General Question

jrpowell's avatar

I want to get into classical music. Can someone suggest a starting point?

Asked by jrpowell (40499points) August 22nd, 2008

I’m not sure where to start. Any recommendations for an aging punk-rocker to get his feet wet?

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16 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

You can’t wrong with The Magic Flute. You will most likely end up recognizing several of the songs, it is wonderful. I also love anything by Chopin.

dibau_naum_h's avatar

I suggest you start with Vivaldi, whose concerti have energy & rhythm.
Continue with Beethoven symphonies (#5, #7, #9, &c).
Almost any piece by Mozart, including the opera’s, symphonies, chamber works.
Then return to the great baroque period, to Bach. Try his Johanness Passion, Matheus Passion, Cantatas (#4, #170, #147, &c), Brandenburg concerti, Partita’s & almost anything. Try get the keyboard pieces preformed by Glenn Gould (whose performances of the Goldberg Variations are probably the best you can get from Classical music, once your ear is trained enough).
Other baroque masters you should check out: Pergolesi (Stabat Matter), Scarlatti (sonatas).

Normally, you can taste stuff at YouTube, but there’s no alternative to going to concerts, & buying the best performances.

poofandmook's avatar

Rent the movie Amadeus. I wasn’t into classical, and then I had to watch that in middle school and loved it. Mozart is a pretty decent jumping off point to get started. I should know; I was a metalhead at the time. :)

whatthefluther's avatar

For a very good sampling, I suggest “Classical Music Library…The Essential Collection” by Reader’s Digest Music. Fifty pieces over four CDs including Ravel’s Bolero, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty, Vivaldi’s Concerto for Guitar in D: Largo, Chopin’s Minute Waltz, Beethoven’s Symphony Nos. 5 & 9 and Rossini’s William Tell Overture. It is a nicely done package and will give you a good introduction. Have fun getting your feet wet!

flameboi's avatar

Bach is one of my favorites :)

gailcalled's avatar

Start slowly. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (save the operas-altho gorgeus – until later); Bach’s 5th Brandenburg, Haydn’s Surprise Symphony, Beethoven Fifth Symphony, maybe Brahm’s Academic Overture. Stop and absorb and relisten.

kevbo's avatar

There’s a free podcast on iTunes called “Marin Alsop’s Clueless about Classical Music” that might be worth a go.

gailcalled's avatar

edit: gorgeous

loser's avatar

These are all great answers and there’s always Classical Music for Dummies!

wilhel1812's avatar

Mozart and Grieg does it for me. check them out

jlm11f's avatar

I am a Vivaldi fan and would like to second (or third?) the recommendation to start with his Four Seasons.

bridold's avatar

Anything by Beethoven.

susanc's avatar

These are all such nice suggestions, especially Gail’s, which helps to envision process, but I wonder what it means to “want to” get into classical music. If there were some classical music that was touching your heart, I would say go find more of that composer’s stuff.
Try Heinrich Schutz. Too. And Samuel Barber.

dibau_naum_h's avatar

susanc, actually I think that “wanting to get into classical music” can emerge without being touched by some piece or another. I can’t explain it so much. Happened to me when I was a kid: I threw away all of my cd’s, & started listening only to classic cd’s, radio stations & live concerts. It was an amazing journey. Today I listen to all kinds of music, but always get the most feeling out of classical music. Again, I can’t explain it, maybe it has something to do with heritage, brain structure, character type.

Strauss's avatar

I believe the easiest to understand would be what I call “program” music, that is, a musical work that has a story behind it. Someone already mentioned Night on Bald Mountain; I would also recommend such titles as 1812 Overture, Pictures at an Exhibition, Swan Lake or The Nutcracker. The last tends to be considered seasonal, but it is a good example of a story put to music

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