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u/ashowofhands · 6 pointsr/classicalmusic

And now to finish what I've started...

Robert Schumann - Schumann tended to compose in phases. As a result, the vast majority of his piano compositions were published n the 1830s - and every single opus from 1 to 20 is a piano piece. Most of his best-known piano music comes from this early phase of piano music - Carnaval, Papillons, Kinderszenen, Kreisleriana those guys. And of course, all of those are worth listening to. My own personal recommendations for early Schumann piano music would be the Toccata (hard to believe this piece was written in 1832 - when it was first published, it was considered by many to be the most difficult piano piece ever written), Kinderszenen, and the op. 12 Fantasiestucke.

But what I really wanted to address was a couple selections of his later piano music - in particular, the Waldszenen ("Forest Scenes"), a beautifully composed and highly evocative suite. The other piece I wanted to recommend was the Gesange der Fruhe, op. 133 ("Songs of Dawn"), one of his last compositions, written by an older Schumann who was well into his emotional and mental decline. It's always been his most intriguing piano piece to me - odd chord changes, unpredictable and frustrated cadences everywhere, and just overall an incredibly thick work to wrap your ears around. It has a unique sound. Clara wrote of these songs in her diary - "dawn-songs, very original as always but hard to understand, their tone is so very strange."

Interesting that I went on so long about Schumann. To be perfectly honest, he's never been one of my favorites. But there certainly is a lot to say about his music.

Frederic Chopin - Wait, I already talked about that guy, didn't I? Silly me. Go listen to some Chopin! There's never a good reason not to!

Felix Mendelssohn - You may know some of his Lieder ohne worte - op. 19 no. 1, op. 30 no. 6 ("Venetian Boat Song"), op. 62 no. 6 ("Spring Song"). I like [op. 30 no. 3[(, "Consolation". I use it as an encore piece sometimes.

What you may not have been aware of, however, are his Preludes and Fugues. Mendelssohn was an avid admirer of Bach (often credited with bringing his music back into the public eye and performance canon). As, I'd assume, something of an homage to Bach, Mendelssohn published his Six Preludes and Fugues, op. 35 in 1837. They're all great, of course, but if you wanted my suggestion for a single one to use as an introductory work, I'd say definitely the second one, D major (9:49 in the video).

Richard Wagner - in a post about piano music?

Well, yes. He was not a particularly prolific piano composer (his entire piano works typically fit on two CDs), and his piano music is almost never played or heard of. The earliest of his piano music, for example the first piano sonata (1831) is...not quite what you'd expect from Wagner. Relatively "classical" sounding. He wrote a few other piano pieces around the same time. Then, 20-someodd years later he made a return to the piano and wrote this A-flat major sonata. It sounds much more Wagner-esque, and also peculiarly like Beethoven. He also wrote an Elegie a few years after, in which he definitely pushes the envelope of tonality, which he did often.

Charles-Valentin Alkan - for a long time, Alkan's name was uttered rarely, and almost exclusively in circles of pianists. In recent years, he's become better known in general, but he's still best known for being unknown. Marc-Andre Hamelin has, in my opinion, played a huge hand in validating his music. He's the only "A-list" pianist I can think of who has recorded a sizable amount of Alkan's music. And the lack of recognition isn't necessarily because his music is bad - it's that a lot of it is diabolically difficult, and he doesn't have quite as much a penchant for memorable melodies as say, Chopin or Liszt.

I've always loved his etude, Le Vent. Apologies for the amateur recording (no idea what happened to the upload of Hamelin's recording). This pianist does an absolutely stellar job with the piece of course, it's just lacking in terms of video and sound quality. Alkan wrote some enormous pieces - the Concerto for Solo Piano is a really cool piece. He also wrote a Symphony for Solo Piano. For another shorter piece, take a listen to his "Diabolic Scherzo". Diabolical indeed!

Cesar Franck - more an organ composer than a piano composer, which you can certainly hear in his Prelude, Chorale and Fugue. He had another similarly structured piano piece - the Prelude, Fugue and Variation in B minor.

