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  • A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition)
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A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition)

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Audio CD, October 17, 2000
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A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition) + Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe + The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Various
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Benjamin Britten, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 17, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 151 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004YYRT
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,935 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Adams: Short Ride in a Fast... - Nova Schola Gregoriana
2. Bach: Double Violin Concerto - Oxford Camerata
3. Bartok: 44 Duos for Two Violins - Oxford Camerata
4. Beethoven: I. Grave - Red Byrd
5. Berlioz: IV. Marche au supplice - Capella Istropolitana
6. Brahms: III. Poco allegretto - Capella Istropolitana
7. Britten: II. Playful Pizzicato - Laurence Cummings
8. Chopin: Impromptu No. - Takako Nishizaki
9. Debussy: No. 2: Fêtes - Miroslav Kejmar
10. Dvorak: III. Allegretto grazioso - Capella Istropolitana
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Mendelssohn: Andante con moto... - Ingrid Kertesi
2. Monteverdi: Occhi, un tempo mia. - Pinchas Steinberg
3. Mozart: II. Larghetto - Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
4. Palestrina: Hodie Christus ... - Idil Biret
5. Prokoviev: IV. Vivace - Alexander Rahbari
6. Schicchi: O mio babbino caro - Uwe Mund
7. Rachmaninov: Prelude in G minor, - Alexander Rahbari
8. Rossini: Sinfonia - Budapest Symphony
9. Schoenberg: II. Langsam - Ondrej Lenard
10. Schubert: IV. Theme and Vari... - Balazs Szokolay
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A-Z of Classical Music is a remarkable 932-page, illustrated book, detailing the lives of all the great composers as well as many less known, but equally fascinating, musical masters. Like the Naxos range of recordings itself, A-Z of Classical Music is a rich source of inspiration for anyone either just embarking on a lifetime of musical enjoyment or for whom classical music has long been a way of life. Included within is an extensive glossary of musical terms plus a unique guide to classical music used in acclaimed films. Two-and-a-half hours of the finest music from across the centuries are contained on the accompanying CDs.

Is it a two-CD set with a particularly thick booklet, or a 562-page book with a compilation album attached? Either way, the unpretentious text by Keith Anderson offers an introduction to the lives and works of dozens of composers, together with recommended recordings from the Naxos and Marco Polo catalogs. Anderson includes a useful 59-page glossary of musical terms and an extensive listing of classical pieces used in films. The odd thing about the 36 extracts and complete pieces on the CDs is that they do not form an A-to-Z at all. Rather, they are arranged chronologically, from 1,000-year-old Gregorian chant to the opening movement of contemporary composer Philip Glass's Violin Concerto. Between these two points is the early music of Palestrina and Byrd; the Baroque glories of Vivaldi and Bach; the 19th-century Romantic masters, from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky; and such 20th-century greats as Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Opera, song, and chamber music are barely represented, but only so much can fit into 151 minutes. Essentially a deluxe sampler of the vast Naxos catalogue, the discs offer a good introduction to some of the most famous and melodic music ever composed, while the book will be very useful to newcomers to the potentially confusing world of classical music. --Gary S. Dalkin

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Spiff on September 29, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is pretty much a CD version of a mini-Naxos and Marco Polo catalog. All the pieces and extracts are ordered chronologically on the 2 CDs and are of very acceptable quality, but don't expect excellence in every track. Personally, I was particularly disappointed with one of my favourite Pachelbel pieces. The Naxos Canon & Gigue lacks all the emotion of my favourite versions.
Still, any possible weaker performances are of little importance after you get your hands on the fat booklet with over 500 pages. The booklet offers a short intro about the great composers, a glossary of musical terms, a list of works used in films and dozens of illustrations of several composers.
Overall, at this price, this is a must-have pack for any beginner, and might be useful for the occasion "quick check" of the work of many composers. Do not expect many detail, nor references to all the works of some composers; I often got frustrated with the lack of detail in some cases, but in general, the booklet is very effective for a quick reference.
You will need more titles that offer more complete information, and you won't truly learn to love classical music just by reading it, but it is small and compact.
It really puzzles me why Naxos did not include a full index of composers, a serious omission. To find a particular composer you will have to look for it yourself in over 500 pages. Also, the separation of the text is not so good, making the search even a bit slower. The lack of the index is truly annoying and I am sure it will be corrected in future editions.
Even with a few weaker pieces and the lack of the index, at this price, there isn't much to argue about. This is truly a bargain that you should not miss.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Wilcox on March 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The 2-CD set included in the new 3rd expanded edition of this release has a track listing different than what you see on this page. Click on the "back cover" picture, and it will show that the tracks (on this edition) are listed alphabetically, by composer. Of course, it's impossible to sum up the best classical works ever written on only 2 CDs, and the selections will always be debatable. But the CDs are maxed out at over 2 and a half hours total, and from Adams to Wagner, you're given a good cross-section of the different periods of classical music, and what they have to offer.

The book has been expanded to 930+ pages, and although there are a few surprising omissions (Maw, Tan Dun, Whitacre... maybe the only composers in the book are ones on the Naxos label?), it's still a good source of reference for casual listeners, and those curious about composers they weren't otherwise familiar with. The price is definitely right, and you may wind up turning yourself onto something new!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marty on July 31, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I will not review the music itself. It's classical music. Lots of it. Almost 40 different tastes of what classical has to offer. Excellent collection for someone looking to start looking into the massive genre with plenty of easy to get into, short and sweet pieces. Nothing super long and drug out. It will play like a typical album with relatively short tracks, each 3~6 minutes long or so. Very different from a 20 or 30 minute piece, or even an hour piece or more depending on what you're listening to. Consider this album as a big sampler's tray of classical. That said, great collection, again, so if you want something that will introduce some classical to you, it will at least point you towards the composers that were responsible for the pieces you enjoy most. Also this set comes with a beefy little booklet with tons of information on the music--all of which you could have googled, but hey, some people like having a book still these days.

Now for the important thing to review: AUDIO QUALITY.

This album is not just a bunch of poor recordings slashed into a repackaged bundle and peddled to the masses. These recordings are very good. Anyone buying blindly into classical albums have experienced getting an album with lots of hiss, background noise, really poor sounding quality, even though it's on CD. Some of this stuff is a recording of a recording sometimes, or just pulled from a vinyl in a poor manner. This set of tracks on this package are not like this. The audio quality is very good. I'm saying this as someone listening on high end headphones, not just some speakers. I enjoy music on speakers of course, but headphones really take you to a level of intimacy and reveal flaws and show you the nature of something without sparring the details.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on January 19, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It's only natural we sometimes hit the high seas....make that Cs. This is one box set about which we sing praises. This set features more than two hours of the finest music from across the centuries by such composers as Schubert, Chopin, Mozart, Handel, Stravinsky and Glass. The set also comes with a 562-page illustrated book, detailing the lives of hundreds of composers, a
glossary of musical terms and a unique guide to the classical music used in 360 top films.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Sacchi on August 30, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Naxos is a fabulous label -- you will not get samples of the best classical music through the ages at no better price. These tracks are as good as any of the over-priced major orchestras and in some cases better. This is a great starter set for a beginner or anyone who just wants to "taste" the classics. If you prefer Opera I would suggest the A to Z of Opera -- most of the tracks on A to Z Classical are orchestral. I was so impressed with this collection that I purchased the Discover the Classics Vol's 1-3 which will give you a more detailed look at the great classics. Take a look at the Naxos web site at NAXOSUSA.COM -- what you will see will blow your mind -- there are literally thousands of pieces that you could listen too!
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