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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a label that I'd overlooked forever, thinking it's just "audiophile music" given they are a hifi manufacturer. But after seeing a current pianist I know well (Francesco Piemontesi) record some fabulous performances of Mozart's Piano Concerto 25 and 26 I thought I should explore this label some more.

Please leave your favorite performances from Linn. I'm only interested in what you think are the great performances you've enjoyed. Recording quality, surround sound, etc aren't something I am too concerned about.
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Honestly, there hasn't been much on this label that has caught my attention. I do own quite a few recordings from this label and I suppose if I were to pick some favorite recordings it would be the Robin Ticciati Berlioz series.
 

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I didn't recognise the name but apparently I have a few:
— their Concerto Caledonia discs
— by the Dunedin Consort I have Handel's Esther, Ode for St. Cecilia's Day and Samson + Bach's Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio
— Handel's Rodelinda by the English Concert
— all of their Gothic Voices discs,
Outside of Classical I have their Complete Songs of Robert Burns collection (Burns Night on Wednesday, I already got tastefully hammered and listened to some Burns this evening in advance) and their Robert Tannahill collection too. The Burns is a mixed bag, mainly due to my disliking of the clean sound of modern folk recordings, yet this doesn't bother me for classical. Of the discs mentioned the Bach gets the most play, with Gothic Voices in second place.
 

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Here's a Linn Records SACD disc (CKD 371) that I just recently listened to through complete, and was utterly stunned by the entire presentation:

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It was the evening of the death of David Crosby. In tribute to the singer/song-writer I played a couple sides of vinyl of his recordings with Stills, Nash, and Young, most notably the song "Guinnevere", which I played repeatedly several times over. It's one of my favorite pieces to listen to as well as to play on my old guitar, an Alvarez steel-string which I keep permanently tuned to the unique tuning pattern necessary to play this song. After this personal tribute to Crosby, I was left with some time and a wondering of what to play next. It seemed that Schubert's Winterreise was the perfect selection, as it allows for continued reflection in the time of loss.

Winterreise is one of the recordings I most collect; I have several dozen different versions of it on my shelves -- tenors and baritones, female voices, group vocals, with accompaniment of piano, pianoforte, string quartet, guitar .... It's a piece I can't get enough of in its many manifestations. For the follow up to my David Crosby tribute I selected this Linn disc just because I hadn't heard it for a while but remembered that it was a truly special performance. Anyone with an interest in Schubert's song-cycle or well-performed lieder in general should hear this recording.

By the way, this thread's OP may not be too concerned about "recording quality" or "sound" of the disc, but for those of you who are I can attest that this SACD (played on a dedicated SACD player, such as my SONY XA5400ES) lives up to the term "audiophile quality". And the performance ranks among my top five of this song-cycle by Schubert. I wish Schubert himself could have heard this rendition. Stunning.
 

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I'm listening to this fine recording of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique from the fabulous Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati as I type.
Give it a listen on streaming you may well be impressed.



Ticciati's Brahms Symphony Cycle is also well worth a listen.
 

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A surprisingly good performance of Shostakovich 11 by Alexander Lazarev.
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I'm listening to this fine recording of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique from the fabulous Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati as I type.
Give it a listen on streaming you may well be impressed.



Ticciati's Brahms Symphony Cycle is also well worth a listen.
Have you heard his Brahms? It's not to be missed - I've bought my copy.....
 
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I enjoy listening to Linn’s streaming classical radio channel. I appreciate the high bitrate and enjoy the Linn label roster of musicians.
 

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I only have one Linn Records CD in my pretty big collection, but it's a winner, with exceptionally good sound, wonderful performance, full documentation, and top quality album cover and art. It's from 2017, 14 short harpsichord pieces by William Byrd:

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I did not expect this thread to be so popular, thank you all!

Just wondering how are these interpretations compared to their earlier complete Decca cycle? I found that cycle a bit polite and rounded off, my reference used to be Borodin Quartet's first incomplete cycle but by new reference cycle for performances is the St. Petersburg Quartet.
 

