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View Full Version : Please Help Could you please recommend some nice classical/instrumental music?



CoffeeCat
Sep 1st 2008, 12:18 AM
I'm finding two things, already, even though it's the beginning of a school year:
1 - Residence life is NOISY, so I need something to drown out the noise.
2 - Music with lyrics distracts me, badly, from reading and writing.

I admit I know SOME classical music, but not a lot. My favourites (more common selections, too) are Handel and Pachelbel. I'm vaguely familiar with other composers, but I'd REALLY like recommendations. Do you have a specific classical music/just pure instrumental CD you really enjoy? Something soft? I'd appreciate anything people contribute here. I've already looked into just generally instrumental music (flutes, soft piano or guitar) and that works well, too. :)


Thank you!

the inside out
Sep 1st 2008, 01:21 AM
Dude! Soundtrack Music! John Williams, James Newton Howard, Klaus Badelt, Hans Zimmer, Dario Marianelli, i could on!

I love the Peter Pan (James Newton Howard) soundtrack from 2003. I don't know how you feel about Harry Potter (John Williams), but I love those soundtracks. Go to Wal-Mart and walk through the soundtrack section.

Or go to Target and look at the Lifescapes CDs (they're by the greeting cards). I have several of the Celtic ones.

cnw
Sep 1st 2008, 01:41 AM
more common ones, tchaichovsky, really you can't just say the name of a composer, because it is more of the "popular hits" shall we say. Some composers wrote pretty upbeat music then they wrote some nice molodic tones. Do you like more of violin, chello, what kind of instrument? There are some beautiful pan flute pieces that are very nice to study too.

BrckBrln
Sep 1st 2008, 02:00 AM
Dude! Soundtrack Music! John Williams, James Newton Howard, Klaus Badelt, Hans Zimmer, Dario Marianelli, i could on!

I love the Peter Pan (James Newton Howard) soundtrack from 2003. I don't know how you feel about Harry Potter (John Williams), but I love those soundtracks. Go to Wal-Mart and walk through the soundtrack section.

Or go to Target and look at the Lifescapes CDs (they're by the greeting cards). I have several of the Celtic ones.

I second James Newton Howard. Also Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

RebeccaG
Sep 1st 2008, 03:31 AM
It's hard to recommend a specific CD really. The great thing about classical music is that you can find some decent stuff for cheap. If you want CDs, go to your local music store and see if they have a bargain bin of classical stuff. You can often find things for only a few dollars. Or, you could find an online radio station. I'm not sure where you're located, but one I listen to regularly is CBC Radio 2. http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ to listen online or to find a frequency near you. It's not ALL classical music but a good part of the day it is. some jazz too. Some more modern stuff.

Cloudwalker
Sep 1st 2008, 04:39 AM
Here are some possibilitys. Swan Lake, and Nutcracker Suite. Sleeping Beauty, Rimsky-Korsekov's Sheherizade. Edvard Grieg, Beethoven, Vivaldi. These are just a few. The first 2 are actually ballet's, and the last 2 are composers. What you want are symphonies, concerto's, Sonatas nocturnes (especialy these) and avoid operas. Those have lyrics, even though they are not often in english. You may also like string quartets, and classical guitar, as well as classical piano. (I have somewhere around 28 hours of classical music on my computer)

Literalist-Luke
Sep 1st 2008, 04:50 AM
I admit I know SOME classical music, but not a lot. My favourites (more common selections, too) are Handel and Pachelbel. I'm vaguely familiar with other composers, but I'd REALLY like recommendations. Do you have a specific classical music/just pure instrumental CD you really enjoy? Something soft? I'd appreciate anything people contribute here. I've already looked into just generally instrumental music (flutes, soft piano or guitar) and that works well, too. :)CoffeeCat, I am a former professional orchestral musician and have a CD collection of over 500 orchestral CDs, so I should be able to give you some fairly specific and varied recommendations, including quite a bit of otherwise obscure music that you won't find in the "Classical" bin at Wal-Mart.

(By the way, if you walk into almost any store anywhere and start "browsing" the "classical" selection, what you're usually going to find will be nothing but useless garbage. Those people stocking those areas have no clue what's good, or even if they did know what music is good, they wouldn't have the first clue which of of the various recordings of it would be the best to get.)

