Chart of the frequency range of musical instruments are common. This site came up first on a Google search:
Dave, I assume you're familiar with the 7-CD Naxos "Instruments of the Orchestra" set:
I don't know anything about it other than what I've stumbled across on the Naxos web site, but it looks like it might contain some of what you're looking for.
Many thanks for the responses. Yes, I know Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and have had his recording of it for many years; it's fine but is not what I'm looking for here. Thanks for the Naxos suggestion, Rush; I should have known about that set but had overlooked it. I see you can buy the whole 7-CD set from Amazon.com marketplace sellers for only $23, so I've ordered it. It's a lot longer than what I was looking for, but I'm sure it will be well worth having. And thanks for the frequency-response charts information.
There was a disc called Stakatto, and probably another (Stakatto 2) which, in addition to things like telephones, breaking glass, cars, planes, bowling alleys and the like, also had a number of tracks featuring solo instruments, including different makes of pianos, double bass, etc. Well-recorded, too. Not quite what you're looking for, perhaps, but interesting.
For anyone interested in this thread, by a happy serendipity I found (stumbled across it in a used CD store) exactly what I was looking for when I initiated this thread: a two-CD set from Vanguard Classics (released 1996) called A Demonstration of the Instruments of the Orchestra.
The set is narrated by David Randolph, who introduces it by saying: "This is a demonstration of the instruments of the orchestra, illustrating their ranges, their unique techniques, their expressive abilities, and their special features." Most of the demonstrations include a brief classical excerpt demonstrating the use of the instrument in a well-known classical piece. CD 1 has demonstrations of strings and woodwinds; CD 2 has demonstrations of brass and percussion.
These are followed by a full-length, unnarrated performance of Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Johannes Somary conducting the English Chamber Orchestra, recorded 1974). There is also an excellent, detailed booklet. The demonstrations of the instruments (excluding the Britten piece) take an hour and a half. This is probably more in line with what many listeners are looking for, instead of the much more comprehensive seven-CD Naxos set Instruments of the Orchestra, which is just too much for a lot of listeners. Anyway, it may be hard to find, but I can recommend this Vanguard set.
Hi Aroc, I'm an example of a classical music lover and audiophile who has no formal musical training whatever (totally self-educated through listening and reading), has never learned to play an instrument let alone plya in a group, and cannot read a musical score. Yet I have a passion for classical music of all genre, an extensive classical music collection and attend live classical music concerts regularly.
Also, I enjoy introducing others to classical music and the sounds of different instruments that make up the range and variety found in classical music. I do this with various music selections, have used Howard Hanson's Mercury LPs "The Composer and his orchestra," Britten's "Young Person's Guide..." but a simple resource like the one Texasdave has found has eluded me.