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Best classical recordings...ever! - Page 96

post #1426 of 2344

I would agree that there is no such thing as too much rehearsal especially for classical music. However, there are some cases like some volunteer choir groups that do too much rehearsal time the day the actual concert and the voices are tired at concert time. Budget constrains usually limit the rehearsal time for professional Orchestra groups. You usually do not have enough rehearsal time for symphony music and the music will suffer.

post #1427 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by john57 View Post
 

I would agree that there is no such thing as too much rehearsal especially for classical music. However, there are some cases like some volunteer choir groups that do too much rehearsal time the day the actual concert and the voices are tired at concert time. Budget constrains usually limit the rehearsal time for professional Orchestra groups. You usually do not have enough rehearsal time for symphony music and the music will suffer.

That echoes my experience as a recording engineer. At my beginnings, I did not care too much about recording the rehearsals ; there is usually too much talking, stopping at difficult parts, etc, for the recording of the rehearsal to be "usable". 

 

But after a couple of times it was already during the actual concert audible that rehearsal was superiour, which was later confirmed by listening to the snippets from the rehearsal, I try to record rehearsals in full - you never know, there might be a gem just around the corner. However, the hardest thing to teach the musicians is to let the music fade to silence plus a second or two - usually there is a general din "sorry, I missed in the bar XY/no problem, I did in YX/etc - and an otherwise superbly played ( to hell with each and every imperfectly played note - if the overall performance does carry its message well ) performance can not be used because of this "tiny" detail.

post #1428 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

The reason that so many recordings sound so similar is because conductors don't have rehearsal time to sculpt the performance their way. The orchestra just follows the beat of the stick and plays the work like they always do. It would be interesting to take something like Scubert's 9th by the either Vienna or Berlin and compare recordings with the same orchestra but different conductors. I bet a few conductors wouldn't come out looking very good.

I thought the reason was too many only average conductors getting too many recording contracts to record the same repertoire over and over.
post #1429 of 2344

There can be a point between "not enough" rehearsal and "too much rehearsal" that is the right time to record or perform and it is never an absolute time and is still completely dependent upon the musicians, conductor and everything else...

 

Sometimes this point can't be because nobody(or somebody) involved wants it to be nor are they are the right people for the job at that time and place etc...

 

Sometimes things get "caught" by recording engineers based on nothing but luck of timing.All points regarding performance are relative to the situation IMO.Sometimes musicians are driven by inspiration to excel beyond their limits.

 

In addition to time allocated to preparation, there must be a drive,skill and purpose that all involved must share to some extent if there is going to be a great rendition of anything.

 

And finally, sometimes a technically "good" performance is less fulfilling than a "sloppy" performance if the spirit is lacking.

 

In short:for greatness all involved must be the right people for the job at the right time yes??

post #1430 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post


I thought the reason was too many only average conductors getting too many recording contracts to record the same repertoire over and over.

 

Sometimes even great(or at least good) conductors.

post #1431 of 2344

 

Not classical, but a classical artist and simply beautiful.

 

He did a Purcell duet with Andreas Scholl!

post #1432 of 2344

"There is no such thing as too much rehearsal IMO"

This is so misinformed. Ask any professional - you CAN rehearse too much and it takes the life right out of the music. Familiarity breeds contempt, and let me assure you, that after hours of rehearsing anything, it gets boring at a point. Great conductors know when to stop and let things happen spontaneously in concert.

 

Another comment:"The orchestra just follows the beat of the stick and plays the work like they always do."  The writer is obviously not a musician anddoesn't know what the hell he's talking about. NO orchestra does this. It is ridiculous, misinformed, ignorant. If this were so, any bozo with a basic understanding of beat patterns could conduct the Cleveland Orchestra in Brahms 1. Won't happen. It's far, far more complex than that. As a performing musician with pro and semi-pro groups for 40+ years, I assure you it does not happen like that. You don't just follow the stick and slog thru it. 

