The Joy of Exposing Yourself
to Classical Music & Opera



composers & music
from Germany
composers & music
from Russia
composers & music
from Austria
composers & music
from France
composers & music
from Italy
composers & music
from rest of Europe
composers & music
from rest of world
A Night At the Opera

Introduction
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Introduction to this Classical Music & Opera page
As I discussed on my Hank Williams page, I was raised in a home with country music.  In my teens, around 1970, I began listening to contemporary popular music.  Sometime around the age of 20 years old, I began listening to Oldies songs of the 50's and 60's and acquired an interest in early rock.  Also, at this time, I pretty much quit listening to contemporary and barely knew who the newer musical artists were of the 70's and into the 80's and 90's.

Around November 20th, 1975, a year after getting married, I had the joy of exposing myself to classical music and opera.  This was actually inspired because of my interest in the music of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  It is my understanding that Keith Emerson had classical piano training as a youth and it showed in his music with a group called "the Nice" and later with ELP.  I figured if I enjoyed the sound of rock and classical mixed in the music of ELP--later labeled "Progressive Rock"--then why not explore classical music in it's pure form.

I checked out many record albums from the local library--now, everything is CDs--and discovered beautiful compositions by composers from years past and from various parts of the world.  What I present on this page is for people who might be where I once was . . . "curious, but not sure where to begin."  These are some of the more popular compositions in classical music and some of the more popular arias (vocal solos) out of some of the better known operas.

There was a period in my life when classical and opera was all I listened to.  My classical music phase lasted for about ten years.  I never really lost my love for it, I just went through a period where I didn't listen to much music of any kind for a while.  I then spent a few years listening to talk radio.  Eventually, I started reading up on all the musical rock artists of the 70's, 80's and 90's, whose years of performing their music, I had slept through; and found that I enjoyed hearing their music when I tuned to the right radio stations (billed as "Classic Rock").  I have since found an interest in country music as well and I'm now listening to classical music and opera again.  I'm very eclectic in my musical tastes!

That brings me to the point of putting together this web page to show some recommendations of classical music and opera for folks who might be curious as to what the whole world has been listening to for the last 200 years.  Below are my personal favorites which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for starters (with a few personal favorites highlighted in red).  The rest of the page lists composers by country of origin and in the order of their year of birth.  In each section are some of the more popular compostions of each of these composers which I would recommend listening to.  I left out several good composers, like Igor Stravinsky, because his music was pretty deep, even for his day and it takes a while to learn to appreciate what composers like Stravinsky were doing with their works.  My objective here was not to list every composer and every single great work, just list some of the better pieces you might find on an inexpensive CD collection of classical music.  This is only a guide for you to investigate and experience THE JOY OF EXPOSING YOURSELF to Classical music and Opera.

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I highly recommend the following works:

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ***** personal favorites
Classical Music
Bach * Suite #3 – Air for G-String
Beethoven * Moonlight Sonata
Beethoven * Piano Concerto #5 (Emperor)
Beethoven * Symphony #5 (V for Victory)
Beethoven * Symphony #6 (Pastoral)  *****
Beethoven * Symphony #9 (Choral)
Berlioz * Symphonie Fantastique
Dvorak * New World Symphony (Largo movement-Goin' Home)  *****
Gershwin * Rhapsody in Blue   *****
Mozart * Piano Concerto No. 21 (Elvira Maddigan) K. 467
Rachmaninoff * Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor (Full Moon and Empty Arms)
Ravel * Bolero
Rimsky-Korsakov * Scheherazade  *****
Rossini * William Tell Overture (The Lone Ranger)
Strauss * Blue Danube Waltz
Strauss * Voices of Spring Waltz
Tchaikowsky * Piano Concerto #1 in B flat minor, opus 23 (Tonight We Love)
Tchaikowsky * 1812 Overture
Tchaikowsky * Symphony #6 Pathetique  *****
Opera
Just about any opera written by Mozart, Puccini, or Verdi is enjoyable.
Mozart's Don Giovanni would probably be the critic's choice for starters.
My personal favorite is Puccini's Tosca  *****
Verdi's Rigoletto would likely be his most popular opera.
Bizet's Carmen in French is very beautiful and easy to appreciate for beginners.
What about Wagner?
Wagner, the man, was quite controversial and Wagner's music is either loved or hated by those who hear it.  There seems to be no middle ground with Wagner.  Some of his instrumental opera overtures are breathtaking and very moving.  Start with those and if you like them, then you will probably enjoy listening to his operas.  All of Wagner's operas are listed on this page.

