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  • #16
    Originally posted by Agathon
    I second that. No. 6 is also a fine performance.
    The sound quality on that one kills it for me. Were it not a live recording or it were just recording using better equipment, it would certainly be on my short list of great 6ths. But alas...

    Fiend!!!
    It's precise, at least. And lackluster overall , I feel. But it's better than Karajan, I'll give him that.
    Tutto nel mondo burla

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Agathon
      Naw, this is for my old man, who wants to listen to Mp3's or WMA's while he's exercising.


      Then you are stuck with Napster. iTunes doesn't sell WMAs.
      Actually, what we're trying to find out is what site has more of the music he prefers prior to buying a player.

      Comment


      • #18
        I'll recommend some recordings along these lines. A fine recording makes all the difference.

        J.S. Bach - anything he wrote, really. But start with his keyboard music such as the Well-Tempered Clavier, Anna Magdelena and organ pieces. Brandenburg Concertos next, then delve into the sacred works, esp. St. Matthew Passion and the monumental B Minor Mass.


        I'd start with the Brandenburgs and Orchestral Suites. A fine recording of the BC's is Pinnock's on DG Archiv, played on period instruments. His OC's aren't so good.

        Handel - The Messiah is his claim to fame, but select orchestral works are good as well. Esp. Royal Fireworks.


        Pinnock has a really good version of the Royal Fireworks Music too, same label. If you want sheer over the top noise, Frederick Fennell and the Cleveland Symphonic Winds can't be beat (it's a real speaker wrecker).

        Vivaldi - Four Seasons, and really that's all you need bother with.


        Are you insane, Boris? What about the cello concertos or his Gloria I wouldn't want to be without those.

        Haydn - select symphonies (he wrote 104). The Toy Symphony, Surprise Symphony and Farewell Symphony are highlights. His string quartets are also spiffy.


        These are great. Phillips does an excellent series of 2 for 1s of all the major Haydn symphonies.

        Mozart - I think you can buy the complete works of Mozart on a set of 122 discs for about $1200. That gives you an idea how big they are. But start with the basics-- Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Elvira Madigan, Symphonies 39, 40, 41, the Requiem mass, Coronation Mass.


        Again, Phillips has a series of 2 for 1s conducted by Neville Marriner, which I like. Although I prefer the complete Pinnock set of symphonies which cost me a mere 40 bucks on sale.

        The Nonesuch series of piano concertos with Richard Goode is really great, and I would recommend them to anyone.

        Beethoven - The symphonies are the core of his work, and while I think there's no good reason not to have a complete set, if you must be choosy, pick the odds and do 3,5,7 & 9. 8, 6 and 4 after that. 1&2 are good, but just not as special. Other works include Moonlight Sonata, Emperor concerto, select overtures (Egmont, King Stephen), Fur Elise, Pathetique and string quartets. Beware the late string quartets--not for the faint of heart. Missa Solemnis is his best sacred work.


        Boris hates Karajan, but I like all of his first set (except #6) which can be obtained cheaply these days. For a digital set, Wand's is reasonably priced.

        But - be adventurous - buy Harnoncourt's set. It is available for about 50 dollars or less, and is stupendous.

        Brahms


        Sucks.

        Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "New World," Slavonic Dances


        Szell's Slavonic Dances is good, and Bruno Walter's 9th with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra should be in anyone's collection. So should Rafael Kubelik's version.

        Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade


        Beecham's is best.

        Elgar - Enigma Variations, Violin Concerto


        You left out the best one!!! Introduction and Allegro for Strings - available by Barbirolli on an EMI cheapie along with Barbirolli's best ever version of Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia - this is a must have disc.

        Sibelius - Finlandia, Symphonies 2 & 6


        All of Sibelius is good except for symphony #1 (which I hate).

        The Davis recordings on RCA are good, but I prefer Vanska on BIS.

        Mahler - Not for the faint of heart, but not for the same reason as Bruckner. Mahler's music delves into the deepest of human emotions--it's not light music. Like Beethoven, the symphonies are the core: Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6 and 8 are the greatest, but you can't go wrong with any of them. Beyond that, Das Lied von der Erde and die Kindertotenlieder are mainstays.


        You forgot #9 - one of the finest.

        I love Mahler, everyone should have Kubelik's #1 and Rattle's #2 for starters.

        Bartok - Concerto for Orchestra


        Add to that his piano concertos and Divertimento for strings.

        There are many fine recordings of the Concerto for Orchestra, but Fritz Reiner's is far and away the best.

        Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet ballet suite, symphonies 1 & 5, Peter & the Wolf


        What about his 5th symphony.

