User Details - Arthur

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  Bret Mitchell
  60. Into classical music since I was 8 years old. Accepted at University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music as a piano student, but I understood I didn't have the talent to be a musician, so I've been satisfied to be an enthusiast! Worked as a classical buyer, then as a store manager with Tower Records for over 30 years. Now in real estate, but still an avid listener!

My interest began with the colorful Russians: Rimsky, Tchaikovsky, et al. Tchaikovsky's Concerto sparked my interest in the violin, which ultimately led to Brahms. Then came Wagner, Bruckner and Mahler in my late teens (of these, only Bruckner has really stuck with me). This led me to Liszt, which in turn led to an intense piano music phase: Faure, Schumann, and Rachmaninov became my gods. But most importantly this led me to belatedly discover Beethoven and Schubert. This was in my late twenties. From there I had an intense relationship with the symphonic thinkers--including those of the 20h century. By my forties, Shostakovich had become one of my great idols, and Nielsen and Malcom Arnold had become very dear to me. But now as I get into my fifties, I am finding greater solace in the music of Haydn and Mozart, and most importantly, Bach.

Through it all, I've had an interest in finding performances that move me recorded in a lifelike and natural way. SACD has been a godsend in this regard!
  Stockton, California
  Oppo 980 universal player, Onkyo 682 receiver, 3 Definitive Technology 2002s in front with Definitive Tech's Pro Monitor 100s in the rear.

I'm not primarily a hi-fi listener, the technical side is not that important, but great performances in the best possible sound is!

Found: 17 show all

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, Francesca da Rimini - Pletnev          (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
  December 29, 2011

I finally got around to this recording, and like Windsurfer, I'm truly blown away by the recording. Perhaps it doesn't have that Telarc clarity in the bass, but that's not necessarily bad. What it does have is incredible balance and presence. Performance is another matter. Good first movement, but ... more
Beethoven, Nordheim, Bartok: String Quartets - Engegårdkvartetten        (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
  November 20, 2010

I'm one of the non-recommenders on this. I was very excited since I like their excitable and forceful approach in the Grieg/Solberg/Haydn disc. But though the sound is first rate, they rush the Beethoven terribly. Now mind you, I love fast Beethoven, but this is rushed to the extent that the phrases ... more
Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 2 & 4 - Gavrylyuk, Ashkenazy          (12 of 16 found this review helpful)
  November 4, 2010

Comparison: Let me say first off that I have trouble with reviews. It's not that I don't have opinions about the recordings I listen to, but to do a proper review I must listen and re-listen, and then if there are comparisons, I must listen and re-listen to those as well, often switching back and ... more
Parkanyi Quartet: The art of the string quartet (Vol. II)        (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
  August 13, 2010

I quickly filled up 5 paragraphs and I wasn't even finished talking about Op. 18 No. 4. So let me start over: this is a winner! I bought it for the Op. 95, which is good, but the Op. 18 No. 4 is even more spectacular! Listen to the body of the strings in the fugato opening of the Andante. Most ... more
Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8 - Dausgaard        (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
  May 31, 2010

When listening to the final Schubert Sonata, I've often found myself wondering how the final two movements really fit with what went before. Oh, yes, they are pure Schubert! But the music of the first two movements is of another world! The question is made pertinent by thoughts about the ... more

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Blu-ray Audio now live
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I used to contribute here regularly and my SACD collection is approaching 1000. But in the last two or three years I kind of dropped out. I was seeing too many Furtwaengler reissues and not enough stuff by musicians actually working today. And the the forum was filled with petty tyranny from the likes of canonical. It just got to be too much! I ... more
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Shostakovich Symphony No. 11
September 13, 2012
I don't know the Bychkov 11th slipped past me: I have both the 4th and 10th and like them both - the 11th has gone straight onto my wish-list! I too wrote off this work in my youth as one of Shosty's "appeaser" works that he seemed to write to keep authorities off his back. I still feel this way about the 12th, but the Kondrashin 11th blew the lid ... more
Discussion: Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 - Gilbert
September 11, 2012
Of the Nielsen?! Woo Hoo!! ... more
Discussion: Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier) - Sviatoslav Richter
September 5, 2012
I've always liked these performances - I've owned them in at least a half-dozen different incarnations. But I have to agree with the All-Music critic, the sound was always horrible. If hi-res presentation can clean this up, we're really getting somewhere! ... more