I have recently decided to start listening to classical music on a more regular basis (a couple of hours when I get home from work in the morning before practise starts).
All of the major symphonies, quartets etc. just so I am familiar with them. I'm fed up of people asking "oh do you know xxxx?" And having to say no.
Have any of you guys done something similar? I've started this week with Brahms (never been able to get into symphonies until my teacher suggested a conductor and orchestra he thought I'd like)
I have never listened to anything but classical, although my love has been mainly towards concertos and solo pieces for violin and piano. I would like to get into orchestral works but the closest I’ve gotten to chamber works are quartets&quintets.
Concertos are good. At least with the violin (and piano) there are a crap ton of them aha. With the viola, I had to do some exploring outside of the "big 3" (Bartok, Walton and Hindemith)
Back in the 70s I had the Guarneri Quartet's Bartok string quartets on vinyl in a box set, and I tried listening to them over and over again, so that I could recognise any passage or quartet. It didn't work, lol.
Lol Gordon that is a shame
Most days I find it rather difficult to sit through an entire symphony / concerto / quartet / whatever, listening by myself at home. On the contrary, I feel like I could spend a week straight living in a concert hall. The experience of seeing a live performance is another level of enjoyment that is sadly unavailable right now...
I don't know if this would work for everyone, but when I took piano lessons my wonderful teacher permitted me to play my way through keyboard history, starting with Frescobaldi and stepping my way through time. In a couple of years I got to Beethoven, at which point I quit, which was my loss. :-( Not only did I play the music, but I listened to it, read about the composers and their contexts, etc. I learned a lot about keyboard history and music history both.
"From My Life"
Michael I always read the preface (a lot of people I know don't) to get the general context but not full bios etc (I have a recent thread about that). Getting better though as I have a number of bios on order currently
A good strategy is to listen a lot to the music you're assigned by your teacher -- different violists, etc. And then listen around it. Listen to other works by the same composer, other music in the same genre, etc.
When I was in my mid-teens, I got more keenly interested in listening to classical music and eventually listened through the Time-Life Great Composers series, which had a couple of cassettes per composer of greatest hits. During college, I would study in the university's music library listening room, listening to several hours of CDs in the background every night. Even so, I sampled only a tiny fraction of the available repertoire.
Lydia I have got recordings of complete symphonies of Shostakovich, Brahms, Tchaik, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Schumann, Sibelius, Bruckner and Haydn plus a number of concertos for various instruments. So plenty of listening aha
I don’t know what’s a good starting point for a symphony, I don’t have much time so maybe a short one would be nice. Any recommendations?
I really enjoy Haydn's symphonies. Nos. 1, 20 or 26 are personal favourites
Here's my not-at-all-exhaustive list of symphonies I think are good for people just getting into them -- mostly under 40 minutes (many under 30 minutes), all following the standard 4 movement form, all fairly melodic and not overly heavy.
Jake, one of the interesting things about the way I did it was that I got very good at recognizing composers, and the skill began also to generalize and expand into later music, too. Unfortunately, I still can't name the pieces. :-)
Andrew has some good picks there
Having "done" classical music pretty much all my life and long since given up any prospect of becoming a violin virtuoso my self-target now is to play like Frank Sinatra