Piano Music Recommendations for the Enthused Novice

Many people are interested in listening to more piano music but don't know where to begin. After all, there are millions of works composed for the piano, played by thousands of different pianists! For those who find themselves overwhelmed, I've created a list of recommendations, each of which is linked to a fantastic recording on Amazon.com (a new browser window will open). Should you find even this list too daunting, start with the *asterisked* pieces.

I realize I may offend some serious die-hards with my uncreative list of standards. However, I firmly stand by every work on the list — it was through these pieces that I fell in love with classical music.

To begin, I should plug my own CD, "On Wings of Song." It is filled with satisfying, melodic music that will appeal to any music listener. Try reading the helpful "Considerations for Listening" while listening to each piece, or further your knowledge with the Program Notes and the extended thoughts on "Ondine."

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Piano Sonata in D minor, "The Tempest," Op. 31, No. 2
Piano Sonata in C major, "Waldstein," Op. 53
Piano Sonata in F minor, "Appassionata," Op. 57

Any of the four Ballades
Any of the four Scherzos
Andante Spinato and Grand Polonaise
Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11

Any of the 12 Transcendental Etudes (Kissin and Cziffra)
Mephisto Waltz

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 83

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30

Affectionately dubbed "Rach 3" in the movie "Shine," Martha Argerich performs the shorter of the two cadenzas that Rachmaninoff wrote for the work. This is not the cadenza made famous by the movie. To listen to this cadenza, try this link.

Preludes, Op. 23

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major, Op. 10
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26
10 Pieces for Piano from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75