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What kind of music do you enjoy?

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I used to listen to RATM a lot, had all their albums, etc. Most of them were acquired before I'd ever heard of Ayn Rand, but I picked up their last album (of covers) when it came out a couple years ago. There are things I appreciate about them, such as their passion and musical skill that you've already mentioned...but given what they put it in the service of, I don't think that I would support them anymore. I actually like their music a lot less than I used to, as well...there are only a few of their songs that I still like, and a lot of them that I can't stomach anymore.

You mentioned that you enjoy jazz and musical virtuosity. I can't recommend Victor Wooten highly enough. He's a jazz bassist and is widely renowned as one of the greatest bassists playing today. Listen, for example, to his instrumental cover of "Norwegian Wood" (which is just one bass track) to get an idea of his skill. And while his philosophy on his lyrical songs is a bit mixed (he sometimes buys into the "All we need is love" stuff), it is generally surprisingly positive--listen to the song "My Life" for example. I'm thrilled to be going to see him live on Monday. From what I've heard, his live shows are even better than his albums.

And I can't help but throw in a little plug for my favorite pop/rock band, Self. They're currently releasing a streaming b-side on their website every week until their new album comes out, and some of them are incredibly good (my favorites are probably "Summersound" and "With You Somehow" but I like pretty much all of them). Click on the link to hear them.

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I actually have a viceral reaction against Rage Against The Machine. (Same with some Pink Floyd.) But I recognize their talent, so I can see why some people would like them.

As for Mozart, his requiem is amazing -- provided that you get a good recording. It's dark, but extraordinarily beautiful. If you're interested, I can recommend some versions that are particularly good.

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Yes Matt,

I remember "Requiem" from the movie "Amadeus" and as I recall it was exactly as you describe: dark but beautiful. It would probably be a great place to start.

What do you think of his symphonies 40 & 41 "Jupiter"? I have a Deutsche Grammophon recording of the Viena Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein, originally recorded 1962, DDD.

I am a bit of an audiophile so I would greatly appreciate suggestions of specific recordings.

I hate dull, washed out, uneven, underwater recordings. Many imports are this way.

My father (an extreme audiophile who still listens to vinyl) maintains that the best recordings were made in the 1960's -- simple, 3 mics (center, right, left) and let fly. Also that analog (vinyl) is still far superior to digital. This point is technical and could probably start a new thread -- that digital is sampled music, that it is deconstructed and then reconstructed music and the reconstruction is not as good as the original -- that a good system will actually display width and depth of the orchestra and indeed instrument placement and that this is what is lost. Most audiophile magazines confirm this and I have actually heard it myself (only audible on high end systems). To address this problem I think they now make "super" CD's and players which sample and playback at twice the original CD format.

For the money, I'm happy with the convenience and clarity of CD's.

Still the recording makes a difference as does the conductor and the orchestra.

I have an excellent recording of Beethoven's 9th -- recorded 1961, Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by George Szell, ADD

I also like Sir George Solti and the Chicago Symph Orch.

Also, I'd like to hear classical enthusiasts opinions of Stravinsky. I particularly like "The Rite of Spring", at times it is intentionally disonant and that makes it interesting to me, different.



Ash -- not trying to bug you, just wondering if you received 2 emails from me?

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now you know four! I have heard of Ennio Morricone and have probably seen ever spagetti western ever made! ;) Yes, his tunes can be very catchy.

As for music, I like too much to list, but some that may be of interest to Objectivst is, of course, Rush (famous 80's rock band from Canada) who are fans of Ayn Rand. Their music often has themes of individualism and freedom. I recently discovered a band called Amethystium that plays new-agey-atmospheric music that is great for working and reading.

This is a great thread, by the way!



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I don't find the philosophical principles of music to be relevant to my appreciation of it. The fact that Rage Against the Machine espouses a double hypocrisy by promoting socialism as the ideal of freedom and doing so with the backing of a major corporate label doesn't detract from the fact that Zack de la Rocha is an extremely talented lyricist and performer, and Tom Morello's solos are badass. By the same token, although I know of their association with Objectivism, I cannot stand Rush.

I listen to punk, reggae, and some ska (although the first two genres often convey incredible depth of expression, most ska bands tend to be rather shallow). As for classical, I enjoy the works of Liszt, Holst, and Bach more than any others. I also enjoy a few rap artists (not many), and some ambient electronica artists such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, etc.

