Unchallenged #1 Recordings

Sokolov Saint Saens 2
Sokolov Petrushka (amsterdam 1992)
Michelangeli Ravel G Major (1980 / celibidache)
Michelangeli Debussy Preludes book 1
Feinberg - Bach PF c#min WTC1
Richter - Schubert B-flat posthumous
Richter - Scrib Poeme Nocturne
HO - Scrib feuillet op. 58
Yudina - Berg Sonata
Rubinstein - Szymanowski sinfonia concertante

oh and

Bach d minor keyboard concerto - Gould / Bernstein

Man we’re disagreeing in this thread! I’m agreeing with just about everyone who has disagreed, and disagree with just about everyone who has posted suggestions except the Weissenberg/Franck & Ziff GGC (though where’s the competiton?), Zimerman’s Totentanz and pozz Horowitz K.87 and Richter’s Chopin Ballades - I agree they’re #1, but I don’t agree they’re unchallenged. Sokolov’s Petrushka indeed too, but I’d say Tokyo 1991.

Hah! Hold my beer

Haha wut?!

Agree with the Weissenberg / Franck, that’s a lovely recording.

In the Rach PC 3 I have twin peaks with Horowitz / Barbirolli and Sokolov (Stockholm).

Agree with Brew about Richter / Pictures being well overrated. Pogorelich captures the visual aspect - Richter hardly hints at it IMO.

Tru, hence my disclaimer. It all boils down to personal opinion after a certain level.

1 Like

I’m learning the berg sonata atm, dont know that much of him so will check this rec out. I assume it’s on da tube?



Not to mention Pletnev, who does things with the bass notes and different types of shading that I didn’t think were possible.

1 Like


Tru. Also unsurpassed. Fuckkkkk

That’s what this thread was supposed to avoid. I was looking for objectively supreme recordings, which are usually only possible for works that only have a handful of recordings. Anyone saying Saint-Saens Concerto 2, Liszt Sonata, Chopin Ballades, etc… those don’t belong here.

I guess it’s my fault for putting the Wanderer in my post, but I truly believe Richter played it better than anyone else.

1 Like

I suppose :doc: has more unchallenged #1 recordings than anyone by virtue of the combo of his proclivity for rare rep and the very high general standard of each rec. :girth:


Well, that “for which no solid competition exists” certainly throws a wrench in the machinery here… but excluding Hamelinish rep these are some which spring to mind:

Liszt HR8, pozz more
Liszt GGC
Liszt Auber

Bach/Feinberg BWV 593
Bach BWV 904


Rach PS2
Scarlatti several

Fauré Op.63

de Larrocha
Albeniz - everything
de Falla - yep
Granados? him too
Schubert/Tausig Military March

Beethoven Op.49#1

Scarlatti lots of em

Beethoven Für Elise
Haydn XVI:19
Mozart Rondo alla Turca
Scarlatti lots of em

Bach BWV 855
Bartok 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs
Prokofiev Op.14

Bach French O
Beethoven Op.14
Beethoven Op.119
Byrd everything
Couperin everything
Froberger everything
Rameau everything
Stravinsky Petrushka


I like Weissenberg in Petrushka more than Sokolov. But otherwise, that’s a reasonable list.

I’ll add Richter’s Dvorak Concerto (with Kondrashin) and Liszt #2 (with Ferencsik) to the list.

1 Like

Yes, that Richter Liszt 2 rec really spoiled me.

1 Like

I don’t even enjoy it when played by anyone else.

1 Like

Yes, I began thinking about this before I had properly understood the rules, listing just performances I think are way ahead. I definitely think that is the case with GS/Petrushka, but both Weissenberg and Pollini certainly qualify as solid competition. Same with Villa in the Rach-2 and Ovchinnikov in the Prok-2 for instance. The list could probably use some further shaving than what I did before posting.

Ahem :sunglasses:
Small cuntradicktion…

That’s why I believe this thread is rather nonsensical - and I mostly disagree with all these personal choices.
When talking about ‘supreme’ ‘unchallenged’ recordings there is ALWAYS an element of subjectivity, simply because nobody’s taste is exactly the same, and nobody is looking for exactly the same things in a recording of a certain work.
This could only work if you limit it to unique recordings of unknown pieces by great pianists, but even in those cases you sometimes have more than one option to choose from…and even then you have to work with subjective criteria that define the “greatness” of the pianist/playing.

1 Like

Well, there’s no problem objectively assessing the quality of a work of art - subjectivity only comes in play when the question is whether you like it or not. But I don’t quite understand the thread either. I thought I did when I read the clarification, but that doesn’t make sense now when I look at Chris’ own choices. Is it about works we think only ONE pianist has played well at all, or about works where there might be many good recordings but we think one in particular stands out far above the others?

1 Like