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still treading the beaten path

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I am still in the beginning stages of uploading my music to my new computer, and it has given me an opportunity to revisit some of my old favorites.

There's a good one. There are a few other works on the disk, but I only listened to Scheherazade, which my wife recognized as Kim Yeon-Ah's skating music.

This may be a bit overplayed, but let that not distract us from the greatness of the music: instrumentation, harmony, melody. I have no doubt that it is a genuine masterpiece of romantic Orientalism.

I have the idea that this recording of the 4th is generally more respected, but I listened to the 5th last night, and what a lovely work it is too. Again, I am particularly sensitive to timbre, and I just love the way the sounds of the piano and the sounds of the orchestra enhance each other. A sparkling wonderland of sound.

I repeat those thoughts for Brahms 1. Here, I have mixed feelings about the uber-drama of the introduction, something worthy of Tchaikovsky. I used to love it. For a long time, this was my favorite piano concerto, largely because of the drama. But now, that is honestly my least favorite part. The entire Adagio movement is great.

I listened to #21 (D 960) yesterday. I have three recordings: this, Uchida, and Richter. This has been my least favorite, and I'm really not sure he has the rhythms right. I hate to question a musician of Schiff's caliber without putting a lot more work into it; what I ought to say is, I don't understand what's going on in some parts of the first movement.

I love Richter's super-slow version, but Uchida may be my favorite. Or Richter might be.

Very interesting music. To me, it's not obviously an improvement on the more traditional Gregorian Chant of its time, but evidently this was a necessary step toward later polyphony. All the same, it is undeniably beautiful, with a lot of credit to be given to Hilliard and to ECM's engineers.