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Classical Music recommendations for a Newbie

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by RetroTeleRod, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2012
    Oklahoma, USA
    Recently they've put a repeater in my area and I can now get a classical FM station in my vehicle when traveling locally. I find myself playing it more and more as time goes by. For those long time fans of classical, what are some of your favorites that would be easy for a newcomer to grasp? I can tell you I really like Vivaldi's Four Seasons if that helps tune your recommendations. Really not interested in anything with vocals or solo piano compositions. With this in mind what do I really need to hear?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I like compositions with fewer instruments over orchestral works. So rather than have a wash of sound I like to hear how the individual instruments interact.

    Tops in my list are string quartets:
    Late Beethoven
    Charles Ives!
  3. buster poser

    buster poser Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    May 1, 2018
    For me, there are a few, but if I were to recommend just one, Mozart's Requiem checks a lot of boxes for me. Not strictly instrumental, but I think it might change your mind on 'vocals' (I favor choral over solo) and I can all but guarantee you've heard Lacrymosa.

    Solo guitar, I'd hit Segovia of course, and any of the Romero family solo or together if you don't mind a little flamenco in your classical.
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  4. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    Let's give The Bach Brandenburg Concertos and Anything by Mozart an honorable mention too.
    Charles Ives is an acquired taste. You have to open your mind as well as your ears.
    Ravel's orchestrations are pure genius.
    The Bartok string quartets are among my favorites.
  5. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    - Richard Wagner - Ride Of The Valkyries
    - Gustav Holst - The Planets - Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
    - Mozart (most)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  6. ComeAndTakeIt

    ComeAndTakeIt TDPRI Member

    Sep 5, 2016
    Fort Worth, TX
    I'm a particular fan of baroque music in general. That lively subdivided beat really gets me. Also I'd throw in some of Handel in addition to all the great suggestions here.
    Maybe get a second-hand college music appreciation book? I loved that class. Really broadens the horizon
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  7. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Wow, unexpected for a Telecaster form. I love classical music. Orchestras were smaller in the classical period than later in the romantic. I like the music of the classical period better. Mozart concertos are favorites, as are his string quartets. I like the simplicity and mathematical precision of Mozart. I'm not into the, IMO, overly lush orchestrations of the romantic period but I love early 20th century Russian music. Prokofiev ballets, symphonies, and piano concertos blend Mozart's precision with modern orchestration, dissonance, and rhythmic complexities not found in the romantic and classical periods. There will be as many opinions as posters here. My advice is to open your mind and listen. You'll easily find what you like. I played classical and romantic period music on lower brass instruments in high school and college. I listened to a lot of classical music when I found little to like on pop and rock stations in the 80's. There are hundreds of years of music which has endured. Believe it or not, your exposure to classical music will have a very positive effect on what you play now. British rock in the 60's and early 70's, (think Moody Blues, Yes, Jethro Tull) was very strongly influenced by the classical composers, even if the musicians didn't realize it at the time.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  8. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Feb 23, 2018
    Nawth Alabama
    All of the above (though I've never taken to Ives) +

    Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique"

    Ravel's "Le tombeau de Couperin" (you've probably heard his "Bolero")

    Debussy, Dvorak, Grieg, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Copeland...endless list.

    If you want something visual to work with, I would suggest finding a copy of Disney's "Fantasia" as well as one of my favorites (a parody of Fantasia), "Allegro Non Troppo"
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  9. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Mussorgsky - Pictures At An Exhibition this is often backed with
    Borodin - Night On A Bare Mountain

    Gershwin - Rhapsody In Blue
    Gershwin - An American In Paris
    Gershwin - Pretty much anything :)

    Bizet - Carmen

    Carl Orff - Carmina Burana

    Mozart, Beethoven, Holst and Vivaldi could cobble a good tune.

    Suggest keeping the classical music on permanently as there is some stonking good stuff out there. The announcers will tell you what it was you listened to, from that, build a collection.
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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    This is the recording that got me started with classical music.

    Handel's Water Music, but this specific composition/orchestra. I've listened to other recordings of other orchestras and they just never compared to this one. So keep that in mind when you are searching/listening. Just like two different rock tribute bands will sound different, the classical recordings can be different.


