or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings - Page 182

post #2716 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by seacard
The point is merely that today's conductors learn from the conductors of the past.

Yea, but, the conductors of the past learned from the composers.

That counts for something, doesn't it?

Ok, maybe I would agree that conductors of today do have a large sea of information to draw from, but that doesn't necessarily make them better than conductors of the past. I can have access to all the information in the world, but if I don't have the innate talent (and training, etc..) to lead an orchestra, there's no way I could do the job..

-jar
post #2717 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Origen
Chess is all luck too: It all depends on whether your opponent is lucky enough to guess what you're thinking.
Chess is about .0000001% luck. I will beat Kasparov approximately 0% of the time. I will beat Chessmaster at 1500 approximately .01% of the time. The worst team in football will beat the best team in football 20% of the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
Yea, but, the conductors of the past learned from the composers.

That counts for something, doesn't it?

Ok, maybe I would agree that conductors of today do have a large sea of information to draw from, but that doesn't necessarily make them better than conductors of the past. I can have access to all the information in the world, but if I don't have the innate talent (and training, etc..) to lead an orchestra, there's no way I could do the job
Surely you couldn't do the job, and I couldn't, but between Rattle and Horenstein, both are admittedly great conductors and most conductors of major orchestras have the technical ability, training, talent, etc. to lead an orchestra. Anyway, I think this is an interesting debate. I'd be curious to talk to some experts on music about it.
post #2718 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by seacard
You might have liked the way Walter or Horenstein or Field conducted, but it's not like they had some sort of ability that cannot be replicated. Any conductor, and probably most amateurs, can replicate Walter's performance today if they listened to his recording and copied his tempi and his dynamics; they just choose not to.

Musicians are also, on the average, better today than they were before.
If you believe that first part, I have some lovely beachfront property in Nepal I'd like to sell you. And the following comment about musicians makes a value judgement based on technical virtuosity, not artistic communication. That's a little disingenuous. The truth (on both counts) is that the psychological complexity of music-making is such that no truly great performance could ever be copied. There is a hell of a lot more to making music than waving a baton at a particular speed or holding out one's arm to quiet the violas. Consider the story of the bored timpanist in the Berlin Philharmonic in the 1940's who was following along in the score during a rehearsal with a mediocre conductor. The rehearsal was plodding along when he suddenly noticed the sound turn amazing, beatiful, emotionally charged. He looked up at the podium: He saw nothing special happening there. Then he noticed the direction his colleages were glancing, and saw the distinctive silhouette of their music director Wilhelm Furtwangler in the doorway at the very back of the hall. There is no one else in the world who could have caused that effect at that moment but Furtwangler. There are many such stories from over the years. I believe it was a player from the London Symphony who said that they could sense which conductors were great before they ever raised their batons, just by the presence they made as they approached the podium. The density of life experience which some great conductors had cannot be replicated by ultra-professional schmoes whose lives are spent on airplanes flying from concert to concert. Just my opinion!

M
post #2719 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from HFR
If you believe that first part, I have some lovely beachfront property in Nepal I'd like to sell you. And the following comment about musicians makes a value judgement based on technical virtuosity, not artistic communication. That's a little disingenuous. The truth (on both counts) is that the psychological complexity of music-making is such that no truly great performance could ever be copied. There is a hell of a lot more to making music than waving a baton at a particular speed or holding out one's arm to quiet the violas. Consider the story of the bored timpanist in the Berlin Philharmonic in the 1940's who was following along in the score during a rehearsal with a mediocre conductor. The rehearsal was plodding along when he suddenly noticed the sound turn amazing, beatiful, emotionally charged. He looked up at the podium: He saw nothing special happening there. Then he noticed the direction his colleages were glancing, and saw the distinctive silhouette of their music director Wilhelm Furtwangler in the doorway at the very back of the hall. There is no one else in the world who could have caused that effect at that moment but Furtwangler. There are many such stories from over the years. I believe it was a player from the London Symphony who said that they could sense which conductors were great before they ever raised their batons, just by the presence they made as they approached the podium. The density of life experience which some great conductors had cannot be replicated by ultra-professional schmoes whose lives are spent on airplanes flying from concert to concert. Just my opinion!

