Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Best classical recordings...ever!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best classical recordings...ever! - Page 6

post #76 of 9057

If a reverb is properly done you shouldn't be able to tell it's artificial.

Lot of "natural" reverb are simulated , using convolution reverb.

There's a technique to "capture" different kind of natural reverb, and then apply them digitally:


post #77 of 9057
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

Some sound engineers discussing either reverb should be added or not to classical:

There is one big reason that classical recordings from the 50s and 60s sound more immediate and present than modern ones. "Fix it in the mix" strikes again.
post #78 of 9057
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

If a reverb is properly done you shouldn't be able to tell it's artificial.

It isn't a matter of sounding fake. It's that it mushes up the sound and pushes it further away. Properly miked, a real room acoustic can be "wet" and still sound close and detailed. Digital reverbs, no.
post #79 of 9057
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

It isn't a matter of sounding fake. It's that it mushes up the sound and pushes it further away. Properly miked, a real room acoustic can be "wet" and still sound close and detailed. Digital reverbs, no.

I played with different quality of reverb so I disagree to some extent (i.e some sounding more "mushed" than others).

But I'm not an audio expert. I  will just point out that some dsp are able to remove/reduce automatically reverb on a recording:


post #80 of 9057
The more you process a signal, the more muddled it becomes. In the 50s and 60s, recording engineers would do a great deal of R&D developing miking strategies to perfectly capture the sound of a great concert hall. That's why there was a "Philadelphia sound" and it's why so many recordings used the Muzikverein in Vienna.

No matter what digital tools you have, you can't do better than a spectacular acoustic space properly miked. You can make a mediocre recording into an acceptable one, and you can patch together a mess into something presentable. But the reason that fifty year old RCA Living Presence recordings sound better than modern ones is because they used no more than two or three mikes and used the natural acoustic of the Boston or Chicago Symphony Hall. It's the real deal, and your ears can hear the difference.
post #81 of 9057

Thanks for recommending this--what a tremendous recording!  I've been listening to her album of Mozart Violin Concertos and it sounds equally great--at least to this philistine. smily_headphones1.gif

Originally Posted by Asr View Post

...Julia Fischer's Bach Concertos...is probably the best-sounding and definitely my favorite classical-music benchmark yet...

post #82 of 9057

the last gem i found : 


max richter recomposed the four season, it's super clear, detailed, airy. have a try 


post #83 of 9057
Ugh. Just ugh.
post #84 of 9057
Originally Posted by Seele01 View Post

the last gem i found : 


max richter recomposed the four season, it's super clear, detailed, airy. have a try

Well, I found he removed all the rich emotion from the original music piece, to create something not very original.
I  have nothing against "modern" renditions, but it  didn't "work" for my taste, perhaps it's too mannered.

This remind me how I  was  a bit upset by the william orbit rendition, of aquarium by saint saens:


Compared to the original :

In other hand I  found a bit funny and enjoyable this "modern" rendition of the bolero by ravel :



post #85 of 9057

I've got a few. Some of my favorites (sorry for the ridiculous length; skim through for what you like):



Holst's 'The Planets'


Dutoit / OSM, Decca, 1987 - My overall favorite recording. Excellent quality digital, lots of presence, silky and a little subdued at times, but very clear. Interpretation is pretty traditional, with especially lovely renderings of the slower movements. Bass is very powerful in "Mars" and especially "Saturn." "Jupiter" feels a bit restrained in the chorale section, but overall a fantastic performance and recording.


Levine / CSO, DG, 1991 - Killer brass (of course), though I feel like Levine lacks subtlety. "Venus" is a disappointment, and "Neptune" is a bit of a frantic mess (yet there's something exciting about so much going on at once). "Mars", "Saturn", and "Uranus" are powerhouses and literally had my heart pumping the last time I listened to them. The recording is very ambient, though with a lot of chair creaking and page turning. More top end than the Dutoit recording, and a deeper sense of presence. One of my favorites.


Bernstein / NYP, Sony BMG, 1969 - Obviously originally analog, this one nevertheless sounds pretty nice. It's a balanced performance all around, though I'm not fond of the "slow and stately" rendering of the chorale in "Jupiter." Pretty detailed for an older recording, minimal hiss, very enjoyable. Manages to handle subtle passages better than Levine, though I still think Dutoit does the best here. The choir in "Neptune" is quite lovely, though I detect a fadeout was used at the end of the movement instead of a natural diminuendo (the hiss gets quieter along with the music).


