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Classical Music


A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition)

A to Z of Classical Music (3rd Extended Edition) Lowest new price: $11.99
Lowest used price: $1.98
Model: 8555319-20

A-Z of Classical Music is a remarkable 932-page, illustrated book, detailing the lives of all the great composers as well as many less known, but equally fascinating, musical masters. Like the Naxos range of recordings itself, A-Z of Classical Music is a rich source of inspiration for anyone either just embarking on a lifetime of musical enjoyment or for whom classical music has long been a way of life. Included within is an extensive glossary of musical terms plus a unique guide to classical music used in acclaimed films. Two-and-a-half hours of the finest music from across the centuries are contained on the accompanying CDs.

Is it a two-CD set with a particularly thick booklet, or a 562-page book with a compilation album attached? Either way, the unpretentious text by Keith Anderson offers an introduction to the lives and works of dozens of composers, together with recommended recordings from the Naxos and Marco Polo catalogs. Anderson includes a useful 59-page glossary of musical terms and an extensive listing of classical pieces used in films. The odd thing about the 36 extracts and complete pieces on the CDs is that they do not form an A-to-Z at all. Rather, they are arranged chronologically, from 1,000-year-old Gregorian chant to the opening movement of contemporary composer Philip Glass's Violin Concerto. Between these two points is the early music of Palestrina and Byrd; the Baroque glories of Vivaldi and Bach; the 19th-century Romantic masters, from Beethoven to Tchaikovsky; and such 20th-century greats as Rachmaninov and Stravinsky. Opera, song, and chamber music are barely represented, but only so much can fit into 151 minutes. Essentially a deluxe sampler of the vast Naxos catalogue, the discs offer a good introduction to some of the most famous and melodic music ever composed, while the book will be very useful to newcomers to the potentially confusing world of classical music. --Gary S. Dalkin

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The #1 Opera Album

The #1 Opera Album Lowest new price: $9.98
Lowest used price: $1.80
Brand: Decca
Model: 1992022

22 songs

The labels that are now gathered under the Universal Classics umbrella have a pretty impressive scorecard in the area of classical compilations. We've seen The Greatest Opera Show on Earth, The Yellow Guide: Classical Music, Best of the Millennium, and now there's The No. 1 Opera Album. But that's no surprise, since Universal has some of the finest interpreters in its catalogue to draw from. This two-CD set (at the price of one), for example, brings together the likes of Cecilia Bartoli, Renée Fleming, Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, and many more. Yet the other key to a successful compilation is canny anthologizing, and here again, you have a nice selection to give you a smattering of opera's heavyweights from the Italian, German, and French repertory (there's even a step outside the standard framework with an aria from Dvorák's lovely Rusalka). Ranging from 1959 to 1997, the choices from back catalogue will doubtless be the entry ticket for many into this grandest of the arts. --Sarah Chin


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40 Most Beautiful Arias (2cd)

40 Most Beautiful Arias (2cd) Lowest new price: $6.48
Lowest used price: $4.46
Brand: RHIP2
Model: 3868418

Nothing pulls at the heartstrings more than a sultry opera aria. The most beautiful operatic moments are portrayed on this 2 CD set by the greatest artists to grace the stage including Placido Domingo, Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel, Jose Carreras and others



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Andrea Bocelli: Sacred Arias

Andrea Bocelli: Sacred Arias Lowest new price: $4.75
Lowest used price: $0.01
Brand: Philips
Model: 1991656

Tuscan tenor Andrea Bocelli was already an international superstar (for Romanza, Aria, and Sogno) when he made his first album of arias and sacred music. "I have known these pieces since childhood," he explains, and it's clear that he loves them all. Recorded in a Roman cathedral, Sacred Arias is deeply spiritual and tenderly sung in the world's most beautiful voice. A Billboard bestseller, certified platinum. (62 minutes)

When he was growing up, Andrea Bocelli recalls finding inspiration in a favorite recording of sacred music performed by tenor legend Franco Corelli. Bocelli--who in the meantime has come to inspire millions of fiercely loyal fans himself--returns to the genre as the guiding theme of Sacred Arias, the release of which coincides with the first English-language biography of the singer. These performances are filled with the singer's phenomenally well-known vocal signature: his flair for long, sweetly floating high notes and the gentle sense of cadence he brings to a melody. It's a mistake to compartmentalize Bocelli into a singer of "operatic" versus "popular" styles: in truth his approach is at heart the same. Lack of color and control in his phrasing remains a drawback, but the emotional empathy Bocelli evokes is never in doubt. The arias collected here sample some of the most famous devotional pieces: Schubert's "Ave Maria" and Mozart's transporting "Ave Verum," as well as an arrangement of "Silent Night" in which Bocelli tries out his English. There's also a decidedly odd choice of bedfellows for a program of "sacred" music, such as a song from Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder (whose "angel" is the object of an overpoweringly erotic attraction) and Handel's figurative ode to a tree, "Ombra mai fu." Still, Bocelli sings with an unfeigned directness that is sure to expand his already enormous following even further. --Thomas May



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Pavarotti: Greatest Hits

Pavarotti: Greatest Hits Lowest new price: $31.01
Lowest used price: $0.99

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Pavarotti's Greatest Hits [2 CD]

Pavarotti's Greatest Hits [2 CD] Lowest new price: $11.49
Lowest used price: $2.99
Model: 3379889

Back by popular demand Pavarotti's Greatest Hits. First released as an LP in 1980 and then again in 1985, this is one of Pavarotti's best-selling albums. Instantly recognizable cover features classic photo of Luciano Pavarotti dressed as Pagliaccio from I pagliacci. Chock-full of his all-time greatest hits including Nessun dorma, La donna Š mobile, Vesti la giubba, Funiculi Funicul… and more! Reissued in a slim-line jewel box for the first time and at a special 2 for 1price point. Celebrate the life and career of Luciano Pavarotti the world's most famous tenor and King of the High C's!

