Classical – Works for Piano & Organ

Rachmaninoff / Piano Concerto #2 / Cliburn / Reiner – Reviewed in 2011

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

Piano Concerto #2 / Cliburn / Reiner

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

We dropped the needle on side one of this lovely and quite rare Shaded Dog pressing and heard very good Living Stereo orchestral sound. We ended up giving it a sonic grade of A+ to A++.

When we flipped it over and heard the sound on side two, our jaws hit the ground (simultaneously? Can’t say for sure). WOW! It’s clearly one of the BEST piano concerto recordings we have ever had the pleasure of placing on our turntable. It puts to shame 98% of the piano recordings we’ve played over the years. Who knew LSC 2601 could sound so good? 

No one besides us it seems. No audiophile reviewer seems to be impressed by it, as far as we can tell after a quick search. Is it the only copy in the world that sounds this good? Who’s to say? Side one won’t win any awards, but side two sure will. It sets a standard not many other recordings of piano and orchestra are going to be able to meet. (more…)

Brahms / Variations And Fugue On A Theme By Handel / Katchen – Reviewed in 2008

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More Variations And Fugue On A Theme By Handel / Katchen 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

Near Mint copy with excellent sound! Superb piano tone for these solo pieces and very quiet vinyl add up to a wonderful listening experience. This surprisingly quiet British vinyl is going to be hard to beat by other Golden Age labels. (Finding solo piano recordings on RCA or Mercury from this era that play quietly is practically impossible.)

Side one is super TRANSPARENT — the piano is so clear! It lacks a bit of weight on the first side; perhaps that’s the way it is actually supposed to sound, who can say? On side two it sounds a little better to my ear, big and dark and very solid. It’s pretty amazing in its own way. And Katchen’s performance is of course superb. All in all a very find piano recording.

This lovely album also includes Variations on a Theme by Paganini. (more…)

Prokofiev / Piano Concerto #3 – Graffman – Reviewed in 2008

More Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Piano Concerto #3 – Graffman

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This Plum Label Original pressing is one of the TOP TOP VICTROLA TITLES! The sound is excellent, with real weight to the orchestra, powerful dynamics, deep bass, and solid piano tone. Add to that a wonderful performance by Gary Graffman and the San Francisco Symphony, and you have one truly OUTSTANDING record. (If you can add 1 or 2 db to the top end, it’s even better.) 

Brahms / Sonata #3 in F Minor / Rubinstein – Reviewed in 2011

More of the music of Johannes Brahms 

More Sonata #3 in F Minor / Rubinstein 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This exceptionally rare Shaded Dog pressing has AMAZING sound on side one, A+++, with side two rating a nearly as good sonic grade of A++. I can’t recall the last time I played a solo piano recording that was this transparent and lively. It’s shockingly realistic; this is what a piano sounds like in performance.

Well, almost. Rubinstein’s recordings never manage to convey all the weight of a real concert grand piano — as if any home stereo could anyway — but this recording is still relatively full-bodied. What it is more than anything else is REAL sounding. You will quickly forget that you are listening to a record at all. (more…)

JS Bach / Two and Three Part Inventions / Glenn Gould

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  • Bach’s Inventions returns to the site with stunning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side one – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Amazingly natural “you are there” sound – the room and the piano sound exactly the way I’ve heard them in real life, so what more can you ask for?
  • “The little 2 and 3 part creations last just a couple minutes each and present a wealth of creativity from the mind of Johann Sebastian, expertly enunciated by the most technically complete Bach pianist of the century.” Larry VanDeSande
  • 4 1/2 stars: “For many, the albums Glenn Gould recorded for Columbia between 1955 and 1981 are documents of unalloyed genius, particularly in his imaginative and masterful performances of Bach’s keyboard works.”

(more…)

Franck / Piano Quintette & Brahms / Heifetz, Piatigorsky et al. – Reviewed in 2013

More Franck

More Piano Quintette & Brahms / Heifetz, Piatigorsky et al.

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

A stellar reading of the Franck from this formidable group. Side one of this Shaded Dog is Super Hot: rich, smooth and sweet. The piano is exceptionally well-recorded, with real weight. The Brahms is very good if you can reverse your polarity.    (more…)

Beethoven / Piano Sonatas / Backhaus – Reviewed in 2008

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven 

More Beethoven / Piano Sonatas / Backhaus 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

CS 6535. This is the best sounding Backhaus LP I’ve ever heard. The piano is natural and full bodied, as would be expected from the Decca engineers of the day. They were still making good records in 1967, when RCA had gone Dynagroove.

 

JS Bach / Organ Music Volume 2 / Weinrich – Reviewed in 2011

More Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) 

More JS Bach / Organ Music Volume 2 / Weinrich 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is an exceptionally quiet Shaded Dog pressing with SUPERB SOUND on side one. The organ is so big and relaxed sounding you can’t help but forget you are in your listening room, not a church. (more…)

Philippe Entremont – Chopin: The Favorite Polonaises

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)

Phillipe Entremont

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  • This superb 1970 release from master pianist (and Chopin expert) Phillipe Entremont arrives with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound and fairly quiet vinyl from first note to last
  • The transparency and clarity of this vintage pressing are wonderful – sound this good makes it easy to appreciate the subtlety of the Entremont’s remarkable virtuosity 
  • So big, rich and real – we guarantee this will become one of the best sounding solo piano recordings in your collection, and, of course, the performances are beyond reproach

This vintage CBS Masterworks pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the artist, and feeling as if you are sitting in the concert hall with Mr. Entremont, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound. (more…)

Liszt & Weber / Ballade No. 2, Mephisto Waltz, more / Bar-Illan

More Franz Liszt’s music

Ballade No. 2, Mephisto Waltz, more / Bar-Illan

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

The Liszt side here actually has the best sound, earning a seriously good grade of A++ to A+++. This is one of the few audiophile-oriented recordings I have ever played that actually sounded NATURAL and CORRECT. This is a very real sounding piano; there are not many recordings that can capture that instrument’s weight, but this one sure does. (more…)