Classical music for $100

Enda asks:

Loyal MR reader and consumer of alternative/indie/rock music here. If someone asked me for a broad introduction to the best of the genre with a budget of $100, my personal recommendation would be to purchase Sgt Pepper (The Beatles), skip most of the next two decades, Doolittle (Pixies), OK Computer (Radiohead), Pinkerton (Weezer), Siamese Dream (Smashing Pumpkins), Loveless (My Bloody Valentine), Is This It (The Strokes), Songs for the Deaf (Queens of the Stone Age) and Funeral (Arcade Fire).I have a $100 budget for an introduction to classical music and an essentially blank canvas. Your recommendations?

I'll price this by the CDs rather than the MP3s:

1. Start with a box of the Beethoven symphonies, either Gardiner or van Karajan cost only $20.  (For $43 the Klemperer set offers the piano concerti as well.) 

2. The Bach Brandenburg Concerti; the Pinnock set is basically $20 with the Suites thrown in.  Or get the Alessandrini set for $26.
4. Never buy an inferior recording simply because it is cheaper.  In the long run it is more expensive.

5. Mozart, symphonies 40 and 41 and other late symphonies, $15.

That brings us to about $68. For the rest I would draw from Dvorak's New World Symphony, Schubert (Symphony 9 or Trout Quintet, with superb pairings on both CDs), assorted ChopinBeethoven piano sonatas, or Monteverdi, or Philip Glass Songs from the Trilogy.  In general, try whichever pieces might have personal meaning to you; for instance if you liked the movie Black Swan, buy Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (by either Previn or Pletnev) I've focused on the most accessible pieces, but if you wish to skip ahead Schubert's String Quintet is better than the Trout, Op.31, etc.


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