Here's a feast of great tenor singing. It's also a feast of thrills--one selection after another offers Pavarotti's remarkable, full-throated excitement in the music, whether the infectious spirit of his renditions of Neapolitan songs or the trumpet-like High C's he effortlessly tears off in the extended scene from Donizetti's La fille du regiment. Apparent throughout is Pavarotti's big-hearted emotional generosity that infuses this superb collection with an immediacy and communicative power that's impossible to resist. Of course, "Nessun dorma!" is here to lead off the set with the tenor's biggest hit, but his other Puccini arias are, if anything, even more compelling. Verdi is represented by such well-loved Pavarotti favorites as "La donna è mobile" and "Questa o quella" from Rigoletto. He's as compelling in the "Ingemisco" from Verdi's Requiem, the voice blooming in the "Inter oves" section and then fined down to a gorgeous pianissimo. But there's not a single weak track on these discs, whose attractions are enhanced by full texts and translations. --Dan Davis

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Beethoven's Wig 3: Many More Sing-Along Symphonies

Beethoven's Wig 3: Many More Sing-Along Symphonies Lowest new price: $7.90
Lowest used price: $3.99
Model: 1974559

Beethoven's Wig celebrates the instruments! With more zany lyrics set to the greatest hits of classical music, these new Sing Along Symphonies feature a variety of different instruments from the familiar to the fascinating. The instrumental performance of each piece is also included without lyrics. A fun foundation for classical music that will last a lifetime. Beethoven's Wig has become the classical music sensation for the whole family. This is the third CD in the wildly popular Beethoven's Wig series which has won a record number of national awards (30 thus far) including two Grammy® Award nominations. The CD booklet includes lyrics, trivia questions, and activities.

Outside of Kidz Bop and Disneymania!, you won't find a lot of kids' series racking up the kind of sales that merit three installment, which is why the creators of Beethoven's Wig ought to step out of the orchestra pit and take a bow. Not only have they made it to No. 3, they've done it with a concept that veers sharply and unswervingly into educational territory. From the toot of the first cornet to the timpani's final thump, not a tired note has surfaced yet. For newcomers, here's a primer: Head wig-flipper Richard Perlmutter leads a respectable-sounding ensemble of singers and musicians in the loopy lyricizing of classic symphonic pieces. Everything from Handel to Rossini gets the word treatment. Instead of random witticisms, though, the lyrics he ascribes are meant to impart something memorable about the music. Thus, Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4 is wedded to a charming ditty called "Chap in a Cap" and Bizet's "Toreador" song from Carmen comes to life with images of a bull in a China shop. Where Beethoven's Wig 3 differs from the others is in its focus on individual instruments--clarinets, mandolins, bassoons and basses all get the Wig equivalent of a shout-out. Otherwise, it's a return to form: Liner notes crammed not only with lyrics, but with fun questions and answers (How many fingers do harpists use when they play? Eight), a second half devoted to unsullied versions of the sung symphonies, and blasts of familiar sound leeched of stuffiness. Cue it up for anybody under 12 and keep your fingers crossed. With any luck, Perlmutter and company will come through with a fourth volume. --Tammy La Gorce

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The Classical Child at the Opera

The Classical Child at the Opera Lowest new price: $12.20
Lowest used price: $1.50

THE CLASSICAL CHILD AT THE OPERA* was created to give children a taste of the magic, majesty and humor of this glorious art form. Be surprised and delighted by hearing your child sing some of the world's best opera music for children. Recorded with an orchestra, pieces were chosen from children-friendly operas, and all are sung in English. The richness of the stories are enhanced by a libretto that accompanies the CD version. Enter the enchanted world of Hansel & Gretel, The Magic Flute, The Mikado and more. This is an award-winning album* of opera music for children, praised by Billboard as of the best kids records of the year!

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Rossini & Verdi: Overtures ~ Abbado

Rossini & Verdi: Overtures ~ Abbado Lowest new price: $27.95
Lowest used price: $3.98

1. Semiramide: Ov 2. The Silken Ladder: Ov 3. Il Turco In Italia: Ov 4. Il Barbiere Di Siviglia: Ov 5. Tancredi: Ov 6. Guglielmo Tell: Ov 7. Aida: Ov 8. I Vespri Siciliani: Ov 9. La Forza Del Destino: Ov

Round -Up

Round -Up Lowest new price: $11.68
Lowest used price: $3.39
Brand: Telarc Distribution
Model: 2022874



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