• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Best Piano Recordings

q3cpma

Major Contributor
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
2,934
Likes
3,929
Location
France
I found these to be quite good:
eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODA4NDkyNS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NTkyNjM4NzV9

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/8084925--brahms-piano-concerto-no-1-ballades-op-10
4934102-origpic-569929.jpg

https://bis.se/label/bis/debussy-the-solo-piano-works (don't really like the performance though, too "robotic" to my taste).
 
OP
MRC01

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,913
Likes
1,973
Location
Pacific Northwest
I find Harmonia Mundi recordings to be consistently good, one of the better labels. Trio Wanderer and Joel Frederiksen have a few albums with them that I like a lot.
Here's another great piano recording I heard recently - in fact one of the most realistic/natural piano sounds I've heard:
https://play.primephonic.com/album/3760014196539
 

Mike-48

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
116
Likes
152
Location
Portland, Oregon
Keith Jarett playing Haendel;
Listened to some of the Jarrett today and found the performances too bland for my taste. I can recommend an alternative for a little of this repertoire:

5103Fl97ojL._SX425_.jpg


I find the playing much livelier and more varied than Jarrett, and I like the sound better. Piano recordings range from too percussive to too mellow; this one might be very slightly too percussive (and Jarrett on ECM too mellow). The perspective is more natural: the piano seems smaller, as it would on a stage, with the listener in the audience. In many recordings, the piano is as large as the front wall, which I find disconcerting.

Anthony Newman has a CD of Handel suites played on harpsichord with abandon. Not a new release, but a good one.
 

Mike-48

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2020
Messages
116
Likes
152
Location
Portland, Oregon
I got this recital from BIS's online eClassical.com and have enjoyed it a lot. Haochen Zhang is a wonderful artist whose career I hope will continue and grow. Recommended for sound and playing both. Available in 24/96 for download.

91Me0SClAtL._SX425_.jpg
 

dualazmak

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Messages
939
Likes
996
Location
Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Listened to some of the Jarrett today and found the performances too bland for my taste. I can recommend an alternative for a little of this repertoire:

5103Fl97ojL._SX425_.jpg


I find the playing much livelier and more varied than Jarrett, and I like the sound better. Piano recordings range from too percussive to too mellow; this one might be very slightly too percussive (and Jarrett on ECM too mellow). The perspective is more natural: the piano seems smaller, as it would on a stage, with the listener in the audience. In many recordings, the piano is as large as the front wall, which I find disconcerting.

Anthony Newman has a CD of Handel suites played on harpsichord with abandon. Not a new release, but a good one.

Hello Mike-48, thank you for your impression and intro to Schiff's Haendel. Yes, I also have this CD and also I like it.

BTW, I am really impressed by Schiff's wonderful performance video on Bach's Overture in French Style and Suites;

Although I have been addicting to Glenn Gould's recording of Bach's Overture in French Style and Suites, I also love this Schiff's new live video and fantastic performance.
 

dualazmak

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Messages
939
Likes
996
Location
Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 Op.18....

All of us well know that so many LPs, CDs, download Hi-Res files, and YouTube videos are available, and how about this YouTube HD Live video - Anna Fedrova and Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie led by Martin Panteleev at Concertgebouw Amsterdam?

I like the tempo led by Martin Pantaleev, and of course the wonderful perfomance by Anna Fedrova. The beginning portion of the 3rd movement with nice full orchestra low sound (sound of the Concertgebouw Hall) after 23 min 50 sec is a challenge to our audio system, and I always enjoy it with my multichannel multi-amplifier system with L and R YAMAHA YST-SW1000 sub-woofers...
 
Last edited:

ahofer

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
1,468
Likes
2,599
Location
New York City
Found this on Roon - It’s excellent:

3ECD67D6-10F3-4671-B327-71A3C3A02E2E.jpeg
 

ahofer

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
1,468
Likes
2,599
Location
New York City
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.