That's really all I had to say about him, but both pieces are stellar. If you're curious about chamber music, I'd also say to explore some of Franck's.

Franz Liszt - You could do a whole other post and thread on Liszt alone. In recorded form, his piano output takes up nearly 100 CDs. A large part of this is because of the huge amount of transcriptions he wrote - including a sizable chunk of Schubert and Schumann's songs, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and all nine Beethoven symphonies. Most people associate "Liszt piano music" with big, bombastic displays of technique and flair, and while that is true to an extent, there's a whole lot more to Liszt's piano music than that.

If you haven't already, listen to his B minor piano soanta - a novel approach to the sonata form, and one of the most dazzling pieces in the repertoire. It's quite famous, but hey, I never heard it until my first year of college, everyone needs a first introduction at some point. Beyond that, the best of his piano music, in my opinion, comes from his *Annees de pelerinage ("Years of Pilgrimage"), a set of three different publications he made, each depicting a year of travel. The first book is marked "Swiss", the second book "Italian", and the third book is not marked with a location. My favorites from each book are Cloches de Geneve (never have I heard bells better represented on the piano), Sonnet 104 - a transcription of one of Liszt's own songs, and Jeux d'eau de la Villa d'Este, sometimes referred to colloquially as the "first French Impressionist piece". Lazar Berman's studio recording of the entire Annees de pelerinage (from which all three of the recordings I linked to are taken), is one of my all-time favorite recordings.

Alexander Borodin - Another composer who is better known for other types of music (orchestral, chamber, and Prince Igor, one of his operas). Fascinating piano music though - his Petite Suite is really cool. (Not the complete suite, but Sofrinitsky is fantastic with Russian music so I went with his recording). He also wrote a Scherzo in A-flat major, a fun little piece that totally deserves more recognition.

Modest Mussorgsky - As long as we're in Russia...From what I understand, Mussorgsky has more piano music than just Pictures at an Exhibition, but shamefully I've never heard any of it. But if you haven't yet heard the piano version of Pictures (Ravel's orchestration is vastly more popular), definitely make a point of doing so! Here is Mikhail Pletnev playing the piece. A somewhat idiosyncratic interpretation, but one of the best I've ever heard.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky* - another name that you don't often hear associated with piano music. Admittedly, his piano sonatas (the Grand Sonata, for instance), are not the best piano music out there, but I've found a lot to love in his miniatures. His most popular piano work is The Seasons, a suite in which each movement represents one of the twelve months. I am a fan of May: Starlit Nights, and October: Autumn Song.

Among his other piano music, his Meditation, op. 72 no. 5 is easily my favorite. I also enjoy his Berceuse, op. 72 no. 2. I'm deliberately avoiding concerti and piano/orchestra pieces, but were I to include them, obviously Tchaikovsky's concerti are among the most important - especially the first one in B-flat minor.

I'm approaching the character limit
again* (those damn youtube links take up a lot of characters), but if there's any interest, from OP or otherwise, I'll happily continue with a post wrapping up the romantic era and tackling the 20th century.

u/Cyberbuddha · 5 pointsr/classicalmusic

Martha Argerich Rach 3 and Tchaikovsky - A classic. First rendition of Rach 3 I heard. Not the most technically perfect (e.g. compare with Kissin) but just so powerful and exhilarating.

Solti Mahler 8 in Vienna - Perfect soloists, perfect sound, perfect interpretation. Completely different league with respect to any other recording in terms of the soloists and Part 1.

Solti Brahms cycle - Great cycle. Either I love CSO/Solti recordings or I can't stand them. This is one of the former probably because Brahms is more in line with Solti's type of conducting. The fourth is particularily strong.

Mahler 2 Bernstein - Another classic. Not your everyday Mahler 2 but then again you don't listen to Mahler 2 every day. Pushing the score to its romantic limits as one reviewer put. Spiritual listening experience of death and transfiguration for the listener.

Eugene Ablulescu's Hammerklavier - Very interesting academic performance (not as slow or heartfelt as Solomon in the adagio for example). Rigid adherence to marked tempi. No idea why it isn't more well known.

