The classical music thread

So am I, but I must have bought that LP about a dozen times!

More to the point, I am having trouble to have my (brand new) Visa card accepted on Amazon. It’s very frustrating - as you might imagine. I’d like to maim the clucker who stole my wallet (and Apple Mac and iPhone) last week. But I may have to content myself with giving evidence against him in court.

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The Kingsway Hall, just a few minutes’ walk from Holborn Underground station, was a fascinating place. It had ideal acoustics for recording classical music, and was regularly used by EMI and Decca.

I managed to sneak in and hide occasionally to listen to recordings being taped. I remember listening to Rostropovich recording a Tchaikovsky symphony with (I think) the LPO.

The Hall was close to at least one London Underground railway line and the ‘Kingsway rumble’ could sometimes be heard on records made there!

The building (a Methodist meeting house) was in an advanced state of disrepair in the 1980s, and I think that it was demolished long ago.


Good luck getting things sorted for yourself.

Thanks - progress is being made!

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I may have posted this before…

I used to rave about the Tokyo Quartet’s performance of the Bartok String Quartets on their 1981 DG recording. More recently, I have come to prefer the earlier Juilliard String Quartet on Columbia. This is such an amazing performance. I have two copies. A 1972 repress of the 1965 release, and the more recent Speakers Corner remaster from 2016. I still need to compare the two. I started with the Speakers Corner, but picked up the older '72 repress for $13. It sounds great.

Anyway, I recommend this highly. I never listen to the Tokyo Quartet version anymore, as good as it is.


I have them on CD, played by one of the best modern players, the marvellous Belcea Quartet.

I must play them again soon, as I don’t know the music at all well.

And brilliantly conducted by the much-missed Mackerras. Very good recording too. A desert island set for me.


Mackerras was a great conductor. I was at the Festival Hall for the Brahms symphony cycle that he conducted there very late in his career. (I can’t remember which orchestra, and I haven’t kept a programme.)


Grimes is an opera I can’t get into. For those who love it: is there a recording you recommend?


The two which have consistently garnered praise are Britten’s own Decca recording (with Peter Pears as Grimes) and Colin Davis’s Philips set (with Jon Vickers in the title role).

I’m not sure if either is currently available - which is shameful.

Both of those versions are readily (and indeed instantly) available as downloads or streams of course.

Thank you both. At this stage, downloads would be fine. Once I’ve found what I’m looking for, CDs can follow.


I found them easily on Presto Classical, which is I think an excellent site. But I am sure you will be easily able to find them from other suppliers.

There was a BBC Radio 3 Record Review Building a Library feature on Peter Grimes a few weeks ago. It will certainly be available on the BBC Sounds App. It was very interesting as Andrew McGregor and his guest Kate Kennedy discussed the many different recordings available, illustrating strengths and weaknesses with excerpts. I forget which the final recommendation was. I think you would find it interesting and helpful if you want to find the right recording.

I looked just now and if you search on Peter Grimes in the BBC Sounds app, the first hit is the podcast, which is a lengthened edit of the broadcast feature I mention above.

Benjamin Britten famously detested Colin Davis’s conducting of ‘Peter Grimes’. Indeed he walked out of Davis’s performance at Covent Garden (on which the Philips recording was based ). I don’t remember why he disliked it so much - perhaps he didn’t like Jon Vickers’ assumption of the role which Britten had written for his own life partner Peter Pears.

OK the recommended recording from the recent BBC Radio 3 Building a library survey of Peter Grimes is this one.

The Edward Gardner one you picture is also excellent.

For all you vinylphiles, I received my first round of DG Classiscs “The Original Sources” series of four albums last night and have been listening to these. The titles are:

Karajan/Berliner, Mahler’s 5th Symphony
Claudio Abbado/LSO, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring
Kleiber/VIenna, Beethoven’s 7th Symphony
Amadeus Quartet/Emil Gilels, Schubert “Trout” Quintet

Let me say that if you are on the fence about getting these, don’t walk…but run out and buy them now. They are a limited edition (2400-2600 copies worldwide). This is a fantastic accomplishment of vinyl mastering and cutting. These are easily the best sounding classical records I have ever heard. Fantastic quality, great tonal balance, excellent soundstage, very dynamic, quiet surfaces, quality pressings, and very nice presentation.

For those who aren’t aware, DG recorded to 1/2" 4-track tape in the early to mid-70s, in anticipation that quadro-sound would be a thing of the future. However, they mixed those tapes to two-track 1/4" tape and those copy tapes were used to master the stereo releases of the day. This new series represents the first time they are mastered directly from the original 4-track tapes. EBS even built a special tape machine and mastering console for this.

The Mahler and Stravinsky are especially mind blowing. I have the original Mahler release and it can be hard to listen to for all its shrill treble range (hate that about Karajan). The new one is completely different, and better in every way.

Here’s the complete list of announced titles so far.

One more round of releases is due for this year (for a total of 14 titles). I hope they keep them coming next year too, and I suspect they will. It doesn’t make sense that EBS would build custom mastering gear for just 14 titles.


Cheers for the link JDP - just ordered Rite!

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Get the Mahler. It is extraordinary and really special. Just sayin’ :slight_smile:

That’ll have to wait till next payday!