Getting Started With Classical Music - Need A Beginners Guide

Rambo

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I'm working on a project/gift for a friend who's very sick. I want to download them a whole host of classical music they can listen to during times of intense illness. Trouble is, I don't know SHIT about classical music. I know some of you are classical fanatics, so I thought you might be able to help.
 

Betelgeuse

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I am no expert in classical music, but I have a few pieces that I find fantastic. This first one is Danzón No. 2, written by Arturo Márquez, interpreted by the Venezuelan Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Dudamel, is one of the best conductors right now... as far as I know.


Alondra de la Parra, was born in NY, if I don't remember bad, but her parents are from Mexico. She conducts the Philarmonic Orchestra of the Americas. She's not onsidered one of the best, but have some very classical pieces.

This is a very classical very well known piece, Tocatta & Fugue in D Minor, by Bach. Commonly this piece is interpreted with only an organ, but I find amazing what this orchestra did. If you listen to it, there are some parts that are "bouncing" between the cords and the "wind" isntruments... amazing!


And finally this piece of Vivaldi's famous Four Seasons. I personally like all of them... but Summer is one of the best.


Hoe this helps!
 

Chorn

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Buy them a copy of 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. A great film about a brilliant (and nutty) man.

My two favorite Gould clips (one from them the movie and the other not)

Not from the movie, but it highlights many idiosyncrasies that made Gould so interesting. His unorthodox stance. The inability to play without swaying/twitching and humming along with the music (this can be heard on a lot of non-remastered recordings). His ability to jump seamlessly between playing and not playing (most visible in some of his interviews).

From 32 Short Films (not one of my favorite clips, but I couldn't find those

(less than half of the films are simply his music, though is music is featured in the majority of them)

ah, here is one that I've always liked (though I'm not a huge fan of the Beethoven piece used for it) :

Edit: found my favorite of the 32.
 

Rambo

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You guys are WAY off the base here. What I need is search terms for Pirate Bay. Like a list of composers and the works I absolutely have to have.
 

Chorn

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You need 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. And then his Goldberg Variations, English Suites, and French Suites.
 

Chorn

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A lot of people have been mentioning composers; Lang Lang is a pianist. I've seen Lang Lang in concert (as one of 200 people...I have no idea how I came to be one of them) and quite frankly, video of Glenn Gould is more impressive. This is not to say that Lang Lang was terrible. He just wasn't Glenn Gould.

So how is this project is going?
 

Rambo

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Thanks guys. I just moved so I haven't had a chance to get started on it yet. Will let you know how its going once I get the ball rolling.
 

Chorn

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I don't know why, but I hadn't really listened to Bach's cello suites until recently (Rostropovich). The prelude of No. 2 is brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant.

 

MFDoom

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You guys are WAY off the base here. What I need is search terms for Pirate Bay. Like a list of composers and the works I absolutely have to have.
Jonathan Bell Vivaldi (Four Seasons)
Florian Deuter Vivaldi (Violin Concertos)
Yo Yo Ma Bach (Cello suites)
Hewitt Bach Klavier (Well-Tempered Klavier)
Schubert Munch (Symphony 8 and 9)
Beethoven Kleiber (Symphony 5 and 7)

At least that's some of what I've found indispensible and easily had. See, it's not all grand schemes of World Domination. Sometimes it's the smaller acts of civil disobedience that soothe the tortured soul.
 

MFDoom

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Nope, I have yet to listen to any of this shit.
A lot of the works I listed you've already heard. The Vivaldi, The Bach, the Beethoven.

Add to this:
Any Mozart
Tchaikovsky Nutcracker suite. Ormandy or Dorati if you can find it, otherwise most any other version will suffice, except for Gergiev (who plays it too fast)

Nice upside: they're all upbeat, friendly works The first list can be found on PB.
 

MFDoom

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If you are an Amaxon Prime member, there is a lot of good classical on prime for streaming, or very cheap mp3 purchase. For instance:
Vivaldi's four seasons
Beethoven symphony cycle (Toscanini)
Shostakovich symphony cycle (Barshai)
 
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MFDoom

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Btw - there is a voxbox Chopin piano works out there, and it is very inexpensive with solid performances. If you like you some Chopin.
 

doghouse

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I'm not sure which of you are Cox Cable subscribers, but I actually use the Music Channels as background music around the house. Classical Masterpieces is quite good.
 

spencer096

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im gonna bring this thread back...i absolutely fucking love classical music. i went to school for jazz and classical guitar performance, and as i went along fell in love with music theory and composition. classical music is awesome, but getting into it can be daunting. if you wanna try diving in, ask me anything...i'll just post some of my favorite sections in the meantime.

classical music so much deeper than just the enjoyable melodies and beautiful sound. the math behind it, the physics of sound waves...it's mindblowing stuff and makes the experience of listening to this music exponentially more enjoyable. and i think these animated graphs make it easier to see (and then hear) what's going on in the different sections.

