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Thread: Comparative Listening Personal Conclusions

  1. #1
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    Default Comparative Listening Personal Conclusions

    Hello All!

    I know some have an aversion to these sorts of trivial threads, but I have found them quite useful in exploring different recordings. And so, after countless hours and days of evaluating and comparing different recordings of the same pieces these are some of my current conclusions about recordings that I have found to make for the most enjoyable listening.

    (NB: For one, this is all subjective and all that... but, more importantly, I would like to clarify that there are some performances that I have found to be superior (e.g. some older stuff like Furtwängler), but that the sound quality impedes my listening enjoyment. The conclusions are a result of the sound engineering, orchestral performance, tempi, intensity, weight, phrasing, and ultimately just personal enjoyment. Also, this list obviously only pertains to those pieces which I have come to some sort of conclusion, albeit temporary.)

    Cheers!
    Viator


    Mahler

    1.1 - Bernstein (DG Concertgebouw of Amsterdam)
    1.2 - Abbado (DG Berliner Phil)
    1.3 - Solti (CSO throughout)
    1.4 - Bernstein (DG Concertgebouw of Amsterdam)
    2.1 - Haitink (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    2.2 - Solti
    2.3 - Haitink (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    2.4 - Solti
    2.5 - Haitink (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    3 - (I like Barbirolli in general and certainly like him most for the first movement (Abbado DG in 2nd with his awesome brass opening, but I simply have never been overenthused with this symphony)
    4.1 - Solti
    4.2 - Solti
    4.3 - Solti
    4.4 - Haitink
    5.1 - Bernstein
    5.2 - Solti
    5.3 - Bernstein
    5.4 - Abbado
    5.5 - Bernstein
    6.1 - Boulez
    6.2 - Gielen
    6.3 - Levi
    6.4 - Herbig
    7.1 - Solti
    7.2 - Sinopoli
    7.3 - Solti
    7.4 - Solti
    7.5 - Sinopoli
    8.1 - Tennstedt (although Kubelik I think captures Mahler’s spirit and intent better on both parts of this symphony)
    8.2 - Solti (brilliant music making throughout, although he botches the end to my eternal regret)
    DLvdE.1 - Rattle
    DLvdE.2 - Bernstein
    DLvdE.3 - Klemperer
    DLvdE.4 - Klemperer
    DLvdE.5 - Bernstein
    DLvdE.6 - Rattle (Nobody touches Ferrier though for the final ‘ewig’)
    9.1 - Abbado (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    9.2 - Abbado (DG)
    9.3 - Sinopoli
    9.4 - Solti
    10.1 - Barshai
    10.2 - Barshai
    10.3 - Slatkin
    10.4 - Slatkin
    10.5 - Slatkin

    Bruckner

    4.1 - Karl Böhm
    4.3 - Jochum (DG)
    4.4 - Celibidache
    5.1 - Wand
    5.2 - Wand
    5.3 - Wand
    5.4 - Wand
    6.1 - Jochum (EMI)
    6.2 - Klemperer
    6.3 - Jochum (DG)
    6.4 - Jochum (DG)
    7.1 - Runnicles
    7.2 - Runnicles
    7.3 - Karajan (DG)
    7.4 - Runnicles
    8.1 - Boulez
    8.2 - Jochum (EMI)
    8.3 - Wand
    8.4 - Skrowaczewski
    9.1 - Wand
    9.2 - Walter
    9.3 - Barrenboim

    Sibelius

    1.1 - Ashkenazy
    1.2 - Kamu
    1.3 - Maazel
    1.4 - Maazel
    (On account of a certain sequence of events, I fell into a depression once as a teenager while I fell in love with the 2nd, and have consequently never been able to listen to it since, though I have tried a couple of times and will continue to do so periodically.)
    3.1 - Vänskä
    3.2 - Ashkenazy
    3.3 - Kamu
    4.1 - Ashkenazy
    4.2 - Maazel
    4.3 - Kamu
    4.4 - Maazel
    5.1 - Ashkenazy
    5.2 - Ashkenazy
    5.3 - Vänskä
    6.1 - Ashkenazy
    6.2 - Ashkenazy
    6.3 - Ashkenazy
    6.4 - Vänskä
    7 - Ashkenazy
    En Saga - Ashkenazy

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViatorDei View Post
    Hello All!

    I know some have an aversion to these sorts of trivial threads, but I have found them quite useful in exploring different recordings. And so, after countless hours and days of evaluating and comparing different recordings of the same pieces these are some of my current conclusions about recordings that I have found to make for the most enjoyable listening.

    (NB: For one, this is all subjective and all that... but, more importantly, I would like to clarify that there are some performances that I have found to be superior (e.g. some older stuff like Furtwängler), but that the sound quality impedes my listening enjoyment. The conclusions are a result of the sound engineering, orchestral performance, tempi, intensity, weight, phrasing, and ultimately just personal enjoyment. Also, this list obviously only pertains to those pieces which I have come to some sort of conclusion, albeit temporary.)

