50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

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Allen
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50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by Allen » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:07 am

Not sure if this has been posted here before .....

http://www.classical-music.com/article/ ... s-all-time

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by stenka razin » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:14 am

Not a bad list at all. In fact, many of the greatest recordings of the past are there. The first seven selections are right on target and the Solti/Ring in the number one spot is a bullseye.


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John F
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by John F » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:19 pm

Fifty good recordings? Yes, mostly, and some are indeed great. The "greatest of all time"? Only if you believe that only CDs count, and that with a few exceptions, great recordings started to be made in about 1950 with the coming of tape mastering and the LP, and nearly all were made in the recording studio by major record companies. These may be the BBC Music Magazine critics' favorites, but another group of informed voters - CMG members, for example - would probably agree with less than half of the BBC Magazine list.

That said, this is a reasonable list for people who are getting into classical music and want advice how to start. Not necessarily in BBC Magazine's order - how many newbies would or could begin with the Ring cycle?! But as the core of a record collection, this would do.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:40 pm

Nothing by Schubert...hmmm...

It's a very close list to the old Rosette Recordings in the Penguin Guide. Recordings you can't really go wrong with...

Being British it's full of Britten, and we get his War Requiem at number three, I never could understand what people see in this work.
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bigshot
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by bigshot » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:01 pm

I really don't know what people see in the Rattle Porgy and Bess. It's the least idiomatic recording of Gershwin I've ever heard. Maybe it's a Brit thing, but we Yanks know when Jazz is done wrong.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:16 pm

Chalkperson wrote:Being British it's full of Britten, and we get his War Requiem at number three, I never could understand what people see in this work.
The Britten Requiem is like certain financial institutions: It was too big to fail.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by josé echenique » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:32 pm

My #1 is the Callas/de Sabata Tosca, a far greater recording than anything in Solti´s Ring.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by piston » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:42 pm

Well, Chalkie, Britten is much more imaginative than Part. I'm sorry that you cannot grasp his genius. :mrgreen:
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by josé echenique » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:44 pm

And what about Poulenc? The EMI Dialogues recording is every bit as important as the Britten War Requiem.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by piston » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:01 pm

That's very true. I was just teasing. What we need in all of these fabulous lists of great works is transparency about methodology. Such as a "rubric for scoring" being shared with all! Wouldn't that be something?! :D Put these list makers on the spot and ask them to explain, precisely, how they come up with such decisions. Is it just your gut feeling, as of 1/30/2014? Might you come up with something quite different in two weeks? :lol: Why did you place the Janacek in 13th position and not in seventh? Please explain.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by slofstra » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:43 am

A key criteria here seems to be "historical impact" as opposed purely to performance excellence, and from that perspective this is an excellent list.

For example, the Mravinsky/Tchaikovsky disk is exciting, daring, different, a must have, and represents the coming of the anti-Karajan. But is it the best 'Pathetique' from a performance perspective? I don't think it is. But it would be difficult to decide whose recording is best. (My choice is Dutoit).

One can make all kinds of arguments for obvious omissions and unworthy inclusions based on personal taste. In eschewing that rabbit hole, the only major problem I see is no solo recital disks. No Fischer-Dieskau, say, Die Winterreise and I would make an argument for Jussi Bjoerling at Carnegie Hall.

Once you start down the solo recital path, it might be difficult to know where to stop, so this exclusion may have been deliberate.
Last edited by slofstra on Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:10 am

Historic impact indeed appears to be one of the criteria. Did I miss the recordings by Toscanini? Or is he now the forgotten man?

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by John F » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:17 am

As for methodology, I don't see how there can be one when we're talking about "greatness." Criteria, perhaps; historical authority and importance (the composer himself performing, or performers with a close connection with the composer), influence on performance practice, etc. Toscanini would qualify on both of these counts, and his many, many recordings also helped to grow the classical music audience and the market for classical recordings. But finally, greatness has to be about qualities one values in the performance itself, and that's subjective.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by slofstra » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:20 pm

John F wrote:As for methodology, I don't see how there can be one when we're talking about "greatness." Criteria, perhaps; historical authority and importance (the composer himself performing, or performers with a close connection with the composer), influence on performance practice, etc. Toscanini would qualify on both of these counts, and his many, many recordings also helped to grow the classical music audience and the market for classical recordings. But finally, greatness has to be about qualities one values in the performance itself, and that's subjective.
Clearly there is a British versus American, and even European bias in the creation of the list. I think that's unavoidable. You tend to listen to domestic artists because that is who tends to perform in one's area. Doubly so for reviewers who write about performances at local venues, and receive comp recordings from domestic labels. So one's listening experience is going to be somewhat shaped by one's experience with homegrown talent, and that will unavoidably factor into a British list.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by John F » Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:31 pm

Taste is formed by what one hears, certainly, and while recordings have a lot to do with what one hears - for me, classical music was recordings all the way through my teens - those fortunate enough to hear live performances (which in the UK come daily on BBC Radio 3) will naturally be influenced by them.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by Holden Fourth » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:20 pm

John F wrote:As for methodology, I don't see how there can be one when we're talking about "greatness." Criteria, perhaps; historical authority and importance (the composer himself performing, or performers with a close connection with the composer), influence on performance practice, etc. Toscanini would qualify on both of these counts, and his many, many recordings also helped to grow the classical music audience and the market for classical recordings. But finally, greatness has to be about qualities one values in the performance itself, and that's subjective.
Another thought on the methodology is that these were all chosen by one person. The glaring omissions and a ranking order would tend to suggest that this is certainly a possibility.

