Author Topic: Recordings That You Are Considering  (Read 2308988 times)

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Offline Brian

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16260 on: July 22, 2021, 09:45:49 AM »
I think I'm the only one that loves the Prazak!  Other than that I think I'm in alignment with amw except I don't like Emerson.
Todd and I are card-carrying members of the Prazak fan club! I consider them my "main" cycle, with Vermeers for romance, Alexander II for romance + SOTA sound, Artemis for speed, and Endellion for not quite HIPness.

Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16261 on: July 22, 2021, 03:42:11 PM »
I think I'm the only one that loves the Prazak!  Other than that I think I'm in alignment with amw except I don't like Emerson.

I have them and think highly of them, although I don't recall having listened. :(

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16262 on: July 23, 2021, 12:17:44 AM »
I think I'm the only one that loves the Prazak!

You are not. 😉

Offline hvbias

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16263 on: July 23, 2021, 06:27:50 AM »
This is music I have listened to regularly for 40 years and never tire of.

Agreed, this is why I don't feel guilty about adding cycles. Also from the rather lackluster 2020 with all the piano sonata cycles as well as individual sonata discs I've grown increasingly skeptical and weary of recordings of these (last truly exceptional cycle I heard was Andrea Lucchesini) but I don't feel that about the string quartets which somehow still come across as sounding "genuine" (hard to explain).

Went through what I have or made copies of and gave away. Bolds are favorites and ranked about in order. Italics falling somewhere in between followed by the rest.

Vegh II
Budapest Columbia I
Petersen incomplete
Busch Quartet late
Hungarian I
Artemis
Juilliard I


Talich
Suske
Yale late
Alban Berg I
Italiano (first cycle I ever heard attached to some good memories, might or might not still fall in the middle if it weren't for this)

Mosaiques late
Endellion
Takacs
Alban Berg II
Gewandhaus
The Lindsays I

Unfamiliar with:
Emerson, have it from the complete DG box, mostly only heard in background listening, I liked what I heard. Would probably make top or middle rank.
Goldner, I have been meaning to give this a more serious listen.

Curious about - Smetana complete cycle from late 70s/early 80s.

Want more from - Arditti, exceptional performance of Grose Fuge; you'd think it would be super modern but it just sounds really balanced.

Prazak - thought they were mannered in that they exaggerated the dynamic swings too much. I wanted to really like this as I'm rarely let down by them.

I didn't mind Ebene as much as some others, I'd have added it if it weren't for the compression. I view this as analogous to Levit's Beethoven cycle which I ended up buying. Mannered but some interesting things even if you're not going to be ringing your mom up in the middle of the night raving about either of them. Kuss Quartet might be the cycle that is the Fazil Say equivalent :D Hard pass on both.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 06:44:18 AM by hvbias »

Offline Jo498

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16264 on: July 23, 2021, 08:17:13 AM »

Budapest Columbia I
Are these the 1940s recordings (incomplete) ?

Quote
Juilliard I[/b]
With this you mean probably the fist complete Stereo on CBS/Sony? There are a few earlier RCA recordings (op.131,132 and maybe another one, I have not heard them but they have been on Testament as singles and also in a box set)

Quote
Curious about - Smetana complete cycle from late 70s/early 80s.
Usually the earlier partial cycle, i.e. the late quartets + op.95 and op.59/3 and I think one of op.18 is regarded more highly than the later Denon.

Have you heard any of the Hagen quartet's? I am missing their most recent on the Myrios (with a rerecording of op.135 and two from op.18)  but I think the DG recordings are very much worth seeking out. And maybe also the op.59/2 on Myrios (although I found the coupled K 428 too mannered).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline hvbias

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16265 on: July 23, 2021, 09:08:07 AM »
Are these the 1940s recordings (incomplete) ?

I'm at our lake house and don't have the physical box set here to check the recording dates, I believe the recordings are all from the early 1950s. It's the cycle pictured below. Off the top of my head these are their recordings:

Incomplete recordings made in the 1940s (30s as well?) (Sony Masterworks Heritage has reissued them on two different sets)
Columbia mono (the one I have listed in my top tier list/second overall favorite, the cycle pictured below)
Library of Congress cycle (digging way back into my memory here, the CD transfers I've heard of these sounded very poor)
Stereo cycle that Sony put out in a budget white box

I like collecting prewar/roughly early 50s era interpretations of chamber music and solo piano music as it's like stepping in a time machine to hear these often rather unique, individual interpretations but rarely do these sort of things become reference versions. This Budapest cycle is one of my rare exceptions, I think this was a 2019 purchase and I could not stop listening to it.



Quote
With this you mean probably the fist complete Stereo on CBS/Sony? There are a few earlier RCA recordings (op.131,132 and maybe another one, I have not heard them but they have been on Testament as singles and also in a box set)

The cycle they made between 1964-1970. I'm from the cassette/CD era so I don't know the exact legacy labels they recorded all of these on, I considered it a cycle as this was how Sony packaged it in the box I have below. I think the CBS/Sony are the second cycle? I've never heard the full thing, nor can I recall much of what I did hear. 