 

By the same writer:" The reason that so many recordings sound so similar is because conductors don't have rehearsal time to sculpt the performance their way." No, the reason so many recordings sound so similar is because that's what the composer wrote, as is indicated in the score, and many conductors try to honor the composer's intent. That's why Stokowski, Bernstein, Celibidache, just to name three are so easy to identify: they do not become slaves to the score and think they know better. A truly good conductor doesn't need that much rehearsal time if he knows what he's doing: using stick technique, facial expressions, and body language they can sculpt a performance the way they want it in one or two rehearsals. If you ever get the chance, sit in on a rehearsal with Barenboim, Slatkin or Seaman. They talk little, and don't need to. They get it done marvelously with a fine technique. One conductor I play with regularly is really unknown in the US, but in his own unique way, with minimal stick movement gets exactly what he wants with facial expression and hands alone. It's amazing, rewarding and thrilling to work with him. Another talks, stops the orchestra, talks and talks, and after four rehearsals you feel unprepared and insecure in concert because he talks so damned much you don't play much. No, you don't need a lot of time - four two-and-one-half hours is all it ever takes - even something like Rite of Spring.

 

Carlos Kleiber: since he left so few recordings it's really hard to judge, but his Beethoven 5/7 are terrific and very vivid. Rosenkavalier is also quite fine. Great conductor probably, just too bad he limited his recording activity so much.

 

Celibidache's repertoire was narrow by 20th century standards set by the likes of Ormandy, Szell, Bernstein and others. He focused mainly on music in the German/Austrian tradition. He played some 20th c Soviet music, but little of the Russian Nationalists. He loved Bruckner for sure. Somehow, he missed (or dismissed) Mahler. His French rep consisted of greatest hits and not much more. There is a video of him conducting the Berlin Phil shortly after WWII when he took the reins. Now that was conducting! Exciting, passionate, thrilling. The promise of youth just never was fulfilled. Celi was/is one of those cult conductors and future listeners will either love him or hate him. Many of us will only know these guys from the recorded legacy they left. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Celibidache, Silvestri, Horenstein, Tintner, Schuricht and others will be judged.

post #1433 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
 

[lengthy quotations followed by insults]

 

You should quote more of the same writer: he sounds like an interesting guy.

post #1434 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by perhapss View Post
 

There can be a point between "not enough" rehearsal and "too much rehearsal" that is the right time to record or perform and it is never an absolute time and is still completely dependent upon the musicians, conductor and everything else...

 

Sometimes this point can't be because nobody(or somebody) involved wants it to be nor are they are the right people for the job at that time and place etc...

 

Sometimes things get "caught" by recording engineers based on nothing but luck of timing.All points regarding performance are relative to the situation IMO.Sometimes musicians are driven by inspiration to excel beyond their limits.

 

In addition to time allocated to preparation, there must be a drive,skill and purpose that all involved must share to some extent if there is going to be a great rendition of anything.

 

And finally, sometimes a technically "good" performance is less fulfilling than a "sloppy" performance if the spirit is lacking.

 

In short:for greatness all involved must be the right people for the job at the right time yes??

In short ; YES.

Add the amount of pure chance and luck to the mix - it unfortunately is unavoidable.

 

Lenghty explanation: I would like to share my experience with Scriabin's Poem of Extasy. First, I heard it at friend's on the following recording :

 

http://www.discogs.com/Scriabin-Tchaikovsky-Claudio-Abbado-Boston-Symphony-Orchestra-Scriabin-Poem-Of-Ecstasy-Tchaikovsky-R/release/3475289

 

At first, I was shocked that FINALLY there was at least one single recording by DGG that really did sound good in the first place. DGG usually has very good musical performances one "endures" despite lackluster in recording quality. Second, although Abbado was not my prime selection, this one is conviencing.

 

A couple of weeks later, there was a concert featuring Poem of Extasy in the big hall of the Slovenian Philharmonic, long ago enough to be prior to the restoration (which turned a decent hall for symphonic orchestra into decent-ish hall for chamber music and choirs ) - and of course, I was there. 