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I like some of Squarepusher's stuff, although generally, the more recent their work is, the less I like it.

I should also mention that the Victor Wooten concert I saw the other night was incredible! Check out his tour schedule, and if he's stopping anywhere near you, go to the show! Musical tastes vary, but I can almost guarantee that it'll be about the best fifteen bucks you've ever spent (after your first copies of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, of course :) ).

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Two topics here: recordings of Mozart's Requiem, and Rage Against The Machine.

I remembered that I already gave some quick reviews of Requiem recordings elsewhere, so I'll just cut & paste those here.

"I generally consider the three most important specific aspects of the Requiem, aside from overall harmony, to be the mixing on the strings & horns, the quality of the vocalists, and the tempo. If a recording gets those three right, it's probably worth listening to. I generally use the Intro, Rex Tremendae, and Confutatus as my litmus tests, and give a quicker listen to the slower parts to check out how the solos are done. I'll give you a quick review of two recordings.

Guiliani (Sony Classical): The mixing on this recording is damned near impeccible in most parts. The tempos are generally a bit on the slow side. It's nothing dramatic, but it's enough to put me off a bit. Rex Tremendae is the biggest problem in this respect, but Kyrie and Confutatus could use a little more fuel as well. That said, it does a lot with the tempos it chooses. The chorus on Rex is so powerful that it doesn't even matter, and it's easy to forget how anyone else would do it while listening to this. The problem in the other tracks is not solved as satisfactorily. Lacrimosa is handled with a great deal of subtlety here, and this is probably my favorite recording of it. The recording is generally very clear, but loses some of it when there is a lot going on (the end of Offertory, for example, is a bit muddled.)

Those are the problems. The recording has a lot going for it as well, though, which is why I still rank it as one of my favorites. Requiem involves a lot of weaving of parts; the entrances of vocalists and strings in particular have to be done just right in order to keep the flow moving smoothly. The entries, and everything else about the vocalists here, is effectively beyond criticism.

Overall, Guiliani's is a slow yet powerful rendition of the Requiem. It goes for contemplation over triumph, but doesn't give up on explosiveness.

Bader (Vox Allegreto): I actually hadn't listened to this one in a while, and I'm inclined to rate it much lower than I would have a while ago. The recording is a bit fuzzy, and the strings in particular tend to get subsumed by other parts. There are a few parts of the recording that almost make it worthwhile, and they may have been why I bought it: the Intro, for example, takes a pretty unusual approach. It almost overemphasizes the higher-end notes, but this makes for an unusually chilling effect. But I'm going to retract my recommendation of this one.

There's another recording of this that I'd love to refer you to, but I can't find it at the moment. The Guiliani recording is very much worth picking up, so I'd go with that one for now. Incidentally, if you watch or have watched Amadeus, I consider the versions from the Requiem there to be nearly perfect, but I have yet to find a whole recording that those are from. (I'm not sure there is one.) The conductor for those is Neville Martin, but I've listened Amazon clips of his version of Requiem and I'm sure that neither (I think there were two recordings) is the one used for Amadeus.

I'll let you know if I find that other recording. And if you run across any other good ones, please let me know; my best resource, unfortunately, is Amazon, and I may have ruled out some great recordings based on just a few clips."


"I'm still listening to that Bader recording, and I'm remembering again why I liked it enough to buy it. It's really not that good in technical terms, but it's SO powerful in some parts (Dies Irae, for example) that I can't help but like it. I think this is going to come down to an issue of pure personal taste though. Do check it out, but don't buy it without hearing it first.

(Incidentally, I'm annoyed that this recording doesn't make separate tracks for the different parts of the Sequence: it simply lumps them into one 20 minute track.)"

And, though this is just a quick comment based on listening to Amazon.com clips of some stuff that was recommended:

"The Solti version has a lot going for it, including a great Kyrie, but Rex Tremendae sounds way too playful. The Martin recording IS very good. My only complaint from what I could hear is that the lower notes seemed a bit subdued, but that is probably due to how Walmart digitalizes the clips -- the parts of the first disc on Amazon didn't have that problem."

