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Essential classical listening?

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by bassteban, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. For someone who likes classical music, but knows very little. I realize, of course, that this is very deep water. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Shostakovich.
  3. Thank you, Paul.
  4. Leco reis

    Leco reis

    Sep 2, 2004
    Astoria, NY
    Any Bella Bartok String quartet
  5. Bruckner----led me to Mahler.

    Mahler-----led me to Wagner's great works.
    Just attended a rare performance of Mahler's 6'th, probable sister piece for Kindertotenlieder(sp?).
    Mahler's music is quite expressive, and quite musically colorful. Whatever he was expereincing in life at the time was expressed in his music.
    Gustav Mahler tends to be my hero musically....

    Goldmark----Rustic Wedding was my first introduction, great string quartet material.

    Korngold----Movie Music, some Operatic material, great string
    quartet material.

    Zemlinsky----was Korngold's teacher for a time. Excellent string quartet material, excellent Operatic material.

    Haydn-----Much material, too many reasons....

    Brahms----Incredible Composer, and Musician......

    Start somewhere, leave your ears open, enjoy..and see where it leads you.

    Once the 'bug' hit me, I usually researched the composer from beginning to end, this lead to their mentors, students, contemporaries, etc.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I love symphonies and Mahler and Bruckner are particular favourites :

    Mahler - in this order 6,5,7,8,9,10,2,3,1,4

    Bruckner - 8,7,9,6,5,4 - others not so much

    Shostakovich - 10,11,5,4,8,6,9....

    Beethoven - 9,3,5,6,7/8,4,3,2,1 & 10 ;)

    Vaughan Williams - 5,4,3,2,1,6,7,8,9

    Walton - 1,2

    Sibelius - 1,2,5,3,4,6,7

    Tchaikovsky - 6,5,4,3,2,1

    Other must-have "symphonic" works -

    Messiaen -Turangalila Symphonie
    Stravinsky - Rite of Spring, Firebird
    Holst - Planets Suite
    Ravel Daphnis & Chloe, La Mer

    etc. etc.
  7. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    Once you play Mahler 6, you realize that there is nothing in the world like playing bass. Luckily for me, I played it at the age of 15, and it hooked me instantly. I realized at that moment that I wanted to be a bass player, and now I am in a Music Boarding School in Switzerland. Other pieces that have moved me are Beethovens Egmont Overture, I have always been a huge fan of Schuberts Unfinished Symphony, and the Second Movment of Beethovens 7th. I second I fretlessb1 saying that Mahler is my musical hero, but I will add Beethoven to this. I think that Mozart is a great composer, but his stuff lacks the 'personality' that beethovens works have. To be specific, the Beehtoven stuff that I admire, is his later, more romantic-era stuff.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think overall, Mahler's 6th is my favourite piece - most satisfying in so many respects - when I first got a recording I played it to death - hundreds of times in a row, without listening to anything else.

    I've since been lucky to have attended some pretty intense performances of it, in London concert halls with great orchestras and even with my favourite conductor - Simon Rattle! :)

    I just thought of another way into a CD collection - just buy everything with Simon Rattle as conductor - I have, and have never been disappointed - even with some of the more obscure works - but he has done more or less all the "greats" and I think his complete catalogue would make a pretty good starter collection of classical (orchestral) music!! ;)
  9. I've been out for a few hours, helping wifey shoot off the ol' baby cannon. :hyper:
  10. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Beethoven 3 (I think it's the most incredible piece of music ever)
    Schubert's "Great Symphony"
    Brahms Symphony 2
  11. I know someone already mentioned Bartok's string quartet music, but I would also like to add his orchestral works:
    Concerto for Orchestra
    Music for Strings, Percussion, & Celeste (sp?)
    Piano Concerto #3

    I also really like Samuel Barber: Overature for "School for Scandal", Knoxville, Medea, & violin concerto.

    While it's not DB-applicable, you should certainly check out Bach's Goldberg Variations and Cello Suites. Wow.

    Shostakovich's piano concerti are also quite cool.
    The less-famous of Holst's Planets (Mercury, Venus, Saturn, & Neptune) are amazing, IMHO.

    Of course, your mileage may vary...
  12. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
    Rhapsody in Blue is an excellent piece too, I forgot to mention that when I posted earlier. See if you can get a cd of Gershwin that includes An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue. If you can get the NY Phill doin it, its a must. Happy Listening.
  13. Rimsky Korsakov - Scheherazade

    Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique (though I've never played it, this is the piece that really got me into classical music)

    Dvorak - Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"

    Richard Strauss - Any of the tone poems really. Don Juan is fun.

