Author Topic: Newbie Here Looking For Direction  (Read 4609 times)

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Offline mellis107

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Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« on: April 04, 2016, 09:27:47 AM »
Hi Everyone!

I've been reading a few threads in here and thought I may be able to get a little help from you guys. I'll tell you a little about my journey into classical music so far.

I've always like the idea of classical music as a genre. As everyone has, I've heard bits a pieces here and there on TV, movies, commercials, and the like, and liked the sound of what I heard. It didn't go any further than that for years though.

I've always been a movie fan, and listened to movie soundtracks quite often, so instrumental pieces aren't new to me. Likewise, I like heavy metal music, so I'm used to longer compositions.

About a year ago, I was searching the Google Play Music catalogue, and found one of those "99 Best Pieces of Classical Music" compilations for a couple of pound. I downloaded it, and listened to a few tracks, and lo and behold found that I knew and enjoyed many of them. But I was still unsatisfied. It felt too unfocused a way to begin my journey, too overwhelming and the track names didn't have composers attached so I had no idea who I was listening to!

Fast forward a few months, and I decided to give the whole classical thing another go. Being a Science Fiction fan, I downloaded Holst's "The Planets", dimmed the lights, reclined my chair and put on my headphones. Well, that was it. I was transported. That was a magnificent experience. I think at that point I was determined to explore further.

Digressing slightly, I have recently joined the vinyl revolution, and a classical thread on a vinyl forum I visit suggested that charity shops are full to the brim with forgotten classical titles, in good condition, for next to no money.

With this in mind I hit my nearest town centre, and came away with the following on vinyl (over a couple of separate trips):

Vivaldi - The Four Seasons Op. 8 Nos. 1-4
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker (Complete Ballet)
JS Bach - Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 4-6
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik)
Sibelius - Symphony No.2 in D

Classical Gold Vols 1 & 2 Compilations(Excerpts from longer works)

Of the above I've only listened to Vivaldi, and really enjoyed it. Are the rest of the works worth checking out? Have I got a "good" basis from which to work?

In addition to these, I've fired Spotify up, and checked out a few works on there. Mainly Beethoven's 5th (which I'm a little obsessed with at the moment - my God its majestic!) I'm afraid that I've peaked too early with this though and its all downhill from here... Staying with Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise and too fantastic. I believe I may be turning into a Beethoven fanboy. I'm taking it slowly with each piece, listening to it over and over until I feel I know it well. My next step is to check out his 4th Symphony (just because its on the same album as the 5th), and then the 9th (because I heard such good things about it. Is this a good path to take?

Looking further ahead, I gather from this forum that Mahler is well thought of, and I heard a piece from his 2nd Symphony on a YouTube video that sounded good, so thats definitely on my radar.

I also suspect that I'd like Wagner. I'm a big Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman fan and Steinman's songs are often described as Wangerian rock opera. But I've no idea where to start. Any thoughts on this? I'm really drawn towards the dramatic/OTT/high energy style of music.

Now, I'm not a music student, nor do I have any background on music theory, or forms, etc. Is it OK if I just like what goes in my ears?

Thanks for reading this and I look forward to  everyone's input.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2016, 09:44:08 AM »
Hi mellis107, and welcome. It sounds like you have been bitten by the classical bug in a serious way. So just to address a small part of your post, definitely listen to the other works on your list - if you like Vivaldi, you might like those Bach Brandenburg Concertos a lot.

The whole point is to enjoy (which is sound like you're already doing!) so yes, continue on your path of trying different things. And hope you have a good time here.

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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2016, 09:53:05 AM »
Hi Everyone!

If you look through the Beginners section, you'll find a number of threads already answering questions similar to those you raise. Why don't you start with that and we can pick things up from there.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline mellis107

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 10:28:26 AM »
if you like Vivaldi, you might like those Bach Brandenburg Concertos a lot.

Thanks Brewski. I'll definitely check them out as soon as I can.

Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 12:06:46 PM »
Is it OK if I just like what goes in my ears?

Absolutely. But don't be afraid to give them a little 'challenge' now and then. Some truly great music, especially contemporary, can be acquired taste.

Welcome to the forum!

Offline aligreto

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2016, 12:23:12 PM »
You sound like you are doing just fine to me. Long may your enthuisiasm last. You should fit in well here. Explore as much different music as you can and that way you will establish quite quickly what and who you like and enjoy the exploration.  :)
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.

Offline Pat B

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 12:19:14 AM »
You sound like you are doing just fine to me. Long may your enthuisiasm last. You should fit in well here. Explore as much different music as you can and that way you will establish quite quickly what and who you like and enjoy the exploration.  :)

+1. Enjoy the process and don't feel obligated to like anything.

Since you asked about Mahler, he is one of my favorites, but it took me a long time. His 4th is the only one I immediately loved.

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 03:38:40 PM »
Welcome!  If you like The Planets, you would most likely also like the Sibelius Symphony (and all the other 6 Sibelius symphonies, plus the tone poems).  You might also like Stravinsky's Firebird, Petrushka, and Rite of Spring ballets, and the Shostakovich symphonies.  My personal favorite Shostakovich symphonies are 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 14, but they're all worth hearing.  Oh, and Mahler would probably pique your interest. :)

There's also a lot of good music that does not require orchestra.  String quartets (Haydn, Beethoven and Shostakovich wrote wonderful quartets), piano solos (you'd probably like the Beethoven piano sonatas, especially the Pathetique and Appassionata), woodwind quintets (there's a lovely one by Samuel Barber) and music for any number of other combinations of instruments.