So let me ask you some questions:

1. You say that you want to "drown on the noise". Do you mean that you want some pretty loud music? (Which is easily had in orchestral music, by the way)

2. What kind of mood(s) do you prefer when you're listening to music? Do you like your music fairly subdued, or do you prefer music that'll take you on a roller coaster ride that will have you worn out when you're finished?

3. Do you like music that has a really big sound that will make you feel as if the orchestra is surrounding you, or do you prefer something that seems more intimate, like chamber music, for instance?

4. How good are you at concentrating on one thing without interruption for long periods of time, say, perhaps as long as 20 minutes?

5. Would you prefer an orchestra to play a piece as if it's the last recording of that piece that's ever going to be made and who does it "lights out", so to speak, or would you prefer them to have a more laid back approach. (For example, there are close to 50 recordings of Beethoven's Fifth. Most of them are garbage. There are 3 or 4 of them that will reach out the speakers, grab you by the throat and shake you like a rag doll until the end, because the orchestra plays with such white hot intensity. Then there's most of the others, where it sounds to me as if the orchestra was keeping one eye on their watches, praying for the next lunch break to hurry up and interrupt the recording session.)

Let me know where you stand on those questions, and I can give you some recommendations. I would also be glad to upload a few samples on the internet for you to preview if you like.

Literalist-Luke
Sep 1st 2008, 04:52 AM
Here are some possibilitys. Swan Lake, and Nutcracker Suite. Sleeping Beauty, Rimsky-Korsekov's Sheherizade. Edvard Grieg, Beethoven, Vivaldi. These are just a few. The first 2 are actually ballet's, and the last 2 are composers. What you want are symphonies, concerto's, Sonatas nocturnes (especialy these) and avoid operas. Those have lyrics, even though they are not often in english. You may also like string quartets, and classical guitar, as well as classical piano. (I have somewhere around 28 hours of classical music on my computer)Those are all good recommendations, but you also have to be careful with WHOSE recording of those pieces you get. One recording will sound great, but the next recording of the same piece could sound awful, and an uninformed listener will think it's the music's fault.

Cloudwalker
Sep 1st 2008, 04:55 AM
Good point. I got all mine from sources that don't have any of the bad preformances. A lot of collections.

ilovemetal
Sep 1st 2008, 06:10 AM
seriously.

www.myspace.com/caspiantheband
www.myspace.com/thiswilldestroyyou
www.myspace.com/redsparowes
www.myspace.com/explosionsinthesky
www.myspace.com/monojp

all these bands ought to change your life. they changed mine. you might dig it. you might not. i write to this music.

graceforme
Sep 1st 2008, 11:47 AM
Check out "itunes" on your computer. There's hundreds of stations that play right over the computer. I listen to them a lot - while I'm doing Sunday School lessons, cleaning house, cooking, etc.

I also like Transiberian Orchestra. They have a CD called "Beethoven's Last Night" that is excellent. And their Christmas CD's are fabulous.

Good luck.

CoffeeCat
Sep 1st 2008, 12:03 PM
Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions so far. :)

I don't really want music that'll drown out the other music in how LOUD it is... with ipod headphones in my ears, even quiet music directly nearby seems to thankfully drown out the louder noises behind me. I was on Itunes last night, and got ahold of a CD called "the most relaxing classical music in the Universe"... :lol: I think God decided to give me a hint. The music's gorgeous. The first two are 'Canon in D' and 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik:Andante'. :) There's a gorgeous rendition of 'Ave Maria' and 'Moonlight Sonata: Adagio', too. All of it.... uplifting, soaring, SO peaceful.

I don't really prefer heavy full-on orchestras while I read or study. I like to listen to them, but not then. Something quieter is great. Chamber music, for example. On the other hand, I suppose it depends on my mood.... I also like Transiberian Orchestra, and for the sheer instrumentals, sometimes I'll listen to some Iced Earth or Sonata Arctica on low in the background.

