Why am I doing this?
In the years since I first began accessing the Internet in 1988, I have taken part in hundreds of discussions on classical music: the performances, the recordings, the artists, and other related topics. Music is one of my passions, and as I grow older, I find that classical music has begun to be a significant part of my life.
I've noticed that many discussions of classical music centered around questions that might be well-answered with reference material focused on two areas that are rarely covered comprehensively in conjunction with one another. These two areas are the basic repertoire of works that have, over time, become central to the western tradition of music, and recommended recordings/performances of these works. There are reference books that offer broad overviews of important composers and their works, and there are numerous book and periodicals that are dedicated to recommendations and reviews of recordings and the performances and interpretations captured therein.
It is my hope that by attempting to integrate these two different but connected aspects of the classical music world, I can, in some small part, help to introduce people to music and recordings they might otherwise have missed.
What is here?
This site is arranged as a hierarchy of related files organized in six basic categories:
The Basic Repertoire includes information on how to find and explore music, in effect providing instructions on how to use the basic repertoire as a "road map" to identify music that might be of interest. It is organized by musical "period" which roughly correspond to overall historical stylistic trends in music. These periods are defined, and composers are listed in each. For each of these "important" composers, their most significant works are listed. Further down the hierarchy, each composer has an individual page, optimally including a short biography, and expanding on the list of works by providing specific recommendations for recorded performances of each piece. Wherever possible, these works and recordings are further linked to descriptive articles and critical reviews. As the site grows, more and more articles, reviews, and other related information will be added to increase the scope and content of the site as a reference source.
The CD Buying Guide includes reference materials useful and of interest to collectors and other buyers of classical CD recordings. This includes information on labels and distributors, mail order sources, collecting methodologies, composer societies, critical publications and other topics. This section will continue to expand with extensive lists of societies and organizations, as well as more detailed label and manufacturer information. Further, it will be more extensively linked with other areas at the site to provide a more integrated resource.
Currently the Recommended CD files simply list composers and recommended recordings I have summarized from my own collection of discs. In general, I draw on many sources for information to find the highest quality discs for my own collection. Though it is obvious that variations in taste and preference is going to make some recommendations more useful than others, I hope these lists will provide useful information to help guide the prospective CD buyer. This area is targetted for major revamping in coming months to split the information into more manageable segments, and to integrate these pieces with that information given in the basic repertoire section to help provide a wider resource for collectors interested in exploring more obscure composers, or less-well-known works by major composers. Additionally, more detailed data (including reviews and articles) for each release will be made available. Look for major changes in this section in the near future.
Composer Works & Data section is a catch all for various lists of data concerning classical composers. This includes date information (birthdays, death days, anniversaries). One of the major areas of growth in this area will be comprehensive works lists for a variety of composers.
In addition, I have included categorical listings of mailing lists, newsgroups, and thousands of web links dealing with various aspects of classical music.
This site will continue to grow, and will include links to important and useful classical music related sites all over the web. I'm always looking for help in the task of expanding this site, so if you have any ideas on how the site might be more useful, and especially if you would like to actively contribute in this project, please do not hesitate to contact me.