I drive a lot for work. Usually it's just the radio that plays in the car but occasionally I go far enough that I'm too far for good reception with my usual stations. that leaves me hunting for something to listen to since I refuse to subscribe to Sirius XM.
A friend let me borrow a violin music CD (sorry don't remember the title) for one of those trips. It was perfect and it got me to thinking about having a CD or 2 of my own to play in those situations. Which has got me looking for a CD or 2 of classical pieces to stuff into my CD player ready to go when there's nothing on the radio.
What CDs would you recommend for someone new to classical music while driving? I don't mind orchestral pieces or violin solos but would hate piano and guitar solos. A good mix of solo strings and orchestra would be perfect.
I don’t know if they still sell them, but I always (meaning back into my teens) enjoyed the album series “Classical Music for people who hate classical music”. I never hated it, the albums just had a good selection on them, especially for driving.
Edit to add: this is one that I have that is on Amazon:
World's Okayest Fiddler
Long time ago there were cd's with just individual composers..like 1 for bach...1 for mozart...so one so forth. maybe a great way to focus on learning the who is who? Id have to start there. Then theres those 100 of the greatest pieces of classical type cd's ...but then id wonder...should i be listening to this version or one by the london phil...or what not. 🤔
id throw in movie composer type music. thomas newman, james horner, hans zimmer.. but like Emily said personal taste.
The Fretless quartet has a type of crossover sound..blends a string quartet sound with folk tunes.
I know youre probably meaning things more along the first part though.
@RDP ... Wow... Too many great CDs to mention. I'll tell you the one's I liked to listen to when I was commuting 1-1/2 hours each way for work before I retired.
Joshua Bell (almost any)
Nigel Kennedy (to keep me awake!)
Fritz Kreisler (old, but great)
I used to subscribe to BBC Music magazine and they included a CD with every issue. Lots of old and new music and musicians to experience there.
Good luck narrowing the list down.
Bob in Lone Oak, Texas
Also, since you seem to prefer violin/string classical music, be sure to look up some famous soloists, buy their albums. Go down a rabbit hole on YouTube and find the YouTube stars and buy theirs. I have way more fun finding music and artists that way.
World's Okayest Fiddler
I'm not a huge fan of "100 best" type CD sets because they tend to consist mostly of easy-listening stuff -- and often a lot of solo piano music.
If you like symphonies, I think it's well worthwhile to get composers' entire symphony cycles, especially if you know you like a particular conductor's interpretation. They're often sold as box sets. I personally like Paavo Jarvi's Beethoven cycle with Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Marin Alsop's Brahms cycle with the London Philharmonic is excellent, though the four CDs (which contain other pieces) are not sold together as far as I know.
Schubert's symphonies are pretty good to accompany a long drive. I recommend the recording by Claudio Abbado with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Underrated: the two symphonies by Vasily Kalinnikov, who was considered by both Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff to be the most talented Russian composer of his generation. I like the recording by Theodore Kuchar with the Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra. Also, if you like something that's a bit quirky, I recommend hearing the entire Carl Nielsen cycle.
I think chamber music is especially good for driving because the volume doesn't rise or fall as much as orchestral music. I'd recommend any recording by the Dover Quartet. Because they're a relatively young group, they only have a few recordings out, but I consider them the best string quartet active today. They have released two of the three intended volumes of a complete Beethoven quartet cycle. They also have an all-Mozart CD, an all-Schumann CD, and a CD titled "Voices of Defiance" that features three quartets related to the Second World War.
Other than that, I would recommend any Brahms chamber music, though I don't have favorite recordings of most of it. A very underrated chamber music disc I would recommend to anyone is the Niels Gade Sextet and Octet, recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic String Octet.