Vivaldi wrote over 500 concertos. Four of them, for violin, are grouped together as the Four Seasons. Easy to enjoy in this sparkling performance by Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Bach's set of 6 concertos for a variety of instruments are brilliant and joyful. This bargain 2 CD set also includes Bach's violin concertos.
Berlin Philharmonic, Agnes Baltsa
The Requiem Mozart's final work was left unfinished when he died. Yes its religious, yes its about death, but it has some of the most powerful and moving music ever written.
Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert von Karajan
Beethoven's 9 symphonies form the backbone of Western classical music. If we have to choose just one, then the ninth (the “Choral”) is it, a testament to joy over adversity. Remember that Beethoven was completely deaf by the time he wrote this.
Beethoven's only concerto for violin and orchestra is powerful stuff. And this performance by a young Hilary Hahn is superlative.
Learning to play Beethoven's piano sonatas (he wrote 32 of them) was the trigger for many peoples interest in classical music. His Moonlight, Appassionata and Pathetique are the most famous.
Franz Schubert died at the age of 31. His output in his short life includes some of the greatest songs, symphonies and chamber music. His Impromptus for solo piano are miniature masterpieces.
Budapest String Quartet
Schubert's chamber music has an emotional intensity and folk-like simplicity at the same time. His Trout Quintet and the quartet called Death and the Maiden covers the entire spectrum of emotion. Bargain priced. Wondrous stuff.
Tchaikovsky's is the most romantic of concertos, superbly performed by the Argentinian pianist Martha Argerich, and happily also includes the Rachmaninov 3rd concerto, made famous by the movie Shine.
The Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was inspired by a visit to America to write a symphony using American themes. The result, his Symphony No.9 From the New World has become a classic. This recording also packs in the eighth symphony as well!