Although Beethoven has felt like a lifelong friend to me since I discovered him at the age of 11, recently the cantatas of J S Bach have captivated me and are an endless source of joy and interest. From an audiophile point of view they are also ideal, not using huge forces but most of the time a small band of strings with solo instruments and voices, sometimes trumpets and drums to thrilling effect. With small forces like this it’s very exciting to hear/see them laid out in front of you. And there is music of transcendent beauty.
My favourite versions are with Herreweghe on Harmonia Mundi and Suzuki on BIS; many of them are in 24 bit as downloads or on SACD and sound absolutely fantastic. Even the 16 bit versions sound fantastic.
Besides almost all types of classical music from Bach to Stravinsky including opera, I also really like traditional jazz; some of my favourite jazz musicians are Knud Jorgensen and all the other jazz musicians on the excellent Opus 3 label, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, and the exciting big bands of Ellington, Basie et al. Ella Fitzgerald remains for me the supreme interpreter of jazz standards.