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Best classical recordings...ever! - Page 35

post #511 of 2316
Not bragging here, but it was the privilege of my youth to have been able to sing in the chorus of one of Bernstein's performances of the Mass in Time of War, the Nelson Mass, back in the early 70's. To be conducted by Bernstein, even as the musical equivalent of an extra? Wow. Unforgettable. It was, among other things, his way of participating in protest against the Vietnam War.

I don't mean to be making anyone crazy with my arguments with romanticism; after all, a few posts up, I, too, was calling for more passion and riskier behavior from the kids these days! smily_headphones1.gif. I just think it's good not to overwhelm and, above all, turn mean in the process. I'm all too guilty of that myself in the heat of the moment.

Playing classical music in any way is a huge challenge, it's tragically a rapidly vanishing art, and we must encourage and respect all those willing to jump in. But yes, not to contribute to polishing museum pieces, but to bring it all to life again, I think that's what we're agreeing on. Liberate the music from the stuffy, overpriced near-morgues of today's concert halls; get kids in the street to learn a Rossini aria, and sing it at the top of their lungs, damn the torpedoes. Get kids in the Bronx to put on a performance of The Magic Flute in high school.

Money has killed it all, like everything else. It doesn't have to be that way.





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post #512 of 2316

Now playing:

 

 

I got this gem today (vinyl) for two dollars.  

 

OMG Maureen Forrester.  She sounds so... fragile.

post #513 of 2316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Origin89 View Post
 

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.

 

If you have heard the music to West Side Story you have already heard some of Bernstein. :)

post #514 of 2316

Vaguely on "current topic", I've always wondered if the oft quoted "Wow" spoken by Stravinsky in response to one of Bernstein's conducted performances of the Rite of Spring if said at all was perhaps said with a European's sense of irony. Amusing account here by Robert Craft (end paragraph in section entitled "Music") of an occasion where the composer was clearly less than happy with a performance until the numbing effect of whisky took over :tongue: :
http://www.naxos.com/news/default.asp?pn=news&displaymenu=naxos_news&op=254

post #515 of 2316

What do you think of conductor that are way too prolific ? Karajan, Bernstein ...

I imagine I could collect every classical recording with just Bernstein & Karajan, that would be boring isn't it ?

There's also a piano player, that seemed to have made lot of piano piece: Murray Perahia.

 

Also  I've heard that sometimes conductors takes a piece from different performance,  and do a "collage" in the recording (probably to replace a passage that is not so well played, or because there's unwanted noise)  . I've seen some purist reviewers on amazon, complaining that some conductors/music player are "cheating" this way (this is rare, don't ask me  to refind such reviews). What do you think of such practice  , would it decrease the "value" of a recording, or it's just  snobbish nitpicking ?

post #516 of 2316

ebm,

 

I agree that listening to just one performer over an entire repertoire is not the ideal choice.  It's a good one when, say, you can get access to a much larger library of the repertoire at a lower price -- the main value of various collections of "all of X."  They're good value for the money.

 

But, ideally, you listen to a variety of different performers, and then develop your own preferences and tastes for one over the other.  Reviews can be interesting, but they don't mean the reviewer's tastes and your own will coincide.  Everyone was a-rave over Richard Goode years ago, I never was excited by his performances; by contrast, I find almost anything Krystian Zimerman does compelling.

 

As to the "pastiche" approach to recording, this can occur for a variety of reasons -- equipment failures, problems in the performance, preferences of the conductor for certain takes over others, balance issues -- all perfectly valid in and of themselves.

 

However, what is lost, in my opinion, is that sense of direction and drive that an uninterrupted performance provides.  There's a build, dynamics, continuity, movement and coherence to a live performance that is all too often lost in more artificially constructed recordings of full performances consisting of various pieces.  I can sometimes even tell what seems to me a full change in "mood" of the orchestra in different sections, I maybe exaggerate, but there can be sections in recordings where I'll listen and think, "gee, that take was made on a cloudy, rainy day, something just went out of the whole orchestra!"

 

On the other hand, one off-key blat of a French Horn, or one that's too loud, can be intrusive, too, so I just end up thinking of recordings as further marks of the conductor's/recording engineer's interpretations of "best takes," and don't worry about it too much.

 

But your points are well noted; and, going against the "I must hear the BEST performance" approach that is all too natural (life is short, and the repertoire is large, and some of us also listen to other stuff, too!), it's often instructive and eye-opening to find a recording that isn't the top-ranked.  They all have their merits, strengths, weaknesses, and there's a kind of Nietzschean Superman attitude towards performance evaluations I sometimes find just a bit too much.  No-one ends up just recording a dispassionate "playing of the notes," and the intention in any recording is worth respect, evaluation and sympathy in the listening.  Your musical knowledge and tastes will only grow if you take a less stringent attitude towards selection of which performance.

post #517 of 2316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post
 

Now playing:

 

 

I got this gem today (vinyl) for two dollars.  