Also I totally second the Gilels/Jochum Brahms concertos.

u/dumpstergirl · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I did extensive of research a while back, but sadly don't have it all with me now. I still have a bunch of top picks saved on my Amazon wish list tho:

The long and short of it is that I really like Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser, Bose is way overpriced for anything but their noise-canceling ability, and open-air is optimal for classical. I, however, wanted closed or semi-closed 'phones because I wanted to blast opera and Rachmaninoff loud without the person in the cube 2 feet away from me being any the wiser for it. Open air has a great deal of leakage.

In grad school I was using these relatively cheap 'phones mainly because the noise canceling worked amazingly well on the noisy, crowded shuttle bus. They were pretty rugged but with enough abuse eventually broke on me. I can't speak for any of the higher-quality headphones on my list as I have to wait 'till I get a job before I can buy a set.

All the 'phones linked in the above list were ones I set apart during hours of research on sites like head-phi looking for classical/opera 'phones.

Note that the Grados are more rock-type phones but the punchy bass can be pretty nice for classical. However, they were less comfortable than other phones, so if you wear them all day (as I do) people recommended installing the Sennhieser ear pads (also on the list).

Let me know what you get and your opinions on it; the feedback will help me decide what to get someday!

EDIT: Out of that list the favored picks were:

Sennheiser 598

AKG 701

Beyerdynamic 440

u/qutx · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

A collection of thoughts


As has been said

> Don’t be afraid to build up a giant stack of half formed ideas on top of your piano.

Beethoven is notorious for his sketch books, and for playing with and developing ideas for years and years and years after the initial thought.

The original ideas for the 5th symphony are junk, for example. but he kept playing with it

get this book for more on this

part of music is the actual musical architecture and structure of the music. This is covered in the subject of "musical form" but this goes deeper

see this short video by whitacre on the subject

"Discovering the Golden Brick"


for more general instruction on the basics and the bigger issues of music composition, see this YT channel by Alan Belkin

for a more popular music perspective, see Rick Beato and related channels


One of the longest traditions in music education is the making of arrangements and transcriptions of other people's music. This seems to far more effective if you do it by hand, and copy out all the parts yourself (again by hand)

Bach arranged Vivaldi, Mozart arranged Bach, Beethoven arranged Handel, etc.

If these masters did this as part of their own musical studies, maybe you could so this for your own education, using the music you admire most.

Even if it is arranging the music to a new key or mode (major to minor, etc)


As a general thing I recommend books by Charles Rosen for music of the Classical era


Probably the best place to start is by writing "etudes" which basically means "Studies" You could also call them "Experiments".

These would be shortish pieces where you try out different things. Thus if you do not know which way to go with something, you try them all or most of them, and flesh them out into separate things. Each is an experiment.

one idea might give a dozen experiments (major vs minor, slow vs fast, 3/4 vs 4/4 vs 5/4 = 12 combinations)

As experiments, not everything has to work. (but you might come back to it later)

Nothing has to be perfect, They are experiments

Later own, you experiment with ways to make it better. (see the Beethoven sketches again)


part of the musical problem of form is to how to continue something in order to maintain interest, without it getting boring for a variety of factors. Traditional forms are solid solutions to the problem but you can come up with your own.

As an example, check out the old popular songs of John Denver (!) many of which do not follow a conventional common practice song format. What is he doing there?

u/MapleToothpick · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Writing short little concentrated pieces is a very good idea. Try creating as much material out of the smallest idea you can. I like to pick a small little theme/motif and just run with it.

The piano music I've been listening to includes; Scriabin (I have a book of his Piano Sonatas on my desk right now), Bartok, Prokofiev, Roslavets, Mosolov, Bach, and Beethoven. If you like Scriabin then I suggest going on youtube and listening to Roslavets and Mosolov, they write in a very Scriabin-esque fashion.

