Classical Music: Your "Must Have" List

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  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited November 2011
    The most exciting performance of Janacek's fierce Sinfonietta(or of just about anything, for that matter)that I've ever heard is Ancerl's with the superb Czech Philharmonic turning in sensational playing. Remastered in excellent sound and available from several Amazon sellers here for about $12; thrilling music not to be missed.
  • PycroftPycroft Posts: 1,957
    edited November 2011
    Hi all -

    I've been trying to get into the vinyl loop with my classical music. Since I've performed it in 2001, I have been looking for a perfect recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. I own 14 different CD copies, and am still looking. I just purchased an LP conducted by Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra. I've never been a huge fan of his - I'm expecting the tempos to be slow, and the choir to be muddy, and the brass to be boring - but that's my interpretation. Does anyone have a suggested LP version that is a 'must have'?

    James
    2 Channel/HT:
    Sony SS-M9 P's (ES version)
    Sony SS-M1CN Center Channel
    Polk RT800 Surround Speakers
    Odyssey Stratos Dual Mono Amplifiers
    TAD 150 Signature Tube Preamp
    Harman Kardon HK354
    Sony SACD Player
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited December 2011
    James, although I have (somewhat)fond memories of listening to LPs 30 years ago, I certainly don't want to go back and give up the greater convenience and better sound of CDs. Having said that, although I have 13 fewer copies than you do, I've listened to quite a few more borrowed from libraries, and my favorite is Solti/Chicago. I notice that this is also available as used LPs here on Amazon .
  • PycroftPycroft Posts: 1,957
    edited December 2011
    Wow...Never considered Solti. I just purchased a few - Bernstein with Westminster Choir (From my college - love this version) - old but good, and LOVE the tempi, von Karajan with Peter Schreier - I don't have this one yet. I hear it's not as well regarded as some of the older versions, but I've always been a Schreier fan as a tenor. I also have Colin Davis - BLECH - I hvae never liked one of his recordings - good thing I only paid 3 dollars for it:)

    I'll look into the Solti, thanks!

    James
    2 Channel/HT:
    Sony SS-M9 P's (ES version)
    Sony SS-M1CN Center Channel
    Polk RT800 Surround Speakers
    Odyssey Stratos Dual Mono Amplifiers
    TAD 150 Signature Tube Preamp
    Harman Kardon HK354
    Sony SACD Player
  • PycroftPycroft Posts: 1,957
    edited December 2011
    OOOH -

    Just noticed - Margaret Hillis! HUGE FAN of her. I'll definitely grab this one :)

    James
    2 Channel/HT:
    Sony SS-M9 P's (ES version)
    Sony SS-M1CN Center Channel
    Polk RT800 Surround Speakers
    Odyssey Stratos Dual Mono Amplifiers
    TAD 150 Signature Tube Preamp
    Harman Kardon HK354
    Sony SACD Player
  • pipkinrapipkinra Posts: 7
    edited December 2011
    rlmacklin wrote: »
    For Beethoven 7th Symphony, the Kleiber with VPO combination is good,

    but for the very best performance you want to get SACD of Kleiber with Bavarian State Orchestra.


    Beethoven: Symphonie 7 [Hybrid SACD] [Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import]
    Ludwig van Beethoven (Composer), Carlos Kleiber (Conductor), Bavarian State Orchestra (Orchestra) |

    http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Symphonie-7-Hybrid-SACD/dp/B000EDWLY6/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1320433003&sr=1-7

    Just got this; awsome!!
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited December 2011
    Following up on the recent mentions of the excellent Kleiber recordings of the Beethoven 5th and 7th symphonies(either the Bavarian or Vienna SACD for the 7th), it's appropriate to suggest that his monumental choral symphony, the 9th, be brought to the attention of our members. My favorite here is the Leinsdorf performance with the Boston Symphony which RCA selected as one of the recordings for 24/96 remastering in its "High performance" series.

    Preceding the symphony is Schoenberg's musical remembrance with narration(about 6 minutes in length)of the horrors of the **** rampage through the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. Not pleasant listening, but of course not intended to be.

