Author Topic: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll  (Read 4045 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #40 on: April 24, 2018, 12:43:46 AM »
So you want the received opinion of what the greatest recordings are as gleaned by the members from our collective knowledge of the zeitgeist, or something like that, rather than our own personal "greatest recordings".  Well, phooey.

It's more complicated than that. (Which becomes obvious when reading my various, however impotent, attempts at explaining what I want.)

Basically, I want to ARRIVE at what you say, but THROUGH your personal "Greatest Recordings".

There is a recording I think might be considered "THE classical recording" par excellence. I want to know if one can arrive at that, without triggering that "collective knowledge of the Zeitgeist", as you put it quite fittingly. And in the course of it I want to pump you for what you think are among the greatest recordings... both out of interest to learn what the different meanings of "Greatest Recordings" are to you, and also what recordings they actually are. (I'll be bound to leave a bunch of quid with record companies in the course of this thread.)

Oh, and I nominate Pollini's late LVB Sonatas (DG) to the above list, thinking of what MY Greatest Recordings are.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #41 on: April 24, 2018, 01:17:55 AM »
Basically, I want to ARRIVE at what you [Daverz] say, but THROUGH your personal "Greatest Recordings".

Maybe there are recordings, where a relative consensus may be found, but the main problem in my view is, that the matter is entirely subjective (at least in the way you organize it), and that many possible candidates are quite controversial. Some recordings may be adored by some but detested by others. How many votes pro and how many votes contra do you need to put or not to put a recording on the list?
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #42 on: April 24, 2018, 01:26:36 AM »
Maybe there are recordings, where a relative consensus may be found, but the main problem in my view is, that the matter is entirely subjective (at least in the way you organize it), and that many possible candidates are quite controversial. Some recordings may be adored by some but detested by others. How many votes pro and how many votes contra do you need to put or not to put a recording on the list?

And therefore my personal view is: useless, senseless, but... good fun. :)
(As with loads of other threads here.)

I mean, really, Klemperer's recording of Bach's Matthäus Passion a candidate for The Greatest Recording Ever Made? :laugh: (fun)
(Et cetera.)

EDIT: before a possible war will start: I consider Klemperer one of the greatest conductors of the 'recorded' history, but not for Bach. His SMP even sounds old-fashioned compared to (f.i.) Richter, Werner and Münchinger. Which doesn't mean no one is allowed to like it, though.
(Wiping the sweat from my forehead.)
« Last Edit: April 24, 2018, 01:32:30 AM by Marc »
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #43 on: April 24, 2018, 01:59:36 AM »
And therefore my personal view is: useless, senseless, but... good fun. :)
(As with loads of other threads here.)

I mean, really, Klemperer's recording of Bach's Matthäus Passion a candidate for The Greatest Recording Ever Made? :laugh: (fun)
(Et cetera.)

EDIT: before a possible war will start: I consider Klemperer one of the greatest conductors of the 'recorded' history, but not for Bach. His SMP even sounds old-fashioned compared to (f.i.) Richter, Werner and Münchinger. Which doesn't mean no one is allowed to like it, though.
(Wiping the sweat from my forehead.)

I think that is what makes it such fun: All the things we realize go into GROC-status. Will we consider it -- which is to say the interpretation -- entirely from our vantage point now? Or for what it was at its time? The effect it had? Will we consider that? Who was the greatest long jumper of all time? The one currently holding the world record? Or Bob Beamon? Or Carl Lewis? What bestows greatness on a recording, if it is anything but our personal response to it? And even then: Our personal response will be subject to different factors. What if I had had heard all of Beethoven's piano sonatas already, before ever hearing Pollini play them? Would that recording still have left as indelible an impression? And yet there ARE decidedly GREAT recordings -- we know that and we can even agree on it. (Or not? This is the thread to find out.) Or consider questions like: How come people who don't even love the Solti Ring will still vote for it? What is the role of "achievement" in such a status?

Here are three recordings that I LOVE and three that I think are "GREAT" (with a strong dash of "seminal"!), just to illustrate the difference/overlap:


♥: Pollini, Late Beethoven Sonatas. Pletnev, Scarlatti Sonatas. Barenboim, Tristan.

!: Pollini, Late Beethoven Sonatas. Furtwangler, LvB 9, Bayreuth. Erich Kleiber, Le Nozze di Figaro.

