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Good intro to classical...hi-def preferred


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You can start with compilation from the Telarc series of Classic sampler CDs

 

I am no expert, just someone who learn to enjoy classic music during my later stage in life.

 

My recommendations are:-

 

This is my first classic media, bought it as LP and then CD and now SACD.  (1978)

It is quite easy to appreciate Stravinsky "Firebird" even if you are not a classic music fan.

 

 

This is a classic march music CD...also very easy to appreciate. The new SACD version is a "2-in-1" classic CD complilation. Please listen only to Frederick Fennel's  Holst and Handel. The other title "Stars and Stripes" included in this CD isn't so great.

 

 

This is suppose to be the technically superior "difficult to play" LP with the widest groove modulation of all times.  The bass kick of the cannon blasts at the end of the 1812 overture is a great test for stylus trackability and speaker abuility to handle loud bass.  But for me, the most enjoyable piece is Track 7, "Cossack Dance from Mazeppa."

 

 

Johann Strauss Polka music is a lot of fun, and this is one of my favorite CD. Sadly, no SACD version.

 

 

Another good piece but need a little more concentration going thru "The Pictures At The Exhibition".  But everyone would be able to appreciate track 1, "Night On Bald Mountain"

 

 

Another version of Moussorgsky "Pictures At The Exhibition", now a 2008 SACD conducted by Paavo Jarvi...a rather superior version, INMO.  Now I am a fan of Paavo Jarvi!

 

 

(Audio)

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Actually the most immersive classical experience was this:

 

Ironically from Microsoft, as a showcase of their (firstgen) multimedia PCs.

 

Can still buy from amazon ;)

 

http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Multimedia-Beethoven-Illustrated-Interactive/dp/5556111626

 

Anyway, I was drawn to classical pieces from TV and movies. The interposition of emotions from classical music and from the screen makes for a powerful combination.

 

While it isn't HD, this is one of my fave samplers:

 

Others I like:

Four Seasons: Fall and Autumn

Bach Cello Suite 1 Prelude

 

 

 

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Doggie, I got "Immortal Beloved" in HDDVD!  :)  And I just discovered it is also available in Blu Ray as well.

 

Which bring to me to recommend you my favorites movie involving classics music:-

 

Amadeus!

 

 

(Audio)

 

 

 

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i would recommend the soundtrack for Immortal Beloved also - there are 2 volumes available.

 

as for Amadeus, the first single DVD release of it has the luvly soundtrack as an isolated audio track that makes great background listening. this track was dropped from the 2 DVD re-release and the BR release.

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Actually depends what you like. I find the romantic period to be richer and easier to listen to. Can't recommend Hi Def sources as most are on CD.

 

If you are a fan of big full orchestra (strings, woodwinds, plus brass, percussion), I find German and Russian composers to be my favourite.

 

Beethoven's full 9 symphonies.

 

Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky ('piano piece Pictures at an Exhibition, full orch version was transcribed by Ravel who is composer of Bolero), Borodin (Polovetsian Dances) to be very nice pieces.

 

Stravinsky's work are very dynamic too.

 

There's also Respighi works like the Roman Trilogy

 

Ravel has a way with weaving instrument sound together. His works are very beautiful pieces.

 

Wagner operatic pieces are also very wonderful.

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check out this website for SACD too...

 

http://www.sa-cd.net/

 

I think it is best to start off with the masterpieces from Mozart.. All his piano concertos are good, particularly 21-26. Symphonies 39-41, Violin concertos 1-5... Then consider moving to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and perhaps then start dipping your legs into Shostakovitch, Stravinsky and Mahler..  There is no right or wrong way to start off though.  I know someone who started off with Mahler!  I do not own a SACD player, but do have one very good SACD disc by Ms Fischer which I highly recommend..

http://www.sa-cd.net/showtitle/3286

 

And oh yes..  the bluray version of Amadeus...  is a must have too!  Enjoy.  :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the enthusiastic responses. I find I can relate to some of your comments. I too did not have much exposure to classical music in my formative years, getting into it in my thirties and high def sound from movies has probably been the catalyst to a large extent.

 

Anyone have any thoughts on something like:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Telarc-Classical-Celebrating-25-Years/dp/B00006879K/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1266938688&sr=1-1-fkmr1

 

Although not high def I imagine being telarc its of sufficiently good sound quality. Is it a good introductory sampler or am I missing the point by spreading too thin and not really appreciating any one composer / piece properly with some depth?

 

Btw I like the dvd / blu ray suggestions too and will explore.

 

cheers

 

 

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Sampler disc are a good intro and contains excerpts from the full piece. Do note PDQ Bach is actually a parody to Classical music, it has a whole series of CDs.  ;D

 

Magnificent seven is the movie theme of the same name. Think Marlboro cigar advert.  ;)

 

If you like those pieces, you can then dwell in further. Different directors have different interpretations and could sound different.

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Hi Songbird,

 

Absolutely, SACD will sound better than conventional CD based on SACD's higher sampling rate, taking into consideration all other things being equal, like source of media, mastering or media etc. (Must be careful about statement like this, as now, a lot of Echo Loft people here...  :))

 

My Telarc source is mainly from Amazon.com, but you can find some from New Disk Village and Gramophone if you browse a bit.

