What are the greatest Studio recordings?

It seems many of you have an almost irrational bias against any rec that isn’t live. So I wonder, what are your favourite studio recs? Which studio performances are so great that almost no live recs can match?

And don’t say ‘none’ unless you’re comfortable being a snob :pimp:

24 Chopin Etudes first rec
Liszt Mephisto, Feux Follets early recs

Liszt Don Juan (1930’s HMV)

Liszt TEz 1959 and 1963 remake


1954-1956 Hungaroton recs:
Wagner Liszt Tannhauser
Liszt Wedding March
Auber-Liszt Tarantella from La Muette

1935 Liszt-Busoni Figaro Fantasy

da early Chopin Mazurka recs
Liszt Sonata 1932
Haydn Sonata in E-flat 1932
Chopin Scherzo No. 4 1936
Beethoven 32 vars 1934
Bach-Busoni Toccata, Adagio and Fugue (1950 unreleased RCA rec)
Liszt Funerailles (1950)

Chopin 10-7 (1926)
Chopin Noct 55-2 (1936)
Mendy Songs wizout words 1930
Chopin Mazurkas 1929-1930

Bach Chromatic Fantasy, WTK (da one on Pristine), Partita No. 1 (1946)
Scriabin Sonata 4 (1946)

prewar Beethoven Sonata recs
da Homochord 1920’s recs

Shoe Carnaval, Rach 1, Paganini Rappah, Rach 2 1924 acoustic rec

all his recs tru

Schumann Kreiz (1952)

all his studio recs, tru
da Liszt Erlkonig, Maiden’s wish, Tarantella, Waldesrauchen stand out in particular. Also da Chopin Sonata 3 mov 1 test rec from 1935.

1945 Liszt Mephisto tru

his earliest recs - da APR sets (da Pioneering Liszt recs)
especially: Meyerbeer-Liszt les Patineurs tranny

Liszt Benediction 50’s
Liszt Sonata (1953 studio rec on Marston)

Chopin Sonata 3 - 1947
da Alborado n Petrarch Sonneto 104

Chopin ballades, Scherzi, Schumann Fant

1948 Bach-Busoni Chaconne n Brahms Paganini Selection

tons of his studio recs - da early Liszt Gnomenreigen, Mazeppa, Faust Waltz, Liszt-Busoni Spanish Rappah wiz orch really stand out.

da Chopin concerto 1 rec

diz liszt not even scratching da surface.

No Richter? People always say that Richter hated the studio, etc. But damn he made some fine studio recs.

For example:
Schubert Wanderer Fantasy EMI
Rachmaninoff Concerto 2 - 1959 Sanderling
Franck Prelude, Chorale and Fugue 1955 Melodiya
Liszt Concertos - Kondrashin 1961
Beethoven Appassionata 1960
Prokofiev Concerto 1-Ancerl


Reading the subject line actually made me go ‘ewww’. Yeah <— Smug Globalist Elite Biyatch

The first one to come to mind was Zimerman’s Liszt Sonata. I suppose Eisenberger’s Chopin PC 2 (I think it was studio). I’d add Friedman & Rosenthal.

If there’s a live rec out there, I will always take it.

Damn! Good point.
I thought da Franck 1955 PCF was live unedited broadcast.

Ok, my Richter studio favorites:

1952 Glazunov Concerto, Prok 1, Rimjobski concs studio recs
1960 Brahms 2 studio with Chickago SO
1960 American rec of Brotha no 23 tru
1961 London Schumann Fantasy

Da Eisenberger Chop 2 was an in-studio broadcast, basically the same as live.

As for Hofmann, imho I prefer to listen to his immaculate studio recordings rather than the live rape. 8)

Nah man, I don’t have ANY irrational beliefs and/or biases 8) :tm:


Honestly I don’t get it. I don’t discriminate Live vs. Studio. A great performance is a great performance. Sure, studio recs can often lack the energy of a live concert, but that’s not a rule. I’ve heard some crazy exciting studio recs, and MANY unremarkable concerts from great artists.

Well, studio recs are generally edited, or patched together on 4 minute 78 rpm sides.

Of course it would have been better to hear the stuff in one giant take.
Also, how good is the experience when you know the rec has been patched together measure by measure (ahem, Jerome Roze fuck) and the same artist unleashes a category 8 shit storm when playing live?

Isn’t a live perf of greater artistic value and more honest?
All those mofo 3 minute recs of the acoustic era are one unedited take, maybe that qualifies them as live.

Obviously I have to edit this post and remove some names, in a few days tru

Also, I vastly prefer Horowitz’s live 60’s and 70’s stuff than the CBS Studio recs which were glued together bar by bar. (Check out the Waldo outtakes and the 10-4, before the editing. Damn. Fuck)

Damn yeah these early Ashkenazy recordings are wonderful.


The main issue I have with studio recordings is how edited they are.
When you have performances that are pieced together virtually bar by bar, I feel like it’s not a true representation of what the pianists is actually capable of.
Apart from that I don’t have any issues with studio recordings.

