Entertainment giant HMV is teaming up with radio station Classic FM and record label UCJ in an attempt to take classical music to the masses.

The retailer will launch a collection of 50 budget-priced classical CDs from this Monday. The CDs, dubbed The Classic FM Full Works, will each be priced at£5.99 and the collection is expected to become a growth area for the retailer.

The range has been taken from the catalogues of Decca & Philips and Deutsche Grammophon and will include several of the best-sellers from their classical repertoire. A further 20 titles are due to be released in August and November. With popular classics such as Holst’s The Planets, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and Orff’s Carmina Burana, the collection will run to 100 titles by March next year.

HMV classical and specialities manager Tony Shaw said: “We want to reach people who, up to now, have enjoyed classical music, but perhaps only because they may have heard it on a film soundtrack or in a TV ad.”

As a category, classical music is one of the more niche offerings from HMV, but a spokesman said that it is considered to be an area with potential for strong growth. It now represents about 3 per cent of total sales, down from 5 per cent in the early part of the decade.

All three partners in the venture have had input on range content and design and the CDs are intended to have a standard of presentation associated with premium releases, rather than budget ranges.

HMV already stocks an own-brand classical range called HMV Classics, which it launched in the 1990s.