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Classical Music
Composers & their Music



Composers from Germany

Bach, Johann Sebatian * 1685-1750
Handel, George Frederick * 1685-1759
Beethoven, Ludwig von * 1770-1827
von Weber, Carl Maria * 1786-1826
Meyerbeer, Giacomo * 1791-1864
Mendelssohn, (Bartholdy) Felix * 1809-1847
Schumann, Robert * 1810-1856
Wagner, Richard * 1813-1883
Offenbach, Jacques * 1819-1880
Brahms, Johnnes * 1833-1897
Strauss, Richard * 1864-1949

Recommended Music
Bach * Brandenburg Concerto #2
Bach * Brandenburg Concerto #6
Bach * Clavier Concerto in D Minor
Bach * Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Joy)
Bach * Suite #3 – Air for G-String
Bach * Toccata in D Minor

Handel * Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah
Handel * Largo from Xerxes
Handel * Music for the Royal Fireworks
Handel * Water Music – Adagio

Beethoven * Coriolanus Overture
Beethoven * Egmont Overture
Beethoven * Fur Elise
Beethoven * Moonlight Sonata
Beethoven * Ode to Joy (Song of Joy)
Beethoven * Pathetique Sonata
Beethoven * Piano Concerto #5 (Emperor)
Beethoven * Symphony #3 (Eroica)
Beethoven * Symphony #5 (V for Victory)
Beethoven * Symphony #6 (Pastoral)
Beethoven * Symphony #9 (Choral)
Beethoven * Turkish March
Beethoven * Violin Concerto Opus 61
Beethoven * Wellington’s Victory

von Weber * Invitation to the Dance

Meyerbeer * Coronation March

Mendelssohn * Midsummer Night’s Dream: Scherzo & Overture
Mendelssohn * Spring Song, op. 62, no. 30
Mendelssohn * The Italian Symphony #4
Mendelssohn * Wedding March

Schumann * Traumerei, op. 15, no. 3

Wagner * Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde
Wagner * Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III
Wagner * Overture to the Meistersinger
Wagner * Ride of the Valkyries
Wagner * Siegfried's Rhine Journey & Funeral March
Wagner * Tannhauser Overture

Offenbach * Barcarolle (Adrift on a Star)
Offenbach * Can Can
Offenbach * La Vie Parisienne
Offenbach * Le Belle Helene – Prelude to Act II

Brahms * Academic Festival Overture
Brahms * Hungarian Dance #5
Brahms * Hungarian Dance #7
Brahms * Lullaby (Cradle Song)
Brahms * Piano Concerto #2 in B flat
Brahms * Symphony #2
Brahms * Violin Concerto in D Major
Brahms * Waltz in A-Flat (Love Will Keep Us Young)
Brahms * Waltz, Op. 70, no. 3

Strauss Richard * Also sprach Zarathustra (Sunrise) (Theme from “2001”)
Strauss Richard * Der Rosenkavelier

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Composers from Russia

Borodin, Alexander * 1833-1887
Mussorgsky, Modeste * 1839-1881
Tchaikowsky, Peter Ilych * 1840-1893
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolas * 1844-1908
Ippolitov-Ivanov, Mikkail * 1859-1935
Rachmaninoff, Sergei * 1873-1943
Gliere, Reinhold Moritzovich * 1875-1956
Prokofiev, Sergei * 1891-1953
Khachaturian, Aram * 1903-?
Shostakovich, Dmitri * 1906-1975

Recommended Music
Borodin * Polovetsian Dances (Stranger in Paradise)
Borodin * String Quartet no. 2

Mussorgsky * Gopak from the Fair at Sorochinek
Mussorgsky * Night on  Bald Mountain

Tchaikowsky * 1812 Overture
Tchaikowsky * Chinese Dance (Nutcracker)
Tchaikowsky * Dance of the Little Swans
Tchaikowsky * Dance of the Mirlitons (Nutcracker)
Tchaikowsky * Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Tchaikowsky * Humoresque, op. 10, no. 2
Tchaikowsky * Hungarian Dance (Czardas)
Tchaikowsky * March from the Nutcracker
Tchaikowsky * Neopolitan Song (Swan Lake)
Tchaikowsky * None But the Lonely Heart
Tchaikowsky * Overture to the Nutcracker
Tchaikowsky * Piano Concerto #1 in B flat minor, opus 23 (Tonight We Love)
Tchaikowsky * Romeo and Juliet: Love Theme (Our Love)
Tchaikowsky * Serenade for Strings: Waltz
Tchaikowsky * Sleeping Beauty Waltz
Tchaikowsky * Spanish Dance (Swan Lake)
Tchaikowsky * String Quartet in D, op. 11: Andante cantabile (On the Isle of May)
Tchaikowsky * Swan Lake Waltz
Tchaikowsky * Symphony #4
Tchaikowsky * Symphony #5
Tchaikowsky * Symphony #6 Pathetique
Tchaikowsky * Trepak (Nutcracker)
Tchaikowsky * Violin Concerto in D
Tchaikowsky * Waltz (Serenade – opus 48)
Tchaikowsky * Waltz of the Flowers (Nutcracker)

