Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Now That's What I Call Classical Music

Since we all need to be proselytzing about this more, I try and think now and then about what would be the first classical pieces I'd recommend to people if they were interested but didn't know where to start. This week I needed to make my roommate a classical mix CD, so I had to settle the question. Voila!

There is nothing awesomer than blogging about mix CDs you made for people.

So this is my first-draft "If You Think You Might Like Classical Music, Listen to This Stuff and I Think You'll Get a Sense of What to Search Out" list.

Glaring omissions = Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, most of the twentieth century, Bolero, Rhapsody in Blue, and Appalachian Spring.


1. W. A. Mozart: Overture to The Marriage of Figaro (1786)

2. Claude Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, 1st mvt. (1893)

3. Johannes Brahms: Trio for Piano, Violin, and Horn, 2nd mvt. (1865)

4. Antonin Dvorak: Piano Trio, “Dumky,” 4th mvt. (1891)

5. John Adams: Tromba Lontana for orchestra (1985)

6. Gabriel Faure: “Sanctus” from Requiem, for chorus and orchestra (1888)

7. Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, 2nd mvt. (1812)

8. Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5, for soprano and 8 cellos, 1st mvt. (1938)

9. J. S. Bach: Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor, 1st mvt. (1730)

10. Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, 2nd mvt. (1791)

11. Hector Berlioz: “L’Ile inconnue” from Les Nuits d’ete (1841)

12. Igor Stravinsky: “The Infernal Dance of King Katschei” from The Firebird (1910)

13. Bela Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, 4th mvt. (1936)

14. Dvorak: Slavonic Dance op. 46, no. 8 (1878)


I had to make my roommate a classical mix CD because she's moving out, and because I needed to reciprocate for her burning me a disc of Joanna Newsom and other folkish stuff.

4 Comments:

Blogger Nate said...

Neat. I'll actually have to follow up on your list based on some glaring holes in my musical awareness (i.e. Brahms, pre-impressionist French music). Impressive Gustav Holst avoision as well.

Thought experiment: What would you put on a CD to completely turn somebody off of classical music? As in actively advertise against the whole enterprise, as opposed to being just boring or unapproachable if you haven't built your way up to it. Off the cuff I can't make it past "Le Boeuf sur le Toit" (discussed previously).

12/20/2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

I'd make it more interesting (and more heartbreaking) and list the pieces that I love, but that people wouldn't stand any chance of liking the first time through.

Off the top of my head: Anton Webern's Bagatelles for string quartet; Alberto Ginastera's String Quartet No. 3; Arthur Honegger's Symphony for Strings; Paul Hindemith's Symphony for Band; Morton Feldman's "Rothko Chapel"; and Elliott Carter's Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord.

12/20/2006 10:36 PM  
Blogger Nate said...

Fair enough; on further consideration there's not that much truly poor stuff that's remained widely available. (I'd add Shostakovich's 12th symphony to that pile; I've read, though not experienced, that a lot of Sibelius' later occassional music is pretty crummy, and there's got to be a complete CD edition or two on BIS that contains some of it, assuming the composer didn't put it all to the torch.)

I'd put Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time near the top of your category. Gorgeous music, though it took me a lot of time to be able to digest it.

12/21/2006 7:20 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

That's actually a fairly interesting list, Jack.

I think that Americans like the post-romantic French stuff because of how many movie soundtracks have a sound that evolved out of that style more than any others, and thus its sound is more familiar.

Tempting as it is, I shall refrain from listing any music that I like that most people won't.

12/22/2006 2:34 PM  

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