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I listen to Death Metal. I'd like to listen to classical, too. Where do I start?

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MilesMetal:
Ideally, I'd like a list of the essential works by the most influential classical composers.

Would 'The History of Classical Music on 100 CDs' be a good place to start? How would you rate it? Is it missing anything?

This is what it includes:

'Medieval - Baroque' section
CD 1 Gregorian Chant - Feast Of Stephen / Marchaut: Chansons
CD 2 Dufay / Josquin Des Pres: Motets
CD 3 Wind Music From Renaissance Italy
CD 4 Tallis / Byrd / De Victoria / Palestrina / Allegri
CD 5 Monteverdi: Vespers (Highlights), Madrigals
CD 6 Schütz / Buxtehude / Pachelbel: Chamber Music
CD 7 Purcell: Dido And Aeneas (Highlights); The Fairy Queen (Highlights)
CD 8 Charpentier: Te Deum / Rameau: Une Symphonie Imaginaire
CD 9 Telemann: Concertos
CD 10 Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, Gloria in D Major
CD 11 Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2 & 5, Orchestral Suite No.2
CD 12 Bach: Goldberg Variations, Fantasia in C Minor, Italian Concerto
CD 13 Bach: Organ Works
CD 14 Bach: St. Matthew Passion (Highlights)
CD 15 Bach: Magnificat, Cantatas BWV 63 & 65
CD 16 Handel: "Royal Fireworks" Music, Arrival Of The Queen Of Sheba
CD 17 Handel: Harp Concerto, Organ Concerto in F, Concerto No.3
CD 18 Handel: Messiah - Arias And Choruses
CD 19 D. Scarlatti: Sonatas
CD 20 C.P.E. Bach: Symphonies For Strings (1-6) / J.C. Bach: Quintet

'Classical' section
CD 21 Haydn: Symphonies No.45 "Farewell", No.88 & No.104 "London"
CD 22 Haydn: String Quartets Nos.3, 5, 63, 74, 77
CD 23 Haydn: The Creation (Highlights)
CD 24 Mozart: "Eine kleine Nachtmusik", Symphonies Nos.40 & 41
CD 25 Mozart: Piano Concerto Nos.20 & 21, Fantasia In D Minor
CD 26 Mozart: Clarinet Quintet, String Quintet In G Minor, K516
CD 27 Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro, K.492 (Highlights)
CD 28 Mozart: Requiem, Laudate Dominum, Exsultate, jubilate
CD 29 Beethoven: Symphonies Nos.5 & 6
CD 30 Beethoven: Symphony No.9 "Choral"
CD 31 Beethoven: Piano Concerto Nos 4 & 5
CD 32 Beethoven: Sonata For Violin And Piano No.9 "Kreutzer"
CD 33 Beethoven: Piano Sonata Nos.8, 23 & 31
CD 34 Weber: Der Freischütz (Highlights)

'Romantic' section
CD 34 Weber: Der Freischütz (Highlights)
CD 35 Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Highlights)
CD 36 Schubert: Symphony No.8 "Unfinished"; Symphony No.9 "The Great"
CD 37 Schubert: Piano Quintet in A "The Trout", String Quartet No.14 in D Minor "Death And The Maiden"
CD 38 Schubert: Piano Sonata No.21 in B Flat, 3 Impromptus; 2 Moments musicaux
CD 39 Schubert: Winterreise
CD 40 Paganini: Violin Concerto No.1; 10 Capricci
CD 41 Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Overtures: Benvenuto Cellini & Le Corsaire
CD 42 Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor, Préludes; Barcarolle in F Sharp Minor, Scherzo Nr. 3 in Sharp Minor
CD 43 Chopin: Nocturnes (Selection)
CD 44 Chopin: Ballade No.1 in G Minor, Berceuse in D Flat, Polonaise No.6 in A Flat-"Heroic, Excerpts From 12 Etudes, Op.10
CD 45 Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 in E Flat, Piano Sonata in B Minor, Hungarian Rhapsody No.6 in D Flat, Années de pèlerinage,
CD 46 Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Symphony No.4 "Italian", "The Hebrids" Overture; Excerpts Of "A Midsummer Night's Dream
CD 47 Schumann: Symphony No.2, Symphony No.3 "Rhenish"
CD 48 Schumann: Piano Concerto in A Minor, "Kinderszenen", Carnaval
CD 49 Schumann: Dichterliebe, Frauenliebe und Leben
CD 50 Bizet: Carmen (Highlights)
CD 51 Brahms: Symphonies No.1 & No.4
CD 52 Brahms: Piano Concerto No.2 in B Flat, 7 Fantasias
CD 53 Brahms: Violin Concerto in D, Sonata For Piano And Violin No.1 in G "Regenlied-Sonate"
CD 54 Bruckner: Symphony No.4 in E Flat Major - "Romantic"; Psalm 150, for Soprano, Chorus And Orchestra
CD 55 Strauss, J.: Waltzes & Polkas
CD 56 Smetana: The Moldau, From Bohemia's Meadows And Woods / Dvorák: Symphony No.9, Op.95 "From The New World"
CD 57 Dvorák: Symphony No.8 in G Major, Cello Concerto in B Minor
CD 58 Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites Nos.1 & 2; Piano Concerto in A Minor
CD 59 Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6, Op.74 "Pathéthique"; Nutcracker Suite, Op.71a
CD 60 Tchaikovsky: Romeo And Julia - Fantasy Overture; Serenade For String Orchestra, Overture solenelle "1812" Op. 39
CD 61 Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1 Op.23; Violin Concerto Op.35
CD 62 Wagner: Overtures & Preludes
CD 63 Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Highlights)
CD 64 Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Highlights)
CD 65 Verdi: Aida (Highlights)
CD 66 Verdi: Rigoletto (Highlights)
CD 67 Verdi: La Traviata (Highlights)
CD 68 Saint-Saëns: Symphony No.3 in C Minor, Op.78 - "Organ Symphony" / Franck: Symphony in D Minor
CD 69 Glinka: Ruslan And Ludmilla - Overture / Balakirev: Islamey / Borodin: Polovtsian Dances / Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition
CD 70 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Capriccio Espagnole
CD 71 Mahler: Symphony No.1, Songs Of A Wayfarer
CD 72 Mahler: Symphony No. 5

