Have a question about a Classical piece? Want some recommendations for an upcoming special event? We'd love to help! Email our "CLASSICAL DIVA" expert, Dominique Brunchmann email@example.com
Phone Number: 1-604-415-9615
FAX Number: 1-604-270-3657
I'm new to classical recordings and want to get into them, but it's very overwhelming. Where do I start?
What do all the classical terms mean?
Why are there so many recordings of the same piece?
What are the major periods of "classical" music?
I heard a melody I liked on the radio. How do I figure out what it is?
How do I find the names of the classical pieces used in my favourite movies?
What's the difference between an opera and a musical?
What do the codes "DDD" "ADD" and "AAD" mean? Will a digital recording sound better than an analog one?
What does "authentic performance practice" mean?
I'm getting married - what classical music can you recommend for my wedding?
Q. I'm new to classical recordings and want to get into them, but it's very overwhelming. Where do I start? Back
A: Congratulations on the newest addition to your soul! The world of classical music can indeed be overwhelming, but like with any other project, take it on one step at a time. A few suggestions: Listen to your local classical radio station. Search the Internet for an online classical music station. Purchase a classical CD sampler or a box set with excerpts from the most popular classical pieces (may I suggest "100kyoku Classics Best 10 mai 3000 en (Japan Import) JPN-AVCL-25065" or "Classic 2006 (Japan Import) JPN-UCCD-3595"). Email me for more recommendations.
Q: What do all the classical terms mean? Back
A: I've compiled a definition list of classical terms under the link marked "Classical Glossary." You can also find a good online reference at: http://www.naxos.com/education/music_categories.asp. If any terms are still not clear or not represented, feel free to email them to me.
Q: Why are there so many recordings of the same piece? DVD? Back
A: Every artist prides themself on individual interpretations in which they infuse their own creativity and ideas. The result is a legacy created by the performer, a mark left on the classical world and its history. With the advancements of technology since the early 1900's, each generation has come up with inventive ways to record classical music and many recordings are deemed as time capsules to preserve a certain method of performing. Also emerging artists will often record familiar pieces to introduce themselves and their renditions to the listener. If there is a piece that interests you and you need a suggested recording, I'd be happy to give you some ideas.
Q: What are the major periods of "classical" music? Back
A: These are APPROXIMATE years of each major musical era:
20th Century/Modern: 1890+
Q: I heard a melody I liked on the radio. How do I figure out what it is? Back
A: The BEST thing you can do is start by noting the time, date and station on which you heard the recording to facilitate your search. Call the radio station or check the music program lists on the radio's website. Speaking from personal experience behind the counter, you can also call your local CD store's classical music department and sing the tune to them. Trust me, it's usually a highlight in the day of the service rep! If you feel daring, record a sound clip of yourself singing the tune, save it as a .wav or .mp3 file and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll do my best!
