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Archive-name: music/classical-faq
Version: 1.9.5

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file for
			     Version 1.9.5

	 Edited and compiled by Gabe Wiener (

Many thanks to all the readers of who have helped
in the compilation and upkeep of this list.  Comments, corrections,
and queries regarding this file should be sent to the above address.

Last modified: June 5, 1995


Table of contents:

Q1. What are the major periods of "classical" music?
Q2. I'm new to classical music and don't have any classical recordings. 
      What should I listen to so that I can learn more?  
Q3. I heard this melody on the radio.  How do I figure out what it is?  
Q4. When I went to the record store to buy a CD of [insert piece],
      I found dozens of versions.  How do I know which one to buy?
Q5. Why are there so many recordings of the same piece?
Q6. How do I find out if [insert-piece] has ever been recorded?
Q7. What is that music from [insert TV-show/Movie] called?
Q8. What are the essential reference books on classical music?
Q9. What distinguishes classical music from popular music?
Q10. What is the difference between an opera and a musical?
Q11. What is the history behind Orff's Carmina Burana?
Q12. What are the words to the first movement of Carmina Burana?
Q13. How do you pronounce all those conductors' and composers' names?
Q14. How are composers' works usually indexed?  Why so many ways?
Q15. What's the point of having a conductor?
Q16. Will a "DDD" recording always sound better than "ADD" or "AAD"?  What
	do those codes mean anyway?
Q17. What is "authentic performance practice?"

Q1. What are the major periods of "classical" music?

What the public generally calls "classical" music is actually many
different styles of music that come from many historical periods.  The
usual classifications are: Medieval music, Renaissance, Baroque,
Classical, Romantic, and Modern.  The precise dates of the beginning
and end of each period are a source of major academic debate, and many
argue (and perhaps correctly) that there is no precise date but rather
a long overlap.  It is also quite accurate to say that styles changed
in different places at different rates, so one date isn't necessarily
valid for every region of Europe.

With that disclaimer, here are *approximate* dates that distinguish
each period.  Some of them overlap, as you can see, since certain
composers adopted the new styles before others.

	Early:		1100-1300
	Medieval:	1300-1430
	Renaissance:	1430-1600
	Baroque:	1600-1750
	Classical:	1750-1827 
	Romantic:	1810-1900
	Modern:		1890+

This breakdown attempts to categorize fundamental shifts in the
attitudes and styles of characteristic composers.  Chances are that if
you like the music of a composer of one period, you will like music by
other composers of the same period, though we *do* encourage you to
experiment and to sample music of all periods.

Q2. I'm new to classical music and want to learn about it.  What should I
	listen to?

Probably the first thing you should listen to is your local classical
radio station.  Because there are so many different types of music
that are usually lumped in as "classical," there is no easy answer to
this question. By listening to a varied program at first, you can
begin to identify the types of music and the eras which are most
interesting to you.  You will then be better armed to purchase

Another useful tool is your local public library or university music
library.  If you are wary of plunking down your greenbacks for a composer
whom you've never heard, go and check out a CD or throw on a headset in
the library's listening center and check out a sample.  Many people
listen to entire discs on loan before buying them.

Still, the regulars on have compiled the following
lists to help you get started.  We do make some assumptions, however,
namely that you have some idea of what _periods_ of music interest you
(once again, check out a classical radio station for a few days if
you're not sure).  If you are eager to get started, we have also
provided a general survey of music that covers all the major periods.

Table of contents for the lists:

	L1	A list for rank beginners who want a general survey.
	L2	A list of representative medieval/renaissance music
	L3	A list of representative Baroque instrumental works
	L4	A list of representative Baroque choral works
	L5	A list of representative Classical instrumental works
	L6	A list of representative Romantic instrumental works
	L7	A list of representative Lieder
	L8	A list of representative Classical and Romantic
			choral works
	L9	A list of operas spanning the history of the genre
	L10 	A list of music written between 1900 and 1918
	L11	A list of music written between 1920 and 1945
	L12	A list of music written since 1945
	L13	A list of piano concerti
	L14	A list of violin concerti
	L15	A list of symphonies
	L16	A list of piano/harpsichord music
	L17	A list of chamber music
	L18	A list of modern chamber music
	L19	A list of viola and cello concerti
	L20	A list of violin and piano music

L1	A list of recommended works for those who have no experience
	with "classical" music.  This list gives representative examples
	of all the major periods, or so we believe.
		1. Hildegard:	 Symphoniae
		1. Machaut:	 Messe de Nostre Dame
		2. Dufay:	 Chansons
		3. Josquin:	 Benedicta es
		4. Palestrina:	 Missa Papae Marcelli
		5. Bach:	 Brandenburg Concerto #5
		6. Bach:	 Cantata #140, "Wachet auf!"
		7. Handel:	 Messiah
		8. Mozart:	 Symphony #40, K. 550
		9. Mozart:	 Selections from "The Marriage of Figaro"
		10. Haydn:	 Op. 76 String Quartets
		11. Beethoven:	 Symphonies #5, #6
		12. Berlioz:	 Symphonie Fantastique
		13. Chopin:	 The "Horowitz Plays Chopin" disc, or
			Rubinstein: "Highlights from the Chopin Collection"
		14. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
		15. Wagner:	 "Ring" cycle selections
		16. Brahms:	 Symphony #3
		17. Mahler  	 Symphony #1
		18. Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite
		19. Schoenberg:	 Pierrot Lunaire
		20. Stravinsky:	 The Rite of Spring
		21. Prokofiev:	 Piano Concerto #3
		22. Bartok:	 Concerto for Orchestra
		23. Berg:	 Violin Concerto
		24. Reich: 	 Desert Music