I can totally see how Klemperer would be in the running... but don't even have that recording in my collection and never felt inclined to acquire it. (I do and like Mengelberg, but I give it much more historical leeway than I would, Old Klempi. I am part of the generation where the English-centric Klemperer hype totally went by...)

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #44 on: April 24, 2018, 02:14:30 AM »
And therefore my personal view is: useless, senseless, but... good fun. :)
(As with loads of other threads here.)

Maybe I take things too seriously.

Quote from: Marc
I mean, really, Klemperer's recording of Bach's Matthäus Passion a candidate for The Greatest Recording Ever Made? :laugh: (fun)
(Et cetera.)

EDIT: before a possible war will start: I consider Klemperer one of the greatest conductors of the 'recorded' history, but not for Bach. His SMP even sounds old-fashioned compared to (f.i.) Richter, Werner and Münchinger. Which doesn't mean no one is allowed to like it, though.
(Wiping the sweat from my forehead.)

I quite agree with your view upon Klemperer and his SMP - and one can add his b-minor mass, but his recordings of the Brandenburg concertos are rather modern for their time (1947 and 1962) and throughout enjoyable.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #45 on: April 24, 2018, 03:06:56 AM »
I specifically want "GREATEST" and all the associations that go with it, however amorphous. (Although I admit that I don't know what "authorize choices over ability" means.)
And I don't want a subjective-as-possible list, I want a list that would converge towards a consensus. In this first round of info-gathering I'm opening it up to avoid biases...

Why?
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #46 on: April 24, 2018, 03:27:14 AM »
Why?

1.) Because I have a theory and I want to put it to the test
2.) Because I enjoy the process.

Basically, I want to ARRIVE at what you say, but THROUGH your personal "Greatest Recordings".

There is a recording I think might be considered "THE classical recording" par excellence. I want to know if one can arrive at that, without triggering that "collective knowledge of the Zeitgeist", as you put it quite fittingly. And in the course of it I want to pump you for what you think are among the greatest recordings... both out of interest to learn what the different meanings of "Greatest Recordings" are to you, and also what recordings they actually are. (I'll be bound to leave a bunch of quid with record companies in the course of this thread.)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #47 on: April 24, 2018, 03:29:06 AM »
1.) Because I have a theory and I want to put it to the test

Say more . . .
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2018, 03:44:06 AM »
I think that is what makes it such fun: All the things we realize go into GROC-status. Will we consider it -- which is to say the interpretation -- entirely from our vantage point now? Or for what it was at its time? The effect it had? Will we consider that? Who was the greatest long jumper of all time? The one currently holding the world record? Or Bob Beamon? Or Carl Lewis? What bestows greatness on a recording, if it is anything but our personal response to it? And even then: Our personal response will be subject to different factors. What if I had had heard all of Beethoven's piano sonatas already, before ever hearing Pollini play them? Would that recording still have left as indelible an impression? And yet there ARE decidedly GREAT recordings -- we know that and we can even agree on it. (Or not? This is the thread to find out.) Or consider questions like: How come people who don't even love the Solti Ring will still vote for it? What is the role of "achievement" in such a status?

Here are three recordings that I LOVE and three that I think are "GREAT" (with a strong dash of "seminal"!), just to illustrate the difference/overlap:


♥: Pollini, Late Beethoven Sonatas. Pletnev, Scarlatti Sonatas. Barenboim, Tristan.

!: Pollini, Late Beethoven Sonatas. Furtwangler, LvB 9, Bayreuth. Erich Kleiber, Le Nozze di Figaro.

I can totally see how Klemperer would be in the running... but don't even have that recording in my collection and never felt inclined to acquire it. (I do and like Mengelberg, but I give it much more historical leeway than I would, Old Klempi. I am part of the generation where the English-centric Klemperer hype totally went by...)
I have heard all of these. And none of these would my own 'greatest' list. I wouldn't nominate any of them either, although I don't mind the Beethoven/Pollini as a choice. I'm not sure that it means anything, and I am not suggesting to anyone that they can't have them on their lists, but I don't think they are great (and so consensus seems unlikely). Some of them are quite good, but not even all of them are that (for me). For example. I've never connected to Furtwangler's Beethoven. And Kleiber's Mozart is ok, but Solti's FAR exceeds it.