M
That is so true! However, great antique performances do not remain alone. There will always be another great conductor coming down the tubes. If there weren't, then why would anyone bother to perform the music in concert unless they were in fact trying to duplicate something that was done previously? I love the great historic performances but there are also the great modern performances and it's a lot more enjoyable listening to a great performance recorded in SACD multichannel sound than an antique recorded before a single microphone with the musicians grouped as closely as possible. I've got the Oskar Fried M2 and it comes off the shelf about once every 2 or 3 years now. When I want to hear the symphony it's far from my first choice. I'll choose the Mehta, the Bernsteins, the Kubeliks, the Kaplans, the Bertini, the Gielen, the Solti, the Abbado, the Rattle, the Tennstedt, the Horenstein, et al. all ahead of that antique.

Origen, don't hold your breath waiting for any of my "antique" recordings (of which I still have many). Although I don't listen to them often I do listen to them on occasion; they are just not my daily preference. For everyday, I prefer the best sounding, best interpretation and performance that I can find on disc.
post #2720 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masonjar
Yea, but, the conductors of the past learned from the composers.

That counts for something, doesn't it?

Ok, maybe I would agree that conductors of today do have a large sea of information to draw from, but that doesn't necessarily make them better than conductors of the past. I can have access to all the information in the world, but if I don't have the innate talent (and training, etc..) to lead an orchestra, there's no way I could do the job..

-jar
That might be true when you are talking about Walter or even Oskar Fried who both knew Mahler. However, it isn't necessary to know the composer personally in order to conduct his works brilliantly. I doubt Szell knew Beethoven personally and he did a darn good job with his works.
post #2721 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by seacard
The point is merely that today's conductors learn from the conductors of the past.
I wish that were true! I often wish that Furtwangler had spawned a few more imitators... (Although I think we've now reached the point where duplicating his sound requires an expert in historically informed performance.)
post #2722 of 3714

HIP "Wunderhorn" from Herreweghe



Sarah Connolly/ Dietrich Henschel
Orchestre des Champs Elysees
Philippe Herreweghe
Harmonia mundi HMC 901920

Less than stellar soloists, but not disastrous, either. The
real star on this album, the period-instrument playing
OdCE, delivers an excellently colorful and characterful
performance and the SQ is on par with most other HM
recordings. To my ears these Lieder have sounded
more drab on record before. Includes "Himmelisches
Leben" and "Urlicht" from symphonies 2&4. First HIP
all-Mahler recording, I think, available for general release.
post #2723 of 3714

MTT SFSO Mahler #5

Good new! The MTT San Francisco Mahler No. 5 hybrid SACD is coming out on October 10th. I preordered it and have been informed that the preorders are shipping this week.

http://www.shopsfsymphony.org/item.jsp?item=06003

post #2724 of 3714
I had to make time to comment on these comments about conductors, classic recordings, etc.

I have played in many orchestras for many, many years. Some good, some not. I've played with hundreds of conductors, some good, mostly bad. And here's what I've learned: a good conductor DOES influence the performance greatly, and yes, he can even emulate Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein, or whoever he fancies himself being. But copying Walter's tempi, dynamics, rubato, et al does not make it great. There is something else that is frankly undefinable. It cannot be taught, and it cannot be copied. When playing with some conductors, there are times when you feel like all of the brains of the orchestra are somehow wired into the conductor and true magic happens. It's almost like ESP, I guess. Unless you've been there, it's hard to understand, but it is very real. A lousy conductor can make the Vienna Phil sound terrible -- and when they sound terrible, it's really bad. But a great conductor can make them play like gods. And the same goes for lesser orchestras. One orchestra I played with years ago was decent, but not top notch. One concert we did with a guest conductor. Within minutes, the whole orchestra sounded different. We played together, in tune, and you could feel the excitement. I cannot explain how he did it: it was Lukas Foss, but the way. The effect was electric. His baton technique is far from textbook perfect but it didn't matter. It's an amazing experience.

There are other orchestras that have such hallowed traditions that they refuse to play badly no matter what schmuck is on the podium. Cleveland is the most notable for this. They will not make ugly sounds, play out of tune or poorly regardless of what the conductor is doing. They play like a chamber ensemble; the Szell legacy is alive.

