Blog Comments

  1. sethmadsen's Avatar
    Incredibly helpful resource for someone like me who has been exposed to much of this, but has not had deliberate experience. Thank you for helping me get there.
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  2. Trout's Avatar
    Yes, it's absolutely terrifying!
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  3. les24preludes's Avatar
    Samson François, Scarbo 1947 is the best of the lot. It's astonishing!
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  4. Quartetfore's Avatar
    At one time I thought that the Haas recording was the best, but after many a hearing I find it a bit rough. I will sy that the cello part as played is the best I have ever heard.
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  5. Quartetfore's Avatar
    Beautiful music. I could never "get" the String Quartet, but like the Piano Trio very much.
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  6. Trout's Avatar
    Glad you discovered it! Not among my very favorite lesser-known late-Romantic symphonies, but still a great work, full of Straussian anguish and gloom. It was originally written to commemorate Dvorak's death, but his wife passed away as he was working on it. This caused him to change his idea of the last movement entirely: from an optimistic "apotheosis of [Dvorak's] work" as Suk described it to a full-fledged symphonic crisis.
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    Updated Oct-14-2016 at 06:31 by Trout
  7. Blancrocher's Avatar
    Unfamiliar with this symphony--thanks for putting it on my radar.
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  8. Trout's Avatar
    That didn't make the top 10, but it did place in 15th. For the record, 11-14 are:

    11. Bernstein, Wittek, RCO / DG
    12. Salonen, Hendricks, LAPO / Sony
    13. Tennstedt, Popp, LPO / EMI
    14. Fischer, Persson, Budapest Festival O / Channel Classics
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  9. Fritz Kobus's Avatar
    Think ye that this one ought to be on the list?
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  10. Trout's Avatar
    Yes, I digitally purchased that box of Czech quartets from Brilliant not too long ago (for $9, what a bargain!). I've hardly gone through any of it, but I have listened to the Stamitz's pleasant performance of the American quartet. It's more of a saunter when compared to other, higher-voltage performances, but still delightful nevertheless. Unfortunately I do have to leave out many good performances on basically all these lists; in this case, the Stamitz, Janacek, Italian, Lindsay, and Guarneri quartets are all worthy honorable mentions.

    And thanks for reminding me that the Martinu cycle was included in the box too. I'll make that one of my next listening projects to tackle.
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  11. Blancrocher's Avatar
    Haven't heard 7 and 10 on your list--I'll get to it. Fwiw, I'm an Anton Heiller man; might be worth hearing if you don't know him. There are different versions with varying sound quality--the safest is the recent Artemis remaster. Not that he'd necessarily crack your top 10--but just throwing it out there!

    Loving all these lists--getting some intriguing performances I don't know from every one.
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  12. Blancrocher's Avatar
    Somewhat surprised not to see the Stamitz Quartet in here, though as your list shows the standard for this work is high. I'd need to do some re-listening to be confident, in any case. I'm mentioning them mostly because they have not only a good complete set of Dvorak but also a big box containing the SQs of Dvorak, Smetana, Janacek, and--the sleeper among the set--Martinu. So many forgotten gems in that latter composer's oeuvre.
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    Updated Sep-07-2016 at 02:11 by Blancrocher
  13. Blancrocher's Avatar
    Interesting--repaying my Szell mention with a performance I don't know. I'll give it a try!
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  14. Trout's Avatar
    Thank you, again. I hadn't heard Szell until now in this symphony (I own a partial Beethoven cycle of his: 1, 2, 5, and 6). The performance is brilliant, another great example of Szell and the Clevelanders in their prime. It barely misses the top 10, placing in 12th, while 11th is the, perhaps surprising, Casals performance with the Marlboro Festival Orchestra.
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    Updated Sep-06-2016 at 04:26 by Trout
  15. Blancrocher's Avatar
    I love these entries--just occurred to me today that I haven't been giving them "likes." I've made some purchases on the basis of your recommendations--the lists can be a great reminder of things I've been meaning to get around to.

    I love the Bernstein--might even have put it a little higher in a top-10. But I'm very tolerant of extreme variations in tempi in sets of variations in particular--gives me a pleasant sense of variations upon variations.

    Elgar's always been a bit of a difficulty for me, as well--but I think the time may be right for me to revisit the symphonies and make some decisions about recordings.

    Thanks again for the series--it's lot of fun!
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    Updated Sep-06-2016 at 01:29 by Blancrocher
  16. Trout's Avatar
    Thanks for that recommendation, Blancrocher. I heard about the transcription, but have not heard it yet. The variations I did sample from Garzon's recording sound nice, so I'll try the whole thing at some point. Hopefully it may mitigate some of the problems I generally have with Elgar's music: that it's too bloated and meandering to sustain my interest, although the Enigma Variations is considerably better in this regard than most of his other pieces, in my opinion. Still, I don't find myself in the mood to listen to this piece too often.

    What do you think of Bernstein's controversial version, if you've heard it? I personally find it wonderful; he knows how to highlight the piece's excitement and beauty almost to the point of self-indulgence (a 6-minute Nimrod!). Others consider it a travesty, though, so I'm curious as to your opinion.

    By the way, I'm glad someone else seems to enjoy these lists and that I'm not making them just for my own sake!
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  17. Blancrocher's Avatar
    Szell has always struck me as one of this work's great interpreters--the highlight of his cycle for me. Worth hearing if you don't know it.
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  18. Blancrocher's Avatar
    Great list. Btw, as you may be aware, Elgar arranged the Enigma Variations for piano. Maria Garzon has a good recording.
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  19. DiesIraeCX's Avatar
    A great list, Trout. The Takács are my favorites (for all of the late quartets, actually), but I haven't listened to the Emerson's Op. 133 (although, I have listened to some of the other late quartets from them and I'm a fan). The Alban Berg and the Italiano will always be among my very favorites. My first time listening to the Grosse Fuge was this video from an Alban Berg performance.
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  20. Kieran's Avatar
    The opening movement of #21 is my desert island disc. It swims through the moods with ease, it has a magnificent "chorus" and generally speaking, it's the personification of dazzling musical brilliance...
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