L2	A list of representative medieval/renaissance works
		1. A recording of Gregorian chant/organum
		2. Hildegard:	Columba Aspexit
		3. Machaut:	Messe de Nostre Dame
		4. Dufay:	Missa Se la Face ay Pale
		5. Ockeghem:    Chansons
		6. Josquin:	Benedicta es
		7: Italian madrigals by Rore, Gesualdo, Monteverdi, etc.
		8. Palestrina:	Missa Papae Marcelli
		9. English madrigals by Morley, Weelkes, Gibbons, etc.
 		10. Byrd:	The Great Service
		11. Dowland:	Lute songs
		12. Gabrieli:	Canzonas
		13. Tallis:	Lamentations of Jeremiah

L3	A list of representative Baroque instrumental works
		1. Corelli:	Violin Sonatas
		2. Couperin:	Pieces de Clavecin (harpsichord)
		3. Bach:	The six Brandenburg Concerti
		4. Bach:	Keyboard partitas 
		5. Bach:	Sonata in E major for Violin
		6. Bach:	Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor
		7. Handel:	Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks
		8. Handel:	Organ Concerto #13 ("Cuckoo & Nightingale")
		9. Handel:	Trio Sonatas
		10. Boyce:	The Eight Symphonies
		11. Vivaldi:	The Four Seasons
		12. Telemann:	Trio Sonatas
		13. Scarlatti:	Harpsichord Sonatas
		14. Pachelbel:	Canon in D
		15. LeClair:	Trio Sonatas

L4	A list of representative Baroque choral works
		1. Monteverdi:	1610 Vespers (Vespro Della Beata Vergine)
		2. Carissimi	Jepthe
		3. Handel:	Messiah
		4. Handel:	Saul
		5. Purcell:	Ode for St. Cecilia's Day
		6. Bach: 	Magnificat
		7. Bach:	Cantata 140, "Wachet auf!"
		8. Schutz:  	Musikalische Exequien
		9. Vivaldi:	Gloria
		10. Charpentier: Te Deum

L5	A list of representative Classical instrumental works
		1. Mozart:	Symphony #40, K.550
		2. Mozart:	Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K.525
		3. Mozart:	Piano Concerti #20 (K.466), #21 (K.467)
 		4. Mozart:	Clarinet Quintet, K.581
		5. Haydn:	String Quartet, Op. 76 #3
		6. Haydn:	London Symphonies ("Surprise" and "Clock")
		7. Beethoven:	Symphonies #5, #6, #9 (also choral)
		8. Beethoven:	String Quartet, Op. 59 #1
		9. Beethoven:	Piano sonatas, Op. 13

L6	A list of representative Romantic instrumental works
		1. Schubert:	Impromptus Op. 90
		2. Brahms:	Symphonies #3, #4
		3. Brahms:	Hungarian Dances
		4. Rossini:	Overtures
		5. Mendelssohn:	Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream
		6. Mendelssohn:	Violin Concerto
		7. Berlioz:	Symphonie Fantastique
		8. Chopin:	Preludes Op. 28
		9. Liszt:	Les Preludes
		10. Rimsky-Korsakov:
		11. Dvorak:	Symphony #8, Slavonic Dances
		12: Saint-Saens:Symphony #3 ("Organ")
		13. Smetana:	The Moldau
		14. Strauss: 	Don Juan
		15. Bruckner: 	4th Symphony
		16. Tchaikovsky: 6th Symphony
		17. Moussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
                18. Barber: 	Adagio for strings

L7	A list of representative Romantic vocal works (Lieder)
		1. Schubert:	Erlkonig
		2. Schubert:	Die Schone Muellerin
		3. Mahler: 	Kindertotenlieder
		4. Schumann	Dichterliebe
		5. Wolf:	Spanisches Liederbuch
		6. Brahms:	Liebeslieder Walzer
		7. Berlioz:	Les Nuits d'Ete
		8. Faure:	Melodies
		9. Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel
		10. Ravel: 	Chansons Madecasses
                11. Strauss:    Four Last Songs
                12. Canteloube: Songs of the Auvergne

L8	A list of representative Classical and Romantic choral works
		1. Mozart:	Requiem, K.626
		2. Mozart:	Mass in C Minor, K.427
		3. Haydn:	The Creation
		4. Haydn:	Lord Nelson Mass
		5. Beethoven:	Missa Solemnis
		6. Beethoven:	Choral Fantasy, Sym. #9
		7. Mendelssohn:	Elijah
		8. Brahms:	Liebeslieder Waltzer
		9. Brahms:	Ein Deutsches Requiem
		10. Verdi:	Requiem
		11. Berlioz:	Te Deum
		12. Dvorak:	Stabat Mater
		13. Faure:	Requiem
		14. Bruckner:	Te Deum

L9	A list of operas spanning the history of the genre:
		1. Monteverdi:	Orfeo
		2. Charpentier:	Les Arts Florissants
		3. Lully:	Atys
		4. Handel:	Giulio Cesare
		5. Purcell:	Dido and Aeneas
		6. Mozart:	Don Giovanni, K.527
		7. Mozart:	The Magic Flute, K.620
		8. Beethoven:	Fidelio
		9. Verdi:	La Traviata
		10. Puccini:	La Boheme
		11. Rossini:	The Barber of Seville
		12. Wagner:	Die Walkuere
		13. Bizet:	Carmen
		14. Sullivan:	The Pirates of Penzance
		15. Gershwin:	Porgy and Bess
		16. Weill:  	Threepenny Opera
		17. Strauss: 	Salome
		18. Berg:	Wozzeck
		19. Britten:	Billy Budd
		20. Glass:  	Akhnaten

L10	A list of music written between 1900 and 1918:
		1. Debussy:	 La Mer
		2. Strauss:  	 Salome, Rosenkavalier
		3. Mahler:	 Symphony #9
		4. Schoenberg:	 Pierrot Lunaire, 5 Pieces for Orch.
		5. Sibelius:	 Symphony #2
		6. Stravinsky:	 The Rite of Spring, Petrushka
		7. Webern:  	 6 Pieces, Op. 10
		8. Berg:  	 Altenberg Songs
		9. Holst:	 The Planets
		10. Ives 	 3rd symphony, Concord Sonata
		11. Reger:  	 Clarinet Quintet
		12. Scriabin:	 Piano Sonatas
		13. Rachmaninov: 2nd Symphony
		14. Bartok:  	 Bagatelles
		15. Prokofiev:   Classical Symphony, Scythian Suite
		16. Satie: 	 Parade
		17. Vaughan-Williams:  Lark Ascending