The other problem I have (and it seems to be purely mine) is that there are too many contenders. I don't understand when people nominate so many choices. They can't all be the greatest.

There is also the problem, and this is my theory, that people often dismiss performances they haven't heard (especially if they dislike one of the contributors). I'd like to be wrong on this...
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Offline Marc

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #49 on: April 24, 2018, 03:48:10 AM »
Obviously, Mengelberg's (from 1939) could count as a valuable, earlier, partly 'proto-Klemperer' example in this respect, free of the now dominating HIP tendencies that were to come. And Scherchen´s (from 1953) is even considered partly proto-HIP by some, for example in the chosen tempi, but the singing is of irregular quality.

Or pick the 1957 Anthon van der Horst live recording in Naarden (reissued by Fidelio in 1993) with viola da gamba, oboe d'amore, oboe da caccia et al. 'His' Matthäus was considered more historically informed than Mengelberg's. But if Mengelberg wasn't able to conduct the piece in Amsterdam on Palm Sunday, he was replaced by Van der Horst (in the 1930s). There was much mutual respect. Mengelberg's successor Eduard van Beinum was also more interested in the historical backgrounds. He corresponded with Paul Badura-Skoda about that. There's a reissued recording of Van Beinum's 1958 live performance on compact disc (Audiophile), but I have not listened to that one (yet).

(Apologies for getting a bit off-topic.)
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #50 on: April 24, 2018, 03:57:38 AM »
There seem to be a number of candidates that pre-date the stereo era, and next to none that date from the digital era.  Despite general standards of musicianship, and the ability to record that musicianship more or less faithfully, having risen over time.  Am I to deduce that 'Recording' is being used in the sense of a historical document, rather than in the sense of a good copy?

Offline Marc

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #51 on: April 24, 2018, 04:19:46 AM »
There seem to be a number of candidates that pre-date the stereo era, and next to none that date from the digital era.  Despite general standards of musicianship, and the ability to record that musicianship more or less faithfully, having risen over time.  Am I to deduce that 'Recording' is being used in the sense of a historical document, rather than in the sense of a good copy?

I can't speak for Jens, but yours truly selected about a dozen stereo digital recordings, and, AFAIK, they were all 'accepted'.
So my guess would be: until now, most contributors are indeed of the opinion that the greatest recordings of many-a-piece were made in the pre-digital period.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #52 on: April 24, 2018, 04:33:33 AM »
Is this going to be a Sammy-style voting poll?  If so,  a consensus would develop and those recordings with the most votes would rise to the top.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #53 on: April 24, 2018, 04:35:59 AM »
So my guess would be: until now, most contributors are indeed of the opinion that the greatest recordings of many-a-piece were made in the pre-digital period.

Hmm.  Well I would agree with 'pre-digital' as it happens.
So modern - or recent past - musicians stand in the shadows of giants?  Not on their shoulders?  Is this a problem with the conservatoire system of musical education?  Are all pianists since Liszt diminished by definition?
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Offline Ken B

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #54 on: April 24, 2018, 04:52:54 AM »
Hmm.  Well I would agree with 'pre-digital' as it happens.
So modern - or recent past - musicians stand in the shadows of giants?  Not on their shoulders?  Is this a problem with the conservatoire system of musical education?  Are all pianists since Liszt diminished by definition?
Or ... people imprint on recordings when young. For me the Karajan DG Sibelius 7 will always be the one everything else is mentally compared to. And while many come close I still like it best. Had I imprinted on the Davis/Boston that might be my choice, etc.
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #55 on: April 24, 2018, 05:18:28 AM »

So my guess would be: until now, most contributors are indeed of the opinion that the greatest recordings of many-a-piece were made in the pre-digital period.

In theory, any recording could be "the greatest". But in practice, I suppose it will be something more like: Which recording has for the longest time been thought "among the greatest" by the most people. And obviously older recordings have the advantage of accrued reputation. Also, there was less competition back then, so a REALLY GOOD recording of the Beethoven 5th was more likely to get into a glory-position than if a similarly good recording of that work appeared today.

I have heard all of these. And none of these would my own 'greatest' list. I wouldn't nominate any of them either, although I don't mind the Beethoven/Pollini as a choice. I'm not sure that it means anything, and I am not suggesting to anyone that they can't have them on their lists, but I don't think they are great (and so consensus seems unlikely). Some of them are quite good, but not even all of them are that (for me). For example. I've never connected to Furtwangler's Beethoven. And Kleiber's Mozart is ok, but Solti's FAR exceeds it.

