Classical Music Classics

This is a brief collection or list of classical music that can be enjoyed by all. Novice listeners might find that they recognize and enjoy much more classical music than they ever thought. Give some of these a listen.

Van Cliburn: Piano Favorites

By Van Cliburn

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Beethoven's beloved "Moonlight Sonata" is included in this collection of famous piano music. The "Moonlight Sonata" is composed of three movements. The first and most famous is slow and deliberate, almost languid in its expression. The second movement is in a waltz style that floats with playful melodies. In a roar, the third movement relentlessly pounds away at you with few moments for you to take a breath, then once again, roars to its conclusion. This two-CD collection also has other titles worthy of mention. Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No.1," "Clair de Lune" by Debussy, "Funeral March" and "Heroic Polonaise" by Chopin, "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" by Rachmaninoff, and "Liebestraum No.3" by Liszt. There are other composers whose wonderful music is included in the landmark collection.

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Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 68

By Johannes Brahms

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It took over twenty years from its original thoughts to its premiere in 1867. The premiere of the First Symphony, in 1876, was a triumph, and the influential Hans von Bülow did not hesitate to proclaim it "the Tenth"(in reference in Beethoven's 9th)--a tribute Brahms understood, of course, but received with mixed feelings. For a first symphony, Brahms, if he had composed no others, this would still be considered one of the greatest ever written. He only wrote three more--all are equally astounding.

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Symphony No. 9, Opus 95 in E Minor

By Antonin Dvořák

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Antonin Dvořák's 9th Symphony, known also as the "New World Symphony," was composed by Dvořák while he was visiting the United States. The 2nd movement was rewitten (transcribed) into a moving choral piece known as "Going Home." It is frequently performed by high school and college choirs around the country.

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Symphony No. 9 in D Minor

By Ludwig Beethoven

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The last movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony has become the national symphony for the world.

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Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Opus 67

By Ludwig Beethoven

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This, along with his 9th symphony, are his best-known symphonies. In addition to his 5th symphony, this specific recording has his 7th symphony as well. All are considered masterpieces. Just a footnote here: During World War II, the first four notes of his Fifth Symphony in Morse Code (short short short long) signified "V" for Victory.

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Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Opus 78 (Organ Symphony)

By Camille Saint-Saens

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This a one of the few symphonies that features the organ "big time." It is used in the second movement quietly, while the fourth movement begins with a tremendous chord by the organ. This thrilling 4th movement was used in the movie Babe with great effect.

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Symphony No. 2 -- Finlandia -- Valse triste -- The Swan of Tuonela

By Jean Sibelius

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His tone poem "Finlandia" is probably the most recognizable orchestral piece by him. And his Second symphony is probably the most popular. His music personifies the majestical essence of Finland and its people.

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Sonata No. 2 -- Nocturnes -- Ballade -- Scherzo -- Barcarolle

By Frédéric Chopin

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Almost all of Chopin's music was written for the piano. Of special interest here is his "Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor." The third movement of this sonata is one of the most famous funeral marches in classical music. Movies such as Beetle Juice and Citizen Kane are just a couple of movies in which it has been utilized. The Sonata #2 is just one example of his many piano pieces. The rest of the recording provides an excellent representation of his compositional skills as a composer.

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Pictures at an Exhibition

By Modest Murrorgsky; orchestrated by Ravel

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Originally composed in 1874 for the piano, depicting drawings and watercolors by friend Victore Hartmann. It has since been orchestrated by several composers. By far, the most performed orchestration is that of Maurice Ravel in 1922. Every picture can tell a musical story. Also, Mussorgsky wrote a "Night on Bald Mountain" which has been used in numerous films, including Disney's Fantasia.

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Masters of Classical Music, Vol. 1

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Mozart wrote so much delightful music. This collection contains excerpts from some of his orchestral music featuring such instruments as the violin, piano, clarinet, flute and French horn.

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