    I played viola as a kid because there was a school orchestra program no rock band guitar offerings or I would have done that. So I was peppered with classical music along the way. It wasn't until my 40s I decided I wasn't going to wait to learn guitar any longer.

    I do prefer Handel over the Mozart and Beethoven music because those two have been so heavily overdone in all forms of media. Vivaldi is another I like.

    If you are out at garage sales over the summer you'll find classical CDs all over for cheap. Finding a CD player might be a challenge, lol.

  11. Marcelo R

    Marcelo R Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 3, 2014
    I started in music as a piano student at the age of twelve. My dream was to become a concert player - and play the Piano Concerto #1 by Tchaikovsky, and also, the Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin - figure that!

    It never happened, of course, and I switched to guitar and become instead a rock and pop player - sort of, at least. But I never lost my love for classical music.

    If you like piano music, well, there you got two good starting points above.

    If you like great orchestal music, Beethoven's 9th Symphony is a must.

    Finally, let me recommend Rossini's opera overtures: "The Thieving Magpie", "The Barber of Seville", "William Tell" (The Lone Ranger theme!) are all joyful and marvelous pieces.

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  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    hmm, no piano, no vocal, ok

    Bach, solo violin: sonatas and partitas (Gidon Kremer)
    Mozart, clarinet concerto, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
    Haydn, string quartets (all enjoyable, on Naxos)
    Beethoven, all the symphonies
    Debussy, ballet music
    Holst, The Planets
    Orff, Carmina Burana
    Schoenberg, Verklärte Nachte (listen to it once) and dip into later works for giggles
    Copland, Appalachian Spring
    Arvo Pärt, choral music (just let the words wash over)
    Peteris Vasks, string quartets, especially the 4th (Emerson Quartet)

    remember: "classical" is an entire world of music, often with nothing classical about it
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  13. tintag27

    tintag27 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Jan 18, 2010
    Old England
    I'll go for this beautiful recording of Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes. There is no vocals in this section and it is very easy to listen to... a gem of orchestral writing with wonderful dynamics from playful breezes to raindrops and thundering waves, so descriptive you can almost taste the salty sea air.
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  14. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2012
    Oklahoma, USA
    My ancient Sony still works! So I'm golden. :cool:
  15. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Everything listed above....(with possible exception of Charles Ives)
    I would also recommend going back a little further than most suggestions, to the Renaissance. Check out anything by Palestrina and Monteverdi. Many small ensembles (recorders, strings, harpsichords) and also check out madrigals....yes they are vocals, but are often performed by instrumental chamber groups. I will often listen to Renaissance music to "cleanse the palate" from rock and roll. Even listen to old English and European folk's ALL good!
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  16. Bendyha

    Bendyha Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 26, 2014
    Northern Germany
    If you want to stay near the four seasons in style, then Tartini's Devil's trill is a goodien.

    For sheer melodic excitement, a popular favourite is Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade

    I am a huge Händel fan, especialy his operas, but if you are not YET into singing, then wait a bit.

    Bach is the ultimate in musical genius as far as I am concerned...The Brandenburg Concerto's are very accessable, but my real love is his Harpsichord compositions

    Morzart mostly bores me close to nausia, things like the "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" are no better than cheesy commercial trash, made to irritate people on telephone waiting loops. I have never understood the hype over him. Yes, he composed some great works; some symphonies, concertos and of course the Requiem are great, but the bulk of his work.....:( (Verdi's Requiem...and that of Donezetti are also great)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  17. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I wanted to have some American content. AAron Copland didn't write any string quartets that I know about.
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  18. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Jun 1, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Someone else recommended the Brandenburg concertos
    I'll add that Brandenburg #5 is one my faves:

    I also really like Rachy 2:
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  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I'm also a big fan of the minimalists, like Steve Reich. This was my "getting it on" record, back when we still got it on :cry:

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  20. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    I agree that Mozart is often too polite, but a newbie needs to know some Mozart

    Verdi's Requiem is to me a snooze -- it takes *forever* to get anywhere

    for a Requiem, I think Gabriel Fauré nailed it -- that thing is golden inspiration all over
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