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Ultimate Classics - The Essential Masterpieces

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Solomon
>Schubert, Franz : Ave Maria
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Cantata no 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" BWV 147
>Pachelbel, Johann : Canon and Gigue for 3 Violins and Basso Continuo in D major
>Malotte, Albert Hay : The Lord's Prayer
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Concerto for Violin in D minor
>Puccini, Giacomo : Madama Butterfly
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a
>Grieg, Edvard : Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16
>Verdi, Giuseppe : Nabucco
>Elgar, Edward : Coronation Ode, Op. 44
>Offenbach, Jacques : Gaite Parisienne
>Strauss II (Junior), Johann : Casanova
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Cantata no 208, "Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!" (Hunt) BWV 208
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in A minor ("Für Elise"), WoO 59
>Sullivan, Arthur : The Lost Chord
>Gretry, Andre-Ernest-Mode : Zemire et Azor, opera in 4 acts
>Verdi, Giuseppe : Rigoletto
>Mascagni, Pietro : Cavalleria rusticana, opera (melodramma) in 1 act
>Clarke, Jeremiah : Prince of Denmark's March
>Handel, George Frideric : Messiah, HWV 56, Oratorio
>Parry, Charles H. : Jerusalem ("And did those feet in ancient time"), for chorus & organ (or orchestra)
>Verdi, Giuseppe : La traviata
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Concerto for Piano no 5 "Emperor"
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Fantasia on Greensleeves
>Ravel, Maurice : Boléro
>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt
>Roberton, Hugh S. : All in the April evening, partsong
>Verdi, Giuseppe : Aida, opera
>Massenet, Jules : Thais
>Adams, Stephen (I) : The Holy City
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Elijah, Op. 70
>Stainer, John : God so loved the world
>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18
>Godard, Benjamin : Jocelyn
>Dvorak, Antonin : Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World"
>Bizet, Georges : The Pearl Fishers, opera
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Hebrides Overture, in B minor Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave"
>Puccini, Giacomo : La bohème
>Rodrigo, Joaquín : Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar
>Balfe, Michael : Bohemian Girl
>Hoffstetter, Roman : Quartet for Strings in F major, (prev. attr. Haydn, Op.3/5)
>Sullivan, Arthur : Gondoliers
>Ketèlbey, Albert William : Sanctuary of the Heart, Meditation religieuse
>Gounod, Charles : Ave Maria
>Irvine, Jessie Seymour : The Lord's My Shepherd, hymn ("Crimond")
>Traditional, English : Blow the Wind Southerly (Northumbrian Folk Song)
>Traditional, Irish : Londonderry Air (Danny Boy), folk song
>Sibelius, Jean : Karelia Suite, Op. 11
>Debussy, Claude : Suite bergamasque
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492
>Handel, George Frideric : MEDLEY
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Ave verum corpus
>Gounod, Charles : Mors et vita
>Handel, George Frideric : Tolomeo, HWV 25
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Romance for Violin and Orchestra no 2 in F major, Op. 50
>Canteloube, Joseph : Baïlèro
>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Scheherazade
>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23
>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 49
>Monk, William Henry : Abide with me
>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Concerto for Horn no 4 in E flat major, K 495
Performers Conductors Ensembles Composers
Notes & Reviews:

Decca's Ultimate Classics is a five-CD box set that presents the best-known pieces of classical music in a straightforward, no-frills program. Most of the selections are quite famous, taken from larger works by such great masters as Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and many others, so beginners and casual listeners are sure to find many of the most familiar melodies here. The information provided with the set consists only of tracklistings and identification of performers, so there is no material on the background of the music, the composers' lives, or the original albums these recordings appeared on. This may be a drawback for some listeners who need an introduction to music appreciation, but for others, having a direct "name that tune" approach may feel easy enough and make the experience less intimidating. Decca chose recordings from the 1970s and '80s, so the ADD recordings are slightly variable in quality, though the set as a whole is well-suited to comfortable home listening. ~ Blair Sanderson



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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Solomon :: The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
  • Conductor: Sir Marriner
  • Running Time: 3 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1748

>Schubert, Franz : Ave Maria
  • Performer: Joan Sutherland
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Running Time: 4 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1825

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Cantata no 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" BWV 147 :: Jesu, joy of man's desiring
  • Conductor: George Guest
  • Running Time: 7 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 07/02/1723

>Pachelbel, Johann : Canon and Gigue for 3 Violins and Basso Continuo in D major
  • Conductor: Karl Munchinger
  • Running Time: 4 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: after 1700

>Malotte, Albert Hay : The Lord's Prayer
  • Performers: Stuart Burrows (Tenor); Martin Neary (Organ)
  • Conductor: Wyn Morris
  • Running Time: 3 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1935

