What are your favorite Classical piano/organ recordings?
November 14, 2010 10:00 AM   Subscribe

I go through phases where I listen to lots of classical piano/organ music, but I tend to rehash the same pieces (some Bach, mostly). I'd love to expand my collection. What are your favorite classical piano recordings?

I don't care what era the music is from so long as it's pleasant to listen to. I also like symphonic (Dvorak, Beethoven, etc...) music, but for this question I'd really like to just focus on piano/organ (maybe harpsichord) music.
posted by jz to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Chopin is an obvious choice.

Also, any recording made by Andras Schiff is well worth investigating.
posted by idiomatika at 10:06 AM on November 14, 2010

Marta Argerich's recording of Ravel's Sonatines and Gaspard de la nuit is amazing.
posted by saladin at 10:18 AM on November 14, 2010

Béla Bartók composed some awesome piano music, particularly the Hungarian Dances and Allegro Barbaro.
posted by mynameisluka at 10:22 AM on November 14, 2010

Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata, Chopin's Polonaises (especially Op. 53) or really, as idiomatika pointed out, anything Chopin). I have Alfred Brendel recordings of both from eMusic (which used to be much cheaper than it is now).
posted by themel at 11:22 AM on November 14, 2010

Saint- Saens' Organ Symphony (no. 3)
posted by freshwater at 11:22 AM on November 14, 2010

Jacqueline DuPre, Elgar's 85th. Stunning. (And I usually go for the Bach, too, and what's got harpsichords in.)
posted by endless_forms at 11:22 AM on November 14, 2010

Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is a great piano work (which was later arranged for orchestra, too).

Also, even though it's a symphony, Saint-Saen's 3rd Symphony is all about the organ. Check out the last movement, which is full of bombastic organ goodness!
posted by dcheeno at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2010

I am on a Glenn Gould kick lately. He's famous for Bach, but have you heard him play Beethoven's piano sonatas? Unusual and unorthodox, but could help shake you out of your rut.
posted by Buffaload at 12:51 PM on November 14, 2010

So I'm here searching for the real gems from the repertoire that have given me much pleasure time and again:
Mozart's concerto K. 467 a special favorite. I like Murray Perahia's version (British Chamber Orchestra) with cadenzas by Rudolf Serkin. Can't find it right now.
Beethoven's Sonatas Op. 101 and Op 110. Less known than the Hammerklavier, but for no real reason. You find them in this box, together with more Beethoven-yum.
Chopin's Ballades; there are four. I am especially fond of the fourth one. Youtube link to a nice live performance.
Schumann Kreisleriana. There are two well-known Horowitz recordings which I both find too erratic. I prefer, for some reason, Ashkenazy, who recorded the piece twice as well.
If you like to explore Liszt at his most poetic, and relatively less thunderous, look into the Années de Pelerinage, Suisse. The recording by Jorge Bolet is a little stiff, but has a fabulous sound (a Bechstein piano, which is a great break after all the Steinways). I remember a good version by Alfred Brendel on youtube, no time to look now.
Brahms; second piano concerto with Arthur Rubinstein and Eugene Ormandy. Here; Schumann bonus included.
Brahms Handel variations and piano pieces Op. 119, in these versions; the two piano concertos as bonus (so you get to compare the second concerto with Rubinstein...).
Debussy Préludes book 1, A B Michelangeli is the pianist. (there's something of this on video on youtube).

Skip Sempé's French Collection.
Gustav Leonhardt's rendering of Bach's Italian concerto and Chromatic Fantasy on an 1728 German original harpsichord is worth listening to.
And William Byrd with Davitt Moroney.
Fux Ciaccona. [this is a quirky self-linky thing, be warned. I love that piece and wanted to include it, but the other version on youtube didn't please me. Someone lifted this off my blog and published it. In other words, me playing.]
posted by Namlit at 2:09 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Hurst at 2:12 PM on November 14, 2010

This is going to be cheesy, but I like Billy Joel's Fantasies and Delusions.
Also Tchaikovsky.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 3:59 PM on November 14, 2010

Alfred Brendel's recordings of Schubert are absolutely amazing.

I'm currently also really enjoying Ferruccio Busoni's transcriptions of stuff, mainly of Bach's Chaconne.

Going to second both Chopin and Pictures at an Exhibition.
posted by astapasta24 at 4:42 PM on November 14, 2010

Chick Corea: Children's Songs

Goes well with
Bartok: Mikrokosmos

Beethoven: Sonata Op. 111

Goes well with
Thomas Mann: Doctor Faustus

John Cage's solo piano works are often quite lovely, and almost always interesting.

Shostakovich: 24 Preludes & Fugues op. 87 / Jarrett

Scarlatti on harpischord (pretty great on piano, too).

Buxtehude on organ (pretty great on harpsichord, too).

Clavichord: Jarrett: Book of Ways
posted by dpcoffin at 5:31 PM on November 14, 2010

Poulenc's Organ Concerto. It's what I imagine going insane sounds like.
posted by clorox at 6:07 PM on November 14, 2010

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