Tough assignment considering that it is likely that most recommendations wouldn't be appreciated (useful).
We really don't know what composers you are attracted to. Nor do we know what periods interest you.
We really don't know what styles of classical music you prefer, such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Neo Classical, Modern, Neo Romantic or even simply orchestral, chamber, solo instruments, vocals etc, other than the few you mention. It appears you might prefer chamber and Baroque, but Holst and Lecuona are a bit distant in similarity.
Bottom line you might have set the response level too high for folks who don't even know if they can be of any help to you, me included.
But, if this will help get you out of your equipment reviewing/equipment buying habit.......
You mention Lecuona - You might enjoy music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. There are 3 Vanguard Classic CD's - Vol 1 is for solo piano by Eugene List, Vol 2 is a combo of orchestral and solo piano with Eugene List and Maurice Abravanel and the Utah OS. Vol 3 is orchestral and includes his A Night In The Tropics and Morton Goulds Latin American Symphonette. Great American music with a Cuban/Latin influence and the recordings are very good as well. Very lively, assessible, stuff!
Re Holst's Planets - I think Dutoit's with the Montreal SO on London is outstanding, both in the performance as well as the recording. This has been widely acclaimed - I'm sure you can find refined reviews on line if this interests you. It is my favorite version -
Refine your requests to composers and/or individual pieces, or at least periods/styles and I'll bet you'd get a lot better response.
Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra is another good recording of the Planets.
I think my post is clear if you read it. I hope your comments don't dissuade others from posting. This is definitely not an assignment; it's a forum for those who enjoy sharing and discovering great classical music recordings with other audiophiles. I studied jazz performance at the Conservatory in Cincinnati and I appreciate all eras and genre's of orchestral and ensemble music and know a fair bit about classical music. I'm interested in learning about works, composers, recordings I may or may not have of and expanding my knowledge and classical music library. : )
J_evege, I greatly appreciate your focus on the music and your willingness to start some further conversation about great music. However, I join Newbee in a reluctance to launch into such a broad topic as you've outlined. If you take a look at Newbee's "Answers" you will see that he has made a tremendous contribution over the years. You'll also see many music threads listed under my "Answers" here. An example of where you might start in the archives is to take a look at the threads:Audiogon "Best Recommendation" threads, a list Whats on your turntable tonight?
great post, hope that many leave thier suggestions
Label/catalog #: ALIAVOX
Orchestra/Ensemble HESPERION XXI
Conductor: JORDI SAVALL
Comments: JUST LOVE JORDI SAVALL, PLAYS WITH A JOY AND CREATIVE INSIGHT THAT BRINGS LIFE AND LIGHT TO MANY EARLY MUSIC MASTERS, HE & HESPERION XXI HAVE SEVERAL OTHER EXCELLENT CD'S ON THIS LABEL
album: several different cd's
Label/catalog #: ARCHIV
Orchestra/Ensemble MUSICA ANTIQUE KOLN
Conductor: REINHARD GOEBEL
Comments: REINHARD IS ANOTHER THAT HEARS AND PLAYS HIS OWN WAY, COSISTANTLY EXCELLENT WITH TELEMANN
compose: VAGN Holmboe
album: SYM NO.'s 1, 3, 10
Label/catalog #: BIS
Orchestra/Ensemble AARHUS SO
Conductor: OWAIN ARWEL HUGHES
Comments: HUGHES AND ASO HAVE A WONDERFUL AFFINITY WITH HOLMBOE
album: PASTORALE SYM NO 6
Label/catalog #: SONY SACD
Orchestra/Ensemble COLUMBIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conductor: BRUNO WALTER
Comments: WALTER IS MY FAVORITE CONDUCTOR, HE SEEMS TO HEAR & LEAD FROM THE HEART OF THE COMPOSER. (Just a Romantic) HIS LATE IN LIFE RECORDINGS WITH CSO OF BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS, DVORAK, & SCHUBERT ON SONY BUDGET REMASTED CD'S ARE ALL VERY GOOD AND INEXPENSIVE; THE ONES HE RECORDED FROM 58-60 IN CA.(IF YOU LIKE BRUNO, THESE ARE HIS BEST)
compose:PAQUITO D'RIVERA, Yo-Yo Ma, ETC.
album: OBRIGADO BRAZIL LIVE IN CONCERT
Label/catalog #: SONY
Comments: YO YO PLAYS WITH SUCH A SENSE OF JOY. ALONG WITH AN ALL STAR CAST PLAY TANGO & S. AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC.