'Modern' section
CD 73 Debussy: Nocturnes, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, La Mer
CD 74 Debussy: Suite bergamasque, 12 Préludes
CD 75 Strauss, R.: Also sprach Zarathustra, Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel
CD 76 Strauss, R.: Tod und Verklärung, Capriccio, Vier letzte Lieder
CD 77 Puccini: La Bohème - Highlights
CD 78 Puccini: Tosca - Highlights; "Nessun dorma"
CD 79 Elgar: Variations On An Original Theme / Holst: The Planets
CD 80 Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D Minor / Scriabin: Symphony No.4 "Le Poeme De L'Extase"
CD 81 Sibelius: Symphony No.5, Finlandia, Tapiola, Valse triste
CD 82 Ives: Piano Sonata No.2 "Concord, Mass., 1840-1860", Central Park In The Dark, Three Places In New England / Barber: Adagio For Strings
CD 83 Janácek: Taras Bulba; Concertino; Sinfonietta
CD 84 Ravel: Boléro, Piano Concerto in G, Pavane pour une infante défunte, Ma mère l'oye
CD 85 Schoenberg: Transfigured Night, Pierrot Lunaire / Webern: Six Pieces For Orchestra, Symphony
CD 86 Berg: 3 Pieces for Orchestra, Violin Concerto, Lyric Suite - 3 Pieces For String Orchestra
CD 87 Stravinsky: Petrouchka, Apollon Musagète (1947 Version), Circus Polka For A Young Elephant
CD 88 Stravinsky: Pulcinella, Le sacre du printemps
CD 89 Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1 in D, Piano Concerto No.3 in C, Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonic Suite
CD 90 Bartók: Music For Strings, Percussion & Celesta, Concerto For Orchestra
CD 91 Hindemith: Mathis Der Maler / Weill: The Threepenny Opera - Suite / Pfitzner: Palestrina - Preludes / Busoni: Doktor Faust - Intermezzo
CD 92 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 5 in D Minor
CD 93 Britten: Serenade For Tenor, Horn And Strings / Delius: Two Pieces For Small Orchestra / Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
CD 94 Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez / Falla: El amor brujo, Nights In Spanish Garden
CD 95 Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue, An American In Paris / Bernstein: "Candide" Overture, Symphonic Dances From "West Side Story"
CD 96 Messiaen: Turangalîla Symphony
CD 97 Boulez: Le marteau sans maitre / Stockhausen: Gruppen
CD 98 Schnittke: Concerto Grosso No.1 / Lutoslawski: Chain 3; Novelette / Ligeti: Chamber Concerto
CD 99 Gorecki: Symphony No. 3 “Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs”
CD 100 Reich: Six Pianos / Adams: Shaker Loops / Glass: Violin Concerto

k a rl h e nn i ng:
Kudos to you for bravely embarking on this broad sea!

It may seem ironic to consider a 100-CD anthology a start . . . but, well, it is  ;)  There is no easy way to condense the whole of the classical literature down to (let's call it) 125 hours of music;  inevitably there's only room for one piece by Elgar (e.g.), which means we can only manage the "Enigma" Variations . . . just an example.  But that anthology does hit a great many of the "obligatory" lit (which is music deserving of its popularity), while giving you some good glimpses at the "lesser lights" who are sometimes too readily overshadowed by the musical giants.

mc ukrneal:
It's surprisingly not bad at all. And as it is a DG release, the performers are generally quite good as well.  One could quibble - no Bruckner, not enough classical period, could have more second half of the 20th century - but on the whole it is a pretty broad collection. It certainly will give you an idea of what is out there and you can then narrow your pursuit accordingly.

Sergeant Rock:

--- Quote from: mc ukrneal on September 09, 2015, 05:20:05 AM ---One could quibble - no Bruckner...
--- End quote ---

CD 54 Bruckner: Symphony No.4 in E Flat Major - "Romantic"; Psalm 150, for Soprano, Chorus And Orchestra

Sarge

k a rl h e nn i ng:
If you must keep to only one Britten work, the Serenade is a great pick.

The Prokofiev CD really does smack of Greatest-Hits!-ism.

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