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Getting into classical music

DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey classy gentlepeople of the internet. I've decided it's time to like classical music. What should I get?

I'm kind of an album person, so any sort of classical experience that runs for 40 minutes to an hour (or longer?) would be nice. I don't really know anything about classical at all so I can't really provide more information.

Read my blog about AMERICA and THE BAY AREA
DodgeBlan on


  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2010
    Find out all the upcoming performances by high schools and colleges in your area and annotate the fuck out of the program. Try to attend every free performance by your city's orchestra or the orchestra of a city you're visiting (if you're in Boston on the fourth of July, just be near the Charles and turn a radio to the station they tell you or get a spot under a speaker).

    George Gershwin is incredibly accessible, as is early Copland (his programmatic stuff didn't go nuts as quickly, though). As will everyone else, I recommend Dvorak.

    Scalfin on
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • DelzhandDelzhand Noxalas! Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Read this, not only for perspective, but because it is funny.

    Delzhand on
    Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward - November Elspeth (Sargatanas)
  • Cedar BrownCedar Brown Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Go find some cheap compilation cds. Vivaldi, Handel and Bach for Baroque music. Mozart and Haydn for classical. Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt for Romantic. Then go from there from what you like.

    Cedar Brown on
  • FatsFats Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Read this, not only for perspective, but because it is funny.

    That thread certainly lived up to its title, jesus.

    Honestly, there are so many different styles that it might be difficult to recommend you anything in particular. I like Samuel Barber, his most famous work probably being Adagio for Strings. I'm also fond of Krzysztof Penderecki, but he might not be for you. You're probably best off just going to youtube, searching for classical and seeing what tickles your fancy.

    Fats on
  • MayGodHaveMercyMayGodHaveMercy Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Go find some cheap compilation cds. Vivaldi, Handel and Bach for Baroque music. Mozart and Haydn for classical. Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt for Romantic. Then go from there from what you like.

    This was absolutely a great starter for me. Four Seasons is a wonderful stepping stone into the world of classical.

    MayGodHaveMercy on
    XBL: Mercy XXVI - Steam: Mercy_XXVI
  • proXimityproXimity Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Personally (and this is just my opinion), I'd skip most of baroque (1600 to 1750) and classical (1730–1820) music, even though that includes such famous people such as Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart. Check out music from the Romantic period, and early 20th century music. With the lengths you're looking for, you'd probably be best served by full symphonies and the like, but don't disregart shorter works. I'll list some composers/pieces that you should check out, with special recommendations in bold.

    Barber, Samuel:
    -Adagio for Strings: Probably his most famous work, hauntingly beautiful and used often for somber scenes in movies (fairly short piece though)

    Bartok, Bela:
    -Concerto for Orchestra: Many big exciting parts, quite accessible, while showing off then entire range and flexibility of a full symphonic orchestra

    Beethoven, Ludvig Van:
    -Symphony No. 5 and No. 9- Overplayed, yes, but still great in the own right, they'd give you a good starting point with some music you're probably already familiar with.

    Copland, Aaron:
    -Like Scalfin recommended, I'd check out some of his works like Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, and maybe something like A Lincoln Portrait.

    Hindemith, Paul:
    -Symphonic Metamorphosis: A bold piece, and pretty easy to listen to.

    Holst, Gustav:
    -The Planets: Easily some of the most popular and most played "classical" music, parts of it are heard everywhere, Mars and Jupiter in particular, but don't overlook the even better parts like Saturn or Uranus.

    Mahler, Gustav:
    -Symphonies 1, 5, 8: Big, loud, exciting music, especially 8: the "Symphony of a Thousand" which means, yes, it is regularly played with combined orchestral and choral ensembles of over a thousand artists.

    Orff, Carl:
    -Carmina Burana: Many will groan at this, as the opening/closing section, O Fortuna, is what many people know as "Generic Epic Music", but the rest of the piece is quite good too.

    Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai:
    -Scheherazade: A dazzling piece based on some tales from One Thousand and One Nights.
    -Russian Easter Overture: Possibly my favorite work of classical music of all time, so I must recommend it.

    Saint-Saens, Camille:
    -Symphony No. 3 "Organ": A hugely popular piece, it is a symphony with included organ. A little oddly structured, you'll probably find the most excitement from what could be considered the fourth mvt, or technically the second part of the second mvt.

    Sibelius, Jean:
    -Symphony No. 2: Probably my favorite symphony of all, it is lush, haunting, tumultuous, and eventually triumphant.

