Best SOUNDING Classical Piano CD/SACD/DVD-A/XRCDs?
Feb 24, 2006 at 10:54 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30
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What are the best Sounding classical
piano CD, SACD, DVD-A, HDCD, XRCD discs?
More precisely best recorded, mixed,
and above all mastered piano music?

I am mostly interested in Stereo (2-channel): CD, XRCD, HDCD, DSD, DVD-A
because I listen to the music through my Sennheiser HD 595s (50 Ohm)
and Beyerdynamic DT880s without any headphone amplifier so far.

Anyway, it would also be interesting to know about surround sound recordings,
say in 5.1. One can always downmix to 2.1 or 2.0, perhaps sacrificing the quality of the sound.

Are there any pure DSD recordings, mixes, masterings?

I am mostly interested in Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, ... before 1850,
but we should also consider later periods as well, say, up to 1930.

See you at the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy
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Adam
 
Feb 24, 2006 at 11:29 PM Post #2 of 30

omedon

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There isn't a huge selection of recordings but you might want to take a peak at the Mapleshade Records classical section.

There stuff always sounds excellent. Don't need to worry about the mastering since "no mixing board, filtering, compression, equalization, noise reduction, multi-tracking or overdubbing" are used. Steve Hoffman would be proud.
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Mar 2, 2006 at 1:16 PM Post #3 of 30

Bunnyears

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Here's a recording that sounds as great as the performance. It's exceptional on all levels.

Evgeny Sudbin, Scarlatti: Piano Sonatas.

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Here's another by Boris Berezovsky, Chopin - Godowsky: Études

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Mar 2, 2006 at 2:44 PM Post #4 of 30

Doc Sarvis

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If you happen to be a vinyl guy, this recording will give you exactly what you are looking for:

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I think it was released on SACD as well, but I have not seen it on that format.

Another great choice (this time on CD): Anything recorded on the ECM label. Keith Jarrrett has many classical piano recordings there - this is one of my favorites (with incredible sound):

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Mar 2, 2006 at 3:05 PM Post #5 of 30

Mark from HFR

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For Chopin, I would recommend the DSD SACD of the Ballades performed by Burkhard Schliessmann on Bayer. There is also a fine DSD SACD of the Scherzos and 2nd Piano Sonata by Caroline Sageman on Lyrinx, if you can find it. These are both audiophile quality discs, without processing. In my opinion, DSD has been the first recording technique that really captures what a piano really sounds like. All previous digital techniques missed something of the complexity of the soundwaves that the instrument makes. But DSD brings it to life, provided that you are listening in high-resolution SACD playback. The Schliessmann offers both a 5.1 multichannel mix and a 2.0 stereo mix in high resolution, as well as a standard PCM cd stereo layer.

I just got in a recording of the Chopin 2nd and 3rd Sonatas on a Linn Records SACD played by Artur Pizarro. This is another hybrid with 5.1 multichannel DSD, 2.0 stereo DSD, and 2.0 PCM stereo. I have only just started to listen to this for a review, but the 'Funeral March' Sonata is quite arresting from the start: Pizarro plays with a lot of flair, and takes a daringly slow tempo for the funeral march itself. As usual with Linn, the recorded sound is quite good, capturing the distinctive sound of the Bluthner grand which Pizarro plays.

Mark

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Mar 3, 2006 at 9:43 PM Post #7 of 30

bikeguy1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TMHBAT
Note also the very exciting Beethoven cycle on fortepiano underway from Ronald Brautigam and BIS records:

http://www.bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-SACD-1362
http://www.bis.se/index.php?op=album&aID=BIS-SACD-1363



Brautigam also recorded a full Mozart Sonata cycle on the same period reproduction fortepiano for BIS...it's a sonically wonderful set, and the performances are first-rate, rising above (IMHO) the average period-instrument recordings.

The other SACD discs I'd recommend for solo instrument are the Pentatone Classics discs of Mari Kodama (Kent Nagano's wife) performing Beethoven's sonatas (Nos 4, 8, & 14 on PTC 5186 023, Nos 21, 23 &26 on PTC 5186 024). Although SACD, I listen to them on my Minimax Tube CDP (two channel only) and the soundstage is amazing...not that this adds to the musicality, but you can hear her breathing, and occasionally hear the floor creak during rapid, loud passages!

Good Luck, and have fun trying out some new music....