Hey, I was at that concert too. They made a recording of it.
 

ahofer

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
1,468
Likes
2,599
Location
New York City
Now there's a monster question! The modern concert grand is an instrument that has evolved over hundreds of years to work well in the concert auditorium where the closest listener will be 30, 50, or more feet away from the instrument. The lid is designed to reflect much of the instrument's mid and high frequency sound towards the audience. In fact, much of the intended audience will not have an unobstructed line to the piano mechanism but will be largely reliant upon the reflected sound from the lid. The sound we traditionally expect to hear from a concert grand is, therefore, far removed from what will be heard if you stick your head (or microphones) into the "box" forming the acoustic basis of the piano. The traditional piano sound we hear in the concert hall is actually quite "woolly" when you stop to consider.

The musical role of the piano has changed considerably in the last hundred years or so. Its use as part of the rhythm section in a so-called big band or as a featured instrument in the jazz world is entirely incompatible with the "design goal" of listening to the piano at sufficient a distance for the mechanism to be inaudible while retaining the subtleties of the attack and decay required by post 20th century music. So we move the mics closer. If the record producer feels that he needs separation of the piano from the other stuff in the band (which is sometimes a real problem in a world of artificially amplified electric instruments) it becomes all too easy for the sound of the piano to become compromised in favour of what the mics do not pick up rather than what they do. And as soon as you move the mics so close that the direct sound from the strings and mechanism overrides the reflected sound from lid (as will always happen if the lid is shut), you get a piano sound that is considerably removed from how Mozart's pianoforte was supposed to work with its audience.

I’m not a recording engineer, but my conclusion from a lot of listening is that when mic’d close, the dynamic range used to overcome tape’s bandwidth and distort and/or the recording levels would have to be set super low so the quiet passages receded into the background noise. When mic’d further away, as others have noted, it’s percussive qualities can be lost.
 
OP
MRC01

MRC01

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
1,913
Likes
1,973
Location
Pacific Northwest
Found this on Roon - It’s excellent: [Olafsson playing Bach, 2018 recording on DG]...
I'm listening to it now on Primephonic (lossless 96-24). Quite good especially the all-important midrange tonality. It doesn't sound close miced, as it captures some of the room sound and decay. Yet it isn't veiled as sometimes happens when it's not close miced. Perhaps they used both: close micing the piano mixed with additional more distant mic for room ambience. The left hand or bass sounds a bit attenuated, but hard to tell with Bach's music since it's not left-hand heavy. There is an occasional bit of low end growl extension, like 3 minutes into track 5, so it's there when he uses it.
 

ahofer

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
1,468
Likes
2,599
Location
New York City
Wow!
I need to get that record. "We wuz there!"

Ok, Bezos' shop sold it to me. I'm so excited!

That was...a while ago. When I first subscribed to Carnegie’s virtuoso pianists series. We had a box in Tier 2.
 

Arjun

Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
5
Likes
1
Location
Australia
Check this out:
http://steinwaystreaming.com/
There are heaps of albums one can stream, or just look them up on Tidal or Spotify or such like.
The few that I have heard are uniformly good recordings. ( What else would one expect from Steinway and Sons ?)
 

xaviescacs

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
188
Likes
162
Location
Barcelona
Couple of energetic Liszt Pieces:

Arrau's first Mephisto Waltz (this is a treasure):


Zimerman's Totentanz:

 
Last edited:

Pluto

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 2, 2018
Messages
938
Likes
1,449
Location
Harrow, UK
Piano is difficult to record well and can be revealing of flaws in recording technique or playback systems
This thread has been mostly devoted to “classical” piano music, but there is a well known “prog” record that features the most gorgeous acoustic piano sound you could wish for. I would give my left nut for knowledge of the total formula by which this piano sound was obtained. Emerson Lake and Palmer's “Trilogy” is the record in question, and the best examples of the wonderful piano sound are at the end of Track 1 into Track 2 and the start of Track 7. We know (from sources in the public domain) that it’s a Steinway instrument but there is little else.

Taste it for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
 

TLEDDY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
358
Likes
364
Location
Central Florida
“there is a $125000 DAC? who the f_ck buys something like this, and why? lol”

Ah so, grasshopper…because they can!

Tillman - aka “Wise Ass on the Hill”
 
Top Bottom