Norrington ... The fastest beethoven condictor ever?
Feb 20, 2007 at 3:15 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

regis helaine

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Just received my new cd of Beethoven symphonies (still looking for the perfect one)
i was always for fast Beethoven conductor but i think for the first time i found a recording with TOO FAST of a conductor.

Norrington seems like he was late for a meeting or something.

symphony number 5
first movement is 6:21 ...most of my other recordings are around 8minutes. (both are suppose to be allegro con brio)
2nd and 3rd are also shorter by 15 to 20% (allegro)
weird thing the 4th movement allegro only and is perfect to my hear

just rip that one for a test drive...will update the mini review of that cd when i went through the 9 of them and compare

almost considering making myself a patchwork of different recordings
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Feb 20, 2007 at 3:37 AM Post #2 of 12

Aaron622

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Haven't heard the recording, but according to Schuller's Compleat Conductor, Norrington generally is at half = 108 for the first movement which is spot-on Beethoven's marking (most conductors trudge through it 20 or so clicks under tempo). In the book he doesn't list Norrington's tempos for the other movements (at least in an easily found chart), but they should be eighth = 92, dotted half = 96 and half = 84 respectively. You'll have to use a metronome to check, but I'd image Norrington would at least try to be close to these marks, not that this necessarily makes it an accurate rendition.
 
Feb 20, 2007 at 1:33 PM Post #3 of 12

DarkAngel

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The conductor who plays very fast tempo for Beethoven and other major composers is Toscanini

His 1952 Beethoven 5th for RCA times in at 29:18 vs 32.35 for Norrington/Hanssler
 
Feb 20, 2007 at 4:28 PM Post #6 of 12

regis helaine

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listening to the 9th right now...same thing...slightly to fast....

tho now that i had more time i begin to see that what i don't really like about that recording it not so much the speed but the too sharp instrument.

For example the violins at the beginning of the first movement do not stay on the note long enough ... (no sure i am clear) i prefer lingering violins especially in that part.....strangely enough it is better later in the movement and i quite like it....
 
Feb 21, 2007 at 9:37 AM Post #7 of 12

lwd

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Aaron622 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Haven't heard the recording, but according to Schuller's Compleat Conductor, Norrington generally is at half = 108 for the first movement which is spot-on Beethoven's marking (most conductors trudge through it 20 or so clicks under tempo). In the book he doesn't list Norrington's tempos for the other movements (at least in an easily found chart), but they should be eighth = 92, dotted half = 96 and half = 84 respectively. You'll have to use a metronome to check, but I'd image Norrington would at least try to be close to these marks, not that this necessarily makes it an accurate rendition.


I can't stand that book! If Schuller is such a great conductor, where are his celebrated recordings?
 
Feb 21, 2007 at 2:23 PM Post #8 of 12

Aaron622

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lwd /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I can't stand that book! If Schuller is such a great conductor, where are his celebrated recordings?


One the best books I've ever read. No where in the book does he discuss his own conducting, and I don't think (unfortunately) many people consider him a great or celebrated conductor. He does have a few recording (mainly on his own label and of his own works), but probably his most "celebrated" would be the companion recording to the book of Beethoven's 5th and Brahms's 1st, which are in my opinion, generally are the best recordings of those works. Also, I think you are pretty deluded if you judge a conductor by the number of recordings he has (C. Kleiber is pretty celebrated but has very few recordings). I can attest from personal experience that Schuller genuinely cares about music and not his ego, which is an extremely rare trait in conductors.
 
Feb 21, 2007 at 3:10 PM Post #9 of 12

DarkAngel

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkAngel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The conductor who plays very fast tempo for Beethoven and other major composers is Toscanini

His 1952 Beethoven 5th for RCA times in at 29:18 vs 32.35 for Norrington/Hanssler



I am not saying you should necessarily buy this version which is part of the complete RCA set widely available, just that Toscanini will have very close to the fastest times for any of the Beethoven 1-9......if that is what you seek.
 
Feb 21, 2007 at 3:26 PM Post #10 of 12

Mark from HFR

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DarkAngel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The conductor who plays very fast tempo for Beethoven and other major composers is Toscanini

His 1952 Beethoven 5th for RCA times in at 29:18 vs 32.35 for Norrington/Hanssler



But Norrington includes the repeat in the scherzo, doesn't he? (It's been a long time since I heard his EMI recording, and I haven't heard the Hanssler.) And also, does Toscanini play the repeat in the finale? I remember him doing the first movement repeat, but not the finale.

Nonetheless, point well taken. There have always been some conductors who favored fast tempos that are close to the metronome marks Beethoven specified. Other good examples include Hermann Scherchen (definitely faster than Norrington in the 3rd and 8th) and Rene Leibowitz.

Mark
 
Feb 21, 2007 at 5:24 PM Post #11 of 12

lwd

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Aaron622 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
One the best books I've ever read. No where in the book does he discuss his own conducting, and I don't think (unfortunately) many people consider him a great or celebrated conductor. He does have a few recording (mainly on his own label and of his own works), but probably his most "celebrated" would be the companion recording to the book of Beethoven's 5th and Brahms's 1st, which are in my opinion, generally are the best recordings of those works. Also, I think you are pretty deluded if you judge a conductor by the number of recordings he has (C. Kleiber is pretty celebrated but has very few recordings). I can attest from personal experience that Schuller genuinely cares about music and not his ego, which is an extremely rare trait in conductors.


Sorry I disagree. I think it's poor form to right a book using colleagues' work as examples (in a negative way) to make your point, particularly in a subjective artform such as music. That's all.

Back on Beethoven... I'm very interested to hear those Scherchen recordings Mark mentioned.... which label are these on? I think when Norrington's first set was released he was really one of the first period instrument guys to do it and he stuck to the metronome markings, almost to make a point. Personally I prefer recordings that breathe, such as Frans Bruggen's. Actually Richard Strauss' recordings are also very fast.
 
Feb 21, 2007 at 5:50 PM Post #12 of 12

Aaron622

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lwd /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sorry I disagree. I think it's poor form to right a book using colleagues' work as examples (in a negative way) to make your point, particularly in a subjective artform such as music. That's all.


I won't turn this thread into a discussion of this book, but for some conductor's a vast majority of his comments are positive. Also, part of the point of the book is that while certain aspects of music are definitely subjective, it's not all subjective and we need to think about things more objectively. In other words if a composer has taken the time to write "sempre p" it is objectively incorrect to make huge swells, and conductors that do things like this are willfully disrespectful of the score. *End rant*
 

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