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Thread: Classical, anyone?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Steve K's Avatar
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    Classical, anyone?

    I've been listening to classical music over the years, just like every other person here I presume. However, only recently have I really started to collect nice CD recordings of classical pieces. Recent purchases include Hilary Hahn's brand new issue of Paganini violin concertos on Deutsche Gramofon, Helene Schmidt's beautiful baroque 'old' violin pieces on Alpha, and Daniel Barenboim's Beethoven piano sonatas on EMI, among a few others (I'll list precise info on a later post, as I'm writing this one from the office right now). I find that, inspite of what people say about JBLs' not being suited for classic music (you've all heard that before, haven't you?), any music sounds great with JBLs.

    So I thought why not start a thread where we can share recommendations of classical recordings? Unlike other genres, like rock or jazz, classical pieces have so many renditions by different performers that make it really difficult to know which ones are really worth paying for?

    Please share your classical collection here with comments on performance and recording quality.

    Steve K

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    One All-Time Favorite

    If you like the piano music of Eric Satie,
    the 1971 compilation, "The Piano Music of Eric Satie"
    as played by the incomparable Aldo Cicillinni is still the best.
    It remains available on CD. Captain Picard was spending what he believed would be his last moments listening to it, by the way.
    (I'm not sure about the spelling of the last name).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steve K's Avatar
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    Hi, whizzer. Yes, I've got the Ciccolini Satie disc, and I love it! Picked up the 2 CD set at a neighborhood second-hand CD shop about a month ago. At one-third of the regular price of a new disc, it was a great find, wouldn't you say?

    The album's called Satie - Oeuvres pour piano, performed by Aldo Ciccolini, on EMI Classics. By the way, I find that EMI recordings are almost always excellent.

    As for the CDs I mentioned in my first post, here are the details (Album Title / Performer / Record Company):

    1) Ignazio Albertini - sonates pour violon & basse continue / Helene Schmidt / Alpha 028
    Beautiful and sensual baroque violin sonatas by little known Italian composer Albertini. Charming jacket design, too!

    2) Paganini - Viiolin Concerto No. 1 / Hilary Hahn/ Deutsche Gramophon
    The copy on the back of the CD says it all. "Hilary Hahn - 'the living incarnation of the virtuoso, as if Paganini himself had come back to life after 200 years'" (Kultura, Moscow) Man, this girl can really play!

    3) Beethoven - Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim / EMI Classics
    Recorded in 1966, when Barenboim was just 23 years old. Considering that Barenboim held his first public concert when he was only 7 years old, where he was made to play seven encore performances, one can understand the mastery which he had achieved by the time this recording was made.

    Classical music lovers, please chime in with your picks!

    Steve K

  4. #4
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve K
    So I thought why not start a thread where we can share recommendations of classical recordings? Unlike other genres, like rock or jazz, classical pieces have so many renditions by different performers that make it really difficult to know which ones are really worth paying for?

    Please share your classical collection here with comments on performance and recording quality.

    Steve K
    Hi Steve. I like this idea, recommending classical music. What I want to bring up is this, and bare with me for this little story.

    ""As far as I can remember I have always liked certain classical music. After I started to make some money (1968) I bought some from time to time, but I just listen to them once, and then they where stored away ... until 1975. Why? Because at that time I got my first quality hi-fi system. Then it became fun to listen. The trumpets sounded like one, so did the violin, the drums, etc. etc.. After that I have build up a quite nice collection of classical music.

    After a down period from 1988-1993 when my interest in hi-fi/sound was at a minimum (from a scale from 0-100 it was maybe 20) the interest risen again, and from 2000 it has been average ... about 100%.

    As of today an owner of a hi quality system (yes, I really mean that) I find it harder and harder to find recordings with the quality needed for me to enjoy music. Not only classical, but all kind of music I like to listen to. I have a lot of old recordings of great music I can't listen to anymore because it is distorted, and it cuts my ears like a knife. It is not clean! The same with most new recordings. I jump in my chair, and almost open a bottle of champagne when I from time to time find a recording of high quality. Lucky for me I have a good shop I buy cd's from, and if the quality is not suitable for me, I can return it.""

    My point with this little story is a question as I have noticed that up to this point the recommandations is "old" recordings, witch in my believes is not up to a certain quality standard we should expect of today. The musicians of those recordings are in no doubt very good, and so is the conductor. But the sound quality? For several years now I have only bought recordings from Telarc, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab and other hi quality brands. This goes for classical music, not pop...

    My question is therefore: What do you want with this thread, quality recorded sound or quality musicians, possible recorded so my ears is bleeding.??

    I hope you take my post in a positive way.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Steve K's Avatar
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    Hello, Rolf. Thank you for your post.

    I know exactly what you mean. I, too, prefer to listen to well recorded music, and I might add any kind of music, be it rock, lounge jazz, straight jazz, electronica, bossa-nova, or classical. I have only recently taken an interest to starting a collection of classical pieces, but at this stage that doesn't include appreciation of historical recordings, like 'I absolutely must have that Furtwangler's Brahms' symphony,' whether the performance was superb or not. (By way of example only, for I don't know any Furtwangler's recordings ).

    Just like you, I want to enjoy my stereo system at the same time I'm listening to the music. So, to answer your question, the quality of the recording is very important to me, as is the level of the performance by the musician. Having said that, I'm sure that there are others on this forum whose appreciation of the genre runs far deeper than mine, and would like to hear recommendations of any fine performances regardless of sound quality.

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    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Thanks for clearing that up Steve. Then I have some recommendations of some good recorded classical music.

