#1 Posted by d0m3l (63 posts) -

Hi duders!

Recently I wanted to broaden my musical tastes, so I figured out it might be nice to listen to some classical music. My entry point was typing in "Chopin" into Pandora and going from there. it makes nice background to some reading, doing some work or even playing some casual games (I neither have time nor skill to do any hardcore stuff - getting older is hard on reflexes ;) )

Any pointers would be appreciated

Cheers!

#2 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

@d0m3l:

What sort of classical music would you like? I don't really have a good way to describe it but some classical music tries to be more 'pretty and airy', others more 'dark and medieval-ish' sounding (fantastic descriptions right?). Basically what do you want to get out of the music?

For my money, I think Antonin Dvorak's Symphony #9 (aka the New World Symphony) is a really good, well rounded piece that is pretty accessible.

Online
#3 Posted by Raethen (180 posts) -

I don't know if this applies in every country, but every city in the US has a classical station of some kind (usually run by the local public radio station). If you are in the US check npr.org, and you can search for your local station, or stream it directly from the site. You will get a broad range of what classical music entails. Yesterday, my local station played a really energetic waltz followed by Chopin's Raindrop Prelude No. 15, and then a portion of an opera that I can't remember the name of. You get a weird blend of music that is tailored by the staff as opposed to random songs picked by an algorithm. You'll also get special live broadcasts from local concert halls every once in a while which is awesome. While listening to the radio station, if you hear something that clicks with you, the station's website will have a play list so you can see the name of the song you were listening to, and then branch out from there. Using this method, is also a good way to get into Jazz, as a lot of public radio stations in the US have a Jazz station as well.

#4 Posted by Grissefar (2842 posts) -

I'd definately start out with some Ligeti. Really sets the relaxing mood, but don't let it play while you sleep.

Other than that, Canon i D is perhaps more what you're looking for, and New World 4th movement is always cool.

#5 Posted by Sin4profit (2992 posts) -

#6 Posted by TyCobb (1976 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

@d0m3l:

What sort of classical music would you like? I don't really have a good way to describe it but some classical music tries to be more 'pretty and airy', others more 'dark and medieval-ish' sounding (fantastic descriptions right?). Basically what do you want to get out of the music?

For my money, I think Antonin Dvorak's Symphony #9 (aka the New World Symphony) is a really good, well rounded piece that is pretty accessible.

Medieval-ish is the best. Love that style of music.

This isn't classical, but great if you are into that and progressive metal. Also, Christopher Lee (if you start at the beginning)

#7 Edited by rentfn (1283 posts) -

I think Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 have a good variety of classical music. If there is a certain song you enjoy then check out deeper cuts from that artist. If you do a search for best classical albums tons of results will pop up. You can check out any one of those lists and be set for awhile.

#8 Posted by Hamst3r (4557 posts) -

Verdi.

#9 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3511 posts) -

Mozart & Beethoven, duh.

#10 Posted by planetfunksquad (508 posts) -

Einaudi. Debussy.

#11 Posted by cloudymusic (1223 posts) -

Beethoven is pretty much the epitome of what I like about romantic-era classical music, his piano sonatas especially. Great use of dynamic and temporal contrast.

#12 Posted by artofwar420 (6299 posts) -

Don't know how much you'll dig opera, but I sometimes listen to Pagliacci performed by Jussi Björling.

#13 Posted by d0m3l (63 posts) -

@raethen said:

I don't know if this applies in every country, but every city in the US has a classical station of some kind (usually run by the local public radio station). If you are in the US check npr.org, and you can search for your local station, or stream it directly from the site. You will get a broad range of what classical music entails. Yesterday, my local station played a really energetic waltz followed by Chopin's Raindrop Prelude No. 15, and then a portion of an opera that I can't remember the name of. You get a weird blend of music that is tailored by the staff as opposed to random songs picked by an algorithm. You'll also get special live broadcasts from local concert halls every once in a while which is awesome. While listening to the radio station, if you hear something that clicks with you, the station's website will have a play list so you can see the name of the song you were listening to, and then branch out from there. Using this method, is also a good way to get into Jazz, as a lot of public radio stations in the US have a Jazz station as well.

This is really cool idea :) NPR gets to be good not only for some cool science podcasts :)

As for Jazz - I've tried it, and it makes.. me feel uneasy... I can appreciate skill and free flow of music, but very often it changes rhythm and tempo. As a very math-orientated guy anything without tempo bugs me.

#14 Posted by billymagnum (837 posts) -

i love classical but opera is just forks-on-plates to me. Try searching Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky. Those are some of the most well know composers and you'll probably find yourself saying "Hey I know this song!" ha im reading this forum while i wear this shirt:
https://dov5cor25da49.cloudfront.net/products/3345/636x460design_01.jpg

#15 Posted by GorillaMoPena (2285 posts) -

Saints Row IV Klassical FM

#16 Edited by planetfunksquad (508 posts) -

@d0m3l: As a musical guy, the fact that you think Jazz has no tempo ENRAGES ME. I DON'T EVEN THINK YOU KNOW WHAT TEMPO IS.

