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The 100 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music - Page 2

post #16 of 67
No Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for organ?

I score a 41/100 on the DavidMahler great classical works scale.

I've got some noticeable holes in my classical collection and I've focused on some areas at the expense of others. I've got lots of Bach organ works at the expense of his orchestral and other works. The only non-organ works I have of Bach are the Brandenburg Concertos. I need to fix that.

I'm also lacking on many of the concertos you listed and Liszt and Chopin piano works. My Haydn and Mozart is also sparse. Opera is completely lacking except for excerpts and things like The 3 Tenors.

The classical collection is always in need of more attention and listening. I've got some that's on your list that I haven't even listened to yet. I know what to focus on for future listening.

I counted 33 composers in the list which is actually more than I expected.
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeusEx View Post

...

70. I own over a dozen different versions of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, and I have to say IMO I've fallen in love with Hilary Hahn's. A touch swifter than conventional versions, it combines a glittering, awe-inspiring technique with some of the purest depth and intensity that I've ever seen (or rather, heard) in even the top players. I would describe that her musical performances burn with a kind of ice-blue fire, which fits my musical tendencies perfectly...

...

On another note, I just purchased Amazon.com: Bach: Concertos: Johann Sebastian Bach, Andrey Rubtsov, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Julia Fischer: Music.
It's a incredibly light, airy, and entirely baroque rendition of the Bach Violin Concertos. Simply put, her interpretation is ethereal.

And I agree, even though I'm not a huge baroque listener, that Bach should definitely be more pervasive here...
Ah. I am a huge Hilary Hahn fan. I think her tone is so strong, and what musicality! I have avoided her Mendelssohn because it is one of those works that just collects itself. I have eight recordings of the violin concerto without having actually intending to purchased one. Hilary is coming to Boston in the spring -- I cannot wait. She'll be doing Prokofiev's 1st.

Speaking of Hahn and the Bach, I also love her Bach concerti and partitas. I think she is able to help me understand Bach.
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by wower View Post
Does anyone know of a full cycle of the Brandenburg Concertos on SACD?
Richard Egarr, Academy of Ancient Music, on Harmonia Mundi. Somewhat idiosyncratic treatment, but very interesting and has gorgeous sound.
post #19 of 67
Nice list, David. There's little to disagree with, and we'd all have a different order, but I'm too lazy to sit down and ask myself what are the 100 Greatest compared to the easier 100 Favorite or 100 Most Popular. Good job.
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post
No Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for organ?
Speaking of Passacaglias, the Handel-Halvorsen is a gem. Especially by Perlman/Zukerman.
YouTube - Handel-Halvorsen: Passacaglia (Perlman/Zukerman)
post #21 of 67
Great list, I can't argue with any of the choices; mentioning any other alternatives would just be nitpicking on my part.

Some good recordings at random off the top of my head starting with the violin concertos:

Either Menuhin or Milstein for the Mendelssohn
Heifetz for the Tchaikovsky and Brahms
Perlman (live version) for the Beethoven

Anything Gould for Bach piano (sorry, I'm a Gould fanatic)
Barshai for Mahler 5
Kubelik for Mahler 2
Ashkenazy for Mozart #20 and #24
Either Kempff or Brendel for the Beethoven piano sonatas
Furtwangler '42 or '51 for Beethoven's 9th (or Bernstein/VPO for a more modern recording)
Kleiber for Beethoven 5th and 7th
Rattle/BPO or Mackerras/live SCO for a glorious Eroica
Gunter Wand for Brahms 1 and 4
Bernstein/NYPO for Mahler 9th

Bohm for Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflot
Solti for Der Ring, but I also like Janowki's version for a clean recording
post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeusEx View Post
Speaking of Passacaglias, the Handel-Halvorsen is a gem. Especially by Perlman/Zukerman.
YouTube - Handel-Halvorsen: Passacaglia (Perlman/Zukerman)
Ah, nice. But no fugue.
I like the passacaglia form. It makes for some nice music with generally repeating patterns and variations.
post #23 of 67
Great list!

A few that didn't make it, but I think are worthy of mention:

Copland - Appalachian Spring
Stravinksy - Firebird Suite
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
Holst - The Planets
Schubert - Symphony 8, the "Unfinished"
post #24 of 67
Thx, loved what you have selected.
post #25 of 67
We should divide these into musical eras...easier for users to look at..
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lex2 View Post
Ashkenazy for Mozart #20 and #24
Are these the piano concertos? Do you have a link for this? I don't think my searches are bring up the recording you're thinking of. I've been looking to re buy my copy, by a nameless orchestra, of these pieces I got out of a sales bin years ago (that sound like ****).