    Verdi - Requiem

    Bernstein - Overture to Candide

    Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 2

    Plus everything that's already been said.
  14. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong

    Hmmm... even Bruckner didn't listen to his own symphonies (at least not played by an orchestra, he only played them on his pipe organ). The suggestions on this thread seem awfully heavy and morose, or in the case of Stravinsky, Holst, Bartok and Shostakovich, just a lot of work (my $0.02). I'm very surprised that no one mentions Bach ... then again I would prefer to listen to music from the Baroque or early Romantic periods (Beethoven, Mendelson, etc.). But I do like the suggestions of Rimsky Korsakov - Scheherazade; Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique; Dvorak #9; Richard Strauss tone poems (really). And Mozart's, Verdi's, Rossini's operas (though I wouldn't want to sit through the latter's ... most seem to be full day affairs).
  15. I likely will not have time to delve too deeply into all of these suggestions, at least not right away(see my thread entitled: Shootin' off the ol' baby cannon). :D Also, I will likely never attempt to learn any of it; this is more for my own education/listening. Again, many thanks.
  16. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    For me this is the leader in the category, "Single best symphonic work that most people have never heard or played." Simply beautiful music -- much better the "the New World," in my opinion -- and a couple of killer bass licks.

    Even though it ranks at the bottom of one of the Mahler lists above, I highly recommend the Mahler Fourth Symphony. To me, it's the most accessible of his compositions, and it shows a side of Mahler not often apparent for long in most of his other symphonies. I'm tempted to say, "the sunny side of Mahler," but that's probably a bridge too far.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well what's that got to do with anything? :meh:

    They are still great works of art and played by the right orchestra/conductor, can be some of the most uplifting music ever!

    My girfriend is more of a rock/pop fan, but even she was moved by how beatiful the Adagio to the 8th Symphony was when played by the Vienna under Von Karajan ...:)

    I saw Simon Rattle conduct Bruckner's 7th at the Proms and it was one of the most moving expriences I have had at a concert hall!

    Well, I would say the things I have mentioned are "intense, demanding,intelligent works of art, that are acknowledged worldwide by critics and music lovers everywhere...."

    If you want easy listening - then there's plenty of that in lifts!! ;)

    Well - some prefer light classics - but I prefer something with weight, substance and intensity. If you're going to a big concert hall with a top-notch orchestra, then I'd rather see some intensity and something that stretches and challenges them - if you're just putting something on the CD as background music, then maybe this would be less intrusive....? ;)
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    For me it is just unsatisfying and the ending sounds "tacked on"....:meh:

    Maler's life was tragic and surely his best music was that which confronted this in a deeply personal way...?

    I think his great trilogy of symphonies - 5,6, and 7 almost form one "great" symphony and at it's heart is the most deeply personal, the 6th, with it's incredible slow movement - which is longer in itself and has more musical ideas, than many other composer's whole symphonies!!! ;)

    Mahler's 6th is more typical of his whole output and was when he was operating at the peak of his powers - for me, there's no ther choice !!
  19. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Sorry, I didn't mean to be argumentative, just my personal opinion. It has more to do with how I (personally) spend my listening time. I agree that Stravinsky, Mahler, Bruchner, etc. have produced classics, but they suffered too much for me (at least the latter two) ... and it comes through in massive, robust, labor-intensive full orchestral music that is glum and a real chore to listen to.

    The Baroque-Classical-Early Romantic composers provided solid compositions with as much substance as the Romantics. They just didn't have the technology (and I think produced more listenable music because of that). The opinion that such music merely serves as background CDs for elevators and fern bars seems a bit elitist (though I did see your ;) ).

    I do reserve rather harsher judment for Contemporary composers (Stravinsky, Bernstein, etc.). In an era where there has never been as wide a choice of instruments or possibilities, they seem obsessed with traditional 19th century groupings. In fact, if you compose for instruments like saxaphone or electric bass, you're likely to be kicked out of the 'classical' composers club. So much of the contemporary stuff seems to be purely academic exercise :meh: does anyone really listen to Schönberg's Twelve Tone music (call me shallow, but Schönberg is simply too much pain for me to endure).

    Again, all my opinion, which is what I think was asked for at the start of this thread.
  20. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I certainly like the 6th a lot too. Mahler, of course, had his tragedies, but so did a lot of composers. He also had some fantastic successes in life. Personally, while I'm fascinated with his life, I'd rather listen to the music as music and not as autobiography.

    My point about the 4th, and I respect your perspective, is that there is also a lot in Mahler that shows a triumphal spirit. The 4th does; the 5th does; and so does the 2nd, which is one of the greatest symphonies (and bass parts) ever written.

    As much as I love Mahler, I have a hard time with the most extreme manifestations of his "dark poet" side. I find the 9th almost impossible to listen to.

    But we all have our preferences...

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