L11	A list of music written between 1920 and 1945:
		1. Berg:	 Violin Concerto
		2. Gershwin: 	 Rhapsody in Blue
		3. Webern: 	 Symphony
		4. Copland:	 Appalachian Spring, Rodeo
		5. Bartok: 	 Music for Strings
		6. Shostakovich: Symphonies #1, #5
		7. Prokofiev:    Alex. Nevsky
		8. Vaughan-Williams: Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis
	        9. Orff:	 Carmina Burana
		10. Durufle: 	 Requiem
		11. Ellington:   Black and Tan Fantasy
		12. Milhaud: 	 Le creation du monde
		13. Honnegger: 	 Pacific 231
		14. Messiaen: 	 Quartet for the End of Time
		15. Harris: 	 Symphony #3
		16. Hanson: 	 Symphony #2
		17. Janacek: 	 Katya Kabanova
		18. Schoenberg:  Moses und Aron
		19. Sibelius: 	 Symphony #7

L12	A list of music written since 1945:
		1. Boulez: 	 Pli selon pli
		2. Babbitt: 	 A Solo Requiem, 2nd Quartet
		3. Carter: 	 A Mirror on Which to Dwell
		4. Bernstein:	 Chichester Psalms
		5. Poulenc:	 Gloria
		6. Britten:	 War Requiem
		7. Riley: 	 In C
		8. Reich: 	 Desert Music
		9. Glass: 	 Glassworks
		10. Rochberg: 	 3rd Quartet
		11. Crumb: 	 Black Angels
		12. Stravinsky:  Requiem Canticles, Rake's Progress
		13. Schoenberg:  A Survivor from Warsaw

L13        A list of piano concerti
		1. Bach:	Brandenburg #5 (Harpsichord)
                2. Mozart:      Piano Concerti #20, #21, #23 (K.466, 467, 488)
                3. Beethoven:   Concerti #4, #5
                4. Chopin:      Concerti #1, #2
                5. Grieg:       Piano Concerto
                6. Schumann:    Piano Concerto
                7. Liszt:       Concerto #1
                8. Tchaikovsky: Concerto #1
                9. Brahms:      Concerti #1, #2
                10. Rachmaninov: Concerti #2, #3
	        11. Bartok:	 Concerto #2
		12. Prokofiev: 	 Concerto #3
		13. Mendelssohn:  Concerto #1

L14        A list of violin concerti
                1. Vivaldi:     The Four Seasons
                2. Bach:        Concerti #1, #2; for 2 violins
                3. Mozart:      Concerti #3-5 (K.216, 218, 219)
                4. Beethoven:   Violin Concerto
                5. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto
                6. Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
                7. Brahms:      Violin Concerto
                8. Bruch:       Concerto #1
		9. Bartok: 	Concerto #2
		10. Prokofiev:	Concerto #1
		11. Stravinsky:	Violin Concerto
           	12. Shostakovich:  Violin Concerto
		13. Sibelius:   Violin Concerto
                14. Elgar:      Violin Concerto

L15        A list of symphonies
                1. Mozart:      Symphony #38, #40, #41 (K.504, 550, 551)
                2. Beethoven:   Symphonies #3, #5, #6, #9 ("Choral")
                3. Haydn:       Symphonies #94, #101, #104
                4. Schubert:    Symphonies #8 "Unfinished" & #9 "The Great"
                5. Schumann:    Symphonies #1, #3
                6. Berlioz:     Symphonie Fantastique
                7. Saint-Saens: Symphony #3 ("Organ")
                8. Bruckner:    Symphonies #4, #9
                9: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies #4-6
                10.Brahms:      Symphonies #3, #4
                11.Franck:      Symphony in d
                12.Borodin:     Symphony #2
                13.Dvorak:      Symphony #7, #8, #9 "New World"
                14.Mahler:      Symphonies #5, #9
                15.Sibelius:    Symphony #2
                16.Rachmaninov: Symphony #2
                17.Nielsen:     Symphony #4
                18.Prokofiev:   Symphony #5
                19.Elgar:       Symphony #1
                20.Copland:     Symphony #3

L16       A list of representative piano/harpsichord music:
		1. Frescobaldi:	Toccatas
                2. Bach:        Goldberg Variations
                3. Scarlatti:   Harpsichord Sonatas
                4. Mozart:      Sonatas #8, #11, #13, #15 (K.310,331,333,545)
				Sonata in D, K.576, Rondo K.511, Adagio K.540
		5. Haydn:	Sonata #52
                6. Chopin:      Ballades, Nocturnes, Etudes, etc.
                7. Mendelssohn: Songs without Words
                8. Schubert:    Impromptus Op. 90, 
				Sonatas for Piano D. 959, 960
				F minor fantasy for piano 4-hands
                9. Beethoven:   Piano sonatas #14, 23
		10. Schumann:	Carnaval, Op.9; Fantasy in C, Op. 17
                11. Liszt:       Sonata in b minor
                12. Ravel:       Miroirs, Gaspard de la nuit
                13. Debussy:     Preludes
                14. Liszt:       Transcendental Etudes
                15. Rachmaninov: Etudes, Preludes (inc. Op. 3 #2)

L17      A list of chamber music:
		1. Purcell:	Trio Sonatas
		2. Telemann:	Trio Sonatas
                3. Mozart       Divertimento, K.563
                4. Mozart:      String Quartets K.387,421,428,458,464,465,590
                5. Mozart:      Clarinet Quintet, K.581
                6. Mozart       String Quintets (K.515, 516, 593, 614)
                7. Haydn:       String Quartet, Op. 76 #3
                8. Beethoven:   String Quartets #8, #14
                9. Beethoven:   Piano Quintet
                10. Schubert:   String Quartet #14 "Death & the Maiden"
                11. Schubert:   Piano Quintet "Trout"
                12. Mendelssohn: String Octet
                13. Schumann:   Piano Quintet
                14. Dvorak:     String Quartets #10, #14
                15. Dvorak:     Piano Trio #4
                16. Borodin:    String Quartet #2
                17. Brahms:     Piano Trio #1

