My rankings of some classical violin music in high resolution


So this may be of no interest, but I thought I would provide my feedback. Upfront, let me say that I could not make it at Berklee / New England Conservatory, so I went into biomedical research instead (PhD/MD). I know a great deal about the human auditory system, and somerthing about Nyquist sampling. Music is not just some "emotional" experience - there are objective measures of comparison between individuals, shaped by our bias.

My system is modest compared to some, and was put together by the great folks at Paragon sound here in Ann Arbor, MI. It consists of almost all McIntosh components, except for computer-based downloaded high res music files, including a D150 preamp, MCT 450 SACD / CD player, C22 preamp into a MC275 tube amp. The speakers are Wilson WattPuppy 7s.

Best digital, high resolution recordings I own (so far) in this category, out of 17:
1. Josuha Bell, Tchiavoksy violin concetto, Berlin Phil., Micheal Tilson Thomas;
2. Hilary Hahn, Brahms and Stravinsky, Acad. St. Martin in the Fields, Sir Nelville Mariner;
Very Good:
3. Arthur Grumiax, Mozart, concertos 3, 5;
4. Andrew Manze, Mozart - 3 violin concerti, English consort;
5. Julia Fischer, Mozart Violin Concertos, SACD and DVD;
6. John Butt, Bach Violin Concertos (Lnn Audio);
Not recommended:
7. Hilary Hahn, Bach Violin Concertos - too brittle and "compressed" sounding, played at too rapid a tempo;
8. Henryk Szeryng (one of my favorite violinists) - Bach solo violin, Phillips - DSD SACD from Japan, but I bet the master was not great due to the age of this recording.

I find it odd that there are virtually no high res recordings available in any format from violinists such as Itzhak Perlman, Michael Rabin, and others. I love almost all music, with the exception of some pop recordings, and as a teenager listened to, and saw bands live, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Doors (infamous New Haven, CT concert), The Dead, The Who, the Allman Brothers with Duane and Dicky before they were famous, etc. I still have excellent hearing, which is remarkable. 

Thanks - Gerry
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A few hi-rez titles that I like:

Telemann: 12 Fantasias for Solo Violin (Glossa  GCD923406)
Ysaÿe: Sonatas for solo violin (Hyperion CDA67993)
Reger: Violin Sonatas, Op. 42 (CPO 7777622)
Mozart: Violin Sonatas (Hyperion CDA68091)  

My experience is that the quality of a recording is not the bits or the sampling frequency but the recording and mastering process (I suspect they record hi-rez "studio masters" with better equipment so as to differentiate the quality from 16-bit since it is impossible to hear any differences between 16 and 24 bit or 44.1 and 192 khz).

Two 44.1/16 CD's that I have that are excellent recording quality are  Reger's Sonatas for Solo Violin (Dorian  DOR90175 and  DOR90212) recorded in 1995 at the Troy Music Hall in NY. The Dorian engineers did superb job where even the reverberation of the hall is clearly audible. You can hear samples at

Are there any hi-rez recordings of Giuliano Carmignola?  He's worth checking out.

All Dorian’s I own  have excellent sound .As do Hyperion and BIS .
Well known in industry that the Troy Music Hall , which is the top floor
of a tall bank , is best recording venue in USA .
You can , for real, hear a pin drop in this hall . 
Try a CD rip of the recent Rachel Barton-Pine disc of Bach recordings....I'd put it against any "high-rez" downloads....

Also regarding Carmingnola......not available in high-res but his Four Seasons recording is brilliantly engineered....the CD sounds great.
Has anyone reviewed the streaming offerings from Primephonic?  I used to subscribe to a classical music streaming service (from the owner of Naxos?), but it ceased operations a few months ago.
I don't know what hi-rez recordings are available from Gil Shaham but he is one of my favorite current violinists. For the greatest of all time I think that honor would go to Heifetz for musicality, if not for sound quality.

I heard Henryk Szeryng play many times, including a memorable double all Bach recital at the University of Chicago back in the 70s.

I love Dorian recordings, truly superb sounding,
@ tdimler  Also regarding Carmingnola......not available in high-res but his Four Seasons recording is brilliantly engineered....the CD sounds great.

With the Venice Baroque or Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca ?


I maybe running against the grain of a spruce soundboard here, but I buy/beg/borrow or steal (well maybe not the last one) music if I like it rather than looking for a hi-res cd/format. I will also agree though that BIS is a superb label. I also think that if one's system is good then it will play non hi-res music with good entertainment value.
Thank you for the list.  I have a discussion on another thread about speakers that are the best at reproducing strings, the violin being my favorite.  I bought a Joshua Bell CD and while I cannot complain about his playing, I just don't care for the sound of his violin.  On the other hand, I have recordings of Szeryng, Perlman, Stern, Menuhin, and Oistrakh and adore the sound.  Do I just have a bad recording of Bell?
+1000 on the Milstein and Fisher recommendations. But, what exactly is “high resolution” and does this “high resolution” always serve the music? I would much rather listen to Milstein’s Capitol Records recording on lp of the Glazunov Concerto with its decidedly NOT high resolution audiophile sound, but which captures something very right and natural in the violin’s tone; a different type of high resolution, I would say. No hyped up high frequency “high resolution” which not only doesn’t sound natural to me sometimes, but serves as a distraction and obscures some of the more subtle music making. I am by no means suggesting that there aren’t great high resolution recordings, there are; some have been mentioned and thanks to all for that.

High Resolution is that which drives so deep into the human soul that all pretense is washed away and you stand as one thing, the elemental human being as we were created .
In can happen alone or in a crowd .

Given this, the person who was/is the absolute master of expressing this in music is Giacomo Puccini.
The five minutes of the most human aria ever written, his
"un bel di" in "Madame Butterfly " is the greatest five minutes ever written.

I once saw in Budapest an audience of two thousand souls who from their utter primal reaches wept and moaned in unison and alone as all the things every woman has in her heart through all of time about men and family are laid bare for all for see , in one opera .

IMO High Resolution is not a good term for audio measurement .
Szeryng's Brahms Violin Concerto (LSO, Dorati) is stunning on Mercury.  I have it on vinyl and as a high resolution digital file.  This is not a digital recording however.  I find that violin recordings made from 1960 to about 1975 especially compelling...there is the "presence" factor there for me that is sometimes lacking in a more clinical modern digital recording.
I recently listened to Daniel Lozakovich perform the J.S. Bach Violin Concertos No. 1 & 2 on Deutsche Gramophone (24/96).  This recording bettered my Anne-Sophie Mutter, Hilary Hahn and Julia Fischer versions.  An absolutely fabulous recording!
I recently listened to Daniel Lozakovich play the J.S. Bach Violin Concertos No. 1 & 2 on Deutsche Gramophone (24/96).  It bettered my Anne-Sophie Mutter, Julia Fischer, and Janine Jansen versions by quite a ways.  A truly fabulous recording!