AliaVox, Harmonia Mundi, BIS, EMI all have consistantly excellent sonic quality. aND THERE ARE GEMS ON ALMOST EVERY LABEL.
J_evege, Your post is clear, but evidentially mine was not.
It was not my intent to discourage anyone from responding to your thread. IMHO your thread was all too effective in doing that within its own construction.
The purpose of my post was to encourage others to respond inspite of what I percieved, and I even created a path that could be followed. I commented on one of your inquiries and I tried to expand on one of your other selections, but not within your construction.
BTW a recording company, BIS I believe, catalogued all, or at least most of, Lecuona's music. I have some of these recordings but I've misplaced them. His granddaughter also recorded much of his music in a Dynamic CD.
I have no affinity for Baroque so I took a pass on the other two.
What I suggest, if you want to be successful in expanding your collection of classical music is to set about by posting over time a series of threads inquiring in the music of composers of interest to you and try to do so in a way that opens up an opportunity for dialogue about recommendations. I would offer this for example:
"I heard some music by Sibelius on the car radio and I found it incedibly beautiful. I believe that it was his 2d Symphony. Can anyone share with me their views of this piece and give me some recommendations?", or
"I would like to explore the music of Sibelius and Mahler, can anyone point the way for me to their more assessible music as well as any recommendations for specific performances".
Either post will get you some answers sufficient for the purpose at least for establishing a point for further research. Note you have two references for highly regarded performances/recordings of Holst Planets. Now since you know neither poster nor recording it's time to start doing research on Google or in any of the good books of reviews of classical music, and see what critic's or other enthusiasts have to say about them, or some others that they consider better.
Hell someone might even give you a numerical evaluation of recording/performance. Hur(l)witz does this on Classic's Today - it is in that web's sites methodology. FWIW I think its fallible more often than not and would not buy a recording just because it has a 10/10 rating. But I guess, in retrospect, I'd probably be unlikely to buy one that had a 6/6 rating :-).
Speaking of dialogue, what did you think about my recommendation of Gottschalk. Of any interest to you?
Rushton, Thanks for the reminder about the '"Best Recommendations" list. I looked at the first list for classical beginners and still consider it an excellent starting point. In the future I'll simply refer folks new to classical, and looking for general recommendation, there.
BTW, for your benefit at least, but also for anyone else including J_evege if he is up to Mahler, I must upgrade my Mahler 1 recommendation. Zander on TELARC. Excellent as it is, I think it is surpassed by, and perfectly balanced by, the preceeding rendition of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Christopher Maltman. They really blend and compliment each other so well. I couldn't be more enthused. If you haven't already picked this up, do so and treat yourself to something really!!! special.
J_evege, your intentions are good. I understand.
But the problem with classical music is that it is an endless subject. Honestly I would not even know where to begin answering about what my favorite classical recordings are. There are at least 50 i can name.
If it was more specific to a certain composer, time period, or even a certain conductor/orchestra, it would be easier and even then it would come down to an individual preference. It would only serve as a guideline.
Newbee makes an excellent point in his first post. If you are interested in a particular piece, then the recommendations would follow. Also I agree with him on the assessment of classicstoday reviews. Example: I recently bought a Mahler set by Gary Bertini that they had rated the highest 10/10. I kind of like the set as far the performance is concerned but the recording quality is very far from being 10 grade. More like 6 I would say.
So if you refine your request and make it more specific, at least down to a certain style of composition, time period, scale(orchestral, instrumental, chamber), then it would be easier. I'd be glad to chime in.
Tell you what: I'll list some of my current favorites (subject to change without me noticing). And "current favorite" may mean something I bought years ago, but am enjoying again.
Rachmaninov piano concertos
Stephen Hough (Hyperion)
Natural sound; not in your face. Hough plays a lot like R.: very fluid, in complete control. Not flashy like, say, Horowitz.
Brahms Piano Trios
Angelich, Capucon, Capucon (Virgin)
Not as intense as some, but very moving and playful.
Nice acoustic, lots of air around players.
Brahms Piano Quintet
Prazak Qt. Ivan Klansky (Praga)
Excellent sound; lots of space, natural timbre
Very good playing
Mahler Sym. no. 9 ("number nine, number nine, .........")
Cincinnati Symphony (Telarc)
Great sound, lots of detail, but warm.
Cincy plays its ass off; my favorite ninth.
Brahms Symphony no. 4
German Symphony Orchestra Berlin (who dey?)
