Romantic Classics: Timeless Masterpieces

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Newcomers to classical music often wonder whether budget CDs can be any good, especially with so many on the market that just recycle the usual greatest hits. Fortunately, Allegro's Romantic Classics series is not entirely a rehash of the most familiar classics, and Timeless Masterpieces has some interesting selections that show it's not just another cost-cutter compilation. Beethoven's Romance No. 1 for violin and orchestra is far from an obvious way to begin such a collection, and it is joined by other pieces that are somewhat out of the ordinary, such as Schubert's Impromptu in A flat major, Debussy's Danse Sacrée, Granados' The Maiden and the Nightingale, and Gottschalk's The Maiden's Blush, pieces that have not worn out their welcome. The second movement from Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Chopin's "Minute" Waltz are well-known and often anthologized, but they don't stick out too much, and their presence is certainly mitigated by other items on the program. On the downside, track 7 is misidentified as the Romance from Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, while it is really the Andante from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, also known as the theme from the film Elvira Madigan. Furthermore, there are no credits for the performances, and the lack of liner notes may be a drawback for those who would like to find out more about the music. Bearing in mind these problems, if one considers this CD is just an introductory sampler that offers some overlooked gems, then it may be adequate for some limited use by beginners.

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