As for RATM, it's not that I react badly to them because of their politics. Yeah, their politics suck, but I can overlook that when I listen to a band. For instance, I like some punk music, and the politics there is almost invariably awful (and very explicit). With RATM, it's actually the music itself that makes me shiver. I'm actually inclined to regard it as a sign of talent that they're capable of inducing such a reaction... since I can't really pin down what it is about them that I find so appalling, I don't hold it against someone if they like them. But they'd better not try to put it in my CD player. ;-)

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I tried overlooking RATM's politics but I just can't. When judging artists I judge them by, Instuments, Vocals, and Lyrics. Under lyrics is pretty much the message of the song. RATM's message really sucks, thus I think it's best not to listen to them or support them by buying their merchandise.

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What is funny about Rage Against The Machine (and all the other "message" musicians), is that they are signed to huge corporate labels, have big-time managers and publicists, insist on ownership of their work, demand huge salaries, and are stinking rich, revelling in the lifestyle that only capitalism can provide.

It has to make you laugh.

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What is funny about Rage Against The Machine (and all the other "message" musicians), is that they are signed to huge corporate labels, have big-time managers and publicists, insist on ownership of their work, demand huge salaries, and are stinking rich, revelling in the lifestyle that only capitalism can provide.

It has to make you laugh.

I know exactly what you mean, and there's still hundreds of thousands of people listening to these records. They're contributing to Capitalism while at the same spreading the ideas of Socialism. Is that posible? Do they balance out or something?

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I'm a very big Radiohead fan, even though Thom Yorke, the lead singer of the band is a socialist. Although they're not as preachy as RATM. Thankfully it doesn't detract from that fact that the band has an enormous amount of talent and can be very inspiring at times.

And Pink Floyd's guitar solos are some of the most inspirational notes of music I have ever heard in my life. Especially the one at the end of "Comfortably Numb".

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In the realm of classical, my all-time favorite is Beethoven's ninth symphony, especially the fourth movement.

In the realm of popular music, I worship the Rolling Stones. They are so great. I love their sound, their sense of life, their vigor, the members (by which I mean Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie)... everything.

Other than that, I don't really like any other rock music. I have Rush's "2112", which I like. However, it is more hard rock, and I prefer Stones-style blues-rock.

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I love anything that Rush made. I can't understand why anyone would dislike them. 2112 is one of my favorite rock songs. Its based on Anthem and is just wonderful. I also love Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Neil Young, Lynard Skynard, Meat Loaf, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, and The Eagles. All these guys are great artists, even if some of their lyrics are bad their music is great. Lyrics mean nothing, just music and vocals make it or break it. I listen to rock in my car and if im working on websites or just hanging out in my room.

I just want to say Radiohead is awful. It is depressing and irrational and it hate it.

I love Rachmaninoff of course, his 2nd is my fav. I like Tchaikousky, Mozart, Bach, Beetoven, Pachabel, Debussy, and John Williams (his work in movies). I always listen to Classical music if I am working on a piece of art, and I often listen to it if I'm doing web design or graphic design, depends on my mood.

As for new music:

-Funny punk music (like nofx, guttermouth, the bloodhound gang) because its funny and that is all. I have a good time singing these types of song with my friends, we get a good laugh everytime.

-I don't mind stuff like Linkin Park and Evanscence, they are very strong, powerful and energanic. Wezzer is okay, they are fun spirted.

-As for Rap, I think its good for parties, big parties that is, not much more. Rappers that I think are okay are 50Cent, the tittle of his ablum is "Get Rich or Die Tryin", he is very individualistic and I like that. Nelly, he is positive and fun. Stuff like that.

I have to say as of recently I have checked out Self, and I enjoy them as well. I think I'll bye a CD of theres, any recommendations?

I leave with a few words from Rush (Anthem lyrics)

Know your place in life is where you want to be,

Don't let them tell you that you owe it all to me.

Keep on looking forward; no use in looking 'round;

Hold your head above the ground and they won't bring you down.

Anthem of the heart and anthem of the mind

A funeral dirge for eyes gone blind

We marvel after those who sought

The wonders of the world, wonders of the world,

Wonders of the world they wrought.

Live for yourself -- there's no one else

More worth living for

Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more

Well, I know they've always told you

Selfishness was wrong

Yet it was for me, not you, I came to write this song

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I have to say as of recently I have checked out Self, and I enjoy them as well.  I think I'll bye a CD of theres, any recommendations?