Books, I personally love reading about music. I do a lot of reading about composers and about harmonies and stuff. Wikipedia is a good place to start, but it's certainly not a definitive source. Persichetti's book on harmony is a good book for harmony, it certainly helped me think about harmony in different ways. And Modernism in Russian Piano Music is very good if you're looking to mimic Scriabin/Prokofiev and other composers of that musical language.

u/loose_impediment · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

Thank you for posting this. While I have listened to Ives' symphonies at various times during my life, I am now just trying to really listen to them "hard" and try to gain a better understanding of the music. This essay is a wonderful entry point. I'm going to get Jan Swafford's book on Ives. His being an accomplished composer and a composition teacher who can discuss sophisticated musical concepts in clear, expository, English is a rare gift. None of the vague, subjective, woolly prose you so often see in reviews of Ives and other complicated music. Swafford is probably well-known to the people here who listen and study music less casually than me. I just mostly listen and attend concerts ... unless I happen to catch a fascination with some kind of music. Then I start to research a little.

u/ny_jailhouse · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

Sennheiser 598, highly recommended. Sounds great with everything, open back which is apparently the best style for preservation of intended dynamics and gives the biggest soundstage. Very natural sounding, very comfortable, looks great..not expensive. really good for classical, for sure.

u/eaglesbecomevultures · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Sure! Here are a few that have helped me out:

The textbook that my school uses for beginning theory classes is The Complete Musician by Steven Laitz. It is a pretty comprehensive look at tonality, covering the very basics through 19th century theory. Isn't too pricey either:

Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum is a great place to begin working on counterpoint:

Samuel Adler's The Study of Orchestration is my current go to book when researching the basics of different instruments and orchestration techniques:

Lastly, once you feel you have developed a solid foundation with your theory knowledge, I can't stress enough the importance of studying/analyzing scores. It is (in my opinion) the best way of learning how to compose. One can learn so much from one score!

u/scrumptiouscakes · 8 pointsr/classicalmusic

A few to consider, some more affordable than others:

u/westknife · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

I did this very same thing, my friend. Here's what I did:

  • Listened to this album (a lot)
  • Read the book The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross, and listened to a bunch of the recommended recordings, and followed his blog
  • Listened to lots of EMI's "Great Recordings of the Century" series
  • Read lots of stuff online about composers I liked, including Wikipedia and this website and this one too. I also started to learn about the different forms/genres within classical music, and the different time periods as well
  • But mostly, just listened to lots and lots of classical music. The more times you hear the same piece, the more you will feel you understand it and the better it becomes - and there is no upper limit to this. Explore!

    I still love rock and metal for the record, they are not mutually exclusive :P
u/parkerpyne · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

\> This composition was focused on the balance and elegance of the Classical era (like Mozart and Haydn).

It doesn't quite achieve that either, mind you. The following paragraphs sound harsh but aren't intended to be.

There are lot of what I would call mechanical mistakes. Take the second bar. You shift an E-major chord up a second to F#-major, all voices moving in parallel. And then you compound it by the F#-C# to B-F# parallel fifths in the cello, viola and second violin. You will not find anything like this in the body of works of Haydn or Mozart. It's just a simple violation of rules that cannot happen when you strive to write in the Classical style.

Aside from these types of formal issues, there is something that takes much longer to get right and it has to do with all these unwritten rules that you would find implemented in every Mozart and Haydn sonata movement. The second theme appears to be presented in bar 17 and it is according to the standard rules in the dominant. So far so good. The problem is that you are missing the transition from first to second theme. The first section is just a repeat and alternation of two-bar motives. The 16 bars entirely consist of three chords: B-major, E-major and F#-major. And then, after ending on the tonic B-major, you introduce the second theme in the dominant F# but you never established that key, and it needs to be.

According to classical rules it requires either a cadence on the dominant, often introduced via vi which in the case of B-major would be like a g#-minor chord with the third in the base but more correctly denoted as B^(6), or a half-cadence on the double-dominant C#-major. You have neither and you don't have a single reference to the new leading tone E#, and you kind of do need it to convincingly present the second theme in the new key.