Q.How do I find the names of the classical pieces used in my favourite movies? Back
A: The credits at the end of the movie usually list all the music used in the film. Be aware that many times, a composer is hired to compose original music for a movie that may "sound" like a familiar classical piece (ie. the opera song in "Hannibal" or the oboe piece in "The Mission"). Here is a basic list of most-requested pieces from movies:
2001: A Space Odyssey - opening to "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (R. Strauss)
2001: A Space Odyssey - "Blue Danube Waltz" (J. Strauss)
2001: A Space Odyssey - "Lux Eterna" (Ligeti)
2001: A Space Odyssey - 'Adagio' from "Gayne Ballet Suite" (Khatchaturian)
Acura commercial - 'Montagues & Capulets' from "Romeo & Juliet" (Prokofiev)
All That Jazz - 'Spring' from "The Four Seasons" (Vivaldi)
Apocalypse Now - 'Ride of the Valkyries' from "Die Walkure" (Wagner)
Babette's Feast - 'La ci darem la mano' from "Don Giovanni" (Mozart)
Breaking Away - "Barber of Seville Overture" (Rossini)
Breaking Away - "Symphony No. 4, Italian" (Mendelssohn)
British Airways commercial - 'Flower Duet' from "Lakme" (Delibes)
Children of a Lesser God - 2nd movement from "Double Concerto for Violins" (J.S. Bach)
Clockwork Orange, A - "Symphony No. #9" (Beethoven)
Clockwork Orange, A - William Tell Overture" (Rossini)
Clockwork Orange, A - "Barber of Seville Overture" (Rossini)
ckwork Orange, A - "La Gazza Ladra Overture" (Rossini)
Dark Eyes - 'Una Voce Poco Fa' from "Barber of Seville Overture" (Rossini)
Death in Venice - 'Adagietto' from "Symphony No. 5" (Mahler)
Die Hard - "Ode to Joy' from "Symphony No. 9) (Beethoven)
Diva - 'Ebben?... Ne andro lontana' from "La Wally" (Catalani)
Elvira Madigan - "Piano Concerto No. #21" (Mozart)
Excalibur - 'O Fortuna' from "Carmina Burana" (Orff)
Fatal Attraction - 'Con onor muore' & 'Un bel di' from "Madama Butterfly" (Puccini)
Fifth Element - 'Il dolce suono' from "Lucia di Lammermoor" (Donizetti)
Foul Play - "The Mikado" (Sullivan)
Forbidden Games - "Romance" (Yepes-guitarist)
Four Seasons, The - "The Four Seasons" (Vivaldi)
Fish Called Wanda, A - "Barber of Seville Overture" (Rossini)
Gallipoli - 'Au font du temple saint' from "Les Pecheurs de Perles" Bizet
Grey Fox - 'M' appari tutti'amor' from "Martha" (Flotow)
Heaven Help Us - 'Hallelujah Chorus' from "Messiah" (Handel)
Hannah and Her Sisters - 'Sola perduta, abbandonata' from "Manon Lescaut" (Puccini)
Horse's Mouth - "Lt. Kije Suite" (Prokofiev)
Huntley/Brinkley Report - 2nd movement from "Symphony No. 9" (Beethoven)
Hopscotch - 'Largo al factotum' from "Barber of Seville" (Rossini)
Hopscotch - 'Romanze' from "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" (Mozart)
Jean de Florette - "Forza del Destino Overture" (Verdi)
Kramer vs. Kramer - "Concerto for 2 Mandolins" (Vivaldi)
Lone Ranger theme - finale from "William Tell Overture" (Rossini)
Love and Death - 'Troika' from "Lt. Kije Suite" (Prokofiev)
Masterpiece Theater theme - "Symphonie de Fanfare" (Mouret)
Mirror Has Two Faces, The - 'Flower Duet' from "Lakme" (Delibes)
Mirror Has Two Faces, The - "Nessun Dorma' from "Turandot" (Puccini)
Moderns, The - 'Voi che sapete' from "Marriage of Figaro" (Mozart)
Moonstruck - "La Boheme" (Puccini)
My Brilliant Career - 'Of Foreign Land and Peoples' from Kinderszenen" (Schumann)
Olympic Music '84 - "Olympic Fanfare" (John Williams)
Olympic Music (Every year) - "Bugler's Dream" (Leo Arnaud)
Ordinary people/GE lightbulb - "Canon in D" (Pachelbel)
Philadelphia - 'Ebben? ... Ne andro lontana' from "La Wally" (Catalani)
Platoon - "Adagio for Strings" (Barber)
Pretty Woman - "La Traviata" (Verdi)
Prizzi's Honor - 'Una furtiva lagrima' from "L'Elisir d'Amore" (Donizetti)
Prizzi's Honor "Barber of Seville Overture" (Rossini)
Raging Bull - 'Intermezzo' from "Cavalleria Rusticana" (Mascagni)
Room with a View - 'O mio babbino caro' from "Gianni Schicchi" (Puccini)
Room with a View - 'Chi il bel sogno di Doretta' from "La Rondine" (Puccini)
Shining, The - "Music for Strings, Percussion & Celeste" (Bartok)
Scent of a Woman (tango) - "Par una cabeza" (Carlos Gardel)
Slam Dance - 'Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix' from "Samson et Delilah" (Saint-Saens)
Someone To Watch Over Me - 'Flower Duet' from "Lakme" (Delibes)
Someone To Watch Over Me - "Gloria" (Vivaldi)
Somewhere in Time - 'Variation 18' from "Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini " (Rachmaninoff)
Sophie's Choice - "Kinderszenen" (Schumann)
Trading Places - "Marriage of Figaro Overture" (Mozart)
True Lies (tango) - "Par una cabeza" (Carlos Gardel)
Traffik - "Chamber Symphonies Opp. 110a/118a" (Shostakovich)
Untouchables - 'Vesti la giubba' from "I Pagliacci" (Leoncavallo)
Wall Street - 'Questa, o quella' from "Rigoletto" (Verdi)
Witches of Eastwick - 'Nessun Dorma' from "Turandot" (Puccini)
Year of Living Dangerously - 'Beim Schlafengehen' from "Four Last Songs" (Strauss, R.)