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Linn has traditionally been an audiophile's label, & I'd say more so than even Hyperion, among the British labels. Which, to my mind, makes Linn a special label in regards to their best releases, & perhaps especially those that have won Brit awards (though I suspect those awards are partly business & politics at times).

There are about a handful of ensembles that record for Linn that I like, but since you've asked for "great performances", I'm hesitant to 'strongly' recommend them. So, please sample first, if anything catches your interest.

I. Here are the groups that I've liked that record for Linn,

1. Magnificat (choir), led by Philip Cave:

Their world premiere recordings of the obscure, previously forgotten Franco-Flemish composer, Philippe Rogier are excellent & have been an invaluable contribution to the cataloque. While their Thomas Tallis disc offers the best recording I ever hope to hear of the Miserere nostri, preferable to even the Tallis Scholars, which is saying something because Peter Phillips excels in the English repertory. Although Magnificat has more competition in the 40-part Spem in Alium, despite that it is a very fine performance & one of my top 5-10 choices for this work (along with the Tallis Scholars, Chapelle du Roi, The Clerkes of Oxenford, The Taverner Consort, The Sixteen's two recordings on Chandos & Coro, the 2nd being on a surround sound hybrid SACD--yet I slightly prefer the Chandos performance, The Hueglas Ensemble twice--the 2nd being on hybrid SACD, though again I prefer the 1st performance on Sony, & The Cardinal's Musicke to round out my top 8-10 list for this towering masterpiece).

Note that this recording was originally released on both hybrid SACD & CD, & if memory serves, Magnificat was the first group (EDIT: along with The Sixteen on Coro) to record Spem in Alium with the 40 singers standing in a circle around microphones place at the center of the circle. Which more closely replicates the effect of the octagonal banqueting hall at Nonsuch Palace where the piece is thought to have been first performed. Though the room at Nonsuch Palace had four balconies, where four of the eight 5-part choirs are believed to have been placed by Tallis. To my knowledge, no group has tried to spatially separate the 8 choirs in this way on a recording & they really should, because Tallis, I expect, knew what he was doing. So yes, if interested, I'd definitely recommend trying to acquire the hybrid SACD Linn issue, if you can still find it. In addition, I'd also recommend Magnificat's volume 1 of "The Golden Age" of European Polyphony; though don't bother looking for volume 2, since it never came out. Basically, I've liked every recording that I've heard by this group, & I hardly ever like large or semi-large choirs (except in the English & Spanish repertories, where they are more justifiable I think),

Miserere nostri:
Spem in Alium:

Here's a link to the whole album,




Motet: Inclita stirps Jesse

2. Dunedin Consort, led by John Butt, who've recorded two excellent series of the music of J.S Bach & Handel for Linn. I'd probably most recommend the group's Bach Mass in B minor, which is performed one-voice-per-part, or OVPP. It would be on my personal list of top 5-10 recordings for this work (along with those by conductors Peter Schreier--twice, on Eurodisc or Berlin Classics & Philips, Jos van Veldhoven, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Masaaki Suzuki, Konrad Junghänel, Thomas Henglebrock, & John Eliot Gardiner 1 on Archiv, to round out my top 9--& I am very much hoping that Eric Milnes will record the Mass in Montreal to potentially finish off my top 10 list),

I should also mention that the Dunedin Consort has recorded Handel's Samson oratorio twice--working from the earlier 1743 version, & interestingly use different sized choruses in the performance; as well as the Esther oratorio--in the "First Reconstructable Version (Cannons), 1720" (Hogwood & Christophers did the 1718 version). Both oratorios aren't recorded very often, & are dififcult to find in 1st rate performances. Though I'd be hesitant to go out on a limb & claim that the Dunedin's Samson & Esther are the best recordings in the catalogue. But they are very good. In addition, their earlier recordings of Handel's ‘Acis and Galatea’ & Messiah likewise won Brit awards.

