An introduction to classical music

3 responses to “An introduction to classical music

  1. Foolish Pride May 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Technically you’re referring to ‘art’ music, not ‘classical.’

    • nydwracu May 29, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Semantic drift is a thing that exists and most people use the two interchangeably, though I guess the soundtrack thing still doesn’t technically qualify.

  2. mlr May 30, 2014 at 1:29 am

    May I offer a few suggestions?

    From the Renaissance, Palestrina’s “Credo” from Missa Papae Marcelli, which according to apocryphal sources, saved harmony itself from being banned by the Catholic Church, when influential Cardinals heard it and declared it “too beautiful” to forbid. That such a victory for Western music is embodied in the timeless expression of the Faith, The Nicene Creed, sweetens the deal, for me – this song on heavy rotation kept me sane when I lived in Shanghai. The “Amen” finale has to be one of the best ever written, but gets a run for its money from …

    … the Baroque finale to Handel’s Messiah, “Worthy Is the Lamb/Amen.” Positively transfixing (Handel famously emerged from writing “Hallelujah Chorus” and said in a near-stupor, “I have seen the face of God.”).

    Before leaving the Baroque period, I can’t resist throwing in Adagio for Guitar and Strings by Tomaso Albinoni, performed here on guitar by Liona Boyd.

    I’m not a huge Classical period fan, but I find Mozart’s Concerto for piano and Orchestra (d-minor) a very rewarding listen – it’s fun, it doesn’t drag on, or club you to death.

    The Romantic and Impressionist periods are a lot more fun. My top three suggestions are Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations. This last one is especially powerful: Elgar wrote the variations, and each one, building from the Main Theme, shifted and grew to depict one of his friends (Variation #1 was for his wife, of course). The Variation I linked to was for Elgar’s best friend, a man you’ve almost certainly never heard of (I never had), and would not have, had it not been for his friend’s affection and regard, embodied in this tribute; it’s as though you’re introduced to the (long since deceased) people in his life, and recognize in his work your own friends and loved ones. (If you like the version I linked to above, I’d suggest reading the back story on LaWik, and trying this version by Bernstein, which links Variation 8 to 9 with a sustained violin note).

    Happy listening!

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