Any of the Howard Hanson CD's done on Merucry Living Presence label would be a good start.
29 responses Add your response
Steven Isserlis has a Saint-Saens disc on redbook that has the 2nd cello concerto and the 2nd cello sonata plus Joshua Bell on one piece. He also has a redbook CD called Cello World that does have some but not a lot of vocals.
If your are familiar with Rostopovich his version of Dvorak's cello concerto is my favorite.
While not positive I am fairly sure there should be an SACD of Jacqueline du Pre's version of Elgar's cello concerto.
For guitar check out Christopher Parkening,
Also Julian Bream and John Williams did a couple of albums together.
Would also recommend Laurindo Almeida, and Segovia. You can check them out on Arkivmusic.com and see what they did doing.
Hope this helps.
I know it only scratches the surface but one has to begin somewhere.
The MA recording of Bach Cello Suites by Martin Zeller is a great version and beautifully recorded.
The two Haydn Cello Concertos, played by Truls Mork on Virgin, are an excellent and very well-recorded version.
I would choose these as sure things for a start to a great classical collection.
Glen, two of my favorte ensembles that match your description of sound are The English Concert and The Academy of Ancient Music. Mostly Baroque, these two groups are primarily strings, smaller than orchestras, few if any vocals (I certainly haven't heard all of their works), and I enjoy listening to both very much. Sample online somewhere and see if you like 'em.
The box set of Beethoven: The String Quartets, played by the Emerson String Quartet. This stuff gets really intense!
Anything played by Arturo Delmoni... he's a great violinist. The CD, Songs My Mother Taught Me - is highly recommended.
Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, and Itzhak Perlman, performing Mendelssohn: Piano Trios - is really good stuff, too, and is a fairly new release. All of these are record extremely well, IMO.
If you really like cello, then check out Yo-Yo Ma, or Ofrah Harnoy... she's nicer to look at.
Pablo Casals, the sound quality may not be all there but the playing is on a level few have equaled in my hearing and others may be different but not better. I came across a copy of "Homage to Pablo Casals The great Prades and Perpignan Festival Performanes 1950,1951,1952. These are an amazing group. They contain some J.S. Bach cello sonatas and cello concertos, some Mozart, Brahms and Schumann. Some of these performances should be on CD, good luck and good listening.
There is so much to recommend I would not know where to start. But given my taste for Beethoven, small ensemble music, and stellar SACD recordings, I heartily recommend
Beethoven Piano Trio, Op. 97 ("Archduke"); Piano Trio, Op. 1, No. 3 by the Kempf Trio on MCH SACD.
Also check out the various recordings by the Katona Twins (on guitar) on SACD. I particularly like their Piazolla disc.
It all starts with Mozart. I have the entire Telarc collection with Charles Mackerras conducted Mozart symphonies performed by the Prague Chamber Orchestra. Great sound of outstanding performances. I can't imagine not enjoying any of these symphonies. Music simply flowed from Mozart. Once you've come to love Mozart, moving on to Haydn and Beethoven will get you permanently hooked. It's music that remains fresh and vital no matter how often you listen to it. It defines civilization.
Good advice from Hifiman5 and Isochronism about focusing on one composer or performer for awhile but I think it's important to do some survey work first. If I had started with Mozart or Haydn I wouldn't be listening to any classical music today.
What moves you is going to be very personal and specific. The starting point for me was Bach but that's neither a criticism of anyone else's taste nor an endorsement of my own.
If you have a way to stream your Internet connection with any reasonable fidelity to your system, Pandora is a great way to explore and learn what you would enjoy. Set up 'stations' for the best known classical composers and give a thumbs up to the pieces you like as you hear them so that you hear more music that is similar.
One of the reasons I chose Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven as a place to start is their symphonies follow the classical period pattern of exposition, development, recapitulation that provides a sense of "order" and comfort. The psychological effect can be quite powerful. I know on stressful days I'll come home and reach for classical compositions for the reassurance their structure provides.
I respect your preference for Bach. For me, Bach is "math put to music". Classical period works with their structure but freedom from the "mathematical precision" of Baroque pieces, especially Bach, makes them more harmonious and enjoyable. Rest assured, there are many who prefer the precision of Baroque works, and I respect their preference. It's the diversity of period and style that makes symphonic music so compelling. I wish you nothing but joy in listening to Bach and other Baroque works if they bring you aural pleasure and satisfaction.
If you like classical guitar, you'll probably like John Williams' "The Seville Concert." I sure do.
I'm in a similar boat. I don't have much classical and don't really know what I would like. I also play classical and rock guitar and love cello.
I downloaded Yo Yo Ma's rendition of Bach's Unaccompanied Cello Suites and the parts I have (from the first suite) are excellent.
I like the harpischord in Bach's Brandenburg Conerto No. 5, but the Brandenburg concertos do nothing for me.
My favorite classical pieces are Beethoven's symphonies, but you probably won't like these as they are large scale.