Classical snobs - let's do it again

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings' started by wormcycle, Nov 17, 2021.

  1. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    If you remember your posts that were important to you and disappeared, please post it again.

    Let's start with something that J.S. Bach created in response to the attempt to intimidate and humiliate him by the king of Prussia Frederic The "Great".
    Frederic was a flutist and an admirer of the elevator music of the 18th century, the rococo style. He gave Bach the theme to improvise a fugue, he despised fugues, and the theme was specifically "designed" to make a counterpoint treatment impossible. Not to Bach. He build The Musical Offering on the basis of this scheme, the music that is being played long after Prussia ceased to exist. Here is one of the better recordings

    [​IMG]
     
  2. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    Continuing the fugue theme, this is a lovely recording:

    70CB8DFF-549A-49D7-9BAA-B2E6948213AC.jpeg
     
  3. Claritas

    Claritas Friend

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    @wormcycle Thank you for relighting the torch!

    My favorite record of the year:

    DBED559F-71FD-4BCE-8EE1-94CFA75878A1.png

    Last year's favorite:

    F4F2AABD-354D-4520-931E-61729E7236C6.png

    Ólafsson later released a double-disc version called "J.S. Bach: Works & Reworks." I haven't heard it yet.

    And a blast from the past!:

    12568BAF-A1E5-42B2-B2F6-6856B1D48BFA.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2021
  4. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Usually we post
    I have never heard about her, until now of course and yes it is so different than most of the piano recordings that are trying to make piano sound as plucked string instrument, Gould like. She is playing using full power of Steinway grand as it has been build to sound and it turns to be a great way to clearly delineate each voice in the Bach magnificent fugue architecture but without loosing a bit from its beauty. And the recording is remarkable, so easy to listen to the left and right hand separately which is critical in listening to polyphonic music played on the piano.
    Found it on Qobuz, and Goldberg variations, and only stopped listening to write this post,
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  5. Lyniv

    Lyniv Rando

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    I loved the last thread. Thanks for starting this. Anxiously awaiting some good recommendations.
     
  6. mitochondrium

    mitochondrium Friend

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    @wormcycle

    Someone recommended the Kunst der Fuge and I had a listen through Qobuz but I prefer classical music on vinyl, that is why I posted the cover of the LP, I bought recently.
    Glad you like it, I find it eerily beautiful. Zhu Xiao-Mei emerged quite late on the international scene. She spend a lot of time in a camp during Mao‘s Cultural Revolution. She wrote a book about it, in German the book‘s title is „From Mao to Bach how I survived the cultural revolution“.
     
  7. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 13 & 24
    Martin Helmchen - Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
     
  8. nonverbal

    nonverbal Rando

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    @wormcycle Thanks for ressurrection this thread.

    Let me start from the album I'm listening to:
    [​IMG]

    The album is the last concert of Marris Jansons,former chief conductor of Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.He died on 2019/12/1,and he's my favorite condutor;when he came Taiwan,I almost go to every concert of his tour,he(and his band)perform better than in the recording-there's something that microphone cant capture in the air.Lively,top-of-the-world-class ability of ensemble is the judgement of BRSO and Jasons from me.

    BRSO has prepare a Glorious box(Cost 225 pounds I think,I've ordered one but hasnt arrived yet) of his live recording when
    he conduct BRSO.But this album is not included in the box,so I listen this album on Qobuz.The tracks inside are(copied from Qobuz):
    4 Symphonic Interludes from "Intermezzo, Op. 72", TrV 246a (Richard Strauss)
    Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (Johannes Brahms)
    Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 (Johannes Brahms)

    When this live album performing,Jansons is seriously illed,but you cant heard from this album.Instead,the performance still lively and persuaive,Especially the Brahms.Considering this album is the swan song of Jansons,I think the power of Jansons is fully performed in this album.
     
  9. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    So glad for this thread!

    Do any of you have websites you go to when you want to delve into a composer? Like essential works, recommended recordings, going deeper, etc.

    Before lossless subscriptions, when I started getting into to classical, I started buying well-reviewed box sets (lots of DG) on Amazon. But now with streaming, it's kind of intimidating. There is so much accessible!

    Searching any work brings so many recordings... The perfectionist in me misses a library of recordings you play again and again; the explorer finds it thrilling... but I fail to learn to love stuff in the same way (with some exceptions).

    I've used some of the guides on Grammophone website, so that's ok... But I don't know what I'm missing. Any other recommendations of how to explore while sampling the "essential" works and recordings?
     
