Various Artists

Passion for the Classics

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Passion for the Classics is a double-disc compilation that mixes popular classical melodies and less familiar pieces fairly evenly, so there's a good chance that newcomers will discover something here other than the usual classical greatest hits. For example, Schumann's Violin Concerto in D minor is seldom represented on such collections, and two violin concertos by Paganini receive a similar sampling. More unexpected picks include the string quartet movements by Schumann and Borodin, and the Adagio from Khachaturian's Spartacus. The program also offers some perennial favorites, such as Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 1, Beethoven's piano bagatelle Für Elise, and the Romance from Shostakovich's film score The Gadfly. However, this collection should be regarded merely as an introduction to classical music but not much more than that, since the field is so much wider than the predominantly Romantic, Eurocentric pieces show, and music from the Baroque and Classical eras are pretty much ignored. Furthermore, while the excerpted performances are adequate for the purpose of making casual acquaintance with these compositions, they are not necessarily "keepers" because there are better complete recordings available.

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