My Favorite Music

Tags: 
  • The Best

  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Die Kunst der Fuge (1749, unfinished) [Walcha (1956)]
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 (1824) [Karajan (1963)]
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Große Fuge (1825) [Kodály Quartet (1999)]
  • Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 9 (1910) [Walter (1961)]
  • Charles Ives - Symphony No. 4 (1916) [Stokowski (1965)]
  • Dmitri Shostakovich - Piano Quintet (1940) [Vermeer Quartet, Berman (2000)]
  • Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963)
  • The Red Crayola - The Parable of Arable Land (1967) [mono mix]
  • Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica (1969)
  • Carla Bley & Paul Haines - Escalator Over the Hill (1971)
  • The Residents - Meet The Residents (1973) [mono mix]
  • The Residents - "Six Things to a Cycle" (1976)

  • The Rest

  • Guillaume de Machaut - Messe de Nostre Dame (~1365) [Summerly (1996)]
  • Thomas Tallis - Spem in alium (~1570) [The Tallis Scholars (1985)]
  • (Attributed to) Johann Sebastian Bach - Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565 (~1710) [Walcha (1947)]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (~1721) [Carlos (1968)]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Das wohltemperierte Klavier I (1722) [Walcha (1961)]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Das wohltemperierte Klavier II (~1740) [Walcha (1961)]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Goldberg Variations (1741) [Denk (2013)]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Musikalisches Opfer (1747) [Münchinger (1976)]
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Mass in B minor (1749) [Klemperer (1967)]
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 40 (1788) [Karajan (1970)]
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 41 (1788) [Karajan (1970)]
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Requiem (1791, unfinished) [Karajan (1975)]
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 (1808) [Karajan (1963)]
  • Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 8 (1822, unfinished) [Karajan (1964)]
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 32 (1822) [Denk (2012)]
  • Felix Mendelssohn - Octet (1825) [Auer Quartet (2003)]
  • Franz Schubert - Symphony No. 9 (1826) [Dohnányi (1985)]
  • Franz Schubert - String Quintet (1828) [Melos Quartett, Rostropovich (1978)]
  • Hector Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (1830) [Davis (1974)]
  • Robert Schumann - Piano Quintet (1842) [Kodály Quartet, Jandó (1990)]
  • Richard Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (1859) [Böhm (1966)]
  • Johannes Brahms - Piano Quintet (1864) [Kodály Quartet, Jandó (1990)]
  • Richard Wagner - Der Ring des Nibelungen (1848-1874) [Solti (1958-1965)]
  • Giuseppe Verdi - Requiem (1874) [Solti (1967)]
  • Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 3 (1883) [Klemperer (1957)]
  • Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 4 (1884) [Kleiber (1980)]
  • Claude Debussy - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (1894) [Boulez (1991)]
  • Arnold Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht (1899) [Emerson String Quartet (2013)]
  • Gustav Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde (1909) [Klemperer (1964)]
  • Igor Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring (1913) [Stravisnky (1960)]
  • Olivier Messiaen - Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1941) [Tashi (1975)]
  • Duke Ellington - Black, Brown, and Beige (1943) [Falletta (2013)]
  • Béla Bartók - Concerto for Orchestra (1943) [Reiner (1955)]
  • Dmitri Shostakovich - Piano Trio No. 2 (1944) [Borodin Trio (1983)]
  • Olivier Messiaen - Turangalîla-Symphonie (1948) [Chailly (1992)]
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen - Gesang der Jünglinge (1956)
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kontakte (1960)
  • Charles Mingus - Epitaph (~1940-1962, unfinished) [Schuller (1989)]
  • John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1964)
  • John Coltrane - Ascension (1965)
  • Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  • Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
  • Harry Partch - Delusion of the Fury (1966) [Mitchell (1969)]
  • Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe as Milk (1967) [mono mix]
  • Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free (1967)
  • Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  • The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (1968)
  • Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
  • MC5 - Kick Out the Jams (1969)
  • Terry Riley - A Rainbow in Curved Air (1969)
  • Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - Uncle Meat (1969)
  • Mayo Thompson - Corky's Debt to His Father (1970)
  • Tim Buckley - Lorca (1970)
  • Soft Machine - Third (1970)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 15 (1971) [Ormandy (1972)]
  • Faust - Faust (1971)
  • Black Sabbath - Master of Reality (1971)
  • Can - Tago Mago (1971)
  • Popol Vuh - In den Gärten Pharaos (1971)
  • Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra (1972)
  • Roxy Music - Roxy Music (1972)
  • Klaus Schulze - Irrlicht (1972)
  • Faust - Faust IV (1973)
  • The Who - Quadrophenia (1973)
  • Gong - Flying Teapot (1973)
  • Neu! - Neu! (1973)
  • John Fahey - Fare Forward Voyagers (Soldier's Choice) (1973)
  • Can - Future Days (1973)
  • Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (1974)
  • The Residents - Not Available (1974)
  • Alfred Schnittke - Symphony No. 1 (1974) [Rozhdestvensky (1987)]
  • Elliott Carter - A Symphony of Three Orchestras (1976) [Boulez (1977)]
  • Alfred Schnittke - Piano Quintet (1972-1976) [Vermeer Quartet, Berman (2000)]
  • Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians (1976) [ECM release]
  • 15-60-75 - Jimmy Bell's Still in Town (1976)
  • Arvo Pärt - Tabula Rasa (1977) [ECM release]
  • Alfred Schnittke - Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1977) [Schiff (1988)]
  • Conlon Nancarrow - Studies for Player Piano (1948-1977) [1750 Arch recordings]
  • Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance (1978)
  • Pere Ubu - Dub Housing (1978)
  • Pere Ubu - New Picnic Time (1979)
  • Chrome - Half Machine Lip Moves (1979)
  • Alfred Schnittke - Concerto for Piano and Strings (1979) [Orbelian (2000)]
  • The Pop Group - Y (1979)
  • James Chance & The Contortions - Buy (1979)
  • Pere Ubu - Terminal Tower (1975-1980)
  • Talking Heads - Remain in Light (1980)
  • Meredith Monk - Dolmen Music (1981)
  • The Dream Syndicate - The Days of Wine and Roses (1982)
  • Steve Roach - Structures from Silence (1984)
  • Pierre Boulez - Répons (1984) [Boulez (1999)]
  • Foetus - Hole (1984)
  • Foetus - Nail (1985)
  • György Ligeti - Études - Book 1 (1985) [Denk (2012)]
  • David Thomas - Monster Walks the Winter Lake (1986)
  • Constance Demby - Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate (1986)
  • Talk Talk - Spirit of Eden (1988)
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Good Son (1990)
  • Fugazi - Repeater (1990)
  • Royal Trux - Twin Infinitives (1990)
  • Slint - Spiderland (1991)
  • Dogbowl - Cyclops Nuclear Submarine Captain (1991)
  • Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Mother of all Saints (1992)
  • Vampire Rodents - Lullaby Land (1993)
  • György Ligeti - Études - Book 2 (1988-1994) [Denk (2012)]
  • Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994)
  • Six Finger Satellite - Severe Exposure (1995)
  • Sleep - Dopesmoker (1996)
  • Joanna Newsom - Ys (2006)
  • Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me (2010)
  • Dawn of Midi - Dysnomia (2013)

