Classical music newbie needs your suggestions

I purchased around 300 like new classical albums last summer. Music from a wide range of composers. I also purchased around the same amount of operas. (I may sell those).

I’m finally retired and able to pursue a lifelong desire to understand and enjoy classical music.

Pieces that move you to tears, or pluck heart strings. Your all time favorites.
The albums you’d take to that desert island.
Any suggestions are welcome.

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@edcyn That’s awesome!  Most people I mention it to look at me like I have two heads.  Thanks for sharing. 👍🏼

I’m a newbie as well! Slowly, very slowly learning... It’s a vast world, with many periods / styles / composers, then of course you have the many interpretations / directors / orchestras (they can be VERY different) modern instruments vs ancient instruments...

Without going into the various interpretations, here are some works I really like; mostly vocal / choral works but not only. Choral works are also a good test for your system... you may believe your system sounds good until you hear Mozart’s Requiem and it sucks. Beware! ^^


Mozart: Requiem (of course)

Mozart: Exultate, jubilate

Beethoven: piano sonatas

Bach: cantatas (there are many)

Bach: magnificat

Pergolese: Stabat mater

Vivaldi: Stabat mater

Vivaldi: opera arias (I mostly don’t have the patience for a complete opera, yet - I do, if I see it live)

Rossini: Petite Messe solennelle (no idea how you’d translate that in English)

Orff: Carmina Burana (I really like the 1968 Eugen Jochum recording)

Handel: Messiah

Rachmaninov: Piano concertos


Non exhaustive list, of course, and I’m sill learning myself, so... and yes, a lot of religious music, and I'm not religious at all myself but, those pieces are splendid and would - at least- keep your spiritual side, no matter how big a place it takes in your life, alert ;-)


After more than fifty years of trying to educate myself about classical music and listening to thousands of records and cd's on fairly good stereo systems, I had the time to listen more seriously during the pandemic. I intuitively began to focus on one composer: Mozart. I learned that I loved his chamber music the most, and eventually branched off to others.

I actually found some of Mozart's works difficult to listen to at times because of the sheer emotion that arose in me when I began to appreciate them. This surprised me, incidentally, because there is also a lot of humor to be found in Mozart's works: this is what initially attracted me to Mozart when I "rediscovered" him.

I have a nice beginners collection of Mozart that I return to when I get the urge, but lately my journey led to rediscovering Beethoven's piano sonatas (specifically Alfred Brendel's interpretation), and recently Hayden and Scarlatti. The latter artist took most of the fifty years for me to begin to fully appreciate. 

That said, I found that my classical music journey resulted in what I could only describe as a spiritual one as well when I devoted myself to Mozart. My advice it to forget about all the rest do the same.