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Best Piano Recordings

MRC01

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#1
Piano is difficult to record well and can be revealing of flaws in recording technique or playback systems. And there's so much great piano music nobody could listen to all of it in a lifetime. Here are some of the best piano recordings that I have heard. By "best" I mean they sound the most lifelike and realistic. This is hard because there's so much great music to hold back because even though it's generally well recorded, this is about selecting the very best based on sonics.
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impromptus-899-Radu-Lupu/dp/B00000JXZ5
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Military-Marches-Variations-Barenboim/dp/B000000SA0
https://www.amazon.com/Schumann-Fantasy-Liszt-Transcendental-Etudes/dp/B000003FY4
On the last it is Etude # 12, the Chasse-Neige that is just fantastic. I have the classic Berman among others, but this one blew my mind in both sonics and performance.
What are some of your best piano recordings? I'd love to discover some new ones.
 

MickeyBoy

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#4
Piano is difficult to record well and can be revealing of flaws in recording technique or playback systems. And there's so much great piano music nobody could listen to all of it in a lifetime. Here are some of the best piano recordings that I have heard. By "best" I mean they sound the most lifelike and realistic. This is hard because there's so much great music to hold back because even though it's generally well recorded, this is about selecting the very best based on sonics.
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impromptus-899-Radu-Lupu/dp/B00000JXZ5
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Military-Marches-Variations-Barenboim/dp/B000000SA0
https://www.amazon.com/Schumann-Fantasy-Liszt-Transcendental-Etudes/dp/B000003FY4
On the last it is Etude # 12, the Chasse-Neige that is just fantastic. I have the classic Berman among others, but this one blew my mind in both sonics and performance.
What are some of your best piano recordings? I'd love to discover some new ones.
Great thread. I agree completely that pianos are very hard to record, perhaps in part because even from the same manufacturer they do not always sound quite the same. Family resemblances, of course, but audible differences remain. Even piano recordings from the same company and the same time can be very different. The style of pianism for a given piece just may not mesh well with the recording technique. At the same time I am very fond of historic recordings, some of which were very well recorded for their time and still can convey an impression of verisimilitude.

My little audio system has been dismantled and is being reassembled. So soon I will be able to add some specific recordings. ECM and Channel Classics are probably figure in there. Some of these are lieder. I have some Blu-Rays that present the piano honestly. Let's keep this thread going. I am always looking for great paino recordings.

Radu Lupu's Schubert is IMO terrific, but the recordings from the 1970s are not.
 

CtheArgie

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Hey! Just by chance, I was lucky enough to hear Kissin at his first Carnegie Hall concert. He was just terrific! He played a Rachmaninov encore that was so sweet and subtle, Vocalise, arranged for piano. Since, I have been to Disney Hall many times, and pianos there sound terrible. "Subjectively" compared to how I heard them in NYC.
 

Blumlein 88

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CtheArgie

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I have them in LP. Alas, haven't played them in years since my VPI went to "retirement". Need a good phono preamp that converts to digital to get into my RME...
 

MRC01

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#8
I have the Wilson Audio recording of the Drinkall-Baker Duo playing Ginastera, with Baker playing a Falcone piano. It's good music well recorded, but the piano isn't recorded well enough to include in my list of best piano recordings.
I'm listening to the Hyperion Knight Chopin on Idagio lossless right now and so far I like it. :cool: Pierre Sprey at Mapleshade recorded Alan Gampel playing that same Chopin piece on a Fazioli piano. That's a good recording, but not among the best piano recordings I've heard. Not as natural or realistic sounding as the HK I'm listening to right now.
 

DuxServit

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#9
My go-to CD for best engineering is the Andras Schiff recording of the Goldbergs on ECM in 1989. Ditto for the Diabelli variations.

Generally speaking, ECM seem to consistently produce well engineered recordings.
 

ob1

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#10
One of my favorite is Scarlatti Piano sonatas by Yevgeny Sudbin on Chandos, if I'm not mistaken. I just can't get enough of it. I thoroughly enjoy the second volume as well. Many swear by Hentai's interpretation on harpsichord, but my heart belongs to Sudbin and his piano. Pure virtuosity and superb recording quality.
Thanks to all others who contributed to this thread, I will definitely give those a listen!
 

Blumlein 88

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I have the Wilson Audio recording of the Drinkall-Baker Duo playing Ginastera, with Baker playing a Falcone piano. It's good music well recorded, but the piano isn't recorded well enough to include in my list of best piano recordings.
I'm listening to the Hyperion Knight Chopin on Idagio lossless right now and so far I like it. :cool: Pierre Sprey at Mapleshade recorded Alan Gampel playing that same Chopin piece on a Fazioli piano. That's a good recording, but not among the best piano recordings I've heard. Not as natural or realistic sounding as the HK I'm listening to right now.
Yes, I have Drinkall_Baker as well. Quite enjoyable, but I agree not best piano recording quality.
 

murraycamp

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#13
At the risk that I may be crashing the wrong soiree, the 2003 Sony/Columbia CD release of Solo Monk sounds great. Best version I have heard but I have not heard them all. It is also the file used on the 16/44 version on Qobuz I believe.

His best rendition of Ruby, My Dear IMHO, although that's about the music and not the recording. Self bust on off topic. Thanks for listening.
 

murraycamp

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#14
One more. Kit Downes' new project:


1579740228211.png



New recording. FLAC sounds fantastic. Kit Downes is . . . . well, just listen.
 

Dogen

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#15
big fan of Beegie Adair (Jazz), check out 'Escape to New York'
Thank you for recommending her. I checked out a few YouTube videos and will definitely acquire some of her albums. How could I not have even heard of her?

And thanks to those making recommendations in this thread. I’m easily able to enjoy a great pianist in a less than great recording, but I’m very curious about recordings that are great and great-sounding?

Why is the piano so difficult to record? The problems with vinyl are obvious, with speed instability the number one issue. But even digital and good speakers struggle.
 
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Thank you for recommending her. I checked out a few YouTube videos and will definitely acquire some of her albums. How could I not have even heard of her?
of note , she's a Jazz pianist domiciled in Nashville. While she is getting up there in age she still performs and tours as well as playing out of her club in Nashville.

Why is the piano so difficult to record? The problems with vinyl are obvious, with speed instability the number one issue. But even digital and good speakers struggle.
As far as reproduction I have yet to hear piano done better than what good electrostatics are capable of.
 

majingotan

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#17
I'm happy with the 2 microphone recording quality with this album:

Untitled.png
 
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#18
These Delos recordings impressed me.

Piano Concerto No.1 , 'Carol Rosenberger', 'Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra''DMS Delos'
Water Music" of the Impressionists', 'Carol Rosenberger' 'DMS Delos',
Beethoven Piano Sonatas', 'Carol Rosenberger' 'DMS Delos
 

pjh

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#19
I quite like the DGG recording “Prokofiev for Two” with Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan playing a piano duo arrangement of the Suite from Romeo and Juliet.
 

ob1

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One of my favorite is Scarlatti Piano sonatas by Yevgeny Sudbin on Chandos, if I'm not mistaken. I just can't get enough of it. I thoroughly enjoy the second volume as well. Many swear by Hentai's interpretation on harpsichord, but my heart belongs to Sudbin and his piano. Pure virtuosity and superb recording quality.
Thanks to all others who contributed to this thread, I will definitely give those a listen!
Hentai Scarlatti may not exactly convey what I had in mind. Just to clarify, I was not referring to a kind of japanase music porn. I have mispelled the interpreter who is Pierre Hantai. Thanks Daverz for pointing this to my attention!
 

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