Rimsky-Korsakov * Capriccio Espagnole
Rimsky-Korsakov * Dance of the Buffoons
Rimsky-Korsakov * Flight of the Bumblebee (The Green Hornet)
Rimsky-Korsakov * Prince and Princess (Scherezade)
Rimsky-Korsakov * Scheherazade
Rimsky-Korsakov * Song of India

Ippolitov-Ivanov * Caucasian Sketches: Procession of the Sardar

Rachmaninoff * Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor (Full Moon and Empty Arms)
Rachmaninoff * Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, op. 3
Rachmaninoff * Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rachmaninoff * Symphonic Dances Opus 45, No. 2 & 3
Rachmaninoff * Vocalise Opus 34, No. 14

Gliere * Russian Sailors’ Dance from Red Poppy Ballet

Prokofiev * Love for Three Oranges: March (The FBI in Peace and War)
Prokofiev * Lt. Kije: Troika
Prokofiev * Peter and the Wolf (for orchestra & narrator/childrens’ piece)

Khachaturian * Sabre Dance from Gayne Ballet

Shostakovich * Age of Gold: Polka

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Composers from Austria

Haydn, (Franz) Joseph * 1732-1809
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus * 1756-1791
Schubert, Franz * 1797-1828
Strauss, Johann (Jr.) * 1825-1899
Mahler, Gustav * 1860-1911

Recommended Music
Haydn * Emperor String Quartet, opus 76, no. 3
Haydn * String Quartet Op. 3, no 5
Haydn * The Clock Symphony
Haydn * The Surprise Symphony

Mozart * Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman, K. 265
Mozart * Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Mozart * Piano Concerto in B Flat
Mozart * Piano Concerto No. 21 (Elvira Maddigan) K. 467
Mozart * Rondo alla turca
Mozart * Symphony #40 in G minor (Mozart 40) K. 550
Mozart * Symphony #41 (Jupiter) in C Major K. 551

Schubert * Ave Maria
Schubert * Marche militaire
Schubert * Serenade
Schubert * Symphony #5
Schubert * Unfinished Symphony #7 (some say #8) (Song of Love)

Strauss * Blue Danube Waltz
Strauss * Emperor Waltz
Strauss * Fledermaus Overture
Strauss * Leichtes Blut (Gay Blood Polka)
Strauss * Overture to a Waltz Dream
Strauss * Overture to the Gypsy Baron
Strauss * Perpetual Motion
Strauss * Pizzacato Polka
Strauss * Radetsky March
Strauss * Roses from the South
Strauss * Tales From the Vienna Woods
Strauss * Till Eulenspiegel
Strauss * Trisch Trasch Polka
Strauss * Vienna Bon Bons
Strauss * Voices of Spring Waltz
Strauss * Weiner Blut (Vienna Blood)
Strauss * Wine Women and Song
Strauss * You and You Waltz

Mahler * Symphony #1

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Composers from France

Berlioz, Hector * 1803-1869
Saint-Saens, Camille * 1835-1921
Delibes, Leo * 1836-1891
Bizet, Georges * 1838-1875
Chabrier, Emanuel * 1841-1894
Massenet, Jules * 1842-1912
Debussy, Claude * 1862-1918
Dukas, Paul * 1865-1935
Ravel, Maurice * 1875-1937

Recommended Music
Berlioz * Marche Hongroise from Faust
Berlioz * Symphonie Fantastique

Saint-Saens * Danse macabre
Saint-Saens * Samson and Delilah: Bacchanale
Saint-Saens * The Swan

Delibes * Coppelia Ballet Suite: Swanilda’s Waltz (Pretending)
Delibes * Sylvia Ballet

Bizet * Aragonaise from Carmen
Bizet * Habanera from Carmen
Bizet * March of the Toreadors
Bizet * Minuette from L’Arlesienne Suite