Kent Nagano (Harmonia Mundi)
Not a real intense 4th (like, say, Kleiber), but simply gorgeous playing and sound. Made me love this piece all over again.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas 21, 23, 26
Mari Kodama (Pentatone)
Best piano sound I've heard (that isn't live); full, rich, natural...
Excellent playing, but maybe not the last word...
Mahler Symphony no. 2
Ivan Fischer, Budapest (Channel Classics)
I may like the Andrew Litton/Dallas recorded sound (more back-of-the-hall, grander sounding) more than this one (more up-close), but the attention to detail of this performance!
Bach, Stokowsky's Transcriptions
Matthias Bamert, BBC Philharmonic
Volume I (1993), and II (2005) (Chandos)
Good, if not great, sound (2005 better). Heart-felt playing. These recordings prove that Bach's music was/is bigger than any one instrument.
I also recommend Dutoit for the Planets. My son borrowed mine years ago and haven't seen it since. Saw this at half.com the other day for five bucks.
copy/past this if it helps:
Thanks so much for all of your responses. I like relaxing at the end of the day for an hour or so and investigating the recordings recommended here. I like going to amazon.com or www.cdbaby.com but if anyone else has suggestions where you can listen to excerpts I'd love to know. Although it doesn't really help to hear the first 30 seconds of a Mahler symphony! Ludimagis, thanks for introducing me to Archiv records and the recordings and music by Jordi Savall. I've enjoyed learning more about early music recordings.
SteveOtt, You seem to be a big fan of romantic music like Brahms and Mahler. These are two composers I have not yet had that magical "aha" moment with. I've found it tough to wrap my head around that big, heavy emotional sound. If there's one era of classical music I resist it the romantic era. It often sounds melodramatic to me. That said, I do love Liszt, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bizet. I'd definitely like to get to know a Mahler symphony and the 9th seems like a very popular one. I realize that I've been bought a lot of smaller ensemble pieces like sonatas, etudes, solo works.
I will post some more recordings in the next few days.
Based on your comments about solo piano music I would suggest that you consider the following for exploration -
1)Brahms Intermezzi Op117 (etc) by Idit Biret on Naxos
2)Chopin Nocturnes by Ivan Moravec on Non-Such
3)Debussy Preludes by Paul Jacobs on Non-such (or Ogawa on BIS)
4)Liszt - Annees de perlerinage (especially Suisse Anne) by Lazar Berman on DG
5)Schumann - Fantasy in C. One of the most beautiful pieces for solo piano in the Catalog. Essential. Perahia does a good job on a CBS/Sony disc and includes a good version of Schuberts 'Wanderer Fantasy'. Combined they make this an excellent addition to your collection.
These recordings are all of a more reflective and beautifulgenre than they are 'barn storming'.
Have you explored any of the more modern composers music for solo piano, original or transcriptions?
For Bizet, something different to explore when you get bored with standard versions of Carmen, the Symphony in C, and L'Arlesienne. The Bizet-Shchedrin version of the Carmen Ballet performed by Schwartz and the LA Chamber Orchesta on EMI. This is Carmen without brass - a heresy perhaps, but a lovely, facinating version with a slightly modern flavor. Highly recommended if you have any sense of adventure.
Hope that helps you a bit.
based on what you said you like, try:
1)Schubert "Trout" Quintet with Emil Gilels and Amadeus Quartet on DG
2)Hilary Hahn plays Bach - Sonatas and Partitas
3)Schubert Piano Music for 4 hands with Kissin, Levine on RCA(live recording, Carnegie Hall)
4)Brahms - Piano Concerto No.1, Sonata No.3, Rapsodies, Piano Pieces with Radu Lupu on DECCA(3 disc set)
5)Tchaikovsky - Symphonic Poems with Mikhail Pletnev on DG(3 disc set)
6)Mahler Symphony No.1 with Benjamin Zander on Telarc(I think 9th is a bit rough to start with)
7)Mahler Symphony No.4 with Fritz Reiner on RCA Living Stereo; or with Riccardo Chaily on DECCA
8)Shostakovich Piano Concerto Nos 1 and 2 with Mikhail Rudy on EMI(this disc also has Shostakovich's 1st symphony)
9)Tchaikovsky - Symphonies 4, 5 and 6 with Karajan on DG
If you're not ready for Mahler, don't attempt it, don't force yourself. But the 1st and 4th symphonies are the lightest ones of all. For Brahms symphones I really like Karajan on DG, but might as well start with lighter Brahms, such as solo piano works with Radu Lupu or even String Quartets with Emerson String Quartet on DG.