L18	A list of modern chamber music:
		1. Bartok:	6 quartets
		2. Schoenberg: 4 quartets, Op.. 7,10 (w/soprano),30, 37
		3. Berg: 	Lyric Suite
		4. Webern: 	Quartet for Sax, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano.
		5. Debussy: 	Quartet, sonata for flute, viola, harp.
		6. Ravel: 	Quartet, duo for violin and cello
		7. Shostakovich: Quartets, No. 8, 13-15.
		8. Janacek: 	Mladi, Intimate Letters Quartet
		9. Stravinsky:	Octet
		10. Babbitt: 	2nd quartet
		11. Carter: 	3rd quartet
		12. Quartets by Scelsi and Schnittke.

L19        A list of viola and cello concerti
		1. Telemann:	Viola Concerto
                2. Haydn:       Cello concerto in D op.101
                3. Boccherini:  Cello concerto in B flat
                4. Schumann:    Cello concerto
                3. Dvorak:      Cello concerto op.104
                5. Tchaikovsky: Variations on a rococo theme
                6. Saint Saens: Cello Concerto #1
                7. Lalo:        Cello Concerto
                8. Walton:      Viola Concerto, Cello Concerto
                9. Bartok:      Viola Concerto
                10. Elgar:       Cello Concerto op.85
                11. Hindemith:  Viola Concerto
                12. Barber:     Cello Concerto
                13. Shostakovitch:      Cello Concerto #1
                14. Khachaturian:       Cello Concerto
                15. Moeran:     Cello Concerto
                16. Delius:     Cello Concerto
                17. Bloch:      Schelomo
                18. Penderecki: Cello Concerto #2

L20      A list of violin and piano music
                1. Mozart:      Sonata K.454
                2. Beethoven:   Sonata #5 op.24 "Spring"
                3. Schumann:    Sonatas op.105 & 121
                3. Brahms:      Sonata #3
                4. Franck:      Sonata in A
                5. Faure:       Sonata #1
                6. Lekeu:       Sonata in G
                7. Strauss:     Sonata in E flat
                8. Respighi:    Sonata in B minor
                9. Saint-Saens: Sonata op.75
                10. Lalo:       Sonata
                11. Grieg:      Sonata #3
                12. Pierne:     Sonata
                13. Debussy:    Sonata
                14. Elgar:      Sonata
                15. Janacek:    Sonata
                16. Walton:     Sonata
                17. Bartok:     Sonata #2


Q3. I heard this melody on the radio.  How do I figure out what it is?

First option:  Call the radio station and ask.  They're usually quite
helpful about this sort of thing.

Second option: Most mainstream-market classical stations publish a
monthly program guide.  If you are a regular listener, you might
consider subscribing for just this reason.

Beyond that, we are presuming you know a little something about musical
notation or at the very least, musical note names.  Your local music
library will have a number of dictionaries of musical themes that will
help you identify the theme.  See below in the reference books

If after researching you still cannot find the theme, then post to the 
net with the theme represented as note-names.

Q4. I heard this great piece on the radio, but when I went to the
record store to buy a copy, I found dozens of versions.  Which is the
right one to get?

This question is one that often confronts even the most seasoned
record collectors.  The decision of which version of a piece to buy on
record is entirely a matter of taste.  Experienced listeners often
know the style of each conductor and can judge on that basis.  If you
are unfamiliar with a piece or with the versions available to you, you
might want to start off by looking in the Penguin Guide (see
"Reference Books" below).  Though not always 100% on the mark, this
guide will describe the differences between multiple recordings of a
given work, and may enable you to choose the recording that is right
for you.  There are also magazines such as Fanfare, Gramophone, Stereo
Review, Audio, and some of the high-end audio journals that review new
recordings on a regular basis.

There is also a classical recordings database located at

Q5. Why are there so many recordings of the same piece?

The question of interpretation is addressed in Q15.  Briefly though,
All conductors and performers have their own interpretation of a given
piece of music, and thus no two recordings are truly the same, just as
no two painters' portraits of the same individual could ever be the
same.  Some interpretations are subtly different from others, while
other interpretations raise serious performance issues.  For instance,
Bach on piano, harpsichord, or clavichord?  Beethoven with a large
orchestra, a chamber orchestra, or a period-instrument orchestra?
_Pictures at an Exhibition_ for piano, orchestrated by Ravel or
somebody else, or on solo guitar? (no kidding).

The other reason there are so many recordings of certain works is that
the record companies can sell them.  A famous violinist's recording of
The Four Seasons will in almost all cases sell better than that
violinist's recording of an unknown work, even if the unknown work is
musically strong.  People buy what they know, and record companies
want the assurance that they will see profit from a pressing.

The unfortunate result is that a lot of good music *never* gets
recorded while a lot of hackneyed music gets re-recorded every year. 
I counted 52 versions of The Four Seasons once in a record store.

Q6. How do I find out if [insert piece] has ever been recorded?

*EVER* been recorded is tough.  To check if there is a current release
of your piece of choice, look in Opus, a publication put out by
Schwann that lists all works currently available.  Most record stores
will either sell you a copy, or have a desk copy that you can use.  If
you're looking for an old vinyl recording, you'll have to check with a
rare record dealer.  Many maintain very extensive back issues of the
Schwann catalog and can help you locate that rare gem.

Current discs in print can be found in Phonolog, a large looseleaf book
available at all record dealers.  Akin to "Books in Print."

Q7. What is that music in [insert TV show/movie here] ?