Yeah, I can certainly recommend a Self album to you, depending on your tastes. Since from your other tastes you seem to like more of a straightforward rock sound, you might enjoy their first album, Subliminal Plastic Motives. You should be able to purchase that at any major music store (or at least online). Gizmodgery is also like that for the most part, except with the twist that it is recorded using only toy instruments--but that album is out of print and is getting a little difficult to find for a reasonable price. But if you can find it, I definitely highly recommend it. It is one of my favorite albums.

Their other two albums are a bit more stylistically eclectic...Breakfast With Girls definitely has a hip-hop influence on some of the tracks (especially the title track), kind of a bluesy influence on some of the tracks, as well as some pop and lots of other stuff thrown in. The production on that album is incredible, and the songs are mostly very good. So that's not a bad choice either. Their other album, The Half-Baked Serenade, is out of print and apparently almost impossible to find anymore (so if you happen to see it for $2 in the used CDs bin at your local music store, definitely buy it...I doubt that would happen, but things like that occasionally do...and if you don't like it you can sell it on eBay for $100).

There are also a few "albums" that the band released for free on the internet, composed of b-sides from their various recording sessions. Some of those are definitely worth hearing, and they can all be downloaded for free here. You can also download a song or two (the singles) from each of their other albums that I've already mentioned in order to get a better idea of which of them you might like to buy. (Although I should mention that I don't think "Trunk Fulla Amps," the featured single from Gizmodgery, is very representative of that album as a whole. In addition to that, download "Resurrect," a toy-instrument b-side from Gizmodgery in the "Various" section and one of my favorite songs. The rest of Giz is somewhere inbetween those two songs.) You can also download various other songs and several live bootlegs. (I should clarify that all of these downloads are legal and sanctioned by the band.) All in all, there are over 50 songs you can download for free, and well over 200 if you count the live ones. And most of them are worth hearing. So head on over there, get a bunch of great free music, and then express your appreciation and support of the band by buying whichever of their albums you can find!

Also, be sure to keep checking the band's official site for a new free streaming b-side every week. The last couple, "Evolution" and "She's An Island" are both very good IMO. (I think "Evolution" was written as the main title music for the movie of the same name, but it was cut and replaced by orchestral score--this is one of the few cases where I think the song might have worked better. You can still hear part of a different Self song, "Out With A Bang," at the end of the movie just before it cuts into the closing credits. "Out With A Bang" is a great song, but unfortunately you can not hear the full song legally anymore at this point--but it will apparently be on their upcoming album, Ornament and Crime. Self songs have been featured in other movies as well, such as "Stay Home" during the end credits of Shrek. Again, it was supposed to be the main title music, but was replaced by Smashmouth's "Allstar" by some idiot studio executive. "Stay Home" would have worked much better there. You can download it in the "Various" section on the downloads page at selfies.com)

Okay, that'll probably be the most Self-promotion I do on this site (pun intended...so shoot me :) ).

I've still never heard Rush, but based on your recommendation and those lyrics I will definitely check them out. Thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, being the elitist music-snob that I am (I'm a singer and have been a musician nearly my entire life), I usually don't talk much about my music tastes--because people make fun of me for being a dork.

But I'll bet most of y'all would be interested in real, quality music. So, some of my favorites:

Brahms (particularly his Requiem, which was immensely comforting to me following the terrorist attacks; it's a Requiem for the living, including words of comfort and inspiration)

Mozart (Every decent person must adore Mozart! The Queen of the Night arias in Die Zauberflote are phenominally spectacular!)

Verdi (Great Verdi, the god of opera--this guy had a particular knack for shaping the orchestration to the human voices which were to be the focal point. His instrumental accompaniments compliment and buttress, rather than detracting from, the vocal lines they're played with.)

Beethoven (The Ninth, of course, is one of the most orgiastically joyful pieces of music I can think of!)

Chopin (His piano works have such a wonderful emotional range. His music is flowing and beautiful.)

Rachmaninoff (You all know why.)

