GMG Members' Personal Essentials Lists

Started by DavidRoss, September 07, 2010, 08:06:33 AM

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I guess it does sound odd. A bit like listing Washington, Lincoln, FDR, JFK----then, Millard Fillmore?

j winter

A bit late joining the fun, but I thought I'd give this a crack.  I stared at a blank sheet of paper, asked myself what my absolute favorite classical recordings were, and this is what I wrote on first pass.  I took it as the classic, "you're being chased out of a burning house on your way to a desert island conveniently equipped with a working stereo and a well-stocked bar, what do you grab?" scenario.  The real answer of course is that I'd grab my laptop and my portable hard drive, and take everything.  But that's no fun, so... 

·        Bach Well-Tempered Clavier – Jill Crossland.  I might have gone with several folks here on piano, particularly Aldwell and Gulda, but I'll cite a relative newcomer. 
·        Bach Cello Suites – Rostropovich, or Fournier depending on my mood.  Certainly could have gone with Casals, but if I can only have one, I'd prefer modern sound.
·        Bach B Minor Mass – Eugen Jochum, EMI
·        Bach orchestral transcriptions – Leopold Stokowski.  Call me a heathen if you like, but Stokie's Passacaglia is probably my all-time fave Bach recording
·        Beethoven Symphonies 1-9 – Franz Konwitschny, Gewandhaus Leipzig.  There are oodles of great choices for sets, going for one that might not be on everyone's radar.  I can't start listing favorites for the individual symphonies, that way madness lies.
·        Beethoven Piano Concertos 4 & 5 – Emil Gilels/Leopold Ludwig EMI.  I would hate to be without the others though, so perhaps I'll sneak a Fleisher/Szell or Serkin/Ormandy cycle in amongst the luggage.
·        Beethoven Piano sonatas – Emil Gilels.  The first Beethoven recording I ever heard was Gilels' Moonlight sonata.  Still my fave after many years.
·        Beethoven string quartets – Budapest Qt.  Or possibly Vegh.  How close are the flames to my CD case at this point?
·        Beethoven & Brahms Violin Concertos – Milstein EMI
·        Brahms symphonies 1-4 – Bruno Walter, Columbia Symphony Orch.  I could listen to Walter's Brahms for a month.  (Seriously a better choice might be to just grab the big Bruno Walter box set under one arm, and the Szell box under the other – I'd honestly be pretty darned content.  But I'm trying to stay with the spirit of the thing.)
·        Brahms Piano Concerto 1 – Curzon/Szell.  Man, that opening gets me every time, it hits like 50,000 volts.
·        Brahms Requiem – Otto Klemperer.  Some people dig air guitar, I prefer to air conduct.
·        Bruckner Symphonies 1-9 – Eugen Jochum SD.  Many good choices here as well... I know the original post suggested avoiding boxes, and part of me considered selecting choices for several individual symphonies, but if part of this is provide guidance for newer listeners coming to Bruckner, I'd honestly recommend starting with a box set, particularly given bargain prices these days... you can get them all for the same price as a couple of used singles.  Same with Mahler below.
·        Chopin Preludes – lordy, how to pick just one?  I'll go with Arrau live on APR as my absolute fave, supplemented by someone else in better sound that's actually available – I'll say Moravec.
·        Chopin Nocturnes – I'll switch it and go with Moravec, with Arrau as a backup.  Or maybe Freire... man this is hard...
·        Chopin Mazurkas – Rubinstein stereo.  Love this recording!
·        Debussy piano music – I'm torn between the classic Gieseking and something with better sound.  Maybe Michelangeli's Preludes...
·        Dvorak Symphonies 1-9 – Kertesz LSO.  If not a set, Szell for 7 & 8, Bernstein or Ancerl for 9
·        Haydn Paris symphonies – Harnoncourt, or Thomas Fey
·        Haydn London symphonies – Eugen Jochum
·        Haydn Piano Trios – Beaux Arts Trio.  Though I quite like Trio 1790.
·        Haydn String Quartets – Aeolian Qt.  I know I'm in the minority here.
·        Mahler symphonies 1-9 – Bernstein Sony.  There are WAY too many great recordings to choose from, but again I think a box is the way to go for a relative newcomer.  Though I would hate to be without some old favorites like Barbirolli...
·        Mozart symphonies 28-41 – Colin Davis SD.  Lots of great options for the late symphonies... I adore Walter and Szell here, but Davis is more complete and in gorgeous sound (and has Dresden).
·        Mozart piano concertos – Rudolf Buchbinder.  Almost impossible to pick just one set, though... over the past couple of years I find that I listen to Mozart's piano concertos more than any other works, particularly when I'm stressed.  They just take me to a happy place 😊
·        Mozart serenades and divertimenti - Sandor Vegh
·        Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky, Lt Kije – Andre Previn Teldec.  Turn it up and rattle the windows!
·        Purcell Dido & Aeneas – Emmanuelle Haim 
·        Rachmaninov Piano Concerto 2 – Richter DG, or Ashkenazy/Previn for all four
·        Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade – Stokowski, the crazy Phase 4 one.  Life is short, why not indulge?  Reiner or Kondrashin for a straighter version.
·        Schubert symphonies 1-9 – Herbert Blomstedt SD.  How did Charles Munch's 8 & 9 get squeezed in that box too?
·        Sibelius symphonies 1-7 – Paavo Berglund Bournemouth.  I would deeply regret leaving Szell's #2 behind.
·        Strauss Death & Transfiguration – Szell Cleveland
·        Tchaikovsky symphonies 4-6 – Mravinsky Leningrad.  Realistically I'd like to supplement this with Ormandy or another recording that's a bit more beautiful and calmer than Mravinsky (i.e. anybody else on Earth)
·        Vivaldi Four Seasons – Giuliano Carmignola/Andrea Marcon
·        Vivaldi various concertos - Claudio Scimone, I Solisti Veneti
·        Wagner Overtures & Ring Excerpts – Szell Cleveland  'nuff said

