Basic Rep: Starter Collection 1

Basic Rep: Starter Collection 1

Having created this site years ago to help new and casual listeners to classical music navigate the numerous versions of works available, I never got around to creating a basic list of some works and performances. Basic Rep: Starter Collection 1 hopes to fix that, followed by Collection 2 and so on. Each Collection will list works in a good classical collection, along with a performance, and each list will progressively delve deeper into the catalog. The list is a personal preference, but all the records provided me with a lot of listening enjoyment. All links go to Amazon unless stated differently.

Before we begin:


Gunter Wand Great Recordings
Here is a great box of the complete Symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner and Schubert, along with some essential classical works. It comes in a nice LP size box and accompanying booklet.As a whole this is about the best ‘Starter’ box you can get at a reasonable price. [update: now oop so may be expensive]  See my review here.





Karajan Symphony Collection
Complete Symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner [worth the price of admission right there], Mendelssohn, Schumann and Tchaikovsky, along with late Mozart and Haydn symphonies. Really a remarkable set, and at a dirt-cheap price. I am sure there is no real booklet here, but at this price not a big deal.



MP3 Albums
The Vanguard and Vox labels from the 1960’s has been compiling large ‘Boxes’ of downloadable albums with 100s of tracks, usually for 99 cents each up to a few dollars. As a way to see if you like a composer, this is something I would have loved to have back when I started listening to classical music. Even if you just find a few tracks you like it is well worth purchasing these collections. See albums here.


Bach: Brandenburg Concertos / Orchestral Suites / works
Trevor Pinnock / English Concert – the first period performances reference edition

Barber: Adagio for Strings, Vaughan Williams: Tallis Fantasia, etc.
Slatkin / St. Louis SO – stunning sound and performances

Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 / Symphony No. 7
Kleiber / Vienna Philharmonic – A classic recording of the 5th

Chopin: Piano Concertos No. 1 and 2
Rubinstein / Skrowaczewski, Wallenstein – essential classic performance

If you like Chopin, the Rubinstein box is the way to go. Includes the above concertos and 10 CDs of solo piano from his later years at a bargain price. Highly recommended.

Copland: Appalachian Spring / Rode / Billy The Kid
Bernstein / New York Phil – Older recordings but the best performances, period.

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue / An American in Paris / Concerto in F
Bernstein / New York Phil / Previn [ in the concerto]
Bernstein conducts and plays these American classics.

Handel: Water Music / Fireworks Music
Pinnock / English Concert – Original instruments performances finally on one CD.

Mendelssohn: Midsummer’s Night Dream / Symphony No. 3
Maag / London SO – Classic recording of Dream and a great No. 3.

Mozart: Symphony No. 40 and 41
Bernstein / Vienna Phil – I have many many recordings of these works and this recording is the best.

Vivaldi: Four Seasons / Albinoni / Pachelbel
Munchinger / Stuttgart Chamber Orch – Munchinger was the first to record the Seasons in the 1950’s and this later version is not quite ‘original instruments’ but it is still my favorite.


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