We have a little joke in the newsgroup that no matter what movie or TV
show, it's probably either Pachelbel's Canon or Carmina Burana.
Anyway, here is a list of some movies and TV shows and the music they

2001, A Space Odyssey		Also sprach Zarathustra		R. Strauss
2001, A Space Odyssey		Blue Danube Waltz		J. Strauss
2001, A Space Odyssey		Lux Eterna			Ligeti
2001, A Space Odyssey		Gayne Ballet Suite		Khatchaturian
Acura commercial		Romeo & Juliet			Prokofeiv
All That Jazz			Spring from The Four Seasons	Vivaldi
Apocalypse Now			Die Walkure			Wagner
Babette's Feast			Don Giovanni			Mozart
Breaking Away			Barber of Seville		Rossini
Breaking Away			Italian Symphony		Mendelssohn
Children of a Lesser God	Concerto for 2 violins		Bach
A Clockwork Orange		Symphony #9			Beethoven
A Clockwork Orange		William Tell Overture		Rossini
A Clockwork Orange		Barber of Seville overture	Rossini
A Clockwork Orange		La Gazza Ladra overture		Rossini
Dark Eyes			Barber of Seville		Rossini
Death in Venice			Symphony #5			Mahler	
Die Hard			Symphony #9			Beethoven
Diva				La Wally			Catalani
Elvira Madigan			Piano Cto. #21 			Mozart
Empire of The Sun		Suo Gan (Welsh folksong...circumflex on the a)
Excalibur			Carmina Burana			Carl Orff
Fatal Attraction		Madama Butterfly		Puccini	
Foul Play			The Mikado			Sullivan
Forbidden Games			Romance				Yepes
A Fish Called Wanda		Barber of Seville		Rossini
Gallipoli			Les Pecheurs de Perles		Bizet
Glory				Original music	 		James Horner
Grey Fox			Martha				Flotow	
Heaven Help Us			Hallelujah Chorus (Messiah)	Handel
Hannah and Her Sisters		Manon Lescaut			Puccini	
Henry V				Original music			Patrick Doyle
Horse's Mouth			Lt. Kije Suite			Prokofiev
Huntley/Brinkley Report		Symphony #9			Beethoven
Hopscotch			Barber of Seville		Rossini
Hopscotch			Eine kleine Nachtmusik		Mozart
Jean de Florette		Forza del Destino		Verdi	
Kramer vs. Kramer		Concerto for 2 Mandolins	Vivaldi
Lone Ranger theme		William Tell Overture finale	Rossini
Love and Death			Lt. Kije Suite			Prokofiev
Masterpiece Theater theme	Symphonie de Fanfare		Mouret
Moderns				Marriage of Figaro		Mozart	
Moonstruck			La Boheme			Puccini	
Much Ado About Nothing		Original music			Patric Doyle
My Brilliant Career		"Of Foreign Land and Peoples"
				   from Kinderszenen		Schumann
Olympic Music ('84)		Olympic Fanfare			John Williams
Olympic Music (Every year)	Bugler's Dream			Leo Arnaud
Ordinary people/GE lightbulb	Canon in D			Pachelbel
Platoon				Adagio for Strings		Barber
Pretty Woman			La Traviata			Verdi
Prizzi's Honor			L'Elisir d'Amore		Donizetti
Prizzi's Honor			Barber of Seville		Rossini	
Raging Bull			Cavalleria Rusticana		Mascagni
Room with a View		Gianni Schicchi			Puccini	
Room with a View		La Rondine			Puccini	
Sammy and Rosie Get Laid	Der Erlkonig			Schubert
The Shining			Music for Strings		Bartok
Scent of a Woman (tango)	Par una cabeza			Carlos Gardel
Schindler's List (first scene)	Par una cabeza			Carlos Gardel
Schindler's List (entire movie)	Original music			John Williams
Slam Dance			Samson et Delilah		Saint-Saens
Someone To Watch Over Me	Lakme				Delibes	
Someone To Watch Over Me	Gloria				Vivaldi
Somewhere in Time		Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini	Rachmaninoff
Sophie's Choice			Kinderszenen			Schumann
The Four Seasons		The Four Seasons		Vivaldi
Trading Places			The Marriage of Figaro		Mozart
True Lies (tango)		Par una cabeza			Carlos Gardel
Traffik				String Quartet #8		Shostakovich
Untouchables			Pagliacci			Leoncavallo
Wall Street			Rigoletto			Verdi	
Witches of Eastwick		Turandot			Puccini	
Year of Living Dangerously	Four Last Songs			Strauss, R.

Many of opera cuts can be found on one of the following recordings by Angel:
	Opera Goes to the Movies
	Son of Opera Goes to the Movies

The tango used in Schindler's List, Scent of a Woman, and True Lies,
entitled "Por una cabeza" by Carlos Gardel, has been recorded by The
Tango Project, available on Nonesuch 9 79030-2.

Q8. What are the best reference works on music in general?

The supreme musical references is probably the New Grove Dictionary of
Music and Musicians.  This is a multi-volume set, about as large as
your average encyclopedia, so you'll probably have to trek to your
local library to find a copy.

Two more obtainable books are a) the New Harvard Dictionary of Music
(and the paperback version, the Concise Harvard Dictionary of Music),
and b) The Concise Grove Dictionary of Music.  Both of these are
invaluable for all musicians and music enthusiasts.

David Mason Greene: Greene's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers
(David Mason Greene) is a good choice for interested amateurs and
general listeners (those needing less than Grove's, in other words),
Greene is a great source because it's compact and includes a huge
number of composers (2400).  His information could be refined in a
number of places, but there are few other source that fill the same

There are composer biographies, almost all of them excellent,
published by Norton/Grove.  These are the dictionary articles, with
worklist, bibliography, and index, and slightly updated.  Some volumes
cover several composers, e.g., Bach Family, Northern European Baroque

Grove also has multi-volume special dictionaries for opera, American
music, and musical instruments.