 

This performance, conducted by a Russian ( to be exact, in those days Soviet ) conductor was something I will not forget to the day that I die. Believe it or not - it was so mesmerizing, inspired, beyond description, so out of this world - that it took over 2 minutes for the first listener to wake up from the enchantment and start applauding after the last sound from the orchestra decayed into silence ! That first clap of hands then burst into standing ovations for ??? minutes ...

 

Needless to say, the first thing in the morning of the next day, I was hunting for the Poem on LP records. In those days, in Yugoslavia we did have LPs from the Eastern Bloc ( Soviet Melodiya, Hungarian Hungaroton, Czecho(slovak) Supraphon, East German Eterna, (Czecho)slovak Opus, an extremely rare Bulgarian Balkanton ) and selected titles from DGG, Philips, Decca, EMI, RCA produced under licence in Yugoslavia. Direct imports of Western LPs were scarce and far in between - and were comparatively costly. We did import LPs personally quite a lot, so although the availability was limited, trough "planned and shared" buying of records among friends it was possible to stay informed what is going on in the musical world.

 

And - BINGO ! - in my hand was a Melodiya LP with Poem of Extasy on it - conducted by none other than exactly the conductor that provided us with such an extatic performance the night before. Without even looking for the condition of the LP ( possible scratches etc ) I run to the cashier's, paid and rushed home to listen to this supposed-to-be-treasure.

 

:eek:  ! ..:confused_face_2: ...:( - or something like that was the reaction after putting the stylus into the groove.  This piece of vinyl earned #1 Dissapointment Recording EVER - for good.

It was lifeless, bland, dull, uninspired performance - or recording of that performance, done in the similar manner. The orchestra on the recording should be much better than Slovenian Philharmonics in those days - yet the overall impression was dissapointing to the max. 

 

Out of appretiation for this conductor, his performance live and his other good recordings, I will witheld his name. That piece of vinyl has been  played three times - the first, the last and - the never again.

post #1435 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

[...]

 

A couple of weeks later, there was a concert featuring Poem of Extasy in the big hall of the Slovenian Philharmonic, long ago enough to be prior to the restoration (which turned a decent hall for symphonic orchestra into decent-ish hall for chamber music and choirs ) - and of course, I was there. 

 

This performance, conducted by a Russian ( to be exact, in those days Soviet ) conductor was something I will not forget to the day that I die. Believe it or not - it was so mesmerizing, inspired, beyond description, so out of this world - that it took over 2 minutes for the first listener to wake up from the enchantment and start applauding after the last sound from the orchestra decayed into silence ! That first clap of hands then burst into standing ovations for ??? minutes ...

 

Needless to say, the first thing in the morning of the next day, I was hunting for the Poem on LP records. [...] And - BINGO ! - in my hand was a Melodiya LP with Poem of Extasy on it - conducted by none other than exactly the conductor that provided us with such an extatic performance the night before. Without even looking for the condition of the LP ( possible scratches etc ) I run to the cashier's, paid and rushed home to listen to this supposed-to-be-treasure.

 

:eek:  ! ..:confused_face_2: ...:( - or something like that was the reaction after putting the stylus into the groove.  This piece of vinyl earned #1 Dissapointment Recording EVER - for good.

It was lifeless, bland, dull, uninspired performance - or recording of that performance, done in the similar manner.

 

Great story, colorful telling. Thanks.

 

I heard a Mahler's 6th conducted by Yoel Levi with Atlanta back when I lived in New York. (Back then, I went to every Mahler's 6th that came into town). It was so powerful, I couldn't get out of my seat for a while after they finished. Then I bought the CD, and it wasn't powerful. . . . Some performers really need an audience.

post #1436 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Great story, colorful telling. Thanks.

 

I heard a Mahler's 6th conducted by Yoel Levi with Atlanta back when I lived in New York. (Back then, I went to every Mahler's 6th that came into town). It was so powerful, I couldn't get out of my seat for a while after they finished. Then I bought the CD, and it wasn't powerful. . . . Some performers really need an audience.