The other problem I have (and it seems to be purely mine) is that there are too many contenders. I don't understand when people nominate so many choices. They can't all be the greatest.

There is also the problem, and this is my theory, that people often dismiss performances they haven't heard (especially if they dislike one of the contributors). I'd like to be wrong on this...

I think there might be some consensus for the recordings I picked as being "great". Incidentally, I'm not too gaga about that Furtwangler Ninth, either... but it stands for one interpretation of what "great" might mean. (I.e. reputation.) And I thought that Kleiber's Mozart was very widely considered very good -- even great -- by a lot of people?!

I'm prejudiced against Solit, I'm afraid. Perhaps BECAUSE I have none of his Mozart, except his second Don Giovanni and his second (?) Cosi. Your point about people having opinions about recordings they have never heard is very valid. Encountered a lot of that while working at Tower.


Offline Biffo

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #56 on: April 24, 2018, 05:24:31 AM »

There is also the problem, and this is my theory, that people often dismiss performances they haven't heard (especially if they dislike one of the contributors). I'd like to be wrong on this...

I dismissed (if that is the right word) more than half the list on the grounds that I felt unable to comment on recordings I haven't heard, however great their reputations. I also left out a few I didn't think worthy of 'greatest'.

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #57 on: April 24, 2018, 06:47:27 AM »
Regarding my comments on Scarlati, I think if you are going to claim something is the greatest recording ever made, it has to be something monumental, that changed the business of making recordings and changed the way people listen to music. Probably it should be of a monumental piece of music, like Beethoven's 9th and something that many people have heard. Something like a Furtwangler wartime recording of the 9th, Van Cliburn's recording after winning the competition in Moscow, Dorati's 1812 Overture, Gould's Goldbergs. Exquisite though they may be, to suggest a series of recordings of harpsichord music that maybe sold 800 copies strikes me as crazy.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #58 on: April 24, 2018, 06:56:25 AM »
I think there might be some consensus for the recordings I picked as being "great". Incidentally, I'm not too gaga about that Furtwangler Ninth, either... but it stands for one interpretation of what "great" might mean. (I.e. reputation.) And I thought that Kleiber's Mozart was very widely considered very good -- even great -- by a lot of people?!
Generally, an issue is that some of these recordings were the best of their time (or considered so by those then listening). As times have changed, so have practices and the like. So I would agree that many of those highlighted have been considered 'great' at some point in time by some group of people. But I think we need to re-evaluate them all, which isn't something that most people do. Usually when someone attacks a favorite, the knee-jerk response is to dismiss the objection.

SO I have been re-listening to the Mozart/Kleiber. It IS better than I remembered it. I think the conducting/orchestra is it's greatest strength. The singing is solid, but I am not wowed as I am in some other sets. Bohm, for example, is as equally well conducted and I prefer the singing. So perhaps it's not so much a question of its quality, but its comparative quality. But then, I think it's also harder for an opera recording to stay at the top over time.

Lastly, I am torn by using 'reputation' as an indicator of quality. The issue here is simply one of marketing. Some versions get detractors or defenders and this can influence a reputation quite significantly (not to mention the lifelong attempts at this of some artists, whose influence is still felt today). Some recent threads highlight that idea quite well, especially when they do everything to convince listeners of its good/bad qualities.

Incidentally, no matter how good the performance, I would ding some performances simply because the sound quality isn't good enough. I know not everyone would agree with this.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Greatest Recording Ever Made: Nominations for the Poll
« Reply #59 on: April 24, 2018, 06:57:28 AM »
Regarding my comments on Scarlati, I think if you are going to claim something is the greatest recording ever made, it has to be something monumental, that changed the business of making recordings and changed the way people listen to music.

An example would be a recording which changed the way that people listened to Esaias Reusner.

I agree with what you're getting at, if the concept has any value it has to be along the lines you're suggesting and has nothing to do with this sort of way of thinking

. . . For example. I've never connected to Furtwangler's Beethoven. . . .


So for example, I've never "connected to" Toscanini's NBC Beethoven but his way of playing the music was such an important influence historically (Toscanini, I would say, is the origin of the ideas of Klemperer, Boulez . . . ) that I think it's probably a contender.
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