Jonathan Willcocks (He's even still alive. He's fantastic. His music is incredible, running the full range from ecstatic glee to sorrow. He uses the most fantastically complex melodic devices. I don't know that an untrained ear would apreciate his music immediately--particularly when he uses modes and such. It's complicated stuff, but very beautiful. www.jonathanwillcocks.com )

Cantus (Not a composing entity, but a performing group. They're a male choral ensemble, and they kick ass. They perform a wide range of fantastic music flawlessly and with incredibly sensitive, expressive musicianship. And ladies; some of them are HOT! :) Their artistic director is incredibly gifted and has impeccable taste. Accordingly, their repertoire is totally rockin'! www.cantusonline.org )

Steven Sondheim (Musical Theatre. But he writes like he means it--music and lyrics, and none of that maudlin garbage we come to associate with musicals. He's not the most benevolent crayon in the box, but he's superb nonetheless. Way the hell ahead of his time.)

Audra McDonald (A singer who performs primarily for Musical Theatre--but she was trained at Juilliard. Her technique is flawless, she's incredibly expressive, and she picks brilliant music to sing.)

The New York Voices (Jazz. Yum. Check out The New York Voices Sing the Songs of Paul Simon. I've never been a particular fan of Mr. Simon, but their treatment of his songs render them brilliant!)

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Here are some of the pieces I enjoy listening to:

- Dvorak: New World Symphony.

- Beethoven: 9th, and especially his 5th.

- Tchaikovsky: In addition to Romeo & Juliet, I like the 1812 overture.

- Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto no.2 and no.3

- Vivaldi: The Four Seasons. Incredibly violin solos - especially on the opening to "Winter."

- Camille Saint-Saens: Symphony No.3 "Organ Symphony," Danse Macabre is fun, and I love the violin solo in "Introduction Et Rondo Capriccioso."

My absolute favorite CD = Yanni, "Live at the Acopolis." I can't recommend it enough - every track is wonderful.

With pop/rock music, I generally don't have anything wrong with it. As long as the lyrics aren't horrible and the music doesn't hurt my ears, I'll listen to it while I drive. But, when I sit down and really listen to music, I listen to the stuff I've already listed.

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I've actually only recently started listening to classical music myself. I think that's because it wasn't until recently that I actually started listening to music very closely for extended periods of time each day. (I now have to drive about 100 miles every day.)

I started finding most popular music too repetetive and grating for me to listen to for a long time day in and day out.

So, since then, I've found Bach, Chopin, and Beethoven. I appreciate the complexity.

I'm taking my time in moving to other composers because I've been burned by a few pieces (by Mahler & Brahms) that are just too too too much for me to hear as yet.

But my absolute favorite piece of all time is Dvorak's 9th - The New World. I have a recording by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein that is like flying.

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as you can guess by my name, this is a big topic for me. Firstly Rush, i got into Rush about when i got into objectivism and just after i started to play guitar. Alex Lifeson's guitar work is fantastic.

other rock: Derek and the Dominos





These bands tend to have a decent or better sense of life.

but i am a classical music fan primarily

The standard list of composers you see in above posts apply here

but add lizst and drop williams.

williams is not an artist he just pumps out notes that theoretically work well together. some of his work is good most is neutral or worse.

as for this movie business: there are plenty of piano peices that could reasonably serve as a Concerto of Deliverance.

i am more worried about other aspects (acting, directing, etc...)

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A lot of good suggestions have been made. I noticed Scott Joplin mentioned a couple of times. Another outstanding ragtime composer was Joseph Lamb, especially his Topliner Rag.

I enjoy the madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi.

Beethoven's 9th is my favorite symphony, I especially like the Scherzo movement, which I remember from my youth as the theme music from the Huntley/Brinkley News Hour, believe it or not. I also like a number of Beethoven's piano sonatas.

Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 is also excellent, and contains a scherzo movement deliberately reminiscent of the one in Beethoven's 9th. I also like Dvorak's Slavonic Dances.

In additon to Rachmaninov's piano concertos, I also enjoy Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, and Grieg's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor.

One rather obscure work by Liszt was recommended by AR in her essay, Art and Cognition: St. Francis Walking on the Waters (often listed under it's French title, St Francois de Paule marchant sur les flots). It is a piano work of about 8 minutes duration. AR described it thus: "Liszt's St. Francis Walking on the Waters was inspired by a specific legend, but what it conveys is a passionately dedicated struggle and triumph---by whom and in the name of what is for each individual listener to supply." And after listening to it, I agree. You can hear one theme representing the individual's steady forward progress, and another theme representing the "stormy sea" he is trying to negotiate. The individual triumphs over the natural obstacle.

