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I completely agree. I've mostly given up on buying/collecting recorded pieces and save my classical music money for live performances. They are infinitely better than virtually any recorded piece. And you are also right about the age thing, I usually feel like I'm visiting an old folks home when I go to the concerts. I hope local orchestras find a financially viable way to continue to have live performances in the next 20-30 years.
Welcome to the incredibly diverse and actually “unscratchable” world of classical music. Seriously, there’s just so much that you will never run out of something new to listen to!
One thing to realize when you start out is that different conductors/musicians can greatly change the overall experience of a song due to things like the way it’s played or the speed it’s played at. Beethoven’s 5th symphony sounds very different from these two conductors and orchestras Karajan vs Klemperer. So if you find yourself greatly disliking a particular piece, try listening to it with a different musician, or conductor, or orchestra, etc it can make a HUGE difference.
I’ve thrown together a quick list of some of my favorites from the “big 3” plus a few others to get you started. There’s just so much out there, that these kinds of lists could go on and on depending on what you like. Any of these pieces could lead you to additional pieces by the same composer or to composers from the same era of which there are many in both cases.
Here’s another interesting webpage with a tiny bit of background and some suggestion lists I found useful in my early days of classical music discovery.
WOW, that was OUTSTANDING! Thanks for sharing it