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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Favorite Recordings for the Top 40 Symphonic Cycles

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Showing 1-25 of 32 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 9:24:04 PM PST
KenOC says:
The Walter Brahms symphonies with the Columbia folks are available as three MP3 downloads for about ten bucks each:

Brahms: Symphony No.1; Haydn Variations; Academic Festival Overture
Brahms: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3
Brahms: Symphony No.4; Tragic Overture; Schicksalslied

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 9:06:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 9:22:09 PM PST
For the Brahms symphonies, I'd suggest either of the Bruno Walter sets: The 1951-53 mono set with the New York Philharmonic, or the late-1950s stereo set with the "Columbia Symphony" (the LA orchestra assembled for Dr Walter).

The bad news is that the CD set of the Columbia Symphony/LA stereo version is OOP. (I can't find a listing on amazon.) You can find CDs with the the individual symphonies, but I didn't see the complete set offered---so I can't provide a link to the set. I didn't check for downloads.

The Columbia/LA stereo set IS included in the just-released 39-CD Bruno Walter Sony box (but apparently not yet in the USA or in the UK):

The NYP version was reissued last year by Sony in a two-CD set and I got a copy here at Amazon for $7.50. It's more expensive now ($21.12):Brahms: The Symphonies.

Presto has the NYP set for $14:

I have, and I like, both the NYP and the LA sets.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 2:42:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 2:54:58 PM PST
Works of Igor Stravinsky
I suppose 22 discs is a little more 'extra' than the two discs that his symphonies take up.
BUT it is an alternative to the Jarvi.

here is the first movement of that early symphony in EFlat from this set.
(links to the other movements of course)
if one wants to hear it before investing in the box(though given the amount of great recordings and ultra cheap price, that set would certainly enhance any collection)

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 12:17:02 PM PST
actually jarvi did the 4 stravinsky with the orchestre de la suisse romande in the 90's. the link below is one disc of the set. i have them all, and i like them, although i have no comparisons; they are the only versions of stravinsky's symphonies i own.

Symphony of Psalms / Concerto for Piano & Winds

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 9:21:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 9:24:36 AM PST
WH says:
Lots of figures left on the list of 40.

Evgeny Mravinsky / Leningrad Philharmonic: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies #4, 5, and 6 ("Pathetique") (Deutche Grammophon). The classic version of #4-6.
Valery Gergiev / London Symphony: Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos 1-3 (LSO)

Stravinsky: There's no cycle of the four to the best of my knowledge, certainly no great one. But the composer's own is an important document: Works of Igor Stravinsky. Almost no one performs the op. 1 Symphony in E flat. But the other three are sometimes well performed together (and on a single disc): Simon Rattle / Berliner Philharmoniker Stravinsky: Symphony Of Psalms/Symphony In C/Symphony In Three Movements (EMI, 2008).

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 9:01:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 9:12:44 AM PST
MacDoom says:
Brahms: Kempe. I have these sets: 1 & 3 and 2 & 4 but have heard others prefer different ones by the same conductor (I believe these). I haven't heard those, but cannot for the life of me imagine preferring anyone and anything to his Munich version. Very good sound (I'm not adding 'considering its age' - it's simply very good sound) and extraordinarily natural music making.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2012 8:54:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 10:23:05 AM PST
D. M. Ohara says:
I've always loved Rudolf Kempe in Brahms. There was a complete set with one of the German radio orchestras [edit: Munich Philharmonic], and an earlier set with different orchestras including the Berlin Phil and the RPO. I'm not sure if either is currently available.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 8:53:05 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 8:53:53 AM PST
WH says:
For the complete cycle, the one I have is:
Herbert von Karajan / Berliner Philharmoniker: Brahms: The Complete Symphonies (Deutsche Grammophon)
It has the Penguin "Rosette", but I must say that I'm looking for something better.
For Symphony #4: the classic is Carlos Kleiber / Wien Philharmoniker: Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (Deutsche Grammophon). While a stand-alone, this is not to be missed.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 8:36:33 AM PST
J. Nelson says:
Any recordings for Brahms? Brahms is great. Brahms Brahms Brahms.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 8:20:30 AM PST
WH says:
There has been no complete recording of Arvo Part's symphonies to date. That's mainly because his #4 was premiered just a year ago. The Jarvi family is very close to Part and his family and has performed in various combinations the first three symphonies:

For Symphonies #1-3: Neeme Jarvi / Bamberg Symphony Orchestra: Arvo Pärt: Cello Concerto "Pro et Contra"; Perpetuum Mobile; Symphonies Nos. 1-3. I haven't heard this one.

For Symphonies #1-2: Paavo Jarvi / Estonian National Symphony: Arvo Part: Pro & Contra / Symphonies 1 + 2 (EMI, 2004).

For Symphony #3: Kristjan Jarvi / Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin: Arvo Pärt: Cantique des degrès / Symphony No. 3 / Stabat mater (Sony, 2010). The best performance of this.

