Roon Music Blog: Classical Community Conversations

The cello has a very wide appeal, well beyond classical music aficionados (the “2Cellos” YouTube channel has more than 5.8 million subscribers!). My theory about why this has has to do with the cello’s tonal range: a tenor instrument, it spans almost all of the human vocal range, so it feels very familiar and comfortable to listen to. The cello sounds like human speech!

If I were going to introduce someone to the classical cello repertoire, I would probably do so historically and begin (more or less arbitrarily), with:

  1. Vivaldi. He composed 27 concertos for cello over his lifetime. They are not as frequently heard as others of his string concertos, but they are, for me, some of loveliest of his compositions for solo instruments and orchestra. Here is a recent recording of some of them performed beautifully by Ophélie Gaillard and Pulcinella.

  2. Bach, of course. Bach never wrote concerted music for cello, but his six suites for solo cello (1717-1723) are bedrocks of the cello repertoire. As cellist Steven Isserlis has recently noted (he has a new book out on the Bach suites), more than any other pieces for cello, these suites speak individually to the listener, each one of the six with a very distinctive voice ranging over major and minor keys. There are dozen of great recordings, on both modern and Baroque cello. Here are two favorites, very different in approach and character:
    On Baroque cello:
    On modern cello:

  3. Haydn, father of the modern string quartet and symphony, wrote a limited amount of music expressly for the cello. His two cello concertos, very different from one another, were composed in 1765 and 1783, a span over which Haydn’s music emerged as a template for future developments by Mozart and then Beethoven. This is a pioneering recording (early 1980s) on “period” instruments by Christopher Hogwood and cellist Christophe Coin:

  4. Beethoven wrote 5 sonatas for cello and keyboard, between 1796 and 1815. I don’t know if they are the first, but they are certainly the most well known compositions in which the cello and piano are given equal weight. And they are magnificent, performed/recorded by nearly every major cellist in his or her lifetime at least once. Here is an early 1960s recording by Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter (on discs 4 and 5 of this Decca set):

  5. Jumping ahead a bit (Dvorak and Walton have already been mentioned here…and there is also Grieg), Benjamin Britten wrote three pieces for solo cello (1964-1971) dedicated to Rostropovich, who gave them their first performances. But my favorite recording is that by cellist Pieter Wispelwey (2001, his second recording of the pieces), who digs “deeper” into this dark, probing music more than any one else I’ve heard:

  6. I’m throwing in this release from cellist Christian-Pierre La Marca because it just won Gramophone magazine’s 2021 award for best recording in the Concept Album category. It’s a thrillingly played and recorded wide-ranging survey of music for cello (originally composed or adapted), beginning with Baroque works for viola da gamba and ending with the McCartney, Lennon song “Yesterday.” Highly recommended!



Thank you all so much for these recommendations! I look forward to queueing them up. I had forgotten about ELP’s Pictures at An Exhibition @ged_hickman.

I’ve got that one going now. looking forward to comparing it to the other performance you shared. :+1: :loud_sound:

Sometimes the decision is hard, is it the Germany corner, the community of classical music lovers or rediscovering…

Thanks for all these fantastic recommendations - several of the recordings are new to me, but they are all inspirational.

Alongside the instrumental theme, I thought it might be worth highlighting some leading conductors and soloists who have enhanced the Classical world.

This morning, I heard of the death of Bernard Haitink, a Dutch conductor of refinement and grace, who led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years and held conducting positions in London, Chicago and Boston. He had a long career which encompassed most of the classical repertoire. Going through my collection, I wanted to share a few highlights with this group. All his recordings are worth hearing and some were exceptional.
My first Mozart opera recording, and still one of my favourites.
Really impressive playing and recording


The ELP album got me in deep s**t, I bought it the weekend my sister got married and seemed to have interest in it than other proceedings

My journey started within a few weeks of my 18th birthday, I got to university met 3 guys interested in playing Bridge . I was elected as the no 4 trainee. All games were accompanied by classical music

These guys were fairly experienced for 18 year olds so Mahler, Beethoven Bach etc. I soon got hooked.

My real advance was Ivan March’s Long Playing Record Library which was a mail rental service. You chose a large number of albums for them to pick from. Every week 3 LP’s turned up , to be returned in 4 days. It was like Xmas every week.

I used the Penguin Stereo Record Guide, Ivan March being one of the authors - sadly no more, to guide my choices.

