Ultimate Classical Relaxation: The Essential Masterpieces

Ultimate Classical Relaxation: The Essential Masterpieces

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Seekers of a decent cost-cutter collection of soothing background music and beginners looking for a reasonably broad introduction to Classical music may find Decca's Ultimate Classical Relaxation: The Essential Masterpieces to be a worthwhile purchase. This five-disc set covers the most famous selections from works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky -- three favorites of casual listeners and newcomers alike -- and offers two additional CDs of the greatest hits of other masters, including Samuel Barber's "Adagio" for strings, the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5," the slow movement from Joaquín Rodrigo's "Guitar Concerto," and numerous other evergreens. Of course, this box set would not be complete without the Albinoni "Adagio" (really composed by Remo Giazotto), but the surprising omission of Pachelbel's ubiquitous "Canon" may make some doubt whether this really is the ultimate collection; for that overplayed piece, in any number of arrangements, the listener is obliged to search elsewhere. But the music presented here is certainly pleasant and representative of the most popular pieces in music history. Some may question the caliber of the playing, but Decca has chosen recordings by world-class artists, including conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy, Neville Marriner, Herbert von Karajan, and Zubin Mehta; performers such as pianist Alicia de Larrocha, soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, and violinist Kyung-Wha Chung; and ensembles with the instant name recognition of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, to name just a few. Bearing in mind that this compilation is excerpt oriented and covers a lot of material, yet leaves much important music out, it is still one of the better budget packages on the market and worth more than its low price might suggest. Even so, the audio levels are quite variable, with some over-boosted tracks, while others are quite soft, so some volume adjustments are necessary.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/11/2008
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028947800965
catalogNumber: 001079002
Rank: 31171


  1. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: 2. Air on the G String
  2. Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (V), chorale prelude for organ, BWV 731 (BC K134)
  3. Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): No. 10. Sinfonia
  4. Concerto for oboe, violin, strings & continuo in F major (reconstruction), BWV 1053R: Siciliano
  5. Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 8 in E flat minor (WTC I/8), BWV 853 (BC L87): Prelude
  6. Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesu, joy of man's desiring
  7. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: 3. Sarabande
  8. Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067: 6. Minuet / 7. Badinerie
  9. Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049: 1. Allegro
  10. Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166): Sleepers awake
  11. Cantata No. 22, "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe," BWV 22 (BC A48): Sanctify us by thy goodness
  12. Concerto for oboe & violin (or 2 violins), strings & continuo (reconstruction), BWV 1060R: 2. Adagio
  13. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058: 2. Andante
  14. Concerto for 2 violins, strings & continuo in D minor ("Double"), BWV 1043: 2. Largo ma non tanto
  15. Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 1 in C major (WTC I/1), BWV 846 (BC L80): Prelude
  16. Cantata No. 208, "Was mir behagt," (Hunt Cantata), BWV 208 (BC G1, G3): Sheep may safely graze
  17. Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major ("Elvira Madigan") K. 467: 2. Andante
  18. Divertimento No. 17 for 2 horns & strings in D major, K. 334 (K.320b): 3. Minuet & Trio
  19. Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: 2. Adagio
  20. Piano Sonata No. 15 in C major ("Sonata semplice") K. 545: 2. Andante
  21. Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216: 2. Adagio
  22. Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major ("Eine kleine Nachtmusik"), K. 525: 2. Romance
  23. Concerto for flute, harp & orchestra in C major, K. 299 (K. 297c): 2. Andantino
  24. Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major, K. 332 (K. 300k): 2. Adagio
  25. Clarinet Quintet in A major ("Stadler"), K. 581: 2. Larghetto
  26. Sinfonia concertante for violin, viola & orchestra in E flat major, K. 364 (K. 320d): 2. Andante
  27. Divertimento No. 7 for 2 horns, bassoon & strings in D major, K. 205 (K. 167A): 3. Adagio
  28. Romeo and Juliet, fantasy-overture for orchestra in B minor (3 versions): Love Theme
  29. Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48: Waltz
  30. None but the lonely heart, song for voice & piano, Op. 6/6
  31. Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: 2. Andantino semplice
  32. Souvenir de Florence, for string sextet or string orchestra in D major, Op. 70: 2. Adagio cantabile e con moto
  33. Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
  34. String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11: 2. Andante cantabile
  35. Chant sans paroles (Song without words) for piano in A minor, Op. 40/6
  36. Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Dance of the Mirlitons
  37. Elegy, for string orchestra in G major ("In Memory of Ivan Samarin")
  38. Valse sentimentale, for piano (or violin & piano) in F minor, Op. 51/6
  39. Suite No. 4 for orchestra in G major ("Mozartiana"), Op. 61: 3. Preghiera (Andante non tanto)
  40. The Swan Lake, ballet, Op. 20: Scene and Second Dance of the Queen of the Swans
  41. The Sleeping Beauty, ballet, Op. 66: Panorama
  42. Symphony No. 6 in B minor ("Pathétique"), Op.74: 2. Allegro con grazia
  43. Adagio, for violin, strings & organ in G minor, T. Mi 26 (composed by Remo Giazotto; not by Albinoni)
  44. Kol Nidrei, for cello & orchestra, Op. 47
  45. Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor: 4. Adagietto
  46. Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar & orchestra: 2. Adagio
  47. Adagio for strings (or string quartet; arr. from 2nd mvt. of String Quartet), Op. 11
  48. Adagio for clarinet & strings
  49. The Swan (from "Carnival of the Animals"), original (for 2 pianos & ensemble) and arrangements
  50. Symphony No. 9 in E minor ("From the New World"), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5): 2. Largo
  51. Méditation, for violin & orchestra (or other arrangement) (from opera "Thäis")
  52. Peer Gynt Suite for orchestra (or piano or piano, 4 hands) No. 1, Op. 46: Morning Mood
  53. Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166): Sleepers awake
  54. Florida, suite for orchestra, RT vi/1: Daybreak
  55. Etude for guitar ("Neblina")
  56. Aladdin, incidental music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Aladdin's Dream & Dance of the Morning Mist
  57. Morgenblätter (Morning Papers), waltz for orchestra, Op. 279 (RV 279)
  58. Early One Morning, folk song
  59. Daphnis et Chloé, ballet for orchestra: Daybreak
  60. Symphony No. 6 in D major ("Le Matin"), H. 1/6: 2. Adagio - Andante
  61. Pieces (2) ("Chanson de matin" & "Chanson de nuit"), for violin & piano (later orchestrated), Op. 15: Chanson de matin
  62. Scottish Fantasy, for violin & orchestra, Op. 46: Introduction & first movement: Grave - Adagio cant
  63. Songs of the Auvergne, for voice & orchestra in 5 series: Uno jionto postouro
  64. La Gioconda, opera in 4 acts: Dance of the Hours

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