Various Artists

Best Classics 100

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Presented on six CDs, EMI's Best Classics 100 is divided into six approachable programs that help organize the immense subject of classical music. Uplifting Classics opens the package with energetic pieces that have been picked for the cheerfulness they inspire, and in a similar mood-enhancing way, the second CD offers Relaxing Classics, a gathering of slow and reflective pieces and movements from larger works. The third disc, Vocal Classics, is devoted to excerpts from operas and art songs, while the fourth disc, Golden Classics, is focused on orchestral gems. The fifth CD, Favorite Classics, is a collection of perennials that have stood the tests of time and frequency of performance, and the final disc, Spiritual Classics, covers some of the best-known sacred works in western music. Because this is a straightforward, no-frills survey, lacking any background notes and providing only a booklet of tracklistings, listeners are left on their own to find a historical context or other ways to appreciate the significance of these works. However, the virtue of this set is that it delivers the music without complications, so the music can be approached directly and purely for enjoyment. Drawing on its extensive backlist, EMI has brought together famous renditions by its major stars, and even though the session dates range from 1959 to 2003 and include both ADD and DDD recordings, the volume and sound quality are well-balanced for comfortable home listening.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Solomon, oratorio, HWV 67
1
2:50
Violin Concerto, for violin, strings & continuo in E major ("La Primavera," The Four Seasons; "Il cimento" No. 1), Op.8/1, RV 269
2
3:42 Amazon
Toccata and Fugue, for organ in D minor, BWV 565 (BC J37)
3
3:23 Amazon
Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major, K. 495
4
3:37 Amazon
Symphony No. 5 in C minor ("Fate"), Op. 67
5
6:35
1812 -- Festival Overture, for orchestra in E flat major, Op. 49
6
3:35 Amazon
Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral"), Op. 125
7
3:22
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
8
4:27
Karelia Suite, for orchestra, Op. 11
9
4:41
The Planets, suite for orchestra & female chorus, Op. 32, H. 125
10
4:50 Amazon
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
11
3:24
12
8:28
Aida, opera
13
4:35 Amazon
Romeo and Juliet, ballet in 4 acts, Op. 64
14
1:53 Amazon
15
2:54 Amazon
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1, for orchestra in D major, Op. 39/1
16
2:37 Amazon
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30
17
2:54 Amazon
Symphony No. 3 in C minor ("Organ"), Op. 78
18
8:08 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick