My background is mostly in jazz, but since I got my first real digital music setup a few months ago, along with GPO, I want to start a more in depth study of traditional orchestration. I did study jazz arranging in school, and took one semester of orchestration (consisting of writing for the strings only-- in hindsight, I wish I took the second semester!). I have basically ZERO knowledge of how to write for orchestral woodwinds and brass.
I picked up the Rimsky-Korsakov orchestration book, and right in the beginning he mentions that studying the scores of composers from the classical era and before is misleading for students.
My orchestral CD collection is somewhat lacking, consisting mostly of Mozart & Beethoven symphonies-- which I love to death. I don't have much of anything post-Beethoven except for a couple of Stravinsky things (Firebird, Rite of Spring).
So my question: what is a good starting place for orchestral study of Romantic era? Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Mahler? What pieces? Any suggested recordings? Please, specific CDs that are widely available at record stores or online (Amazon, etc.)-- I go into a record store, go to the Wagner section and I have no idea what to buy-- so I leave with nothing. Recommendations?