Classical music for Rockers

I grew up in a non-musical household, so everything I heard was from the radio when my parents weren't listening. I quickly went from AM to FM, and from Pop to the AOR stations in Milwaukee at the time. I was raised (in a sense) on rock and roll radio.

It wasn't till much later that I was introduced to classical music. I have since been adding Bach, Mozart, Tscaikovski, and other to my regular playlist The last two things I bought were Mozart's Requium and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. I hope I spelled those right.

What I am curious about is if there are others out there with the same experience, and if so: What Classical music are you listening to regularly?
Hi Nate. Wagner and R.Strauss have alot of gusto,that could get you interested. Wagner's "Ring of the Niebelung" is a piece that you have probably heard parts of before, like the helicopter scene in "Apocalypse Now!". R. Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" has an opening that was used in "2001: A Space Oddysey". They are both cool.

Another one that I like alot is Dvorak "New World Symphony". It is a beautiful work, in my opinion.

Rimsky-Korsakoff's "Scheherezade" is full of fireworks, and some beautiful interludes.

I love the gypsy flair of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto.

I also think you might like Holst "The Planets".

Just a few to try out. You'll like them.
Check out Mussorgsky's Pictures at a Exhibition. The XRCD with Reiner and Chicago is excellent sonically.

You may also like tone poems like Respighi's Pines of Rome.If you've never heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring,it's worth a listen.

Lately I've been spinning Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.
Kronos Quartet did an arrangement of Hendrix's "Purple Haze."
First classical piece after LedZeps, Tulls, Zappas etc I turned on Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" conducted and soloed by Nigel Kennedy. This version of performance stayed the best for me after listening other different performances.
Yesterday I listened to "Swan Lake" by Tchaikovski with only breaks while I flipped over records conducted by G. Rozhdestvenski. Recording was made jointly by Melodia and Columbia labels.
Among the vocal classics I recommend first Beethoven 9th choral symphony. Now I'm "getting high" of Pergolessi -- a least known italian baroque composer who created stunning operas with great music.
Beethoven. The original punk rocker. I particularly recommend the Hammerklavier Sonata, op. 106 but really all the piano concertos, symphonies, everything.
Don't know why, but I think S. Barber makes for a good bridge between rock and classical.
Mahler, pure and simple. I'm an old rocker (music major) who also played percussion/timpani in symphony orchestras. Others to listen to would be Stravinsky, as mentioned above, Shastakovich, Prokofiev, Bartok, Bruckner, Wagner (orchestral excerpts at least if you don't get into the opera).

I guess it kinda depends on what kind of rock you liked also, as to whether Bach, Mozart, etc. would do much for you. I listen to these some, but beyond appreciation for their work given the period, sonically they don't do much for me personally. I tend to gravitate towards more modern (verging on atonal) harmonic structures.
My first suggestion would be "La Fille Mal Gardee" / Herold-Lanchbery

Second, "E'Spana" Argenta / London Symphony. Both of my copies are Decca LP's and both are dramatic, lively and can hold my interest regardless of what was played before them.

If you agree with my suggestions, then purchase an album that will allow you to hear the voice of an angel, who is living here on earth as a woman.

The 1995 release "Impatient Lover" / London CD, by mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli will flood your emotions with love for her and crush any prejudices you may have about opera.
Try something a bit on the contemporary side:
Leo Brouwer; György Ligeti; Elliot Carter;
John Adams; Arvo Part; Henryk Górecki . . .
Not everyones' cup of tea but if you like abstraction,
these are great. Give them a listen on Amazon.
Listen to Wagners' "Siegfried's Journey" from Gotterdammerung and The Who's Quadrophenia. Notice anything?
Try Franz Liszt's "Dante Symphony" and "Faust Symphony" -- both good classical pieces for a rock fan.

And if you like Mozart's "Requiem," try the "Requiems" by Verdi and Cardoso.

I'll also second (or third) the Wagner recommendations -- you'll probably recognize the Siegfried Idyll from the movie "Excalibur" (along with "O Fortuna" from the Orff you just bought), and the overture to "Tannhauser" is one of my favorite pieces of classical music -- you just have to get past singing "Oh Bwunhilda, you're so wovely" in an Elmer Fudd voice while you listen to it . . . . ;-0)