So that's what I came up with literally off the top of my head.  I would say that there are too many box sets here, but with the way CDs are marketed and sold these days, it just makes sense.  I should include more chamber music, and more modern music, and the list largely lacks vocal music which I've struggled to appreciate over the years.  I'd also point out that my collection is a lot more diverse than the above list indicates; for instance I LOVE Prokofiev, I listen to lots of it, but I don't really have specific discs that I keep returning to – I jump around a lot.  I enjoy everything from Saint-Saens to Shostakovich to CPE Bach, but these are my top picks, warhorses though most of them be. 

Sorry to ramble, hopefully some newer listeners can continue to glean some recommendations from this thread...
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice



Quote from: Dave Bruce on November 27, 2022, 09:04:56 AMthen, Millard Fillmore?

Hey now, he was instrumental in passing the nation's first modern bankruptcy laws in New York and signed into law the statutes comprising the Compromise of 1850, so a case could be made for inclusion.  Maybe.  Possibly.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya


Possibly. Ok. Let's include him. But Mount Rushmore material? No.


Quote from: Dave Bruce on November 30, 2022, 02:18:27 PMBut Mount Rushmore material? No.

We could start a petition to have his face carved into Ocheyedan Mound.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Propaganda death ensemble - Tom Araya




I find this a personally useful exercise (a bit of healthy soul searching..). I focus on works rather than on performers, as there is hardly ever insostituibile performances. Klemperer's St. Matthew's Passion is for me a rare exception. So here goes, in order of top of mind:
1. Bach, Goldberg Variations (Schiff and others)
2. Bach, Violin sonatas and partitas (Mullova, Milstein and others)
3. Bach, Cello suites (Fournier, Arnau and others)
4. Bach, St. Matthew Passion (Klemperer)
5. Beethoven, piano sonatas (Annie Fischer, Gulda, Heidsieck, Lucchesini and others)
6. Beethoven, string quartets (Prazak, Vegh, Ebene, Italiano and others)
7. Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro (Jacobs, Giulini, Gui)
8. Scarlatti, Sonatas (the Pletnev collection, but Horowitz and many others would be more than worthy)
9. Chopin, Nocturnes (Moravec and others)
10.Stravinsky, Petrushka (Abbado, Chailly and others)
11.Bartok, Concerto for Orchestra (Kubelik, Reiner and others)
12.Mahler, symphonies (Bernstein, Chailly, Bertini, Klemperer, Walter and others)
13.Mahler, Das Lied von Der Erde (Klemperer, Walter and others)
14.Ravel and Debussy string quartets (Hagen, Italiano and others)
15.Debussy, preludes (Michelangeli and others)
16.Debussy, Pelleas (Kubelik, Abbado, Karajan)
17.Wagner, Tristan (Kleiber, Bohm and others)
18.Wagner, Parsifal (Kubelik, Barenboim and others)