Previn / RPO, Telarc, 1986 - I don't like this recording, but I'm putting it here because a lot of people seem to. It's expensive, and both the performance and especially the audio are dull. People swear up and down about Telarc, but I don't hear it here. Even a non-EQ'ed DT880 couldn't breathe any life into the production for me. The performance is technically decent enough, but slightly forgettable. Previn takes few risks. I think his rendering of "Mercury" is a standout here. The audio sounds somewhat muddy and is lacking in air and presence. Also, despite the claims about dynamic range and Telarc (they used to warn that their recordings could damage middling equipment), of the four complete recordings of the suite I own this one has the most compressed dynamics. I don't personally recommend it, but it has a great reputation and maybe somebody can point out what I should be looking for because I'm just not hearing anything special.



Beethoven's 5th and 7th Symphonies


Kleiber / VPO, DG, 1975 - This is a controversial one, at least in regards to the 5th. The audio is actually not as bad as some people say, if you happen to get on with that strident, upper-middy DG sound from this period. Separation is pretty good, which is especially important for the 7th, which uses a split violin section. This performance is the equivalent of a smiley curve on an EQ. Basically everything is turned up to 11. It's not the most subtle rendering, but it has drive, energy, and power. The 7th has a sort of stern, inexorable pacing throughout. The first movement of the 5th is taken quite a bit faster than most conductors do. I love it, but YMMV. The fourth movement of the 5th is towering and bombastic, but Kleiber takes all the repeats so it drags out a bit. Overall a unique performance of both these symphonies (more so the 5th than the 7th) that everybody should hear at least once.



Gabriel Faure, Requiem


Summerly / Schola Cantorum of Oxford, Naxos, 1994 - A little-known recording of this well-known work, this one is by a good margin my favorite. Recorded in a small chapel, reverb is very short. Overall the sound is silky and a little warm through the lower mids. I've sung in venues that sounded exactly like this, so it's probably accurate. The choir is excellent--I have another recording by them and they seem to consistently produce good work. The pronunciation of the Latin is a bit funky, though, because they were emulating 19th century French ecclesiastical Latin. The arrangement is notably sparse, in comparison to some of the grandiose versions out there. No harp, no brass, and no winds; just a few strings and a chapel organ. The performance is similarly restrained, with a lilting, delicate pace, which I think really fits this work and its "Lullaby of Death" moniker. But it's the final movement, "In Paradisum," that I simply adore. It brought me to tears the first few times I heard this performance of it. Understated and exquisitely controlled, it's my favorite performance of this movement by a mile. It's my go-to piece for relaxation and I've fallen asleep to this performance dozens of times. I've also probably listened to it (on repeat) more than any other piece of music I own.



Felix Mendelssohn


Violin Concerto


Haitink / Perlman / Concertgebouw Orchestra, EMI, 1990 - I haven't actually heard any other performances, so my comparisons there are rather thin. However, Perlman still makes his case well, IMO. One of the few recordings I own where it is definitely a Stradivarius playing, it sounds just like the descriptions of them I've read: on the brighter side, smooth, and effortless. That's a pretty good description of Perlman's playing, too. The production is good but not stellar. Decent detail and separation and a reasonable sense of the venue, but most of the focus is on the soloist, so the backing orchestra doesn't really call enough attention to itself to say more. Despite Perlman's lovely performance I'd love to hear this played on one of the other fine violin makes, since from what I understand Mendelssohn never intended it to be played on a Strad. Something a little more resonant and with a little less brightness might suit the music better, particularly the first movement, which positively drips emotion. These quibbles aside, this is a really enjoyable recording.


Incidental Music from A Midsummer Night's Dream / Italian Symphony No. 4


Abbado / BPO, Sony, 1996 - I mention this one almost entirely for the production. It's one of the most "live-sounding" recordings I have, right down to the guy having a coughing fit throughout most of No. 7 from the Incidental Music part. It's an extremely airy recording, which fits the music pretty well. Not a lot of bottom end, but very smooth and clear throughout, and well controlled on what bottom there is. It's the production equivalent of the sonic signature of the DT880: light, airy, and buoyant. Mixing the two creates enough air to terraform Mars. I don't normally listen to the whole recording because a lot of it involves speaking parts from the play (it's basically a dress rehearsal), and I've never really gotten on with Shakespeare. The last four tracks are the 4th symphony. I've never heard any other performance so I can't compare, but there isn't anything glaring wrong with this one, I don't think. Same lovely production.



J.S. Bach, Various Organ Works


Organ Works, Vol. 1


Leonidas Melnikas, HDC (High Definition Classical), formerly Excelsior, 1996(?) - Good luck finding this. I got it back in the 90s and it had a different jewel case than the version I have now. My original disc literally split into four pieces and I tried to replace it from Amazon, which didn't work out the first time. The people who have the rights to this recording were making copies on demand, and the one I got was screwy (never did return it). I found a copy of the early-2000s-era re-release a year later and this time I got a proper replacement. The copy-on-demand version seems to no longer exist, and you'll pay $60 for this new if you want it (I literally got the last reasonably-priced new copy, and that was over a year ago).


The acoustics are decent enough, though the sound is a little congested. The organ is kind of in your face, but it's a nice, powerful instrument (the old liner notes probably said which one it is, but I don't have them anymore). The main thing I like about this recording is the interpretation. Melnikas takes a more staid, stately approach than some organists, who love to set up different registrations on different manuals and add texture by switching among them. He also takes a slower tempo in some places, which adds gravitas and weight to some passages. His rendering of BWV544b (the fugue from this pairing of prelude and fugue) is quite a bit slower than most people do it, which gives what is otherwise a somewhat less distinguished piece quite a bit more meaning. I won't list all the works he performs (there are eight in total), but I'll say I enjoy the entire collection. It sounds really impressive on good equipment, and like all organ music, it can expose a lack of proper subbass extension (alas, my poor DT880 is not immune to this).


Here's a link to the Amazon listing:



Bach: Toccata and Fugue Preludes and Fugues


E. Power Biggs, Sony, 1991 (re-released in 2002) - Much easier to find than the previous, and nice and cheap. If the last recording was listed for the performance, this one is listed for the sonics. That said, these are recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s, and it shows. Hiss is prominent, and there are dropouts in places. But ambiance! And detail! I swear I can hear dust leaping up and down on top of the keyboard box. These are phenomenal recordings, and of course, love him or hate him, it's Biggs, so you're at least going to get a competent performance all around. I prefer Melnikas on just about all accounts, but the selection in this collection is far greater. They positively packed this disc with material. BWV582, the infamous Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, is a standout, as are BWV590 (Pastorale in F Major, Mendelssohn's favorite piece) and BWV542, the "Great" Fantasia and Fugue in G minor. This recording, even more than the other, will let you know if your bass extension could use some extension. I may have to wait until I can afford an LCD-2 before I hear what's going on in the bottom octave or so.

Edited by Argyris - 10/29/12 at 2:16am
post #86 of 9057

Frankly, I just go to the website classicstoday.com  and look for the recording rated 10-10.

I also go to the website classical.net to see what recording  are recommended for each composer.

I insist for DDD  recordings, because I consider there are enough recordings for everything classical.
Exceptionally , when I want to get a box of symphony or whatever, I look for recommendations in forums,

In particular , there are detailed recommendations for the mahler symphonies:

But curiously I enjoyed the mahler titan n°1 conducted by anton nanut, more  than any conductor, and it's recommended nowhere. It's a cheap cd.



So beside the musical taste, I think we trust more or the less how each conductor is well known or prestigious.

Also there are some mistrust regarding virtual orchestras:
According to wikipedia:

Its use, particularly in live performance, has been controversial, as many acoustic musicians see it as a threat to their jobs.


Also,  I've read that often conductors such like Michael Tilson Thomas, or Bernstein, are "cheating", by "assembling" different recorded performances, and keeping best parts (i.e even heavy editing).


Also there's the HIP musical movement, that try to restore how classical sounded before, with old instruments.
That's a bit interesting to listen performance with either modern or old classical instruments.



For the top classical composers, I look at their popularity  at last.fm:


But Ludovico Einaudi is not considered as classical, despite appearing at top of this listing.

At least it's not mentioned by website classicstoday.

post #87 of 9057

Hello Classical fans!

I don't want to create a new thread for such a small question, so I'll ask this here.


Could someone help me identify the piece of music playing in this video? The uploader says in the desctription that the owner of the system uses this setup to listen to the 3-channel RCA SACDs, so I assume this recording would be included in the 60 CD box(?)


Thank you.

post #88 of 9057
it should be Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, my favourite recording is Szell

Edited by calaf - 11/27/12 at 10:52am
post #89 of 9057

Thank you!


post #90 of 9057
What, no love for the Boult/LP version?

Edited by rroseperry - 11/27/12 at 7:10pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Best classical recordings...ever!