Modern recs are mostly edited.
2 issues:

  1. Artists could now record works which they have put considerably less practice into - they can use the music and edit. Hardly a good thing for artistic integrity.

  2. In many cases, the level of music making comes down to a common denominator for everyone. It will have all the right notes, but limits won’t be pushed.
    The recordings start to sound, um, the same.
    Which is why the Hatto scandal could happen.
    Take the best recs from everyone, and because most artists don’t do anything too personal and eccentric in the recording studio these days anyway - everyone sounds similar.

Imagine she did that, stealing a live rec where the unique faults are readily identifiable, damn, she’d be caught way faster. Pozz 8)

Totally agree. What disappoints me is that when the studio provides such backup in terms of editing capabilities, musicians seem to go in there with the mindset of minimising chances, which I think is totally non-conducive to a genuinely artistic result.

Even da mr. note-perfect-everything-is-easy-Hamelin admitted to editing, prolly cause he doesn’t bother to learn rep dat well. I gotta agree with both TM and Canandaian here; studio recs often gets bland and lacking the soul you have to conjure in front of an audience, but still, a good perf is a good perf.

Tru. Horowitz recorded particularly well in the studio from the 20’s!
Always a great balance of control with fury.

His studio recs in the 40’s captured his huge dynamic range too.
The Mendy varz from 1946 is a classic. So elegant.

There are a ton of them of course, and I won’t even try to make a list, but in general I feel Zimerman for instance is better in the studio than live, and several pianists - Pletnev for instance - are more or less as fine in a studio as they are in front of an audience. But in general I really do feel there is a huge difference between hearing a pianist in recital and hearing a studio album. KZ is really the only pianist I can think of where I’d put more hopes to a studio recording of a work than what might be around from broadcasts and audience tapes. Brew, leech & co have already described why, but holding a concert is a lot like talking in public. You communicate with an audience and in some sense there is a dialogue going on, and there’s also automatically a certain nerve and adrenaline there to keep you sharp and focused. When in a studio you’re instead typically in a non-inspiring environment and you’re literally talking to a wall, which sucks the life and projection out of the performances, and with modern editing capabilities you tend to erase the spontaneous line of thought through them as well. Lewenthal’s Annees I there for instance, I have never heard such playing in a studio recording. And “moments” like in Richter’s Moscow 1957 Pensees for instance you find when a musician enters that zone - they do exist in studio recordings, but they’re incredibly scarce. I’m really trying but the only one I can think of at all off the top of my head is Arrau’s Paris 1970 Op.111.

Studio recordings at their best as I see them become a kind of frozen, idealized model of what the artist wants to do with a certain work, but he/she is not “performing” that work. I guess it might be a matter of taste which kind you prefer, but if I was to select my 100 favorite recordings I honestly think 90 would end up being live without even thinking about it. And even those 10 would probably predominantly be pre-1950 recordings from when we don’t have as much live material. That’s simply the way it is - and with me it certainly has created a bias, but there’s nothing irrational about it. It comes from statistics, experience and what I want from music.

well, I honestly can’t imagine more magical atmospheric recs than the Friedman Chopin Op. 55-2 and the Moiseiwitsch E major nocturne…

time just…stops, tru. They’re both sublime.

(both are unedited, longish takes of course. )

Also, there are some artists who didn’t leave any live recordings (or we have very little live material which is unreleased, incomplete etc)

sum mofos were at their best at a time where live recordings were not abundant anyway.

Rubinstein - 1930’s recs.
Friedman (thank god some live stuff turned up)
Rach (the dude refused to broadcast, some secret live recs might be published soon, no idea what they are - so most of his legacy is studio)
Moiseiwitsch - ton of studio recs for HMV, there is live material when he is a bit past his prime.
Busoni - all we have are the 1922 studio recs. Rumors existed of a private home rec where he plays one of his pieces, probably lost by now.

Arrau - lots of early studio recs, some of my favorite stuff in fact.

Some artists like Cziffra, Hofmann, and Barere had a completely different style when playing live.

ABM? Not a huge difference between live and studio.
Da Ho is equally satisfying in both, with his studio recs being more immaculate. :lipussy:

Gilels was GREAT in the studio, to the point where maybe some of his studio recs are my favorite of his - the studio 60’s Liszt Sonata (and also the 1949 studio) is probably the one I come back to most often, and he has plenty of great live recs of that too.

Sure. I don’t dispute that great studio recordings exists, but given my track record with pianists where we have both the first thing that springs to mind when you bring these up is - imagine if we had recital recordings from the time.

Another issue is that recording companies often requested “pop” repertoire which the artists didn’t even concertize with regularly.
Busoni complained about that during his 1919 and 1922 Colombia sessions.

If we had live concerts of certain mofos - we would hear the rep THEY wanted to play, not what some clueless executive ordered. :trump: