Classical Music - Definitive Editions?

Hey guys,

Dipping my toe into the classical scene. The extent of my exposure has been stuff that Yo-Yo Ma has played over the years. His Vivaldi, Baroque and Bach CDs. Discovered  Max Richter's recomposition of Vivaldi - and like it.

So - maybe a top 10 CD list? Accessibility is paramount - my  6 yr old should not want me to turn it off. :-)

Original Post

Hard to imagine children wouldn't find something in Mozart's lighter music.

I grew up listening to zero classical music, then at age 23 Eine kleine Nacht musik was the attention grabber that helped draw me in to explore more, so I guess it might work for a six-year old

 

Turn to a classical music used in film or ballet. Easy accessibility.

Melancholia: Tristan und Isolde Prelude by Wagner

The Hunger: The Flower Duet’ from Lakmé by Delibes

 Amadeus: Requiem by Mozart* ( by Marriner; my personal fave )

Chocolat: The Gnossiennes by Satie

Drowning by Numbers: Sinfonia Concertante: II. Andante by Mozart

Behind the Candelabra: Prelude in E minor, Op.28 No.4 by Chopin

Elvira Madigan: Piano Concerto No.21: Andante by Mozart

Eyes Wide Shut: Musica Ricercata: II. Mesto by Ligeti

Tree of Life: Má vlast by Smetana

Jean de Florette: Overture to La forza del destino by Verdi

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: String Quintet in E, Op.11, No.5: Menuet Celebre by Boccherini

Bagdad Café: The Well-Tempered Clavier by JS Bach

Heaven: Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt

I think the Mozart suggestion is a good one, Piano Concerto No. 21 as suggested above, or any of Nos 20, 23 and 24, all masterpieces, and very accessible.

Romantic period is a good way in, Schubert's String Quintet (D.956) has some of the most beautiful music ever written. (There is also the Trout Quintet which has a piano as the 5th instrument, also a good choice.) Also Chopin, pretty much anything by him, but maybe try a few of the preludes, all for solo piano.

For orchestral works Beethoven's best known symphonies, the 6th as a started, then the 9th and 5th, plus a plug for my personal favourite the 7th. Also Mozart, Symphonies 40 & 41 are fantastic. Then look at the Romantic period again, Brahms 1st and 4 Symphonies, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky violin concertos.

Going back to Baroque time, then Vivaldi's 4 Seasons is an obvious suggestion, and I'd also suggest trying Bach's Goldberg Variations, a towering work.

If you like Ma, I guess you like the cello, look out for Jacqueline DuPre's recordigs of the Elgar Cello  Concerto, some of the most poignant music ever recorded.

There are so many to choose from, Ive tried to pick ones that don't rely on being steeped in the period's music, great tunes, but still all the genius of the greatest music, which show enough of the forms to help you decide which types you like.

It's hard not to keep listing pieces, I feel I've let the 20th century down, Bach's certainly under-represented, I'd suggest Beethoven string quartets Op. 132 and 135 in a longer list, Mahler and Wanger seem oddly absent, but I'm trying not to just brain dump my whole favourites list.

Focussing on the 6 year old:

At that age, s/he would seem likely to find it interesting simply because you do (assuming you do!), but possibly likely to be more effective if tuneful and individual pieces not over-long.

At that age a special treat, maybe once a week or so, was my mother playing from her small collection of 78s, from which even today I can recall things like Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours, Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, and the one that became my favourite: Beethoven's Egmont overture. From that I was hooked on classical music for life, though in due course discovered some other styles I liked.

To complement suggestions so far, Classical FM radio is actually quite good for sampling a rangecof things, tending to focus on more popular works, and on shorter pieces or exerpts e.g just a single movement from a symphony), subject to judgement at the time as to the style of music at the particular time when you want to listen - if the choice seems uninteresting turn it off before boredom sets in and try another time! If the young'un likes a piece then buy it for future repeated play and furtger exploration if it is a longer work.

How about the ones that as a child were "exciting", 1812 Overture with all those bells and cannon. Fanfare for the Common Man, the Cats Duet.

Seriously, catching a child's attention, Debussy's Children's Corner Suite, six pieces that really are sound pictures. Then Villa Lobos The Little Train of the Caipira.