Quote
Usually the earlier partial cycle, i.e. the late quartets + op.95 and op.59/3 and I think one of op.18 is regarded more highly than the later Denon.

I have heard the partial cycle pictured below but it doesn't have Op. 59/3 or any 18. Since it's a digital download I don't know the recording dates. I heard it while driving, so not the best conditions to judge the performances, I liked what I heard, sort of "congenial", beautiful interpretations ala Talich. I suppose I was more keen on the complete cycle as I love all the string quartets and aside from more weighting to the late quartets play the rest of them mostly equally.

If you have a link to another version of the partial cycle that would be helpful. I suppose I'll inevitably add one of them after more serious listening.



Quote
Have you heard any of the Hagen quartet's? I am missing their most recent on the Myrios (with a rerecording of op.135 and two from op.18)  but I think the DG recordings are very much worth seeking out. And maybe also the op.59/2 on Myrios (although I found the coupled K 428 too mannered).

I forgot about Hagen, I recall Grose Fuge and one other late quartet being fantastic. I also really liked their Bartok cycle when I was going through a bunch of ones I hadn't heard a few years ago.

Sadly a lot of their DG CDs are out of print, I'd gladly buy a DG box of all their recordings if that were to materialize.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 09:23:03 AM by hvbias »

Offline Jo498

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16266 on: July 23, 2021, 10:04:07 AM »
I meant the incomplete Budapest on two twofers which is from the 1940s, so slightly earlier than the box you show (unless they merged them in that box with later recordings). It can be almost completed with a bunch of prewar recordings on Biddulph I also have (I think I am missing opp. 18/5, 59/1 and 133) or with the Library of Congress live (which I do not know).
Of the Juilliards I'd also call the box shown their first cycle as the earlier recordings do not amount to a full cycle. Although the RCA recordings of 3 or so quartets are closer in personnel and style to the "middle" quartets from the Sony box than the late ones from that box.

The Smetana you show is what I am familiar with. They are from the 60s (stretching over ca. 10 years) and the complete Denon cycle is around 1980? I think their op.59/3 + 18/4 was on Westminster and is only in some boxes/downloads.

Yes, the Hagen heritage is not treated well by DG. What might be their best single disc with op.95 and D 887 is hard to find and so are others but they are all worth seeking out.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16267 on: July 23, 2021, 10:12:28 AM »
I have half of the Columbia Masterworks reissue of the 40's recordings.



I miss 130 a lot.

I also seem to remember passing up that Sony set with the 50's "Library of Congress" recordings, and I could kick myself. Now the CDs are out of print, although you can buy downloads on presto-classical for a kings ransom (between $13 and $25 for a single quartet, about 30 minutes of music). They're really milking it.

One old-timey recording of a Beethoven quartet that I think is really worth seeking out is the Griller recording of Op 132. Extraordinary, especially the meditative slow movement.

I had it on vinyl, and later got the Dutton CD issue.


« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 10:19:35 AM by Spotted Horses »

Offline DavidW

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16268 on: July 23, 2021, 03:08:07 PM »
Todd and I are card-carrying members of the Prazak fan club! I consider them my "main" cycle, with Vermeers for romance, Alexander II for romance + SOTA sound, Artemis for speed, and Endellion for not quite HIPness.
I have them and think highly of them, although I don't recall having listened. :(
You are not. 😉

Good to see I'm in good company!

Offline JBS

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16269 on: July 23, 2021, 03:33:54 PM »
I've listened to Prazak and didn't find them exceptional.
Ones I do think are exceptional
Takacs
Quartetto Italiano
Ebene
Guarnieri
Juilliard (1960s)
Edellion

The last three are the ones I would suggest to someone looking for their first cycle.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Online T. D.

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16270 on: July 23, 2021, 05:01:41 PM »
I came within a whisker of buying the Ebène's Beethoven, but decided against it because of the compressed audio.
Sticking with Végh (Auvidis) and Budapest ('51-'52, UA) for now. Passed on the Sony Budapest reissue (remastered, supposedly better sound) because I don't usually shell out for sonic upgrades. Came close to buying the Suske, as I like their Mozart, but never pulled the trigger.
Would kind of like a modern set in good stereo sound, but waiting for something "special".

Offline JBS

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16271 on: July 23, 2021, 05:10:38 PM »
I came within a whisker of buying the Ebène's Beethoven, but decided against it because of the compressed audio.
Sticking with Végh (Auvidis) and Budapest ('51-'52, UA) for now. Passed on the Sony Budapest reissue (remastered, supposedly better sound) because I don't usually shell out for sonic upgrades. Came close to buying the Suske, as I like their Mozart, but never pulled the trigger.
Would kind of like a modern set in good stereo sound, but waiting for something "special".

Takacs would probably qualify there.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline Spotted Horses

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16272 on: July 23, 2021, 05:41:35 PM »
I came within a whisker of buying the Ebène's Beethoven, but decided against it because of the compressed audio.
...
Would kind of like a modern set in good stereo sound, but waiting for something "special".

Various reviews which seemed to indicate the audio was compressed/manipulated also turned me off the Ebene.

There are many modern sets in good sound which different people regard as special, but no censensus.

