Getting Started

straussfest image
Telarc CD 80314

A good place to start is with something short and memorable.  I am sure you remember the Strauss waltz in 2001 - A Space Odyssey  It was written by Johann Strauss Jr. who earned the nicknamed "The Waltz King".   Johann Strauss wrote a great many waltzes with the "Blue Danube" being one of his best loved and is the waltz featured in the movie 2001.  As a matter of fact he wrote over 479 different pieces so to say he was a prolific composer is an understatement.  

j, Strauss Jr. (II)
Johann Strauss II

Telarc recorded Eric Kunzel and the Philadelphia Orchestra and named the resultant recording Ein Straussfest.  See if you don't agree that this recording is a festival and that the title is a very appropriate name for this CD.   As you  listen to the various waltzes I believe you will find that they are really a fun listen. 

Years ago when my children were very young, I would play this CD at bedtime to lull them to sleep.  They really liked the cookoo in Im Krapfenwaldl (In the Little Jelly Doughnut Woods Polka) and would be asleep shortly afterwards.

I must caution you about overplaying music.  It is easy to overplay anything.  Most if not all pop music stations will play something to death and then play it some more.  Another point that should be obvious  is that not all the pieces ever written are solid gold hits.  As a matter of fact you might even find a piece that, for whatever reason, is quite irritating to listen to.  Fine, skip that one and move on.  Did every song writer make nothing but great tunes?  No, not at all.  No matter who the writer is, at one point in time or another, they have written junk.   Thankfully the junk is rarely, if ever recorded which makes filtering much easier.  Sometimes the composer threw out his junk compositions, others just didn't sell.

Johann wrote a operetta titled Die Fledermaus (The Bat) which not only became the quintessential Viennese operetta. It has some of the most memorable and popular tunes ever put to paper. 

Beethoven or Bust Bach Busters
Telarc CD 80153 Telarc CD 80123

While I cannot recommend these for the purist or for those that have had a lot of experience with Classical, I can heartily recommend these two CDs for the rest.  Both of these recordings were very popular and to a certain extent still are.  Quite simply, these are the best of Beethoven and Bach played on a sampling sythesizer or three.  It brings a modern twist to some old tunes.  These two recordins were among my favorites several years ago and I found that my children liked them too.  I still like to listen to them.   This is classical music with a twist and a kick and I think you will have as much fun listening to these recordings as I have.