(2:45-4:53) - beethoven's 3rd, 4th movement


(6:00-8:19) - mozart's 20th piano concerto, 1st movement


(11:10-13:46) - beethoven's 9th, 4th movement...i consider this to be the greatest section of music ever written



(whole thing, it's short) - chopin's ocean etude (opus 25, no 12)

 

spencer096

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JS bach

bach is the most important musical figure in all of western music. there were peers of his...most notably vivaldi...but there is no other figure who had such a dramatic impact on just about every codified aspect of western music harmony and form. the way music's organized, the way the instrumentation is used to compliment other "voices", the informal rules about how all the different notes relate to each other...we are still living in the shadow bach cast.

his music fits the definition of 'baroque.' it's ornate, perfect, functional over superfluous. heavy religious overtones. complex and demanding, incredibly detailed. a lot of people consider it overly clinical to the point of sterility. i would, personally disagree, but it's obviously not as romantic as mozart or beethoven.

personally, bach is my third favorite composer behind beethoven and mozart. in terms of historical significance though, he's a giant with very few peers.

(8:48-end) - brandenburg #5...how the orchestra comes in after his solo gives me goosebumps every time


(all...this is mandatory listening for potential fans of classical music) - brandenburg #3


(1:19-1:33) - tocatta fugue in d minor...this section's the best example of a "pedal tone/point/note." think of it like a theoretical tether ball...the pedal, i.e. the note that's repeated over and over, serves as the pole in which the musical ball swings around. the pole serves as that gravitational force that reminds the listener of the piece's key while the harmony goes in these wild other directions before finally returning home and creating that refreshing emotional resolution.


(listen to the first 90 secs or so) - mass in b-minor...not one of his more notable works, but i just think it's fuckin' badass.


(all...only 37 secs) - goldberg #5...bach actually hated the pianoforte (what became the modern piano) only for ensembles, not for personal practice. harpischord, organ, clavichord...all these keyboards were able to be heard through the muck of the orchestra while the piano didn't. at least until technology in the realm of pianos and acoustics caught up and started to make it possible.

glenn gould was the pianist who was seemingly born to play bach. mentally disturbed, gould had a tick that he would only play in the chair that his father made for him when he was 11. obviously, as he grew, he became too large for this chair, meaning that the plane of his forearms and hands was lower than the textbook piano technique of chopin or liszt. this meant he powered his strokes from his knuckles, not by draping his hands over the keys.

because of this lower forearm/hand plane, gould had a much more percussive, biting attack on the piano than other pianists. you can tell it's him immediately. and because of this percussive element, he was the perfect pianist to play bach.


(first few mins) - bwv 1058


(whole thing...vid is already edited down to the best 3 mins) - bwv 1052

 

Kingstonian

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The first Gould Goldberg variations is a lot faster than his 1980s recording.

The humming is intrusive in a way that earlier recording techniques might not have picked up.
 

Kingstonian

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As for the original question on this thread, a copy of the Gramophone Good CD Guide or The Penguin equivalent will offer a list of ‘essential recordings’. Classic FM in the UK will offer most of the popular choices.

Failing that, there is always ‘The best classical CD ever’
 

spencer096

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Stop right there. Jazz is the antithesis of classical music, and its enemy.
if anything, jazz is merely an extension of classical music.

as the symphony because the vehicle of choice, classical music became monolithic and plodding. wagner, liszt, tchaikovsky...those post-romantic composers were using these bloated sets of instrumentation because it was a competition to see what could be new and bigger and better.

jazz is a return to baroque era small chamber ensemble music. with modern instrumentation, a drumset, a syncopated beat, use of the 7th chord (which COMPLETELY changes the theoretical game) and the higher extensions, with an american bent towards featuring the individual soloist. what it isn't, is any different than classical music.