I wish I COULD play the radio here. I can, if I play a station through my laptop and use headphones, but I don't usually drag my laptop around as I study :) CBC is great, though. Radio 1 and Radio 2 are both good.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Please keep them coming. I'm looking through some stores this week, there are quite a few here who have bargain bins or wide assortments of music, and one of the guys I met REALLY knows his music. He could probably help me pick out the better stuff from what you folks suggested. :)

Luke34
Sep 2nd 2008, 11:59 PM
If you're looking for entirely quiet music--i.e. with no loud passages--orchestral music is going to be hard to come by: All of the pieces listed above (Scheherezade, Swan Lake, etc.) have passages that are quite loud, and indeed I'd not call either of those pieces "relaxing" in general. Chamber music is obviously more limited in absolute volume, but you can still run into things (like the complex late string quartets of Beethoven or the thornier twentieth-century quartets such as Bartók's and Shostakovich's) that aren't so good for relaxing.

If you don't mind songs with non-English lyrics, as you've indicated, Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise are two of my favorite pieces in the whole world, although they're more suited to following along with a translation than putting them on as background music. For "relaxing" solo piano music, Chopin's Nocturnes and Waltzes and the Mozart piano sonatas are good. These are just things off the top of my head.

Literalist-Luke
Sep 3rd 2008, 03:32 AM
If you're looking for entirely quiet music--i.e. with no loud passages--orchestral music is going to be hard to come by: All of the pieces listed above (Scheherezade, Swan Lake, etc.) have passages that are quite loud, and indeed I'd not call either of those pieces "relaxing" in general.This is very true - in fact, it's one of the things I tend to like best about orchestral music - the extreme contrasts.

Actually, your best chance of finding orchestral music that maintains a consistently quiet volume level is going to be on individual tracks from various movie soundtracks. You can't just go and buy one CD that will roll it all up into one neat package, however. I have a compilation that I put together for a friend a few months ago that was specifically designed to never get very loud at all, but I had to use music from no less than 18 tracks from 12 different movies, and I also had to use a digital sound editor to do a lot of clipping, fading, merging, etc.

She absolutely loves it, incidentally - she listens to it all the time. (And so do I.)

In case anybody's interested, here's the list:


1. Spacecamp (1986) – “Main Title” – shortened/faded out – John Williams
2. Superman Returns (2006) – “How Could You Leave Us?” – volume lowered – John Ottman (with themes by John Williams)
3. Titanic (1997) – “A Life So Changed” – unaltered – James Horner
4. Somewhere in Time (1980) “Theme” – pitch raised halfstep from C Major to D-flat Major, volume lowered – John Barry
5. Lady in the Water (2006) “End Titles” – James Newton Howard, merged into Groundhog Day (1993)’s “The Ice Sculpture” merged into Groundhog Day (1993)’s “A New Day” – George Fenton – volume lowered on whole track
6. Rachmaninoff 18th Variation – Sergei Rachmaninov – from Somewhere in Time (1980) – volume lowered
7. Independence Day (1996) – “Death of the First Lady” – volume raised – David Arnold
8. The Village (2004) – “The Vote” – volume lowered – James Newton Howard
9. Somewhere in Time (1980) – “Grand Hotel” – volume lowered – John Barry
10. Superman Returns (2006) – “Reprise” – volume lowered – John Ottman (with themes by John Williams)
11. The Prince of Egypt (1998) – “Burning Bush” – shortened/faded out – Hans Zimmer
12. Signs (2002)– “The Hand of Fate 2” – beginning slightly trimmed – James Newton Howard
13. Somewhere in Time (1980) – “A Day Together” (beginning trimmed) merged into “End Credits” (beginning trimmed) – volume lowered on whole track – John Barry
14. Titanic (1997) – “The Portrait” – unaltered – James Horner
15. Independence Day (1996) – “The Wedding” – volume raised – David Arnold
16. Jurassic Park (1993) – “Welcome to Jurassic Park” – 2nd half cut/faded out – John Williams
17. Titanic (1997) – “An Ocean of Memories” (beginning) merged into “Deep and Timeless Sea” – James Horner

EaglesWINGS911
Sep 3rd 2008, 04:38 AM
Beethoven...I love Beethoven, Carmen the Opera w/o the actual singing, Vivaldi...all good choices.

Literalist-Luke
Sep 3rd 2008, 09:00 AM
Beethoven...I love Beethoven, Carmen the Opera w/o the actual singing, Vivaldi...all good choices.Beethoven - which Beethoven? Symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas....

Do you have any particular favorite performers of Beethoven? There are literally hundreds of recordings out there, most of which are not very good, sadly.