    Cheers!
    Viator


    Mahler

    1.1 - Bernstein (DG Concertgebouw of Amsterdam)
    1.2 - Abbado (DG Berliner Phil)
    1.3 - Solti (CSO throughout)
    1.4 - Bernstein (DG Concertgebouw of Amsterdam)
    2.1 - Haitink (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    2.2 - Solti
    2.3 - Haitink (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    2.4 - Solti
    2.5 - Haitink (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    3 - (I like Barbirolli in general and certainly like him most for the first movement (Abbado DG in 2nd with his awesome brass opening, but I simply have never been overenthused with this symphony)
    4.1 - Solti
    4.2 - Solti
    4.3 - Solti
    4.4 - Haitink
    5.1 - Bernstein
    5.2 - Solti
    5.3 - Bernstein
    5.4 - Abbado
    5.5 - Bernstein
    6.1 - Boulez
    6.2 - Gielen
    6.3 - Levi
    6.4 - Herbig
    7.1 - Solti
    7.2 - Sinopoli
    7.3 - Solti
    7.4 - Solti
    7.5 - Sinopoli
    8.1 - Tennstedt (although Kubelik I think captures Mahler’s spirit and intent better on both parts of this symphony)
    8.2 - Solti (brilliant music making throughout, although he botches the end to my eternal regret)
    DLvdE.1 - Rattle
    DLvdE.2 - Bernstein
    DLvdE.3 - Klemperer
    DLvdE.4 - Klemperer
    DLvdE.5 - Bernstein
    DLvdE.6 - Rattle (Nobody touches Ferrier though for the final ‘ewig’)
    9.1 - Abbado (1995 Mahler Feest, rare)
    9.2 - Abbado (DG)
    9.3 - Sinopoli
    9.4 - Solti
    10.1 - Barshai
    10.2 - Barshai
    10.3 - Slatkin
    10.4 - Slatkin
    10.5 - Slatkin

    Bruckner

    4.1 - Karl Böhm
    4.3 - Jochum (DG)
    4.4 - Celibidache
    5.1 - Wand
    5.2 - Wand
    5.3 - Wand
    5.4 - Wand
    6.1 - Jochum (EMI)
    6.2 - Klemperer
    6.3 - Jochum (DG)
    6.4 - Jochum (DG)
    7.1 - Runnicles
    7.2 - Runnicles
    7.3 - Karajan (DG)
    7.4 - Runnicles
    8.1 - Boulez
    8.2 - Jochum (EMI)
    8.3 - Wand
    8.4 - Skrowaczewski
    9.1 - Wand
    9.2 - Walter
    9.3 - Barrenboim

    Sibelius

    1.1 - Ashkenazy
    1.2 - Kamu
    1.3 - Maazel
    1.4 - Maazel
    (On account of a certain sequence of events, I fell into a depression once as a teenager while I fell in love with the 2nd, and have consequently never been able to listen to it since, though I have tried a couple of times and will continue to do so periodically.)
    3.1 - Vänskä
    3.2 - Ashkenazy
    3.3 - Kamu
    4.1 - Ashkenazy
    4.2 - Maazel
    4.3 - Kamu
    4.4 - Maazel
    5.1 - Ashkenazy
    5.2 - Ashkenazy
    5.3 - Vänskä
    6.1 - Ashkenazy
    6.2 - Ashkenazy
    6.3 - Ashkenazy
    6.4 - Vänskä
    7 - Ashkenazy
    En Saga - Ashkenazy
    Impressive to say the least

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    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    I don't know how you can enjoy listening to any of those symphonies while having to switch recordings after each movement!

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post
    I don't know how you can enjoy listening to any of those symphonies while having to switch recordings after each movement!
    I've done that type of comparative listening; the enjoyment is making the movement-by-movement comparisons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post
    I don't know how you can enjoy listening to any of those symphonies while having to switch recordings after each movement!
    That's the beauty of digital music. iTunes playlists to save the day! ;-)

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViatorDei View Post
    That's the beauty of digital music. iTunes playlists to save the day! ;-)
    To me though the purpose and integrity of a performance is to have a single mind behind it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    To me though the purpose and integrity of a performance is to have a single mind behind it.
    I can certainly appreciate the importance of hearing a performance in its integrity because a conductor can "say something" with how they interpret the piece. I personally only occasionally listen to these symphonies in their entirety because they require such big blocks of time.
    The most important single mind behind the performance, however, in my opinion is the composer's which can at times come through if the conductor is respectful enough of the score. The conclusions I put forward above are the performances that I find most enjoyable on a movement by movement basis. I know this may seem like heresy to some purists, but it can't be denied that some conductors hit the nail on the head in one movement but stumble through others. Hence these are the versions that have seemed to best perform these individual movements.

    Cheers!

  11. #8
    Senior Member Brahmsian Colors's Avatar
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    I go straight to my favorite segments of a particular piece, and listen attentively several times. If I don't like what I hear, I quit the recording. If I do like what I hear in several different recordings , I comparatively listen further to determine which is (are) more fully pleasing. I can decide relatively quickly what I prefer or what I don't care for.

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