It is something of a mystery how the term ‘Classical’ has come to embrace almost all of the immense body of music composed in the West since the Renaissance. In fact, the Classical period is generally considered to cover the years 1730-1820 and though it boasts some heavy hitters—Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to name but three—other periods have their stars too. Immediately before the Classical era (and overlapping, as all such categories must) was the Baroque period where Bach, Handel and Vivaldi shined so brightly they illuminate our lives still, while the Romantics included amongst their number Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Brahms.
Although the above three periods are perhaps the best known, Western art music has enormous diversity, not surprising given its history spans several centuries. From Plainsong to Minimalism, ballet music to Water music, Lieder to tone poems… in fact from Albinoni to Zorn, there is always more to discover and explore.