Bikeguy
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 10:23 PM Post #8 of 30

Bunnyears

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TMHBAT,

The Volodos Schubert sounds very intriguing. I have Kempf's complete sonatas and individual pieces by Richter, Perahia, Uchida and Andsnes, but for my money the best record is Andsnes' Sonata in Bflat D 960 (coupled with lieder sung by Ian Bostridge). That is a must for anyone who loves Schubert and the sound quality is excellent as well.

bikeguy1,

I have almost everything done by Brautigam and I second your recommendation of both your and TMHBAT's recommendation of the Beethoven sonata cycle. The Mozart sonatas are also excellent if not in SACD.

Personally I can't understand why everything recorded nowadays is not recorded in SACD or other multichannel format. It is the wave of the future. Once you've heard high quality sacd or dvd-a there is no going back.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 10:30 PM Post #9 of 30

Masolino

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bikeguy1

Brautigam also recorded a full Mozart Sonata cycle on the same period reproduction fortepiano for BIS...it's a sonically wonderful set, and the performances are first-rate, rising above (IMHO) the average period-instrument recordings.



"Average" period-instrument recordings of Mozart sonatas? There
aren't that many to begin with... which ones would you call
average?
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 10:35 PM Post #10 of 30

OK Johansen

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I'd recommend the Mozart sonatas played by Alfred Brendel in his 2001 recording (Philips). And, being a norwegian, most of Andsnes recordings are recommended
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Mar 3, 2006 at 10:38 PM Post #11 of 30

Bunnyears

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Quote:

Originally Posted by OK Johansen
I'd recommend the Mozart sonatas played by Alfred Brendel in his 2001 recording (Philips). And, being a norwegian, most of Andsnes recordings are recommended
biggrin.gif



It's just too bad that his contract is with EMI. They do so few SACDs (do they do any?) and I don't know of a single dvd-a either.

I love his Grieg recording done on Grieg's piano, but the sonics are not quite the best. But still, it's such a great performance and those pieces are a part of my childhood so that I keep coming back to them.

B00005UUOC.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 11:08 PM Post #12 of 30

Masolino

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bunnyears

Personally I can't understand why everything recorded nowadays is not recorded in SACD or other multichannel format. It is the wave of the future. Once you've heard high quality sacd or dvd-a there is no going back.



I think nowadays most of them are *recorded* so that later multi-channel remixing is possible, but producing or releasing them in high resolution formats in a whole different matter. No big market demand to justify the overhead. And it is a telling sign that there are no quality headphone systems or IEM's are capable of accurate multi-channel presentation just yet.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 11:20 PM Post #13 of 30

OK Johansen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bunnyears
I love his Grieg recording done on Grieg's piano, but the sonics are not quite the best. But still, it's such a great performance and those pieces are a part of my childhood so that I keep coming back to them.


Yes, I agree.
I live only 50km from Grieg's home. I've been to a few concerts there. It certainly is a great experience listening to his music in his own house.


Can I also recommend another norwegian pianist. Haavard Gimse.
His recordings with music by Grieg and Sibelius are highly acclaimed by the critics. His Sibelius album is regarded as being very good sonically.
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 11:59 PM Post #14 of 30

Bunnyears

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Masolino
I think nowadays most of them are *recorded* so that later multi-channel remixing is possible, but producing or releasing them in high resolution formats in a whole different matter. No big market demand to justify the overhead. And it is a telling sign that there are no quality headphone systems or IEM's are capable of accurate multi-channel presentation just yet.


Well, it would be very hard to mimic surround sound with headphones, but I wouldn't mind getting the SACD stereo layer through my phones. There is so much more information transmitted in that layer than in the redbook layer, and the sound is correspondingly richer. I only wish I could rip sacd to hard drive so that I could have the improved sound quality on my ipod. Well, I hope eventually as ipods use mpeg4 which is a video/multitrack sound medium, we will get enriched sound there.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 4:19 PM Post #15 of 30

Masolino

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Bunnyears
Well, it would be very hard to mimic surround sound with headphones, but I wouldn't mind getting the SACD stereo layer through my phones. There is so much more information transmitted in that layer than in the redbook layer, and the sound is correspondingly richer. I only wish I could rip sacd to hard drive so that I could have the improved sound quality on my ipod. Well, I hope eventually as ipods use mpeg4 which is a video/multitrack sound medium, we will get enriched sound there.


Problem is that a few discerning audiophiles are not going to change the record companies' (and most music buyers') mind about what it takes to make them happy. Since sony has a part in creating (no, I am not saying inventing) the SACD format, you know it will be a long time before they will allow anything like digital output from the high density layer.
 

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