About Rachmaninov

I was born for the music. Music was my first love and will be the last.... (John Miles)

HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Philips) Hector Berlioz – Benvenuto Cellini (Davis)

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All thanks for this gem go to our friend Trottar
Sir Colin Davis is the reason for the way we look at the music of Hector Berlioz. He made the music come alive. I own – with the precious contribution by two donators from this blog –  the complete cycle of Davis recordings. It wonderful to hear this opera performed as Berlioz would have wanted in 1834. My eyes were opened to the beauty of this forgotten stage work. A MUST for a lover of Hector Berlioz. His operas were pushed aside in the 19th century only to flower in the 20th century. His name has been re-stored in the world in the Opera. A true equal to Verdi, Wagner, Strauss plus the other greats. A truly gifted artist. Berlioz was a rare genius, generally unappreciated in his own day, but now fully recovered. The late Colin Davis has much to do with that, and this wonderful recording was an important part of that rebirth. Especially the fabulous multi-lingual tenor, Nicolai Gedda, offers here a clinic on superb French style and diction, not to mention unsurpassed beauty of shading and tone. The entire cast I judge to be excellent, the story fun and filled with vocal frolic, the orchestra unbeatable.

Composer: Hector Berlioz
Performer: Nicolai Gedda, Hugues Cuénod, Derek Blackwell, Christiane Eda-Pierre, Janine Reiss, Jane Berbié, Jules Bastin
Orchestra: B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Colin Davis
Vinyl 1972
Number of discs: 4
Format: Flac
Label: Philips
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 3:12 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (DGG) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerti KV 175, KV 40 & KV 41 (Geza Anda)

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All thanks go to Jean-Luc
Géza Anda’s interpretations of Mozart’s piano concertos are immortal classics that should not be overlooked. Granted, it is a crowded field, which include many excellent accounts (Perahia’s, for example). But these recordings – made in Salzburg – are fine examples of the rare moments in music making when a soloist and ensemble forms a coherent unit. Anda and his Salzburger team know Mozart by heart, and they perform these works with an unmatched dedication and sophistication. Technical brilliance is not the ultimate goal here; it is rather the music itself, how to let it flow with a balanced passion. This keeps the element of spontaneity, so crucial in Mozart’s music, alive and sparkling.

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Geza Anda
Orchestra: Camerata Academica Des Salzburger Mozarteums
Conductor: Geza Anda
Vinyl 1970
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: DGG
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 907 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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Audiophile HD-Vinyl 24/192 (RCA) Antonio Vivaldi – Le 4 Stagioni (Arr. for 3 Guitars) (Amsterdam Guitar Trio)

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I love transcriptions. They offer a new and ear-catching timbral view of the old warhorses, and a new kick to the old routine. Sometimes transcriptions can even be illuminating, and reveal things about the composition that weren’t apparent in the original, especially in the keyboard works of Bach, where assigning widely differentiated timbres to the different voices brings out the contrapuntal writing. As the Goldberg Variations, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has been a popular candidate for transcriptions.
Audiophile Factor: High!

Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
Performers: Amsterdam Guitar Trio
Vinyl 1984
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: RCA
DR-Analysis: 13
Size: 1.58 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Amadeo) Ludwig van Beethoven – Complete Piano Sonatas (Gulda)

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Not quite 50 years since I first heard a Beethoven sonata. In all this time I have never had such a powerful, visceral, response to a recording. Gulda’s tempo is on the quicker side. Here the issue is between two approaches. (1)”I have brilliant technique, I’ll translate the music in these terms”. Or (2) Beethoven requires this intensity and tempo. I have the necessary technical skill. So lets deploy it.” Gulda is unquestionably in the second category. Those in the first…You know who you are!
The most striking thing, consistently throughout the cycle, is the unselfconscious, almost “simple” or naive playing on the Steinway. It felt, at times, as though I had never heard these sonatas before. I found myself thinking the most absurd thought, “This is how Beethoven would want it played.” As I say, absurd. Nevertheless….That was the feeling… Point is the impression was one of absolute authenticity and truth to the score. And Beethoven’s vision… And a revalation, after so many years of listening to these works…
Over fifty years I’ve heard and collected several sets of the Beethoven sonatas. Rubinstein, the wonderful Poetical Solomon, some Intense Backhaus, Grand Arrau, Precise Pollini. And others. Each has brought great pleasure and insight into these wonderful sonatas. None, ever, has had this intense an impact, on first hearing.

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Friedrich Gulda
Vinyl 1968
Number of discs: 11
Format: Flac
Label: Amadeo
DR-Analysis:
DR 12
Size: 11.86 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (DGG) Johannes Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 2 (Anda/Karajan)

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There is a real electricity in the Brahms interpretion of Geza Anda’s….his sense of pulse and drive really underly the incredible virtuosity of the Berlin Philharmonic. The opening movement moves along at the hectic pace but with some really urgent dramatic high points especially in the development section. Karajan really alots a very special role to the brass in this movement and the inspired playing is a joy…as to the cello solo at the opening of the third movement it is given a really fine treatment by Mr. Finke…then principal of the Berlin Phil. As to the Finale it has a nice relaxed sense of wonder without the hectic nature other conductors ascribe to Brahms here…I really think that this is one of the finest recordings of any music made anywhere.

