The battle of the two Hungarians


#1

So I have a couple of c-notes burning a hole in my pocket from Father’s Day and I can buy one, and only one, of these: which one would our classical fans on the forum choose?

Fricsay.jpgReiner.jpg


#2

I don’t know enough about Fricsay to say anything helpful. Regarding the Reiner: his recordings, particularly the Living Stereo volumes, have been remastered and reissued multiple times, some better than others. I’d try to find out exactly which versions are in that box before buying, and see if they are the best (or at least better) ones. I can’t help much because I own most of the Living Stereo albums on vinyl and only rarely buy repeats of things I already own – there is so much other music out there to explore! There may be others here who know more.


#3

Perhaps you might spend it on a Qubos “loss-less” streaming subscription and discover what you prefer from their library.

They have some great stuff as well as many I have not yet discovered.


#4

Reiner was a perfectionist. His ability to delineate rhythm and line is unsurpassed. The orchestral groups are always balanced and each line can be heard. Rhythms have propulsive vitality or languid ease as appropriate. While he brings out the music’s emotion, he is never saccharine nor sentimental. Many of his recordings are the definitive performances of the work. RCA Victor typically has excellent sound.

Fricsay’s performances are often stunning. Intense, lean, eloquent, expressive. Incredible dynamics, precise articulations. Direct, unfussy. Very rhythmic, he can make anything dance. His Bartok and Stravinsky is especially delicious.

Ferrari or Lamborghini?


#5
Elk said

Fricsay’s performances are often stunning. Intense, lean, eloquent, expressive. Incredible dynamics, precise articulations. Direct, unfussy. Very rhythmic, he can make anything dance. His Bartok and Stravinsky is especially delicious.

Ferrari or Lamborghini?


Precisely my conundrum. I love just about everything Fricsay recorded. It’s going to be a tough choice but I think I’m leaning towards Fricsay…

(And don’t forget, the Fricsay opera recordings box is up next. His Mozart is wonderful.)


#6

I would go with the Fricsay.

And the Ferrari (this is actually the easier of the two decisions). :)


#7

I’ve been wondering about these two myself. Anyone know if the quality of the engineering on the recording is better for one or the other?

I’ll be honest and say I’ve never been a huge fan of many of the DG recordings, especially the ones from the 70s and 80s.


#8

The Reiner are RCA Victor Living Stereo, most of which exhibit excellent sound.

DG did not enter the digital age of recording gracefully, and their early digital recordings could be shrill (early to mid '80’s). This is also the period in which many feel DG overused spotlighting. However, Mr. Fricsay died in 1963. All of his recordings were, of course, analog. They sound very, very good.

As a practical matter, I listen to all recordings for the music. If the music is good I typically do not notice the quality of the sound unless my attention is drawn to it as extraordinarily awful or delightful.


#9
Elk said As a practical matter, I listen to all recordings for the music. If the music is good I typically do not notice the quality of the sound unless my attention is drawn to it as extraordinarily awful or delightful.
Me too. Otherwise I'd miss out on Toscanini's Verdi or Schnabel's Beethoven. But, when a performance and SQ line up, there's nothing better...

#10

Oh, yes!


#11

Oh I agree Elk, but for me that awful DG sound gets in the way of most of the recordings I’ve heard from those years.


#12
Elk said As a practical matter, I listen to all recordings for the music. If the music is good I typically do not notice the quality of the sound unless my attention is drawn to it as extraordinarily awful or delightful.
That seems to be the case with a lot of musicians, many of whom don't seem to care much about sound quality. Those of us who are untrained have a harder time "listening through" the recording.

#13

Sorry friends, but I beg to differ. One of my other interests in fine art. I have attending the exhibitions of many of the great painters over the years. Listening to excellent music which is poorly recorded is the same as viewing a masterwork which has not been conserved. The overlay of grime and muting of colors cannot allow someone to appreciate the work in its full beauty. You can still be in awe of it, yes, but it’s impact is diminished. The conserved work would (should) represent the piece as it was intended to be seen - “not diminished by poor recording or engineering” if you will. Would I call looking at the same work, conserved, as “critical viewing”? Am I not getting any further nourishment of the soul by seeing such works in this form? I don’t dislike viewing art that has not yet been restored, but I know having seen pieces from the same artists that have been conserved, it is roughly the same as enjoying a musical performance that had had everything done right - the music, venue, playing, recording, mastering.


#14

I am in full agreement. An excellent performance complimented by great sound is sublime. As you note, if captured in less than its full glory one can still be in awe, but the full glory remains hidden.

gordon said When a performance is "tight" and performed or conducted with "genius" we, as listeners, can become involved as if we ourselves are performing.
If only this were true.

While we can become immersed in listening and thoroughly enjoy it, a listener’s experience remains passive, uncreative. Even the most involved listening is a pale reflection, a mere shadow of performing.

It is the same reason even poor golfers go out each week to play, rather than sit home with the same friends and watch a golf tournament on TV.

As for the sound, there is nothing better than the immediacy, presence, subtly, expressiveness and visceral power of being on stage with one’s fellow acoustic players.

[See, The Brain forum for the rest of this discussion.]


#15

Pulled the trigger and bought the Fricsay. I’m getting it Wednesday.


#16

Let us know how you like it!


#17

+1

(Both performances and sound.)


#18

Off topic, but not by much, I relistened to a bunch of my 60s and 70s Karajan recordings over the weekend, through my DS, of course, and have to say that the SQ was better overall. They still suffer from that anemic sound that most of the DGs of that period suffered from, but they were still listenable, moreso in fact. I played the Honegger symphonies Nos. 2 and 3, Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 (magnificent), Bartok’s ‘Concerto for Orchestra,’ and Richard Strauss’s ‘Four Last Songs’ with Janowitz. I also listened to his EMI Bruckner Seventh and the SQ was surprisingly better than I remembered, as well.

Then again, Paul did say we’d have a new CD collection at our fingertips… mmm_gif