For Symphony #4:
Esa Pekka-Salonen / LA Philharmonic: Part: Symphony No. 4 (ECM, 2011)

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 3:34:11 AM PST
MacDoom says:
Berwald: Björlin (added bonuses of overtures, symphonic poems and concertos):
Berwald: Overtures, Concertos & Symphonies

Dvorak: Kertesz.
Dvorak: The Symphonies [Box Set]

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 2:46:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 5:16:42 AM PST
Strongly recommend the following cycles elsewhere:

Vaughan Williams - Vernon Handley

Vaughan Williams: The Nine Symphonies; Job (Box Set)

Posted on Dec 20, 2012 2:44:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 2:45:10 AM PST
Go for it KJ, if you can get hold of it relatively cheaply. Plasson is a touch slower than Ossonce, but only when it's needed (and he at least feels a touch faster in the vif movements, although timings suggest this is minimal), whereas Sanderling tends to be slow throughout, and I personally don't like or indeed understand the "French Bruckner" epithet. You also get Magnard's tribute to Dreyfus (Hymn to Justice) and to his father (chant funebre). There's also a little bit more spikey/earthiness to those weird gypsy-like violins in the scherzos of the 3rd and 4th symphonies.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 11:09:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2012 8:07:28 AM PST
K.J. McGilp says:
I like the way you described the Plasson set. "The Pure nobility of the music is much better brought off,"
in comparison to the Ossonce. The Sanderling is fine but I prefer Ossonce to it. Having not heard the Plasson recording I have thought about giving it a try. That nobility you wrote of is an important element in Magnard's music. There is quite a bit more in AM's cyclic symphonic textures besides nobility but I must say I am very interested in the Plasson set now. Thank you!

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 9:19:25 PM PST
J. Nelson says:
Thanks for those helping out in this thread. I seriously don't see why someone would hate a thread on favorite recordings.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 6:43:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 9:28:37 PM PST
KenOC says:
Berlioz? Well, no recommendations, but here's a nice early Valentine's Day card from Hector.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 6:17:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 6:18:21 PM PST
I recommend Salonen in the Lutoslawski cycle, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They just recently recorded the First Symphony this month, and the four works will be released in an edition commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the composer's birth.

The composer recorded all four symphonies, but not with any one orchestra throughout.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 2:35:57 PM PST
for sibelius, i have several. but the one i go back to again and again is vanska.

Symphonies 1-7 / Tapiola Op 112

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 2:21:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 2:23:36 PM PST
Martinu: Two choices, which - sorry WH - knock spots off Thomson and Jarvi


Martinu: Symphonies or get them separately

and the new Belohlavek

Martinu: The 6 Symphonies

And on Magnard, I much prefer the Plasson set to the Ossonce. The pure nobility of the music is much better caught by Plasson and his Toulouse orchestra

Magnard: Symphonies, Etc . . .

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 1:33:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 1:35:13 PM PST
WH says:
Lutoslawski: The one I recommend is still in progress: Edward Gardner / BBC Symphony Orchestra:
Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Concerto for Orchestra; Symphony No. 3; Chain 3 (Chandos, 2010)
Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works 2 (Symphony #4, Piano Concerto) (Chandos, 2012)
Lutoslawski: Orchestral Works 3 (Symphony #2, Cello Concerto) (Chandos, 2012; released in November)

Rautauvaara: Ondine's compilation is wonderful, and a great price:
Rautavaara: The 8 Symphonies (Ondine, 2009)

Martinu: Two excellent ones, both at excellent prices:
Bryden Thomson / Royal Scottish National Orchestra: Martinu: Symphonies (Chandos, 2005)
Neeme Jarvi / Bamberger Symphony: Martinu: Complete Symphonies (Brilliant, 2007)

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 11:20:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 11:27:15 AM PST
J. Nelson says:
Alright any order is fine. Just pick a cycle you have a favorite for with the exception of the ones that already have 3 selections. 5 hours between cycle selections. This should allow more to participate.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 10:37:53 AM PST
K.J. McGilp says:
This is a cycle I can suggest for the four Magnard Symphonies. There are two or three others (Plasson and Sanderling come to mind) that are available as well.Albéric Magnard: The Four Symphonies

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 9:55:20 AM PST
KenOC says:
For Berwald, the best I've heard is Dausgaard and the Danish National SO. Haven't heard Ehrling and the Malmö SO, but understand it may be the best out there. I have the Jarvi cycle and would put it a notch lower than Dausgaard.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 9:22:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 9:23:33 AM PST
Berwald? Try Roy Goodman on Hyperion. Marginally preferable to Jarvi, who's very good as well, mind.

Beethoven - Jochum on EMI, now it's back in circulation, otherwise Cluytens

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 8:22:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 8:40:49 AM PST
J. Nelson says:
No recommendations for Berwald? This game not running as smoothly as hoped.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  32
Initial post:  Dec 18, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 21, 2012

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