Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Symphonies - Released November 16, 2018 | RCA Victor

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This is an absolute MUST LISTEN. One of André Previn’s greatest recordings captured in the 1960s in London – truly a golden era for the American conductor! Here, the London Symphony Orchestra, galvanised and operating in the very heart of its repertoire, is at its most beautiful: the brass section is electric (listen to the Scherzo!), the woodwinds are poetic and the strings unrelenting in their rhythmicity... What sets this recording apart from any other are the very fast tempos, always kept within bounds by André Previn, that help unveil Walton’s great architectural sense in the most unique way – check out the magnificent coda of the initial Allegro assai; throughout this interpretation, Sibelius and Hindemith influences progressively fade away in favour of a truly distinctive orchestration and management of musical time that make this score what it really is: a real oddity in the British musical landscape of the 1930s. André Previn’s performance on the 26th and 27th of August 1966 – he went on to create a new version with the RPO for Telarc − is all the more striking when we consider that around the same time, with the same musicians, he was working on the complete symphonies of Ralph Vaughan Williams which lack in poetry, most probably suffering from the type of analytical frankness that actually exalts Walton’s Symphony No.1. A few years later, he also recorded Walton’s Symphony No.2 for EMI, again with the LSO. This can be enjoyed with wonderful sound recording by the Decca team, conducted here by James Lock. © Pierre-Yves Lascar
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Solo Piano - Released August 17, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Africa - Released March 23, 2018 | World Circuit

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Classical - Released March 2, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Jazz - Released January 27, 2017 | Contemporary

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Jazzwise Five-star review
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Jazz - Released January 27, 2017 | Contemporary

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Classical - Released November 24, 2017 | Sony Classical

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This well-known monographic album devoted to Aaron Copland is also a joyful symbol of the long friendship that united a young, nineteen-year-old Bernstein with one of the greatest American composers. The two men, separated by an age difference of eighteen years, met on campus at Harvard during a modern dance show. While Copland was already a well-respected composer, Leonard Bernstein remained a complete unknown, full of talents and projects. The elder helped the young musician by recommending him to the Curtis Institute, and then the Tanglewood Music Festival. Grateful, Bernstein played Copland’s music his whole life out of affection as well as genuine passion. Released in 1962, this LP features three ballets. Appalachian Spring, composed in 1944 for Martha Graham, tells the story of American pioneers by citing numerous folk songs of that time, including Shaker Dance that acts as a link between the eight movements of the piece. El Salón Mexico, originally a purely orchestral piece, is the idealised representation of a Mexican folk-song salon, even if the influence of Stravinsky is clear. Based on scores bought in situ by the composer, several styles of music shine through, from the most popular to the most academic. Music for the Theater, composed in 1925, is a string of small pieces inspired by jazz music that caused quite a scandal in conservative concert halls in the 1920s! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 8, 2017 | Melee - Wild Pitch

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Masterpiece alert! When the first album from the trio Main Source came out at the height of the summer of 1991, the group formed by New York MC Large Professor and Canadian DJs Sir Scratch and K-Cut from Toronto were already very well-respected on the hip hop underground. Written and recorded throughout the previous year, with the legendary E-mu SP-1200 sampler, Breaking Atoms marked a turning point in rap, in particular with its production that held up sturdily against an avalanche of jazz, soul and funk samples. We encounter snatches of song from Donald Byrd, Bob James, Mike Bloomfield, Johnny Taylor, Lou Donaldson, Lyn Collins, MFSB, Kool & The Gang, the Three Sounds, Lou Courtney, S.O.U.L., Funk, Inc. and the Detroit Emeralds. Funky to the point of madness, Large Professor's flow and the subtlety of his punchlines set the album apart from the competition. Breaking Atoms is a major record of golden era hip hop, and also legendary for the début, on Live at the Barbeque, of a young rapper of 17 named Nas… This remaster of Breaking Atoms includes several bonus tracks, like the grandiose single Fakin' the Funk, released in 1992 on the soundtrack to White Men Can't Jump, and carried by its sample of Magic Shoes by The Main Ingredient. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rock - Released March 18, 1977 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released March 18, 1977 | Virgin Records

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In 1976, the Stooges had been gone for two years, and Iggy Pop had developed a notorious reputation as one of rock & roll's most spectacular waste cases. After a self-imposed stay in a mental hospital, a significantly more functional Iggy was desperate to prove he could hold down a career in music, and he was given another chance by his longtime ally, David Bowie. Bowie co-wrote a batch of new songs with Iggy, put together a band, and produced The Idiot, which took Iggy in a new direction decidedly different from the guitar-fueled proto-punk of the Stooges. Musically, The Idiot is of a piece with the impressionistic music of Bowie's "Berlin Period" (such as Heroes and Low), with it's fragmented guitar figures, ominous basslines, and discordant, high-relief keyboard parts. Iggy's new music was cerebral and inward-looking, where his early work had been a glorious call to the id, and Iggy was in more subdued form than with the Stooges, with his voice sinking into a world-weary baritone that was a decided contrast to the harsh, defiant cry heard on "Search and Destroy." Iggy was exploring new territory as a lyricist, and his songs on The Idiot are self-referential and poetic in a way that his work had rarely been in the past; for the most part the results are impressive, especially "Dum Dum Boys," a paean to the glory days of his former band, and "Nightclubbing," a call to the joys of decadence. The Idiot introduced the world to a very different Iggy Pop, and if the results surprised anyone expecting a replay of the assault of Raw Power, it also made it clear that Iggy was older, wiser, and still had plenty to say; it's a flawed but powerful and emotionally absorbing work. ~ Mark Deming
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Jazz - Released January 27, 2017 | Contemporary

