The Best Version of Your Favorite Music?
I find that I enjoy listening to varying interpretations of music I like and while I have and listen to different versions of the same music, depending on my mood, I find I keep coming back to one version...
I have found great music and recordings referenced in the comments of others on the Audiogon forums [sic] and am looking to find more so... I would like to invite everyone to share what they view as the best version of some of their favorite music (favorite music tends to elicit special efforts to find the best version). Any genre and format of music is welcome but I'd like to keep the 'digital vs. analog wars' confined to another thread and simply ask for peoples' opinions on outstanding recordings of excellent performances of beautiful music.
1) Over the last few weeks, I have listened to every CD version of Holst's 'The Planets' (a long-time favorite) I had or could borrow. The list included versions conducted by L. Bernstein, Adrian Boult (with the LSO), Herbert von Karajan (early 1980s DG), James Levine, two by Zubin Mehta (LA Phil in late 1960s and NY Phil in 1989), A. Previn, Georg Solti, plus a new Japanese SACD performance. While I grew up with the Solti and Previn versions, the one which brings shivers to my spine and raises the hairs on the back of my neck like no other is (still) the late 1960s Zubin Mehta version. I also liked the Karajan but it is second-best in my mind. Disclaimer: I have yet to listen to two versions which have been recommended to me - a Boult version with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Dutoit/MSO recording.
2) A month ago or so, I went on a Chopin binge, listening to over a dozen (CD) versions of the Preludes, Etudes, and Nocturnes. I found that my favorite versions of what I could get my hands on (Rubinstein, Bolet, Busoni, Biret, Dutra, Pollini, Kissin, Brendel, and several Japanese pianists), were the Preludes by Kissin (good coherence across the cycle, stunning virtuosity, and beautiful recording technically) and Pollini (recording OK, but a wonderful intrepretation across the cycle). For the Etudes, it was Pollini; no contest. No decision yet on the Nocturnes (let alone the Mazurkas, Polonaises, and Waltzes). I have yet to listen to Moravec, Lipatti, Lupu, and a few other versions which have been recommended (especially looking forward to finding a copy of the Moravec as I think Chopin was meant to be played on a Bosendorfer).