        Holst - The Planets


        Add Edgon Heath and the Hymn of Jesus.

        Shostakovich - String quartet no. 8 in C minor, Symphony No. 5


        Stokowski's 5th is still my favourite


        I'd add

        Schoenberg: Transfigured Night.

        Janacek: Sinfonietta and Glagolitic Mass (the MacKerras version - the others suck).

        Nielsen: Symphony #4 "The Inextinguishable"

        Bantock: Celtic Symphony: Hebridean Symphony.

        Simpson: Symphony #9

        Stravinsky: Petrouchka
        Only feebs vote.

        Comment


        • #19
          Buy the CDs and rip them. Then you could, if you were devious, sell them on.

          But that would be bad.
          Only feebs vote.

          Comment


          • #20
            Soulseek.
            I'm building a wagon! On some other part of the internets, obviously (but not that other site).

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Boris Godunov


              My child, I could tutor you so much.

              Lesson one... there are no classical "bands." Orchestras or ensembles.

              Starting with good conductors is like learning to walk before learning to crawl. Start with isolating the composers/genres that you find most interesting and go from there. Besides, every conductor is great in some things but not so great in others. You'll never get better Beethoven than Furtwangler, but god help you if you get his Mozart.

              Personally, I think a ground-up approach is best, because you get a real sense of how music evolved over the centuries. So start with some baroque music (or even renaissance if you're adventurous) and go forward. General path for non-operatic music:

              J.S. Bach - anything he wrote, really. But start with his keyboard music such as the Well-Tempered Clavier, Anna Magdelena and organ pieces. Brandenburg Concertos next, then delve into the sacred works, esp. St. Matthew Passion and the monumental B Minor Mass.

              Handel - The Messiah is his claim to fame, but select orchestral works are good as well. Esp. Royal Fireworks.

              Vivaldi - Four Seasons, and really that's all you need bother with.

              Haydn - select symphonies (he wrote 104). The Toy Symphony, Surprise Symphony and Farewell Symphony are highlights. His string quartets are also spiffy.

              Mozart - I think you can buy the complete works of Mozart on a set of 122 discs for about $1200. That gives you an idea how big they are. But start with the basics-- Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Elvira Madigan, Symphonies 39, 40, 41, the Requiem mass, Coronation Mass.

              Beethoven - The symphonies are the core of his work, and while I think there's no good reason not to have a complete set, if you must be choosy, pick the odds and do 3,5,7 & 9. 8, 6 and 4 after that. 1&2 are good, but just not as special. Other works include Moonlight Sonata, Emperor concerto, select overtures (Egmont, King Stephen), Fur Elise, Pathetique and string quartets. Beware the late string quartets--not for the faint of heart. Missa Solemnis is his best sacred work.

              Mendelssohn - Midsummer Night's Dream, violin concerto

              Schubert - Symphonies 8&9, Trout Quintet, and you must try some of his song cycles (Die Wintereisse being the obvious first pick). Stand alone songs: An Die Musik, Die Erlkonig (esp. w/ Elizabeth Schwartzkopf singing it).

              Chopin - a whole heap of etudes, polonaises and other piano works.

              Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsodies, Faust Symphony, Totentanz

              Berlioz - Symphony Fantastique, Requiem (a bit on the bombastic side for my tastes)

              Schumann - Symphonies 2&4, Carnivale

              Saint-Sains - Symphony No. 3 ("Organ"), Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre

              Bruckner (dangerous territority) - the huge Te Deum (hehe, or "Tedium") is dense and ponderous, like much of Bruckner. Most of his symphonies should probably be avoided, but there are two gems worth having: No. 4 and No. 8. The latter is probably his greatest work.

              Brahms - Any of Brahms' chamber works are masterpieces, but solo piano works op. 117, 118, & 119, string quartet no. 1, piano quintet in F minor, clarinet quintet, string sextet. Orchestral works include all four symphonies (nos. 1 & 4 being indispensable), Academic Festival Overture, Tragic Overture (too brittle for some), the Serenades and Variations on a Theme by Haydn (finest orchestral variations ever written). Hungarian Dances are available either solo piano or orchestral. Brahms also wrote a ton of madrigals, all fine, but perhaps his single greatest work is Ein Deutsches Requiem, the lone Protestant requiem mass in the repetoire.

              Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "New World," Slavonic Dances

              Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, Russian Easter Festival Overture, Capriccio Espanol

              Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (the original piano version and the Ravel orchestration are both worthy), Night on Bald Mountain (the Rimsky orchestration and original version are so different that having both is good). Songs and Dances of Death (esp. sung by Martti Talvela or Boris Christoff).

