Romantic classic music CD?
February 10, 2015 11:03 AM   Subscribe

What's a great CD of classical music that is lower-case-r romantic, for a gift?

Could certainly be capital R Romantic as well but doesn't have to be.

Something that says "This is a gift from someone who doesn't know anything about classical music to someone who knows a lot about it." Also, something that says "We haven't been dating for that long so I don't really know what to get but you're totally awesome so how about this."

Something that's recognizably romantic but still a little bit subtle, not totally over the top and absurd like some of the first things that pop up on Amazon:
posted by lewedswiver to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Brahms Piano Quartet in C Minor, Opus 60, written by Brahms for the wife of his patron and mentor Frederic Chopin. Brahms loved her, but knew he could never act on that (or so the story goes). It's very beautiful. You can hear the violins singing together.
posted by alms at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is a gift from someone who doesn't know anything about classical music to someone who knows a lot about it.

Dangerous territory here - much eyeroll potential, plus you always run the risk of getting them something they already have, or a performer/composer they don't care for.

How about fancy tickets to a performance? A CD may be the wrong choice or just plain Bad, the bar for an enjoyable live performance is much lower.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:00 PM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

They're all a bit melancholy, but if vocal music is ok, maybe one of Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Russian Romance albums (the Tchaikovsky probably the safest bet).
posted by rollick at 12:01 PM on February 10, 2015

What Dr Dracator said ... but if you still want to go for it, this new release from Naxos contains mainly love songs and is not a screamingly obvious choice.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 12:12 PM on February 10, 2015

I always liked Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade".
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 12:34 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's not cheap, but the soundtrack to the video game "Eternal Sonata" would certainly be unique.
posted by jbickers at 12:55 PM on February 10, 2015

I'd go for the Chopin Nocturnes played by Arthur Rubinstein. Caveat: buying CDs for a music lover means checking their collection first so you're not getting something they already have, or else getting something really obscure. This one is not obscure, but it's romantic, and Romantic, and beautiful.
posted by in278s at 1:35 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is a bit difficult, like the buy-a-great-cigar-for-a-cigar-expert kind of questions. Classical music lovers tend to have a whole bunch of pieces already on CD, and they tend to have a picky taste.

However, if you get a great interpretation of some classical music, you might please Receiving Person even if they have the same piece in some other interpretation (of course, they might already have that CD too! Make sure it can be returned...)

For some (random but rather safe) interpretation choices, I'd say,
'anything conducted by Carlos Kleiber',
'anything by Debussy played by the pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli',
'Dvorak's Ninth Symphony with the Vienna PO and Konrashin',
'Cesar Franck's violin sonata with Sviatoslav Richter and David Oistrakh';
...there are a bunch more never-fail choices of that caliber; be sure to tiptoe around Beethoven though, because often, people simply hate the way one interpreter/conductor approaches Beethoven and love how someone else plays it. Same about Bach, in fact.

I do like the idea of an internal in-love reference as per alms answer. Make sure to read up on a piece as the Brahms quartet, however, in order to really present it as that lowcase-romantic gift. Here's a recording that might be special (Artur Rubinstein and the Guarneri Quartet)
(Btw. Brahms' mentor - not patron - was Robert Schumann - not Chopin -, and Brahms was in love with Schumann's wife, the pianist Clara Schumann - not that it greatly matters in this context.)
posted by Namlit at 1:41 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

See if you can find a copy of Bruckner's Symphony no. 9 conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. (I'm on my phone and could only find alink to the DVD.)

From what I've read, Bruckner lacked confidence and made a lot of revisions to the symphony in response to criticism. Welser-Möst attempted to reconstruct Buckner's original version. Should be of interest to a classical music buff.

It's capital- R Romantic too.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:30 PM on February 10, 2015

Another possible route: take some time to listen to the pianist Glenn Gould's recordings.

Glenn Gould is an earnest choice, it shows that you did some homework rather than buying any random CD with some random and potentially subpar recording of, say, Ravel's "Bolero", and there's a lot of beauty and romance to be found in Gould's interpretations. This I assure you.

Does this person listen to music on vinyl/have a turntable? Buying it on vinyl can also be viewed as a bit more thoughtful than a CD, unless CD is their preferred format, of course.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:34 PM on February 10, 2015

Do they play an instrument themselves? You could also get them a fancy metronome, and pre-set it to 72 bpm (or whatever your own resting heart rate is).
posted by rollick at 4:34 AM on February 11, 2015

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