Vermeer and Endellion are my favorite "modern" sets.

Online T. D.

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16273 on: July 23, 2021, 06:13:06 PM »
I just noticed that the Smetana complete LVB (orig. on Denon) has been reissued on Supraphon at a much more reasonable price. Will have to investigate.



The Cuarteto Casals set also got my attention, but I haven't yet listened to clips.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 06:16:25 PM by T. D. »

Offline JBS

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16274 on: July 23, 2021, 06:34:51 PM »
I might have rated Cuarteto Casals higher if I hadn't bought the last installment at the same time as the Ebene. My equipment is very minimal, so I didn't notice any problem with the Ebene.

My own question for the thread: yea or nay? I remember people listening to this but don't remember what they said about it.

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Offline Brian

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16275 on: July 23, 2021, 06:46:02 PM »
When I first heard Cuarteto Casals do Op 127 I thought there was a serious mistake with the first couple bars, but sure enough, the third, seventh, etc. chords are half the length of the first, fifth, etc. (As in the seventh from the start. Not "a seventh" the technical term.) They just play them so much faster than everyone else that you notice how deeply weird the resulting effect is.

Hurwitz just said the Smetana Quartet complete cycle is his favorite. It wasn't really on my radar before that.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 06:48:57 PM by Brian »

Offline amw

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16276 on: July 23, 2021, 08:54:41 PM »
I just noticed that the Smetana complete LVB (orig. on Denon) has been reissued on Supraphon at a much more reasonable price. Will have to investigate.


I reviewed the Denon cycle in some detail a while back, and recall it being good, though I didn't like it enough to buy it. This is a straight reissue with no remastering etc

My own question for the thread: yea or nay? I remember people listening to this but don't remember what they said about it.

Yes. Performances all seem very good, sound quality is at least listenable, selection of works is mostly excellent (I'm not sure if there is any overlap with the MSR Classics box, which I don't have and don't know where to get).

Offline hvbias

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16277 on: July 24, 2021, 05:13:43 AM »
I meant the incomplete Budapest on two twofers which is from the 1940s, so slightly earlier than the box you show (unless they merged them in that box with later recordings). It can be almost completed with a bunch of prewar recordings on Biddulph I also have (I think I am missing opp. 18/5, 59/1 and 133) or with the Library of Congress live (which I do not know).
Of the Juilliards I'd also call the box shown their first cycle as the earlier recordings do not amount to a full cycle. Although the RCA recordings of 3 or so quartets are closer in personnel and style to the "middle" quartets from the Sony box than the late ones from that box.

The Smetana you show is what I am familiar with. They are from the 60s (stretching over ca. 10 years) and the complete Denon cycle is around 1980? I think their op.59/3 + 18/4 was on Westminster and is only in some boxes/downloads.

Yes, the Hagen heritage is not treated well by DG. What might be their best single disc with op.95 and D 887 is hard to find and so are others but they are all worth seeking out.

Verified the Columbia mono complete cycle are all unique recordings made between 1951-1952. I went back and listened to the 1940s recordings. Interpretively not all that different from the 51-52 cycle just in much worse sound quality since they were sourced from 78 or acetate instead of tape. Fortunately Sony did not do anything interventional in those '51-52 transfers and the music breathes. Also reminded that even though those Masterworks Heritage transfers were done by Seth Winner, who is one of the best, it still has some noise reduction which makes them sound murky.


One old-timey recording of a Beethoven quartet that I think is really worth seeking out is the Griller recording of Op 132. Extraordinary, especially the meditative slow movement.

I had it on vinyl, and later got the Dutton CD issue.

Just a general comment, as historical classical lovers we're really spoiled for choice with solo keyboard music and to a lesser extent symphony music with Naxos Historical, Biddulph, Pearl, Marston, etc. It seems like chamber music has really been neglected reissue wise, I'm hoping Eloquence will pick up some of the slack with their access to everything Universal owns.

I'm going to pay some more serious attention to Emerson. I put in some active listening to the first two quartets last night and they were excellent. Very balanced interpretations (a really lovely Adagio from the first without sounding overly syrupy), superb intonation, great musicianship.

Offline DavidW

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16278 on: July 24, 2021, 05:39:30 AM »
Hurwitz just said the Smetana Quartet complete cycle is his favorite. It wasn't really on my radar before that.

I always liked them in the late quartets, but only heard the complete cycle a few months back.  I like the set quite a bit, but it is crowded field and I think that there are several other cycles with more personality.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Recordings That You Are Considering
« Reply #16279 on: July 24, 2021, 07:58:20 AM »
I have never heard the early 1950s Budapest Beethoven (I have some of their mono Brahms and Schubert from Biddulph from a similar vintage) but I always found the Columbia Masterworks sound remarkably good for its age. Of course, it still is of its age, i.e. 1940s but I found the difference to many early, even mid-1950s mono recordings slight, although there are of course also some extremely good sounding mid-50s mono recordings. The ffrr or whatever technology and tape/vinyl instead of acetate/shellac can make a big difference. Anyway, when I bought them (or at least the early/middle selection) in the early 2000s or so there was probably none of the 1950s Budapest (and little of their late recordings) on CD.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)