Nrchy, my experience is similar to yours. When I was very young, my pop was a rock and roll DJ. All we had around the house was rock. I moved to classical when I heard Beethoven's third symphony. Soon after I went to hear it performed and haven't stopped exploring classical music since. Also try Mahler, and Zappa also wrote a selection of orchestral music.
Aaaron Copland was a great American composer. He died somwhere around 1990, i think. Fanfare For the Common Man is one of my favorites. Especially when played LOUD. Emerson, Lake and Palmer did a version in the early seventies. I always wondered what Mr Copland thought about it. Cheers
Wow, I'm surprised to get so many responses. Some of the music mentioned does ring a bell. I'm going to have to check into these suggestions. The Wagner titles mentioned above are familiar and are things I should probably be familiar with. When I go to the music shops there is so much classical I don't know where to start or which recordings are good. Your recommendations are very helpful.
If anyone listed a suggestion and know which copy of the recording they have please let me know so I don't have to muddle through inferior copies to find the good stuff.
Albert, beleive it or not, I have thought about getting some Cecilia Bartoli. I have read reviews of her work and have been intrigued by what people said about her.
Keep the idea coming, and I'll try to find some of these recordings in this lonely hamlet!
Wanna hear a weird one ? How about Dave Lombardo ( ex drummer from Slayer and now playing with Fantomas ) playing with a bunch of classically trained musicians covering Vivaldi ??? It can be had on Thirsty Ear Records THI 57066.2 if you are interested. The sound is not bad but the drums are definitely too far up in the mix. Might have been more enjoyable to see how well he could have blended in with the small orchestra rather than listening to him come over the top of them.

Other than that, i found a 20 disc boxed set put out by Delta Entertainment that was pretty interesting. It has mixed selections from 20 different composers, kind of a "greatest hits" for each composer on their own individual discs. The list of composers is kind of a who's who in Classical music i.e. Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Johann Strauss, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Ravel, Dvorak, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Grieg and Schumann. While i'm sure that others may think that this left out a few worthy composers, it is none the less a very good introductory to a lot of different styles and performers. If you like what you hear by one specific performer, you can simply pick up individual discs of music written by that artist.

For the "record", i found this at Best Buy a few years back at Christmas time. The twenty discs were something like $45, so it was a real eye / ear opening bargain without breaking the bank for someone like me that was not real "up" on all of these dead guys : )

As a side note, Antony Michaelson of Musical Fidelity did some nice recordings. The best one ( in my opinion ) is titled "Mozart Clarinet Concerto K622 in A Major". While i'm not much of an expert when it comes to ANY type of Classical music, what i hear when listening to this disc is very nice sounding "Chamber music". The other one that i have is titled "Johannes Brahms Clarinet Quintet Opus 115". Audio Advisor used to sell these and may still have a few lying around, but i would not count on it. Sean
Nrchy --

Some of the recordings that I have are as follows, although I don't really have any idea of their relative merits compared to other recordings of the same works:

Verdi "Requiem" -- Karajan conducting, Deutsche Grammophon 437 473-2

Liszt "Faust Symphony" -- Conlon conducting, Erato ECD 88068

Liszt "Dante Symphony" -- Lehel conducting, Hungaroton HCD 11918-2

As a note to all, I think these are the only CDs of the Liszt symphonies that I've ever been able to locate, so I'd appreciate any recommendations for better versions!

Based on some of the more recent threads here on Audiogon, I have been meaning to put together a classical music for Rockers list. So below are my recommendations, for rockers, for those pieces mentioned in this thread.

Many of these pieces have been recorded over 100 times. For most pieces, a cross section of classical music fanatics, would probably agree on somewhere around 5-10 “must hear” or outstanding performances and list of another 10+ or so performances that are worth the time to listen to. That would be the extent of their agreement. I’ve picked performances that I think would likely appeal to those raised on rock. I grew up on both classical and rock. My current tastes in rock favor the new wave of British heavy metal and hard core punk. Anyone interested in how to pick classical recordings should check out the recent audiogon thread:

How do you find BEST classical recordings???

For most pieces below, I have recommended more than one performance. This way you will be able to quickly find out which conductors appeal to you personally. How you react to any conductor’s interpretation is highly personal. If you like something a conductor did try something else by him.

Those items marked with an * have a vinyl incarnation. I’m sloppy with the actual item numbers so they may not be accurate. All of these items are available from one of the on line CD sources. I did not include any of the contemporary recommendations.

Barber Adagio, Violin Concerto Bernstein, Stern NY Phil Sony SMK 63088*

Bartok Concerto For Orchestra Dorati London SO Mercury 432 017*
Bartok Concerto for Orchestra Fischer Budapest Philips 456 575-2
Bartok Concerto for Orchestra Solti Chicago SO Decca/London 400 052-2*
Bartok Concerto for orchestra Reiner Chicago SO JVCXCRD*
Bartok Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta Reiner Chicago SO JVCXCRD*

Beethoven Piano Concertos Fleisher Szell Cleveland CBS 42445*
Beethoven Piano Concertos Ashkenazy Solti Chicago SO Decca/London*
Beethoven Piano Sonatas Ashkenazy Decca/London *
Beethoven Piano Sonata Hammerklavier Brendel Philips 438 093 *
Beethoven Symphonies Karajan Berlin PO DG2GH5 453701*
Beethoven Symphonies Harnoncourt Chamber O of Europe Teldec 225401
Beethoven Symphony 3 Klemperer Phiharmonia EMI 66793-2*
Beethoven Symphonies 5,7 Kleiber Vienna PO DG 74002*

