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I used to have ELP's Pictures album! I wasn't into Sky, but did have a load of other stuff, like Oldfield, Nice and some of the (very old) Electric Light Orchestra stuff whicih was fantastic. I still have an ELO "out of the blue" sweatshirt somewhere!
The names and numbers thing can confuse me too, but I soon got to know that Beethoven's 5th was the TA-TA-TA-Daaaaa one and the 6th was the Pastoral. I guess it's something you get used to, but it can be a bit daunting as it makes it seem like there's an ocean of these things.
I don't have your problem as my own tastes have always included classical music as it was spoonfed to me by my parents and I loved a lot of it, as well as learning to play myself. However, I quickly digressed onto some of my "own" stuff though, so I'm a proper musical mongrel
PS. Murdoch has copyrighted breathing now too.
Admittedly I still like it now, but my ears have become so over spoilt to hearing classical music, I no longer liten to it too much.
I would say I'm still in to the beginners kind of classical music, you know the stuff you get free with the paper or the kind of predictable albums Classic FM makes like ' the best of adgios' or something like that.
I'm still quite happy listening to the famous pieces like Canon in D, Moonlight, Brandenburg concerto etc.
For info, I have only quite recenlty realised just how beautful Chopin's music is and Rachmaninov's ! Can you beliveve I never liked them before!!!!! I deserve a slap for that!
I'm also getting into Greig and Schumann at the moment, been listening to them on Deutsche Grammophon...and I like it!
looking at the Radio times ( or equivalent ) , and picking out what classical pieces you want to hear on Radio 3. I often go though it and highlight the pieces I want to hear, to see what they are like.
Go to the Deutsche Grammophon website, and you can hear a preview from the tracks on the cds they have, its quite a good way of seeing if you like a piece some one mentions.
Naxos cds are good for classical, they are cheap and are good sound quality.
Almost forgot to say, charity shops are useful for LPs and they are very cheap! my dad got all of the Deutsche Grammophon Beethoven symphonies on vinyl for a cheap price, and in hmv they were selling that box set for 70 quid!
Theres no right or wrong way to start, just switch on the radio and listen and make a note of the pieces you like!
The web abounds with lists for starting a classical music collection. Here is a good one to get you started:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Start-classical ... collection
It covers a wide range, but it includes a couple of piano concerto recommendations by Grieg, Schumann, and Rachmaninoff.
You also might try some amazon lists of classical music suggestions:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/redirect.htm ... tive=19450
As far as classical music is concerned generally, it depends what in music that you like now grabs you: rhythm, melody, power, intimacy, simplicity, complexity, instrumental, voice etc. "Approachable" music is not always so and vice versa. I remember introducing someone with relatively little exposure to music to the late Beethoven quartets, which I was struggling with then. He lapped it up immediately - then I found out he liked Bartok. So I was coming to terms with late Beethoven from Mozart etc and he was coming back from more modern and complex music. (I still can't take Bartok, my world ends around Elgar and Rachmaninoff, with some exceptions) I am happy with my limited tastes .
There are so many 'oughts' in classical music: eg I ought to like Mozart more than Haydn. Well, yes, I do, but I love Haydn too and there are things Haydn does that Mozart doesn't. He has a different sense of humour for a start.
Classical music lovers have a reputation for being po faced and serious. Yes, great music can put us in touch with aspects of life that nothing else can, but it aint much use if we don't enjoy it, whether playing or listening.