Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Cello Suites and Goldberg Variations.
Anything by Mozart. It's therapeutic apparently because of "The Mozart Effect", as identified by researchers at Stanford University (I think). Something to do with the way in which his music is structured and the correlation of his music sequences and brain wave patterns.
Worth a try I suppose. Cheaper than psychoanalysis.
I came across this thread while browsing through the old dusty archives of the Forum a while ago. Since then it has acquired an
irritating tendency to sneak into my head while I am doing something more interesting and important, such as feeding the
dogs or trimming my nails. (Actually, sarcasm aside, feeding the dogs can be quite fun when the two fleabags climb over
each other to get at their food dishes.) So......
Compilation discs can certainly be a good way to introduce you to a composer whose music you can go on to explore,
but in many cases the piece may be atypical, and you can splash out your money on someone whose music mostly does
nothing for you. Also, a personal gripe, however good the content may be, I could never buy a title like "The Only
Classical Album You Will Ever Need" or "The Best Classical Album In The World Ever", (both of these exist) which are
a) nonsense and b) offensively patronizing.
There is no need to spend money, anyway. You can just borrow discs from the library. (Most record libraries don't have
compilation disks, anyhow) Even easier, YouTube. There are hundreds of classical videos on YouTube, many with great
visuals. Many evenings I don't even put on a CD, just turn on the laptop and build my own concert.
Some suggestions. These are pieces that I THINK might be enjoyable for a classical beginner. Try them. But browse for
other stuff and see if anything gets to you. And don't let any S.O.B. tell you what you OUGHT TO like. The word is "might".
Start with shorter pieces. Don't jump straight into a symphony. This isn't being patronizing. A shorter piece can make a
more immediate impact. With a longer work it can take time to appreciate the way the the composer builds the whole.
For example, overtures. Two or three or four good tunes following each other in a fairly short succession, almost always
with a spectacular climax.
Beethoven. The big one. Overtures: EGMONT, and LEONORA No. 3 . He wrote four different overtures to his opera
Fidelio,(which was originally to be called Leonora). They're all different, all good, but No.3 is the best.
Berlioz: Le Corsair, Carnival Romain, Les Francs Juges. Berlioz was a flamboyant character, a total ham, and his
music reflects this. It's very accessible, and it's g-0-o-d. Then try Mendelsohn, Brahms, Mozart, Verdi.
Another idea, a suite, a program of shortish numbers illustrating a topic or a story.
Mussorgsky, PICTURES FROM (or AT) AN EXHIBITION. A visitor walks round an exhibition of paintings (Duh!).
Mussorgsky portrays each picture, and even the walker, through music. When you listen to it, know which picture
M. is describing to get the full effect. This info. should come with the disk, or Google it.
Mendelsohn , MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, OVERTURE AND INCIDENTAL MUSIC. I guarantee you will
already know the Wedding Music, which sounds much, much better with a full orchestra than with a church
organ,(an instrument I can't stand).
Dance suites. Brahms,HUNGARIAN DANCES, Dvorak,SLAVONIC DANCES.
Hell, it's 1:30 and I have to be on a bus for work in six hours. (I knew I should have learned to drive). There's a
whole crowd of accessible composers I haven't mentioned. England: Vaughan Williams, Holst, Elgar.
France: Bizet (he wrote good orchestral stuff, not just CARMEN), Massenet, Saint-Sans, Norway:Grieg,
U.S.A.: Aaron Copeland, Finland:Sibelius, Spain: lots of good guitar music.
So, a monstruously long post, with some spelling mistakes I don't have the energy to check.
Goodnight, listen well, read well.