And I'll stand up for the OP on this because I think I understand the spirit in which he made the list. He says it's not perfect. I don't think it's perfect. But it was to start a conversation about the music we all love. I love small scale classical evidently because a lot of my faves are out in the cold. But they sound SOOO good through my marantz>yammy>ad2000. I love them anyway. I have an idea for your next list David. I'd like to read about the top 20 most technically demanding pieces. You don't have to pick the whole work. Just a movement that is technically outstanding for the player. I just think that topic is so interesting. Like Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major was consider unplayable when it first came out etc.
post #27 of 67
I agree with userlander with Holst - Planets.

I am surprised to see Dvorak Symphony 9 at #49. Every orchestra in the world has played this at some point, many times each decade I'm sure and it is very popular with university level orchestras.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by wower View Post
Are these the piano concertos? Do you have a link for this? I don't think my searches are bring up the recording you're thinking of. I've been looking to re buy my copy, by a nameless orchestra, of these pieces I got out of a sales bin years ago (that sound like ****).

And I'll stand up for the OP on this because I think I understand the spirit in which he made the list. He says it's not perfect. I don't think it's perfect. But it was to start a conversation about the music we all love. I love small scale classical evidently because a lot of my faves are out in the cold. But they sound SOOO good through my marantz>yammy>ad2000. I love them anyway. I have an idea for your next list David. I'd like to read about the top 20 most technically demanding pieces. You don't have to pick the whole work. Just a movement that is technically outstanding for the player. I just think that topic is so interesting. Like Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major was consider unplayable when it first came out etc.
Here you go wower:

Amazon.com: Mozart: Great Piano Concertos: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Philharmonia Orchestra of London: Music
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post
Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for organ?
Sorry. This stayed on my mind: Do you have any other recordings of this type of music besides organ? I had to wiki passacaglia. Sounds right up my alley.
post #30 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by zumaro View Post
Most of the works are what I think anyone would pick as being the best of their creator's oeuvre- its a mix of significant, popular and great, all of which are worthy ways to look at pieces. However (unless I have missed someone) the list seems to include nobody born before 1685. Where are figures such as Machaut, Palestrina, Dufay, Josquin, Monteverdi, Schutz, Vivaldi etc all of whom have major contributions to western music?

There seems to be nobody still alive on the list. Its view of the last century is narrow and limited to only the most easily digested pieces and/or composers, missing out even the best sometimes (Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra rather than say The Miraculous Mandarin?). So Berg and Webern miss out but lesser composers like Shostakovich and Puccini are in?

For a list of the greatest you need to range wider, and prune more - this is mainly a list of 18th and 19th century pieces, most of high quality, but certainly not the 100 greatest as too much is missed out, and therefore too much lesser material included.
All these are valid points; David himself openly admits that his list is not definitive. How could it be? The irony, is that this thread is entitled '...greatest 100....'. which then ridicules either the disclaimer, or the whole list itself. Neither of which was intentional....

For me, David's list is consonant with everything my music teacher would have wanted me to listen to at Grade 8 when I was about 11 years old. It is a highly recommendable list in several ways for several groups of people. For the newcomer to classical music, it is a great introduction to the populist trend in classical music. For those who hate conventional classical music, it is an excellent reference source of 100 pieces to avoid like the plague. In between these two extremes, I think you are correct in alluding to David's own penchant and bias for a strongly Teutonic flavour in classical music, which totally misses whole epochs in musical development, as well as genres. For instance - the harpsichord is completely neglected as an instrument in David's list, despite having an illustrious history and shaping the future of piano music, which does feature in David's list. Even everyone's favourite - Bach's 'das wohtemperierte Clavier' fails to materialise. Equally; whole geographical areas; Eastern Europe; the now dissipated Soviet Union, and as you have mentioned - contemporary composers too - are completely omitted from the list.

