Classical Music for Aficionados

I would like to start a thread, similar to Orpheus’ jazz site, for lovers of classical music.
I will list some of my favorite recordings, CDs as well as LP’s. While good sound is not a prime requisite, it will be a consideration.
  Classical music lovers please feel free to add to my lists.
Discussion of musical and recording issues will be welcome.

I’ll start with a list of CDs.  Records to follow in a later post.

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique.  Chesky  — Royal Phil. Orch.  Freccia, conductor.
Mahler:  Des Knaben Wunderhorn.  Vanguard Classics — Vienna Festival Orch. Prohaska, conductor.
Prokofiev:  Scythian Suite et. al.  DG  — Chicago Symphony  Abbado, conductor.
Brahms: Symphony #1.  Chesky — London Symph. Orch.  Horenstein, conductor.
Stravinsky: L’Histoire du Soldat. HDTT — Ars Nova.  Mandell, conductor.
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances. Analogue Productions. — Dallas Symph Orch. Johanos, cond.
Respighi: Roman Festivals et. al. Chesky — Royal Phil. Orch. Freccia, conductor.

All of the above happen to be great sounding recordings, but, as I said, sonics is not a prerequisite.


I agree.  If there is a spontaneous reaction from the whole audience, that’s fine.
But, too often, there’s one exhibitionist who just wants to to be heard.

It’s so bad with the opera cliquey on "Live from the Met’ I just stopped listening to it .
Opera needs to be seen anyway, it’s half theater after all. .
IMO listening to opera at home is DVD time .
The classical repertiore is so extensive, I think the most useful response is suggesting some mainstream and some non-mainstream works that might open doors for those unfamiliar or minimally familiar with classical . These works are not necessarily my favorites but they might work to get the novice started.

Traditional gateway works


Beethoven symphonies 3,5, and 9. Violin Concerto

Mahler symphonies 1, 4, and 9.

Strauss, Also Sprach Zarathustra

Stravinsky, Firebird and Petrushka

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Brahms: Violin Concerto

Bruch Violin Concerto

Sibelius Violin Concerto

Chamber Music:

All Schubert Trios

Schubert string quintet in C, op163

Beethoven Moonlight, Pathetique, and Apsionata piano sonatas

Beethoven Archduke Trio

Non traditional gateways that might work, especially if you like driving rhythms or can tolerate some dissonance.

Shostakovich, Cello Sonata #2

Beethoven Late String Quartets

Bartok String Quartets, especially 4, 5, and 6.

Stravinsky, Right of Spring, Duo Concertante, and Violin Concerto

Also I recommend a book that is probably over 40 years old, but a wonderful introduction to the basic classical repertoire with recording recommendations:101 Masterpieces of Music and Their Composers by Martin Bookspan

Very nice list, DBB; thanks for compiling it. 

Personally, I would have suggested Beethoven symphonies 6 & 7, rather than 3, 5, and 9, but of course they're all great!

Best regards,
-- Al
A bit off the beaten path-

Agon-Stravinsky(demonstration disc for me)

The Four Temperaments-Hindemith

Both available in wonderful performances in wonderful sound on the 2 disc Balanchine set conducted by Robert Irving. 

For great symphonic works in wonderful sound the Decca Karajan box is a must have. Includes one of the greatest Planets.

Surprised nobody has mentioned yet Barbirolli's Sibelius Second on Chesky or Testament.

And of course Paray's Saints Saens 3rd on Mercury. How does anyone live without this recording?