Do you have any prejudice against opera?  Wagner, of course, is exclusively an opera composer; if you're willing to sit down for several hours at a time, his "music dramas" (he preferred that term) contain lots of good music.  Some here recommend enjoying opera merely as music; I prefer to enjoy it as a blend of music and stage presentation. 8)
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2016, 04:47:44 PM »
Wagner, of course, is exclusively an opera composer;

So much for his Symphony in C, or the Siegfried Idyll, huh?   ;)
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2016, 04:49:34 PM »
Welcome.  Everything you grabbed on LP is very good stuff.
If I could create an ideal world, it would be an England with the fire of the Elizabethans, the correct taste of the Georgians, and the refinement and pure ideals of the Victorians. - H.P. Lovecraft

Offline Que

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2016, 05:49:59 PM »
Welcome!  If you like The Planets, you would most likely also like the Sibelius Symphony (and all the other 6 Sibelius symphonies, plus the tone poems).  You might also like Stravinsky's Firebird, Petrushka, and Rite of Spring ballets, and the Shostakovich symphonies.  My personal favorite Shostakovich symphonies are 1, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 14, but they're all worth hearing.  Oh, and Mahler would probably pique your interest. :)


I think these are good recommendations to follow up on the Holst.

To follow up on the Vivaldi Bach's Brandenburg concertos have already been mentioned. Perhaps also try Bach's violin concertos and orchestral suites, Handel's Water Music or other orchestral music. Or more Vivaldi of course, why not?  :D

Beethoven. If you like the symphonies (try the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th - save the 9th for last) An obvious follow up would also be the concertos.

Other than then the "big" late Romantic/Modern symohonic repertoire already mentioned, try symphonies by Schubert, Mendelsohn, Schumann, Dvorak (9th) and Brahms.

And...welcome to the forum:)

Q
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 07:43:20 AM by Que »
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Offline Jay F

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2016, 10:13:44 PM »
I gather from this forum that Mahler is well thought of, and I heard a piece from his 2nd Symphony on a YouTube video that sounded good, so thats definitely on my radar.
A good place to start listening to Mahler:


Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2016, 03:43:01 AM »
So much for his Symphony in C, or the Siegfried Idyll, huh?   ;)

So substitute "primarily" for "exclusively." A few well-known non-operatic works besides, Wagner is remembered today almost exclusively for his stage works.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline springrite

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 04:08:40 AM »
Be prepared to be led to all different directions.






Oh, and they are all good!  :)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 04:24:30 AM »
So much for his Symphony in C, or the Siegfried Idyll, huh?   ;)

So substitute "primarily" for "exclusively." A few well-known non-operatic works besides, Wagner is remembered today almost exclusively for his stage works.

Also, half of Scion's post underscores the point:  The Siegfried-Idyll is standard rep, and for good reason.

The Symphony in C is a curiosity for specialists only.  And for good reason, too  8)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2016, 04:24:42 AM »
Be prepared to be led to all different directions.






Oh, and they are all good!  :)

There is that, too  0:)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2016, 05:42:14 AM »
Also, half of Scion's post underscores the point:  The Siegfried-Idyll is standard rep, and for good reason.

And it is derived from themes from Wagner's opera Siegfried. The Wesendonck Lieder might have been a better example, although it has ties to Tristan as well.

I'm afraid we're getting off the point of finding ways to help our newbie . . . .
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline mellis107

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2016, 09:58:56 AM »
Hi Everyone!

First of all, let me begin by saying a big thank you for all the help suggestions, and above all encouragement I've received on this new-found journey of mine. You're all wonderful.

I've plenty to go at, but I think I've got a definite plan in mind now (he says, until something else catches his interest, and then off he goes like a kid in a candy store..).

As pay day in in a week's time, I'm going to buy a few CD recordings of pieces I know and like. Listening on CD is a different experience altogether than streaming and MP3.

First on the list is Beethoven's 5th (of course!) and if I can find an album with another symphony on there, then that's even better (one I haven't heard preferably). Also on my list is a copy of The Four Seasons. I've heard a snatch of another work by Vivaldi (RV 211), which piqued my interest and so I've spotted a recording with these two, plus another couple of pieces which is definitely on my radar:



In the meantime, I'll continue with my Spotify exploration (probably have a look at Mahler) and if anything catches me before payday, then that's going on the list too.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I've gone 36 years without this music in my life. Like Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell", Freddie Mercury's "In My Defense", and Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son" album, I hope that this will be music that'll be with me forever going forward.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 05:42:38 PM by Que »

Offline aligreto

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2016, 01:11:15 PM »
Good for you. It is a journey so enjoy the road  :)
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Offline springrite

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Re: Newbie Here Looking For Direction
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2016, 03:48:18 PM »
I hope that this will be music that'll be with me forever going forward.

Oh, then there is that CDCDCD thing that we won't tell you about just yet…  >:D
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

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