When picking recorded performances with which you are unfamiliar, you
might wish to consult the Penguin Guide.  This book provides a good
starting point, and while it doesn't get everything right, it does
have some excellent reviews, and can do a lot to help you identify the
differences between the myriad versions of any particular piece. Be
warned, though.  The Penguin folks have been known to have what some
consider an unfair bias against some early-instrument recordings.  So
read some of the reviews with a grain of salt.  There are also the
"Opus" catalogs put out by Schwann, the musical version of "Books in
Print."  Many people also swear by magazines like Fanfare, Gramophone,
etc.  for reviews.

If you don't have time to read all those magazines, you might want to
check out Stevenson's Guide to classical recordings.  This publication
synthesizes the reviews of about 30 different magazines.  Thus you
aren't getting only one opinion, but an overview of what all the
various critics thought about a given disc.  The Guide also contains a
CD Guide Honor Roll, which lists the performances that have received a
three-plus (+++) rating from at least four critics, with no negative
reviews given from any other critic. In other words, if you buy based
on this honor roll list, you're pretty much assured of getting a
decent recording.  This very useful publication is available at some
record stores, or else you can order it from Stevenson Classical Disk
Guide, P.O. Box 53286, Indianapolis, IN 46253. Subscription price is
$31 per year, four editions per year.

When trying to identify that theme you have running around in your
head, consult Barlow & Morgenstern's dictionaries.  "A Dictionary of
Musical Themes" and "A Dictionary of Opera and Song Themes" are
essential references.

A good all-around historical reference book is "A History of Western
Music" by Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca.  More than one grad
student has curled up by the fireplace with this tome in preparation
for qualifiers.

The Music Research Division of the New York Public Library has a 
telephone reference service.  The number is +1 212 870 1650.

Q9. What distinguishes classical music from popular music?

Scholars go round and round on this one.  Some say that classical
music has more structure and "form" than popular music, but everyone
knows that there is plenty of form in popular music.  Others say that
"classical music is an art, and popular music is entertainment."
While that may in part be true, to make that assertion is perhaps to
scoff at some of the artistry that exists in the popular venues.

Today, classical music has an elite patronage, whereas popular music
has more universal appeal.  Also, classical music is generally
considered to have a more unified and rigorous body of theory.  Of
course, these concepts did not exist at the time that most of the
"classical" music was written.  

"Classical" music is repertoire music; when two artists play a piece,
the results will be similar, the differences subtle.  Compare
different jazz versions or different pop versions of a song.  One is
likely to find much more difference there.

Q10. What is the difference between an opera and a musical?

Generally, a musical has dialogue with interspersed songs.  Opera is
generally sung through, the dialogue portions being replaced with
recitatives (music which is intoned in a way that resembles speech).
There are notable exceptions to this rule, e.g. Carmen (Bizet) and The
Magic Flute (Mozart), both of which have spoken dialogue. The German
name for operas with spoken dialogue is singspiel (pronounced
ZING-shpeel).  German productions pre-Wagner were almost always

Many musicals, such as Les Miserables, Chess, Joseph, etc. are sung
through, and are, in the classical world, often referred to as
"popular operas" or "rock operas" to signify that they do bear some
resemblance to "classical" opera.

Another important difference is that in musicals, the principal
singers also dance.  In opera that never happens.

Q11. What is the history behind Orff's Carmina Burana?

"Carmina Burana" was originally a cycle of medieval songs. The text is
rather risque poetry written by medieval students.  Carl Orff adapted
some of them into the best known arrangement, not surprisingly called
"Carmina Burana," in the 1930s.  Of the songs he adapted, some are in
Latin and some are in Middle High German (much as Chaucer's "Canterbury 
Tales" is in Middle English).  The best known of the songs he used is 
"Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi" (a.k.a. "O Fortuna"), which was heavily used 
in the film EXCALIBUR.

Carmina Burana is a wonderful introduction to classical music for the
Bruce Springsteen generation.  When novice listeners are told that
it's all about sex, drinking, gambling, and more sex, it breaks down a
few of their preconceived notions about the classics.  

The full texts to Carmina Burana, both original languages and English
translation can be found in the internet music archives, accessible by
Gopher or FTP (  We include the first movement here owing
to the frequency with which the request is made.

Q12. What are the words to the first movement? (the one in all the movies)

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi               Fortune, Empress of the World
1. O Fortuna                           1. O Fortune
  Coro                                   Chorus

O fortuna,                             O fortune,
velut Luna                             like the moon
statu variabilis,                      you are changeable,
semper crescis,                        ever waxing
aut decrescis                          and waning;
vita detestabilis                      hateful life
nunc obdurat                           first oppresses
et tunc curat                          and then soothes
ludo mentis aciem;                     as fancy takes it;
egestatem,                             poverty
potestatem                             and power
dissolvit ut glaciem.                  it melts away like ice.

Sors immanis                           Fate - monstrous
et inanis.                             and empty.
rota tu volubilis.                     You whirling wheel,
status malus                           you are malevolent,
vana salus                             well-being is in vain
semper dissolubilis,                   and always fades to nothing.
obumbrata                              Shadowed
et velata                              and veiled
mihi quoque niteris;                   you plague me too;
nunc per ludum                         now through the game
dorsum nudum                           I bring my bare back
fero tui sceleris.                     to your villainy.

Sors salutis                           Fate is against me
et virtutis                            in health
mihi nunc contraria                    and virtue,
est affectus                           driven on
et defectus                            and weighted down,
semper in angaria.                     always enslaved.
Hac in hora                            So at this hour
sine mora                              without delay
cordum pulsum tangite;                 pluck the vibrating strings;
quod per sortem                        since Fate
sternit fortem,                        strikes down the strong man,
mecum omnes plangite !                 everyone weep with me !

Q13. How do you pronounce all those conductors', composers', and
performers' names?

We don't have schwas and umlauts in ASCII, so I'll do my best.  A *k
indicates that the guttural k sound (as in chutzpah or Bach) should be
used. #k indicates a palatal "ch" sound as in "reich."  *n is the
french "n" as in "bon."  *r is the French r. "zh" as in "vision"  
Note that I assume a generic American accent here.  Some of these
pronunciations may not work with other accents. 

