students if they included music by Brahms :lol: - who is generally considered one of the greatest composers of the 19th century!!

    If you hear something you like on the radio, you could try going to a concert with some other repertoire by the same composer. I often find I enjoy music a lot more having heard it live - particularly more complex music such as Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Wagner, Mahler etc.

    My sister works in the London Philharmonic Orchestra admin staff, and they've recently introduced a listen before you go to the concert via their website...

    http://www.lpo.org.uk/listen/index.html

    I don't know if any other orchestras are doing similar things.

    I'd also like to throw in my twopenneth worth for Gerald Finzi - I consider him to be the most underrated composer ever. Dies Natalies, Clarinet Concerto, Nocturne, etc. Quintessential 1940's imagery of England. Stunningly simple, yet utterly beautiful.
    We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies - it is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire
  • There is so much - I think starting with listening to Radio 3 or Classic FM will give you a nice introduction so you can find you own taste.

    When I was studying at the Royal Academy of Music one of the professors there refused to mark concerts given by students if they included music by Brahms :lol: - who is generally considered one of the greatest composers of the 19th century!!

    If you hear something you like on the radio, you could try going to a concert with some other repertoire by the same composer. I often find I enjoy music a lot more having heard it live - particularly more complex music such as Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Wagner, Mahler etc.

    My sister works in the London Philharmonic Orchestra admin staff, and they've recently introduced a listen before you go to the concert via their website...

    http://www.lpo.org.uk/listen/index.html

    I don't know if any other orchestras are doing similar things.

    I'd also like to throw in my twopenneth worth for Gerald Finzi - I consider him to be the most underrated composer ever. Dies Natalies, Clarinet Concerto, Nocturne, etc. Quintessential 1940's imagery of England. Stunningly simple, yet utterly beautiful.
    We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies - it is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire
  • DavidBelcherDavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    By the way, somebody mentioned the Ealing comedies - does anybody know if you can get recording of Muir Matheison's music? He was the chap who composed/conducted so many classic themes from british films in the 40s, 50s and early 60s.

    I don't know, but certainly know the name - along with Clifton Parker he provided some notable background music for many of the British Transport Films documentaries.

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • iainmentiainment Posts: 992
    Thank you all so much - I'm off to Dublin today and will dispose of some euros to start a bit of a collection.

    Now what about jazz.....................
    Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
    Joseph Gallivan
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    iainment wrote:
    Thank you all so much - I'm off to Dublin today and will dispose of some euros to start a bit of a collection.

    Now what about jazz.....................

    You could do worse than pick up a copy of The Best of Humphrey Littleton. Apart from being a game show host, he was a very accomplished jazz man and played with all the greats.


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