    Strauss, Richard:
    -Tod und Verklarung (Death and Transfiguration), Also Sprach Zarathustra: Tone Poems, vs real symphonies, they are a bit shorter, but extremely vivid and evocative in their imagery, especially if you read about what they're supposed to be portraying

    This is by no means exhaustive, and I've left out many fantastic composers, such as Brahms, Dvorak, Elgar, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, really, too many to name, but this should give you a good start.

    proXimity on
  • BelruelBelruel Life and death and love and birth and peace and war on the planet earthRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I really enjoy rachmaninoff

    Belruel on
    3DS friendcode: 2380-4618-2503
  • MolybdenumMolybdenum Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    dude. no.
    Bartok and hindemith are the exact opposite of accessible (well alright symphonic metamorphosis isn't that bad)
    In fact I have my orchestral music divided into 5 playlists ranked by accessibility, and Bartok is almost exclusively a 4.

    Easiest ~40 minute pieces to get into classical music with: Alpine Symphony (Richard Strauss), New World Symphony (Dvorak) Scheherezade (Rimsky-Korsakov) (2, 2, and 3, respectively).

    Before all of that, though, I have a bit of a rant - well, actually this probably isn't the time and place. Let's just say that it sounds like you are interested in Orchestral music, and while that includes "classical" it can also include soundtracks, jazz, folk/western, and Phillip Glass. Unless you know for a fact you are interested in long-form symphonies, don't lock yourself into an "album" mindset here. Look around youtube (links below provided for some starting variety) and get back to us with what you like/don't like. (Brahms was a swell guy, I'm sure, but his work is the planet's greatest natural sleep aid).

    Molybdenum on
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  • Vater5BVater5B Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I think it is easier to start with modern wind ensemble and orchestra music and work backwards personally. Since everyone else recommended most of the standards, I'll suggest some newer stuff:

    John Mackey - Asphalt Cocktail (Ignore the stupid video, the music is good)

    Frank Ticheli - Vesuvius

    Samuel Hazo - Ride

    Eric Whitacre - Equus

    David Maslanka - Symphony No. 5 (movement 1)

    If you dig this stuff, check out other works by these composers. After that, work back through Copland and Gershwin. Also, one of my favorite pieces that is never mentioned in these threads:

    Kabalevsky - Colas Breugnon Overture

    [EDIT] Molybdenum beat me to Asphalt Cocktail... :(

    Vater5B on
  • MolybdenumMolybdenum Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I am a born winner :p

    also the only reason I didn't suggest Rhapsody in Blue is that I don't remember how long it is.

    Molybdenum on
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  • lemongrenadeslemongrenades Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Maybe not the best place to start, but I'm into Frédéric Chopin.

    lemongrenades on
  • L Ron HowardL Ron Howard Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Just listen to Shostakovich, and you won't need to listen to anything else ever again.

    saggio on
    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I absolutely love Chopin. That is all.

    Bartholamue on
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  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Rogue Jpeg Jockey Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    listen to classical radio from time to time and note down the names you like.

    The_Glad_Hatter on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2010
    I'm also fond of Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

    Scalfin on
    The rest of you, I fucking hate you for the fact that I now have a blue dot on this god awful thread.
  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, this is kind of hard to do.

    What kind of music do you like to listen to now? And what do you mean when you say "Classical"? And why are you interested in listening to classical music?

    Because, well, "Classical music" is like, a billion things. Most people when they talk about Classical music are talking about the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods of music. Technically there is a specific period referred to as the Classical period, and Contemporary music can also be defined as "Classical", and in fact is sometimes referred to as "Contemporary Classical"

    So first, let's assume you mean "Classical music" as most people refer to it as, which is the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic period. If you want the nice big impressive shit, go with the ruskies, because they're all about big and fancy.

    Stuff like:


    Prokofiev! Also known as "That dude that made that corny love scene piece that plays in cartoons or old movies"

    Wagner! Also known as "That dude what wrote that loony toons song!"

    My personal favorite: Stravinsky!

    Or maybe you want a little more low-key pretty sounding stuff, in which case, there's no better place to look than the French romantic composers

    People like
    Or maybe you're looking for more boring stuff, in which case, to the classical period!

    Also pretty boring, but still about a billion times better than the Classical period: The Baroque period!

    Those are the three big periods of "Classical music", and they'll get you started. However, there is more interesting classical music out there. Again, it sort of depends on what you're looking for in terms of why you're listening to classical music.

    Personally, my favorite period of music is the Early music. Pre 1650ish, when all the "rules" of music and all the standardization of music were still in flux. This is where we have some goddamn awesome stuff going on. However, if you, say, want to listen to classical music because you just like the way it sounds, then this is going to throw that all out of whack.

    We'll start slow, in the Renaissance! This may be, in terms of sound and structure, my favorite period of music ever. I love this shit so much.
    If you want to go earlier.... well, prepare your ears for some "What the fuck" In fact, never mind what I said about Renaissance, this is the best period.

    However, maybe you don't like all this old shit, and want newer, snappier, more ridiculous music. Well, modernism can be a bitch, so get ready.

