Favorite Recordings


Without music, life would be a mistake.
-- Nietzsche (in one of his few lighter moments)

"For many people, music is here to let them forget the daily chores of life. People have a difficult day at the office, they have a fight with their wife or their mistress, or both, they get bad news from their accountant. So they come home, exhausted, put their feet up, and put on their favourite Chopin Nocturne – preferably played by me – and within three minutes they have forgotten their troubles. But I maintain music is not here to make us forget about life. It's also here to teach us about life: the fact that everything starts and ends, the fact that every sound is in danger of disappearing, the fact that everything is connected".
 -- Daniel Barenboim

    Beethoven     Mahler     Mozart    

A Tutorial for Remastering Old Recordings

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Sweet memories of a time now gone -- NYC in the 1990s

Canadian artists: Cowboy Junkies, Glenn Gould, Holly Cole, Diana Krall, Sarah Harmer, Ben Heppner, Barbara Hannigan, The Band, Rush, The Tragically Hip, Anne Murray, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Whitehorse, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Cockburn, k.d. lang, Celine Dion.

My favorite orchestras:

Concertgebouw Amsterdam: Like a rich cabernet, with an overall tone that transports me to another period. I attended a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1996, with Riccardo Chailly leading them, playing Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky. Intoxicating. In May 2018, I attended a concert in the famous Concertgebouw Amsterdam, with Daniele Gatti conducting Mahler's #1. Sitting behind the orchestra was a fabulous experience. And the sound. Best I've ever heard. Gatti's conducting style is very much like Bernstein, very physical and animated. What a joy. Their Mahler symphonies are especially superb, since most were recorded in their Amsterdam home hall, with its sublime acoustics. Plus, they have a long Mahler tradition -- Mahler himself conducted the Concertgebouw. Can't ask for a finer pedigree!

Staatskapelle Dresden: Founded in 1548. The Dresdeners are like a smooth velvet glove, lush strings and warmth in the horns, dynamism in the brass. Centuries of experience here. I like them especially with Colin Davis and Herbert Blomstedt at the helm, playing Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.  Also Eugen Jochum doing Bruckner.

Vienna Phil.: Golden honey. Their strings are tonally rich, lush, and embracing. I've attended 3 concerts of the VPO, at Carnegie Hall (Solti 1995, Ozawa 1996) and in St. Petersburg Russia (2010, Gergiev), repertoire from Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, R. Strauss. This group plays Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler, Mozart, and Strauss (among others!) in their sleep. They have the most illustrious roster of notable conductors in classical music -- Nicolai, Richter, Furtwangler, Krauss, R. Strauss, Mahler, Bohm, Karajan, Bernstein.

 Berlin Phil.:  In their heydays in the 1970s under Karajan, they were perhaps unmatched, perhaps even better than the Vienna. Power and finesse on demand, effortlessly. Karajan's Richard Strauss, Beethoven, Mahler's 9th, Bruckner 9th, and Sibelius. Vitality and musicality. With Karl Bohm, they played Mozart's symphonies with rhythmic panache and tenderness.

NY Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra: The NY Phil under Kurt Masur was captivating in the 1990s. Their concerts at Fisher Hall were electrifying and soothing, especially with soloists like Alfred Brendel and Anne-Sophie Mutter. The Chicago under Fritz Reiner - his RCA stereo recordings are still among the most sonically ravishing in the catalog. The Cleveland under George Szell - magisterial Beethoven and Mozart.

Staatskapelle Dresden, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Concerto Koln, Philharmonia Orch, London Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, San Franscisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony.

Fav Conductors (alphabetical):
Pianists for: (no particular order)
Mozart - Geza Anda (ctos), Uchida, Pires, Perahia (ctos)
Schubert - Brendel, Kempff, Pollini, Lupu
Chopin - Rubinstein, Perahia, Pires, Lipatti, Arrau, Argerich



Favorite Symphonies:
Beethoven 2, 5,6, 7, 8.
Bruckner 2,3,7,8.
Dvorak 9.
Haydn 6, 45, 48, 82, 92-104.
Mahler 1,3,4,5,7.
Mendelssohn 2,4
Mozart 28, 34, 35, 38, 39, 41.
Nielsen 3,5,6.
Schubert 9th !
Schumann 1,3
Shostakovich 3,5,8,9,12,15
Sibelius 2,3.

Leonard Bernstein: Nobody did Mahler better than Lenny.

Karl Bohm: His Mozart and Schubert are hallmarks

Colin Davis: His Mozart symphonies are my favorites


Carlos Kleiber's Beethoven 5th -- still tops!

Gunter Wand: Beethoven & Bruckner!

