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.

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Opus 46; Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Opus 55

By Edvard Grieg

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Grieg is a master of charming melodies used throughout all his music. The "Peer Gynt Suite No.1" is no exception. "Morning" begins with a graceful melody which suggests a morning with a sun rise feel and the chirping of birds. The last section, "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is probably the best known of "Peer Gynt Suite No.1" having been utilized in numerous movies.

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Bach for Dummies

By Johann Sebastian Bach

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The opening work is his "Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor" for Organ. This is a "crank up the volume" and let the organ push you back into your chair. All of the music on this CD offers up a well-rounded selection of Bach's music.

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Also Sprach Zarathustra; Till Eulenspiegel; Don Juan

By Richard Strauss

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These compositions are known as "tone poems" in which a certain scene, or character, or location, etc. is depicted by the music. People who heard this at the very beginning of the movie 2001--A Space Odyssey were stunned by the orchestra's brass and percussion sections. That music is the very beginning of the first tone poem "Thus Spake Zarathustra." And fear not, the rest of these works are just as exciting as the other "tone poems" by Richard Strauss. By the way, this is not the "waltzing" Strauss.

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The School for Scandal: Adagio for Strings; Essay: for orchestra; Second essay; Third Essay; Medea's Dance of Vengeance

By Samuel Barber

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This recording of the "Adagio for Strings" plus other orchestral works by the America composer Samuel Barber makes this a wonderful introduction to his music. The "Adagio" seems to be searching the soul, probing here and there. It roots out the very essence of spirituality. It is both passionate and profound. This music was heard in the movie Platoon.

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La Bohème

By Giacomo Puccini

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La Bohème is a story of young love set in the bohemian culture of 1830s Paris. The bittersweet tragedy centers around an optimistic group of friends surviving on limited means. Rodolfo, a poet, shares a garret with his artist friend. Mimi is a seamstress living in a neighboring apartment. Mimi and Rodolfo meet and fall instantly, madly, in love. But the diva is already desperately ill with tuberculosis and not long for the world. Available in DVD format, plus CDs.

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"1812" Overture: Opus 49; Capriccio Italien: Opus 45; Cossack Dance: from Mazeppa

By Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

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Many people remember this music for its ending with chimes, bells, and cannons along with the full orchestra, which is in celebration of the Russian defeat of Napoleon's army in 1812. But, in the beginning, the music is a quiet hymn-like melody derived from a Russian folk song. Tchaikovsky's skill for writing melodies has few peers.

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