Classical Music Classics
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.
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.
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.
This music is typical of all of Copland. You will hear his use of jazz and folk music. Beginning with Copland's homage to the land below the Rio Grande, "El Salon Mexico," and continuing on with his lesser-known "Dance Symphony" (a ghoulish work taken from his never-staged 1920's ballet "Grohg"), Dorati and his orchestra move to the stirring "Fanfare For The Common Man," and then traverse the suites Copland extracted from his two ultra-popular ballets--"Rodeo" and "Appalachian Spring."
Vivaldi wrote well over 700 compositions (four hundred concertos, forty some operas, and many compositions for the voice). In the "Four Seasons," it is the first movement, "Spring," that is the most recognizable of the four seasons. It was used for months by the Weather Channel. "Spring" also found its way into movies, i.e. Elvira Madigan and The Banger Sisters to mention a couple. In "Spring", Vivaldi gives us a sense of brightness and lightness, just perfect for the feel of Spring.
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.
With out a doubt, the "Messiah" is the most frequently performed choral composition throughout the world. The first part, "Christmas," concludes with the "Hallelujah Chorus" and is heard around the world at Christmas time. The lesser -known part two is performed during the Easter season. If you have never heard the "Hallelujah Chorus," then you must be from another planet!
The Canon also appears on the CD titled Dinner Specials which also features nice representative compositions by Vivaldi, Mozart and J.S. Bach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The last movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony has become the national symphony for the world.
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.
Mozart, amongst all of his many compositions, includes music set to children's poetry. In this CD, Vol.1, you will hear the famous "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." After the simple playing of "Twinkle, Twinkle" you will hear five variations of the melody. The completed music has twelve variations. If you like Mozart,this collection of his music will surely be delightful.
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.
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.