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The timeless Way out West established Sonny Rollins as jazz's top tenor saxophonist (at least until John Coltrane surpassed him the following year). Joined by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne, Rollins is heard at one of his peaks on such pieces as "I'm an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande)," his own "Way out West," "There Is No Greater Love," and "Come, Gone" (a fast stomp based on "After You've Gone"). The William Claxton photo of Rollins wearing Western gear (and holding his tenor) in the desert is also a classic. [The Contemporary re-release appends three bonus tracks, all of them alternate takes.] ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Riverside

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Max Roach on drums, Oscar Pettiford on the double bass and no pianist, like the year before in Way Out West: Sonny Rollins once again blows the wind of rebellion in this masterpiece recorded on February 11th and March 7th, 1958. From the start, the most popular tenor of that time lays down a theme of over 19 minutes: his album’s title, Freedom Suite! What a freedom suite indeed! Changing rhythms, unexpected escapades, freedom of tone and recurring themes never prevent the three men from conversing intensely. The listener must surrender himself to these high-flying exchanges, rather unprecedented at that time, let themselves be carried by this lava flow that is indeed extreme (never free), but never switches off from its melodic framework, or more precisely from its narration. Freedom Suite’s other great strength is to be the album of a true trio, rather than Rollins’ whim. Both Roach and Pettiford unfold stunning rhythm designs, beefing up the album’s inventiveness. With a record of this magnitude, Sonny Rollins shakes up the limits of jazz and cries out against segregation in late-50s America. He explains it in the sleeve’s notes: “America is deeply rooted in black culture. Its colloquialisms. Its humour. Its music. How ironic that Black people, who more than any other, claim America’s culture as their own, are in fact persecuted and repressed. That black people, who have exemplified humanity in their very existence, are being rewarded with inhumanity." © MZ/Qobuz
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Electronic/Dance - Released October 14, 2016 | !K7 Records

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French Music - Released October 19, 2009 | Naive

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks
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Hailed as the wunderkind of a new generation of French songwriters, Benjamin Biolay has often divided opinion, as his undeniable talents are not always exempt from narcissism. His sprawling double-album La Superbe will provide both admirers and critics with plenty of ammunition. While many contemporary French artists have unabashedly attempted to present themselves as the natural heir to Serge Gainsbourg, Biolay is arguably the strongest contender to the throne. He is a consummate master of the sultry boy/girl dialogue against an ostinato motif of swirling strings that Gainsbourg patented in the '60s, and that since the '90s has seemingly become the Holy Grail of a hefty chuck of the alternative scene (Pulp, Divine Comedy, Tindersticks, Blur, Portishead, Placebo, Suede, etc.). Nowhere is this more evident in La Superbe than in "Brandt Rhapsodie," where Biolay and Jeanne Cherhal act out an entire French film of the "couple conversation" genre inside of a five-minute pop song, with results that are -- much like those films -- as seductive as they can be infuriating. The same applies for much of this album. Biolay is clearly at the top of his game as a composer and arranger, and indeed La Superbe sounds like the ultimate decalogue of French sensuality, but there is a limit as to how many long-winded, cinematic, spoken monologues on sex, the futility of life, and languid bitterness a record can hold. This ambitious but definitely self-indulgent project plays almost like a suite and can too easily become a sensuous sonic blur, one where it becomes hard to discern individually memorable songs. It should be noted, however, that La Superbe was greeted with rave reviews in France, many judging it to be Biolay's masterpiece. Still, in spite of its impeccable realization, one cannot help but to recommend the perfect pop conciseness of early Biolay albums, such as Rose Kennedy or L'Origine, to the lush abandon and excess of La Superbe. ~ Mariano Prunes
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Rock - Released July 26, 2016 | RCA - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 1, 1957 | Verve

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Jazz - Released June 24, 2016 | Ace Records

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French Music - Released January 1, 2007 | Marianne Mélodie

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Country - Released December 4, 2015 | RLG - Legacy

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Of the three 2007 Dolly Parton reissues from Sony, Jolene is the most absorbing musically and the most problematic lyrically. A sparkling production creates a rich backdrop for both "Jolene" and "When Someone Wants to Leave" (both Parton originals), mixing acoustic guitar, country instruments (steel guitar, dobro), and light percussion. This tasteful mix, nicely spread across the stereo spectrum with Parton front and center, is a joy to listen to. Lyrically, however, these songs are a long way from Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough to Take My Man." Parton's female protagonists are downright pitiful, adrift in a world where a more attractive woman might take their man, where a woman cannot let go of a man who no longer loves her, and where a man is the "highlight" of her life ("Highlight of My Life.") Jolene, originally released in 1974, feels like a shot across the bow of the feminist movement, a reaffirmation that many women still liked the men to wear the pants (women, presumably, who listened to old-fashioned country music). This seems somewhat peculiar now, in that no one -- looking at her long, distinguished career and commanding stage presence -- would accuse Parton of being a weak-kneed songbird. Still, the music and Parton's vocal prowess are in top form on Jolene, and "I Will Always Love You" is one of her best performances (which is saying a lot). Like it or loath it, Jolene offers a fascinating snapshot of an era in transition, and captures Parton at the top of her game. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
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French Music - Released January 1, 2011 | Marianne Mélodie

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