So what does this have to do with Mahler? Everything. Playing great Mahler takes more than fancy stick patterns, listening to Bernstein recordings, and emoting on the podium. I requires a deep, profound belief in the music that somehow is mysteriously conveyed to the orchestra. There are youngsters out there who get it, but not as many as I would wish.
post #2725 of 3714
Mb,

I have to agree with what you have just written. For years the NYPO was considered one of the greatest Mahler bands around, but since Bernstein left they have steadily spiraled into mediocrity despite having musicians of tremendous caliber. A great conductor is great because he produces great music, no matter how rough the playing or indifferent the ensemble he works with. Unfortunately there are too few great ones around, and most of the greats divide their time between orchestras. San Francisco is so lucky to have MTT full time. Despite the fact that there are things that I disagree with interpretively, that orchestra sounds brilliant and its recordings and concerts are always competitive with the best. Boston SO benefits from Levine (even part time), the Chicago SO clearly benefitted from Barenboim's part time tenure and now the Philadelphia has been reborn under Eschenbach's direction. I can only hope that somewhere in this great world there is someone who can revive the NYPO and that somehow the board will find its way to hire someone who is more than a custodian.
post #2726 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
The earliest Mahler 8th that was commercially released was from 1954, a mono production of the Rotterdam Philharmonic conducted by Eduard Flipse and released on Philips.
I happened to find a 1950 recording at the NYPO website.

"The first complete set of Mahler's symphonies offered by the New York Philharmonic

No. 8 Leopold Stokowski Frances Yeend, Uta Graf, Camilla Williams, Martha Lipton, Louise Bernhardt, Eugene Conley, Carlos Alexander, George London, Schola Cantorum (Hugh Ross, director), Westminster Choir (John Finley Williamson, director), Boys' Chorus from Public School No. 12, Manhattan (Pauline Covner, teacher) April 9, 1950"
post #2727 of 3714
The Kubelik 7th and the Mitropoulos 6th are supposed to be stellar performances. I'll bet the 2nd with Mehta and Kathleen Battle are more than pretty good as well.
post #2728 of 3714
$225...

Someday I want to order the An American Celebration, Volume 2 from Tower when they have a 10-15% sale for, among other things, Boulez's '77 recording of Star Child.
post #2729 of 3714
Yeah, I'm waiting for that Tower coupon that says 30% off too. I hate the fact that there are recordings out there that I can afford but won't buy on priciple because I think they are way overpriced.
post #2730 of 3714
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub
I had to make time to comment on these comments about conductors, classic recordings, etc.

I have played in many orchestras for many, many years. Some good, some not. I've played with hundreds of conductors, some good, mostly bad. And here's what I've learned: a good conductor DOES influence the performance greatly, and yes, he can even emulate Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein, or whoever he fancies himself being. But copying Walter's tempi, dynamics, rubato, et al does not make it great. There is something else that is frankly undefinable. It cannot be taught, and it cannot be copied. When playing with some conductors, there are times when you feel like all of the brains of the orchestra are somehow wired into the conductor and true magic happens. It's almost like ESP, I guess. Unless you've been there, it's hard to understand, but it is very real. A lousy conductor can make the Vienna Phil sound terrible -- and when they sound terrible, it's really bad. But a great conductor can make them play like gods. And the same goes for lesser orchestras. One orchestra I played with years ago was decent, but not top notch. One concert we did with a guest conductor. Within minutes, the whole orchestra sounded different. We played together, in tune, and you could feel the excitement. I cannot explain how he did it: it was Lukas Foss, but the way. The effect was electric. His baton technique is far from textbook perfect but it didn't matter. It's an amazing experience.

There are other orchestras that have such hallowed traditions that they refuse to play badly no matter what schmuck is on the podium. Cleveland is the most notable for this. They will not make ugly sounds, play out of tune or poorly regardless of what the conductor is doing. They play like a chamber ensemble; the Szell legacy is alive.

So what does this have to do with Mahler? Everything. Playing great Mahler takes more than fancy stick patterns, listening to Bernstein recordings, and emoting on the podium. I requires a deep, profound belief in the music that somehow is mysteriously conveyed to the orchestra. There are youngsters out there who get it, but not as many as I would wish.
How cool to be conducted by Lukas Foss!

I think that the single most important characteristic of a great conductor is charisma - that hard-to-define quality that makes people think that the person understands them.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Mahler Symphonies Favorite Recordings