Composer: Johannes Brahms
Performer: Geza Anda
OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Vinyl 1968(1984)
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: DGG
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 967 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Turnabout) Franz Schubert – “Trout”-Quintet (Hungarian String Quartet)

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All thanks for this gem go to Lemarquis
The Hungarian Quartet plays with a robust sound, not super-refined but with excellent intonation. They are dramatic without being too driven and have a good deal of warmth and sentiment without overdoing it. Lead by violinist Zoltàn Székely, they offer an especially dramatic, flowing, lively performance of the quintet, a performance that may be my favorite of the several recordings of it in my collection. Less introspective than some other versions, this performance makes total dramatic and musical sense to me, with the introspective sections having particular power because they’re such a contrast to the more aggressive, extroverted parts of the performance.

Composer: Franz Schubert
Performer: Hungarian String Quartet, Gàbor Magyar, Georg Hörtnagel, Louis Kentner, Dénes Koromzay, Zoltàn Székely
Vinyl 1968
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: Turnabout
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 731 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (EMI) Giuseppe Verdi – Falstaff (Gobbi/Karajan)

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All thanks for this legend belong to our friend Trottar
This Karajan Falstaff has much to recommend it: Fedora Barbieri’s Mistress Quickly is a force of nature, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, only slightly affected, is a liquid, appealing Alice Ford, and Luigi Alva and the young Anna Moffo are ideal as the young lovers, Fenton and Nanetta. But the star–as it should be–is Tito Gobbi in the title role. As is usual with this great singing actor, his characterization comes from within–his is a Falstaff born to be deflated, arrogant and self-deluding on a level that is actually funny. And the nice surprise is what good voice Gobbi’s in–he’s in charge of all of his vocal colors here and he uses all of them well. Karajan’s touch is light and, yes, funny, and he treats the opera as the divine ensemble work it is, all leading up to a superb final scene. A good time is had by all–listeners included. –Robert Levine.

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Performer: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Anna Moffo, Fedora Barbieri, Tito Gobbi, Rolando Panerai, Luigi Alva, Nicola Zaccaria
Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Vinyl 1961
Number of discs: 3
Format: Flac
Label: EMI
DR-Analysis:
DR 17
Size: 2.33 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (EMI/Melodya) Jean Sibelius – Symphony No. 4 (Rozhdestvensky)

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All thanks for this gem go to Jean-Luc
Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded the complete symphonies of Jean Sibelius between 1969 and 1974, in remarkably fresh analog sound that’s simply outstanding. Thanks to Melodiya’s original high recording standards, the performances have wide open dimensions, credible physical presence, vibrant timbres, and crisp details that are almost finely preserved. Rozhdestvensky was widely respected for his sympathetic interpretations of Sibelius’ music, and rather than treat the symphonies as cerebral or idiosyncratic essays, he gave them intensely focused and connected readings that always feel as organic and substantial as Sibelius intended them. The Moscow musicians play with alert rhythms (essential in the changing tempos of the later symphonies) and pungent sonorities that give the music a wonderful sense of being performed for the first time, though intonation is an occasional problem in the woodwinds, and the brass are decidedly assertive. In terms of its musical merits, this set has serious competition from the excellent recordings that Colin Davis made with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Lorin Maazel recorded with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, around the same period. As insightful and valuable documents of Sibelius’ symphonies, all three deserve consideration and have fans, but purely in terms of sound, the Rozhdestvensky is a clear winner.

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leningrad Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Vinyl 1960-1975
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: EMI/Melodya
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 1.04 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (EMI/Melodya) Jean Sibelius – Symphonies 3 & 7 (Rozhdestvensky)

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All thanks for this gem go to Jean-Luc
Rozhdestvensky is one of the later Soviet conductors who was still young enough to have a lengthy post Soviet career. These Sibelius recordings however date from the 1960s and 70s when he was in his 30s and 40s. They have an original conception even though there can inconsistent orchestral execution. One also has to accept that the Soviet brass sections were always a bit blaring and intrusive. It adds excitement at climaxes but also can upset the musical balance. Bearing that in mind, the interpretations, especially the Symphony 7, deserve to be in the collection of Sibelians. Rozhdestvensky brings an exceptional lyrical impulse to these works…

Composer: Jean Sibelius
Orchestra: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Vinyl 1975
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: EMI/Melodya
DR-Analysis:
DR 12
Size: 960 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (CBS) Franz Schubert/Ludwig van Beethoven – “Trout”-Quintet/Piano Quartet (Budapest String Quartet)

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All thanks for this gem go to Lemarquis
The Budapest String Quartet for over thirty years was reguarded as simply “the” string quartet. For over a decade they were the string quartet in residence at the Library of Congress. They used Strads from the Library’s collection. They performed the entire Beethoven cycle every year they were there. All these performances were recorded. The 1952 performances were released on columbia from those cycles. This stereo really captures the sound of the instruments.
The “Trout” is a lovely piece, the warmth of the sound is present, but what counts is the life and energy and thought that seem to have gone into every bar. The variety of dynamics and texture, the adjustments of pacing bespeak a total commitment to the music here, and it’s just harrowing in places. The lyrical gestures are fleeting, and the obsessive drive of the faster passages, contrasted with the eerie character of the slower ones is just gripping. It’s just an outstanding recording.

Composer: Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Budapest String Quartet, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Julius Levine, Joseph Roisman, Boris Kroyt, Mischa Schneider
Vinyl 1950(1963)
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: CBS
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 1.22 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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