I also liked their excellent disc of Bach's Violin Concertos, played by violinist Cecilia Bernardini--with Huw Daniel on 2nd violin, & her father, Alfredo Bernardini on oboe. But again, I don't know if I'd claim it's the best available recording. Besides, I don't believe there's any such thing as a definitive recording. Finally, I've also liked their recording of Bach's Magnificat in it's original liturgical reconstruction, if that's of any interest: J. S. Bach - Magnificat & Cantata 63 - Reconstruction Christmas Vesper Liturgy 1723.

--Mass in B Minor:

--Handel, Samson (small chorus version):

--Handel, Samson (large chorus version, with children on the top soprano line)

--Handel, Esther:

--Bach, Violin Concertos:

3. Phantasm, who are one of the top viol consorts today. They have made a good number of invaluable recordings, especially of rarely recorded repertory: such as the consort music of Christopher Tye (which I'd recommend), John Ward, Matthew Locke, William Lawes, & John Jenkins (which I'd likewise recommend--though the Jerome Hantai Ensemble may be even better in Jenkins...). However, I'd most recommend Phantasm's recordings of the Complete Consort music for Viols of William Byrd, their disc of the Consorts for Viols by the underrated Orlando Gibbons, & their recording of John Dowland's Lachrimae or Seven Teares, which won both the 2017 Gramophone Award & the 2017 Diapason d'or de l'annee! (how often do the English & French critics agree on something, I wonder?),





4. Gothic Voices--since this group has moved on from Hyperion, I've liked two of their albums for Linn (among those that I've heard). Although in both cases I prefer the older Hilliard Ensemble recordings: indeed the Hilliard's recording of The Old Hall Manuscript is arguably the finest recording the group ever made & their EMI Dufay disc isn't far behind. Though it's good to see another group finally recording this amazing music:


Hilliard Ensemble, The Old Hall Manuscript:


& their latest, which I've just put onto my wish list: "The Splendour of Florence with a Burgundian Resonance",


5. Maxwell String Quartet--who've made excellent, energetic, brilliant recordings of Haydn's Op. 71 & Op. 74 SQ sets. Though I'm not sure I'd claim they're preferable to the Takacs, Prazak, Chilingirian, or Kocian Quartets in this repertory, but then I've not sat down & compared them (& they may be...),



II. Linn recordings that have been well reviewed, but which I don't know or don't know well enough to strongly recommend,

--Sir Charles Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra--Mozart Symphonies nos. 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 38-41.

--Sir Charles Mackerras, Scottish Chamber Orchestra--Mozart Requiem (the Robert Levin reconstruction). I have heard this recording & thought it was excellent. Though again, I've not sat down & compared it to my benchmark (on modern instruments), which is Peter Schreier's recording in Dresden, or my favorite period performances by William Christie, Ton Koopman, Christopher Hogwood, & Nikolaus Harnoncourt 2 (on hybrid SACD). But it is very good:


--Alexander Janiczek, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who've recorded a series of CDs & hybrid SACDs of Mozart's Divertimenti, Serenades, etc., which have received excellent reviews, but I've not heard any of them. So, I can't offer an opinion, either way: Serenade in E-Flat Major, K. 375: I. Allegro maestoso

-- Fitzwilliam String Quartet--I've had my eyes on their recent Shostakovich recording of his last three quartets--nos. 13, 14, & 15, considering that this group once recorded a brilliant cycle of Shostakovich's complete SQs; although I don't know if there's any member left from the original group (that knew & worked with the composer) still playing in the current lineup?:


--Nigel North--North is one of my favorite lutenists, along with Hopkinson Smith, Jacob Heringman, Jacob Lindberg, & Paul O'dette, but I've yet to collect any of his Linn discs, so far,


--I've not heard any of Robin Ticciati's Linn discs, either, but they do get good reviews.

My ten cents. (Though I've hardly heard the whole Linn catalogue...)
 
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