Bought the following on Scott's recommendation:
Ives 3, etc - Orpheus CO
String Quartet 1, 2, etc - Julliard SQ
Concord - Lubimov
Emerson, Symphony No.1 - Sinclair (actually, this was a mandatory purchase regardless : )
All three are fantastic. The third is outrageously gorgeous in its presentation - an absolute masterpiece of composition and probably my new favorite version of this work (I own Sinclair's, Tilson Thomas', and Slatkin's as well). The ending leaves me speechless. The Three Places on the same disc did not offend nearly as much as apparently it did to Scott, but I can understand why - it is a VERY clean performance of this work, maybe too much so for some people's taste. With that said, I also heard some musical material on this recording that I have never heard before on any of the other versions that I own (which are quite a few), and in that respect I am glad I own this version. The other stuff on this disc was good, but not my favorite version of Unanswered Question and the Set for Theater Orch is best heard by Sinclair/ ONE in my opinion. Overall a GREAT buy.
The 1st SQ performed by Julliard is also phenominal. I did not realize it was such an "old" recording (1968 I believe - hey I was born in 1972!!!!!), but the sound quality is great and does not detract from the performance or music in any way. The only other version I own is with the Emerson SQ, and I enjoy parts of both performances. It is hard to pick a favorite, but I would say the Julliard version is more convincing than the Emerson version. The second is an Ives work that I have yet to fully crack, so I cannot comment on this version, but the ending of the third movement is memorable. There is just so much to absorb in this work. The Variations is my virgin version, but I love it already.
This is the first version of the Concord that I own and I think it is brilliant. I need to hear this bear MANY more times before I get firm grasp on what is happening here, but to my ears the performance was first rate. The Quarter Tone Pieces for dual pianos are very interesting and unique. It gives me a different angle on what CEI was all about, even within these three little movements. It is another piece of the puzzle that is CEI.
The new one has only been played once thus far, but I would say that I probably prefer this version of the First over MTT/ Chicago. I need to hear the Emerson Concerto a few more times, but it didn't blow me away upon first hearing.
Bottom line is this - Ive's music continues to amaze, enthrall, challenge,affect and enertain me like virtually no other music. IVES RULES!
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