Student Prep

Gifts and CD’s




Famous works, contemporary pieces, and other good recordings


Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9

Performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan

Beethoven's symphonies form the core of his work. The most famous include the suspenseful No. 5; No. 6, the "Pastoral," for capturing sounds of the country; and No. 9, the Choral Symphony. This is one of the most popular recordings, by probably the most respected symphony in the world.



George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue

Performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein

This jazzy piano concerto is brilliantly performed and conducted by Leonard Bernstein. (The renowned composer, conductor, and pianist supposedly learned only three piano concertos: Rhapsody in Blue, Ravel's Concerto in G, and Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto!) The piece opens with a racy clarinet solo and grows into an exciting yet bluesy piece for piano and large orchestra.



Edvard Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2

Performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan

One would immediately recognize pieces such as Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King even without knowing these suites. Grieg wrote this music to go along with Ibsen's play about Peer Gynt, a young man in search of adventure. Each piece portrays episodes in his travels through the coast of Morocco, storms at sea, the Saharas, and Egypt. Grieg used Norwegian folk songs for inspiration, and was a strong nationalist composer.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphonies No. 40 & 41

Performed by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner

These last two of Mozart's forty-one symphonies are often considered his greatest. Written on a larger scale than his earlier symphonies, which were composed during his adolescence, they could be said to represent Mozart's mature style.



Maurice Ravel: Bolero

Performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti

A single rhythmic theme drives this entire piece, beginning very quietly with sparse instrumentation and repeated in many “colors.”  Different instruments and variations fuel the development. This dance piece is an all-time favorite, and the CD also contains Debussy's famous and impressionistic La Mer.



Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta

Each season is portrayed by a different violin concerto, and each concerto on this CD is performed by Stern, Zuckerman, Mintz, and Perlman. A perennially popular Baroque classic.



Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Conecertos

Performed by the English Chamber Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Benjamin Britten

A great recording of the six Brandenburg Concertos, with renowned 20th Century composer Benjamin Britten conducting. Excellent performances by trumpet soloists.

Benjamin Britten: War Requiem

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus, conducted by Benjamin Britten

Britten wrote this emotionally charged piece with three singers in mind, one from Germany, England, and the Soviet Union--representing the unification of three countries scarred by WWII. Conducted by the composer.

Claude Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez

Boulez wonderfully conducts this beautiful short work.  The CD also contains Images and Printemps, two other famous Impressionistic works.

Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"

Performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kurt Masur

One of Dvorak's most popular symphonies, this piece is full of suspense and adventurous spirit. The first two movements are slow and lyrical, while the last two have momentum and energy and build to an exciting climax.

Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Lorin Maazel

First written as a traditional piano solo, this piece was somewhat unknown until Ravel orchestrated it. Each piece represents a different picture at a gallery; titles include The Marketplace at Limoges, Catacombs, and The Great Gate at Kiev. This is also an excellent work for studying orchestration.

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1 "Classical"

Performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan

Prokofiev's first symphony, this work uses forms of the Classical Period yet alters them for the 20th Century, with a good sense of humor as well.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff: Scheherazade

Performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Glenn Dicterow

A famous and exciting work about adventures at sea.

Camille Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals

Performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein

This is a great CD for children (of all ages) containing three classics: Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev), The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Britten), and Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saens). This CD has Bernstein giving entertaining introductions of each animal before each pice.  Several featured members of the orchestra are young musicians under age twenty.



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