All Things Classical

A central place for sharing classical info: high quality new releases,
favorites, suggestions for newcomers, upcoming live streamed concerts, selections for testing new gear and gear that does orchestral really well, etc.

A few to start:
Rachmaninov piano concertos 1 thru 4 Valentina Lisitsa with the London symphony. Really good balance…piano not lost in the mix.
Second movement of #1 is especially gorgeous.
Royal Concertgebouw orch. from Amsterdam is doing pseudo live YT concerts with chats. Mahler series May 8 thru 15. Ck the site labelled
Yuja Wang…Prokofiev toccata in d minor…short
video. She is just ridiculous!!


I’m pretty new to Classical but I’m really enjoying it after many years of delving deep into Progressive Rock. I’m working my way through the NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection but using Tidal and Qobuz to stream the albums and Roon to manage the collection.

The NPR guide is a bit dated but I figured the works selected are a good starting point. Most of the CD selections are available for streaming and for works that aren’t, Roon lists out all the versions available, sorted by popularity.

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Sounds like a good plan. Certain orchestral works can be a good test for detail and separation. I am loving my week old Sundaras! Let us know of your special “finds.”

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I think there is more orchestral / instrumental works out there than any other form / genre. so you’ll have a lot of fun! :smiley:


Speaking of the upcoming Mahler series (above) try his 6th symphony done by Solti with CSO, Chicago. Another good gear test
and good hall resonance balance.
Any favorites anyone?

Noteworthy listening session Friday edition!

Serge Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Symphony No. 5 in Bb, op. 100
Berlin Philharmonic, cond. Herbert von Karajan
Rec. 1969, digitally remastered to CD - Deutsche Grammophon-Galleria

  1. Andante 13’00
  2. Allegro moderato 8’07
  3. Adagio 12’57
  4. Allegro giocoso 9’13

Olasonic Nanocompo CD1 transport -> S/PDIF coax ->
SMSL SU-8 (fast minimum PCM filter, tube 2 sound mode) -> Schiit PYST balanced ->
SMSL SH-8 -> Focal Elegia with Elex stock balanced cable

Impressions: cinematic, ponderous, grandiose. The last few moments were a total frenzy.

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@AllegroMaestoso /Will ck that one out. Also Mahler 2 at 1:30 cdt. I know it’s only YT sound, but not bad and great fun to watch and see others from around the world chat. ( I usually do that for a few minutes then switch to full screen.) PS, bet the Prok. sounds great on that rig!

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Last night’s listening session in my new listening “room” was a Classical selection.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9
Berliner Philharmoniker / Claudio Abbado
Recorded 2000

Qobuz/Roon/MacBook Pro -> Topping DX3 Pro -> Adam Audio T10S -> Adam Audio T5V

Grand. Incredibly dynamic.

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ooo! Abbado’s good no matter which orchestra. Been thinking of trying Primephonic. Any experience with them? Search options look really good, but wonder what % of their catalogue is which level.

I don’t have any experience with Primephonic. I’m using TIdal and Qobuz because they integrate with Roon.

Gotcha, sounds like you’re set. How do you Like Qobuz?

I like Qobuz a lot. Their Classical selection is great and they have a pretty extensive Hi-Res catalog. I never have any glitches streaming from them, either.

The only reason I have Tidal as well is because they have a slightly better Progressive Rock catalog. Both services have titles that the other is missing, but Tidal has more of those rare prog rock titles. But, we’re talking obscure, deep catalog stuff here. Most people wouldn’t notice much difference. For Classical, I’d probably give the nod to Qobuz.

I also like that Qobuz doesn’t use MQA. I don’t want the format or service dictate what DAC I’m able to use to take full advantage of it. That just rubs me the wrong way.

I agree re mqa. A friend and I have been trying Q, but are having glitch issues. I know other like it best. Their hi res stuff is amazing tho. I am very eclectic in tastes, not just classical/orchestral so Q is appealing, but I like the search features of Primephonic so may try their free trial. (I’m old to music, but new to modern audio tech!!) :grin:

Not symphonic, but I really enjoy listening to Albinonis and Vivaldis Oboe Concertos, I used to play the instrument and I love the sound. Vivaldi has interesting compositions, he often pairs the oboe with the bassoon and the cor anglais, all of which I absolutely love, woodwinds sound amazing to me. Albinoni is just straight oboe but sounds just as interesting.

I also enjoy and listen to Dvoraks Symphony from the new world, Smetana Ma Vlast, Ravels Bolero, Holtsts Planets and a few others. I am planning on listening to Wagners Der Ring des Nibelungen but I just don’t have time right now with exams coming up.

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What are the best recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies? I have a complete set of his 9 symphonies in hi-res by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. I bought it from HDTracks a few years ago but really have never loved it. It’s just not the greatest recording quality, IMO, and Rattle seems to be in such a hurry. Oddly, I can’t find it on HDTracks to show you which one it is, either. Here’s the album cover from Google, though:

I think its spatial recording is messed up. What’s a complete symphony set that’s better?

@WaveTheory Check or for some good ideas.
Classical is tricky because of so many variables…conductor, orch., and hall resonance all big factors. Deutsche Grammophone has been doing quality recording for years. Hope you find what pleases you!

@thesleepygiant Thanks for passing these along. Oboe is indeed a special sound, with a great variety of moods. Since you like Vivaldi, give Corelli a try…same period and about 20 years older than V.
PS Good luck with exams. :smile: ok…PPS There’s a nice version of The Planets on YT by hollowchatter. From BBC Proms 2016.

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There’s a Karajan/Deutsche Grammaphone recording of the 9th from about 1984 that’s really good. He apparently was an early adopter re: digital gear.

Mostly these days I listen to Paavi Järvo’s stuff. Good performance, good recording.

About your comment that Rattle seems to be in a hurry: musicologists acknowledge that Beethoven intended his symphonies at least to be played faster than most conductors do. His wrote metronome markings on the pages, but the vast majority of conductors ignore them. Among other things, the sound can get muddy with big orchestras, and the faster times are a better fit with smaller bands. Paavi Järvo is one of those who either uses the “correct” times or gets close to it.

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Interesting info. Thanks.

There’s a cool podcast on Radiolab about Beethoven’s tempi. The theory is that he deliberately chose a speed that’s a little faster than what amounts to a normal human default rhythm, with the result being that it puts us a bit on edge.