Or all those from school days - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Pictures at an Exhibition (try for free, this Wednesday from the proms).....

sjbabbey posted:

Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

In fact Disney's Fantasia might be a good introduction to Classical music.


 

This.  If I was introducing a small child to music, I'd put this, Fantasia 2000 and Allegro Non Troppo on repeat on the dvd/bluray. (When they get older you can introduce them to "The Rabbit of Seville" and the crowning glory of American animation "What's Opera, Doc".)

From a purely aural point, for children you probably want something heavy on the melody - Rossini overtures, Greig's Peer Gynt Suite (which has both Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King), Strauss waltzes, Suppe overtures etc.

regards,

Giles

What works for my kids is to watch concerts on Digital Concert Hall / Berliner Philharmoniker and let them identify the instruments.

My 2 oldest are now playing French Horn (presumably caused by the opening of Bruckner 4) and Trombone (presumably caused by the Imperial March).

Listen to EOINK, he knows what he's talking about. Every recommendation is very strong. He also seems to be the only one who's posted that actually listens to classical music as opposed to thinking it's something you hear in movies, as background when impressing friends at dinner parties, or for falling asleep to. Grrrr...

I would add to his list the following excellent and equally accessible pieces: the Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Bruch Violin Concertos; Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 "Italian"; Haydn piano sonata in E flat major Hob XVI:49; Dvorak cello concerto in B; Beethoven's 5th piano concerto; Bach's 3rd Brandenburg Concerto; and Rodrigo's Aranjuez concerto for guitar. There's so many it's impossible to list them all.

Please, please, please, avoid compilations of single movements from here and there. Karajan's Adagio CDs come to mind. Classical works are written as works, the movements go together, lead into each other, and recycle common themes. The adagio movements (usually the second) are often the most accessible, and thus the favorites. But they're infinitely nicer in the context of the preceding and succeeding movements. Mona Lisa's smile may be the best part of the painting, but cropping out the rest and leaving just her lips would ruin it wouldn't it? Compilations of classical movements are like a collage of 2x2 inch fragments cut from someone else's favorite famous paintings and thrown together in random order. 

If you're starting with chamber music (Schubert's string quintet was an excellent recommendation, Beethoven's middle quartets are even better but much less accessible), close your eyes and place the instruments on the sound stage in front of you (most quartets have the two violins to the left, then cello, then viola, older ones swap viola for 2nd violin or cello), listen to the dialog between the instruments. They don't all play at once. They're talking to each other. They have different parts to play and the real beauty comes when you pick apart the instruments and hear the interplay between them.

You won't get every piece on the first listen, even the more accessible ones. Listen to them over and over. As they become familiar, your ears and brain will pick out new details, interplay, emphasis, themes, and depth. Eventually you'll realize that Beethoven's late quartets are to rock what a SpaceX rocket is to a caveman rubbing two sticks together. I like fire as much as the next guy, but there's no comparison in achievement, sophistication, or importance.

perizoqui posted:

Listen to EOINK, he knows what he's talking about. Every recommendation is very strong. He also seems to be the only one who's posted that actually listens to classical music as opposed to thinking it's something you hear in movies, as background when impressing friends at dinner parties, or for falling asleep to. Grrrr...

That is rather disingenuous! I listen to classical about 50% of the time (and mostly complete works not exerpts)...

t think some of the contributions - certainly mine - were focusing on the dssire to be accessible to a 6 year old, and my interpretation was that what was wanted was a some suggestion of accessible things to try, from which to discover music to be explored further.

Innocent Bystander posted:

That is rather disingenuous! I listen to classical about 50% of the time (and mostly complete works not exerpts)...

Apologies, didn't mean to offend! Perhaps we just have different taste. My sense is that 6 year olds, like those of any age, are best introduced to classical music with the good stuff.

Surely all music is "good stuff", which is good for any individual depends on their taste.

Taking the theme of construction of music, interplay, development of themes etc I  have been lucky enough to see The Aurora Orchestra many times, they always make classical music accessible, my personal favourite was Mozart 40 with the Memory Palace talk beforehand.