Whole books have been written specifically about how Classical composers treated the sonata form. I recommend Charles Rosen's Sonata Form or The Classical Style by the same author. These are incredible books and eye-opening. I keep repeating this and a lot of people don't believe it but the Classical era was the height of formalism in music. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were the most comprehensively trained composers in history. They had to be. They knew everything that Bach did but in addition to that they had mastery of the far richer structural and harmonic principles and rules of the Classical era (which, actually, they created themselves). That's why a scholar such as Charles Rosen spend his whole life (well, apart from performing as a pianist) on studying what made Classical music Classical.

But not to worry. It seems this competition that you won is for young (as in teen) composers. I've taken part in various composition competitions myself decades ago (and never really won anything). You'll figure it out. But do get these Charles Rosen books. When I read them for the first time they elevated my appreciation and understanding of classical music to an entirely new level.

u/rower_97 · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland is a great book for learning how to listen to music more attentively. Also, you can't go wrong with Dorling-Kindersley's Eyewitness Companion to Classical Music. I grew up flipping through that volume - it's a lot of fun to read and is very informative. If your local library has magazine and newspaper subscriptions, they may have a subscription to Gramophone Magazine which is an excellent guide to classical music recordings. If not, their website has a lot of resources for free. There are lots of other great resources listed in this thread, like Adam Neely's youtube channel. It takes a while to build

u/Epistaxis · 10 pointsr/classicalmusic

It seems like people are just naming their favorite composers rather than music similar to Williams. Well, to me Williams sounds the most like Wagner (grand orchestration and leitmotifs) and Bartók (primal rhythms and also a fair bit of the orchestration).

For Wagner, you could start with some overtures, e.g. Lohengrin, Lohengrin act III, Dutchman, Tristan (I guess I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Liebestod), Parsifal... but those don't really sound that much like John Williams, so sooner or later you'll just have to hunker down and watch the Ring with her. (You'll be surprised at the similarities to Star Wars, and I'm not just talking about the music.) Wagner certainly knows how to "build large-scale works".

Most of Bartók isn't orchestral, but then that wouldn't really sound similar, would it. Popular orchestral works include the five-movement Concerto for Orchestra and four-movement MSPC. If anything, Bartók will sound more like Williams than Wagner does, not because he learned more from Bartók but because his most "distinctive" stuff sounds like Bartók while everyone who ever writes an orchestral film score echoes Wagner.

Once you hear these, you'll realize just how much of a copycat Williams is, but there's nothing wrong with that, and it's hard to fault his choice of source material.

u/Giga_Punch · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I recently purchased David Zinman's cycle which tries to follow the original metronome markings. I find the music much more exciting this way.
It becomes easier to imagine the relentless energy that original audiences were confronted with, and if we have it on good authority that this is how Beethoven wanted his music played, then I can't imagine hearing it any other way.

u/jdc021 · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Aside from actually attending a performance of the cycle (pricey, indeed), this is a great place to start. Rich, faithful staging with wonderful performances.

u/jayuhfree · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

You might enjoy reading Nicholas Slonimsky's "The Lexicon of Musical Invective". It's one of my favorite music texts and is a compilation of hundreds of hilarious and ridiculous critiques of pieces we consider great masterpieces today.

u/krypton86 · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Many of the best books written about 20th century music were written by relatively unsuccessful composers. Eric Salzman, Robert P. Morgan, even Alex Ross who is known as a journalist and not a composer studied under Peter Lieberson (Ross wrote The Rest is Noise).

That said, perhaps you'd enjoy The Aesthetics of Survival: A Composer's View of Twentieth-Century Music by George Rochberg. There's also Michael Nyman's book, Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, and George Perle's collection of essays The Right Notes.

If you're really concerned about what composers consider important in composing music, I would read a book about 20th century theory & composition, not a history book. If it must be written by a "successful" composer, check out the classic by Vincent Persichetti - Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice.

u/blckravn01 · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Copland's What to listen for in Music was really good, but more geared to the classical novice; still worth the read, nonetheless.

