10 Great Classical LP's

Asking, not telling. Any suggestions? I'm a middle-aged guy, but have just started listening to classical and am looking for suggestions. Thank you.
We could list 10 or 100, but they may not include the kinds of music you enjoy. Start by taking a look at some of these Audiogon threads. You'll find lots of suggestions.

And here are additional links to other classical music recommendations further down in the same thread.

If you then have some specific questions, fire away!
Rather than a tired old subjective account of someone else's taste, ask this question:

'what are 10 great aspects of classical music that can be investigated'.

I'll begin:

1. Pre-baroque composition (such as consort music)
2. 12-Tone/serialist composition
3. Large scale baroque works
4. Solo instrumental work
5. Choir arrangement
6. Electro-acoustic music
7. Chamber music (after the 17th century)
8. Influence of popular folk forms
9. Influence of political movements
10. Visionary and eccentric composers

Part of the fun is asking yourself why these terms are used, and if they are valid. I must admit, I made some of them up.
Gramophone has just put all their issues on line, no charge to sign up and use them. I would start there.
Scheherazade - Rimsky-Korsakov - Fritz Reiner
(listen and than you could die cause life would be complete)
Four Seasons - Vivaldi
If you've just started listening to classical music, you would not be concerned terribly with what performers give "the best" or "greatest" interpretations. Besides, that's always a matter of opinion. The same is true for the greatest lps or the greatest individual pieces of music. Even a list of 10 great (if not THE greatest) pieces will vary to some extent among classical lovers. Let's say that I recommend you listen to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which many consider to be at the pinnacle among great works. Hopefully, you would make a good effort to hear it through to its finish. It typically takes at least an hour to perform, so prepare yourself for "an experience". You might begin by trying an overture to get a briefer taste for what's to come, maybe Rossini's Barber of Seville, Brahms' Academic Festival or Wagner's Tannhauser. If you like the violin, try Mendelssohn's Concerto. For the piano, either Tchaikovsky's First Concerto or Mozart's Concerto No. 21. Then there's Dvorak's Cello Concerto, a wonderfully musical piece. When it comes to other symphonies, you might want to explore Brahms' Second, Rachmaninoff's Second, Tchaikovsky's Fourth and Dvorak's Eighth. Finally, Cerot(above) mentions Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, a charming and dynamic work. And if you're fascinated by or curious about a particular title, go for it. Good luck and good listening!
15 years ago i was getting 'back' into vinyl after 15 years away....and i wanted to get into classical music for the first time. so i had no knowledge of the music and especially of the best Lps to purchase. in some ways i was lucky. at that same time Classic Records were doing their reissue series of RCA 'Living Stereo' shaded dogs.....both in 33 rpm and 45 rpm. there was lots of discussion in the magazines then (the internet was in it's infancy and there was no AudiogoN or Audioasylum) about whether these reissues were as good, better or not as good. Anyway, i bought most every one of those Classic Records reissues (in both 33 and 45) and that turned out to be a great entry into classical Lps both from a sound quality and performance perspective. 15 years later these RCA's are still some of the best Lps i have heard.

i would strongly recommend trying to find these RCA reissues as they will be consistently excellent and are very 'accessable' in terms of the music.

another source of great Lp recordings is the recommended lists on Acoustic Sounds. along the left side of the page is a 'Browse' section and underneath that is 'Absolute Sound Recommended'.....which is a pretty good list of great sounding Classical Recordings.

I love my Classical Lps and play them often. i'm still not much of an expert on the music but i have learned quite a bit.

Hi Mike, I hope you've continued your classical music exploration by going into the Mercury catalogue reissues from Classic Records and, more particularly, Speakers Corner. And then there's the entire Lyrita catalog to explore from the used market.
Hi Rush,

i could not agree more with your Mercury, Speakers Corner and Lyrita recs. it's all good and these are all excellent Lps which i have aquired too. i just figured that the Classic Records RCA's was the right place to start for a Classical newbie. i suppose any/all of these series could be included in that idea.

best regards,
Mike, glad to hear it! And it's a slippery slope. For orchestral, keep going and also head to the Decca and EMI catalogs. If you find you also enjoy Baroque and pre-Baroque music, then it's off the the Harmonia Mundi, Accent, Astree, CRD and Telefunken catalogs. Then you discover opera is not as bad as you once thought and it's off to the Decca archives once again. Then organ music and you're off to the Vista, Proprius, Erato catalogs. Great fun! Makes it hell to make recommendations. :-)
You have started down a path that will undoubtedly bring you much to enjoy for the rest of your life. It's hard to get bored with classical music, as it has been composed and performed for hundreds, if not a thousand years or more. There is always something you haven't heard before, unlike too much popular music these days. Enjoy the journey!

