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Q: Learning classical music by listening ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Learning classical music by listening
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: carolacassidy-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 27 Jul 2002 11:54 PDT
Expires: 26 Aug 2002 11:54 PDT
Question ID: 45851
I am looking for an article I read in the last 10 years in a priodical
about recommended classical music recordings to get to educate oneself
in this area?
Subject: Re: Learning classical music by listening
Answered By: weisstho-ga on 27 Jul 2002 19:07 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello carolacassidy-ga!

     I answer your question with more than a little bit of trepidation
since my two esteemed colleagues, pinkfreud and chromedome, have felt
more comfortable commenting than answering.  (Just for the record, in
the researcher clubhouse, "Chromey" is the resident classisist and
all-round smart guy, BUT he is Canadian and I am absolutely confident
that the answer to your question lies south of the 48th parallel.
Pinky seems to know something about everything, too.)

     BUT HERE IT IS!  I am certain you are recalling a 1994 book
updated in 1999 and authored by Theodore Libbey of National Public
Radio. The book was published by the Workman Publishing Company, is
536 pages and paperback, and has ISBN: 0761104879.

     The book is touted as “invaluable to any music lover who wishes
to build a classical music collection but doesn't know where to start.
It's an expert's appreciation -- composer by composer, work by work --
of the symphonies, concertos, chamber pieces, keyboard works, sacred
works, and operas that belong in every music lover's library. The
helpful volume also includes such topics as Emotional Truth vs.
Technical Brilliance, The Bach Boys, The Analog/Digital Debate, Best
Budget Buys, Music Lore, Insider Anecdotes, and the Language of Music
Lovers.” The book contains “information on more than 300 essential
operas, concertos, and symphonies, with sidebars and anecdotal
material on composers, performers, and recordings.”  Barnes and Noble.

Barnes and Noble has the book available for $14.35:

Amazon has the book available for $11.17. See:

NPR(R) has a shop where you can order directly from them (see ).  Some of the
other titles that you may interested in are:
The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards by Max Morath;
The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Classical Music by Tim Smith;
The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Opera by William Berger; 
The NPR Basic Record Library; 
The NPR Classical Music Companion by Miles Hoffman; and 
Opera for Dummies by David Pogue.

I believe that Ted Libbey's book received quite a bit of publicity
both in 1994 but also in 1999 when NPR was publishing their lists of
the greatest music of the twentieth century and then taking off on the
greatest music of all time.

I sure do hope that this is exactly what you were remembering!  (If I
may share a secret: as the law nerd of our research group, it would
feel awfully nice to pull one over on Pinkfreud and Chromey on a topic
such as this!   ;-)

Happy listening!


Search Terms Used:
carolacassidy-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
The anwer did not provide the article I was looking for; but the
information was both very informative and the style was very
entertaining.... I'll be back with future questions

Subject: Re: Learning classical music by listening
From: pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2002 15:29 PDT
Searching for an article on such a broad subject, in an unknown
periodical, over a ten year period, is something I'm not up to. I get
"hardening of the smarteries" even contemplating such a search.

However, I would love to be able to help someone who is new to the
field of classical music appreciation. There are many online sites
where you can learn more about classical music, and find lists of
recommended recordings for the novice.

This is an excellent place to start:

Here are some sites which offer a wealth of useful information for the

Happy listening!
Subject: Re: Learning classical music by listening
From: chromedome-ga on 27 Jul 2002 18:01 PDT
Another excellent resource, if you want to invest the time, is CBC
Radio 2, from Canada.  If you live in a border state, you may be able
to pick it up over the air.  If not, you can listen in via RealPlayer
Pick a Canadian city that's close to you (or maybe one where you have
relatives) and follow the links to listen in.  There are many
excellent progams on Radio 2 featuring different aspects of classical
music, and the hosts are typically both knowledgeable and engaging. 
I've learned an awful lot over the years by tuning in!  For a guide to
the progamming, use this link:

Happy listening!
Subject: Re: Learning classical music by listening
From: pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jul 2002 22:35 PDT
Dear Weisstho, 

You needn't worry about having "pulled one over" on me. I am
functioning as a lay commenter here while hoping that my application
to be a researcher will be considered by The Powers That Goog.

As for Chromedome, surely you can tell him to go paddle his own
Canuck. ;-)
Subject: Re: Learning classical music by listening
From: voila-ga on 28 Jul 2002 22:40 PDT
Hi carolacassidy,

I'll gladly share my classical links with you.  You can check the
recommends on these sites and find a pleasant earful.

Subject: Re: Learning classical music by listening
From: gr8reed-ga on 10 Mar 2005 05:23 PST
Many classical music ensembles have sound clips posted on their
websites. For example, the Dorian Wind Quintet ( ), one of the world's oldest and well known
American touring woodwind quintet chamber music ensembles has a 'sound
clips' section at their website where you can listen to several
examples of the wind quintet genre for free and determine if it is a
style or sound that you might be interested in. If you are interested
in chamber music, you might try Chamber Music America's website ( ), where you will find links to other great
chamber ensembles' websites. You could do the same for symphony
orchestras (a simple google search should provide you the websites of
hundreds of fine orchestras) as well as concert artist managements,
who generally post links to their artists' websites. Happy

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