European classical music introductory pieces

One of my Bach favourites going back about 40 years.
And this is one of my favourite parts of Händel’s great piece “The Watermusic”. Never fails to lift me up. I found the best interpretations are those by the Academy of St. Martin in the fields under Sir Neville Marriner.

Well, this Händel piece is very near and dear to me. I just can never get tired of listening to it. It helped through many darker pages of my life’s book.
Many people know this famous Bach piece.
A good introduction classical music – how music becomes real music

Over the years, I have become very sensitive to the way classical music is played. Of course, there is the sheet music – the musical score – but this is still open to interpretation. I found huge differences in interpretation and I don’t mean skill. Perhaps it has something to do with the composer’s intention. Here are the names of some orchestra’s I found to play certain music the way I prefer:

  • The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields under Sir Neville Marriner
  • Concentus Musicus Vienna under Nicolaus Harnoncourt
  • The Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood
  • The English Concert under Trevor Pinnock
  • Musica Antiqua under Reinhard Goebel
Vivaldi’s 4 seasons had to be included here – in spite of its extreme popularity or because of the same… Vivaldi – a priest by profession – had once an orchestra made up entirely of orphan girls who naturally expressed a lot of what they could not put into words, in their music which was known to be of exceptional beauty.
My relationship to vocal classical music is complex and selective. This piece “Miserere mei deus” by the Italian composer Allegri is often heard sung by English boys choirs and hence the soprano soloist is also a boy. Unfortunately, he usually sings the high note way too loud or better: without the necessary feeling for the composer’s intention. So, when I heard this interpretation by Ars Nova from Copenhagen a few years ago, I thought: that’s it, that’s how it should be sung! Hanna Kapellin sings the high note with just the right emphasis and volume.
This Allegri composition also has a wondrous story involving the young W.A. Mozart and his father. In short: Wolferl heard it in the Vatican church in Rome, loved it, wanted the sheet music, was told he can’t have it, wrote it down just from memory, almost got excommunicated…..
I did some research on this using the original letters written by father and son Mozart which they wrote & sent from Rome to their family at home in Salzburg. It is a most remarkable story.
In my experience, this is perhaps the best piece for introducing classical music to someone. I still prefer my Philips recording with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-fields, but this more recent Youtube recording is also very good. GF Händel was a German composer who spent most of his life in the UK where he is still loved and well remembered.

Maybe you like the sound of the oboe instrument ? It is a fine reed instrument with a very warm and soothing tone.