This is topic Need to purchase classical music recordings, need advice in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Boon (Member # 4646) on :
I need music. Here's the composer and selections information:
Robert Schumann (1848) (Early Romantic)
Listening selections for this term:
Carnaval (for piano)
Scenes from Childhood for piano
Symphony no 1 in B flat Op 38 "Spring"
Symphony no 2 in C Op 61
an arabeske or humoreske
Liederkreis or other song cycle

Money is an issue, but I want actual CDs, not just stuff I can listen to on the computer. I've looked at Amazon, but the choices are...overwhelming.

I know (next to) nothing about choosing performers, etc. Any advice offered would be appreciated.
Posted by CaySedai (Member # 6459) on :
There's a violinist I've heard about - Joshua Bell. I want to get some of his music for Cayla - she's taking violin at school.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Money is an issue, but I want actual CDs, not just stuff I can listen to on the computer.
With certain purchase options, music is CD quality or better on the computer, and you can burn it to a CD. Just sayin'.

If not, I think buying used is your best option, money-wise, so Amazon is a good choice. I have some favorites when it comes to a couple of those pieces, but not all, and I'm not sure they're available on CD (I have two of those on LPs.) Let me dig around and see what I can find... Unless someone else gets to it first. [Smile]

There's a violinist I've heard about - Joshua Bell.
I must be tired, I'm not sure if this is a joke or not... If not, Joshua Bell is indeed good, as you've probably heard. [Wink]
Posted by Baron Samedi (Member # 9175) on :
I'm not a Schumann expert, but I just bought this version of the symphonies, and I quite like it.

Coincidentally, I also just got this bit of Schumann last week to satisfy the former clarinetist in me. The performances are very nice, but doesn't look like it would satisfy any of your requirements.

Good luck. [Smile]
Posted by krynn (Member # 524) on :
im going to have to agree with what KQ was hinting at. if money is an issue, why not download all the songs u need, then burn them to a cd? at least this way u dont ahve to buy multiple cd's, and everything u need is all on one disc.
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
I buy and download classical music all the time for my classes- and half the time I use itunes just to review the performances before I buy a particular recording.

What you need to do with the symphonies is find a recording that is highly rated, and a features a well known orchestra and conductor. For instance, a slightly older recording that has been remastered for Cd would be an interesting listen. Don't just buy the generic "Schuman Symphonies from EMI" or some other brand of "classics" collections. Get a recording that features a group and a conductor.

For the Song Cycles and piano pieces, go with a very well known pianist like van cliburn or pollini- there are many, and you can tell how good they are, often times, by simply looking at how many recordings they have, and how old some of the recordings are that are still in print. You can also find many performances of these pieces on Utube- which can give you an idea of many different takes on the music.

In my class on Brahms short piano pieces, we sit and listen to 5 or 6 recordings of the same piece and talk about their various merits- so you really can't go wrong with any recording as someone's interepretation of the music. It's just that some recordings will give you more than others.
Posted by Sibyl (Member # 10079) on :
If you know next to nothing about choosing performers, etc., then you probably won't be able to hear the differences. That takes years. So since money is an issue, go to WalMart and look through their bargain bins of cds that cost a dollar or two, in the classical area, with your list memorized, and take what you can find (check out "general classical" cds as well as Schumann CDs). You can probably fill a good bit of the list that way, then fill out the rest of it from the higher-priced recordings. If they're good enough to be recorded at all, they're good enough for somebody who hasn't developed the ear yet.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
you probably won't be able to hear the differences.
That's an invalid assumption, I think. Anyone who is a careful listener can find differences and hear things they like or dislike in certain performances.

Since that is, in part, what she is training her children to do by exposing them to this music, I think it is valid of her to seek out performances that others consider great so her kids can hear the "great" versions of the music and learn what they like or dislike about them, and learn to form their own opinions of classical music.
Posted by Tristan (Member # 1670) on :
For Liederkreis I'd recommend Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as singer. He's about the best baryton ever, at least when it comes to singing Lieder. And I'm not the only one thinking that [Smile] .
Posted by Boon (Member # 4646) on :
I appreciate the advice already given, especially the specifics. [Smile]

Sibyl, while I now appreciate the spirit your advice was given in, I avoided responding for a couple of days because I was angry. Your post struck me as extremely condescending and dismissive. I now realize you were trying to save me some time and trouble.

However, I'd still prefer to "pay once, cry once" instead of purchasing poor recordings and then have to replace them later, even if it's a few years later.
Posted by Boon (Member # 4646) on :
Oh yeah, and we'll be listening to these for this semester, and then moving on to another composer. So, while I understand that there are differences in the various performances, I can't afford to buy them all right now. We'll be back to Schumann again in about 10 years. [Smile]

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