	Claudio Abbado			ah-BAH-do
	Ernest Ansermet			ahn-sair-MAY
	Arleen Auger			Au-ZHAY
	Daniel Barenboim		BARE-'n-boim
	Berlioz				Bair-lee-OHZ
	Leonard Bernstein		BURN-stine
	Bizet				BI-zay
	Pierre Boulez			BU-lez
	Dieterich Buxtehude		DEE-te*ri#k BOOKS-te-HOO-de
	Chailly				CHI-yee
	Chopin				Sho-PA(*)N
	Couperin			COU-peh*r-a*n
	Debussy				De-bu-SEE
	Antal Dorati          	 	AHN-tahl DOH-rah-tee
	Charles Dutoit			Du-TWAH
	Dukas				DU-kahss
	Dvorak				D'VOR-zhack
	Faure				FAU-*ray
	Cesar Franck           		Say-ZAHR Frahnk
	Wilhelm Furtwangler		VIL-helm FOORT-veng-ler
	Bernard Haitink			BURN-ard HIGH-tink
	Haydn				HIDE-in
	Herbert von Karajan		HAIR-bairt Fawn KAHR-ay-ahn.
	Kodaly				KO-da-ee
	Raymond Leppard			LEP-pard
	James Levine			Luh-VINE
	Liszt				List
	Charles Mackerras		Muh-KAHR-ass
	Neville Marriner		NEH-vul MARR-in-er
	Kurt Masur			Mah-ZOOR
	Zubin Mehta			ZOO-bin MAY-tuh
	Monteverdi			Mon-te-VARE-dee (not Mon-te-VUR-dee)
	Mozart				MOH-tsart
	Johann Pachelbel		YO-hahn Pa-*KEL-bel
	Poulenc				POO-lenk (that's how he pronounced it)
	Ravel				Ruh-VEL
	Reiner				RHINE-er
	Saint-Saens			Sa*n-SOH*N
	Schubert			SHOO-bairt
	Shostakovitch			shash-teh-KOH-vich
	Smetana				SMET-nuh
	Georg Solti			jorj SHOL-tee
	George Szell			jorj sell
	Tchaikovsky      		Chiy-KAHF-skee
	Verdi				VARE-dee (not VUR-dee)
	Richard Wagner			*RI#K-art VAHG-ner
	Bruno Walter			VAHL-ter
	Webern				VAY-bairn
	Weelkes				Weelks
	Wilbye				WILL-bee

(Please do not send mail "correcting" the French pronunciations.  I
know there are many schools of thought on them.  I finally settled it
for the FAQ by asking a native Frenchman.  Unless you can offer a very
compelling argument the other way, it's staying.  Sue me.  Sorry, but
I'm sick to death of my mailbox flooding every month with thirty
opinions on how to pronounce Debussy. Thank you for your cooperation.)

Q14. How are composers' works usually indexed?  Why so many ways?
     I just heard this radio guy announce "Foobar's string quartet #13
     in E flat minor, opus 173 number 3, the `Boiled Egg,' FWV 145."
     Why did he identify it four times over?

Newcomers to the classical repertoire are often disturbed to discover
that a work may have a "catalog number" and an "opus number" and a
name (e.g. The Jupiter Symphony, the Clock, the Cuckoo and the
Nightingale, the Goldberg Variations, etc).  Many early composers did
not catalog their works at all, and thus it was left to scholars in
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to compile thematic catalogs.

Bach, for instance, is catalogged with BWV numbers (Bach Werke
Verzeichnis, "Bach work catalog"), etc.  Handel, however, published
some of his work in collections called opera (that's the Latin plural
for "Opus" and has a meaning entirely different from the word meaning
sung musical drama).  Thus a Concerto Grosso of Handel might be
referred to as Opus 3 No. 3, but will still have an HWV number.  To
make matters worse, some works have their own names and numbers.
Sticking with Handel as example, Organ Concerto #13 is also known as
"The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," and as HWV 295.

Here is a list of the major thematic catalogs...

  B      - Catalog of the works of Dvorak by Burghauser
  BeRI   - Catalog of the works of Roman by Bengtsson
  BuxWV  - "Buxtehude-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of
            Buxtehude by Karstadt
  BWV    - "Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of J.S. Bach
            by Schmieder (sometimes designated by "S.")
  D      - Catalog of the works of Schubert by Deutsch
  D      - Catalog of the violin concertos of Tartini by Dounias
  E      - Catalog of the symphonies of L. Mozart by Eisen
  F      - Catalog of the works of Vivaldi by Fanna
  F      - Catalog of the works of W.F. Bach by Falck
  G      - Catalog of the works of Boccherini by Gerard
  G      - Catalog of the works of Torelli by Giegling
  G      - Catalog of the violin concertos of Viotti by Giazotto
  H      - Catalog of the unpublished works of Beethoven by Hess
  H      - Catalog of the works of Charpentier by Hitchcock
  Hob    - Catalog of the works of F.J. Haydn by Hoboken
  HW     - Catalog of the works of J.C.F. Bach by H. Wohlforth
  HWV    - "Handel-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Handel by Baselt
  J      - Catalog of the works C.M. von Weber by Jahns
  K      - Catalog of the works of W.A. Mozart by Koechel (same as KV below)
  K      - Catalog of the works of Rosetti
  K      - Catalog of the works of D. Scarlatti by Kirkpatrick
  KV     - "Koechel-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of W.A. Mozart by Koechel
  L      - Catalog of the works of D. Scarlatti by Longo
  L      - Catalog of the works of Debussy by Lesure
  LWV    - "Lully-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Lully by Schneider
  M      - Catalog of the works of Vivaldi by Malipiero
  MS     - Catalog of the works of Molter
  Op     - Opus number, generally a chronological publication number that may
            have been assigned by either the publisher or composer
  P      - Catalog of the works of J.M. Haydn by Perger
  P      - Catalog of the works of Vivaldi by Pincherle
  R      - Catalog of the works of Vivaldi by Malipiero as published by Ricordi
  R      - Catalog of the works of Gottleib Muffat by Riedl
  RO     - Catalog of the works of Gottschalk
  RV     - Catalog of the works of Vivaldi by Ryom
  S      - Catalog of the works of Liszt by Searle
  SR     - Catalog of the works of Soler by Padre Samuel Rubio
  SWV    - "Schutz-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Schutz by
  TWV    - "Telemann-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Telemann
            by Kassel
  VB     - "Valentini Bakfark Opera Omnia" Catalog of the works of Balint
  WoO    - "Werk ohne Opuszahl" or "Work without opus number", typically
            unpublished works or works that were not assigned an opus number
            by the composer
  Wq     - Catalog of the works of C.P.E. Bach by Wotquenne
  WWV    - "Wagner-Werke-Verzeichnis" Catalog of the works of Wagner by
            Deatheridge, Geck & Voss
  Z      - Catalog of the works of Purcell by Zimmerman

