25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

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Rach3
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25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by Rach3 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:21 am

I have the Uchida,Perlman,and "Triple" Concerto mentioned ( with other recordings of the same), but not the other cd's, although have other recordings of those works ; fww:

https://www.wqxr.org/story/25-essential ... ecordings/

Donald Isler
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by Donald Isler » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:27 am

In all (lack of) modesty I'd say that I have produced 3 essential Beethoven recordings. Though (not surprisingly) they're all of the same person (as he was never a big name and has been largely forgotten), and he's not on this list.
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by RebLem » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:36 pm

I think the list is filled mostly with mediocrities. I agree with a few--Klemperer in Fidelio and the Missa Solemnis, Szell in the Pastoral, and Carlos Kleiber in the 5th & 7th.
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by John F » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:33 am

RebLem wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:36 pm
I think the list is filled mostly with mediocrities.

Amen! And even those which rise above mediocrity are hardly "essential," as there are other and often finer recordings of the same music which aren't mentioned here. (I note the absence of the names of Schnabel, Toscanini, and Furtwängler just for starters.)
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by Lance » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:19 am

Totally concur with John Francis. While we all have our favourite recordings of certain works, the preponderance of those listed make no sense whatsoever. Perhaps their idea is to sell recordings, some of lesser-known artists. I guess it is believed we must rely on the so-called "experts" to guide us in our "essential" listening habits. I think most of us in the CMG house that have had musical training of any kind don't necessarily have to follow these lists, although, maybe, they are fun to put together, like a puzzle! I will pick and chose my own recordings, and do think about suggestions that appear on our site here. It IS generally interesting to hear/read what others have to say.
John F wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:33 am


Amen! And even those which rise above mediocrity are hardly "essential," as there are other and often finer recordings of the same music which aren't mentioned here. (I note the absence of the names of Schnabel, Toscanini, and Furtwängler just for starters.)
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Ricordanza
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:23 am

John F wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:33 am
RebLem wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:36 pm
I think the list is filled mostly with mediocrities.

Amen! And even those which rise above mediocrity are hardly "essential," as there are other and often finer recordings of the same music which aren't mentioned here. (I note the absence of the names of Schnabel, Toscanini, and Furtwängler just for starters.)
In partial defense of this list, I must note that these performers hardly deserve to be dismissed as mediocrities: Richard Goode, Stephen Kovacevich, Paul Lewis, Isabelle Faust, Guarneri Quartet and Beaux Arts Trio.

John F
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by John F » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:44 am

That's as may be, but how many of us would pick these particular artists in this particular repertoire? The competition among Beethoven recordings is fierce, and when you have a choice among Fritz Kreisler, Adolf Busch, David Oistrakh, Arthur Grumiaux, and such in the violin sonatas, and others of that quality in individual sonatas, who would prefer Isabelle Faust?
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jserraglio
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by jserraglio » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:33 am

John F wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:44 am
when you have a choice among Fritz Kreisler, Adolf Busch, David Oistrakh, Arthur Grumiaux, and such in the violin sonatas, and others of that quality in individual sonatas, who would prefer Isabelle Faust?
Given that list, one quick, the rest dead, she might well get a preferential nod for the nonce.

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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by John F » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:43 am

So? On recordings it doesn't matter who's alive or dead, just who plays the best. From what I've heard of Faust, she just isn't in that league.
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by jserraglio » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:17 am

John F wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:43 am
So? On recordings it doesn't matter who's alive or dead, just who plays the best.
To the contrary, it's a life-and-death matter for the players. And for non-antiquarian listeners, a fresh interpretation from the 21st century might fit the bill nicely.

maestrob
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by maestrob » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:41 am

Well, I don't have much time today, but this list caught my eye. Actually, I don't have a strong disagreement with anything that's on the list, but I would rather have Paul Lewis playing the concerti than Richard Goode. Harnoncourt's Beethoven was never to my taste (too harsh a sound), and I object to the omission of Toscanini altogether (Perhaps his "Eroica?"). The list itself leaves out non-stereo recordings, which is a shame. Isabella Faust is fine in the Sonatas, but how about Stern or Heifetz? Both recorded in stereo! Szell in VI is a great recording, with a freshness and lighter feeling that makes his interpretation stand out from the competition, but then I admire his approach to Beethoven overall. HVK's IX is a good choice as well. My favorite Beethoven Violin Concerto is Renaud Capucon or Heifetz, were either considered?

First impressions only, but lists like this are by definition only a sampling of what's available now. How about Claudio Arrau's Beethoven Sonatas? Or Fleisher/Szell in the Concerti? Uchida's late sonatas are indeed revelatory, I must admit, but why no Richter in Carnegie Hall?

Enough for now.......

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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by RebLem » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:59 am

I have the Paul Lewis set of the piano sonatas. It is good, but far from best. OTOH, I have never been as enamoured of Artur Schnabel as most other classical music lovers. My pick for the sonatas, if you're having only one set, is Annie Fischer's.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
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maestrob
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by maestrob » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:42 pm

RebLem wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:59 am
I have the Paul Lewis set of the piano sonatas. It is good, but far from best. OTOH, I have never been as enamoured of Artur Schnabel as most other classical music lovers. My pick for the sonatas, if you're having only one set, is Annie Fischer's.
Paul Lewis, IMHO, should have waited to record the Beethoven Sonatas. I'm sorry to say that there are several awkward passages that should have not been issued, and should be redone if the set is ever reissued. Sorry that my memory is not clearer, so I can't point to specific examples, but Lewis was, at the time, not quite ready to record a complete set. OTOH, his readings of the Concerti are quite well done, with depth of feeling and superb playing all around: tempi are just right.

As for Annie Fischer's Sonatas, I agree that her set is extraordinarily good and satisfying in every way.

Holden Fourth
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by Holden Fourth » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:10 am

These choices don't really make sense and I would question the breadth of knowledge of the people who compiled the list. When I got to the Bagatelles and saw Kovacevich I thought I finally had a match only to realise that this was his second version of the bagatelles which are inferior to his recording for Philips in 1975. I suspect that they haven't heard the Philips version.

There have been a number of excellent Waldsteins recorded in the stereo era but Paul Lewis????? Where is Gilels, Tomsic, Et al. Choosing Uchida's late PS when there is the excellent Pollini set also doesn't make any sense.

My favourite symphony is the Pastoral and with top class recordings by Walter, Cluytens and Reiner where did the Szell come from? It's a good performance but essential.......

And of course, that great cliched staple of reviewers, the 5th & 7th by Kleiber just had to be mentioned. I've heard (got) better versions of both symphonies.

All this smacks of is the lack of in depth research done by today's journalists because Charlotte Gardner and Jenny Houser are purely that - journos. Click on their names to see what they have actually published and it's not impressive.

maestrob
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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by maestrob » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:38 am

A lot of their weakness is probably that they haven't lived as long as we have, thus they haven't the depth of knowledge that we do. FWIW......

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Re: 25 essential Beethoven recordings per WQXR

Post by Wallingford » Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:21 pm

I'll go with the historical (pre-stereo) guys any old day, though I'll give some allowance for Karajan's complete symphony set.
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