Kendal B. Hunter | Provo, UT United States | 03/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good sampler, since it covers what you would want in a classical music CD. Looking at the tracks, it has the classic hits, such as "Ride of the Valkyries," "Toccata and Fugue," "Fanfare for the Common Man," "'Jupiter' from `The Planets,'" "Eine Klein Nachtmusik," and "Hallelujah Chorus."There are also some new pieces that I have fallen in love with, such as "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," "'Promenade' from Pictures at an Exhibition." The compilers did an interesting double take by including both Verdi's and Mozart's "Dies Ire." I'm not sure which is better.This music is good for the brain and good for the soul. There is a power and passion that the blaring and glaring music that makes up most of the FM band. I'm reminded of the religious man who said that there is no music in hell. Probably because they wouldn't appreciate it there.These CDs has a good transfer from the analogue tapes; there is no hiss or fuzziness. The packaging hearkens back to 2001: A Space Odyssey, with the black monolith. And appropriately, "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is the opening track on Disk 2."
Great Starting Point for Classical Music Novices
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 08/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Simply the Best Classicial Anthems" is exactly what the title indicates. This is a collection of what the CD says are "36 of the most powerful classics on Earth". My review of this CD comes from someone who is a Classical Music Novice. I'm familiar with some of the composers, musical styles, musical periods, and some of the terminology that is key to understanding Classical Music. By no means am I an expert. I have basically popped in this two CD collection into my player and have enjoyed the sounds it produces. If you are in the same category as I am or maybe just wanting to be introduced to Classical Music - this is going to be a very good CD to have in your collection. For the more seasoned Classical Music fan, this could be either enjoyable or overkill.
The CD contains 36 songs composed by the legends of Classical Music Composers from the past. The bulk of the works come from Composers in the the 19th and 20th century, but there are works from the Romantic and Classical eras of the late 18th and early 19th century (such as Beethoven and Mozart). In general you will find most of the major names of Composers you would expect to find - names such as Tchiakovsky, Handel, Verdi, Strauss, Elgar, and Bach are all there. The only major composer who I would have expected to see on this CD that I don't see is Frederic Chopin. The composers of the late 20th century are not included on this collection - so you won't see Leonard Bernstein or John Williams on this set. While these Composers are excellent, I do think style of the tracks on this collection pre-date their style.
The recordings themselves are done by the great Orchestras around the world. For the most part, European Orchestras were used to deliver the tracks. There are a few exceptions: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra delivers "The Ride of the Valkyries"; The Toronto Symphony Orchestra delivers "Dance of the Knights"; and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra delivers Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture". Some of the European Orchestras that are well known include: BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, Choeur Philhamonique de Strasbourg, and more. Also included are performances by well known names in the Classical space such as Marie-Claire Alain (Bach's "Toccate and Fogue in D Minor" and Saint-Saens' "Symphony for Organ No 3"), Piero Toso (Vivaldi's "Allegro From Spring - Four Seasons"), and Placido Domingo appears on Puccini's "Nessun Dorma".
The 2 Disc collection contains a total of over 2 hours and 6 minutes of music. The selections that are included in the set will sound very familiar to you when you play them. You probably have both heard and seen the names of tracks such as: Oref's "O Fortuna"; Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man"; Beethoven's "First Movement from Symphony Number 5" and "Ode To Joy"; Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance", and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture". Many of the other tracks will also sound familiar, but maybe not so much by name - such as Wagner's "The Ride of the Valkyries", Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathoustra"; Grieg's "Piano Concerto", and "Dies Irae" (versions included by Mozart and Verdi - you can compare the two and judge for yourself). As for the Discs themselves, I think most of the casual fans will like the selections on Disc Two better, but Disc One is still very good. On a sidebar, the Israel Philharmonic's version of "1812 Overture" is by far the best you will hear - particularly at the end, the booming drums create almost a 3 dimensional vision of fireworks being launched into the air.
There one big negative on this collection is some of the recording quality. The clarity of the recording is there, but some of the recording levels leave a lot to be desired. On some of the softer parts, it is barely audible without significantly turning up your volume. This is very evident on "O Fortuna" where you will hear almost dead silence during from the 30 second to 1:30 mark of the track unless you crank your volume up. Same with the first few seconds of Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathoustra" and Tchiakovsky's "1812 Overture". When the volume is cranked up you will hear them - but then the other sections will be way too loud. I'm surprised with modern technology that this couldn't be addressed better.
The liner notes are pretty thin. You do get the Composers, Performers/Orchestras, and recording dates. There isn't any more details than that and you won't learn anymore insight on the tracks than this information. Despite some of the shortcomings of the liner notes and recording volume, I still think this is an excellent place to start and do recommend this CD if you are a novice to Classical Music and are looking for a great place to start listening to what the Classics have to offer."
