The Most Essential Classical Music in Movies is a 2008 compilation bringing together 49 tracks of the most memorable uses of classical music in film. Many of these pieces have been used in more than one film and have also been heard countless times in television shows and commercials, so much of it will be recognizable by everyone. However, the tracks here are -- for the most part -- complete movements or works, not just the few minutes that might have been used in a soundtrack, a big advantage to someone who wants to get to know the music better. The most famous examples are found early in the collection: the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra, as heard in 2001 -- A Space Odyssey, and "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana, as heard in Excalibur (and has since become something of a dramatic cliché). Yet, there's also Barber's Adagio for Strings (Platoon); Brahms' Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (Roger Rabbit and countless cartoons); The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Fantasia); and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (Manhattan). There are a few well-known and esteemed ensembles here, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Saint Louis Symphony, and soloists include pianist Abbey Simon, cellist Gaspar Cassadó, and violinist Aaron Rosand. The selections here live up to the album's title.
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