Oh Scaruffi your corrupting force is enveloping the whole of the internet.

But your list is a good and tasteful one and reminded me that I still really gotta listen to Terminal Tower, Hosianna Mantra, and Parable of Arable Land damn bad...

I actually considered Not Available, Terminal Tower, The Modern Dance, and Trout Mask Replica to be in my top ten favorite albums years before I had heard of Scaruffi. I only found his site when I did a Google search one day of ' "greatest albums" "pere ubu" ' to see if there was any record list out there that included my favorite band at the time (and still are).

Any suggestions are welcome!

Currently listening (and re-listening) to:
Mahler - Symphony No. 9
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde

I’d recommend Symphony No. 3 (1983) by Witold Lutosławski and Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936) by Béla Bartók. I think you will find the third movement of Music for Strings to be especially interesting – it was even used in The Shining!

Will listen to those next week. Thanks for the suggestions!

I’d recommend you to check out the music by György Ligeti. I have been listening to the ‘Clear or Cloudy’ box set and it’s been one masterpiece after another. He’s unbelievable!

Already listened to it about three times now :) I like to make at least five before I rate.

Interesting list.

Have you listened to any of Beefheart's other albums?

Yep; all of them.

Besides TMR, which ones did you like?

Safe as Milk, The Mirror Man Sessions, and Lick My Decals off, Baby get regular plays by me, and once in a while I'll listen to Shiny Beast, Doc at the Radar Station, and Ice Cream for Crow.

Besides TMR, I like Doc (which actually is almost as good as TMR IMO, and I keep switching them around as my fave Magic Band album) and Safe as Milk the most. Mirror Man, Lick My Decals Off, Shiny Beast, Ice Cream for Crow, and Strictly Personal are brilliant too. Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot are decent albums too.

Great list :) Are you much into movies?

Not really. Most movies (and literature) require many prior experiences (such as knowing a language, cultural literacy, relatable scenarios, etc.) in order to fully appreciate them, and I'm more into trying to find "culture-fair" works of art, that can be emotionally powerful no matter what one has previously experienced in their lives. However, there are some exceptions; Welles' films (Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil in particular), through his use of non-traditional camera angles and pacing, really stand out to me as visual experiences that would be emotionally powerful on their own. 2001: A Space Odyssey can also hold that claim as well.