Eugen Jochum: Bruckner

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Herbert von Karajan, Salzburg 1957

"Desert Island Recording" = One that I can listen to for a very long time.
If I could have only ONE composer, then that would be....Mozart.  Beethoven too.

Other recordings:
  • J.S. Bach, Partitas 2 and 4, Richard Goode.
  • J.S. Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier. Sviatoslav Richter/Angela Hewitt ('97).
  • J.S. Bach, Goldberg Variations. Glenn Gould ('81 - more contemplative than his '55 rec.).
  • Beethoven, String Trios op. 3,9. Leopold Trio.
  • Beethoven, The Violin Sonatas. Perlman, Ashkenazy ('73-75; Decca).
  • Beethoven, Missa Solemnis. Philippe Herreweghe, La Chapelle Royale ('95; Mundi).
  • Bizet, Carmen. Price, Freni. Karajan, Vienna Phil & State Opera ('64; RCA).
  • Brahms, The Symphonies. Abbado/BerlinPhil; Dohnanyi/Clev.; Chailly/Gewand.
  • Brahms, Piano Cto #2. Pollini/VPO Abbado; Gilels/Phil Ludwig.
  • Dvorak, Sy 9. Kubelik/BPO; Dohnanyi/Clev.
  • Fibich, Symphonic Poems, op. 37, 46, 49. Stilec/Czech Natl Sym. (Naxos)
  • Elina Garanca (mezzo-soprano), Meditation (DG).
  • Haydn, Nelson Mass. Marriner/Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Rundfunkchor
  • Liszt, Faust Symphony. Bernstein/Boston.
  • Liszt, Piano Cto 1, 2. Alfred Brendel. Haitink, Lond Phil.
  • Mozart, The Violin Concertos, Arthur Grumiaux. Davis, London Symph.
  • Mozart, The Complete String Quartets. Amadeus Quartet (mid-'60s, DG).
  • Mozart, Early String Quartets. Talich Quartet (Calliope).
  • Mozart, Complete String Quintets. Grumiaux Trio
  • Mozart, The Complete Wind Concertos. Hager, Mozarteum Orch Salzburg.
  • Mozart, Piano Concertos #9, 17-26. Geza Anda, Cam. Acad. Salzburg ('60s).
  • Mozart, Piano Conc. K.365, for 2 pianos. Emil and Elena Gilels. Bohm, Vienna Phil
  • Mozart, Don Giovanni. Wachter/Sutherland/Schwarzkopf. Giulini, Philharmonia ('59).
  • Mozart, Die Zauberflote. Janowitz/Gedda/Popp. Klemperer, Philharmonia ('64).
  • Mozart, Cosi Fan Tutte. Janowitz, Fischer-Dieskau. Bohm, Vienna Phil. ('72).
  • Mozart, Piano Pieces. Anastasia Injushina (Ondine).
  • Paganini/Spohr, Violin Concertos. Hilary Hahn, Swedish Radio, Eiji Oue.
  • Arvo Part, Alina. 
  • Pergolesi, Stabat Mater. Anna Netrebko & Marianna Pizzalato.
  • Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet. Lorin Maazel, The Cleveland Orch (Decca).
  • Rachmaninov, Symphonic Dances. Eiji Oue, Minnesota Sym (Reference Rec).
  • Rachmaninov, Sy 2. Previn/LondSy; Jansons/RoyConcertgebouw.
  • Schubert, Nachtgesang (Night Songs). Marcus Creed, RIAS Kammerchor.
  • Renee Fleming, The Schubert Album.
  • Saint-Saens, Symph #3 "Organ". Munch/Boston (RCA).
  • Schubert, The Piano Sonatas. Wilhelm Kempff (1960s; 7-CDs).
  • Schubert, Quartets D.810 ("Death and the Maiden"), D.887. Belcea Quartet.
    Schubert, Complete String Quartets, Melos Quartet
    Schubert, Last 4 Quartets. Quartetto Italiano
    Schubert, "Trout" Quintet, Quartet "Death and the Maiden", Amadeus Quartet.
    Schubert, Quintet D.956. Tokyo Quartet/Belcea Quartet.
    Schubert, Piano Works 1822-28. Alfred Brendel 7-CDs
  • Schubert, Sy 8 "Unfinished". Bernstein/Conc'geb Amst ('87 DG).
  • Schubert, Sy 9. See above!
  • Schubert, The Symphonies (1-9). Blomstedt/Dresden; Bohm/BPO; Abbado/COE.
  • Shostakovich, The Symphonies. Rudolf Barshai/WDR Sym Orch Koln.
  • Sibelius, Sy 1-7. Maazel/VPO (Decca); Berglund/Bournemouth and Helsinki.
  • Sibelius, Sy 1, 4-6. Karajan/Berlin (1976-81, DG).
  • Sibelius, Sy 2. Jarvi/Gothenburg; Berglund/Bournemouth.
  • Strauss, Don Quixote. Fournier, Cappone. Karajan/Berlin.
  • Strauss, Ein Heldenleben. Karajan/Berlin (1959); Kempe/Dresden.
  • Strauss, Alpine Symphony. Kempe/Dresden; Karajan/Berlin.
  • Heinrich Schutz, Musikalische Exequien. P. Herreweghe, La Chapelle Royale.
  • The Radiant Voice of Barbara Bonney.
  • Roy Orbison, In Dreams, The Greatest Hits.
  • Roy Orbison, The Soul of Rock and Roll. 4-CD set. (Near-complete recordings).
  • Roy Orbison, The Last Concert (Roy's final concert, 2 days before his passing)
  • Melody Gardot, Live in Europe.
  • Diana Krall: Glad Rag Doll; Turn Up The Quiet.
  • Eva Cassidy, Live at Blues Alley.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • Patricia Barber, Companion.
  • Patricia Barber, Modern Cool.
  • Patricia Barber, Nightclub.
  • Patricia Barber, Mythologies.
  • John Hammond, Wicked Grin.
  • Leonard Cohen, You Want It Darker
  • Imelda May, Life Love Flesh Blood
  • Gladiator. Original Soundtrack.
  • Casualties of Cool, Devin Townsend, Che Aimee Dorval.
  • Holly Cole, Temptation.
  • Madeleine Peyroux, Standing on the Rooftop.
  • Peter Finger, Dream Dancer.
  • Bill Frisell, East-West.
  • Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company - Duets.
  • Louis Hardin, Moondog.
  • The Very Best of Queen.
  • Sneakin' Out, Train Wreck.
  • Yes, Fragile.
  • Yes, Close To The Edge.
  • Vangelis, Portraits.
  • Lizzie West, I Pledge Allegiance To Myself.
  • Bill Evans Trio, A Waltz for Debby.
  • Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis.
  • Shelby Lynne, Just A Little Lovin'
  • Atrium Musicae Madrid, La Folia

