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50 classical pieces to hear before you die / OC Register

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According to the OC Register - The list that follows is not the same thing as the 50 greatest classical pieces ever, like a set of recordings available only in a TV offer, though every piece listed is indubitably great in some way.

No, "50 classical pieces to hear before you die" is more of a list of pieces that it would be useful for all of us to know as a community, as a culture, as music lovers (of all stripes).

Just as there are books that, until recently at least, we can all assume are part of our common culture ("Huckleberry Finn," "The Catcher in the Rye); just as there are movies we think that every movie lover should have seen ("Casablanca," "The Matrix"); so too are there musical pieces that we all would be better off having heard and experienced at least once in our lives.

So, how was the list chosen? By instinct mostly. But also in an attempt to span musical history from 1600 to 2000 in one fell swoop. Also with an eye on a piece's fame and presence in pop culture. Also with an ear toward what is typical or emblematic of a particular composer's style, to get to the nub.  SEE THE FULL OC Register LIST

Undoubtedly, it is an imperfect list, as all such lists are. But should a listener undertake to listen to it all, he or she would have a pretty good grasp of the sweep of Western music from the Renaissance on, a sense of who the important composers are and a strong sampling of the landmark works.

A note on the suggested recordings. These days they go in and out of print quickly; I have tried to choose those currently in print. Most, if not all, are also available for digital downloading.