 

Strangely, Pop release on SACD has creased and most SACD release these days are classic music, very very strange policy.

 

It is for this reason that Pop SACD are very rare these days and prices for these had sky-rocketed.  For example, a copy of James Taylor "Flag" would costs US$118.

 

I meant to post some more classic music recommendations last night, .. I will attempt to do this tonight if time permits.

 

(Audio)

 

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If you like a Telarc CD with good movie soundtrack score and great dynamic sound effects this is the one.  I was lucky to get Erich Kunzel to sign this copy for me!  Too bad no SACD version.

 

 

My first opera CD. Heard the track on a sampler and then bought the whole CD.

 

 

Not exactly a classic album but a nice musical given the orchestra treatment, grand, powerful and great singing.  My favorite tracks are "America" and "I Feel Pretty"

 

 

A later version of Carmina Burana, technically superior (multi-channel and more hi-fi due to better recording equipment) to Robert Shaw version (above) but artistically, both versions are enjoyable.

 

 

(Audio)

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I used to be crazy over classical music when I was in JC. I then started to build more than 300 classical cds over the years in my music library. I spent almost all my pocket money on classical music cd. During those old days, I heavily depend on the Penguin Guide to Classical CD.

 

I still remember I used to purchase classical cds at Hi-Fi Corner and Sembawang Music Center. Not sure why Hi-Fi Corner suddenly went out of business many years ago. Still remember the boss name is Joe something and also selling NHT brand of speakers.

 

My recently purchased Classical Bluray include the following:

 

1. The Blu Ray Experience: Opera and Ballet Highlights (bought in HK). The recording is very good with DTS-HD. This is a good sample to start for your high-def

http://www.amazon.com/Blu-Ray-Experience-Highlights-Blu-ray/dp/B001HBX91S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=blu-ray&qid=1267347099&sr=1-1-spell

 

2. Herbert von Karajan: Memorial Concert (bought from Amazon UK). Very good recording too. Mutter played the famous Beethoven Violin Concerto conducted by Ozawa. Included also Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony.

http://www.amazon.com/Herbert-von-Karajan-Memorial-Concert/dp/B001OBT3FC/ref=pd_bxgy_d_img_b

 

3. New Year's Day Concert 2009 (bought from Amazon UK)

http://www.amazon.com/Years-Concert-2009-Blu-Ray-Blu-ray/dp/B001LMSP2Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1267347650&sr=1-1

 

 

My next purchase will include:

 

- Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 - 5 ( Daniel Barenboim Staatskapelle Berlin)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Piano-Concertos-Barenboim-Staatskapelle/dp/B002P9K9SW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1267347814&sr=1-1

 

- The Pyongyang Concert - Wagner: Lohengrin, Prelude to Act III/Dvorak: Symphony No.9/Gershwin: An American in Paris

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pyongyang-Concert-Lohengrin-Symphony-Philharmonic/dp/B001DELX1M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1267347888&sr=1-1

 

- Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6

http://www.amazon.com/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Brandenburg-Concertos/dp/B001F1YBP8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1267347952&sr=1-1

 

 

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I still remember I used to purchase classical cds at Hi-Fi Corner and Sembawang Music Center. Not sure why Hi-Fi Corner suddenly went out of business many years ago. Still remember the boss name is Joe something and also selling NHT brand of speakers.

 

Joe Lee is still alive and well on the internet, except these days he's more into art than audio, and also has lost his lion mane  ;D

Check out his new artistic directions at

http://www.1388.com/

and remnants of his audiophile past at

http://www.1388.com/audio/

 

Hifi Corner went out of biz because they expanded too fast and could not extend their credit when the dateline came. One of their main suppliers filed a bankruptcy notice against them and it was history soon after. The interesting thing to note was that the company that made them bankrupt also became became insolvent much later....karma ? ;D

 

 

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May I suggest trying some Tchaikovsky compositions as a start, eg his symphonies. His works are usually tuneful, melodious, and easily addictive.

 

Nowadays new classical recordings are pretty decent in quality, not necessarily needing hi-def format to enjoy the good sound quality, redbook cd format is generally good enough for my own consumption. Of course an added bonus if you have more than one format to enjoy the good music.

 

Some websites for reference:

 

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/main.jsp

 

http://www.musicweb-international.com/

 

 

Currently listening to the following:

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Scarlatti-Piano-Sonatas-Domenico/dp/B0007WFY5M

 

 

 

 

Wonderful cd that can be equally satisfying either as background music or for critical appreciation.

 

Bought the cd from HMV at <$20.

 

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Not sure if anyone mentioned about LinnRecords as they have quite a good collection of classical SACDs and high def downloads. I have only gotten a few of their SACDs from website www.linnrecords.co.uk and some I have bought from outside Singapore. There seems to be very little Linn SACDs in Singapore except for a sprinkling of it at Adelphi.

 

Beethoven Piano Concertos by Artur Pizzarro and SCO

Ravel also by Artur Pizzarro

Mozart late symphonies by SCO

 

I guess being a scottish company, they are loyal to their scottish flag.

 

Cheers,,,, Pete

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I always thought that Nigel Kennedy's recordings are pretty accessible. Of that, you have his recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

 

Personally, I like choral music, and amongst the best have been Palestrina's "Missa De Beate Virgine" by the Westminster Choir. The Kyrie just floats up to heaven!

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