Q: What's the difference between an opera and a musical? Back
A: Generally, a musical has spoken dialogue with interspersed songs. Opera is generally sung through, the dialogue portions being replaced with recitatives (music which is intoned in a way that resembles speech). There are notable exceptions to this rule, e.g. Carmen (Bizet) and The Magic Flute (Mozart), both of which have spoken dialogue. The German name for operas with spoken dialogue is singspiel (pronounced ZING-shpeel). German productions pre-Wagner were almost always singspiel. Many musicals, such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, etc. are sung through, and are, in the classical world, often referred to as "popular operas" or "rock operas" to signify that they do bear some resemblance to "classical" opera. Another important difference is that in musicals, the principal singers also dance. In opera, that never happens.
Q:What do the codes "DDD" "ADD" and "AAD" mean? Will a digital recording sound better than an analog one? Back
The D indicates digital equipment, and the A indicates analog equipment. The first letter indicates the type of equipment used in the initial recording. The second letter indicates the type of equipment used for mixing and editing. The third letter is superfluous. It indicates the type of equipment used for mastering, which in the case of a CD can only be digital. Between digital and analog recorders, neither intrinsically sounds better than the other. In the end, both have the ability to sound great or to sound awful. It all depends on the type of equipment and the skill of the engineer operating it. Many modern DDD recordings are so carelessly made that they don't sound nearly as good as analog recordings made 20 years ago. Then again, a good DDD can sound *excellent*, as can a good analog recording. Trust your instincts and your ears.
What does "authentic performance practice" mean? Back
Authentic performance practice is an understanding of the performance characteristics in vogue during the composer's lifetime, those actually intended by the composer, or those which the composer might have heard, performed, or been aware of. A recommended recording of this genre would be "Il Giardino Armonico - Musica Barocca (Japan Import) JPN-WPCS-11124." Authentic performance practice can extend to the selection of instruments themselves, instrument construction, string material, tuning and temperament, seating arrangements, trills and figures, numbers of performers on a given part, tempo, doublings, and of course, overall playing technique. If you were to compare an authentic and a modern performance of the same work, you would likely notice substantial differences between them.
I'm getting married - what classical music can you recommend for my wedding? Back
Selecting wedding music is very personal and a very important part of a wedding. Imagine watching a romantic film, but silent - no music to take us on that emotional journey. First, you should always begin with your favourite classical pieces. The trend I've noticed is the move away from the traditional "Bridal Chorus" by Richard Wagner and the move towards finding music more suited to your personality. Next, decide what style or intrumentation you enjoy - orchestral, solo harp, guitar, piano, choral, etc. If you're not certain what you'd like the most, I would recommend purchasing a classical wedding sampler CD such as "The Wedding Album 2005 (Japan Import) JPN-UCCD-3370" or "Classical BGM 6 Wedding (Japan Import) JPN-AVCL-25256." Beyond that, try the following wedding music links: