# Composers: various
# Performers: Ramin Djawadi, Vitamin String Quartet
# Orchestra: Czech Film Orchestra
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: FLAC
# DR Analysis: DR 12
# Label: Water Tower Music | WTM39875
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.56GB), 24-bit/96kHz (872MB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (218MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Server: File Factory
And now for something a little more contemporary…
Ramin Djawadi is an Iranian-German composer, probably best known for his score for HBO’s popular television series Game of Thrones. He also covered all of the songs you hear interpreted into the old-timey clang of the player piano (aside from the two tracks here by the Vitamin String Quartet).
Hearing these compositions without their signature vocalists is really jarring and it always seems to take a moment while watching the show to place exactly what it is you are hearing. But I guess that is perfect for a show that is all about probing uncanniness and the authenticity of what appears to be laid out before you.
Side A of this record offers a scintillating version of Chopin`s second concerto. Ashkenazy demonstrates a stunning command of the virtuoso sections of the outer movements. The second movement is a joy to behold: his heartfelt lingerings over the more ravishing parts of the middle movement evoke pure emotion beyond words. David Zinman and the excellent London players are on the same par as the pianist. On side B the Piano Sonata No. 2, a Nocturne and a Mazurka, all performed live, with energy and impressive techniques with a stunning “Marche Funèbre”. Over all, the sound quality is impeccable. A Chopin record to love!
Composer: Frederic Chopin
Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: David Zinman
Vinyl 1978 Number of Discs: 1 Format: FLAC Label: Decca DR-Analysis: DR 13 Size: 2.37 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Another big “thank you” for this gem flights to our Chicago friend 😀 Fortunately we have two wonderful Forza’s with Leontyne Price–a later one (and one more readily available) with Placido Domingo, Sherill Milnes, Fiorenza Cosotta and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by James Levine, and this earlier one from 1965. While the later one is an excellent recording, the earlier one takes the cake.
Conducted by Thomas Schippers, whose career was tragically cut short by cancer, it bursts forth with an energy and enthusiasm that just can’t be surpassed. The cast is an American Who’s Who of opera in the mid-’60s. Leontyne Price was not yet 40 when she recorded Leonora on this recording, and she brings to the production the skill and dramatic ability of a mature artist but with a voice still with the bloom of youth and freshness. The combination is incredible.
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Leontyne Price, Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill, Shirley Verrett, Giorgio Tozzi, Ezio Flagello
Orchestra: RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra
Conductor: Thomas Schippers
Vinyl 1965 Number of Discs: 4 Format: FLAC Label: RCA DR-Analysis: DR 13 Size: 3.54 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to Jean-Luc for another amazing gem The performances of these concertos by Francis Poulenc are amazing. The Concert champetre (1929) was written for Wanda Landowska and was a favorite piece of hers but she never recorded it despite the urgings of Poulenc. This recording of the Concert champetre was made in 1957 with Aimee van de Wiele as soloist, who gives an energetic performance along the lines of Landowska. The Concerto for two pianos (1932) has the composer and Jacques Fevrier as soloists, a combination that could not be more ideal as Poulenc had Fevirer and himself in mind when he wrote the music.
Composer: Francis Poulenc
Performer: Francis Poulenc, Jacques Février, Aimée Van De Wiele
Orchestra: Orchestre De La Société Des Concerts Du Conservatoire
Conductor: Georges Pretre
Vinyl 1962 (1972) Number of Discs: 1 Format: FLAC Label: EMI DR-Analysis: DR 13 Size: 1.63 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
A huge “thank you” for this gem flights to our Chicago friend 😀 The acclaimed legendary Swedish dramatic Wagnerian soprano Birgit Nilsson, (1918-2005), made her official debut in 1947 at the Stockholm opera as Lady Macbeth. After just three days notice to replace an ailing colleague she had actually debuted in the same house one year earlier as Agathe in Der Freischutz. There were only four or so Verdian roles suited for her special abilities; Turandot, Aida, Lady Macbeth and Amelia. She once refused to learn Norma saying that it had “two many little notes”. She also once said that “Turandot made me rich, Isolde made me famous”. However there are apparently no recordings of any of her staged performances of Lady Macbeth, just this studio recording of excerpts made in London in 1964 under the brilliant conducting of Thomas Schippers.
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Birgit Nilsson, Giuseppe Taddei, Bruno Prevedi
Orchestra: Orchestra Of The Accademia Santa Cecilia of Rome
Conductor: Thomas Schippers
Vinyl 1965 Number of Discs: 3 Format: FLAC Label: Decca/London DR-Analysis: DR 14 Size: 2.53 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to Trottar for This historical document Historical recordings from (I guess) the 40s/50s. This box contains much of the best of Horowitz’s playing. He is at the top of his ability, and the recordings are just superb, not to mention the incredibly eclectic choice of works that he plays on this. It’s worth it just to hear him play the Chopin Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise!
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Karl Czerny, Muzio Clementi, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Camille Saint-Saëns, Moritz Moszkowski, Sergei Prokofiev, Samuel Barber, Alexander Scriabin, Frédéric Chopin
Performer: Vladimir Horowitz
Vinyl 1963 Number of Discs: 2 Format: FLAC Label: RCA DR-Analysis: DR 11 Size: 1.16 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to our friend Jean-Luc for this masterpiece Anyone who thinks Ormandy was the purveyor of the hearts and flowers of “The Philadelphia Sound” and not much else should be compelled to hear this Beethoven 4 with Serkin. It is truly one of the great 4ths; lyrical, unrushed, affectionately rendered, but with no indulgences at all. Serkin loved this concerto with every fiber of his being, but played no games with it. And–make no mistake–he was accompanied by a master. Of the many versions Serkin recorded during his life, this is surely the one to get.
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven Performer: Rudolf Serkin
Orchestra: Philadelphia Orchestra Conductor: Eugene Ormandy Vinyl 1955 Number of Discs: 1 Format: FLAC Label: Columbia DR-Analysis: DR 12 Size: 1.37 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to our friend Urbanox for this rarity This double album is a homage to the Staatskapelle. As intended and commissioned by the Thorens company. The Swiss turntables manufacturer cannot rival the Orchestra’s 460 years, but at 125 years of age, Thorens holds the record as the oldest company of the entertainment industry still in existence. These LPs are meant as a double birthday gift: to ourselves, but above all to our many friends around the world. For friends of the Staatskapelle, friends of Thorens and above all, for lovers of good-quality music reproduction. (Heinz Roher, CEO Thorens)
Composer: Hector Berlioz, Richard Strauss, Dmitri Shostakovich, Anton Bruckner Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden Conductor: Sir Colin Davis, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Bernard Haitink, Kyrill Kondrashin Vinyl 1974/1994/2001/2003 (2008) Number of Discs: 2 Format: FLAC Label: Thorens DR-Analysis: DR 14 Size: 3.29GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to our friend from Lake Michigan for this gem This is one of the most popular modern recordings of the opera though partly by default as there haven’t been many and the consensus is that the most recent ones lack the great singers of the past. It somewhat lags behind Böhm’s and Furtwängler’s in popularity and critical esteem though I think it’s nearly as good. Most of the criticism has been directed at the conducting. I’ll get to that but first I want to discuss the lead singers.…
Composer: Richard Wagner
Performer: Jon Vickers, Helga Dernesch, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Vinyl 1972 Number of Discs: 5 Format: FLAC Label: EMI/Angel DR-Analysis: DR 11 Size: 5.03 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to our friend Dagote for the immortal Marriner Trust Sir Neville Mariner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields to handle Mozart–whether early, middling, or late–with brio. Then add the technical excellence of Philips to the value inherent already in the great composer and one of the twentieth century’s finest houses for Baroque and Classical music. The result is of unsurpassable value. This is another great listening experience performed by The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, under Sir Neville Marriner. The interpretation is outstanding, though a little different than what we traditionally hear for Mozart.
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Orchestra: Academy Of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Conductor: Neville Marriner Vinyl 1980 Number of Discs: 1 Format: FLAC Label: Philips DR-Analysis: DR 13 Size: 2.13 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to Bob for another rarity Pyramids crumble into step-pyramids before being reduced by the elements into knolls and then dust in wait for another Cheops to be enthroned, reign and die.
This Magic Flute is a pyramid which Beecham, Lord of the Pills, raised majestically in 1937. Notwithstanding the passage of decades and onslaught of Period Practice, its capstone is still in place; its lining of limestone is pristine and overall it shows every sign of defying time for the foreseeable future and beyond. What an achievement! There is no better sung Magic Flute on record. Nearby, the pyramids of the post-war Karajan (EMI) and Furtwangler performances are keeping pace with it. The contribution of one Fritz Wunderlich is keeping Karl Bohm’s pyramid in the game. Further afield and despondent in ruination, one can view the knolls of Pale Bill Christie (Erato), Jeggy (DG) and Karajan (DG) whose Tamino, Francisco Araiza, is as gritty as the sands of Giza. To varying degrees, they served their day.
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Tiana Lemnitz, Erna Berger, Irma Beike, Helge Roswaenge, Gerhard Hüsch, Wilhelm Strienz Orchestra: Berlin PhilharmonicOrchestra
Conductor: Sir Thomas Beecham
Vinyl 1963 (1937) Number of Discs: 3 Format: FLAC Label: Turnabouts DR-Analysis: DR 11 Size: 1.06 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →
Many thanks to our friend Dagote for this audiophile pearl There are numerous accounts of the famous Elvira Madigan concerto, so called because the second movement is featured in the movie, but this performance is as fine as any, with Scheja absolutely sparkling at the keyboard and Wedin providing crisp, energetic backup. This is one of the sunniest pieces of music ever written, it will brighten up almost any mood. Who says, you always have to have only the best known artists and orchestras? Listen to this and be happy! Highly recommended!
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer: Staffan Scheja, Nils-Erik Sparf, Bernt Lysell Orchestra: The Stockholm Sinfonietta Conductor: Jan-Olav Wedin Vinyl 1982 Number of Discs: 1 Format: FLAC Label: BIS DR-Analysis: DR 12 Size: 2.42 GB Scan: yes Server: FF Continue reading →