Favorite Classical Music?

  • Thread starter MissSilvy
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A couple months ago I've recently got into classical music. It's quite nice, but so far I've been sticking to only a few composers mostly in the Romantic style. The music is great but I'm looking to expand my horizons beyond Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin so I wanted to ask PF: who are your top composers?


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Here is a nice sampler CD = Classic Dreams: Music to Inspire

Disc 1
1. Antiphon: Ecce Annuntio Vobis
2. Mahler: Symphony No.5 - Adagietto
3. Satie: Gymnopedie No.1 (Arr. Debussy)
4. Fauré: Pavane
5. Holst: The Planets - Venus
6. Picker: Old And Lost Rivers
7. Debussy: Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun
8. Honegger: Summer Pastorale
9. Fauré: Masques Et Bergamasques - Pastorale
10. Pärt: Summa
11. Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition - The Old Castle
12. Grieg: The Wounded Heart
13. Elgar: Serenade For Strings In E Minor - Larghetto

Disc 2
1. Stravinsky: Apollon Musagete - The Birth Of Apollo
2. Barber: Adagio For Strings
3. Sibelius: The Swan Of Tuonela
4. Elgar: Enigma Variations - Nimrod
5. Debussy: Petite Suite - En Bateau (Orch. Busser)
6. Grieg: Holberg Suite - Air
7. Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On 'Greensleeves'
8. Satie: Gymnopedie No.3 (Arr. Debussy)
9. Ravel: Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte
10. Grieg: The Last Spring
11. Massenet: Meditation (From Thais)
12. Rachmaninov: Vocalise
13. Ravel: Mother Goose - The Fairy Garden
14. Antiphon: Ecce Annuntio Vobis

Vocalise is my favorite piece in this CD, but they are all very good. Satie's Gymnopedie are great but very short.

Here is a good selection begin with:

Carl Orff - Carmina Burana (mentioned in an earlier post)

Ralph Vaughn Williams - The Lark Ascending

Franz Joseph Haydn - Symphonies 93-104

Maurice Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major; Piano Concerto in D major (for the left hand); Valses nobles et sentimentales for piano (or orchestra); Sonatine for piano

Camille Saint-Saëns - Piano Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 17; Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22; Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 29; Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 44; Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Egyptian"), in F major, Op. 103; Wedding Cake, caprice-valse for piano & strings in A flat major, Op. 76; Africa, fantaisie for piano & orchestra in G minor, Op. 89

Claude Debussy - Suite bergamasque, for piano, L. 75; Children's Corner, suite for piano (or orchestra), L. 113; Images for piano, Set I, L. 110; Images for piano, Set II, L. 111; Arabesques for piano, L. 66; Préludes for piano, Book I, L. 117; Pour le piano, suite for piano, L. 95; Estampes, for piano, L. 100; L'isle joyeuse, for piano, L. 106; Rêverie, for piano, L. 68

Sergei Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1; Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18; Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30; Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (Introduction and 24 Variations), in A minor for piano & orchestra, Op. 43

Gabriel Fauré - Ouverture; Pastorale; Tres Romances sans Patorles; Romance, Op. 28; Pavanes

Antonio Vivaldi - Four Seasons

Antonin Dvorak - Symphony No.8 In G Major, Op.88; Symphony No. 7 In D Minor, Op. 70; Symphony No. 9 In E Minor, Op. 95 'From The New World'

Felix Mendelssohn - The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave)- Overture; Symphony No. 3 In A Minor 'Scottish'; Symphony No. 4 in A major ("Italian"), Op. 90

Joaquin Rodrigo (Guitar) - Concerto de Aranjuez

Johannes Brahms - Hungarian Dance No. 1; Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80,

Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 1 in B flat major ("Spring"), Op. 38; Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61; Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ("Rhenish"), Op. 97 ; Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120; Kinderszenen, Op. 15 - traumerei; Piano quintet In E Flat Major, Op.44; Fantasiestuke, Op. 73

Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 5 In B Flat Major; Rosamunde; Impromptu In E Flat Major; Impromptu In G Flat Major; Piano Quintet In A Major

Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 1, for orchestra in E minor Op. 39; Symphony No. 2, for orchestra in D major, Op. 43; Symphony No. 4, for orchestra in A minor, Op. 63; Symphony No. 5, for orchestra in E-flat major, Op. 82

All of these composers can be found on 'Best of name' CD, but you might search on "Composer Name","Symphony".
There's more in that thread.