  • Roy Orbison, All-Time Greatest Hits. Mobile Fidelity Original Master Recording
  • Roy Orbison & Friends, A Black and White Night (Live).
  • Bruce Springsteen, Born In The USA.
  • Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks, 1964-71.
  • Patricia Barber, Companion and Cafe Blue.
  • Gladiator. Orig Soundtrack.
  • Glen Campbell, Live at Royal Festival Hall.
  • Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms.
  • The Band, The Last Waltz.
  • Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon.
  • Electric Light Orchestra, Out of the Blue.
  • The Living Marimbas, Georgy Girl and Other Music To Watch Girls By
  • Mary Hopkin, Post Card (Apple Records)
  • Styx, The Grand Illusion.
  • Meat Loaf, Bat Out Of Hell.
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours.
  • Star Wars, Original Soundtrack. John Williams and the London Symph.
  • Schubert, Symphony #9. George Szell, Cleveland Orchestra.
  • Bach, Violin Concerti BWV 1041-1043, A.-Sophie Mutter & S. Accardo.
  • Bach, The 6 Brandenburg Concertos. Karl Richter, Munchener Bach Orch.
  • Beethoven, Piano Concerto #5 "Emperor". Rudolf Serkin, Bernstein, NY Phil.
  • Beethoven, The 9 Symphonies, George Szell, Cleveland Orch.
  • Beethoven, The Five Piano Concerti. Alfred Brendel. Chicago Sym., Levine.
  • Beethoven, Violin Concerto, N. Milstein. Leinsdorf, Philharmonia.
  • Beethoven, Violin Concerto, Y. Menuhin. Klemperer, New Philharmonia.
  • Beethoven, Violin Concerto, J. Heifetz. Munch, Boston Symph.
  • Beethoven, Symphony #5, C. Kleiber, Vienna Philharmonic.
  • Beethoven, Symphony #6, Karl Bohm, Vienna Philharmonic.
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 1, Titan. Bruno Walter, Columbia Symph.
  • Mozart, Requiem, H. Von Karajan, Vienna Philharmonic/State Opera Chorus.
  • Mozart, The Piano Concertos. Geza Anda, Camerata Acad. Salzburg.
  • Mozart, Violin Concerto #3, A.-Sophie Mutter, Berlin Phil (H. von Karajan).
  • Glenn Gould, Bach: Goldberg Variations (1955; Gould's premiere).
  • Bizet, Carmen. Teresa Berganza, Placido Domingo. London Sym, Abbado.
  • Luciano Pavarotti, The World's Favorite Tenor Arias (Decca Records).
  • The Doors, Live at the Bowl '68.
  • The Doors, The Doors.