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Building a classical music library - where do I start?

(18 Posts)
stuckinaswamp Mon 15-Dec-14 15:10:25

I would love to build a bigger collection of classical music, but don't really know where to start. I've got a "Rough Guide to Classical Music", but there's so much out there, it's hard to know what to go for above and beyond familiar classics.

Recordings I already have which I particularly like include Bach Cello Suites by Yo-Yo Ma, a Rachmaninov collection and a recording of Gregorio Allegri (Miserere / Messe / Motets), which someone recommended to me.

Any ideas on where to go next?

mrscumberbatch Mon 15-Dec-14 15:16:12

Perhaps consider subscribing to spotify or similar?

You can listen to your chosen artist and then it recommends other artists based on your choice.

There's lots of different artists versions and orchestras doing popular pieces as well which is nice.

MelanieCheeks Mon 15-Dec-14 15:21:45

Listen to Classic FM or Radio 3, and see which other pieces or composers you like?

stuckinaswamp Mon 15-Dec-14 22:33:59

Thanks. Will try spotify. Have been doing something similar with Amazon, but it just tends to come up with loads of recommendations for the same thing, but different recordings.

Kundry Mon 15-Dec-14 22:38:25

Radio 3's Building a Library programme is great for finding classics and picking your favourite recording.

Do you have a sense yet of what you like in terms of composers or genres? Bach, Allegri and Rachmaninov are all classics but very different in styles.

DH is an opera obsessive but I'm more of a period instruments person.

Books wise Gareth Malone's intro to classical music is v good and steers you along what you might like.

nailslikeknives Mon 15-Dec-14 22:42:10

Possibly a bit random, but when I watch 'Melody' on CBeebies with the kids, I often look up the music they use and we listen to it on YouTube later on.
Very accessible classical music and like with spotify, more music is recommended by YouTube.

Raia Mon 15-Dec-14 23:42:42

YouTube is your friend!

Try the Bach gamba sonatas - if you like the cello suites I think you will love those smile

stuckinaswamp Tue 16-Dec-14 14:06:27

Thanks for all the tips! I don't have a clear sense yet of which genres / composers I like - my collection so far is pretty eclectic.

I will try Radio 3's Building a Library, and the Bach gamba sonatas. Definitely hadn't thought of CBeebies as a source of ideas, but will give anything a go!

33goingon64 Tue 16-Dec-14 14:15:30

There is nothing wrong with taking the bits you like from any number of genres. You might find you like composers from different ends of the historical spectrum but they just speak to you. I like Bach and Britten for example. Just have Radio 3 on all the time and you'll soon hear things that catch your attention (and things you don't like which you can rule out). Do you like big noisy works with orchestra and choir or more intimate music, in which case you could try chamber music. Enjoy your discoveries!

Ferguson Tue 16-Dec-14 22:52:08

I used to love Vivaldi Concerto for Two Mandolins, because of its stereo effect, with one mandolin answering the other. (Some jokers say Vivaldi didn't write 500 Concertos; he wrote one Concerto 500 times!)

If you don't already have it, Carmina Burana by Carl Orff is a 'must' (and you WILL already know some of it from various adverts.)

Easy and enjoyable, is Gustav Holst The Planets, but maybe TOO well known?

A performer I love, who is often on TV is Nicola Benedetti, though some of her collections can be a bit corny.

Michel Camilo is an exciting modern composer and pianist. Here is a brief taste from his Piano Concerto:

All Sibelius Symphonies are amongst my favourites, and you should also have the Beethoven Symphonies. Things that seem 'difficult' at first get easier as you become more familiar with them. If you are not a musician yourself, a good way to listen to Classical music is to try and 'guess' what is coming next, or listen for passages repeating, with slight variations. Count the bars, and hear how things often go in factors of 8; 32, 64, etc. (A bit like computers really!)

The "Bach 48" are quite a challenge. Mozart chamber works are well worth a try.

And if you are really 'broad minded', I love this:

Ferguson Wed 17-Dec-14 22:17:01

Another symphony I like is William Walton's 1st. The first time I heard it, it seemed quite depressing and sad; eventually I realised that was how Walton was feeling at the time.

Another interesting piece is Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, by Camille Saint-Saëns, who is best known for Carnival of the Animals, and Dance Macabre. Unusually for a symphony, it briefly features piano and organ, adding extra interest.

Mintyy Wed 17-Dec-14 22:20:00

I am listening to the Tchaikovsky score for The Sleeping Beauty in the car at the moment. It is bloody brilliant, and there's all sorts of parts you will recognise.

moonrocket Wed 17-Dec-14 23:31:00

Topically, what about Bach's Christmas Oratorio or Hely-Hutchison's Carol Symphony?
Both beautiful (though somewhat different from one another)

Maestro Thu 18-Dec-14 19:29:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

30somethingm Thu 18-Dec-14 19:38:09

Start with the great symphonies.

Mozart 39, 40
Beethoven 3, 4, 7, 9
Schubert 9, 10
Schumann 3, 4
Tchaikovsky 4, 5, 6
Tchaikovsky ballets (not symphonic)
Brahms 1, 2, 3, 4
Mahler 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10
Sibelius 5, 6, 7
Richard Strauss tone poems (like Also Sprach, not symphonic
Shostakovich 5

If you like smaller scale works for fewer instruments, concertos, opera etc, PM me as I work in the industry so can suggest loads.

Maestro Thu 18-Dec-14 19:42:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

30somethingm Thu 18-Dec-14 19:50:19

Forgot loads of symphonies especially Beethoven 5!

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 19-Dec-14 20:51:03

I listen to Classic FM and Radio 3 to find things I haven't heard of that I like - found many pieces to learn that way. Right now I have a collection of Beethoven's late quartets, Wagner's Ring shock and Schubert's quartets and Bach's cello suites.

Classic FM gives you the "popular" stuff which is not all bad. grin

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