#17 Posted by d0m3l (63 posts) -

@planetfunksquad said:

@d0m3l: As a musical guy, the fact that you think Jazz has no tempo ENRAGES ME. I DON'T EVEN THINK YOU KNOW WHAT TEMPO IS.

I might have expressed myself wrong... I meant metre

From what I understand best Jazz is about improvisation and free flow of music. And that very often involves changing metre. Jazz is great... until i hear improvised solo. It just makes me fee uneasy and uncomfortable. As if someone stabbed my spine with ice pick. Some types of music pull my happiness strings (Phil Collins or Queen), sadness (Ray Charles and all good blues) or even fun (disco or even come country). But unfortunately Jazz pulls my anxiety strings.

PS. I also don't like the fact, that I don't like something ;)

#18 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12005 posts) -

While Classical Music 1 is pretty good, you should probably start with Classical Music 2: The Bachening since that adds Mozart and Extreme Composing Mode to the mix. The 3rd one is alright, even though they sort of broke the Opera mechanic. Classical Music 4 is probably the high point.

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#19 Posted by planetfunksquad (508 posts) -

@d0m3l: I'll let you off then...

Yeah, Jazz has a lot of uneven metre, but then so does a lot of classical music, so watch out for that ice-pick-to-the-spine. Stay away from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring ;)

IMO, time sig changes and key changes are the best parts of music. If you're expanding your musical taste I suggest trying to "get" these things.

#20 Edited by thomasnash (586 posts) -

@hamst3r: Seconding Verdi. I bloody love choral stuff. Music from the golden age of Polyphony is a great place to start, I think, because it tends to be quite easy listening, but has a bit of complexity with Fugue and stuff that is a good way to get into how Classical music is constructed. I'd recommend William Byrd and Thomas Tallis, or for something a bit more airy some Palestrina

@d0m3l I've been thinking about trying to get into Opera a bit, but I'm with you, it sounds like garbage a lot of the time. But I heard Dido's Lament recently and was pretty impressed so maybe there is something in it for me too.

#21 Edited by fetchfox (1339 posts) -

@d0m3l: I love that you're willing to try classical music a bit more serious. I've been an avid fan of classical music since I was a kid, though I enjoy everything from electronic pop to progressive rock. There's already been posted a lot of good answers here, but If you're still uncertain I advise listening to a "best of..." or "top 100..." and note the composer and/or orchestra of the piece. Try a little bit of everything to narrow it down. Beyond classic I recommend checking out Gershwins greatest hits. He was a god on the piano, one of my favorite instruments.

Recently I've gotten a taste for Salieri. Maybe it'll suit your palate.

#22 Posted by gokaired (569 posts) -

In my opinion there is no entry level for classical music (which has become a blanket term in and of itself).

But i say start with Mozart but in general look for music that spring from the romantic era.

Jazz is awesome. :)

#23 Edited by Ben_H (3411 posts) -
@d0m3l said:

@planetfunksquad said:

@d0m3l: As a musical guy, the fact that you think Jazz has no tempo ENRAGES ME. I DON'T EVEN THINK YOU KNOW WHAT TEMPO IS.

I might have expressed myself wrong... I meant metre

From what I understand best Jazz is about improvisation and free flow of music. And that very often involves changing metre. Jazz is great... until i hear improvised solo. It just makes me fee uneasy and uncomfortable. As if someone stabbed my spine with ice pick. Some types of music pull my happiness strings (Phil Collins or Queen), sadness (Ray Charles and all good blues) or even fun (disco or even come country). But unfortunately Jazz pulls my anxiety strings.

PS. I also don't like the fact, that I don't like something ;)

That only happens when the person improvising is either not that comfortable with improvising or lose tempo and start playing off-time compared to everyone else. A well done improvised solo is indistinguishable from a structured solo. If a soloist can't hammer down the feel of the song or screws up badly, then improvised solos can get bad too. Check out some old live videos of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and you will see a group that can do improvisation properly. No awkwardness at all, all smooth.

On topic:

Also, you can listen to Grant Kirkhope music and consider it classical now. He is played on classical channels once in a while.

"Oven-Fresh Day" is the bee's knees.

#24 Posted by Vigil (231 posts) -

Bach's Cello Suites are a personal favorite of mine.

I always thought this was a beautiful piece.

#25 Posted by Brenderous (1107 posts) -

@grissefar said:

...but don't let it play while you sleep.

Why not?

