So you might have been as intrigued as I was when I first heard that NOW was putting together a compilation album that would take a foray into classical music, it's not really what you would call a definitive collection, it's really one that gives you a quick selection of some popular themes, a lot that's on offer is not really what might be called strictly classical, for a more representative collection the Classic Experience series is a very good choice.
The NOW albums though are about popularity and accessibility and this has a slightly awkward relationship with true classical music, but what they do have to draw on is recent reality show successes and familiarity in well known TV adverts which mean everyone and his dog knows the music in addition to film soundtracks some of which are very good pieces of music in their own right and could be described as classical, loosely these things could be defined as classical, but classical music is usually music of more depth and whilst a lot of famous pieces such as Mozart's Symphony No 40 could be described as popular it takes more of a deeper relationship with the music for the audience to get the most out of it.
I am not snobbish or elitist though and wouldn't deride this compilation just because it doesn't contain any Mozart or Tchaikovsky even though I can't escape feeling that at least a couple of pieces should be on it, if we take classical music more broadly to mean most instrumental music such as soundtrack music and operatic pieces then this compilation does a reasonable job at selecting themes that have captured the public imagination recently from films, reality TV and TV commercials to national anthems, overall it is a bit lukewarm and aimless and it could have done with including just a few absolute classics such as Mozart's Symphony No 40, it does have Strauss and The Beautiful Blue Danube however. So I'll give it 3 stars overall, there are admittedly some interesting things on these 2 CDs that weren't easily available elsewhere along with some that you feel shouldn't really have been on it.
I do think though to conclude that the compilers did have quite a challenge with this one, to deal with something so in depth as classical music and come up with an album which is to appeal to popular tastes, this does do quite well.