Author Topic: Suggestions for a Newbie  (Read 7002 times)

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Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Well, jumping in -way- late and speaking as another newbie,
« Reply #80 on: March 05, 2011, 07:10:57 PM »
Every bit of what we now call classical was at some time contemporary.  Those who first heard a piece had no liner notes.  They may have known the composer's reputation or heard other works of his, but they weren't spending their pre-concert hours engaging in a study of what he'd done or how he'd done it.  They didn't have the tools.  That didn't block them from enjoying what they heard, and it didn't keep this music from enduring for centuries.

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Offline Greg

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Re: Well, jumping in -way- late and speaking as another newbie,
« Reply #81 on: March 05, 2011, 08:12:55 PM »
First, the assumption that what draws people to classical is that they've heard something and want to know more or they wouldn't be here.  There's no single piece I've heard that has raised my interest in classical music or this site.  It's a growing feeling of apathy toward the music forms I'm already familiar with, and a feeling that popular music has evolved beyond my tastes.  I'm here because all my life I've been told how great this music; I'm trying to find out if there's something here that will appeal to me.
Most likely you'll find something- it just takes some time. There are so many composers and so much music out there, that if you immerse yourself in it, stuff might either catch your attention immediately, or (as in the case of most of my favorite music) you'll keep listening to something and it'll grow on you. Even my little brother (who is 13) listens to some random stuff every now and then, and pretty much has an idea of composers he kind of likes (Haydn, Schubert and Stravinsky).




I'm more than willing to start with simple pieces to develop my listening skills, but I'm not dropping $150 and a ton of time on something before I know if I like it.
If you're talking about good headphones, it's not completely mandatory- I don't use good headphones, and often listen to my horrible laptop speakers. As for CDs...  there are other ways of not spending too much money. You can use a library, youtube or ummm... other ways of acquiring music. Probably the best idea is to search for music on youtube, and if you end up really liking a work, get a good recording of it.

Offline Palmetto

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Greg, $150
« Reply #82 on: March 06, 2011, 11:51:46 AM »
I was referring to the CD collection bigshot is selling.  I have no clue what 'Living Stereo' is, whether it's the title of a collection, a record company, or an orchestra.  I'd research it but it doesn't matter; I'm not buying right now.  On some sites his posts on the subject would be considered borderline spam.  I'm new here and haven't learned the lay of the land yet so that's not my call.

Offline bigshot

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie
« Reply #83 on: March 06, 2011, 12:15:37 PM »
Well, just to offer you a clue about what you're discussing... Living Stereo was a pioneering line of recordings put out by RCA in the late fifties to marry great music, the best orchestras and conductors and state of the art recording technology. Certain original pressings sell for a great deal in the collecting community.

The Living Stereo box set is a spectacular bargain at a little over $2 a disk. If you bought the disks individually, they would cost well over $800. Sometimes you get much more than you pay for. This is that sort of case. Those with an interest in exploring classical music by collecting CDs will end up spending much more than $150. No box set will cover all the bases in one fell swoop, but this one does an excellent job of establishing a foundation to build on for very little money.

So now you know what you're talking about. Hope it helps.

As for spam... If you consider a knowledgeable collector's offer of advice to newbies spam, then I don't know what you're doing in this thread, or on this site for that matter.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 12:18:40 PM by bigshot »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Greg, $150
« Reply #84 on: March 06, 2011, 12:39:49 PM »
I was referring to the CD collection bigshot is selling.  I have no clue what 'Living Stereo' is, whether it's the title of a collection, a record company, or an orchestra.  I'd research it but it doesn't matter; I'm not buying right now.  On some sites his posts on the subject would be considered borderline spam.  I'm new here and haven't learned the lay of the land yet so that's not my call.

He isn't offering to sell them to you, he is suggesting that it would be a wise purchase. I realize that his phraseology was a bit confusing at first; I read it twice to make sure what it was saying. :)

As it happens, if I was a newbie and didn't know a lot of music, I would give them consideration too. They are a solid collection.   :)

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Offline Palmetto

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bigshot,
« Reply #85 on: March 06, 2011, 01:27:48 PM »
One more quick thing. If there are any newbies who are interested in really exploring classical music... If you are willing to invest $150 for a basic library of the core repertoire with brilliant performances and great sound, just ask. $150 for enough music to keep you busy for a year. All you have to do is ask and let me know you're willing to put in the effort to understand and appreciate it. I'll turn you on to the deal of the century. I'm also willing to share tips if you find anything in there that you'd like to explore further.