  10. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    you can check these folks, they are very opinionated but there are some good threads there and you may check "composers guestbook" https://www.talkclassical.com/

    BBC website may be a starting point https://www.classical-music.com/

    On the other side of the spectrum if you want to go really deep, but I am a fanatic of Brahms so maybe disregard this part, this is almost bar by bar listening guide to Brahms: http://kellydeanhansen.com/
     
  11. roughroad

    roughroad formerly mephisto56, Rando

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    I'm somewhat of a beginner in Classical music appreciation. Years back, I had an old Penguin Guide but that unfortunately was lost in one of my many moves. I want to thank @imackler for letting me know about the Grammophone website. Lots of great information there. Unfortunately, thanks to @wormcycle for restarting this thread and to @imackler for introducing me to Grammophone, my wallet has already become lighter. Sigh...
     
  12. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    My favorite version. The video itself is art.

     
  13. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I got a strange idea that to keep my brain alert, I am 70, I need to learn something that I have the least ability and chances to learn, but that I still would be motivated to put a lot of effort into it. Well, I started to study counterpoint, purely from the point of view of its mathematical complexity as it translates into magnificent music of J, S. Bach.
    I found this album on Qobuz. I had no idea who Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, Tommaso Poggi, Luca Simoncini are, in spite of the fact that I consider... Quartetto Italiano to be the best string quartet ever.
    That is definitely the least known and longest recording of the Die Kunst Der Fuge by a string quartet. It s breathtaking, well maybe only for real fanatics like me but who knows, it's SBAF, it is not like I am the only fanatic around here.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
  14. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    What a shame that the modern classical thread gets so many more replies than the thread about actual listenable music. Let's try to bring this thread back to its former glory after that hacker had his way with it. Allow me to post some of my favorite recordings of some of my favorite pieces by the masters of the past.

    Bach:


    Beethoven:


    Brahms:


    Bruckner:


    Mahler:


    I love all these pieces and would be very interested in hearing if anyone else here has a preferred interpretation that's different to mine.
     
  15. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    @animus, I can't speak to everything you shared as I'm just re-entering and exploring the classical world again. However, I will say that over the last week I've been going back and forth between the sets of complete Beethoven String Quartets by different ensembles and my favorites so far are the Takacs (which you've posted about above) and the Quartetto Italiano from their complete cycle on Philips/Decca.



    The Takacs cycle so far seems very consistent and well-recorded, though I note that a few years ago it was remastered and released for a limited time as a boxset. You can find the 24-bit / 48 KHz files on Qobuz for streaming. It's also more of a "modern" interpretation it sounds like, with quicker tempos on average and they aren't afraid to get a bit rough or gritty.

    The Quartetto Italiano has more of a traditional, "romantic" approach. It's an analog-to-digital transfer (as opposed to the Takacs' all-digital recording) and has some inherent warmth. The sound overall is a bit more bottom-heavy (more cello, which I like) and smooth, and they play at more relaxed tempos. I think you may like the contrast.

    I will say though that just yesterday I was listening to the Takacs performance of the sixth movement of the quartet you linked above (while working from home) in tears. I realized that it sounded a lot like a clip I remembered from years ago being played by a German string quartet in an episode of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Turns out after Googling that it was that same movement! Pretty cool.

    Both the Takacs and italiano sets are in David Hurwitz's (from ClassicsToday.com) top five cycles of Beethoven's string quartets, per his recent YouTube review, but they're also often recommended on sites like TalkClassical as well.

    ////

    I can't speak to preferred performances of the other pieces you linked above, though I note that lots of people recommend Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic for Brahms' fourth symphony. It's been years since I listened to it:

     
  16. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    The Takacs quartet were one of the first string quartets I was exposed to with their Bartok string quartet cycle and their late Beethoven quartets, so I have an inherent fondness for the way they play with faultless intonation and tone and lots of aggression when called for. Their Grosse Fuge is one of the few recordings of the work that make it make sense, and it's incredibly rewarding when played that way. I've heard some of Italiano's late Schubert quartets (good Death and the Maiden) but not their Beethoven cycle, despite having it downloaded. I'll give it a listen sometime.

    I'm very familiar with that Kleiber recording of Brahms 4, it was the first Brahms 4 recording I heard and I still enjoy it very much. I posted Markevitch's instead because it's much less well known while being no worse than Kleiber's. Not as sensitively paced in interpretation, but it has a ton of explosiveness and spontaneity that Kleiber typically struggled with on his recordings.
     
  17. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    A couple months ago I wrote a fairly long article listing all my favorite recordings of the 11 (yes, eleven) Mahler symphonies. I had planned to post it on here but never got around to it because my opinions on some of the symphonies just kept on flipflopping and I was never really satisfied enough with it to post it publicly. But I still think it's worth posting because there a legitimately too many choices with all the recordings there are of the Mahler symphonies, and a lot of them, I think, are really bad.

    Rather than write some big formal thing I'll just limit myself to a short paragraph for each symphony if necessary. Otherwise my preferences will be presented without comment.