John F
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by John F » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:54 pm

The article says, "We asked the BBC Music critics to vote on the top 50 recordings of all time. And here are the results…"
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by josé echenique » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:10 pm

The Beecham Carmen and La Bohéme, the Barbirolli Butterfly and Elgar´s Second, the Monteux Manon, the Markevitch Symphonie Fantastique and Damnation de Faust...

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:04 am

piston wrote:Well, Chalkie, Britten is much more imaginative than Part. I'm sorry that you cannot grasp his genius. :mrgreen:
I can certainly grasp Britten's genius. I just don't like it, I heard it in the day, from Coventry Cathedral, I was a kid, I hated it. I'm much happier living Britten Free, in fact I'm only listening to reggae and dub at the moment.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by Ken » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:20 am

These kinds of lists are, of course, invariably subjective and always a bit sketchy in terms of "methodology" (think about the countless "top ten cities to live in" lists), but I admit that I find this one better thought-out and more interesting than most of the "best albums" lists I've seen. Some obvious choices in that list as well as some that I would've not expected to see (or at least so high -- Mackerras's recording of Janáček's Katyá Kabanová, for example).

I'm also happy to see some Stockhausen, Reich and Bartók in there. So many mainstream music journalists still fail to acknowledge 20th century music, although the aforementioned artists are now more or less cemented in the canon of those who actually write music today.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by slofstra » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:40 am

Ken wrote:These kinds of lists are, of course, invariably subjective and always a bit sketchy in terms of "methodology" (think about the countless "top ten cities to live in" lists), but I admit that I find this one better thought-out and more interesting than most of the "best albums" lists I've seen. Some obvious choices in that list as well as some that I would've not expected to see (or at least so high -- Mackerras's recording of Janáček's Katyá Kabanová, for example).

I'm also happy to see some Stockhausen, Reich and Bartók in there. So many mainstream music journalists still fail to acknowledge 20th century music, although the aforementioned artists are now more or less cemented in the canon of those who actually write music today.
In subscribing to BBC Music magazine on and off over the years, I've noticed that the Mackerras/ Janáček combo has often garnered favourable mention.

Quote from an interesting, fact filled article on Mackerras's career: "He accepts that his championing of Janacek - his recordings of the operas with the Vienna Philharmonic are regarded as definitive - is his single greatest contribution to music."

Link to the article - http://www.theguardian.com/music/2005/a ... icandopera

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by barney » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:28 pm

I haven't gone through it in depth because I haven't had time to click on each album after 20 (got to about 28), but I agree that it's a well-thought out list and also that we all have favourites we would like to champion. There is a natural inclination towards older recordings because one key criterion was influence, and that takes time to emerge. Those that I do not already have I will hunt down over the next couple of years. I doubt we are ever likely to see a mega box-set with them all,though the companies did combine to produce the Philips 200-CD Great Pianists set that remains one of the glories of my collection.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by piston » Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:27 pm

Lots of Britten in there and Janacek's Jenufa is included too. Better than Ravel's Enfants des sortilèges apparently. Not to me.

This is more than about good, "historic," recordings. It's about, implicitly, "good" composers. A temporal balance of tastes, which may be pleasing, and a British take on good 20th-century music. It excludes Poulenc's masterful work to include the usual bow for Debussy's Pelleas and Ravel's Daphnis. It is extremely exclusive of Scandinavian composers' works. They apparently have not had any "historic" recordings that can measure up to the top fifties. Plenty of other aesthetic omissions, of course and one wonders why there can be two great Janacek recordings and not one from Mussorgsky or Rimsky-Korskakov.

Surely there's a great Tableaux from Mussorgsky that can measure up to Janacek's Katya and Jenufa!

I frankly do not understand the methodology. It's all subjective to me.
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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by nosreme » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:25 pm

jserraglio wrote:Historic impact indeed appears to be one of the criteria. Did I miss the recordings by Toscanini? Or is he now the forgotten man?
As the world becomes increasingly superficial--and proud of it--old conductors and especially old sound will increasingly be equated with "forgettable." I have just about everything of his available on vinyl discs and CDs (even the TV broadcasts on DVD), sometimes in multiple copies and remasterings and constantly return to them as a reminder what great conducting was like.

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by THEHORN » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:15 pm

This is a ridiculously arbitrary list . They're all highly superb, acclaimed recordings, but I can think of X number of recordings
that are in no way inferior or which I even prefer to some of these .

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Re: 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

Post by maestrob » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:03 pm

Did I miss something, or is there a complete set of Beethoven symphonies that I didn't notice?

Toscanini is my candidate for that, or if you prefer the same thing in stereo, HVK's 1963 rendition will do nicely. Toscanini is the conductor who figured out how the last movement of IX fits together: for that alone, his set should be included very high up on the list.

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