    That's a pretty good start in "Classical music" I left several names out, but if you have a specific period or general idea of what you're looking for, I could get more inclusive, that's just a sort of smattering of "Classical music" There's also cinematic and other program music but that sort of fits in with what we already have-ish.

    Khavall on
  • HamjuHamju Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If you enjoy film scores like John Williams' stuff look into:

    Gustav Holst - The Planets

    and everything by Respighi. That's how I got into Classical music is through Respighi. Look into: Pines of Rome and Church Windows especially.

    Hamju on
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    proXimity wrote: »

    Orff, Carl:
    -Carmina Burana: Many will groan at this, as the opening/closing section, O Fortuna, is what many people know as "Generic Epic Music", but the rest of the piece is quite good too.

    Extra fun can by had with Carmina Burana by reading the translation while listening.
    10. Were diu werlt alle min (Were all the world mine)
    Were diu werlt alle min	Were all the world mine
    von deme mere unze an den Rin	from the sea to the Rhine,
    des wolt ih mih darben,	I would starve myself of it
    daz diu chunegin von Engellant	so that the queen of England
    lege an minen armen.	might lie in my arms.
    14. In taberna quando sumus (When we are in the tavern)
    In taberna quando sumus	When we are in the tavern,
    non curamus quid sit humus,	we do not think how we will go to dust,
    sed ad ludum properamus,	but we hurry to gamble,
    cui semper insudamus.	which always makes us sweat.
    Quid agatur in taberna	What happens in the tavern,
    ubi nummus est pincerna,	where money is host,
    hoc est opus ut queratur,	you may well ask,
    si quid loquar, audiatur.	and hear what I say.
    Quidam ludunt, quidam bibunt,	Some gamble, some drink,
    quidam indiscrete vivunt.	some behave loosely.
    Sed in ludo qui morantur,	But of those who gamble,
    ex his quidam denudantur	some are stripped bare,
    quidam ibi vestiuntur,	some win their clothes here,
    quidam saccis induuntur.	some are dressed in sacks.
    Ibi nullus timet mortem	Here no-one fears death,
    sed pro Baccho mittunt sortem:	but they throw the dice in the name of Bacchus.
    Primo pro nummata vini,	First of all it is to the wine-merchant
    ex hac bibunt libertini;	the the libertines drink,
    semel bibunt pro captivis,	one for the prisoners,
    post hec bibunt ter pro vivis,	three for the living,
    quater pro Christianis cunctis	four for all Christians,
    quinquies pro fidelibus defunctis,	five for the faithful dead,
    sexies pro sororibus vanis,	six for the loose sisters,
    septies pro militibus silvanis.	seven for the footpads in the wood,
    Octies pro fratribus perversis,	Eight for the errant brethren,
    nonies pro monachis dispersis,	nine for the dispersed monks,
    decies pro navigantibus	ten for the seamen,
    undecies pro discordaniibus,	eleven for the squabblers,
    duodecies pro penitentibus,	twelve for the penitent,
    tredecies pro iter agentibus.	thirteen for the wayfarers.
    Tam pro papa quam pro rege	To the Pope as to the king
    bibunt omnes sine lege.	they all drink without restraint.
    Bibit hera, bibit herus,	The mistress drinks, the master drinks,
    bibit miles, bibit clerus,	the soldier drinks, the priest drinks,
    bibit ille, bibit illa,	the man drinks, the woman drinks,
    bibit servis cum ancilla,	the servant drinks with the maid,
    bibit velox, bibit piger,	the swift man drinks, the lazy man drinks,
    bibit albus, bibit niger,	the white man drinks, the black man drinks,
    bibit constans, bibit vagus,	the settled man drinks, the wanderer drinks,
    bibit rudis, bibit magnus.	the stupid man drinks, the wise man drinks,
    Bibit pauper et egrotus,	The poor man drinks, the sick man drinks,
    bibit exul et ignotus,	the exile drinks, and the stranger,
    bibit puer, bibit canus,	the boy drinks, the old man drinks,
    bibit presul et decanus,	the bishop drinks, and the deacon,
    bibit soror, bibit frater,	the sister drinks, the brother drinks,
    bibit anus, bibit mater,	the old lady drinks, the mother drinks,
    bibit ista, bibit ille,	this man drinks, that man drinks,
    bibunt centum, bibunt mille.	a hundred drink, a thousand drink.
    Parum sexcente nummate	Six hundred pennies would hardly
    durant, cum immoderate	suffice, if everyone
    bibunt omnes sine meta.	drinks immoderately and immeasurably.
    Quamvis bibant mente leta,	However much they cheerfully drink
    sic nos rodunt omnes gentes	we are the ones whom everyone scolds,
    et sic erimus egentes.	and thus we are destitute.
    Qui nos rodunt confundantur	May those who slander us be cursed
    et cum iustis non scribantur.	and may their names not be written in the book of the righteous.

    Tofystedeth on
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