I was grown on classical music when I was a kid, but got away with rock and jazz and now realy comming back to classical.
Always prefere listening to the russian or soviet symphony orchestras whichever piece I realy shop for. I love Tchaikovski(Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleaping Beauty), Rachmaninoff(piano with orchestra #3), Mussorgsky(Pictures from Exibition and Shekherezade), Prokofiev(Symphony#7), Beethoven(Choral #9) and Berlioz(Symphonie Fantastique is super!).
Some very popular classic's for beginners are Beethoven 5th and 6th Symphonies, Rachmaninoff's 2d Symphony, Tchaikovsky's 5th and 6th Symphonies, Sibelius' 2nd Symphony, Dvorak's 6th (one of my fav's), 8th and 9th, and St Saens Symphony #3. I would also recommend Prokoviev's Romeo & Juliet Suite, the Berlioz and the Mussorgsky mentioned above, and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances (thats a really big exciting piece). When you hone in on what you're going to expiriment with ask for specific recommendations on each piece or look up the peice in a reference such as Penguin Guide or some such. Enjoy - there are thousands more.............
Check out www.XRCD.com for the RCA LIVING STEREO re-releases of Fritz Reiner CSO & Charles Munch BSO. All the titles listed above are available on XRCD.
Great suggestions so far... Newbee, I agree with every one of your recommendations. Great works! I'd add Beethoven's 7th and 9th, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5,
and Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (the "Resurrection"). Those last two especially will blow you away! Enjoy!
There are many good "sampler" type discs which would allow you to hear popular selections from multiple composers on the same cd. The Naxos label is always a good value, and a quick search on a site like Tower Records, where you can hear parts of a disc, can be a big help.
I would highly recommend that you start with the "big guns" like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, etc... They have been universally popular for good reason!
You might even go to good old BMG and pick up the RCA "Simply Classical Collection" which has multiple volumes and the opportunity to hear some things which could really strike your fancy.
Do something like this and get back to us with the favored sounds and further recommendations can be made. It is really always about what YOU like, and not what anyone else thinks you should!
Enjoy your music,
OK. Some other specific suggestions:
Wagner, Symphony in C major, Berlin Classics 0094082BC
Pachelbel Canon and Other Baroque Hits, RCA Victor 09026-60840-2
Yo Yo Ma, Simply Baroque, Sony
Mozart for your Mind, Philips, 446 377-2 (BMG D207364-2)
Respighi, Ancient Airs and Dances (Lopez-Cobos) Telarc 80309
Wagner, Orchestral Music, (Levine) Deutsche Grammophon 447 764-2
Next time you're in a bookstore or a libray,check out Ted Libbey's "Guide to Classical Music". He offers short essays about musicians and their musics,and makes recommendations of specific recordings. One more thing,you are ,of course,entitled to your tastes, but don't rule out of hand all small ensamble string music;like everything else,some of it stinks and some of it is excellent. Happy Listening.
Here's another starter book that might be useful:
"The Vintage Guide to Classical Music" by Jan Wafford, Vintage Books (1992).
This gives short biographies of the great composers of western classical music, and will provide great descriptions of the signifance of their works to read about while you are listening to your new classical cd collection.
Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto, late Mozart Piano Concertos..pretty "big" sounds and great music in addition to those listed already. To see how "big" a sound can come from a string quartet--Beethoven's Op 130 with the Grosse Fuge. (some of the best music ever written, Beethoven's late quartets). I guess I feel composer is more important than size of sound.. Good Luck!
I would recommend "The Classical Music Experience" by Dr. Julius Jacobson. Comes with 2 sampler CD's that allow you to read and then listen to excerpts from the composer. It was just what i was looking for when i wanted to learn more about classical. about $40 from borders/barnes&noble but can get cheaper at amazon. it's also got an offer in back for a free 3rd sampler cd. enjoy.
Mahler's 1st sympony by the NYPO, conducted by
Leonard Bernstein -- you're going to love it. Personally,
I would recommend staying away from the Beethoven's
5th type things -- you've heard them too much. But --
that's just me. I also recommend Simply Baroque by
Yo Yo Ma, but I prefer the second one to the first. On
the other hand, you said you don't like small string
groups so you might not like that one. I prescribe
Mahler. Lots and lots of Mahler. It fits your description
of big sounding symphonies, his music hasn't been
done to death at weddings and on TV commercials,
it is really great music, and since you probably have a
system geared towards classical, it will make your
system sound great.
Stravinski, The Rite of Spring and Fireworks by the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra -- PLUS -- Petrouchka
by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by
Seiji Ozawa. [BMG 09026-63311-2]
I hope you read this because this is what you need,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,TRUST ME.
There are quite a few big pieces of music that some of the others have already recommended.
Newbee mentioned the one that I personally feel is the absolute best symphony of all. Even if you don't dedicate your entire weekend to it,,,,,at least give an evening.
Leonard Bernstein & the NY Philharmonic,,,,,,,,doing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Tschaikovsky's 5th Symphony. This is by far one of the most emotional, enjoyable, underated scores in classical music. You said you wanted big right,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the last movement will leave you gasping for air! I hope you give all of the previous suggestions a try since they are all good.
BUT I REALLY, REALLY HOPE YOU GIVE THE 5TH SYMPHONY A LISTEN THIS WEEKEND!!!!!! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
Best of luck,
How allergic are you to mono and/or less than great sounding recordings? My recommendations will vary greatly depending on your preference. Following are great performances with at least good sonics, so should be safe:
Beethoven 5&7th sym. Carlos Kleiber/VPO
Beethoven 9th sym. Eugene Jochum/Royal Concertgebouw or
Herbert von Karajan/BPO (1962)
Beethoven 5th Piano Concerto Stephen Kovacevich (pianist)/LSO/Sir Colin Davis
Brahms Sym. 1 - 4 Kurt Sanderling/Dresden Staatskapelle
Brahms Sym. 1 Jascha Horenstein/LSO
Dvorak Sym. 9 Vaclav Smetacek/Prague Radio SO or
Mahler Sym. 1 Rafael Kubelik/SO des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Mahler Sym. 6 Sir John Barbirolli/New Philharmonia
Orff Carmina Burana Riccardo Muti/Philharmonia
Prokofiev 3rd Piano Concerto William Kapell/Dallas SO/Antal Dorati
Tchaikovsky Sym. 4 George Szell/LSO
Tchaikovsky Sym. 5 Valery Gergiev/VPO <--- Give this a shot, Meech33 =)
Hope that helps and lots more recs if you can tolerate less than good sonics.
I own that recording also,,,,,,,,,,,,,,it's pretty good but I prefer the sonic qualities that the NY Philharmonic disc better.