Q15. What's the point of having a conductor?  Can't professional
     musicians keep time by themselves?

Yes, professional musicians can keep time by themselves, but a
conductor does significantly more than just beat time.  A good
conductor will add interpretation and shape to a piece of music by
controlling the dynamics of the music and by indicating entrances and
cutoffs with great precision.  There are some orchestras that play
without a conductor (the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra springs to mind),
but even in that case, there is usually one instrumentalist who
functions as the "leader" for a particular piece and whom the other
musicians look to for cues.  Many pieces change tempo in mid-stride,
and a single person making the choice of exactly when and how can make
the transition occur with great precision.

In a large symphony orchestra there is also the additional problem
that very often the acoustics of the hall are such that the musicians
on, for instance, the extreme right of the orchestra simply cannot
hear what the musicians on the extreme left are doing, and thus it is
necessary to have a common reference, namely, the conductor.  While it
is true that each musician can keep time, the accumulated error would 
eventually cause the rhythm to become murky.

The conductor has yet another purpose, and that is to set the "tone"
of a piece.  Whether the conductor uses sudden, forceful movements or
smooth and delicate strokes will in many ways affect the way the
musicians interpret the music and subsequently, the overall color of
the work.

Listen for yourself to the effects of the conductor.  Pick any work
that you know well and listen to a particular recording many times...
until you really feel you *know* it.  Then buy or borrow recordings of
the same piece under other conductors.  How is it different?  Is the
conductor interpreting the music differently?  Is he adding color to
certain areas and letting other areas speak for themselves?  With
practice it becomes relatively easy to differentiate conductors'

Q16. Will a "DDD" recording always sound better than "ADD" or "AAD"?  What
        do those codes mean anyway?

In the early days of the CD, the Society of Professional Audio
Recording Services (SPARS) [pronounced "sparz" not "sparse"] developed
a three-letter coding system to distinguish between the types of
recording equipment used at different junctures of the making of a CD.
The D indicates digital equipment, and the A indicates analog

The first letter indicates the type of equipment used in the initial
recording.  The second letter indicates the type of equipment used for
mixing and editing.  The third letter is superfluous.  It indicates
the type of equipment used for mastering, which in the case of a CD
can only be digital.

Many people use the SPARS code as a barometer of the sound quality of
a CD, and this is a wrong thing to do.  The SPARS code doesn't, nor
was it ever meant to, reflect the actual quality of the CD.  Between
digital and analog recorders, neither intrinsically sounds better than
the other.  A recording made on a good Studer A820 fitted out with
Dolby SR will generally sound better than a recording made on a cheap
Sony TCD-D3 DATman, though the DATman will sound better than many
cheap analog systems.

In the end, both analog and digital systems have the ability to sound
great or to sound awful.  It all depends on the type of equipment and
the skill of the engineer operating it.  Many modern DDD recordings
are so carelessly made that they don't sound nearly as good as analog
recordings made 20 years ago.  Then again, a good DDD can sound
*excellent*, as can a good analog recording.  You get the idea.

Of course, neither method of recording says anything about miking.
Even if the engineer uses the best digital equipment, if the
microphones are not placed properly, the recording won't sound very
good, and a good mic technique recorded to a walkman will in all
likelihood be more aesthetically pleasing.

There is also confusion over what rubric should apply to a particular
recording.  What about classical recordings made straight to two-track
and thus don't need any mixing?  What about digital recordings mixed
through an analog console versus digital recordings mixed through a
digital console?  Why should a 40-year-old reissue get the same AAD
rubric as a carefully-made analog recording produced using Dolby SR?
The code did not evolve with the technology, and is hopelessly

Q17. What is "authentic performance practice"?

Any musical work can be interpreted in a variety of different ways.
Authentic performance practice stresses scholarship and an
understanding of the performance characteristics in vogue during the
composer's lifetime, those actually intended by the composer, or those
which the composer might have heard, performed, or been aware of.
Therefore, a performance of the Chicago Symphony playing a Bach
orchestral suite, for instance, would probably fail to impress
authentic performance aficionados, because Bach never even heard (let
alone intended the piece for) such a large ensemble.

Authentic performance practice can extend to the selection of
instruments themselves (you don't see hurdy gurdies or recorders in
modern orchestras), instrument construction, string material, tuning
and temperament, seating arrangements, trills and figures, numbers of
performers on a given part, tempo, doublings, and of course, overall
playing technique.  Compare an authentic performance and a modern
performance of the same work.  One is likely to notice substantial
differences between them.  The choice as to which one prefers is left
as an exercise for the reader.


Copyright (C) 1995 by Gabe M. Wiener.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

This compilation document is copyrighted. Permission is hereby granted
for electronic distribution by non-commercial services such as
internet.  Any other use, or any commercial use of this document
without permission is prohibited by law.  Inquire to


Gabe Wiener  Dir., Quintessential Sound, Inc. |"I am terrified at the thought
Recording-Mastering-Restoration (212)586-4200 | that so much hideous and bad
PGM Early Music Recordings ---> (800)997-1750 | music may be put on records | forever." --Sir Arthur Sullivan

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