Chabrier * Espana Rhapsody

Massenet * Le Cid: Aragonaise
Massenet * Thais: Meditation

Debussy * Arabesque no. 2
Debussy * Clair de lune
Debussy * Golliwogs Cakewalk
Debussy * Reverie (My Reverie)

Dukas * Sorcerors Apprentice

Ravel * Bolero
Ravel * La Valse
Ravel * Pavane for a Dead Princess
Ravel * Rhapsodie Espagnole

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Composers from Italy

Albinoni, Tommaso * 1671-1750
Boccherini, Luigi * 1743-1806
Rossini, Gioacchino * 1792-1868
Verdi, Giuseppe * 1813-1901
Ponchielli, Amilcare * 1834-1886
Leoncavallo, Ruggero * 1858-1919
Mascagni, Pietro * 1863-1945

Recommended Music
Albinoni * Adagio for Strings and Organ

Boccherini * Minuet
Boccherini * String Quartet in E, Op. 13, no. 5

Rossini * William Tell Overture (The Lone Ranger)

Verdi * Aida: Grand March
Verdi * Anvil Chorus

Ponchielli * Dance of the Hours

Leoncavallo * Mattinata (You’re Breaking My Heart)

Masscagni * Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo

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Composers from the rest of Europe

Smetana, Bedrich * 1824-1884 * Czechoslovakia
Dvorak, Antonio * 1841-1905 * Czechoslovakia
Elgar, Sir Edward * 1857-1934 * Great Britain
Liszt, Franz (Ferencz) * 1811-1886 * Hungary
Lehar, Franz (Ference) * 1870-1948 * Hungary
Chopin, Frederic * 1810-1849 * Poland
de Falla, Manuel * 1876-1946 * Spain

Recommended Music
Smetana * The Moldau

Dvorak * Humoresque, op. 101, no. 7
Dvorak * New World Symphony (Largo movement-Goin' Home)

Elgar * Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory)

Liszt * Hungarian Fantasy for Piano & Orchestra
Liszt * Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Liszt * Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6
Liszt * Les Preludes
Liszt * Liebestraum (Dream of Love)
Liszt * Mephisto Waltz
Liszt * Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major

Lehar * Gold and Silver Waltz
Lehar * Merry Widow Waltz

Chopin * Etude, Op. 10, No. 2 “Revolutionary”
Chopin * Fantasie-Impromptu op. 66, no. 4(I’m Always Chasing Rainbows)
Chopin * Grand Valse Brilliante in E flat
Chopin * Minute Waltz, op. 64, no.1
Chopin * Nocturne #2 in E flat
Chopin * Polonaise in A-Flat, op. 53 (Till the End of Time)
Chopin * Tristesse Etude in E, op. 10, no. 3
Chopin * Waltz #11 in G flat
Chopin * Waltz #2 in A, opus 34
Chopin * Waltz #7 in C minor, opus 64, #2
Chopin * Waltz in C sharp Minor
Chopin * Waltz in D flat, Op. 70, no. 3

de Falla * Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo

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Composers from the rest of the World

Addinsell
Dinicu – Heifetz (arranger)
Lecuona
Suppe, Franz von * 1819-1895
Rubinstein, Anton * 1829-1894
Sousa, John Philip * 1854-1932
Herbert, Victor * 1859-1924
Grainger, Percy * 1882-1962 * Australia
Gade, Niels Vilhelm * 1817-1890 * Denmark
Sibelius, Jean * 1865-1957 * Finland
Grieg, Edvard Hagerup * 1843-1907 * Norway
Foster, Stephen * * U.S.A.
Grofe, Ferde * 1892-1972 * U.S.A.
Gershwin, George * 1898-1937 * U.S.A.

Recommended Music
Addinsell * Warsaw Concerto (The World Outside)

Dinicu-Heifetz (arrang.) * Hora Staccato

Foster * Camptown Races
Foster * Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair

Gade * Jalousie

Gershwin * Rhapsody in Blue

Grainger * Country Gardens

Grieg * Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt Suiite no. 1
Grieg * I Love Thee
Grieg * In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt Suite no. 1
Grieg * Peer Gynt Suite #1
Grieg * Piano Concerto in A Minor, opus 16 (“Song of Norway” Theme)
Grieg * Wedding Day at Troldhaugen

Grofe * Grand Canyon Suite: On the Trail (“Phillip Morris Playhouse” Theme)

Herbert * March of the Toys

Lecuona * Malaguena (At the Cross-Roads)

Rubinstein * Melody in F, Op. 3, no. 1

Sibelius * Finlandia
Sibelius * Valse triste (I Love a Mystery)