              Tchaikovsky - If one must have his works, fine... 1812 Overture is the warhorse, ballets like Serenade and Swan Lake (I loathe the Nutcracker, however). His symphonies aren't proper symphonies, but go ahead and check out Nos. 4 & 6.

              Grieg - Peer Gynt Suite

              Elgar - Enigma Variations, Violin Concerto

              Sibelius - Finlandia, Symphonies 2 & 6

              Rachmaninov - Piano concerto #2

              Debussy - Sacred and Profane Dances, La Mer, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

              Ravel - String quartet in F. Bolero is for hacks.

              Mahler - Not for the faint of heart, but not for the same reason as Bruckner. Mahler's music delves into the deepest of human emotions--it's not light music. Like Beethoven, the symphonies are the core: Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6 and 8 are the greatest, but you can't go wrong with any of them. Beyond that, Das Lied von der Erde and die Kindertotenlieder are mainstays.

              R. Strauss - Don Juan, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben

              Stravinsky - Rite of Spring, Petrouchka, Firebird.

              Bartok - Concerto for Orchestra

              Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet ballet suite, symphonies 1 & 5, Peter & the Wolf

              Resphigi - Pines of Rome

              Copland - Appalachian Spring, Rodeo

              Vaughan-Williams - Lark Descending, Fantasia/Thomas Tallis, Greensleeves, Symphony No. 4 in F minor (an angry, angry piece).

              Britten - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Chichester Psalms, War Requiem

              Barber - Adagio for Strings

              Holst - The Planets

              Shostakovich - String quartet no. 8 in C minor, Symphony No. 5

              That's a smattering of things to start with. There are some one-hit wonders I left out, but such pieces are usually famous enough to find on one's own.

              Opera is a whole 'nuther category.
              Your list is almost worth downloading, though I beg to disagree with you about Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. I notice you left out Wagner. Shame on you. His music is wonderful to listen to when one is in a funk, like after a girlfriend has dumped you or you've gotten fired. Oh, that's just the right time to gather around one's collectiuon of firearms and play a little Die Gotterdamerung.
              "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

              Comment


              • #22
                Real Rhapsody has a nice selection. You can use the site to peruse an enormous store of classical and other genres. If you subscribe you can play entire pieces, not just a tiny snipet, then when you've found what you want you can download your choice.
                "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Agathon
                  Are you insane, Boris? What about the cello concertos or his Gloria I wouldn't want to be without those.
                  It's a beginner's list, and since I have a general antipathy towards Vivaldi anyway, I threw out the most famous of his works. Considering the other sacred pieces on the list, I don't think the Gloria is "essential," even though it's easily the Vivaldi piece I most enjoy.

                  Boris hates Karajan, but I like all of his first set (except #6) which can be obtained cheaply these days. For a digital set, Wand's is reasonably priced.
                  I don't "hate" Karajan, but I do dislike his Beethoven. "Turgid" is the most apt description I've seen. I think Karajan is great in Bruckner and Wagner, among others. It's when he gets his nazi mitts on more "classical" music such as Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms that I get rankled.

                  Nobody beats Furtwangler's Beethoven. They are simply the most brilliant performances on record. There is something so visceral about them, and spontaneous. It's as if the music was being composed in the moment of performance.

                  Still, since they are all pre-1955 recordings (and most live), folks who want more modern sound quality can explore the select symphonies recorded by Carlos Kleiber. You can get his Nos. 5 & 7 on one disc, and they are spectacularly good. In fact, I would recommend pretty much any Kleiber recording of any piece. I've never failed to be impressed. Too bad he has recorded so little.

                  Sucks.
                  Heh, predictable.

                  I'd advise anyone to get the Szell Brahms set. All four symphonies on 3 discs, plus the Academic and Tragic overtures and the Haydn variations. I think you can get the whole set for ~$20. Not the most exciting interpretations, but solid.

                  The best Brahms symphony performances to be had are, like Beethoven, the work of Furtwangler. You'll not find any more searing performances, if you can get past the mono sound.

                  I did omit, carelessly, the Piano Concerto No. 2, which is the greatest piano concerto ever written.

                  Klemperer is another solid Brahmsian, and his Ein Deutsches Requiem on EMI with Fischer-Dieskau and Schwartzkopf is amazing.

                  Szell's Slavonic Dances is good, and Bruno Walter's 9th with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra should be in anyone's collection. So should Rafael Kubelik's version.
                  Kurt Masur's 9th with the NY Phil is impressive, certainly the best modern recording I've heard.

                  Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade


                  Beecham's is best.
                  Maybe, but you can get others that are superb--Stokowski's 1964 Decca recording (which I think outdoes Beecham) and, believe it or not, an extraordinary modern one from Mackerras.