Toch's The Shaping Forces of Music was a serious eye opener for me as a composer. It really out everything I was learning in school into perspective and helped me make sense of the purpose of all that I was being taught.

Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration was a very good book that showed me all the idiosyncrasies of writing for symphony in a very clear manner.

u/BroseppeVerdi · 4 pointsr/classicalmusic

You should check out Leonard Bernstein's "Young People's Concerts". They encompass more than just history, but they do cover a wide range of historical topics... not to mention, they're told by one of the 20th Century's most important composer/conductors. Someone took the liberty of putting them all up on YouTube; here are a few of the better history(ish) themed ones:

u/smokedjowls · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Get a free Spotify account and listen to the different recordings. Read reviews if you feel inclined. For Mozart's Requiem, you have to choose between recordings on modern instruments or period instruments, so it comes down to personal preference. On modern instruments usually the most recommended CDs are this, this, and this. Have fun finding something you like.

u/mroceancoloredpants · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

There is this collection, called the "People's Edition"- over 5,000 people voted on their favorite recordings and the ones with the most votes made it into the boxed set. It's very good! I've only figured out my favorite for some of them:

First: Boulez/Chicago

Second: Bernstein/New York

Third: Abbado/Vienna

Sixth: Boulez/Vienna

Ninth: Karajan/Berlin

u/KelMHill · 5 pointsr/classicalmusic

Leonard Bernstein was a truly magnificent educator and musician. Unfortunately, the sound is already muted in at least one of the youtube links due to a copyright claim.

These lectures are still available to purchase on DVD (as well as in book form, though the video is more engaging). I have owned them since back when they were only available as audio on vinyl, and they are the most treasured element in my informal musical education.

u/vashjunky · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

This is fun and exciting, but this is the best recording of Mahler 2 ever.

u/gesamtkunstwerk · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Since you're looking for a traditional production, I'd say the Met's production conducted by Levine is probably going to be your best bet. I haven't seen a ton of Ring Cycle DVDs, but all of the ones I've seen except for the Met/Levine have been "modern" productions (which can still be pretty cool if you go into it with an open mind). As for English subs, as far as I know most if not all DVDs will have them.

u/Bryndyn · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I thought he studied with Haydn before Salieri? And then when Haydn buggered off to London, Beethoven was the music student harlot of Vienna, running between Salieri, Albrechtsberger Schuppenzigh et al?

Or at least thats what I remember from the biography I read.

PS this is the biography. I recommend it to everyone who even has a passing interest in music. Fantastic book. You dont become a Pulitzer finalist for nothing.

u/crowsmen · 22 pointsr/classicalmusic

I read your comment and thought: "there are lots of commercially unknown orchestras with great recordings....". Then I went to the amazon page for the Beethoven collection pictured:

Listen to the opening of Beet 5. Yuck. I'm not trying to be an elitist or anything. It just really really sucks even compared to other cheap CDs. Shit, you can get the entire 1963 Karajan Beethoven cycle used for about $15 on amazon:

If you like classical music as background music while you work or whatever, fine. But if you want to hear it the way it's meant to be heard, you can do much better for the same amount of money.

I'll be constructive and recommend a few cheap and great recordings (buying used off amazon, nothing more than $5). Others might be able to do better....

Mozart Symphonies 40, 41

Mozart Symphonies 32, 35, 39

Beethoven 5, 7

Bach cello suites

Bach Brandenburg 1-3

u/think_happyness · 8 pointsr/classicalmusic

The Unanswered Question by Leonard Bernstein might be what you're looking for. I confess, I have yet to watch all six talks in their entirety but the ones that I have seen are very interesting. He delves into a "convincing discussion of music's history and forms, with particular emphasis on modern music" and covers a wide range of different composers. Read the review on Amazon for a bit more info.

u/Bluthiest · 7 pointsr/classicalmusic

The great American composer Aaron Copland wrote a lovely book that may serve as a primer for you. What to Listen For In Music

u/CRMannes · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Gradus ad Parnassum. Know it, love it, make it your friend.