Sousa * The Stars and Stripes Forever

Suppe * Light Cavalry Overture
Suppe * Poet and Peasant Overture


A Night At the Opera
A listing of some of the more popular arias
Composer * Opera * Aria * Voice



Beethoven * Fidelio * Abscheulicher! * mezzo-soprano
Beethoven * Fidelio * O welche lust! (Prisoner’s Chorus) * chorus

Bellini * La Sonnambula * Ah! Non credea mirarti * soprano

Bellini * Norma * Casta Diva * soprano

Bizet * Carmen * Habanera * mezzo-soprano
Bizet * Carmen * Seguidilla * mezzo-soprano
Bizet * Carmen * Toreador Song * baritone

Boito * Mefistofele * L’altra notte in fondo al mare * soprano

Donizetti * L’Elisir d’Amore * Una furtiva lagrima * tenor

Flotow * Martha * M’appari * tenor

Giordano * Andrea Chenier * Come un bel di’ di maggio * tenor

Leoncavallo * I Pagliacci * Vesti la giubba * tenor

Mascagni * Cavalleria Rusticana * Voi lo sapete * mezzo-soprano

Massenet * Werther * Ces lettres! * mezzo-soprano
Massenet * Werther * Pourquoi me reveiller * tenor

Mozart * Abduction from the Seraglio * Martern aller Arten * soprano

Mozart * Cosi fan tutte * Come Scoglio Immoto Resta * soprano

Mozart * Don Giovanni * Deh, vieni alla finestra * baritone
Mozart * Don Giovanni * Fin ch’han dal vino * baritone
Mozart * Don Giovanni * Il mio tesoro * tenor
Mozart * Don Giovanni * La ci darem la mano * baritone & soprano
Mozart * Don Giovanni * Madamina * bass
Mozart * Don Giovanni * Or sai chi l’onore * soprano

Mozart * Magic Flute * Der Vogelfanger bin ich ja * baritone
Mozart * Magic Flute * O Isis und Osiris * bass & chorus

Mozart * Marriage of Figaro * Dove sono * soprano
Mozart * Marriage of Figaro * Non piu andrai * baritone
Mozart * Marriage of Figaro * Porgi Amor * soprano
Mozart * Marriage of Figaro * Se vuol ballare * baritone

Ponchielli * La Gioconda * Cielo e Mar * tenor
Ponchielli * La Gioconda * L’amo come il fulgor del creato * mezzo-soprano & soprano

Puccini * La Boheme * Musetta’s Waltz * soprano
Puccini * La Boheme * O soave fanciulla * tenor & soprano

Puccini * Madame Butterfly * Un bel di Vedremo * soprano

Puccini * Tosca * Vissi d’Arte * soprano

Rossini * Barber of Seville * Largo al factotum * baritone
Rossini * Barber of Seville * Una voce poco fa * soprano

Saint-Saens * Samson et Dalila * mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix * mezzo-soprano
Saint-Saens * Samson et Dalila * Printemps * mezzo-soprano

Strauss Richard * Der Rosenkavalier * Waltz Scene of Baron Ochs * baritone

Verdi * Aida * Triumphal March * Orchestra

Verdi * Il Trovatore * Il balen del suo sorriso * baritone
Verdi * Il Trovatore * Di quella pira * tenor
Verdi * Il Trovatore * Stride la vampa * mezzo-soprano

Verdi * La Traviata * Addio del passato * soprano
Verdi * La Traviata * E’strano; Ah, fors’e lui-Sempera libera * soprano

Verdi * Rigoletto * Bella Figlia dell’Amore (Quartet) * baritone & soprano & tenor & alto
Verdi * Rigoletto * Caro nome * soprano
Verdi * Rigoletto * La Donna e mobile * tenor
Verdi * Rigoletto * Pari Siamo * baritone

Verdi * Un Ballo in Maschera * Alla vita che t’arride * baritone
Verdi * Un Ballo in Maschera * Eri Tu * baritone

Wagner * Tristan and Isolde * Liebestod * soprano


The Wagner (pronounced "Vaugner") German operas include:  Rienzi (1842), The Flying Dutchman (1843), Tannhauser (1845), Lohengrin (1850), Tristan and Isolde (1865), The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (1868), [The Ring of the Nibelung Cycle:  The Rhinegold (1869), The Valkyrie (1870), Siegfried (1876), & The Twilight of the Gods (1876)] and Parsifal (1882).  These are English translations of the German titles.

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