Once I started work the buying began , hardware and media.

I also rushed out every month to buy Gramophone

4 of my fave albums are mentioned above , Brendel Haydn , Uchida Mozart , du Pre Elgar and ELP Pictures ( my tastes are somewhat catholic) feature above. I have since broke the bank many times on my quest for more media :smiling_imp:

If I added one to the list it’s the Alfred Brendel Complete Philips Recordings, but I will think of a more select group as this thread progresses , great idea @jamie


I’ve always loved that Don Giovanni as well, which was recorded after a run of performances at Glyndebourne, a summer festival on the Sussex Downs.

Two years after it was released, I had the good fortune to perform in the same production, with many of the same singers, and Haitink conducted. I don’t remember much about his personality, but he was a wonderful musician.


As a young person, of course, I also had encounters with classical music, but it was not dominant. Nevertheless, I remember about 50 years later a wonderful Bach interpretation in Hamburg, which I happened to perceive with my sister. We decided to stay spontaneously and had an hour of extraordinarily emotional moments. There were no musicians of world renown and no recordings were sold. Nothing lasting in my collection, only the memory of dreamlike music.

This experience was repeated over 40 years later in my village church.

An unknown, still very young girl (maybe 14 years old) played the violin solo in front of about 50 people for the association Kunst Kultur und Kirche in such a dreamlike way that I would have liked to take CDs with me, but again there were no recordings for sale.

This young talent was visibly interested in classical music, not yet employed and spent with the mother your vacation in the camping bus. It was the day before, by the way, that I decided to give away all my LPs, CDs and cassettes. I built up a wallpaper table at the property line and carried out one box after the other. Had good conversations while giving them away and as luck would have it, this young woman is now in possession of my classic CD collection. Probably still playing them today in the camper. I didn’t have much vinyl to give away in this genre.

With the music services, this genre also comes back to me more. The own small collection and the many tips here help. I also like the soft sounds in the direction of morning mood, there come Lilya Zilberstein / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Järvi just right for me and here I find over 100 alternatives. I first turned to Leif Ove Andsnes Grieg: Piano Concerto; Lyric Pieces, Opp. 43 & 54. Today the link and the concerto are enough for me. Even though my collection is large, the new feature is to help with discovery and linking. In a few years I may not use hard drives either. I still think a lot of being independent from the internet. But this presentation only works with Roon and internet. My first selection is Lang Lang

Thanks so much.
I found almost all recommended albums. Unfortunately, I cannot find the Bernard Haitink Symphony on Qobuz. Any idea where I can get this?

On the streaming services you’ll have to look out for reissues. On Tidal, for example, the Haitink cycle of Vaughan-Williams Symphonies is available as a Warner Classics reissue:


It’s also available on Qobuz, at least in my country. You just need to bear in mind that many of these albums have been reissued multiple times with different covers. I recommend you search by conductor and composer for best results.

Thanks, I got it. But will it be the same recording?

It is…

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1 Symphony No. 1 “A Sea Symphony”: I. (a) A Song for All Seas, All Ships. "Behold the Sea Itself"Jonathan Summers 03:21

it works so:

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So sorry to hear that Bernard Haitink passed away this week.

His Rachmaninov piano concertos with Vladimir Ashkenazy from the mid-80’s were regarded as definitive for many years. They were my first introductions to classical music at that time.


Thank you, now is this introduction playing for me.

Disc 1
1. Vivace 13:06

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Vladimir Ashkenazy’s recordings are actually a great way to ‘get into’ classical music. His recorded repertoire is vast, and deep. And it ranges from everything to Beethoven to Shostakovich.

Another favourite of mine is his Beethoven piano concerto cycle with the Cleveland Orchestra:


We have such great recommendations here in all genres and I am so interested but it is impossible to follow them all. After the first good hit, I’m motivated to put a few of Andreas’ recommendations to the back and go straight to Vladimir Ashkenazy here. Sounds appealing to my old ears.

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Yes, exactly… we need a way of sharing playlists within Roon!

EDIT: Let me say more… when some shares an album in the forum from their Roon collection, I should be able to click on it and have it open in my Roon and locate it on Tidal or Qobuz and if not at least launch that search. Make it EASY for us to share across Roon users, from Roon to Roon.


The 1st step would be this and everyone from the community can help:

Album Qobuz


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