    The performance of the symphony is extremely high-powered, with superb playing, and singing with an all-star cast, clearly presented in excellent sound quality. As is so often the case, this is another example of great music being available at a shockingly low price of a few dollars from several sellers here at Amazon .
  • saemark30saemark30 Posts: 146
    edited January 2012
    Bach Cello Suite 1-6.
    Which one is the best?
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited January 2012
    First, a comment on the "best". Although audio equipment is science and objective standards can be applied, music is art and subjective considerations play a major role; in other words, we certainly can't identify the "best" performance here. Having said that, I have a favorite version of the Bach Cello Suites and have listened to many others borrowed from libraries or elsewhere. The performance by Maurice Gendron is consistently beautiful in tone but also has brisk momentum where called for. It's available in excellent remastered sound from several sellers here at Amazon for about $10 up for the 2-disc set.
  • saemark30saemark30 Posts: 146
    edited January 2012
    I have to set the standard with Pablo Casals Cello Suites. Mstislav Rostropovich version is very aggressive and wirey sounding to me.
    I haven't tried the Maurice Gendron version.
    Pehaps others have heard of other outstanding performances on CD or vinyl.
  • rlmacklinrlmacklin Posts: 46
    edited January 2012
    Others well-thought-of Bach Cello Suites performances to consider are SACDs by

    Hidemi Suzuki (very high priced right now, however !!!)
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00133KE3Q/?tag=sacdinfocom-20

    or

    Martin Ostertag
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00133KE3Q/?tag=sacdinfocom-20

    **********************************************************

    Another possibility is Edgar Meyer's wonderful performance of 3 of the Bach "Cello Suites" on double bass !

    http://www.amazon.com/Bach-Unaccompanied-Suites-Performed-Double/dp/B00004WK4A/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1326141764&sr=1-1
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited February 2012
    Albeniz's epic masterpiece "Iberia" is said by pianists to be fiendishly difficult in spots to play and is my favorite work for solo piano in the entire classical catalog. The intricate rhythms Albeniz poured out in tribute to his native land are wonderfully realized by Jean-Francois Heisser in his recording which is now available at a bargain price(about $7.30 plus about $1.95 shipping)from one of my favorite UK dealers MDT . This is a special clearance sale(ordinarily the disc is around $20)with limited quantities available, so if you're interested, don't delay.


    It's also available from several Amazon sellers here for around $16. This is the same recording which was previously on Erato and is shown here with some Amazon customer reviews.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited February 2012
    I've been informed by someone who ordered the Iberia disc that MDT is already sold out. This is disappointing but not especially surprising considering the very low offering price. Nevertheless, this masterpiece in the solo piano catalog should be considered a must have, and the several Amazon sellers at around $16 noted above should be considered.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited March 2012
    Gershwin's Porgy and Bess has been called the greatest American opera, and colorful and moving songs such as Summertime, My Man's Gone Now, Bess You Is My Woman, etc., have great appeal even for those who don't really care for European opera. The collection of highlights featuring sensational singing by Leontyne Price and William Warfield was selected by RCA for 24/96 remastering for its "High performance" series and the performances and sound certainly justify that title. Available from several Amazon sellers here for about $7 up.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited April 2012
    EMI has recompiled select items from its extensive catalog of Debussy performances into an outstanding bargain of a 2-disc set. Included are performances acclaimed as among the best available, e.g., Karajan's very sensuous Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Giulini's La Mer and Nocturnes. 2 1/2 hours of gorgeous French impressionism available for just a few dollars from several Amazon sellers here .
  • Sharon BlackSharon Black Posts: 13
    edited May 2012
    I usually listen to pop music, but classical music does refine minds. Here is my list:
    Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata
    Schubert: The Trout Quintet
    Strauss: The Blue Danube
    Chopin: Nocturnes
    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
    Hope you enjoy them, too.
    :cheesygrin:Give me some music!
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited June 2012
    As a young man Bela Bartok traveled through Hungary and neighboring countries collecting ideas from folk music for his future musical compositions. The results reach the level of masterpieces in some instances and are never less than folksy, colorful melodies.

    Sir George Solti conducts with special vehemence where called for(e.g., the savage Miraculous Mandarin)and eases up a bit for folk-inspired items like the Hungarian Sketches and Romanian Folk Dances. A very nice 2-disc collection of the best Bartok is played by the superb Chicago Symphony Orchestra in excellent sound.

    This should be a must for your collection if you have no Bartok or to add thrilling performances to what you have. The 2-disc set is available at almost give-away prices around $7 up from several Amazon sellers here.
  • bikezappabikezappa Posts: 2,505
    edited June 2012
    Zappa's mentor.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited June 2012
    Yes, many of Bartok's compositions were great favorites of Zappa and influenced his own work.
  • rlmacklinrlmacklin Posts: 46
    edited July 2012
    Mozart Horn Concertos Nos. 1-4 are another set of works I would recommend.

    first version I had is
    Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, with Alan Civil on horn
    Conductor: Neville Marriner
    Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    SACD (March 25, 2003)

    It is excellent, so I bought my dad a copy and he enjoyed it
    but told me his favorite version was with Dennis Brain on horn.

