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Classical Gems (Recommended Listening)

There's an abundance of great classical music out there... where to start? how to learn and appreciate?

In New York, I listen to WQXR a lot - the selections are generally really good and not just the typical "Brahms, Beethoven and Wagner" bill of fare. They play a good amount of obscure older and new stuff and usually have some interesting tidbits to share about the composer. I've been surprised quite often by hearing something delightful for the first time.

The list below is more like an "assignment" list for me. Many pieces I haven't heard (or at least devoted the time to listen intently and study the music). The selections are all considered "top shelf" compositions representative of the composer's style. The list is by no means complete - it's only a starter but visitors may find it useful.

Composer

Music Compositions

Albeinez

  • Iberia
  • Suite Espanol

Béla Bartók

  • Concerto for Orchestra (Sz. 116, BB 123)
    [five-movement musical work]
  • Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta

Alexander Borodin

  • In the Steppes of Central Asia
  • Polovetsian Dances (Prince Igor - Kismet)

Aaron Copland

  • Quiet City

Debussy

  • La Mer (tone poem)

Antonín Dvorák

  • New World Symphony
  • Slavonic Dances (#4 )
  • "American" String Quartet
  • Cello Concerto in B minor
  • Minatures
  • Requim (choral)

Faure

  • Apres un Reve (?)
  • Ballade for Piano & Orchestra
  • Pavanne
  • Requim

Gounod

  • Funeral March of the Marionettss (Hitchcock theme)

Grieg

  • Peer Gynt Suite
  • Piano Concerto in A

Gustav Holst

  • St. Halls Suite
  • The Planets

Janacek

  • Sinfonetta

Kodaly

  • String Quartet (?)

Lizst

  • Hungarian Rhapsodies

Felix Mendelssohn

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Overture Fingal's Cave
     (also known as the Hebrides Overture)
  • Scottish Symphony (Symphony No. 3)

Modest Mussorgsky

  • Night on Bald Mountain (orchestral tone poem)
  • Pictures at an Exhibition (piano)
  • Dawn on the Moscow River

Prokovief

  • Symphony #1 in D minor (Classical Symphony)

Ravel

  • Pavanne for A Dead Princess
  • Mother Goose Suite
  • Bolero

Respigi

  • Adagio (viola? )
  • Three Botticelli Pictures
    (great woodwind writing)

Rimsky-Korsakov

  • Capriccio Espagnol
  • Russian Easter Festival Overture
  • Scheherazade (symphonic suite)
  • Second Symphony

Saint-Saens

  • Allenz (Opus #83 – Gypsy-like)

Satie

  • Trois GymnopĂ©dies (of course!)

Alexander Scriabin

  • Fourth Symphony
  • Piano Etude in C# Minor

Shostakovich

  • Symphony No. 5
  • Jazz Suite #2 (Cello)

Sibelius

  • Finlandia (tone poem)
  • Second and Fifth Symphonies

Smetana

  • The Bartered Bride

Igor Stravinsky

  • Rites of Spring
  • Firebird
  • Symohony of Psalms
  • Duo Concertante (1932)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  • 6th Symphony (Pathetique)