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Best classical recordings...ever! - Page 34

post #496 of 2654

I've worked alongside artists for nearly thirty years now, and it's easy for them to create craftsmanlike work... neat, organized, balanced. All that takes is time and skill. Creating something that expresses strongly and powerfully is another thing altogether. Usually, shoveling craftsmanship on an idea blands it down, smoothing off all the rough corners and blunting its effectiveness. The great artists I've worked with battle to keep the emotion and energy in their work. It's the hardest part of their job. They don't value moderation or neatness at all. They consider that to be a compromise of the idea itself. They want strong, clear, powerful statements.

 

That's a creator's point of view. I find that consumers of art today are the exact opposite. They value details and little things. They want things to be nice and orderly, not wild and strong. I don't think that has always been the case, but I definitely think it is the way things are today. I think we live in an autistic age where society is so afraid of the unpredictability and uncontrollable nature of emotions, it has forgotten how to feel. Art that is valued the most doesn't reflect the hand of the artist or an individual point of view... the art that is most prized is made with machine like precision and reflects the hive mind of conformism.

 

When I look at a painting by Reubens or listen to music by Tchaikovsky, I find powerful emotions that I just don't find in modern society. Instead of being ashamed of the excesses of emotional passion, this sort of art revels in it. If I want music or art that's mathematical and objectively up to a certain degree of quality, I can get that in spades from slick and processed modern art and music. When I listen to classical music, I am there to have a subjective experience... to receive the emotional content put there by the composer, conductor and performers.

 

To me, just playing the notes cleanly with good articulation, proper tempo and dynamics isn't enough. I want an artist at the forefront expressing his interpretation of the work he is presenting. The performers that can do that well are much rarer than the craftsmen. That's why I value them higher.

post #497 of 2654

I agree with you that expressing pure emotion/feeling/sensation is what art is all about. I'm not new to music either. I've been playing the guitar and have been passionately enjoying music for many years. But you seem to throw out restraint in such a cavalier way that it seems more of an emotional response than a clear-headed one.

 

To put pure, unadulterated emotion into any art-form is inherently compressing and restraining a formless, etheric sensation. Art is the expression of the formless. So any art-work is itself a restraint because you are narrowing down what is formless and putting it into form.


Edited by Origin89 - 11/4/13 at 2:00pm
post #498 of 2654
big shot you state these things as if they were timeless absolutes, when in fact all they are is one tiny fad in the history of human creative endeavour, maybe not even 100 years old, and a fad many might in fact find quite tiresome at this point. It was called sturm und drang in the 19th (18th?) century, and that was in fact, even then, a slightly mocking characterization.

It might even be considered rank amateurism, using a lot of "emotion" and melodrama as a substitute for fine craftsmanship and mastery of a wide range of much subtler, more interesting characteristics, using, you know, that thing people have mostly lost these days: the brain, the mind. Not the glands.

I say this only to characterize back in kind. smily_headphones1.gif

The reality is, look across the world and there are all sorts of musical practices, serving a vast variety of purposes. The aesthetic of pulling one's heart out to show it beating and dripping blood to the world is merely one of those many practices.

Insisting intolerantly on this one, narrow, relatively superficial and kind of mindless aesthetic goal as THE ONLY aesthetic, is the problem, and risks revealing ignorance about how much more there is to music than shredding. We can all enjoy it in its place.

Don't forget also that, be it baroque or classical music, drawing from folk song and meditative religious and monastic practices, early romantic music celebrating European local folk music, late romanticism like Mahler's, echoing the Jewish Klezmer music of his world in his First Symphony; or rock and roll, drawing from rediscovery of the blues tradition in America, dance hall vaudeville in Anglo countries, country and bluegrass...... all of these musical traditions involved so much more than hand-wringing and "intensity."

Keep perspective on your aesthetic preferences, is all; they're not the be-all and end-all, even if they are for you.
post #499 of 2654

Emotion and energy in art goes all the way back to the cave paintings at the Chauvet caves in France. It's not a 19th century thing exclusively.

