Author Topic: Great Performances that also Sound Great  (Read 6515 times)

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Don

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2007, 10:47:19 AM »
I agree, I just think that they are fun and bring back nostalgia of the old WB cartoons.

Professional and even appropriate, no. Fun, yes.  :)

You know, I never enjoyed cartoons.  My wife and I don't have a great deal in common, but we both hate them.

Don

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2007, 10:48:45 AM »
A disc of Bach oratorios on BIS conducted by Suzuki.  Wonderful performances, and I've never heard SACD sound so glorious.

George

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2007, 10:53:58 AM »
You know, I never enjoyed cartoons.

I could've guessed that actually.   

Offline dirkronk

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2007, 12:45:49 PM »
In terms of both musicality and sonics, probably the most astounding recording ever made:

Janos Starker playing Kodaly's Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello Op. 8
on a Period LP from the early 50s. (Period SPL 510)

A connoisseur's choice. I have two copies and consider them treasures.
This won't replace Starker's artistry, but this is also a remarkable recording:

“Glass Bead Game” on John Marks Records: Nathaniel Rosen (cellist) doing Bach 2-part5 inventions 1,3,6,7,9,10,13; Kodaly duo for violin & cello; Giordani duetto II; Martinu duo for violin & cello; Handel passacaglia.

I'll probably add a longer list later, but for the moment:

Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade--Kondrashin/COA w/ Krebbers on violin (Philips), providing superb performance with remarkable sonics that capture the Concertgebouw beautifully; equally good but a different approach AND in a completely different sonic venue: Reiner/Chicago (RCA and/or Chesky).

In fact, opt for almost any of the Reiner/Chicago recordings from their Living Stereo heyday and you won't be disappointed sonically, either: Respighi Pines & Fountains of Rome, Mussorgsky Pictures (w/ other Russian pieces, all truly exciting), Bartok Concerto for Orchestra,  "Spain", "Vienna", Rossini overtures (on Gold Seal CD, actually, but they finally eliminated the sonic whitewash that plagued the poor LP transfers of what was obviously a beautifully done analog tape--still not ideal, maybe, but these are thrilling performances), "The Reiner Sound" and others.

Prokofiev Romeo & Juliet (complete) w/ Maazel/Cleveland (Decca/London).

Tchaikovsky Nutcracker (complete)--it's a draw between Dorati/LSO (Mercury) for in-your-face sonics vs. Dorati/COA (Philips) for that wonderful Concertgebouw ambience once more. Your call.

Bach unaccompanied cello suites w/ Starker (Mercury).

Copland Appalachian Spring etc. w/ Dorati/LSO (Mercury)--I love this rendition much more than Dorati's later (digital?) remake on Decca/London, and the sonics are stunning.

Several French Harmonia Mundi numbers (and one BIS) of ancient and reconstructed ancient music: Danses Ancienne de Hongrie, La Fete de la Ane, Musique de la Grece Antique, La Spagna (BIS) among others.

Yes, except for the Rosen cello CD, these are all original analog recordings, and I'm making a leap of faith to think they've survived transfer to CD with sonic superiority intact, but every one is a winner from a performance perspective as well...IMO, anyway.

More later,

Dirk






« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 12:54:33 PM by dirkronk »

George

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2007, 01:25:46 PM »
.... I'm making a leap of faith to think they've survived transfer to CD with sonic superiority intact...

Each and every Mercury that I've heard sounds great!  :)

I look forward to more from you, Dirk.

Offline Holden

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2007, 03:51:26 PM »
All of the Living Stereo recordings that I've heard sounded fantastic and of them I'd consider these to be great performances.

Any of the Heifetz (LvB, Mendy, Brahms, Tchaik VCs)
Gilels - Tchaik PC1 with Nutcracker excerpts - Reiner
Russian Favourites including 'Pictures', Marche Slav etc CSO/Reiner
Rubinstein playing SS, Liszt PCs plus Franck
Reiner Tchaik Pathetique

I could go on....
Cheers

Holden

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2007, 06:10:04 PM »

Bach unaccompanied cello suites w/ Starker (Mercury).



As great as these are (I have them on CD and LP), I think his recordings of the suites on the Period label (again, early 50s monos) are even better. The sound is not as incredible as the Kodaly (but still very impressive) but the playing is even more fluid, graceful and powerful than the Mercurys IMO. I have Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 6 of these on this label--I'm not sure he recorded 2 and 5 on Period. Someone mentioned that the 50s saw some remarkable recordings in terms of sound quality. Stereo or not, this is indeed true!

As for living stereos, my favorites are:

- Bruch: Cto Heifetz / Sargent (probably my favorite Heifetz performance ever)
- Milhaud: La Creation du Monde. (Soria) Charles Munch, cond.
- Haydn: Symphonies, "Surprise" and "Clock", Monteux, cond.
- R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Reiner (his second recording LSC 2609, which I much prefer to the first, both in terms of sound and performance)
- Mendelssohn: "Italian" and "Reformation" symphonies, Munch. cond.

I don't really enjoy the big, highly-rated showpiece Living Stereos like the "Witch's Brew", "Reiner Sound", etc. all that much; the music just doesn't hold my interest.





« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 06:13:55 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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    probably something somebody somewhere is snickering at...wait, Schoenberg! Definitely Schoenberg! (And, let's see, does he have a disciple or two...)...
Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2007, 08:04:51 PM »
With mugs like these...I'm sorry, but how can anyone hate 'em?? ;D








Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline dirkronk

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2007, 04:31:54 AM »
As great as these are (I have them on CD and LP), I think his recordings of the suites on the Period label (again, early 50s monos) are even better. The sound is not as incredible as the Kodaly (but still very impressive) but the playing is even more fluid, graceful and powerful than the Mercurys IMO.

You're quite right. He was in rare form for many of the recordings on Period. I have the Kodaly you mentioned earlier on a single LP, but also in a box set called "Around the World with Janos Starker" (or something similar) and the other items in that ain't shabby either. I also have a Period box set of Starker doing the Beethoven cello sonatas with a pianist whose name eludes me at the moment (not a big name, but a good player), which has some beautiful playing.

Cheers,

Dirk
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 05:54:26 AM by dirkronk »

Offline Shrunk

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2007, 06:35:50 AM »
With mugs like these...I'm sorry, but how can anyone hate 'em?? ;D


Loveable and, contrary to some others' opinions, entirely appropriate in a way.  How many of us had our first exposure to classical music thru Chuck Jones' WB cartoons, such as "The Rabbit of Seville" or "What's Opera, Doc" (the latter being one of the great artistic triumphs of the 20th century)?

lukeottevanger

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2007, 11:27:33 AM »
Loveable and, contrary to some others' opinions, entirely appropriate in a way.  How many of us had our first exposure to classical music thru Chuck Jones' WB cartoons, such as "The Rabbit of Seville" or "What's Opera, Doc" (the latter being one of the great artistic triumphs of the 20th century)?

True (though not in my case) but I don't see how this makes these covers more appropriate for these two operas, which IMO are too place-and-time specific, too delicate, to take kindly to such messing ;D. It's only a small point, but they really do rub me up the wrong way! It's not an ideological opposition to cartoons-as-cover-art, mind - I think Wagner could benefit from the pinprick of a few Bugs Bunny covers, as you rightly imply...



Offline dirkronk

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2007, 05:55:04 AM »
I don't really enjoy the big, highly-rated showpiece Living Stereos like the "Witch's Brew", "Reiner Sound", etc. all that much; the music just doesn't hold my interest.

Really? The showpieces in Witch's Brew might be a bit wearying for multiple repeat listening, though I think they're quite exciting for an occasional spin. Certainly the playing and the (original Decca-engineered) sonics are both excellent.

But The Reiner Sound? Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole and Pavane for a Dead Princess? While Reiner's may not be my ultimate versions, I think his taut control, measured pacing and the Chicago players' virtuosity provide a take on these pieces that's refreshingly different from, say, the Ravel of Monteux, Martinon and Skrowaczewski (to name just a few others whose Ravel I also admire). His Rachmaninoff Isle of the Dead is beautifully phrased and appropriately evocative. And the Liszt Totentanz with Janis--which was added for the CD release--is a very nice bonus: Janis may seem...I don't want to say overly cautious, but maybe a bit controlled in early spots...but he lets loose nicely when the wowie-zowie playing's called for.

Still, different strokes...
 ;)

Dirk

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2007, 02:01:39 AM »
You're quite right. He was in rare form for many of the recordings on Period. I have the Kodaly you mentioned earlier on a single LP, but also in a box set called "Around the World with Janos Starker" (or something similar) and the other items in that ain't shabby either. I also have a Period box set of Starker doing the Beethoven cello sonatas with a pianist whose name eludes me at the moment (not a big name, but a good player), which has some beautiful playing.

Cheers,

Dirk

Sebok? Eugene List?

(Send me a PM if you have extra copies of that Starker stuff you ever want to unload.)

If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Greta

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Re: Great Performances that also Sound Great
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2007, 07:19:07 AM »
Quote
Russian Favourites including 'Pictures', Marche Slav etc CSO/Reiner

Another vote here! That's my favorite Pictures, hair raising performance. Sound is very natural. I also have the Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue disc but I need more Living Stereo. ;)

There are so many great ones to list. What comes to my mind most are a couple of favorite warhorse recordings...

- Holst: The Planets - Dutoit, Montreal SO, Decca
Really any of his Montreal Decca recorded in those churches, outstanding on both counts.

- Holst: The Planets, Grainger: The Warriors - Gardiner, Philharmonia, DG (SACD)
An even more stunning performance than Dutoit, with a unique, lasersharp sound from the Philharmonia.

- Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Pulcinella Suite - Levi,  Atlanta SO, Telarc
I always loved this performance, one of their best, and I'm a sucker for The Telarc Sound.

- Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps (and Bartok: Miraculous Mandarin,
Mussorgsky: Bald Mountain original) - Salonen, Los Angeles PO, DG (SACD)
Sound isn't perfect but it's pretty darn good, WDCH gives extremely realistic and organic sonics which
suit these pieces really well. Performance is intense, especially the Bartok is wow.

Couple of others -

Sibelius: Lemminkainen Legends, Tapiola - Leif Segerstam, Helsinki PO, Ondine
Was listening to this recently and was struck by the wide dynamic range and clarity, and expressive performance.

Holst, Handel, Bach, etc - Fennell, Cleveland Symphonic Winds, Telarc
Long a favorite, playing is perfection, especially the balance, demonstration level sound.

And, edited to include Chailly's Mahler symphonies on Decca London - consistent exciting performances showing the Concertgebouw in their full glory!  :D
« Last Edit: May 05, 2007, 07:22:13 AM by Greta »