bach, vivaldi, paganini, mozart, etc...they didnt just do huge orchestral works. so much of it's devoted to smaller ensembles and soloists. and yes, baroque music heavily leaned on improvisation over theoretical structres...the very exact thing that jazz is.

what's different? probably 350 years and the difference between aristocratic central europeans and african americans in the early 1900's. it is absolutely, in no way whatsoever, the "antithesis" of classical music.

edited to add that early jazz was heavily influenced by sousa and military marches, which is more of a branch of european classical music than say, blues.
 

spencer096

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Speed is over rated in music.






physical and mental athleticism is the same in music as it is in sport. "athleticism" is overrated until your fundamentals and solid teammwork get straight up dunked on. speed and velocity are just another element that need to be accounted for and controlled by musicians, as any other. but if a musician simply can't play fast, they can't play a significant portion of every genre's repertoire.

there is zero excuse for a musician not to be able to play with great speed. is it 100% necessary for great music? no, but it is for great musicians. even the greats who say they don't care about speed still had it in reserve...that's the difference between it being overrated and properly rated.
 

spencer096

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Speed is over rated in music.
i mean, there is a lot of truth to this tho...

it's drastically easier to play things fast than slow because your brain doesnt get in the way. you go autopilot. when things slow down, you can really tell who has a mastery over the music and who's just there to sprint.

/still think speed isnt overrated
//is a musician who plays at lightspeed
///this is personal lol
 

Kingstonian

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Speed is over rated in music. It is not a race.

Not just in classical music either.

Fiddle players rushing through reels. That is dance music and the dancers should set the pace.

Speed is OK if you are performing a novelty piece for ‘Sunday Night at The London Palladium’ but it is not something you would want to listen to on a regular basis, in my opinion.

As for novelty pieces, how about this Bach on the glass harmonica?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKRj-T4l-e8

OK, it is glasses rather than a glass harmonica - but even so. I heard a glass harmonica played during Lucia di Lammermoor and I thought there are probably not a great many musicians who can play one.
 

spencer096

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Speed is over rated in music. It is not a race.
i agree with this in a macro sense, but there are dozens of musical pieces that are exactly that. a race. flight of the bumblebee...speed is seriously the thing that makes that piece so vibrant. speed merely for speed's sake...like yngwie malmsteen...is overrated and boring and stupid and everyone rightfully hates it. but speed as tastefully applied technique is beautiful in its own right.

think of it this way...you dont listen to musicians only because they're slow since "speed's overrated," do you? speed/time is another element that needs to be controlled for. it's neither inherently bad or good.
 

TheUntermensch

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To get back to the original question: there is no beginner's guide to classical music. It's like asking for a beginner's guide to wives or hobbies. You just have to reach for what's closest, and stick with it if you like it. Youtube is your friend. It's not just illegal uploads of Rihanna's albums out there, you know. There's a lot of otherwise inaccessible classical music (to those on an average or Unter income).

Here, let me get you started:
She's probably related to the forum mascot. Some sister of his or something.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Stop right there. Jazz is the antithesis of classical music, and its enemy.
You never heard of Third Stream music?

if anything, jazz is merely an extension of classical music.

as the symphony because the vehicle of choice, classical music became monolithic and plodding. wagner, liszt, tchaikovsky...those post-romantic composers were using these bloated sets of instrumentation because it was a competition to see what could be new and bigger and better.

jazz is a return to baroque era small chamber ensemble music. with modern instrumentation, a drumset, a syncopated beat, use of the 7th chord (which COMPLETELY changes the theoretical game) and the higher extensions, with an american bent towards featuring the individual soloist. what it isn't, is any different than classical music.

bach, vivaldi, paganini, mozart, etc...they didnt just do huge orchestral works. so much of it's devoted to smaller ensembles and soloists. and yes, baroque music heavily leaned on improvisation over theoretical structres...the very exact thing that jazz is.

what's different? probably 350 years and the difference between aristocratic central europeans and african americans in the early 1900's. it is absolutely, in no way whatsoever, the "antithesis" of classical music.

edited to add that early jazz was heavily influenced by sousa and military marches, which is more of a branch of european classical music than say, blues.
As Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton stated, jazz is American music with a Spanish tinge.

Another massive influence on jazz oft understated is Eastern European folk music.

No I don't think so. Speed is over rated in music.
Yes, cannot get into all that phallic harpsichord malarkey.
 
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