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November 28, 2007


Joshua Rubin

O.k., I've never actually listened to the '55 Gould Goldberg variations. I know... deal with it. I've even got it on my ipod somewhere, just never got around to it. Take that, '81 haters.

Lisa Hirsch

Bernstein's Mahler, yup. I have 12 recordings of Aida, but I have never heard Solti's, with Price, Vickers, and Merrill. I do not have any complete opera recordings with Joan Sutherland (zzzzzz). I'm not sure what the touchstone complete recording of Carmen is - there are many contenders - but I have never heard it, whatever it is, because the only complete set I've ever owned is Bernstein's, which I hated and gave to my mother.

Mysteries Abysmal

After unfortunately experiencing him once, my pick would go to most recordings by Horowitz. I'd venture most of them feature overtly eccentric and rhythmically inept playing. Ick.


I would have to say for me it's Solti's recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. It's supposed to be the gold standard but I've only have heard bits and pieces of it. I like the Boulez perofrmance that's on DGG video and was available on Phillips Classical. That's the one that sets the standard for me

Misha K

I've never heard Barbirolli's Mahler and of Bernstein's Mahler I've only heard his VPO 5th, which more or less has kept me from exploring the rest for the time being. I've been meaning to try his NYPO 3rd.

As to the Lenny/CSO/Shosty set, I'm not sure I would call it a reference recording, not when there are so many wonderful Mravinskys, Jansonses and Barshais around. Lenny's take is very personal and deeply convincing (and marvellously played of course). But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking to own only one version of the 7th. It's too interpretively unique.

Steve Smith

Wracking my brain for benchmark recordings I've simply never heard, those that leap immediately to mind are Mravinsky's version of Tchaikovsky's 4th, 5th and 6th Symphonies, and a complete Furtwängler Ring. (And I'm with Lisa regarding Sutherland.)

Lisa Hirsch

Oh, boy! Well, the two available Furtwängler Rings have their problems, including scappy Italian orchestras and an assortment of casting issues. One can hope that a complete prewar Ring from Covent Garden may emerge some day, though I am not exactly holding my breath. Yeah, there would be sonics issues, but not casting, by and large. Probably too much List, but whatever.

Regarding Solti, well, his Ring is worth hearing, but I have sundry issues with Solti and some of the singers. (Sadly, I am not a Nilsson fan.) I'd say my touchstone is Kna 1956. True, it's in mono, but it's great mono; the singing is uniformly excellent to great; the conducting is fantastic though more eccentric than Furtwängler.


You probably already know this, but it looks like you can get/listen to the Bernstein/CSO Shostakovich recording at a number of libraries in Chicago (hopefully this link will take you where I want it to):


You can change the location information for the holdings display to reflect your exact location to see which library in your area holds the disc. Then, of course, it's a good idea to check that library's own catalog to make sure it is actually there. Sometimes Worldcat lies...but it's not their fault.

MG: Thanks! I'm entirely too materialistic when it comes to CDs, though, so I have to buy the thing itself, not borrow and burn it. Makes moving a pleasure, believe me.

Lisa Hirsch

You could borrow the set, listen to it, and return it without burning it!

MG: But then you wouldn't have it.


Let me also add that I also agree with Mysteries Abysmal about "All Thumbs" Hororwitz. How in the hell did he ever get his reputation for being such a great pianist? Ever try for example listening to him play Mozart? A cat walking across the keys sounds better. Once is enough!

Also let me add that I like Solti's other Wagner recordings. I've just never found the time to get around to his Ring Cycle.

tim mangan

I've never listened to Giulini's recording of Verdi's Requiem. I'm ashamed.


I have no recordings of Landowska playing Bach. If I ever heard her, I can't remember it. And I've still never heard those Hollywood String Quartet Schoenberg recordings. Menuhin's Elgar Concerto has never managed to make it to the top of my list, either.

I'll happily listen to Horowitz until I die. Anyone who can make Scarlatti passagework that even has got to be some sort of superhero. (And I'd rather be puzzled by Horowitz than mildly bored by another cookie-cutter competition winner.)

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