Composers such as Henryk Gorecki who recently met with the incumbent Pope Benedict XVI to receive a papal honour for his contribution to music...fails to make the list. This omission should be unforgiveable especially since 90% of those composers on David's list, never receive such an honour. Thus, contemporary composers such as Henri Dutilleux who brought us the noumenal 'Ainsi La Nuit' and Olivier Messiaen whose organ works and 'Vingt Regards (sur l'enfant Jesus') -both of which are intensely spiritual works - fail to make the populist 100 list, yet are revered by musicians and composers and critics alike.

So the 'greatest 100' list is limited, and needs to be shaped into context: a personal 100 recommended' list makes far more sense, than trying a more grandiose and all sweeping epithet of 'the Greatest 100'. This will only set up any list for failure and turn out like a Rolling Stone 'Best 100' which invariably leads to dismissing the 'Best 100', instead of listening to it. After all: that is the goal, right? To encourage others to find classical music and enjoy it: not to elevate oneself as an authority, of the 100 best....

However I do think David's list is useful and don't wish to come across as critical (there is a sharp difference between critique and 'critical'). For any of us who disagree with this list, we most likely, have already 'formed' or are in the process of 'forming' a clear consciousness, of the genre and type (of work) and classical form of music which resonates with us. David's list is great for a forum introduction for newcomers to classical music. It is going to be based on popularity; convention, and the contemporary slant towards German romanticism, however if you saw my 100 recommended recordings, 99% of the population would disagree with my choice, whereas only 49% would disagree with David's

Well of David's list - here's some recordings which I'd recommend from my own collection...that is...those I could feel bothered with:



99. CHOPIN – Nocturnes (op. 27) I like Argerlich's interpretations. There are better ones, but this one is very emotionally wrought.
Amazon.com: Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 - 4: Sergey Rachmaninov, André Previn, London Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy: Music
90. ELGAR – Cello Concerto in E Minor (op. 85) Jacqueline Du Pré's version is the one to get. Andrew Lloyd Weber does a competent version, however Jacqueline's is legendary because she is dead. If you enjoy this piece, the Myaskovsky's Cello Concertos No.1 & 2. by Truls Mork or Mischa Maisky or Marina Tarasova would be imperative to discover.

86. RACHMANINOV – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor (op. 18): Vladimir Ashkenazy's version is absolutely fine and comes in a great package

81. DEBUSSY – Preludes for Pianos [books 1 & 2]: I have Claudio Arrau's original double set - can't seem to see it on the net anymore. Arrau is one of the Encyclopaedists so there probably are more emotive interpretations out there, however his is delightful and very inspiring.

74. RACHMANINOV – Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor (op. 30): as above - Vladimir Ashkenazy's set of 4 concertos on one disc set.

72. DVORAK – Cello Concerto in B Minor (op. 104) - Rostropovich pretty much commanded the field in this department, although Pierre Fournier's interpretation on Deutsche Gramaphon is excellent and comes with a great set of couplings which are far more interesting and worthwhile getting.


51. BEETHOVEN – String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor (op. 132)

- the modern Végh Quartet's version is magisterial and hard to beat for the sheer quality of recording for its era (it isn't from the 90's - present era either). There are some interesting modern quartets, however most are saccharin sweetened to my ears. The Busch Quartet's 1933 recordings are my favourites, however I won't recommend these as the recording quality is 'historical' rather than 'audiophile'. In this respect, the Végh Quartet are recommendable. If you can find them. Lol.

50. DEBUSSY – Images for Piano: Claudio Arrau again.

27. DEBUSSY – La Mer: I follow the Swiss composer's set on Debussy - Ernest Ansermet. He isn't the modern darling interpreter of Debussy. There are far better ones. However it's hard to go wrong with Debussy's orchestral works. There are just so many and they sell a dime a dozen. It's a bit like impressionist paintings being sold on tablecloths and aprons these days.

26. BEETHOVEN – Violin Concerto in D Major (op. 61)


I like Gil Shaham's version which is masterful and highly skilled without being abstract and virtuoso'd detached. However I've followed him since his Prokofiev Violin Concerto and find his personality to be warm and inviting - this transpires in his rendering of Beethoven's work very well.

25. BEETHOVEN – Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major “Emperor” (op. 73)

Evgeny Kissin (the small kid with the large Afro hair-do who could barely reach the piano pedals with his feet - remember him?) does a great version. I like his work, but this is probably from having seen him as a toddler on the piano and feeling some cute factor at play..... he is a brilliant pianist btw too
16. BEETHOVEN – String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp Minor (op. 131) - Végh Quartet again.
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