 

The difference between a bad performance and a good one is skill and control. The difference between a good one and a great one is passion.

post #500 of 2654
Here we go:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturm_und_Drang

So Haydn's early-mid symphonies were where he threw reason to the winds, and went for violence and passion!

Huh. I'll have to check those out. I have only Haydn's later symphonies in my collection, Karajan's with the London Symphony, and Dutoit with the Montreal Symphony for the "Paris" symphonies, both excellent collections, btw.

Haydn! What a madman! Drove Beethoven insane! wink.gif
post #501 of 2654
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

 

The difference between a bad performance and a good one is skill and control. The difference between a good one and a great one is passion.

 

 

Skill and control are characteristics of moderation. So, you can no longer argue that moderation isn't a key factor. This balanced with the heart is what creates great art. The type of balance varies between each artist, but it is always there.

post #502 of 2654

Like I say, I'm looking for great performances, not just good ones. The passion is the determining factor. It's what separates the boys from the men.

post #503 of 2654

The heart always comes first. Art then translates it through varying degrees of moderation like skill and control.


Edited by Origin89 - 11/4/13 at 3:19pm
post #504 of 2654

I wish it was like that, but the world is full of really skillful people with nothing much to say. It didn't used to be that way in classical music, but it's been the trend since the 70s. There are no conductors today who even remotely resemble Toscanini or Stokowski. The differences between performances today are subtle differences of degree, not a totally unique interpretive style. It's led to some nice, informed, appropriate recordings, but not many real creative standouts. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, so I try to focus on the best of the best.

 

The longer I listen to classical music, the more my focus shifts from composer to interpreter. I've heard Beethoven and Mozart. If I'm going to hear them again, I'd prefer something fresh and different. That's what illuminates the music like looking at the different facets of a diamond reveals new aspects of it. Interpretation is everything. Skill is just expected.

post #505 of 2654
Speaking of Haydn.... came upon this, for those interested:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/arts/music/11haydn.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Good recommendations from thoughtful, articulate critics.



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post #506 of 2654
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

I wish it was like that, but the world is full of really skillful people with nothing much to say. It didn't used to be that way in classical music, but it's been the trend since the 70s. There are no conductors today who even remotely resemble Toscanini or Stokowski. The differences between performances today are subtle differences of degree, not a totally unique interpretive style. It's led to some nice, informed, appropriate recordings, but not many real creative standouts. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, so I try to focus on the best of the best.

 

The longer I listen to classical music, the more my focus shifts from composer to interpreter. I've heard Beethoven and Mozart. If I'm going to hear them again, I'd prefer something fresh and different. That's what illuminates the music like looking at the different facets of a diamond reveals new aspects of it. Interpretation is everything. Skill is just expected.

 

I see where you're coming from. Although I don't go drooling over any technical wankery if the heart isn't involved. It's true there are plenty of dry talents out there, but that's always the case. It seems like so much more today because the population has been growing at a ridiculous rate for centuries... particularly in the past few decades.

 

Also, with places like America, where so many people want a quick fix for everything... having beautiful art seems few and far between, but it's still out there in spades. Just don't let yourself become jaded to where you begin tossing out everything that you aren't familiar with. There are plenty of new dimensions available to be explored. 

post #507 of 2654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post

Speaking of Haydn.... came upon this, for those interested:

 

Bernstein's Haydn symphonies from the 60s are great. I wasn't familiar with them before I got the Bernstein Symphony box, but they were among the best things in there. (and that's really saying something, because the box is full of great recordings)

post #508 of 2654

Didn't Bernstein compose his own work, as well?

post #509 of 2654

Yes. He was actually first and foremost one of the best educators on the subject of music ever, secondly a dynamic and passionate conductor and third an accomplished composer. I think his greatest accomplishment was the TV series, Young People's Concerts. Every music lover should have those DVDs.

post #510 of 2654

I'm a fan. I have his Schumann symphonies and watched some interviews of him... also waiting on his Mahler set to arrive. I really like his style. I'm pretty curious as to how is own compositions sound.

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