My preference for "purity" in things also explains why I am a mathematician and philosopher of logic as well.

Interesting take. I've never really found much of a difference in cultural knowledge needed between movies and music appreciation - maybe some though... I totally agree re: Welles. Just incredible :)

What do you mean by "purity"?

Wow, this is what i'm searching for in art. Purity, logic, structure.

Great list. Made me want to check out Coltrane's Ascension.
May I suggest an album ? Considering your taste and the fact that you're a mathematician, I think you'll enjoy Don Caballero's first 3 records, particularly "What Burns Never Returns".

Checking them out right now. BTW, though it didn't quite make my list, I completely agree that Monster Walks the Winter Lake is amazing. It is probably my second favorite Pere Ubu-related album, after The Modern Dance.

Since you mentioned "Meet The Residents" I've downloaded it, listened to the full album 8 times and listened to the individual songs many many more times. My opinion of the album has slowly changed from "interesting weirdness" to "probably a masterpiece". This album is a treasure, a full universe to explore. It's one of those rare enigmatic records that are worth repeated listening, and it's been really rewarding up to now. For now, my favorite moment is the disillusioned/hilarious "Uh, It's Christmas, but there ain't nobody raising much of a fuss!" and my favorite song is "Rest Aria" with all it's wonderful creepiness.
I'm sure my opinion will change after this, and I'm sure I'll find more magical moments in this album.
...
Thank you. Your suggestion was SUPERB! I Haven't had this much fun with an album since "White Light/ White Heat".
Have you written any review/analysis on "Meet the Residents"? If no, do you know of a good one? What's your favorite song?

Sorry for the late reply,
I am glad you are enjoying it! I have written about it a little bit, but I honestly cannot express fully in words why I like it so much. It is possibly a combination of the incredible amount of timbres present, the unique composition style, and the feeling of the album as a cohesive whole, from the warped-tape beginning of "Boots" to the "Go home, America" fade-out. As for my favorite song on it, I really cannot decide. My favorite sequence is the Rest Aria/Skratz/Spotted Pinto Bean section of side one. Rest Aria is just completely beautiful, Skratz has one of the most chilling horn parts ever, and on Spotted Pinto Bean the female chorus/piano combo is breathtaking. More often than not, I consider it my favorite work of music ever.

I used to have it on my list, but somehow it got removed and I forgot to re-add it. Thanks! Do you have any other suggestions?

BTW, I just got done listening to a crapload of Bernstein interpretations of my favorite works. I was completely taken away by the emotion of most of them; so much that I can't really listen to any others without going back to him. His output in the 1960s in unparalleled IMO.

Recommendations:

Richard Wagner: Die Walküre (1856) [Solti (1965)] [I love this opera mainly for the 3rd act, but the entire opera is great, as well as the rest of the Ring. Die Walküre is one of my top 3 favorite works - the other 2 being Verdi's Requiem (1874) & Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936).]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=O_OZmClSt1A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5MlfnHXuhVI

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms (1930) [Stravinsky (1930)]
Robert Schumann: Fantasie in C Major (1839) [Richter (1961)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRQZQjAPguA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhxJeKjH1hE

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor “Unfinished” (1822) [Bernstein (1963)]
Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C Major "The Great" (1828) [Furtwängler (1951)]
Krzysztof Penderecki: Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960) [Penderecki (1972)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnC5X8rWi0

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem (1792) [Marriner (1990)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHB4HkuSXbo

György Ligeti: Lontano (1967) [Nott (2001)]
Antonín Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World" (1893) [Talich (1954)]
Claude Debussy: Études (1915) [Uchida (1989)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bq9xg97Y2Xc

Claude Debussy: Préludes (Books I & II; 1910 & 1912) [Gieseking (1953)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OkhQ6iud_TE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FEYTQ1r1wU&feature=player_embedded
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35IZjVh8ySs

Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (1829) [Davis (1974)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnpUbW4yWAM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzkFrnBH1fU

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor (1808) [Kleiber (1974)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUWlGmw01zo

Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (1707) [Walcha (1965)]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRRwZZM08L8

P.S. I don't know what music you've already listened to outside of your list.

I agree with you on Bernstein. He is truly one of the greats. Scaruffi also seems to agree. Some critics, however, have accused Bernstein of being overly sentimental. As if it were a crime to bring out the utmost emotional intensity in music.

Faust and The Residents certainly never struck me as "emotional music", but to each his own. :-D

They definitely elicit strong emotions in me. I can't listen to Faust, Meet The Residents, or Not Available without getting chills down my spine.