    Last year i saw there was a newly issued Japanese EMI re-issue hybrid SACD/CD
    of Brain's performance with von Karajan conducting Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: EMI (Japan) - http://www.emimusic.jp/
    Serial: TOGE-12022
    Title: Mozart: Horn Concertos - Dennis Brain
    Description: Mozart: Horn Concertos Nos. 1-4
    Dennis Brain
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    Herbert von Karajan (conductor)

    This now my benchmark performance of the Mozart Horn Concertos.
    Dennis Brain's "blows all others' performances of these works away," in my opinion.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited July 2012
    Debussy and Ravel each composed just one string quartet, but they got it right the first time and theirs are among the most attractive examples of the genre. A disc featuring excellent performances of both in fine sound has additional attractions in Debussy's haunting Syrinx for solo flute and Ravel's beautiful Introduction and Allegro which adds flute, harp and clarinet to the string quartet. Available for about $5 up from Amazon sellers .
  • mara5mara5 Posts: 54
    edited July 2012
    Ravel's Bolero is my favorite!
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 12,611
    edited July 2012
    For string quartets I like Shostakovich, Gloria Coates, Morton Feldman, Alban Berg, and any others in the same style.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • bikezappabikezappa Posts: 2,505
    edited August 2012
    mara5 wrote: »
    Ravel's Bolero is my favorite!

    I just listened to an amazing story about Ravel and Bolero on Radio Lab on NPR

    http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2012/jun/18/unraveling-bolero/

    It seems Ravel and this women had a deadly illness that changed their ability to comunicate and ultimate death.

    If you want to hear an interesting Bolero check out Franf Zappa's version. It is excellant.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited August 2012
    Rachmaninoff is probably my favorite composer and I've recommended here previously complete sets of his symphonies and piano concertos. There are shorter individual works which are also stunning in their beauty and excitement, notably the Symphonic Dances and Isle of the Dead. Young conductor Vasily Petrenko leads thrilling performances of both together with the pleasant early work The Rock in excellent sound, for a disc not to be missed. Available from several [url=http://www.amazon.com/Rachmaninov-Symphonic-Dances-Isle-Dead/dp/B002ZEDOFW/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1346286888&sr=1-2&keywords=petrenko+rachmaninov[/url]Amazon sellers[/url] for about $10 up.
  • MaryGMaryG Posts: 3
    edited September 2012
    I love Schnittke very much, Faure is amazing too, but still my favorite is Beethoven. His music is always full of energy! And if I recommend something from classical music to listen that would definitely be the last disk with Beethoven?s compositions performed by Maxim Rysanov, Kristina Blaumane and Jacob Katsnelson, which you can find here.
  • bikezappabikezappa Posts: 2,505
    edited September 2012
    bikezappa wrote: »
    I just listened to an amazing story about Ravel and Bolero on Radio Lab on NPR

    http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2012/jun/18/unraveling-bolero/

    It seems Ravel and this women had a deadly illness that changed their ability to comunicate and ultimate death.

    If you want to hear an interesting Bolero check out Franf Zappa's version. It is excellant.

    I'm amazed that no one has commented on this story about Ravel and his deadly illness and Bolero.

    Radio lab link and just listen.
  • AlieSmithAlieSmith Posts: 4
    edited November 2012
    I prefer french composers. My favorite compositions are Gabriel Fauré’s “Après un reve” and “Pavane” and Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”. Luckily I've found them all on one cd at eclassical.com recently. The record calls "Pavane" and there are also works of Richard Dubugnon and Maurice Ravel.
  • John K.John K. Posts: 825
    edited November 2012
    Carmina Burana's popularity hasn't led to a recognition that Orff actually composed it as part of a Trilogy, with Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite being the other two. So, it's pretty rare to have all three included in a set. This one has a performance of Carmina Burana that's as exciting as any of the 20 or so I've heard, with excellent sound quality. Catulli and Trionfo probably don't have quite the same overall level of interest, but their inclusion is a very substantial bonus. Available from Amazon sellers from about $8 for the 2-disc set.
  • pglbookpglbook Posts: 1,823
    edited December 2012
    I just started getting into classical music and lately have been listening a lot to Mozart's symphonies. Karl Bohm conducting the Berlin Philarmoniker. Fantastic.
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