u/Baron_Ventwenno · 7 pointsr/classicalmusic

Taruskin's Oxford History of Western Music is brilliant (apart from the last volume which is only OK). It is readable and fascinating.

u/sciencekitty · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Not sure if this is within your price range, but Liszt: The Complete Piano Music might be an idea? Leslie Howard is a phenomenal pianist and this set is absolutely amazing!

u/JoeofMTL · 5 pointsr/classicalmusic

If you haven't read this you really really should. It's eminently readable, entertaining, and comprehensive and I like it a lot.

u/ohaiitzwill · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Dude, Richard Taruskin has this amazing set called "The Oxford History of Western Music" it covers EVERYTHING.

It's informative, a fun read, and packed into 5 volumes with musical analysis and a historical perspective hardly rivaled.

If you've got the money, I can assure you this is worth every penny.

u/xDamien · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Karl Bohm + BPO: Complete Mozart Symphonies

EDIT: Also, the Piano Concertos and the requiem.

Plus the operas The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutte. The Piano Sonatas, Violin Sonatas, Violin Concertos, Horn Concertos, Serenades.

2nd Edit: I'd recommend you start with the stuff I linked then slowly move your way into the rest of the stuff, because it is a lot of stuff as one user pointed out.

u/orchestraltrumpet · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

This is probably the best book for introducing people to classical music. It can be a bit technical but nothing horrible and will give you the terminology to understand the podcast fully.

u/elektra25 · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

I love the Adler but only because I'm a huge geek

u/DavidRFZ · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

It is on amazon where you can "look inside". The table of contents gives you a good idea of the scope. There are a bunch of other excerpts in there, so you can get an idea of the writing style.

u/jta314 · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

You can combine with what you learn in that book with a little more flair and flavor, from this book: Twentieth Century Harmony. But if you can only get one. Get the Fundamentals of Musical Composition above.

u/mingl · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic


Del Mar has a huge essay at the beginning of each Symphony talking about all the different sources he used and the major changes to articulations. It caused a big stir. In 2000 a few recordings came out that were based on this edition: Zinman

u/proteinstains · 9 pointsr/classicalmusic

Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the XXth Century. Covers modern music from the end of the XIXth to now. Most interesting and put in relation to the historical context. A must, although you do not have to agree with all the author's views.

u/nastierlistener · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Try Theory of Harmony by Schoenberg and The Study of Counterpoint by Fux. If you don't mind reading somewhat dated texts these could work well.

u/Fafner_88 · 4 pointsr/classicalmusic

Don't bother with Bohm, it's awful. Go for Karajan's 70's or 80's versions (his 60's recording is not that good either).

Some other versions that I like are the two 1 2 recordings by Marriner, Colin Davis, and Schreier.

Concerning recordings with period instruments, I second Herrweghe's recording, and would also recommend Harnoncourt's recording which is very unique.

u/fretit · 1 pointr/classicalmusic

> information about the piece apart from the performers

Right at the bottom, it lists "by Neville Marriner, Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields." It's probably from this recording.

u/Absolutelee123 · 9 pointsr/classicalmusic

THIS book is entirely composers bashing other composers in the press

u/Rooster_Ties · 3 pointsr/classicalmusic

Edgard Varèse sketched a piece that basically did/does exactly what the OP is describing. It was 'realized' (completed) and recorded finally on this set, called "Tuning Up".

"Tuning Up" for orchestra (sketched 1946; completed by Chou Wen-Chung, 1998)

u/LHB_ · 5 pointsr/classicalmusic

Lucky for you, there is a book called The Lexicon of Musical Invective that chronicles scathing reviews of works of composers from Beethoven onward. Although I don't remember any off the top of my head, I remember a few bringing up the death of classical music.

u/kismet888 · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

Aaron Copland wrote a book just for you, called What to Listen for in music.

All sheet music in the public domain (all music by composers who died more than about 75 years ago) is free at

u/ThePercussionist · 2 pointsr/classicalmusic

You'd also likely find a couple negative reviews in this book.