I love the following classical LPs
1. antil Corroboree, OASD 7603. Everest is a lot cheaper
2.Carmina Burana , Telarc DG10056/57
3.Water Musick, Handel, Nicholas Mcgegan Harmonia Mundi HMU 7010
4.Ein Staussfest, Erich Kunzel , Telarc DG10098,
5. Falla, Nights in the garden of spain Decca SXL 2091
6. Kornet Har sin vila Proprius 7853, beautiful choir
7, Misa Criolla, Jose Carreras, my favourite opera
8. La Fille Mal Gardee Decca SXL 2313
9. Maseenet le cid, HMV Greensleeve ESD 7040, cheap and good
10. The Planet, Holst, Zubin Mehta. CS 6734

A lot more and not cheap but exhilarating
I have been listening to classical probably for a couple of years. I buy all sorts of stuff, some from suggestions, some from liking the look of the cover, some by composers I like and some because it is cheap! One thing about classical is that there are mountains of classical records in charity shops all over the world at about $1 a record - if you have a turntable this is a great place to explore. You buy the record, if you don't like it you can chuck it away since you only paid $1.

As for suggestions, I would agree with Vivaldi - very listenable, in terms of Beethoven the 5th symphony is almost a cliche it is so well known but it is a great piece of music and the 7th symphony "rocks" for want of a better phrase. I really like the emotion you get from classical, for anger you would be hard pressed going past Shostakovich, 5th and 8th symphonies are my favourites - he's not for everyone but worth a try. Tchaikovsky's 1812 is a common favourite as is his first Piano concerto. I've been buying a few Bach records of late and The Well Tempered Clavier is nice piano music. There is a hell of a lot out there, classical music has been going for such a long time there is an enormous range. Like popular music you cannot really say you "like" classical music - some of it you will like, some you will abhor - there is a huge range (and I still don't like opera I'm afraid!).

So, my advice is to find cheap second hand classical records or CDs and have a listen. Go with people's suggestions as we all like the music we listen to for a reason, but take a chance sometimes and start giving us your suggestions.

Since you are just beginning to explore classical music and the "best recordings", I suggest you buy a copy of "The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection", by Ted Libby. The book is very informative, easy to read, and contains recommended recordings of some 350 classical compositions. It also has sections on "The Best of the Best", top period-instrument groups, how to become a better classical music listener, and other helpful topics. The book is published by Workman Publishing, and the price is about $18.
I agree with Sdcampbell. The NPR guide has the most popular classical compositions as well as recommended recordings of them. As you start collecting those pieces you'll develop your own tastes and explore further with music and composers you enjoy, but the music listed will form the backbone of any good basic classical repetoire.
This is a great question because it's not just the piece of music but also the composers rendition of it. I have multiple recordings of my favourite pieces because they all sound different and depending on what mood i'm in I may prefer on over another.

One thing I know I prefer is a sharp vibrant bow sound as opposed to the mellow stringy sound.
I have the NPR book, and it certainly covers many must-have composers & compositions, however if you are looking for an audiophile slant on best sound coupled with best performances, the two best sources I know are posts here by Rushton and Arthur Salvatores' website http://www.high-endaudio.com/. Cheers,

It seems that you’re getting a wide variety of advice ranging from going with reissues of the audiophile labels to cheap stuff from Goodwill. The problem is that you need to learn what you like and don’t like in classical music. That’s daunting task for most people new to classical. My most salient advice is to use your local library to explore the genre before spending a dime. With the help of a good guide, you can try before you buy. Definitely preferable to spending 30 bucks a pop for reissues.

Speaking of guides, I’m not familiar with NPR book but with only 350 pieces covered, it seems limited. I highly recommend the Morin’s 1100+ page book titled “Classical Music, the essential listening companion”. It covers the major works of about 500 composers – everything from Gregorian chant to Philip Glass. For each composer covered, they start with a short biography followed by the reviews. They always start with the symphonies and then walk through to end with chamber music. For each piece, they review multiple recordings and make recommendations and more importantly, tell you why they made the recommendation. For Mahler’s second for instance, they compare approximately 20 recordings.

I’m using “they” to describe the writing because the book is really a compilation of input from the 4 dozen or so contributors that was edited by Morin. They all seem like an accomplished bunch which includes Harold C. Schonberg – one of the best known music critics around. Again, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I have two copies – one for home and another for the office. Added bonus, it’s cheap - Only 20 bucks on Amazon.
Morin's book sounds very interesting, but remember that the original poster asked for 10 records, the NPR book discusses "only 350" and Morin expands that to God knows how many. Of course the NPR book is limited, that's the idea! It's a start, which is what I believe the OP is asking for. Otherwise you might as well recommend the Penguin Guides. Really, Sbrown, have some mercy on the poor OP! :-)
Catching up here--for other newcomers to the world of classical, I have found the NPR book to be extremely useful (though my wife has laughed at me for buying something by NPR, which she loves, and I do not). I have picked up a few recordings mentioned there an above, and am enjoying the process of learning and listening. I am now focusing on used stuff through here and ebay as I still really don't know what I like.

Thanks so much for all the help, and I hope to answer my own question for the next crop of newbies at some point before too long.