The world of classical music is so vast it can often be difficult to know where to start if you are new to the genre. From baroque, to film music, to opera, and then to romantic music, it can be overwhelming for novices to join in on the fun.
Here are my recommendations for places to learn more about classical music.
This might sound quite obvious, but this can be a great way to start engaging with classical music! Dedicated radio stations that play a wealth of different classical composers and genres can easily grab your attention. Whether you’re driving in your car, or in the comfort of your own home, a classical based radio station can open up the world of classical music in the most simplest of ways.
Where should you start? Try these to begin:
Classic FM is a great station for listening to a whole range of great classical works, and for staying across the latest recordings and releases.
BBC Radio 3 broadcasts more live performances than any other classical radio station. If you can’t get to the concert, bring the concert to you!
Lyric FM is the Irish classical music radio station, but you can listen anywhere in the world from your computer!
If this isn’t enough, why not browse this more comprehensive list of classical music radio stations from around the world. Click here.
As an addition to listening to the music itself, podcasts are a great way to hear in-depth conversations. You’ll learn a lot of information and opinions on different works, composers and classical music themes. One of my favourite things about podcasts is that they’re often produced for a specific audience, so you can find podcasts for your level, from novices through to fully fledged opera buffs and academics.
If you are a novice, I’d start with Classical Classroom.
To start, listen to episode 2 – ‘Angela Schmidt teaches Bel Canto Aria’.
If you are interested in unearthing new works, try the series Classical Podcasts.
We’d recommend the series on Wagnerian singers.
If you are more interested in knowing a bit more about everything, try the BBC Music Magazine.
Listen out for Episode 56 – featuring superstar mezzo Joyce DiDonato.
At a touch of a button you can immerse yourself in conversation.
Not sure where to start, or have you already heard our recommendations? Check out this list of the best classical music podcasts.
As well as listening to classical music, it may also help to read up on the history of works, composers and eras.
Oxford Music Online is a great resource if you’re looking for a more academic take on some fascinating subjects. There are thousands of articles on here that all discuss different topics – making some very interesting reads!
Another good read is Rhinegold Magazine, a current affairs magazine for classical music.
Or revisit the BBC Music Magazine, who don’t just produce podcasts, they also have their masthead website.
Lastly, Gramophone Magazine’s website has the most extensive collection of reviews, including a massive online archive of all their editions.
I will be biased in this section as I am a classical music blogger myself. However, I do believe that blogs are one of the easiest ways to get yourself involved in the classical music world. From a focus on reviews to those of news and events, there are so many out there.
But if I were to pick just three, my favourite classical music blogs are:
Planet Hughill’s blog, where this contemporary composer he muses on current news and events.
JDCMB, where arts writer Jessica Duchen updates her readers with tidbits from behind the scenes and issues in the classical music community.
The Cross-Eyed Pianist is a great read for those interested in everything and anything about ‘meet the artist pieces’, from London-based pianist Frances Wilson.
And lastly, don’t forget to check out my blog ClassicalExBurns where it’s a focus on mixing opinions, facts and musical analysis.
For a longer list of more classical music blogs, click here. Have you got any favourite places that have been left off our list? Comment below!
Discover more: whatson.englishtouringopera.org.uk
© Alex Burns 2018
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