**An Exquisite Album**
syohan | 02/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply The Best Classical AnthemsSimply The Best Classical Anthems is a compilation album of `36 of the most powerful Anthems on Earth'. But, it is also said to be something else. It is said to be a gateway. A gateway to another world. A world where our imagination can run free without being shackled down by any borders or boundaries or rules or limits. A world that we have all seen or perhaps more accurately have all heard of but for many of us a world that we have never dared to enter. Never dared to enter because of fear. The fear of being ostracised and shunned by our community.THE MYTH
`Classical Music!', I can hear some of you cry. `That isn't another world. That's just music for the upperclass, the high-brow, and the pompous.' Surprisingly, I too felt this way for a long time until I accepted the invitation made to me by Simply The Best Classical Anthems. I always felt that Classical Music was nice to listen to as background music for a Levis ad or a Car ad but I would consider people strange if they chose to hear it on its own. However, after having listened to this album I realised how wrong I was in my assumptions.THE TRUTH
Music as with all forms of amusement helps to take you away from where you are now. It helps to relax you when you are stressed with anger; it helps to give you strength when you are vulnerable; it helps to keep your spirits up when you have faced tragedy or loss. It helps. And, for me the type of music that best conjures up the most passionate emotions (love, hate, courage and anger) at our most testing times is Classical Music.
How? I don't know.
Why? I don't know.
I can only promise you that in my experience it does. THE CHEST
The album, in visual terms, is very difficult to overlook amongst the plethora of records that may surround it. This is because the album has a very distinct purple sleeve cover. Not any kind of purple mind you but the Cadbury's kind of purple. The kind of purple that carries with it an invitation. An invitation that if accepted promises you a treasure inside.
And since, I have always enjoyed the treasure within the purple Cadbury's Dairy Milk wrapper, I asked myself why would an album carrying the same invitation promise to be anything different? Thus, I parted with my tuppence worth and went back home to open this purple chest of promised treasures.THE PROMISED TREASURE
As you may have guessed, the contents of the album are somewhat different to the contents of a Cadbury's bar. When I opened the album, I was presented with two compact discs. At first glance, there did not seem to be anything special about them. They were just your average, everyday, run of the mill compact discs. To tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointed because I suppose I had hoped for something more.
However, looks can be deceptive. (Afterall, a Cadbury's Dairy Milk does not seem very appetising until you taste it!) And, also come November each year, I am always bemused and surprised at how the shabby contents of a cardboard box can both light up the sky and light up the faces of the neighbourhood. Thus, I pushed aside my assumptions and I ignited the discs (not literally of course, I just pressed the play button on the CD player). And, I let the fireworks begin. THE KEY
From the very beginning, you will feel like you have unlocked the doorway to something special. And, after a full two hours of listening to both discs, you will feel like you have been taken out of this world and transported to another. Welcome to the world of Classical Music. GUIDANCE
In the beginning, continue to listen to both discs in one go (i.e. one after the other). After a while, you will know which tracks you enjoy listening to the most. For those tracks you enjoyed the most make a promise to yourself that you will listen to the whole of the piece from which that track came from.
Good Luck on your quest if you choose to accept it.
Ride amongst the Valkyries, listen to the Flight of the Bumblebees, and use The Planets to keep you on the path. I am not a good reviewer because as with all of my reviews I refuse to comment too much about what is inside the product but rather more about what effect the product has had on me. (Me, me, me. Vain & Egotistic, I know, so my friends and family keep telling me). But, I just want to cause a raucous about the product, enough not to spoil but enough of a raucous to let you experience it for yourself. So my final words are:
Simply The Best Classical Anthems is an invitation. An invitation to the world of classical music. A world where you can begin a never-ending quest of curiosity. A curiosity that will always be rewarded with fulfilment.Do you accept such an invitation?Hope you found this review helpful."
John Siddle | Southport, Merseyside United Kingdom | 07/01/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Playing this Cd really outs you in a good mood for the day. A loud chorus of Dies Irae is performed and really makes you alert of the loud bass signalling the day of judgement. The rest of the CD differs dramatically, you have your soft clarinet pieces, to your loud, proclaiming songs (Jerusalem) This CD is ideal if you want to listen to the different aspects of classical music. I thoroughly endorse it!"
Everything I expected
Du Terroil Rene Marion | Florence, Italy | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great arrangements - really enjoyed this to know end, even the pieces that you here all the time are still fresh. Love to listen to it at dinner, in the car or when running. Great CD and good price as well."