Here are some of the hidden vinyl treasures I've found over the past
year, starting alphabetically.
"!" means the album was exceedingly satisfying with respect to both sound
and performance. I've added a very few albums that I've shamefully spent
more than $100 on, (Perhaps you will be delighted to find that you have
them sitting in your own collection!), but most-per disc-were between .25
cents to $4. The EMI's run a whopping $10, average. The expensive ones
have a "$$$" after them. If pressing is important, I'll add it. As a
rule, the digital Lps are far superior sounding to their CD counterparts
in matters of warmth and spaciousness.
Adams: Chairman Dances/Nonesuch/De Waart Digital
Adams: Harmonielehre/Nonesuch/De Waart! Digital
Arnold: English, Scottish, Cornish Dances/Lyrita/Arnold! $$$
Arnold: Symphony 5, Peterloo Overture/EMI/Arnold!
Arnold: Symphony 2/EMI/Groves!
Bach: Sonatas for Flute/Harmonia Mundi/Beaucoudray
Bach: Sonatas for Cello and Cembalo/EMI/ Savall
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier I and II /DG/Kirkpatrick
Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier I and II/Archiv/Gilbert! Digital
Bach: Violin Concerti/Archiv/Standage/Pinnock Digital
Bach: Italian Concerto/Sin qua non/Anthony Newman!
Bach: Goldberg Variations/Columbia 6 eye/Gould MONO
Bach: Anna Magdalena Notebook/Harmonia Mundi/Ameling
Bach: Inventions and Sinfonien/Archiv/Gilbert Digital
Bach: Complete Orchestral Music/Philips/Marriner!
Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin/Grumiaux/Philips! $$$
Brief Commentary: If the Minimalist moniker has turned you off to Adams,
you must hear his Harmonielehre, it's a gorgeous, lyrical piece with
post-Ravelian opulence. What is striking about the Lp is increased
clarity in the thick bass textures that close the 3rd mov't. Albeniz'
Iberia with Ansermet: how does he do it? He makes a phrase smile!
Stunning, wide-ranging recording for the time. The original Decca SXL
sells for hundreds. My London for .99 cents. Yes, I spent $125 dollars
for the Lyrita Arnold Dances, the EMI pressing. (Many think the Decca
pressing to be superior, I don't care.) I love the performances, and the
recording is fantastic. The Arnold Symphonies on EMI are extremely well
regarded as recordings, and the music is exhilarating. Never a dull
moment, the finale to Arnold's 2nd in particular: he just hurls one
thrilling chord progression after another. They run a whopping $10 on
Ebay, (on average). The Bach Italian Concerto with Anthony Newman is a
stunner, esp. the last mov't. What fireworks and abandon! Shamefully,
another album I had to have, the Grumiaux Solo Violin Partitas and
Sonatas, you can't have these for under $150; the Philips red label with
the silver lettering, (instead of the later white-what I have), goes for
even more. His light and fleet approach is the closest to HIP I've heard
in the Analog era. Finally, the Bach Complete Orchestral Music with
Marriner on Philips: everyone may have their own personal favorites when
it comes to the Brandenburg's, the Suites, the Musical Offering and the
Art of Fugue, but Marriner's are so satisfying in their elegance, rhythmic
grace, etc., the Musical Offering is my favorite of any out there,
achieving almost symphonic pathos towards the end. The recording is
lush and unusually realistic, esp. with regard to "woodsy" instrumental
timbres. The Bylsma Bach Cello Sonatas on period Cello are as close as
I could get to HIP performance in the analog era. I like these cello
sonatas very much, esp. Bylsma's emphasis of the dance-like aspects of
Bach's score. The American Pro Arte pressings are beyond reproach, not
that label fetishists care, (they won't touch it), but that's good for
people who just like the music. No one fought me for the purchase.
I'm open to suggestions regarding any other favorite Bach performances
of the Lp era. I was disappointed the many of the '60's Willcock's Argo
performances of Bach and Vivaldi: the choir is too wooley-sounding. What
are the best of the Munchinger (sp) London/Decca performances? With
Ameling they can't be too bad!