Still do not have much to write about hardware. What have arrived a few days ago are the Telos caps, both the gold and platinum versions. Still testing them out in my system, they are potent, to say the least. There are many combinations to check out, so I foresee a couple more weeks to conclude the work.

Instead, I thought to share some of the music that I listen to. I am no music critic, so I'll just write briefly about music that I go to time and again, this is music that have stood the test of time for me. Much of what I'll be writing about is from the real basic repertoire.

I'll start with (western) classical music. I have been listening to classical music before my first hifi system. I found myself gravitating towards classical more and more in my college years, very much attracted by its richness, discipline, and variety while operating within defined structure.

Classical music is of course a vast and diverse genre (I can't profess to have explored it in any extensive manner). However, with the survival-of-the-fittest principle operating on it for 200-300 years, what is left in the basic repertoire now is very much the cream of the crop.

The first classical CD I ever owned is a recording of Mozart's symphonies, and over the years, Mozart still pretty much forms the core of the classical music that I listen to. Mozart's music is almost all sunshine, optimistic, and extrovert. It will without fail lift my spirit at the end of a long hard day. Don't do any hifi analysis, just let the music wash over you, it is almost therapeutic. :-)

I'll just touch on Mozart's symphonies here, the version most satisfying for me is Neville Marriner's with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Karl Bohm with the Berlin Philharmonic comes a very close second.

A couple of years ago, I tracked down a set of Marriner's Mozart symphony cycle (part 1 of Philips' Complete Mozart Edition, pictured above) on ebay. And it is now my definitive version. Marriner with the ASMF are fleet of foot, light in heart and, most importantly, they let the music speak for itself, with no self-indulgence or self consciousness. Always a very enjoyable listen.

If you are starting with Mozart, also seek out his Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A little Night Music), a serenade, you'll recognize the tune at the first few bars. Again my favourite is Marriner's, pictured below.

I planned to continue to write on Beethoven, the 'punk rocker' of the classical era to me, but it is late now, I'll leave it for my next post.

Leaving you with a picture of my Mozart and Beethoven box sets:
Left - Complete Mozart Edition - Symphonies (12 CDs, Nevillet Marriner, ASMF. Philips 464 770 2);
Middle - Beethoven 9 Symphonies (5CDs, Herbert van Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, 1963 edition. Deutche Grammophon 429 036-2);
Right - Beethoven 9 Symphonies (5CDs, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, The Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Teldec 2292-46452-2)

Happy listening.

Note: all recordings here are not exactly of audiophile quality, but boy, are they satisfying musically. :-)


Karl said...

I am a huge classical music fan,and that is why most of my clasical music listening is still done on vinyl

anyway,though on vinyl ,I somewhat prefer Bohm's cycle,with it surprises,Mariner's interpretation is very well balanced and can be quite addictive.

Good review,

shasha said...

Brohm's and Mariner's are 2 of the better known ones,but you should also look for Trevor Pinnock's work with The English Concert.

Since the recording was done digitally the sound would be more palatable on cds .

Brohm's was groundbreaking because the Berlin Philharmonic was at its best.Best heard on Vinyl

Chan said...

Hi Karl & Shasha,

Can recommend place/shop for buying classical vinyl ?

csloh said...

Clasical musics listening is the only time I still listen to Vinyl

I can ignore the shortcomings in Jazz for eg but the gap btwn Analogue and digital is just too big IMo

Karl said...

Mr Chan,

I am an expatriate living here in Malaysia,most of my records were brought from Germany,where Vinyl is still widely popular.

In fact in Germany,Vinyl is not a novelty like there are in here and most people still listen to a lot of vinyl.

you could also buy from Musicdirect or Elusive disc which have quite a good clasical sections.

You do not need a llot to invest in Vinyl for clasical a basic Thorens will do...

hifikaki said...

I have limited listening experience with classical LPs, however I do agree that original LP classical music sounds better. Almost all CD transfers somehow lost much of the magic.

Mr. Blue said...

Have you compared these Philips recordings of Mozart's symphonies with the ones Marriner made with EMI around 1990?

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