© 2006 Mark B. Anstendig

In the world of musical performance there is a relatively small number of performances that are, in the jargon of the sports world, “in a zone”. Those are the performances where everything goes perfectly and during which something comes over the performers as though the music were almost playing or singing itself. All serious, experienced musicians wait for those performances. Most live for them. With most musicians they are few and far between. With the greatest musicians, they happen more often. But definitely not all the time and often only in certain repertoire with which those musicians are most familiar and to which they are most sensitively attuned. All performances recommended here are of that high caliber. All are “in a zone”. None are any less.

The other main consideration is that the performance must clearly reflect what we feel the composer meant when writing the music. In almost every single work of music, the composer is expressing something particular. In other, more modern words, in every great work of music, there is a “trip”. Often many “trips”. The performances recommended here, in the opinions of The Anstendig Institute, reflect what we understand the “trip” to be in the respective works.

DISCLAIMER: while we, of The Anstendig Institute, stand up totally to the respective value of each of our recommendations, we in no way consider or offer them as the only possibilities. Some may be the best we know for reasons that will be explained. But if someone else owns or prefers another, we would love to find out about another great recording we don’t know and would be happy that person has found something that satisfies his or her musical tastes.

These recommendations of the institute, are simply meant as a sharing of our experience and preferences and as “sure things” that the music lover can count on in the vast recorded literature to contain music of true “transport”. That quality of experience they do contain at the highest levels, whether or not they are the absolute favorites of another aficionado of recorded music.

Unless otherwise stated, all recordings are only considered by us to be what we are recommending and to contain the described emotional experiences when they are vinyl records played on high quality record players that have been impeccably set up and adjusted in all parameters and when adequate quality electronic equipment and excellent loudspeakers are used.

The key equipment is the record player, which is the source of the sound, and the loudspeaker, which recreates the sound. Our institute does not like internally damped loudspeakers. We have not yet heard the internally damped loudspeaker that does not dampen some of the sound’s nuances.

While we recognize the present problem of finding and sustaining a record collection that does not contain a lot of noisy, blemished records, we feel that is not impossible, and, even if it were, that it would still be the ideal at the moment. It takes an enormous amount of dedication and work to sustain an excellent listening environment. We take that trouble. If others cannot, they can at least trust that our recommendations were arrived at in such an uncompromising situation by well more than one person and can, at least for that reason, be trusted to be what we say we experience when listening to them.