                  Elgar - Enigma Variations, Violin Concerto


                  You left out the best one!!! Introduction and Allegro for Strings - available by Barbirolli on an EMI cheapie along with Barbirolli's best ever version of Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia - this is a must have disc.
                  Nah, Enigma and the Violin Concerto (esp that one) are more important for a beginning library. The concerto is perhaps the finest one written for that instrument.

                  All of Sibelius is good except for symphony #1 (which I hate).
                  I dunno, I've heard more Sibelius that I don't think is so good.

                  You forgot #9 - one of the finest.
                  Ideally, I think people should have a complete Mahler set (the Bernstein Sony NYP set can be had for ~$70, well worth it). But having to choose among the "latter" symphonies, I had to give 8 the nod over 9. No. 8 is simply magnificent. And Solti's is probably the best recording of it, available on an incredibly good remastering through Decca's Legendary Performances series. The soloists alone are worth it.

                  I'd definitely recommend any Bernstein recording for Mahler. It may be cliche, but he was THE Mahler conductor.

                  Prokofiev - Romeo & Juliet ballet suite, symphonies 1 & 5, Peter & the Wolf


                  What about his 5th symphony.


                  Schoenberg: Transfigured Night.

                  Janacek: Sinfonietta and Glagolitic Mass (the MacKerras version - the others suck).

                  Nielsen: Symphony #4 "The Inextinguishable"

                  Bantock: Celtic Symphony: Hebridean Symphony.

                  Simpson: Symphony #9

                  Stravinsky: Petrouchka
                  I said Petrouchka, and none of the others would I consider for a beginner's set of indispensible classical pieces. I have a lot of personal favs I left of the list because I wasn't trying to foist my favs on people, just list the "warhorses" that make a respectable start.

                  One piece in the "one hit wonder" category I didn't mention was Orff's Carmina Burana, and the only recording of it that will do is Previn's EMI set, which is justly legendary.
                  Tutto nel mondo burla

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Doc S - I omitted Wagner because, as I stated, I wasn't delving into opera, which is a whole 'nother world. Since Wagner's ouvre was almost exclusively opera, his stuff didn't qualify.

                    I often get disagreements about Tchaikovsky, but what was your disagreement about what I said about Beethoven?
                    Tutto nel mondo burla

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I do like this quote, though:

                      "I hate Tchaikovsky and I will not conduct him. But if the audience wants him, it can have him." - Pierre Boulez
                      Tutto nel mondo burla

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Haydn - select symphonies (he wrote 104). The Toy Symphony, Surprise Symphony and Farewell Symphony are highlights. His string quartets are also spiffy.
                        While your list is, on the whole, accurate and reflective of teh better composers of non-operatic music, this depressed me to know end. Haydn string quartets are extremely formulaic, repetative, and generally boring. Admittedly, I am approaching them from teh perspective of a cellist, but my statement stands.

                        [brahms] Sucks.
                        My good sir, you deprive yourself and the world of a truly wonderful experience.
                        Boris, you neglected to mention the 4th symphony, which should assuredly go onto the list.


                        Rachmaninov - Piano concerto #2
                        As above, your inattention to the 2nd symphony is disturbing.



                        Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "New World," Slavonic Dances
                        Both good, but if you are looking to maximize the beauty of your Dvorak collection, never forget the 7th symphony.
                        "Remember, there's good stuff in American culture, too. It's just that by "good stuff" we mean "attacking the French," and Germany's been doing that for ages now, so, well, where does that leave us?" - Elok

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          It's a beginner's list,


                          And you have Mahler on it. Hardcore.

                          and since I have a general antipathy towards Vivaldi anyway, I threw out the most famous of his works. Considering the other sacred pieces on the list, I don't think the Gloria is "essential," even though it's easily the Vivaldi piece I most enjoy.


                          Ditto.

                          I don't "hate" Karajan, but I do dislike his Beethoven. "Turgid" is the most apt description I've seen. I think Karajan is great in Bruckner and Wagner, among others. It's when he gets his nazi mitts on more "classical" music such as Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms that I get rankled.


                          Nazi mitts? Pistols at dawn, sir!!

                          Nobody beats Furtwangler's Beethoven. They are simply the most brilliant performances on record. There is something so visceral about them, and spontaneous. It's as if the music was being composed in the moment of performance.


                          I have the ninth. It is very fine, although the mono recording is a little disconcerting.

                          Still, since they are all pre-1955 recordings (and most live), folks who want more modern sound quality can explore the select symphonies recorded by Carlos Kleiber. You can get his Nos. 5 & 7 on one disc, and they are spectacularly good.


