Recommended Baroque classical Box-sets as a X-Mas Gift?
December 4, 2007 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Recommended Baroque classical Box-sets as a X-Mas Gift? I'd like to get a good friend some Baroque classical albums for X-mas ...

I'd like to get a good friend (as per her wish) some Baroque classical albums for X-mas, which I'll end up ripping and putting on her ipod (in addition to the actual cds).

She has mentioned composers such as Paganini, Vivaldi, Corelli, Purcell, Handel, and, of course, Mozart. I'd prefer getting her a few dedicated and relatively comprehensive box-sets, but I'm uncertain as to the quality of performances or the relative popularity of particular pieces (beyond the obvious).

Are there box-sets by the Baroque "biggies" that people would recommend... or, alternatively, are there "must have" baroque CDs that I would be better off purchasing? (I think I'll budget a few hundred dollars US for this gift set).

posted by Auden to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't recommend any box sets...but if you wind up assembling piecemeal she may find, as I have, considerable pleasure in A Basket of Wild Strawberries; which is pianist Tzimon Barto doing a piano version of Rameau's harpsichord compositions. I'm told it's more "romantic" in sensibility than you'd get from a performer devoted to period authenticity, but to my ear it's a beautiful recording.
posted by BT at 7:55 PM on December 4, 2007

Did you mean Bach as opposed to Mozart? The latter isn't a Baroque-era composer whereas the former is. We'd need to know her current exposure before recommending anything. No point suggesting Brandenburg Concertos if she already has 3 performances.

From among the composers you mentioned, Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, Mozart's Piano Concertos (Perahia/ECO), Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Biondi/Galante) would be my recommendations.
posted by Gyan at 8:22 PM on December 4, 2007

Hm. A box set of Mozart's piano concertos would be an easy route, but if you want classical off the beaten path, then perhaps a mishmash of baroqe stuff would be better than a box set. Some random recommendations (take em or leave em):

Faure- orchestral music, violin sonatas
Handel- Water Music, Fireworks suite
Scarlatti- keyboard sonatas, chamber cantatas
Bach (duh!)- Goldberg Variations, Brandenburg concertos (this would be a cool box set, though if she's an avid classical fan she likely owns it), cello suites, violin concerti, sonatas and partitas for violin, well-tempered clavier, orchestral suites, etc.
Marcello- Oboe concerto
Telemann- Viola concerto

Sorry if that's not very helpful.
posted by Autarky at 8:25 PM on December 4, 2007

The Academy of Ancient Music's recording of Dido & Aeneas is nice.

The Pinnock/English Concert recordings of Bach's Concertos would be a nice gift. If you had to only get one thing, that would be my recommendation.
posted by winna at 9:12 PM on December 4, 2007

Response by poster: thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

I didn't mention Bach - in fact, I should have put in a 'not Bach' clause - because she finds him depressing. (... speaking for myself, I love Bach)
posted by Auden at 11:01 PM on December 4, 2007

Another obscure but wonderful Baroque recording is the trio sonatas of Jan Dismas Zelenka.
posted by bassjump at 6:39 AM on December 5, 2007

Bach is depressing. Whoa. That's interesting.

How about Choregraphie - Music For Louis XIV's Dancing Masters? It's got compositions by Lully and Campra, it's a solo harp, and it's a fairly good recording.
posted by winna at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2007

Best answer: If you get really stuck, contact the people at ArkivMusic. When I first started getting into more traditional styles of music (and before I knew of sites like this) I emailed them to ask a few questions. I was amazed at the detailed recommendations I got back from them.

Incidentally, I am not affiliated with them in any way, I was just amazed at the customer service I received, especially from an internet retailer.
posted by Silvertree at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2007

Response by poster: Silvertree, thanks!

I clicked on your link and found this featured on the ArkivMusic front page: Classical Boxed Sets 2007 - Great Gift Ideas


(and thanks again for everyone's suggestions, I will be looking into all of them)
posted by Auden at 6:03 PM on December 5, 2007

posted by Silvertree at 11:39 AM on December 6, 2007

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