    Symphony No. 1: Kubelik with the BRSO. There are two Mahler 1 recordings by Kubelik, one on Audite (live) and one on Deutsche Grammophon (studio). You'd think the studio recording would have the better sound, but no, whatever studio the BRSO recorded for DG in during the 60s-70s was pretty bad sonically (Kubelik's entire Mahler cycle and his famed Dvorak cycle are plagued by the same sonic issues). Interpretively speaking, both recordings were made about 11 years apart and there is a decent bit of growth between the two, so it may be worth it to have both for comparison.

    Symphony No. 2: Klemperer with the Philharmonia. There also exists a live recording with the BRSO that some people seem to prefer. I don't, the playing is too sloppy, and the antiphonal strings in the mix of the latest remastering of the recording is definitely something I'd want to keep.

    Symphony No. 3: Haitink with the Concertgebouw. Haitink probably did this symphony 4-5 times, but his best recording is his first one from the 60s. His second one is available in a big box of live recordings from Philips called Mahler Kerstmatinees; that one is also quite good, but the earlier recording is better played and more to my preference interpretively, plus it's easier to find.

    Symphony No. 4: This symphony was a huge part of the reason I never published the original Mahler recordings post. Simply put, there is no "ideal" recording of this symphony by any stretch of the imagination, in part because the quality of the soprano in the finale is so important and also because interpreting the symphony itself is no joke.
    For the former, there is no soprano on record who has sung Das Himmlische Leben better than Netania Davrath, but her recording with Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony leaves a lot to be desired from both conductor and orchestra. In terms of striking a more even balance between the quality of the soprano and the interpretation, I would probably recommend both Ivan Fischer's recording with the BFO and Riccardo Chailly's second recording with the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Neither really trump the other since their interpretations are more similar than different and both suffer from sonic issues (Channel Classics recordings all sound abnormal as hell while the Leipzig Gewandhaus is a really bland and characterless sounding orchestra).

    Symphony No. 5: This was the other symphony that presented a lot of trouble. The main issue is that modern performance practice of the famous Adagietto movement significantly deviates from the performance practices of Mahler and his contemporaries. Both Bruno Walter and Willem Mengelberg took around 7-8 minutes for the movement, while many performances starting in the 60s begin to take 9 minutes or longer. This greatly limits the number of performances I can take seriously for this piece, split between a handful of very early recordings of the work made in the early 60s and prior, and an even smaller number of recordings in the last decade or two that attempt to revive the idiomatic Mahlerian tradition.
    I generally turn to Rudolf Schwarz with the LSO, but that recording was made before the 1911 orchestration revision of the symphony was published, and as such lacks a lot of the changes and touchups Mahler made (particularly in the percussion). For the revised version, the best performance available is probably Chailly and the Gewandhaus again, but likewise the orchestra is just too bland sounding for me to make it my reference in this piece. There’s also Rudolf Barshai with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, but not only is that orchestra not the best sounding, the recording itself also has a lot of editing and processing that just makes it sound artificial.

    Symphony No. 6: Bernstein with the VPO. Though admittedly this is an extremely personal and colored interpretation of the work, and it takes some rather difficult-to-forgive liberties like reinserting the third hammerblow in the finale. For a more normal interpretation I would probably go for Thomas Sanderling and the St. Petersburg PO if you can tolerate the sound of Russian brass. I do wish better alternatives existed here.

    Symphony No. 7: Abbado with Chicago. Abbado recorded this three times, but apparently whatever he got right with his first recording was a one-off and a total fluke because the remakes have none of the special sauce that his original had.

    Symphony No. 8: Bertini with the Cologne Radio Symphony. I also like Kubelik's Audite recording (with the BRSO as always), but that recording just sounds tad lightweight given we're dealing with a juggernaught of a symphony.

    Das Lied von der Erde: Klemperer with the Philharmonia again.

    Symphony No. 9: Karajan live with the BPO. Avoid his studio recording, and every other Mahler recording he made as well.

    Symphony No. 10 (Cooke edition): Dausgaard with the Seattle Symphony.


    Eventually I plan to do write something similar for the symphonies of Brahms and Bruckner, and who knows who else after this, but for now I hope this writeup was interesting and informative and I'm curious to see what performances of the Mahler symphonies others prefer.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  18. Velomane

    Velomane Acquaintance

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    @animus Thanks so much for taking the time to do this.
     
  19. Gazny

    Gazny Friend

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    Any more info on this piece would be great
    Fran López, tiorba
    Manuscrito Saizenay, p. 381.
     
  20. gotflute

    gotflute Rando

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    Bruckner Motets
    If you haven't heard them.... you need to.

    [​IMG]



    Here is a youtube link:

    This recording is very good. I have a flac rip of one that is "better" in my opinion... I'll look it up when I am back at home, as the recording is in FLAC on my NAS.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2022

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