    I guess I really don't have to talk about this recording, but in my eyes it is a "must" in every collection, namely Tchaikovsky 1812 on Telarc. Originally recorded in 1978, new release in 2004 including Beethoven's Wellington's Victory, recorded in 1982. conducted by Erich Kunzel with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Also on Telarc, Tchaikovsky, the Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.

    From Hector Berlioz, Symphony Fantastique, also on Telarc. This is a"Hybrid" CD, also recorded in SACD.

    Gustav Holst, The Planets on Original Master Recording

    All the above CD's has superior sound, and excellent conductors/musicians.

    I can name more, but this for now.

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    Junior Member Lakanta's Avatar
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    Good music or a spetacular recording?

    I don't think that the 1812 music (Or Wellington victory) is something really to enjoy.
    I love classical music and there so different types!

    If you want something that gets you in very good mood like a wonderful parfume try
    - Bach, Goldberg variationen, Glenn Gould, 1955

    If you want something with incredible impact and majesty try
    - Beethoven, 9. Symphony Sir G. Solti

    If you like piano solo (There are many variations) try
    - Waldstein Sonate, Beethoven, Friedrich Gulda, Amadeus recording

    The list can be very long.

    One Symphony, in my case, that really gets me completly envolved is the 7. Symphony Beethoven. It is pure magic. I got more than 40 different versions. Try Rene Leibowitz to start

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    As you say ...
    there so different types!
    and so many meanings of what is enjoyable to listen to.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Lakanta's Avatar
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    Classical Music

    Rolf, you are absolutly right!

    One more thing:
    If you really want something to test your loudspeakers (16 hz, Imaging, room etc.) try:
    Pictures at an exhibition, Mussorgsky on the great organ of the Tonhalle, Zürich.
    Dorian Recordings DOR-90117

    Tremendous and earthshaking!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bob Womack's Avatar
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    Mmmm... Well... So we are looking for classical music recordings that will highlight thequalities of our sound systems. Let me begin by admitting that I am a fan of the Russian Romantic period with its exotic melodies. That plays out in my suggestion. The recording I'm going to suggest is one of those that simply will never be good dinner music - its just too dynamic. It can really only serve as foreground material. It does, however, offer much more than bombast.

    The piece I suggest is Alexander Borodin's Polovetsian Dances, a suite developed from his opera Prince Igor. Igor rarely gets a hearing anymore but the suite has become a staple of the classic library. Telarc commisioned Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to perform the Dances, and threw in the Overture from Igor, both as the B-side material on their 1978 recording of Stravinsky's Firebird. That's one record I look at backwardly...

    The performances are strong and the recording is EXTREMELY dynamic. You'll want to hold onto your hats in the forte' passages.

    Bob
    "It is said, 'Go not to the elves for counsel for they will say both no and yes.' "
    Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion, The Fellowship of the Ring

    THE MUSICIAN'S ROOM

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jan Daugaard's Avatar
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    Classical SACDs

    I generally have good experiences with recordings from http://www.telarc.com The 1812 ouverture, "A bigger bang", is just one of many recordings from that company.

    In recent years, I have only bought their SACDs, and their use of the rear channels is commendable: They contribute very nicely to a spatial impression. It is instructive to compare the surround mix to the stereo mix available on all Telarc's SACDs -- there are substantial differences, and the depth perspective collapses without the rear channels.

    On a few SACDs, such as
    http://www.telarc.com/gscripts/title.asp?sku=SACD-60540
    the rear channels are used sparingly for sound effects, and to good effect, precisely because the rear channels mainly convey spatial information.

  12. #12
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakanta
    Rolf, you are absolutly right!

    One more thing:
    If you really want something to test your loudspeakers (16 hz, Imaging, room etc.) try:
    Pictures at an exhibition, Mussorgsky on the great organ of the Tonhalle, Zürich.
    Dorian Recordings DOR-90117

    Tremendous and earthshaking!
    I don't have that one, but I got several organ recordings. If I remember correctly there is supposed to be a 12Hz on one of them. Could not find the disc right now, but is is a German recording with a very large classical organ.

    Is the DOR-90117 a CD?

  13. #13
    Junior Member Lakanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolf
    I don't have that one, but I got several organ recordings. If I remember correctly there is supposed to be a 12Hz on one of them. Could not find the disc right now, but is is a German recording with a very large classical organ.

    Is the DOR-90117 a CD?
    Yes.
    Here is more information:

    http://www.dorian.com/dorian/90117s.htm

  14. #14
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    Want deep classical bass

    There is an AUDIOGON discussion forum called "organ CDs with really deep bass". It is essential reading. I have managed to purchase most of the CDs and the recommendations are honest. Don't bother buying any cds if you have only a 12" or smaller woofer. My 4312 only suggest at what is reproduceable. I have added an eight cubic foot 18" subwoofer which I xover at 40Hz. for the bottom end.

    The catch is content. The organists who faithfully follow the score don't reach the full capabilities of modern instruments. The organists (eg Guillou Dorian mentioned above) who improvise wildly (ie rest their feet on the 32 foot pedals and jump on the 64 foot pedals) create spectacular sounds but this is not an accurate rendition of the composer's intentions.

    As I have aged, the reproduction above 10 Khz doesn't irritate me as much. To my pleasure I can confirm that with a decent sub-woofer you will discover that there is just a much 'colour' below 100 Hz and hidden surprises on many otherwise ordinary Cds.

  15. #15
    jandregg
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    1812

    Now that two people have mentioned the 1812 on telarc I feel compelled to speak. The recording made by the london symphany in the sixties is far superior. It is on the phase four label as a lp. I have not seen it on cd. I own both recordings and like them both, but the london recording is magical.

    John

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