Can you see how your phrasing can be mistaken for a 'For Sale' ad?

Right now I have less than 100 CDs of music I know I like.  I don't see myself adding 60 more of music I'm unsure of at any price.  Maybe much later, after I know I'm going to have an ongoing interest.  Otherwise, I won't be able to sell them at even half that.  Right now I'm finding enough free legal MP3s to meet my learning objectives.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: bigshot,
« Reply #86 on: March 06, 2011, 02:39:56 PM »
Can you see how your phrasing can be mistaken for a 'For Sale' ad?

Right now I have less than 100 CDs of music I know I like.  I don't see myself adding 60 more of music I'm unsure of at any price.  Maybe much later, after I know I'm going to have an ongoing interest.  Otherwise, I won't be able to sell them at even half that.  Right now I'm finding enough free legal MP3s to meet my learning objectives.

While there are some fine, even renowned, discs in that set, I would hesitate to recommend that box to a newbie, unless they have money to burn. Why? It's a fairly random sampling of Romantic-era and early 20th-century warhorses: you might find some pieces you love, but then again, your tastes might ultimately run to composers and styles not represented there at all. While it's helpful to have a grasp of the overall history of classical music and become familiar with the key pieces of the standard repertoire, it's hardly necessary. I would recommend exploring via YouTube, the BBC's "Discovering Music" broadcasts ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/listeninglibrary.shtml ), free (partial) samples on Naxos.com, etc. There's a huge world of classical music outside what you hear with that box set.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline bigshot

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie
« Reply #87 on: March 06, 2011, 03:28:01 PM »
Right now I have less than 100 CDs of music I know I like.  I don't see myself adding 60 more of music I'm unsure of at any price.

The limitation isn't intrinsic within the CDs themselves or even the music recorded on them, it's your tastes that are limited. My whole point is that without extending yourself a bit to understand and appreciate great music, you will only "like" things that happen to coincide with your random tastes. There's an ocean of truly great music of all kinds out there and more fantastic CDs than you can possibly listen to in a lifetime, but you'll never know that if you choose to remain ignorant of it. You could do a lot worse than a set of consistently good performances of core 19th century repertoire at two bucks a disk. This set isn't the be all and end all of classical music, but it's a great first step.

To be honest, the thought of first experiencing classical music through YouTube isn't a particularly appealing one. The best way is to attend local concerts, but if that isn't convenient, CDs and DVDs will be a good second choice. File sharing is OK if you can find a good community of traders and identify the ones that have discernment between good and poor performances. But my experience is that a great deal of file sharing is overrun with randomness and low quality. It's possible to sift for the good stuff, but it requires experience and a bit of work.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 03:29:42 PM by bigshot »

Offline Palmetto

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« Reply #88 on: March 06, 2011, 04:05:28 PM »
bigshot, we're in agreement regarding YouTube.  It has an advantages of being a common, trusted location for most, easily found and navigated, and not requiring any special software or hardware.  It also has the disadvantages of tethering the listener to the computer, highly variable audio quality, and difficulty separating the good from the bad.  CDs are more portable, but the audio quality isn't going to make much difference with the factory speakers in my truck or the ones on my home and work computers.  I've found a couple of places to get .MP3, which strike me as the best option at this time in terms of portability and range of playback devices.

I wouldn't touch file sharing with a pole; too many security, malware, and potential legality issues for my tastes.

As to a set of consistent performances at two bucks each, imagine you've never eaten a particular style of cuisine.  Would you try it by ordering a couple of dishes at a time based on the recommendations of others, or one of everything on the menu on your first trip?

I never said there was any 'limitation' to this set but if there are limitations, they're my wallet and my time.  As to not extending myself, I'm here, aren't I?  There's more of everything than I could do in a lifetime; I'm trying to decide if this is one I want to pay attention to.  I could have decide to explore cross stitching or juggling or wine.  I haven't really explored anything new in probably 15 years, outside of work.  Right now this is where I've turned my attention, but it's way too early for me to consider that sort of investment.  60 CDs at one shot is hardly extending myself 'a bit'.  It would take me literally years to listen to that many CDs even once each.  I wouldn't remember the first one by the time I reached the fifteenth, let alone the sixtieth.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 05:09:36 PM by Palmetto »

Brahmsian

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie
« Reply #89 on: March 06, 2011, 04:45:34 PM »
If I can make a suggestion, it would be to go check out your public library if you live near one.  For me, it has proven a great resource for classical music, and especially has been a 'money friendly' way of me exploring new works or different recordings of works I like.