19. Brahms and Mozart, clarinet quintets (De Peyer and others)
20. Haydn symphonies (Dorati, Fischer, Bruggen, Bernstein and others)
21. Haydn, piano sonatas (Richter, Brendel, Schiff and others)
22. Schumann, Fantasie, Kinderszenen, Etudes Symphoniques (Moravec, Pollini, Collard and others)
23. Zelenka, a bunch of Supraphon, Niribu and Carus recordings of Masses and other pieces
24. Janacek, String Quartes (Prazak and Panocha)
25. Mozart, Don Giovanni (Jacobs, Gardiner, Klemperer and others)


Spotted Horses

I couldn't even begin to put together my "essentials" list, but this thread is so interesting historically. You go to the the original post and it is by David Ross, who was once quite active here, but stopped participating in 2014. (I think he was a celebrity of sorts, head of a big museum.) The second post is by Karl Henning (guest). That's right Karl Henning once deleted his account here. Yes, Karl's impressive 68,000+ posts don't include posts made before he deleted and re-registered! :)
There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington

Papy Oli

Quote from: Papy Oli on September 08, 2010, 12:02:42 PM25 recordings I couldn't live without, with the ones in bold being among the very first records I bought when I started to explore classical music 3 to 4 years ago and that are still among my very favourites.

Obviously, Lots more works and genres to discover and get familiar within my own collection or to purchase later, but it will take something special to knock some off that list. 

Mahler Symphony No.1 – Maazel / VPO
Mahler Symphony No.2 – Boulez / VPO (live)
Mahler Symphony No.3 – Haitink / Concertgebouw / Forrester
Mahler Symphony No.4 – Reiner / Chicago
Mahler symphony No.5 – Tennstedt / LPO (Live)
Mahler Symphony No.6 – Fischer / Budapest
Mahler Symphony No.6 – Barbirolli

Beethoven – Symphony No.9 – Karajan '63
Bruckner – Symphonies 3-9 – Celibidache / Munich
Bruckner – Symphony No.8 – Giulini / VPO
Gorecki – Symphony No.3 (Swoboda / Kilanowicz / Polish State PO)

Arvo Part – Kanon Pokajanen (ECM)
Tallis – Spem in Alium / Salve Intemerata – Summerly / Oxford Camerata
Pergolesi – Stabat Mater – Alessandrini / Concerto Italiano
Arvo Part – Berliner Messe (Naxos)
Byrd – Mass for 4 & 5 voices - Summerly / Oxford Camerata

Chopin – Nocturnes - Moravec
Rameau – Suite en Mi Mineur – Marcelle Meyer
Satie – Piano Works – Klara Kormendi (Naxos)
Schumann – Piano Works (Kempff)
Schubert – D.940 (Lupu / Perahia)
Schubert – Arpeggione sonata (Queyras / Tharaud)
Schubert – Impromptus (MJ Pires)
Beethoven Op.7 / Brahms 4 Ballads / Schubert D.537 – Michelangeli

Beethoven – String Quartets – Gewandhaus Qt.

As to my bold text: younger Oli, you are an idiot. :laugh:

I never envisaged for my tastes to changes that radically in the last 5 years though. I could happily just keep Celi's Bruckner from the above list and replace all the others with a mix of Baroque, French & English composers and a couple of operas thrown in :o