I also enjoy listening to Broadway musicals, such as The Fantasticks, Kismet (which used music from Borodin's Polovtsian Dances), Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, Do I Hear a Waltz, My Fair Lady, and others. I love the singing of Julie Andrews.

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I like several forms of music. I can't tolerate rap, house, hip-hop, grunge, or "alternative" (god, if that name doesn't connote second-handedness, what does?)

I grew up on classic rock: Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Van Halen, The Eagles, Steely Dan, etc.

I think much of the real musical talent went to metal around the early 1980's when hard rock was no longer mainstream.

There were and are a number of really talented melodic metal bands, such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Symphony X, Iced Earth, Helstar, Sanctuary, Savatage, Fates Warning, Jacob's Dream, and Jag Panzer. These are serious musicians who have obviously studied classical music (including most of the singers). They offer intrincate melodies, harmonies, and rythms which don't keep repeating but change to new variations. I don't know of any other genre that offers the intensity or the energy. Often, the music is dark--not the darkness of death, but the darkness of a high-stakes conflict agains the odds. I don't really pay attention to lyrics.

I also like Jazz, ranging from Art Pepper to Miles Davis. Someone mentioned clear recordings--I have a Muddy Waters CD recorded around 1960 that astonishes people when I play it on a high-end system. "Wow, that sounds better than most modern recordings." Indeed. The music itself is ok, funny lyrics at times.

I also like classical. I really like some dark stuff like Holst's The Planets and Karl Orff's Carmina Burana. I also like Bethoven's Ninth Symphony, alot of Rachmaninoff, some Vivaldi, some Motzart, etc.

P.S. I've heard, on a high-end system, an A-B comparison. I had bought the first Boston album originally when it was new. I probably had played it 50 times over the years, on a record player with a cheap stylus that probably had way too much weight dialed in on it. I bought the Sony Super Bitmap remastered re-release on CD in the 1990's. CD shouldda sounded better, right? The vinyl BLEW IT AWAY in clarity, lack of electronicy artifacts, congestion, detail, etc. Of course, the CD had tighter and louder bass.

Recently, two new formats have been released: SuperCD and DVD-Audio (not to be confused with the soundtrack on a regular DVD-Video disc). SuperCD is a totally different approach; it can't be compared directly to CD's sampling rate (44.1kHz) or sample size (16 bits). DVD-A provides up to 5.1 channels of 192kHz 24-bit audio. DVD-A sounds significantly better than CD.

By accounts I've read that I trust, and my own estimation (I havent heard any comparisons to vinyl), DVD-A is comparable to or better than vinyl--closer to the 1" analog tape master.

All of the above matters in the context of a good audio reproduction system. All-in-ones, car stereos, and the vast majority of receivers and speakers sold in mass-market stores are too muddy and/or noisy to make a difference. Now, with a good amp and preamp, and some speakers that are actually good, wow, what a difference the source component and format make!

P.P.S. I was surprised how expensive the shitty-sounding speakers at Ultimate Electronics were. If you care about sound quality, go to a high-end dealer, and audition Vandersteen speakers. Even their little $800/pr 1A's. Of course, their more expensive stuff sounds a lot better.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I also listen to a lot of film music.  My favorite film composer is Danny Elfman,

Danny Elfman is awesome. IMO, his best is "Nightmare Before Xmas" (I just watched it on HBO last night, it's my favorite movie even w/o the music). He does the scores for all of Tim Burton's movies, and also wrote the theme for "The Simpsons." Back in the 80s, though, he was the lead singer/songwriter of Oingo Boingo.

I typically get into stuff that pushes the envelope a little bit as far as new sounds & production goes. Right now, I'm really into Funksörung, a production duo from Germany, and a fairly new band from Boston called Moonraker that defies all classifications. Both are truly unique.

Other favorites by genre:

Jazz: Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespe, Ella Fitzgerald, the Yellowjackets

Rock: The Strokes, The Pixies, Badley Drawn Boy, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Idol

Hip-Hop: Outkast, People Under the Stairs, De La Sol, A Tribe Called Quest

Elecronic: Bjork, Mark Farina, Bugz in the Attic, J-Rod

Classical: J.S. Bach, Handel, Bela Bartok, Erik Satie

Misc: Ben Folds, Ulu, Jeff Buckley

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