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LAist Gift Guide for the Classical Music Lover(s)

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This EXTENSIVE gift guide is not a reflection of any particular taste or preference; it is a gift guide for classical music lovers/enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. Like always, it is recommended to support your local establishments and artists, especially in a city like Los Angeles that is rich in talent and culture. If you're looking to buy tickets as a gift, it is recommended to buy tickets for two people, because no one likes going to a concert alone. It's the perfect gift for a date! The LA Phil offers subscriptions to a series of concerts, and we also recommend tickets to go see Salonen before he's gone or for Dudamel to see what all the craze is about. The Ring Cycle is coming to town, and the LA Opera is putting on productions of Das Rheingold and Die Walkure that look to be very promising. These tickets can get pretty expensive if you go see all four, but up to half the subscription cost is tax deductible. Subscriptions to the Ring Cycle to see all four range from $100-$2,200, so choose the tickets according to how much you like that person. Don't forget LACO, the Cal Phil, Musica Angelica, or other fine orchestras featured on our website weekly. There are also world-class events at the Hollywood Bowl, Royce Hall, and Zipper Hall that you can purchase tickets for.


What to get for the kid who thinks classical music is lame/for old people...

Wii Music allows people of all ages to get together and play on all sorts of instruments. There are 60+ instruments at your disposal, and you can create and share your tunes online with other friends. Think of it as Guitar Hero on steroids. Watch the video in the link to hear their multiple renditions of the Super Mario Bros. theme.

For the one who is driven to drink when they hear classical music...
The Mozart Chocolate Cream Gold Liqueuris made in the hometown of Mozart in Salzburg, with cocoa, vanilla, sugar, milk, and fruit distillates. Classical music never tasted so good!

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For your rhythmically challenged friend...
Dr. Beatis the metronome of choice for many musicians. It's not a panacea, their rhythm will be better but they'll still sound like crap. The liqueur (see above) might make it sound better though.

CDs, Books, DVDs and more after the jump...

What to get for that music lover who wants to know anything/everything about the piano...
Since we don't go to Juilliard or live in New York City, we don't get to hear lecturer/scholar David Dubal too often. If you're ever in the area, check him out. His well-researched and informative book The Art of the Piano contains biographies of almost every major pianist, with an analysis of their style and list of recommended recordings for each performer. Pretend his opinions are yours and impress all your friends! You can buy it online or at the store at the Disney Hall.

What to get for your friend that has 100s of classical music CDs...
Since they already have hundreds of CD's, it's probably time to get him something different. Somewhere in that pile of CDs is a recording with Herbert von Karajan, the best-selling classical music recording artist of all time with 200 million copies sold. You can get this retrospective collection of photos, Herbert von Karajan: A Life in Pictures.The perfect book for your coffee table.

For your friend who wants to hear Dudamel but can't get tickets in time...
Dudamel has been churning out recordings left and right, and we recommend his Mahler 5th (the piece that brought him fame and fortune). For the Beethoven fans, he also has a recording of the 5th and 7th symphonies.

For the person who will miss Salonen and wants to take him home with them...
This was Salonen's debut CD recording as a composer! There were performances of Wing on Wing last year, but we won't know if that will happen again anytime soon. His Rite of Springis recorded with the LA Phil, perfected after touring with it in recent years. The definitive piece for Salonen was the Mahler 3rd, replacing an indisposed Michael Tilson-Thomas to lead the orchestra in a highly-acclaimed performance. What was astonishing was that Salonen barely looked at the score before he conducted it (which either means that it's really easy to be a conductor or he's the second coming of Toscanini).

For the 20th century music lover, but who doesn't love pieces performed with helicopters?
Alex Ross, the music critic for the New Yorker (not the comic book artist), came out with a book last year that was highly praised within most literary circles. It was titled the Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. To maximize your experience, listen to the recordings he talks about while reading the book, it will change the way you look at music (or at least contemporary music).

For the curious listener...
The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music is a good way to begin your musical education, with a little bit of information on composers, performers, landmark works, and music lingo so you can join the rest of us when we talk about neapolitan chords, diatonic harmonies and Hildegard of Bingen (separate conversations, of course).

For the friend who likes to hear their own recordings/voice...
The 4-Track rcorder that fits in your palm that allows you to record in MP3 Format? All you need is the H4 Digital Recorder. The only problem is they might bring their recordings for you to listen to, constantly.

For the violin lover aka diva...
They should be humbled after listening to David Oistrakh...a million times. The complete EMI recordings has a little bit of everything, should not be missed.

Everyone loves Leonard Bernstein...if they already have the West Side Story you can get them...

The Young People's Concerts with the New York Phil was probably one of Leonard Bernstein's greatest contributions to society. He can get millions of rich people to learn and to sing together.Most of all, he makes classical music cool. Who else do you know that can do that? Besides LAist, of course.

For your friend that complains about how all the new performers are crap and misses the old performers...
They should already have recordings of Feuermann, Casals, Heifetz, Piatigorsky, Brendel, Horowitz, Oistrakh, and if they don't then they are just a bunch of phonies. You want to get them recordings ofthe Beaux Arts Trio. If you can't pronounce it don't worry, the music will do them justice.

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For the one that misses Rostropovich...
Possibly the greatest cellist of all time, Elizabeth Wilson follows up her stories of the Legend of Class 19 (look it up) with a book about her teacher, Rostropovich. She covers anecdotes, his various teaching methods, and his critiques/analysis of music. All useful information if you become a famous cellist; you can claim these ideas as your own! An interesting read for even the most apathetic listener.

If you really want to make an impression...

Buy them aSteinway Grand. The price range is in the six figure range, up to around 700,000. If you buy this for them you better be married to them.


Other suggestions...

CDs. The artist should be at least 50 years old and if you haven't heard of them, that's a bonus. Another bonus if the name sounds European/Russian. Performance DVDs are a great gift for any musician, who doesn't love seeing their old idols walking and talking and performing in real life? They are usually much older in the recordings, but better than nothing. Recordings of Messiaen works are always good since we were celebrating his anniversary all year long, and you can't go wrong with a recording of the Beethoven symphonies. Any CD/DVD that says "Best of" or "the Most Relaxing" should be avoided at all cost.

Photo by Allposters.com