Let's talk classical music

Obviously, by my username, you can tell I'm a classical fan (mostly romantic era). I'm interested in discussing your favorite composers, pieces, recordings, etc. 

My Top 10 composers (because why not)

In no particular order: Mahler, Sibelius, Bruckner, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Bruch, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Schubert, Tchaikovsky. I could go on for a while, but I'll leave it here. 

I like a lot of pieces, and it's hard to come up with a top few, but if I could only listen to one last piece of music in my life, it'd be Mahler 6. 

I look forward to your responses!

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Comments (40)

Aug 25, 2020 - 8:38pm

In particular, Petzold's Minuet in G major is always a joy to hear. Looking at Chopin, my favorite interpreter is probably Pollini. 

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

Aug 26, 2020 - 2:50pm

Love this answer. Between you and OP, you named my three favorites, those being Vivaldi, Dvorak, and Tchaikovsky. 

However, if I could only listen to one piece for the rest of my life, I think it would be either Vivaldi's The Four Seasons in G Minor or Dvorak's No.9 in E Minor, Part III (From New World). I observed the CSO perform the latter and it was one of more perfect things I've witnessed.   

Aug 25, 2020 - 8:31pm

A classical music fan that doesn't like Bach? Heresy! Without Bach, none of those other composers you mentioned would have existed!

I kid... my top 10, in alphabetical order: Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Mahler, Mozart, Scarlatti, Schubert, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Verdi

If I could only listen to one piece of music, it would be Verdi's Aida

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Aug 25, 2020 - 8:51pm

Haha, Bach is the great Master, that is for sure!

I just watched a documentary about Scarlatti, and his story is very cool. Link if you'd like:

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

Aug 25, 2020 - 8:59pm

Favorite composers:

Mozart
Vivaldi
JS Bach
Beethoven
Haydn
Galuppi
Pergolesi
Vinci
Hasse
JC Bach

Funny that while all the composers listed in this thread full under the classical music umbrella, my tastes differ dramatically from yours. I'm still into more conservative romantic music (special mention for above list: Schumann and Mendelssohn), but in terms of music that I can consistently enjoy, the 1850/60s is a sort of cut off.

If I had only time to listen to one last piece of music, I'd probably go with last movement of Beethoven's 5th, but I would say Haydn's Creation is my #1 piece of music. I admit I've never listened to Mahler's 6th...

Aug 25, 2020 - 9:18pm

It's great to know that there is so much music under the classical umbrella, creating numerous possible flavors! Admittingly, I have never heard of Pergolesi -- I'll give him a try tonight. 

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

Funniest
Aug 25, 2020 - 9:02pm

This must be where the intellects reside

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Aug 25, 2020 - 10:41pm

Mahler is the GOAT. I'll never forget the first time I heard 2 and 9 performed live. Let's not sleep on Das Lied von der Erde, either.

I won't bother repeating most of the composers listed here, which I agree with by and large. Instead, I'll give a few composers I don't see talked about enough:

Charles Ives: highly underrated turn-of-the-century composer. His Concard Sonata and Three Places in New England are both masterworks.

Vasily Kalinnikov: criminally underrated late Romantic composer. Both of his symphonies are beautiful.

David Maslanka: likely the best wind band composer to have ever lived. Listen to Symphony No. 2Symphony No. 4, and Give Us This Day. Maslanka 4 is my favorite long-form piece in the entire wind repertoire.

On the topic of wind music, Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy is the most important piece ever written for wind orchestra. Movement 2 has the one of the coolest, most jaw-dropping brass features you'll hear in orchestral music. Follow along with a score for movements 3 and 5; lots of complex meter and free time.

Aug 26, 2020 - 9:44am

I was blown away by Kalinnikov 1. I need to explore his works more. 

Going along the lines of underrated composers, I think people should give Eduard Tubin a shot.

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

Aug 25, 2020 - 11:34pm

Mozart always calms me down

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
Aug 26, 2020 - 11:42am

Looks like the Germans and the Russians are well represented here. The German romantics appear to be the favorite by far, but curious that Wagner isn't on here.

There are a number of great French composers worth mentioning - Debussy (an obvious choice), Ravel wasn't as prolific as the other great composers but all of his pieces are fantastic, and Messiaen also has some cool stuff. Also would recommend a few works by Francis Poulenc, in particular his concerto for the organ, which is as metal as you can get with classical music. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 11:53am

Wagner. He towers far above anyone else. Der Ring des Nibelungen (the ring cycle) is possibly the greatest artistic endeavor the human mind has ever conceived. But his legacy shouldn't be confined to music only. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 3:18pm

Love to see this thread. Switched from a performance major at a big name conservatory to finance.

The real question OP is Scherzo-Andante or Andante-Scherzo? And what about the final hammer blow, do you include it or not?

Personally I'm a huge fan of Shostakovich, Mahler, R Strauss, Stravinsky, Copland, Scriabin, some Bartok, and then Bach and the first Viennese school. Also like Monteverdi and Machaut's double leading tone cadences. Fav romantic/20th century pieces include basically any Mahler esp 5, the Rite, Copland 3, Strauss' Alpine Symphony, which is just gorgeous. Could talk about this forever, hard to choose a few favorites!!

Aug 26, 2020 - 3:37pm

As controversial as this may be, I think I prefer Scherzo-Andante. Bernstein with the Vienna Phil is one of my favorite recordings. Curious to see what you prefer.

Alongside Scriabin's piano works, his 1st symphony is fantastic. 

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

Aug 26, 2020 - 4:29pm

That is my favorite recording too! I think harmonically S-A is more riveting. I love the counterpoint of Mahler, really opens up his works to just a behemoth scale in complexity and sound while being emotionally stirring. The only time I've ever let tears go at a concert was the finale of a live Mahler 2...indescribable but you know the feeling!!

Do you have fav recordings for Mahler 8 and 9? I haven't listened to those two as much as 1-7 and haven't searched through recordings.

Aug 26, 2020 - 4:59pm

I am floored every time I think of the fact that Mozart was only 24 years old, when he wrote Idomeneo. 

Aug 26, 2020 - 10:02pm

Wild to think that these guys were writing such complicated music at a young age. I must say, I am envious of their skills. 

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

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Sep 2, 2020 - 9:17pm

Satie is awesome. Can't count out his Gymnopédies and Je te veux!

Sep 2, 2020 - 11:16pm

Do more modern composers like Roland Dyens count?  Fuocco rivals anything Tarrega did....

Lots of good stuff on this thread!  In addition to the above I love guitar so I'm a fan of greats like Albinez, Piazzola, Tarrega, Sor, and Segovia.  Strauss, Bach, Debussy, Handel, and Paganini are also my go tos.  Bach on guitar is divine.

Mussgorsky is a god amongst men

Favorite pieces:

Verano Porteno, Piazzola

Piano Concerto 24, Mozart

The Revolutionary, Chopin

Caprice 24, Paganini (fabulous on guitar)

Dies Irae, Verdi

Anything Debussy

stopping here because there are just too many 

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Sep 3, 2020 - 10:28am

I'm not all too familiar with classical guitar. However, I have heard some Tarrega. Any recordings you suggest?

Overprepare because even the most obscure detail may suddenly be of great importance.

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