Bruckner Symphony 4 Bohm Vienna PO Decca/London 63742*
Bruckner Symphony 5 Jochum Concertgebouw Philips 50*
Bruckner Symphony 7 Wand Berlin PO RCA
Bruckner Symphony 8 Karajan Vienna PO DG 76112

Copland Fanfare, Symphony 3, Appalachian Spring
Oue Minnesota Reference RR-93CD

Dvorak Symphonies No 8,9 Fischer Budapest Philips 464 640-2
Dvorak Symphony 9 Reiner Chicago SO RCA Victor 62587-2*
Katchaturian Violin Concerto Aaron Rosand Malaysia Vox 7904

Holst The Planets Dutoit Montreal SO Decca/London 417 553*
Holst The Planets Previn London Symphony EMI*

Liszt Faust Symphony Fischer Budapest Philips 454 460
Liszt Faust Symphony Barenboim Berlin PO Teldec 22948-2
Liszt Sonata in B Minor Argerich DG 447 430

Mahler Symphony 1 Solti Chicago SO Decca/London 17312*
Mahler Symphony 1 Levi Atlanta Telarc 05452
Mahler Symphony 1 Boulez Chicago SO DG 459 610-2
Mahler Symphony 5 Gatti Royal PO Conifer 75605-51318
Mahler Symphony 5 Solti Chicago SO Decca/London 430443*
Mahler Symphony 5 Zander Philharmonia Telarc
Mahler Symphony 7 Bernstein New York Phil Sony SMK 60564*

Pergolesi Sabat mater Alessandrini Concerto Italiano Opus 111

Prokofiev Symphony 5 Karajan Berlin PO DG 463 613*
Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Maazel Cleveland Decca 452 970

Resphigi The Fountains of Rome Reiner Chicago SO JVC XCRD*
Respighi Fountains, Pines of Rome Dutoit Montreal Decca/London

Rimsky Korsakoff Scheherazade Reiner Chicago SO JVC XCRD*
Rimsky Korsakoff Scheherazade Spano Atlanta Telarc 80568

Shostakovich Symphony 5 Levy Atlanta Telarc CD 80215
Shostakovich Symphony 5 Jarvi SNO Chandos 8650

Strauss Alpine Symphony Thielmann Vienna PO DG 469 519
Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra Reiner Chicago SO JVC XCRD*
Strauss Also Sprach,Salome, etc. Karajan Vienna PO Decca Legends*

Stravinsky Firebird Boulez Chicago SO DG 437 850-2
Stravinsky Firebird suite Oue Minnestora O Reference RR-70CD
Stravinsky Rite of Spring Ozawa Chicago SO BMG 63311-2*
Stravinsky Rite of Spring Gergiev Kirov Philips 468035

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto, etc Argerich Abbado Berlin PO DG 98162
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake Dutoit Montreal Decca/London 436 212
Tchaikovsky Swan lake Previn EMI CZS5-73624-2*
Tchaikovsky Symphonies 1-6 Karajan Berlin PO DG 429 675-2*
Tchaikovsky Symphony 4, 5,6 Mravinsky; Leningrad PO DG*
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Heifetz Reiner Chicago SO JVCXCRD*
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Vengerov Abbado Berlin PO Teldec
Vivaldi Four Seasons Fabio Biondi Opus 111 OPS 912

Verdi Requiem Muti La Scala EMI ZDCB 49390

Wagner Orchestral Excepts Solti Chicago SO Decca London*
Wagner Orchestral Excepts Reiner Chicago SO RCA*
Wagner Orchestral Excepts Maazel Berlin PO Telarc

Wagner Ring der Nibelungen Scenes Solti Vienna PO Decca/Londo*
Give a listen to Ralph Vaughn Williams: Symphony No. 7, "Symphonia Anartica". The Naxos label version is excellent and at a budget price. Very dramatic! Wind machines! Bombastic climaxes! for all you rock dudes.
It looks like most of the recommendations here are from the Romantic era (especially if you count Ludwig van on the leading edge). To me, good rock is minimalist rock, and I tend toward Baroque and Classical (with Beethoven on the trailing edge). Does anything rock like Bach organ works?
Hey Nrchy, I was a big RocK and Blues fan for many years. Some selections i still like to hear every now and then, Layla (especially Little Wing), Quadrophinia, Allman Brothers, etc. Years ago i began to listen to classical, and have discovered wonderful beautiful music. Here's one of picks, Sibelius Sym#1 conducted by Stokowski. For violin i like Oistrakh and Heifetz. Strange, they play like twin brothers. Keep in touch.
How about the best of both worlds? Kunzel, Cincinnatti pops/king's singers play the BEATLES. Terrific fun.
Sibelius violin concerto is a "smash hit", Sibelius really makes the violin "rock".
Beethoven! The guy had no trouble with a strong start.