Thursday, November 06, 2008

Nine easy ways to get a friend or family member interested in classical music (or to get started yourself)

It's that time of year again, and wouldn't you like to give some great music to family and friends? Or just somehow find a way to get them interested in classical music? But alas, some of them claim NOT to be interested in classical music. Despair not! Here are five CDs (1-5) and four articles (6-9) of which at least one is sure to bridge the gap!

1. The Most Popular Classical TV Themes in the Universe (CD)

Ever wonder which television program or commercial made which piece of music popular? Did you know that the Disney Cruises commercial used Monty Python's Flying Circus Theme, which is Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals? Or that Looney Toons used the Flying Dutchman Overture? They might also be interested to read Are you already listening to classical music, but didn't know it?

2. The Most Uplifting Classics in the Universe (CD)

If you need a mood uplift, this is one you'll want to have on hand. Includes works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Holst, Bruckner, Beethoven, Bach, and Vivaldi.

3. Classical Heat

Get your heart pumping with the first CD, with works by Holst, Verdi, Barber, Stravinsky, and Orff.

But what if you're looking for more of a romantic, passionate sound? That's what you'll find on the second CD of this two-CD set.

4. Classics: Greatest Hits

If you're buying (or already own) the first three albums, you'll appreciate knowing that the Greatest Hits CD does not duplicate any of the music on albums 1-3 recommended above.

These are additional, important pieces from classical music's key periods: baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th century. Familiar works like the "Blue Danube Waltz" and Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" will capture the attention of any newcomer.

5. Classical Music for People Who Hate Classical Music

Tried everything without success? Try this. Includes fantastic recordings of Dvorak's 9th Symphony second movement and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, and makes an excellent addition to most collections.

Aaron Green,'s Classical Music Guide weeded through hundreds of CDs and recommended these five. Thanks, Aaron!

6. For people who want to learn, but don't know where to start. This is a crash course in the greatest composers and greatest music that can be followed in  a few minutes here and there from your computer. They may also like this guide to terminology and recommended books for those new to classical music.

7. For people who don't realize they are already listening to classical music.Everyone should check this out! Guaranteed to teach you fascinating things you didn't know. This collection of links and information covers how a lot of popular songs have been based on classical music, where many of the great classics appear in which movies, and which pieces of classical music have had the greatest impact on contemporary culture.

8. For people who really like certain instruments more than others, check out the Instruments of Classical Music Series: each CD is a classical music collection focusing on a single instrument: Harpsichord; Flute; Oboe; Trumpet; Horn; Violin; Cello; Piano; Organ; Guitar and Lute (okay, that last one is two instruments).

9. Still not working? Lighten up! Here's a collection of humorous quotes from Eugene Ormandy, the Yogi Berra of the Orchestra, such as:
  • “Why do you always insist on playing while I'm trying to conduct?”
  • “During the rests -- pray."
  • “I never say what I mean but I always manage to say something similar.”
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  1. seriously WHO doesn't love classical?
    it is a sound an energy, passion. I just do not understand??? no matter what "style" of music you like.... Classical music is at the root of it all! even "snoop dog" types LIKE classical. well at least some of them Blend it in with theirs... so I just do not understand when someone says they Hate classical!
    & I LOVE all kinds (well.... most of it)

    just popped in & I see the "classical" LIST and its way too cute!

    Best Wishes ~
    Joelle XO

  2. Wow what a great blog! I am a classically trained oboist, so needless to say I was surprise to see this when I followed your link.

    You are absolutely right with your choices! People listen to classical all the time and never notice. Some of the blended versions such as that one 'Black Black Heart' (I think) were huge hits, and that one was based on the Flower Duet.

    A great example for oboe is the Marcello Concerto. That's my favorite!

    A pleasure to meet you!

  3. Pianist Stephen Hough has started a blog for the London Daily Telegraph which is compulsive reading - and he answers questions directly! I'm one of the Telegraph blog editors and I'd love your readers to know about it. You may know his amazing Chandos recording of Hummel's piano concertos. Here's his post on "Hummel and Aunt Mabel's Cat":

    Damian Thompson