Various Artists

Simply the Best Classical Anthems

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Strictly defined, an anthem is a choral piece or song of a sacred or patriotic character, yet only a handful of the selections on Warner's Simply the Best Classical Anthems can be described that way. Instead, this is a two-CD collection of short pieces and excerpts from large works that are famous for being exciting, grandiose, and loud, though with little connection to the album's stated purpose. To be sure, Handel's coronation anthem Zadok the Priest, Parry's Jerusalem, and Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (when performed as Land of Hope and Glory) are beloved anthems, but most of this package consists of classical greatest hits that are merely rousing orchestral music or choral works that everybody recognizes. O Fortuna from Orff's Carmina Burana, Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, the Toccata from Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Khachaturian's Sabre Dance, Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, Puccini's Nessun dorma!, and Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik are just a few of the instantly recognizable pieces found on this album, and as a two-hour program of vigorous and stirring music, this twofer will mainly appeal to casual listeners looking for familiar classical melodies. The selections are drawn from previous releases on Erato, Teldec, and other affiliated labels, and the mix of ADD and DDD recordings makes the sound quality a bit variable.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Requiem
1 2:15
Carmina Burana
2 2:29
The Planets
3 6:43
The Die Walküre
4 5:22
Nabucco
5 3:38
6 2:52
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
7 4:25
Aida
8 1:43
Summer - Four Seasons
9 2:46
Te Deum
10 2:03
The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
11 2:02
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
12 2:27
Symphony No. 5
13 8:45
Spartacus
14 2:44
Gayaneh
15 2:19
Symphony No. 40
16 7:45
17 3:02
Turandot
18 3:23

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Also Sprach Zarathoustra
1 1:36
Romeo and Juliet
2 1:48
Requiem
3 1:56
1812 Overture
4 3:45
Piano Concerto
5 2:17
Spring - Four Seasons
6 3:30
Messiah
7 4:04
La The Royal Fireworks
8 2:28
9 1:32
Symphonie Fantastique
10 2:59
Carmen
11 3:30
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
12 5:55
13 2:23
The Planets
14 1:53
Symphony No. 9
15 0:53
Swan Lake
16 3:01
Enigma Variations
17 4:12
18 2:32
Pictures at an Exhibition
19 1:41
Symphony for Organ No. 3
20 7:43
blue highlight denotes track pick