#26 Posted by Sagalla (218 posts) -

If you are new to classical definitely listen to Vivaldi: The Four Seasons :)

#27 Edited by thomasnash (586 posts) -
@thomasnash said:

@hamst3r: Seconding Verdi. I bloody love choral stuff. Music from the golden age of Polyphony is a great place to start, I think, because it tends to be quite easy listening, but has a bit of complexity with Fugue and stuff that is a good way to get into how Classical music is constructed. I'd recommend William Byrd and Thomas Tallis, or for something a bit more airy some Palestrina

Just realised I got confused here. I was thinking of Monteverdi rather than Verdi. Must have looked PRETTY DUMB for me to talk about liking Verdi then talk about disliking Opera. It's because my parents like both of them I guess, which is where I get most of my Classical music info. As an apology have Monteverdi's Vespers.

EDIT! If you're prepared to sit down and watch something rather than just listen to it, can I recommend the documentaries Simon Russell Beale did for BBC4 about it. I think he did 2 series of "Sacred Music" which is about choral church music from medieval times through to more modern compositions, and he later did a series called Symphony which is more limited to the rise of the form of the Symphony. The episode where he dealt with Haydn was brilliant. I'd really recommend watching these for anyone who thinks they'd like to get into classical music, because as well as having music that is well chosen (ie not too challenging), they also give you loads of background into the way the music is constructed by talking with conductors and giving you little demonstrations of how it all comes together. The series are also constructed in a nice narrative way which makes gives you some great historical background, as well as a sense of how the music actually developed. I think you should be able to find most of them on youtube, although you might want to use Wikipedia to make sure you're watching in the right order.

Happy trails!

#28 Posted by Lively (312 posts) -

I'm a sucker for moderate dissonance and early-to-mid 20th century classical, case in point:

#29 Edited by Lively (312 posts) -

Also, John Williams may be stretching the definition of "classical", but I'm pretty sure his stuff will be remembered in a century right alongside Copland and Gershwin as an essential American composer (unlike film composer hacks like Hans Zimmer).

#30 Posted by eternalrift (76 posts) -

I've been on a big Blumenfeld kick recently and love his Etudes.

For something a little lighter, try listening to Chopin's Mazurkas. This guy is great, because he gives a little back story to the music, which I always find helpful when learning a piece (figuring out the motivation behind writing it, etc.).

If you're searching for true background music, look no further than Satie. He himself described some of his pieces as "furniture music."

The youtube video doesn't like embedding.

I'm assuming also that you're playing loose with the definition of "classical music," as none of my suggestions is technically of that era.

#31 Posted by WickedFather (1733 posts) -

Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Haydn, Handel. Good starting point. Don't be scared to say that some composers are shit - just because it's classical doesn't mean it's untouchable. Tchaikovsky is a cocksucker. And so would be Strauss unless he'd pulled it back with the Blue Danube soundtrack he did for Space Odyssey. 3/4 time is not the time signature for a man.

Listen to the whole of Beethoven's 5th and there's so much more there than the 4 note motif they trot out. There's some really nice stuff like the incidental music in Excalibur on the 2nd half of the tape (yes, that tape bit was for funsies).

Make notes. Because it's hard to recognise different composers for a while then write down who did what and if you liked it.

Easy ins: The Four Seasons, Brandenburg Concertos, pretty much any of Beethoven's symphonies: the ninth will fill you up, the 7th might not grab you at first but it will, my friend, oh it will. Watch the end of Zardoz. The Pastoral will make you well up and cry because it's so fucking amazing - even when a snippet was used in an episode of The Simpsons it will do its work. I'd say don't start there, though.

So a classic station or compilation cds at a charity shop or 7cd classical collection for 4.99 are good starting points. If you do well you'll soon argue that your friend's version of The Four Seasons is a bullshit version: too fast and gutless and the EMI classics version pisses on it. That, my friend, is called passion.

#32 Posted by Sinusoidal (1743 posts) -

I have a soft spot for Scarlatti. Super old-skool harpsichord madness!

Horowitz does some bitchin' renditions of Scarlatti's stuff on piano too.

#33 Posted by mlarrabee (3031 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

@d0m3l:

What sort of classical music would you like? I don't really have a good way to describe it but some classical music tries to be more 'pretty and airy', others more 'dark and medieval-ish' sounding (fantastic descriptions right?). Basically what do you want to get out of the music?

For my money, I think Antonin Dvorak's Symphony #9 (aka the New World Symphony) is a really good, well rounded piece that is pretty accessible.

That's my first suggestion as well.

Another terrific piece is Suite bergamasque by Claude Debussy, particularly the well-loved third movement, "Clair de lune." It's peaceful and emotional, and because it was written very recently (relatively) its techniques are familiar.

#34 Posted by Littleg (73 posts) -

I'm a fan of choral stuff too. The Allegri Misere and Barber Agnus Dei are simply beautiful (although you'll notice the Agnus Dei is the same as his Adaggio for Strings...)

Orchestral-wise, you can't go far wrong with Elgar's Cello Concerto and Mozart's Requiem.

....and that's about my classical music knowledge eshausted!

#35 Posted by 34f3ecwdc3 (162 posts) -

not a classic but you might like it

Soundtracks to my sadistic fantasies with killing people.

#36 Edited by benpicko (2012 posts) -

Straight Outta Compton obviously