Their recent Proms performance is to be televised on August  18th, well worth a watch for an explanation of the way a piece us "constructed".

Why not get your six year old started with piano lessons. Lessons will soon introduce classical music into the repertoire. My two grandsons (6 and 8) took to it. At this age they learn quickly. Just playing classical music calms them down and helps them concentrate. 

perizoqui posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

That is rather disingenuous! I listen to classical about 50% of the time (and mostly complete works not exerpts)...

Apologies, didn't mean to offend! Perhaps we just have different taste. My sense is that 6 year olds, like those of any age, are best introduced to classical music with the good stuff.

No offence taken! In some ways I agree, but I was more thinking dabble around to find what captivates him most and build from there. A full length symphony, however good, might not do so well if it is the initial introduction.

Mango, I've gone the "score" route with our 5 year old (but we do play other classical music).  This gives him context to the film and he knows which music goes with the different scenes, current favs are :

Bruno Coulais + Kila - The Secret of Kells

Bruno Coulais + Kila - Song of the Sea

Henry Jackman - Big Hero 6

John Powell - How to Train your Dragon

Hans Zimmer - Kung Fu Panda 3 

Recently the Calgary Philharmonic performed the 'Dreamworks Concert' where they had clips of the films, played live with the full orchestra, I certainly recommend that experience.

 

 

Filipe posted:

Why not get your six year old started with piano lessons. Lessons will soon introduce classical music into the repertoire. My two grandsons (6 and 8) took to it. At this age they learn quickly. Just playing classical music calms them down and helps them concentrate. 

I'm not convinced piano,lessons will engender a love of classical music, though it could develop a love of playing music.

the biggest challenge with piano (or any other instrument) lessons is finding a good tutor - which means one that can build a good rapport with the student. My oldest son had piano lessons from about the age of About 5 or 6 and stagnated by the time he was 8 or 9. A change of tutor and he really took to it. And my other son learning cello enjoyed it and did well, then an enforced change of teacher and within a couple of years he stopped progressing and stopped lessons - but he enjoyed playing on his own and joined the youth orchestra, effectively teachingbhimself, and now several years later, an 'old boy' in the youth orchestra, he is seeking a tutor.

perizoqui posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

That is rather disingenuous! I listen to classical about 50% of the time (and mostly complete works not exerpts)...

Apologies, didn't mean to offend! Perhaps we just have different taste. My sense is that 6 year olds, like those of any age, are best introduced to classical music with the good stuff.

What is the good stuff in your opinion?

I think any exposure to classical music early on is a good thing. Altho when I was 6, the music class consisted of just listening to a score with our eyes closed. Teacher would start with what a music is about at the beginning but then after that we all listened and try to immerse in the music. A lot of *vivid* tone poems or ballet music were used for this exercise. It isn't too hard to hear the sound of wave out of La Mer for instance. Or William Tell Overture invoking the image of galloping horse back riding through the forest. Prokofiev, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Rossini etc.. But it was great way to learn how to listen to a long tune ( not just 3 min. of popular songs ) but to stimulate child's imagination without visual stimuli.

It took me a quite a while for me to appreciate Mozart and Baroque music, or even Bach which often used for my piano lesson and I absolutely hated them as I thought they were all finger exercise nonsense.

It only took me 40+ years I was wrong.

My youngest wanted piano lessons and really enjoyed them. He gave up after grade 5 but still enjoys playing our piano. He took up guitar when he was about 13 and the piano gave him a good grounding - being able to read music was really helpful. The key thing is that they have got to want to learn it, rather than it being something forced on them by their parents.

We just play what we want and never played anything specifically for the children when they were small. They will decide for themselves what they like. The more you try to get them to like something the more they are likely to dislike it. Our eldest, who is 22 now and more likely to listen to EDM than anything else surprised me the other day by saying how much he enjoys hearing chamber music coming up from downstairs when I listen to it while having breakfast and doing the chores. Never did I encourage him to like it, and clearly he has made his own choice.

 

notnaim man posted:

Surely all music is "good stuff", which is good for any individual depends on their taste.

