Best recorded piano you have ever heard?

I have a very good pal from Uni days who has bravely been battling breast cancer for 16 years which is sadly terminal. She is a very gifted classical pianist and will be coming to visit me later this month. She is keen to hear my recently significantly upgraded system especially the new ATC’s and I thought it might be nice to have some exceptionally well recorded piano pieces to play for her while she is here.

My taste is broad encompassing rock, folk, pop and some classical while hers includes classical, melodic rock and folk.

I’d welcome any recommendations for pieces that provide a real ‘piano in the room’ experience from anyone here as my current piano recordings while decent aren’t exceptional.

We both love Shostakovich Piano Concerto No 2 for sentimental reasons as I saw her perform it back in 1989 and it put tears in my eyes with its intensity and beauty so any exceptional recordings of that would be especially welcome.

She’s an incredible lady and continues to live her life to the full and still performs and plays at many piano festivals and competitions (which she very often wins!) She’s played at Eisteddfod amongst other performances on TV, indeed no less a talent than Noriko Ogawa is a big fan. She was nominated by Breast Cancer UK to carry the Olympic torch for the London Olympics.

It’s always a joy to hear her play when she visits even on our lowly Casio Celviano digital piano, but it always amazes me that she can make even that sound so good!

One day I dream of finding a way to have her professionally recorded on a suitable concert grand so that her music can live on beyond her.

Anyway, all recommendations are welcome!



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Thank you for sharing this very personal story. I would tend to go for good interpretations rather than technical recordings that bring out the emotional value of the piano. For me I would turn to the Goldberg variations, but which version?
I like the Sony versions of Glen Gould, just because he hums, but depending on my mood I listen most to Hewitt and Tureck. I don’t care much for the Perahia nor the Ishiaka.

On the jazz front I turn to Wellstood:

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Such a sad story and I wish her much happiness in the time she has left.

I cannot advise specific pieces but I have a few SACDs by Yevgeny Sudbin which all sound great to me. I am not a musician but he seems very gifted to me. Also, Daniel Barenboim playing Beethoven sonatas is very good.

As a twist, I will actually seek out the Shostakovich piece that you mention and listen to it. I don’t have a great understanding of classical music but can enjoy some pieces despite not having a clue about what is going on. Pleasant music makes an emotional connection regardless of the genre.

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I wish your friend a happy stay with you. For a change from other mentions, how about the piano groove of Dr John.

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This is just wonderful and the piano sound is fantastic. Hopefully she will love it.


I’d also recommend this. Glorious music and a beautiful recording, wonderfully played. You may even get to love it yourself.

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I would also recommend the Andreas Shiff, Hugh worth pointing out that he is playing an original Forte Piano, so the sound is far from being like a Piano Forte. For more Forte Piano I could also recommend the recently released Haydn Piano sonatas by Kristian Bezuidenhout which are splendid. Earlier suggestions are ace too: Glenn Gould renowned for his sometimes not-so-Soto-voce humming, is always worth time to listen.


The Paul Lewis recordings of the late Schubert Sonatas (D958, D959 and D960) are excellent and I think very well recorded. I also think Sudbin’s recording of Scarlatti Sonatas sounds especially fine.

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Eric Morecombe ???


How is that remotely helpful to anyone? Did you read Jonathan’s post at all?

and it’s Morecambe not Morecombe.

My recomendation would be Beethoven’s Bagatelles by Steven Osborne on Hyperion.

I couldn’t say how well Rachel Grimes’ Book of Leaves is recorded, but it was recommended to me by a friend whose musical opinion I value and gives me great pleasure.

Wishing the best to your friend.

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Sorry to hear…

I guess it’s more about emotional impact than perfect recordings, so a couple of suggestions:

  • Mozart Piano Sonatas by Mitsuko Uchida
  • Chopin Noctures by Maria Joao Pires
  • Scarlatti by Vladimir Horowitz
  • Haydn Piano Sonatas by Alfred Brendel
  • Debussy by JeanEfflam Bavouzet or Francois Chaplin.

And many many more…

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What version of Shostakovich piano concerto no. 2 do you recommend?

Try Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds and Andras Schiff ECM series.

Personally I really like the version by Dmitri Shostakovich Jnr and conducted by Maxim Shostakovich who it was originally written for.


No sense of humour some folk, ok Les Dawson

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There is a line between being humorous and being crass, which is not actually that fine.


Camphuw, hardly ever do I disagree with your posts, but in this instance, I must :grinning:
The Perahia Goldbergs are magnificent - magical at times.
Gould always gives me an headache - so relentless.

It’s good that we all have different tastes :grinning: :grinning:


@JonathanG I wish I could recommend a suitable piece of piano music for you and your friend. I have to say I was incredibly saddened by your post and despite all the stupid worries I have they are totally insignificant compared to what your friend is facing. I hope her spirits are raised by the appropriate suggestions here.

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