I'm very fortunate that the large downtown library in my city has an extensive classical music CD section.  I'm not saying it will be the case for others, but it is something for those new in the classical music exploration to consider and try.   :)

Internet Radio stations are also another great way to start and explore things.  Some specialize in different genres and specific composers. 
« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 04:47:14 PM by ChamberNut »

Offline Palmetto

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ChamberNut,
« Reply #90 on: March 06, 2011, 04:59:14 PM »
my only complaint with Internet radio stations (or streaming feeds from conventional radio stations' web sites) is that they tie me to the computer.  That's not practical at work, and the quality of my computer speakers isn't much better than the ones in the truck.  The headphones on my .MP3 player are probably the best things I have this for this experiment, and I'm not tied to one place with it.

Thanks for the library recommendation.  I believe a couple of others have also made it.

Brahmsian

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Re: ChamberNut,
« Reply #91 on: March 06, 2011, 05:02:03 PM »
my only complaint with Internet radio stations (or streaming feeds from conventional radio stations' web sites) is that they tie me to the computer. 

That is true, indeed.

Offline Grazioso

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Re: ChamberNut,
« Reply #92 on: March 07, 2011, 06:29:35 AM »
That is true, indeed.

I don't like that myself, though I stand by recommendation for the BBC Discovering Music broadcasts I linked above because they're a way to hear (parts of) a famous work and hear someone intelligently discussing its importance and what to listen for. They can help orient someone coming to the music for the first time. Free, too.

Whenever you approach an unfamiliar art form, it's not just a question of what you choose to watch, read, or listen to, but how. Every art form has its own traditions, expectations, and criteria for judging. It's helpful to have experts suggest things to be alert for. (Then again, a totally naive approach has its merits.)

Palmetto, a lot of us here have been listening to classical music for decades and literally have thousands of classical CD's. In our enthusiasm, some of us tend to go overboard in trying to recommend how a newcomer approaches the music we love. Have fun exploring it your way; careful study has its rewards, but music should not be an obligation.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 06:36:38 AM by Grazioso »
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie
« Reply #93 on: March 07, 2011, 07:02:52 AM »
Palmetto--an inexpensive way of getting access to thousands of recordings via streaming internet is by subscribing to Naxos.com for $20/year.  The sound quality isn't the greatest, but is more than adequate for the purpose.  http://www.naxos.com/membership/subscribe.asp

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Offline Palmetto

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Grazioso,
« Reply #94 on: March 07, 2011, 10:55:16 AM »
I agree completely regarding the BBC broadcasts.  Unfortunately, I've got two problems with them; one minor, one major.  The minor one is that I can't get them to load here at work.  VLC player throws out a 'cannot connect error' that I don't get at home, where I can successfully load content from this site.  I can live with that, not that I have a choice.  The major one is that the feeds I really want to listen to the most (those below), I can't get to play at all:

Rhythm: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdm0401slat1of4.ram
Melody: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdm0402slat2of4.ram
Harmony: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdm0403slat3of4.ram
Tone Colour: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdm0404slat4of4.ram

Opus106 recommended them, and the titles look like the kind of introductory content I'm interested in.  They just won't play.  I think this content will help me to better understand what's being discussed in the others.

Offline bigshot

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Re: Suggestions for a Newbie
« Reply #95 on: March 07, 2011, 12:56:54 PM »
Bernstein's Young People's Concerts on DVD are wonderful, and can even illuminate an old fart like me. It's great that Bernstein doesn't speak down to kids, he just speaks clearly. The new set of Omnibus shows about music is great too. I've just watched the Beethoven episode so far, and I look forward to devouring the rest.

Offline Palmetto

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Bernstein's Young People's Concerts
« Reply #96 on: March 07, 2011, 01:48:51 PM »
Some are available on YouTube, although there's the usual YouTube issues of sound quality, edited length, etc.  There's enough to offer a general impression.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Bernstein%20Young%20%20People%27s%20%20Concerts&search=Search&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&spell=1

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