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I'm pretty hooked on Bach. When I had some demanding engineering studies to tackle, I'd get our my boxed set of the Brandenburg Concertos, and study to those.

Edit: One real advantage to listening to vinyl was that I had a manual turntable, and that made me get up off my butt at the end of every side to change albums. Between the liveliness of the concertos, and the occasional leg-stretching to change the records, it kept me awake and alert for long study sessions. The Firebird Suite was another nice one, but I preferred Bach for study because his concertos were worn into my brain and didn't distract me as much.
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Mendelssohn violin concerto in d minor
One classical composer I was stuck with for a long time, and who was not mentionned yet here, is Shostakovich. He was a very interesting fellow on top of a musical genius, although admittedly not very joyful life. You see, most wars come with a decline in art production But in Russia, WW2 came as an excuse or pretext for artists to bypass censorship, which resulted in a real artistic bloom.

Anyway, you probably know several joyful compositions of his, some were directly ordered by the party. It came to me as a surprise when I first discovered this kind of composition from the same individual : String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich)

Please note, I insist, that he also has much lighter, almost jazzy stuff. This is precisely this duality which I find fulfilling and fascinating. Also, from the link above
The work is filled with quotes of other pieces by Shostakovich
Actually, he kept quoting himself pretty much all the time. Not that he lacked imagination, but that added another layer in the totality of his work. Very rich...
Mahler is a good one. All of his symphonies are exquisite. A good start to this composer could be the Symphony 5, as already mentioned in the list: movement 4
Mahler: Symphony No.5 - Adagietto
it's probably the most popular of his works.

other good composers:

Prokofiev: wrote nice and light symphonies, and sweet piano concertos too (the 3rd one is amazing)

Bruckner: his symphonies are very grandeur (some good ones symphony 4,7 are a good intro)

Tchaikovsky: this guy wrote tons of music. Do a search on him, any random find will be good.

Rachmaninov: awesome piano concertos

Shostakovitch - wrote alot symphonies and some during WWII. His 10th symphony is just brilliant, it's more of a work of art then music.

Dvorak: 9th symphony

Brahms: cool stuff

Holst: Planets

Hermann, Bernard: Vertigo

Simpson: 9th symphony

Click listen live. I've been listening to them for the past 8 years. It's just a matter of time, soon enough you will recognize the majority of what you hear.
Classical music can be addicting since it is such a sophisticated music, always challenging to listen to. My favorites are(spelling is probably off):

Just random from the top 100

Sibelius Finlandia

Camille Saint Saens symphony nr 3 for organ, the most exciting part:

(may sound familiar)

Smetana Moldau
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Not sure if this is classical Music, however the composer Rogier van Otterloo is dead. Died far too young due to lung cancer.

Here you an judge if he had potential to become a real heavy weight:

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I'm mainly drawn to solo instrument pieces and chamber music over symphonic compositions; Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Arvo Pärt and Maurice Ravel are some of my favorite composers.
Are there any good albums for classical music? My problem is that there are so many songs out there, and I don't know where to start.
I would say that you'd have to listen to some Stravinsky, some of his music is really quite serious, it commands a lot of power and isn't joyful like a lot of old classical stuff. The Firebird ballet has some really good parts to it.


I would say that you'd have to listen to some Stravinsky, some of his music is really quite serious, it commands a lot of power and isn't joyful like a lot of old classical stuff. The Firebird ballet has some really good parts to it.
Classical Period: Mozart's "Requiem."

20th Century: Barber's "Adagio for Strings."

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