That is quite common. To the point that now I record each and every concert by the selected artist(s) - some performances come out live so well that it would have been a pity if they survived in the minds and memories of those that attended the concert only.

 

It also happened we recorded at least three "studio" ( actually a church without the audience ) "takes" of a very intersting piece of music written by Giovanni Bonato, where singers surround the entire audience in a church ( binaural recording ); yet the version finally released on the CD was recorded live - as it was incomparably better than the ones without the audience ( and in another church, which proved to have exactly the acoustic properties that support such music ).

 

Think of it for a moment; I have been struggling to make the additional binaural recording with the performers in the first place, to the point of nearly gotten repremanded - as it does add to the clutter and most unusual "appearence" of the concert in church...

 

NO such problems afterwards.

post #1437 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
 

"There is no such thing as too much rehearsal IMO"

 

This is so misinformed. Ask any professional - you CAN rehearse too much and it takes the life right out of the music. Familiarity breeds contempt, and let me assure you, that after hours of rehearsing anything, it gets boring at a point. Great conductors know when to stop and let things happen spontaneously in concert.

 

...

 

Gustav Mahler was known to be a genius conductor and he always insisted on plenty of rehearsel time, or was he misinformed? Of course you can rehearse to much, but this is hardly practice, compared to the opposite..

Personally I like individual input by a conductor..Why, in the age of recordings, should you record hundred Beethoven 5th when they all sound, more or less, the same?

 

Now, that is my idea of boring.

post #1438 of 2344
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinto View Post
 

 

Gustav Mahler was known to be a genius conductor and he always insisted on plenty of rehearsel time, or was he misinformed? Of course you can rehearse to much, but this is hardly practice, compared to the opposite..

Personally I like individual input by a conductor..Why, in the age of recordings, should you record hundred Beethoven 5th when they all sound, more or less, the same?

 

Now, that is my idea of boring.

That is my idea of boring too.

 

Yet, every now and then, there emerges a fresh idea worth recording.

 

Regarding the quantity of reahearsals; usually, in this time and age, there is general tendency towards underrehearsing - $imple economic$.  Sad, but true.

 

Rarely do have today's "Mahlers" the luxury of rehearsing ad nuseaum - and even if this per some miracle is the case, the musicians usually do not have the stamina to follow the conductor/composer - usually he has to settle for the most that musicians/singers can still *somehow* bear - I have witnessed the mutiny of an orchestra, effectively ending the post of a conductor as a consequence...

 

During recording of choirs, one pattern emerged clearly. The first take, no matter how imperfect it might be, has proven to be usually the most poised and brimming with life. Subsequent "polishing" by another (partial) takes do lead towards more "perfect" recording (after mastering)  -  but the singers and their voices can take only so much, you can not prolong it to infinity. 

 

Underrehearsing is a definitive no go - but going beyond what the majority concerned can stomach is contraproductive, regardless of the best intentions. Striking the perfect balance between the two within given possibility is - an art in itself.

post #1439 of 2344
New York (the players) wanted Maazel because he skimped on rehearsals, and they were on auto-pilot for his tenure. In the long run, it made them even harder to govern. I wonder if that's part of why they went sort of in-house in choosing Gilbert.
post #1440 of 2344

A few posts back some fellow head-fier asked about Peer Gynt.

Plus a few other outstanding recordings (IMHO) that I haven't seen in this thread so far :

 

Here my favorite Grieg :

http://www.chesky.com/alexander-gibson--a-concert-tour.html

 

 

And my favorite Vivaldi :

http://www.discogs.com/Antonio-Vivaldi-Nils-Erik-Sparf-Drottningholm-Baroque-Ensemble-The-The-Four-Seasons/release/1851175

 

 

And another top favorite of mine :

http://www.amazon.com/Brahms-Khachaturian-Violin-Concertos/dp/B0000057LQ

 

 

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