 

Nonsense. That's like saying all books are good, all movies entertaining, and all architecture beautiful. Not only is all music not "good," the vast majority of it is garbage. That, among other reasons, is why almost all of it is forgotten with time. Taylor Swift isn't good stuff, nor were the Bee Gees, or the vast majority of what folks play at audio shows for that matter. We can disagreee on what the good stuff is, but you can't tell me it's all good! Moral and aesthetic relativism make me twitchy ��

Filipe posted:

Why not get your six year old started with piano lessons. 

That's a fantastic suggestion! I was forced to play the violin for seven years from age 6. Hated it with a passion, but loved the music I heard others play and gained a deep appreciation for how music is composed and how it ought to sound when played by folks more talented than I.

kuma posted:

What is the good stuff in your opinion?

 

Everything EOINK suggested, plus those things that I added to his suggestions are good and accessible. There's lots more, and even more that's less accessible. But those suggestions are a great start. I remember watching Amadeus with my father at the movie theater when I was nine and that had a profound influence as well.

I took the original question to be MM asking for music to introduce him to classical music, while being able to keep the attention of a 6 year old, and answered that way. I chose pieces of music which I thought showed the greatness of certain forms, periods and composers, while having great choons (as I believe young people say) and don't need knowledge of the style to allow enjoyment, because of the musical beauty I think they'd be enjoyable for a kid as well. Some of the other answers were great answers to the other reading which would be how do you introduce a 6 year old. MM asked about performances, a purely personal list follows of performances I love of the ones I recommended. I've copied my previous text and added a recommendation in each paragraph.

Hope this is of help.

I think the Mozart suggestion is a good one, Piano Concerto No. 21 as suggested above, or any of Nos 20, 23 and 24, all masterpieces, and very accessible. Murray Perahia's performances with the ENglish Chamber Orchestra are lovely, I'm also very fond of Alfred Brendel's, but I'd start with the Perahia. (For fans, I noticed today that the 12 CD box set of Perahia?ECO is £33 on the river at the moment).)

Romantic period is a good way in, Schubert's String Quintet (D.956) has some of the most beautiful music ever written.  (There is also the Trout Quintet which has a piano as the 5th instrument, also a good choice.) Also Chopin, pretty much anything by him, but maybe try a few of the preludes, all for solo piano. For the string quintet, my go to recording is the Alban Berg Quartet with Heinrich Schiff, for the Trout Quintet there is a very good version by the Kodaly Quartet on Naxos, for the Chopin Idil Biret on Naxos is a bargain, or for me Martha Argerich is great in Chopin (not everyone agrees).

For orchestral works Beethoven's best known symphonies, the 6th as a started, then the 9th and 5th, plus a plug for my personal favourite the 7th. Also Mozart, Symphonies 40 & 41 are fantastic. Then look at the Romantic period again, Brahms 1st and 4 Symphonies, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. Beethoven symphonies, I'd go for Nicolaus von Harnoncourt with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, some people find the tempi too fast, the 1970s Herbert von Karajan are great as well (you can see them easily on a search as the album is on the Galleria label). Mozart Symphony 40/41Harnoncourt/COE again, or Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Brahms I tend to listen to Szell conductiing the Cleveland Orchestra. Viktoria Mullova's recording of the SIbleius and Tchaikovsky concertos is wonderful, I think her debut album.

Going back to Baroque time, then Vivaldi's 4 Seasons is an obvious suggestion, and I'd also suggest trying Bach's Goldberg Variations, a towering work. 4 Seasons, the Nigel Kennedy recording is excellent, and for the Goldbergs (maybe not a piece for a 6 year old) I'd always listen to Angela Hewitt.

If you like Ma, I guess you like the cello, look out for Jacqueline DuPre's recordigs of the Elgar Cello  Concerto, some of the most poignant music ever recorded.

There are so many to choose from, Ive tried to pick ones that don't rely on being steeped in the period's music, great tunes, but still all the genius of the greatest music, which show enough of the forms to help you decide which types you like.

It's hard not to keep listing pieces, I feel I've let the 20th century down, Bach's certainly under-represented, I'd suggest Beethoven string quartets Op. 132 and 135 in a longer list, Mahler and Wanger seem oddly absent, but I'm trying not to just brain dump my whole favourites list.

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