                          Yep. I second that. This is one of my desert island discs. In fact it's the first one I looked for in iTunes when JohnT posted the thread. It is there.

                          Some other Beethoven picks: Ashkenazy's 6th, Kovacevich's "Emperor" Concerto, the Schneiderhan Violin Concerto, and the Goode complete piano sonata set.

                          Heh, predictable.




                          Kurt Masur's 9th with the NY Phil is impressive, certainly the best modern recording I've heard.


                          Kondrashin's cheapie is nice too.

                          Maybe, but you can get others that are superb--Stokowski's 1964 Decca recording (which I think outdoes Beecham) and, believe it or not, an extraordinary modern one from Mackerras.


                          I have that Stoki. I think there is also a version (not the same - you are thinking of the Phase 4 one) in the Stokowski RCA box set (which has his great Mahler 2 in it), which I also have.

                          Nah, Enigma and the Violin Concerto (esp that one) are more important for a beginning library. The concerto is perhaps the finest one written for that instrument.


                          I'd take the allegro over both of those - especially on the Barbirolli disc with his version of the Tallis Fantasia.

                          I dunno, I've heard more Sibelius that I don't think is so good.


                          I like all of it except #1. I particularly like his violin concerto.

                          Ideally, I think people should have a complete Mahler set (the Bernstein Sony NYP set can be had for ~$70, well worth it). But having to choose among the "latter" symphonies, I had to give 8 the nod over 9. No. 8 is simply magnificent. And Solti's is probably the best recording of it, available on an incredibly good remastering through Decca's Legendary Performances series. The soloists alone are worth it.

                          I'd definitely recommend any Bernstein recording for Mahler. It may be cliche, but he was THE Mahler conductor.


                          My Mahler picks

                          #1 Kubelik (unbelievable - the finale ruins you for all other performances)
                          # Rattle (although Stoki is good, as is Bernstein on CBS)
                          #3 Horenstein - has no peer.
                          #4 Szell
                          #5 Barbirolli
                          #6 Boulez (yes, I know)
                          #7 Abbado
                          #8 Segerstam (I don't like the Solti as much)
                          #9 Barbirolli or Klemperer
                          #10 Rattle
                          Das Lied von der Erde - Walter with Kathleen Ferrier




                          What do you mean!!!!!! Grrr..


                          I said Petrouchka, and none of the others would I consider for a beginner's set of indispensible classical pieces. I have a lot of personal favs I left of the list because I wasn't trying to foist my favs on people, just list the "warhorses" that make a respectable start.


                          I dunno. I tended to start with a composer and then collect a lot of his stuff. Worked for me (except Brahms - although I have a few - the Piano Quartet being one).

                          One piece in the "one hit wonder" category I didn't mention was Orff's Carmina Burana, and the only recording of it that will do is Previn's EMI set, which is justly legendary.


                          I forgot the Mozart Requiem and the Faure Requiem. Those are good for beginners and the jaded.
                          Only feebs vote.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Admiral
                            Haydn string quartets are extremely formulaic, repetative, and generally boring. Admittedly, I am approaching them from teh perspective of a cellist, but my statement stands.
                            We'll just have to disagree, because I find many of the quartets to be charming and worth listening to. No, they don't rock anyone's world, but they certainly aren't bad. Keep in mind that they defined the genre. As with symphonies, it was Haydn's pioneering here that created a model which the rest would follow. So if they are "formulaic," remember that it was he who devised the formula!

                            My good sir, you deprive yourself and the world of a truly wonderful experience.
                            Himself, yes. But let's not exaggerate the "world," as in the real world, Brahms is one of the most often-performed composers in classical music venues, and probably THE most performed in chamber music.

                            Boris, you neglected to mention the 4th symphony, which should assuredly go onto the list.
                            Eh? Read again:

                            Orchestral works include all four symphonies (nos. 1 & 4 being indispensable)
                            I certainly could not forget No. 4, since I own about 18 different recordings of it.

                            And I'm not a fan of any of the Rach symphonies. But if someone wants them, they can have them.

                            As for Dvorak, I'd say it behooves any classical fan to have all the symphonies, sure. But on a short list, I think the 9th can stand as his representative.

                            And you have Mahler on it. Hardcore.
                            I did put a warning, you'll note. Actually, I've been pleasantly surprised at how inexperienced classical listeners I've known have taking a liking to Mahler. Since much of his music has been imitated by film scores, there was a familiarity to it that offset the formidable depth.

                            Nazi mitts? Pistols at dawn, sir!!
                            Hey, don't blame me because he joined the Nazis. Twice, in fact.
                            Tutto nel mondo burla

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