Various Artists

50 Best Romantic Classics

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EMI's 50 Best Romantic Classics is loosely organized by regions, with the first disc devoted to French music, the second to Scandinavian and Eastern European classics, and the third to music from Italy and Spain. This arrangement is quite practical for beginners, who may appreciate the music's recognizable national styles before grasping more historical or theoretical aspects. Yet some understanding is needed of the term romantic, for not all of the music included in this collection fits within the Romantic era (roughly, the 19th century, with some overlapping of the early years of the 20th). With the inclusion of Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi and the modern film composer Nino Rota, it seems that a romantic feeling is suggested, rather than the Romantic period, and the majority of selections evoke song-like and emotional moods, so this package should be regarded as a collection of slow, relaxing pieces in a romantic vein. The artists gathered here are among the most distinguished ever to record for any label, and many enjoyed long careers recording for EMI. The recording dates range from 1959 to 2007, so there's a mix of analog and digital tracks, but they have been well-balanced in volume and tone for comfortable home listening.

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