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The Essentials

Ten collections of the most important works from the most popular composers performed by DG’s legendary artists – that’s ‘The Essentials’. The collections of 50 tracks display each inimitable master composer.

A comprehensive introduction to ten composers

Enjoy Chopin from the ‘Minute Waltz’ to the ‘Military Polonaise’Debussy from the much-loved piano music to orchestral and chamber music masterpieces, as well as Beethoven’s landmark symphonies, concertos, chamber music and solo piano music, Puccini’s most performed operas and Tchaikovsky’s most important works.

Chopin: The Essentials

From the Minute Waltz to the Military Polonaise these 25 tracks display the inimitable master composer for the piano at his best in performances from some of the greatest Chopin interpreters: Martha Argerich, Emil Gilels, Maria João Pires, Maurizio Pollini, Yundi and more.

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Frédéric Chopin Waltz No.6 in D flat, Op.64 No.1 -"Minute" Molto vivace Maria João Pires

Debussy: The Essentials

These 25 tracks demonstrate Debussy’s incomparable ability to create atmosphere, drama and beautiful melodies. From the much-loved piano music, including Clair de Lune and La Cathédrale Engloutie, to orchestral and chamber music masterpieces – La Mer, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Sonata for Violin & Piano – all are featured here in landmark performances.

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Claude Debussy Suite bergamasque, L.75 3. Clair de lune Alexis Weissenberg

Beethoven: The Essentials

Beethoven is undoubtedly one of the most influential and important composers of all time. This album features the landmark symphonies, concertos, chamber music and solo piano music from this giant of music, all performed by the greatest interpreters – Claudio Abbado, Martha Argerich, Wilhelm Kempff, Carlos Kleiber, Rafael Kubelik and many others.

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Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67 1. Allegro con brio Wiener Philharmoniker, Carlos Kleiber

Puccini: The Essentials

Puccini wrote arias like no other composer, from O Soave Fanciulla to O Mio Babbino Caro and of course Nessun Dorma. His operas are among the most performed worldwide – La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Manon Lescaut and Tosca are all featured here. Singers include Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, Mirella Freni, José Carreras and Monsterrat Caballé among others.

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Giacomo Puccini Gianni Schicchi "O mio babbino caro" Anna Netrebko, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Tchaikovsky: The Essentials

This album takes you through the most important of Tchaikovsky’s works: the groundbreaking ballets and monumental symphonies, the concertos and works for string orchestra, arias from Eugene Onegin and of course the 1812 Overture. Performers include Hilary Hahn, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, Mikhail Pletnev, Msitislav Rostropovich and many others. 

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Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Swan Lake (Suite), Op.20a, TH 219 1. Scene - Swan Theme Leon Spierer, Eberhard Finke, Berliner Philharmoniker, Mstislav Rostropovich

Bach: The Essentials

Perhaps more than any other composer, Bach’s music has the power to affect our lives. The masterpieces featured here include secular and sacred works for ensembles, soloists and choirs and express emotions from joy to sadness and peace. Artists include John Eliot Gardiner, Hélène Grimaud, David Oistrakh and many more.

Vivaldi: The Essentials

These 25 tracks transport you to the heart of Baroque Venice. Vivaldi was a hugely prolific composer – enjoy a selection of his 500 concertos from the incomparable Four Seasons to La Stravaganza and La tempesta di mare as well as vocal and choral works from performers such as Daniel Hope, Magdalena Kozená, Avi Avital and Trevor Pinnock

Liszt: The Essentials

Liszt brought new meaning to the term “virtuoso.” His works for piano are some of the most difficult ever written. This album presents not only the dazzling technical side of Liszt but also his beautiful piano melodies including LiebestraumLa Campanella and Un Sospiro, played by some of the greatest pianists including Daniil Trifonov, Martha Argerich, Vladimir Horowitz and Daniel Barenboim.

Ravel: The Essentials

Ravel’s works cover many different styles but his orchestrations and scores are united by their ability to transport the listener – from the majestic Bolero, to the story of Daphnis et Chloe, the enchanting Mother Goose Suite and the atmospheric piano works. Artists include Pierre Boulez, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Martha Argerich and Claudio Abbado.

Rachmaninov: The Essentials

Rachmaninov’s music was banned in the USSR for being “decadent.” Now his music is celebrated for its deep emotion and richness. This album features a selection of his piano concertos and solo works as well as his rich choral and orchestral works and songs.