 

OMG Maureen Forrester.  She sounds so... fragile.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post
 

Now playing:

 

 

I got this gem today (vinyl) for two dollars.  

 

OMG Maureen Forrester.  She sounds so... fragile.

 

 

I have a friend who thinks there's no other conductor of Mahler than Bruno Walter worth any listen.  He certainly had a connection to Mahler no subsequent conductors could have claimed.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Walter

post #518 of 2316

I'm no  purist... I just want to hear something genuine. Of course a fundamental respect for the composer's writings is to be expected, but a freedom of interpretation is very welcome... just don't stink it up with ego. Express from the heart. 

post #519 of 2316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post
 

ebm,

 

I agree that listening to just one performer over an entire repertoire is not the ideal choice.  It's a good one when, say, you can get access to a much larger library of the repertoire at a lower price -- the main value of various collections of "all of X."  They're good value for the money.

 

But, ideally, you listen to a variety of different performers, and then develop your own preferences and tastes for one over the other.  Reviews can be interesting, but they don't mean the reviewer's tastes and your own will coincide.  Everyone was a-rave over Richard Goode years ago, I never was excited by his performances; by contrast, I find almost anything Krystian Zimerman does compelling.

 

As to the "pastiche" approach to recording, this can occur for a variety of reasons -- equipment failures, problems in the performance, preferences of the conductor for certain takes over others, balance issues -- all perfectly valid in and of themselves.

 

However, what is lost, in my opinion, is that sense of direction and drive that an uninterrupted performance provides.  There's a build, dynamics, continuity, movement and coherence to a live performance that is all too often lost in more artificially constructed recordings of full performances consisting of various pieces.  I can sometimes even tell what seems to me a full change in "mood" of the orchestra in different sections, I maybe exaggerate, but there can be sections in recordings where I'll listen and think, "gee, that take was made on a cloudy, rainy day, something just went out of the whole orchestra!"

 

On the other hand, one off-key blat of a French Horn, or one that's too loud, can be intrusive, too, so I just end up thinking of recordings as further marks of the conductor's/recording engineer's interpretations of "best takes," and don't worry about it too much.

 

But your points are well noted; and, going against the "I must hear the BEST performance" approach that is all too natural (life is short, and the repertoire is large, and some of us also listen to other stuff, too!), it's often instructive and eye-opening to find a recording that isn't the top-ranked.  They all have their merits, strengths, weaknesses, and there's a kind of Nietzschean Superman attitude towards performance evaluations I sometimes find just a bit too much.  No-one ends up just recording a dispassionate "playing of the notes," and the intention in any recording is worth respect, evaluation and sympathy in the listening.  Your musical knowledge and tastes will only grow if you take a less stringent attitude towards selection of which performance.

I think this is a sensible perspective.

It also gives one the attitude of an ongoing learning process.

 

I've found that many people(although certainly not all) I've met who have definitive views of a performance/conductor often  ally themselves with a broad philosophical perspective(emotional/technical) that bolsters their opinion of what they should like and what is better.Often they will ignore a performance/recording based not on listening but from reading or discussing.This is of course their choice but for me personally I'm curious about music on the macro level. I want to know and feel.....

 

Nothing against reading or discussing though.

post #520 of 2316

So when does expression from the heart turn into stinking ego.. :blink:

 

A conductor (or musician) has a certain vision on a some piece and I like it, love it, don't like it or it leaves me cold...that's about it for me.

 

No need to inflict negatives on the artist's intentions based on your individual taste, it's rather tasteless if you ask me


Edited by Quinto - 11/5/13 at 10:07am
post #521 of 2316

There are a few really shoddy performances, and usually they emanate from the same sources, but thankfully these are the exception. Really great performances are rare too. Most stuff falls in the middle.

post #522 of 2316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post
 

I agree that listening to just one performer over an entire repertoire is not the ideal choice.

 

There are certain performers that stand out far above the rest, and even the least of their recordings are interesting, even if they aren't totally successful... Furtwangler, Stokowski, Toscanini, Reiner, Rubenstein, Heifetz, Richter

post #523 of 2316

I for one, have seen overly dramatic conductors lost in their drama who are clearly not dealing with the orchestra before them.

post #524 of 2316
Quote:
Originally Posted by perhapss View Post
 

I for one, have seen overly dramatic conductors lost in their drama who are clearly not dealing with the orchestra before them.

This was meant to be addressed to Quinto's comments above.

post #525 of 2316
Malfunction
Edited by Origin89 - 11/5/13 at 10:51am
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