Originally Posted by Agentsands77
I'm not overly enthusiastic about either composer.
Both are wonderful composers.
I love John Adams, who may be the most popular and widely-celebrated of living classical composers.
In truth, though, my heart belongs to those who exist on the border of the Romantic era and that of the 20th century. Y'know, Rachmaninoff and Puccini and R. Strauss, which all bled into the musical legacy of folks like Berg and Shostakovich and film composers like Bernard Herrmann (who really should be more widely-performed in concert form). Dramatic and rich and intoxicating.
I balance that out with unflinching devotion to J.S. Bach, who is, I think inarguably, the greatest musical genius of the classical tradition.
I really like some of the motifs in Shore's Lord of the Rings scores, and it is improving a bit on each listen, but it's atmosphere without much else going on. Goodall did nothing for me.
I've not yet formed a strong preference on era, as I'm doing a fairly shallow trawl in the sense of covering quite a lot in a short space of time. I am finding the strictly classical material exemplified, say, by Haydn and Mozart harder to get into than either the Baroque period, or Romantic or 20C symphonies. I'll exclude opera from that - I'm a huge fan of the Mozart/del Ponte operas and Rossini, all the way through to Norma and so forth, although bel canto doesn't line up perfectly with the rough classical/romantic divide.
Medieval polyphony will always have a place thanks to umpteen Sunday evenings listening to the college choir during Evensong. Byrd's masses, Davy's Stabat Mater, Tye's Omni gentes plaudits manibus and Taverner's Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas are particular favourites. Strauss I don't know very well yet, and my Rachmaninoff is pretty limited to the second symphony and the second piano concerto, which is to say I know the famous tunes!
To be frank, if I were to do a list of favourite pieces it would cover a ridiculously expansive period. There are things I really, really like from each era, although to be fair as a neophyte I'm still engaged primarily by melody.
I'm currently spending a lot of time listening to La Traviata to decide on a library recording. The MYTO remastering of the Callas 1958 Lisbon performance is astonishing. I always assumed I wouldn't purchase "vintage" versions on the basis that I don't do well with reedy sound, but this is an exceptional remastering. I also found an outfit called Prestige Recordings run by an ex-BBC engineer who cuts CDs to order of the remastering he has done of out of copyright stuff. The problem is that you can't preview them anywhere, so you're reliant on reviews to be convinced.
Anyway, I'm torn between Callas and the Cortrubas/Domingo/Kleiber recording, since even though Sutherland is probably a slightly less wobbly singer, I have a lot of Pavarotti in Puccini and not much Domingo, and Carlos is my jam. Callas, though. It's trite to say, but wow. There's a lot of hype and melodrama surrounding her, but get the right recording and you really can see what the fuss was about. Shame her voice was weakening at the beginning of the stereo era so you're so dependant on fabulous remastering to get a listenable sound.