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Eine Kleine Nachtmusik :: 1st Movement. Allegro
  • Conductor: Sir Marriner
  • Running Time: 5 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1787

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Concerto for Violin in D minor :: 2nd Movement. Andante
  • Performer: Ruggiero Ricci (Violin)
  • Conductor: Piero Gamba
  • Running Time: 7 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 09/16/1844

>Puccini, Giacomo : Madama Butterfly :: One fine day
  • Performer: Renata Tebaldi
  • Conductor: Tullio Serafin
  • Notes: Composition written: 1904.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1904

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a :: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy / Waltz of the Flowers
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 7 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1892

>Grieg, Edvard : Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 :: 3rd Movement. Allegro molto e marcato
  • Performer: Radu Lupu (Piano)
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Running Time: 10 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1868

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Nabucco :: Va, pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves)
  • Conductor: Lamberto Gardelli
  • Running Time: 4 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1842

>Elgar, Edward : Coronation Ode, Op. 44
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Running Time: 6 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: March
  • Written: 1901

>Offenbach, Jacques : Gaîté Parisienne :: Overture
  • Conductor: Ernest Ansermet
  • Running Time: 9 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1858

>Strauss II (Junior), Johann : Casanova :: Nun's Chorus
  • Performer: Joan Sutherland
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Running Time: 3 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1928

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Cantata no 208, "Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!" (Hunt) BWV 208 :: Sheep may safely graze
  • Conductor: Karl Munchinger
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 02/23/1713

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Bagatelle for piano in A minor ("Für Elise"), WoO 59
  • Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1810

>Sullivan, Arthur : The Lost Chord
  • Performers: Stuart Burrows (Tenor); Martin Neary (Organ)
  • Conductor: Wyn Morris
  • Running Time: 3 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 01/13/1877

>André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (Composer) (1741 - 1813) : Zémire et Azor, opera in 4 acts :: Pantomime and Finale
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1771

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Rigoletto :: La donna è mobile
  • Performer: Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Running Time: 2 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1851

>Mascagni, Pietro : Cavalleria rusticana, opera (melodramma) in 1 act :: Intermezzo
  • Conductor: Gianandrea Gavazzeni
  • Running Time: 3 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Clarke, Jeremiah : Prince of Denmark's March
  • Performers: Philip Jones [Trumpet/Conductor] (Trumpet); Elgar Howarth (Trumpet)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1697.
  • Running Time: 2 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: March
  • Written: 1697

>Handel, George Frideric : Messiah, HWV 56, Oratorio :: I know that my Redeemer liveth
  • Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Running Time: 5 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1741

>Parry, Charles H. : Jerusalem ("And did those feet in ancient time"), for chorus & organ (or orchestra)
  • Performer: David Flood (Organ)
  • Conductor: Allan Wicks
  • Running Time: 2 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1916

>Verdi, Giuseppe : La traviata :: Act 1. Prelude
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Notes: Composition written: 1853.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1853

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Concerto for Piano no 5 "Emperor" :: 3rd Movement. Rondo. Allegro
  • Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Running Time: 10 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1809

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Fantasia on Greensleeves
  • Performer: William Bennett (Flute)
  • Conductor: Sir Marriner
  • Running Time: 4 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1934

>Ravel, Maurice : Boléro :: Finale
  • Conductor: Ernest Ansermet
  • Running Time: 5 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Grieg, Edvard : Peer Gynt :: Morning Mood
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1874-1875

>Roberton, Hugh S. : All in the April evening, partsong
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Verdi, Giuseppe : Aida, opera :: Grand March and Ballet
  • Conductor: Carlo Franci
  • Notes: Composition written: 1871.
  • Running Time: 11 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1871

>Massenet, Jules : Thaïs :: Méditation
  • Performer: Nigel Kennedy (Violin)
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Running Time: 5 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1892

>Adams, Stephen (I) : The Holy City
  • Performers: Stuart Burrows (Tenor); Martin Neary (Organ)
  • Conductor: Wyn Morris
  • Running Time: 4 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1892

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Elijah, Op. 70 :: Oh rest in the Lord
  • Conductor: (Louis) Neel
  • Running Time: 3 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 08/11/1846

>Stainer, John : God so loved the world :: God so loved the world
  • Conductor: George Guest
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1887

>Rachmaninov, Sergei : Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 :: 1st Movement. Moderato
  • Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
  • Conductor: Andre Previn
  • Running Time: 11 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1900-1901

>Godard, Benjamin : Jocelyn
  • Performer: Kenneth McKellar (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Peter Knight
  • Running Time: 5 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Antonin Dvorák (1841 - 1904) : Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World" :: 2nd Mo
  • Conductor: István Kertész
  • Notes: Composition written: 01/10/1893-05/24/1893.
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral

>Bizet, Georges : The Pearl Fishers, opera :: Pearl Fishers' Duet (Au fond du temple saint)
  • Performers: Nicolai Ghiaurov; Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Robin Stapleton
  • Running Time: 6 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1863

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Hebrides Overture, in B minor Op. 26 "Fingal's Cave"
  • Conductor: Christoph Dohnányi
  • Notes: Composition written: 12/11/1830.
  • Running Time: 10 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 12/11/1830

>Puccini, Giacomo : La bohème :: Che gelida manina
  • Performer: Luciano Pavarotti (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 4 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1896

>Joaquín Rodrigo (1901 - 1999) : Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar :: 2nd Movement. Adagio
  • Performer: Carlos Bonell (Guitar)
  • Conductor: Charles Dutoit
  • Running Time: 11 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1939

>Balfe, Michael : Bohemian Girl :: I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls
  • Performer: Joan Sutherland
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Notes: Composition written: 1843.
  • Running Time: 4 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1843

>Hoffstetter, Roman : Quartet for Strings in F major, (prev. attr. Haydn, Op.3/5) :: Serenade
  • Conductor: Karl Munchinger
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Chamber Music

>Sullivan, Arthur : Gondoliers :: Take a pair of sparkling eyes
  • Performer: Thomas Round (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Isidore Godfrey
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1889

>Albert W. Ketèlbey (1875 - 1959) : Sanctuary of the Heart, Meditation religieuse
  • Conductor: Eric Rogers
  • Running Time: 4 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1924

>Gounod, Charles : Ave Maria
  • Performer: Leontyne Price (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Herbert Karajan
  • Running Time: 2 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: circa 1852

>Irvine, Jessie Seymour : The Lord's My Shepherd, hymn ("Crimond")
  • Conductor: Wyn Morris
  • Running Time: 3 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Choral

>Traditional, English : Blow the Wind Southerly (Northumbrian Folk Song)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 31 sec.

>Traditional, Irish : Londonderry Air (Danny Boy), folk song
  • Running Time: 3 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: by 1855

>Sibelius, Jean : Karelia Suite, Op. 11 :: 3rd Movement. Alla marcia
  • Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy
  • Running Time: 4 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1893

>Debussy, Claude : Suite bergamasque :: Clair de lune
  • Performer: Pascal Rogé (Piano)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1890

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" :: 4th Movement. Ode to Joy (excerpt)
  • Performers: Yvonne Minton; Martti Talvela (Bass); Stuart Burrows (Tenor); Pilar Lorengar
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Running Time: 7 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1824

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492 :: Overture
  • Conductor: Georg Solti
  • Running Time: 4 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1786

>Handel, George Frideric : MEDLEY :: Largo
  • Conductor: George Szell
  • Running Time: 5 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1738

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Ave verum corpus
  • Performer: Peter White (Organ)
  • Conductor: George Guest
  • Running Time: 3 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1791

>Gounod, Charles : Mors et vita :: Judex
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Running Time: 4 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Handel, George Frideric : Tolomeo, HWV 25 :: Silent Worship
  • Performer: Kenneth McKellar (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Adrian Boult
  • Notes: Composition written: 1728.
  • Running Time: 2 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1728

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Romance for Violin and Orchestra no 2 in F major, Op. 50
  • Performer: Willi Boskovsky (Violin)
  • Conductor: Willi Boskovsky
  • Ensemble: Vienna Mozart Ensemble
  • Running Time: 9 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1802

>Canteloube, Joseph : Baïlèro
  • Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Conductor: Jeffrey Tate
  • Running Time: 6 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1923-1930

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Scheherazade :: The Young Prince and the Young Princess
  • Performer: Erich Gruenberg (Violin)
  • Conductor: Leopold Stokowski
  • Running Time: 12 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1888

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 :: 1st Movement. Allegro non troppo (excerpt)
  • Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano)
  • Conductor: Lorin Maazel
  • Running Time: 9 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1874

>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 49 :: Lullaby
  • Performer: Renata Tebaldi
  • Conductor: Anton Guadagno
  • Running Time: 2 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1864-1868

>Monk, William Henry : Abide with me :: Eventide)
  • Performers: Bruce Blyth (Treble); Richard Farnes (Organ)
  • Conductor: Stephen Cleobury
  • Running Time: 4 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1861

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Concerto for Horn no 4 in E flat major, K 495 :: 3rd Movement. Rondo (Allegro vivace)
  • Performer: Barry Tuckwell (Horn)
  • Conductor: Peter Maag
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1786

>Handel, George Frideric : Messiah, HWV 56, Oratorio :: Hallelujah Chorus
  • Conductor: Sir Marriner
  • Running Time: 3 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1741