Thursday, February 16, 2006

What tunes would you buy with $150 gift certificate

CD's are overflowing and no CD or box set is screaming "buy me" despite my surplus of gift certificates from Amazon, Border's & Barnes&Nobles.

Enjoy my Budget box set of Beethoven's string quartets, and thought of buying Budget box sets of Chopin's piano works & Beethoven's piano sonatas, but the reviews pointed out that these were old recordings, some in mono, so a bit turned off. Already co-own Shostakovich's string quartet box set, so believe that I'm well covered there.

Have 3 Coltrane box sets & 2½ Miles box sets & 1 Mingus box set, so not sure what else I can purchase. Some character in Red Mars mentions 1947 being Satchmo's best year, but not sure what album that would be. Long past the hot 5's & hot 7's, but long before his national icon status with Hello Dolly showmanship.

The Ginger Haired Yank would argue that i have a surfeit of DFM's, but did just purchase the latest Cat Power & Beth Orton CD's. Probably a mistake given that Cat Power usually has 2 good songs per CD & Orton has 4.

Cool video though - can't say that it makes much sense (Cat running track crucifix while a bunch of women wearing veils & heavily covering clothing race her), but her videos never needed narrative logic, for that matter neither did the director's work (e.g. Gummo).

Most classical box sets are uneven and frankly less interesting than discovering a single recording of one or two works from various artists.

That said, I like Perahia's version of Mozart's piano concerti. Baremboim is also nice. Some of the later concerti from Brendel are enjoyable too, though they are from the 70's, so the sound quality isn't as fine.

Mozart's piano sonatas: Uchida's rendition is first rate.

Perahia is also top notch in the Chopin repertoir. His impromptus, etudes and ballades are fabulous. (by the way, I have tickets to his recital next month in Berkeley. Looking forward to it.)

Beethoven symphonies: I prefer the old Szell recordings with the Cleveland SO. There's a little hiss, but it's still decent quality and the musicianship is wonderful.

Beethoven chamber music: hard to go wrong with the Emerson quartet.

I think I've exceeded your $150 limit without even touching on Bach!
Can't stand poor sound quality recordings. Made the mistake of buying an old Beethoven #9 recording that had been copied to CD. Listened to it maybe once.

Never developed a fondness for Motzart either - too much of a quiche eater.

Am interested in Perahia's recordings of Chopin though. Can you send back a link. Zellerbach Hall? Fine place to see a performance.

Are you familiar with Bach's variations on a theme by Frederick the Great? Read a book review about a book about the piece (pretty narrow niche, so curious if it sold more than 1,000 copies), but don't know the piece itself, so curious if you have any familiarity with it.

Let's see a 2nd iteration of your list.
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