I had to move Meet The Residents to the top spot. The reason I had it lower before is because I hadn't listened to it in a while and for some reason thought I had overrated it. I listened to it again a few times in the past couple of hours, and I can't deny my feelings anymore: it is my favorite work of music ever. My iTunes listen count for it is approaching 1200 plays (admittedly, some of those come from having it on repeat while I sleep) and it still has not diminished in quality for me, only increased. It is everything I enjoy about music: the creativity of arrangement, the sculpting of sound, the onslaught of emotions from joy to despair, the combined comedy and tragedy of it all. Some people may think I'm crazy for this opinion, or that the album is an elaborate joke, but I don't care. As far as I'm concerned, it is a masterpiece.

EDIT: Changed my mind again, lol.

Good to see this list. Here is one of the greatest compositions ever written and I can't stop listening to it. - Mozart's Requiem

What a cool list! Wow ...

Wow, guess I should revisit Art of the Fugue then?

Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge is the most expressive work of art I have ever experienced, in both scope and intensity. It is incredibly simple in its scoring, with four or fewer parts in each fugue or canon, yet astoundingly complex in arrangement. It is fragmented into separate pieces, each with their own moods, but unified by a single theme. It is possibly the most logical work ever composed, and at the same time, one of the most emotionally intense.

Previously, I had Fretwork's performance for viol consort as my recording of choice (I had listened to at least a dozen other recordings on many different instruments, including harpsichord, piano, string quartet, brass ensemble, and mixed chamber), but after experiencing Helmut Walcha's 1956 recording on organ, I was convinced that this was THE ONE. To begin with, the recording is absolutely pristine - it is unbelievable that it is almost 60 years old, considering the quality of the sound and lack of hiss. But above all, Walcha was a master of performing fugues. Learning each part independently, he understood how and why they fit together. The difference between Walcha and most chamber ensembles can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle: in the latter, each member has their own pieces which they drop into place in their own way, making the puzzle complete, but not neat; Walcha meticulously puts the puzzle together in a uniform way, making sure the pieces interlock perfectly.

When considering the quality of the work combined with the quality of the performance, I have not heard another recording of any work in any genre that this does not surpass, and it does so by a large enough margin that I feel it deserves its own tier on my list.

Awesome, I'll check it out when I get going again on classical. It's always been amazing to me, but it sounds like you've found a version that just might be the one to return to.

Emotion in reading this message. I share it in each word.

If suggestions are well-accepted, try to enjoy some other Bach masterpieces.
The Musical offering, for instance: in scope and intensity is not less valid than the art of fugue. Anyway i love it expecially for the Ricercar a 6, one of the most accomplished and complex keyboard piece ever written.
If u quote BWV 565 i hope u didn't listen to the Well tempered clavier yet.
There are plenty of pieces that, once listened, u will easily forget BWV 565.
For Beethoven: i suggest u some minor works (so considered by the press) that are among my favourite gems in the whole repertoir: WoO 80, Op. 34 and 35 and Bagatelles Op. 126.
If u love the Art of Fugue we shall consider these little pieces a favourite of yours.
Mozart: not forget the quintets, expecially K 515 and 516.
Above all: u quote many composers of the XX centuty (pop, rock and classical ones) but u forget the two greatest (imho): Strauss and Schoenberg.

Another suggestion: visit youtube and try to listen to Symphony No. 4 by Valen.

I don't know how I forgot to list the Musical Offering and WTC, I thought for sure I had those on there. I'm going to figure out my favorite recordings and add them.
I'll listen to the Beethoven and Mozart suggestions this week, as well as Valen.
A bunch from Strauss and Schoenberg are going to be added soon.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Very surprised to see Radios Appear here. I've always assumed it's just a good little record but I've only listened to half of it many years ago. Gotta listen to the whole thing sometime. What do you like most about it?

It is simply an excellent set of rock songs. I really like the complexity in them, such that they hold up very well after repeated listening.

A nice dose of punk rock is always good for the soul :) By the way, I've started to appreciate Pere Ubu much more than before. Listened to the New Picnic Time and my jaw was dropping during many part, specially One Less Worry. What a glorious mess!

I've been trying forever to find a download link for Jimmy Bell's Still in Town but can't seem to find anything. How did you get the album?

You can get it here:
http://hearpen.com/hr112.html

Thanks.

Hey have you heard the new Pere Ubu album? They released it yesterday. I haven't heard all of it yet but the first song sounds freaking great!

I bought it a couple days ago, but haven't listened to it yet. I really liked Lady from Shanghai, and what I've heard from this I like even more.

Yep, you're right, Walcha's Art of the Fugue is amazing