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Ludwigvan
03-04-2001, 06:07 PM
I am not a purist at all so very often one recording sounds pretty much like another.
The one exception to this was a recording of the Fifth Symphony I heard once which was conducted by Pierre Boulez. It was much slower than I'm used to and I didn't like it that much. It appeared to lose the drama in the music.
I'm keen on collecting some piano works and violin works. Any recommendations as to artists. I have several Anne-Sophie Mutter already and would welcome feedback from an expert.
Obviously, I like what I like, but I'd appreciate the opinion of an expert as to those artists who are considered as great interpreters of the Master.

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If music be the food of love, then play on....

Rod
03-04-2001, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by Ludwigvan:

I'm keen on collecting some piano works and violin works. Any recommendations as to artists. I have several Anne-Sophie Mutter already and would welcome feedback from an expert.



For what it's worth, on BBC2 they played the entire Beethoven violin sonatas live by Mutter. In my opinion her playing here was awful. A few times I had to switch channels it was so bad. I wonder if she would have been on TV if she was some old crone?


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

PDG
03-04-2001, 06:26 PM
Hello Ludwig (never thought I`d get to say that),

If you are unfamiliar with the complete piano sonatas, string quartets & symphonies (period instruments), along with the best overtures & the Missa Solemnis, then this whole lot can be bought on 3 separate Nimbus boxed sets (26 CDs) for around 70. It`s the best investment you could ever make. All the recordings have been widely acclaimed.

Anne-Sophie Mutter certainly plays as good as she looks!! I think her cycle of the violin sonatas, with Lambert Orkis, is peerless.

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Peter (PDG)

Chris
03-04-2001, 06:41 PM
As much as I hate to agree with Rod ( http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/wink.gif) I can't say I think much of Mutter either. But if you find it enjoyable, that's the important thing. Nevertheless, you should try some others, just to compare.

As for piano - in my opinion, the finest complete set of the Beethoven piano sonatas is Alfred Brendel's latest set. He certainly isn't known for his good looks http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

Serge
03-04-2001, 08:13 PM
Traditionally, Brendel is known as a very good interpreter of Beethoven, and his recordings are nice. Currently, I find Anton Kuerti to be the best interpreter so far of the 32 sonatas (although I despise his slow slow SLOW take on the Moonlight). Hilary Hahn plays an immaculte Violin Concerto, and anything recorded by the London Symphony, Berliner PO, and Los Angeles PO is fine in my books.

chrisg
03-04-2001, 10:32 PM
Originally posted by Ludwigvan:
I am not a purist at all so very often one recording sounds pretty much like another.

That will likely change over time. Pick any familiar work for recording recs and you'll get suggestions that sound very different, "purist" or not.

The one exception to this was a recording of the Fifth Symphony I heard once which was conducted by Pierre Boulez.

Not a conductor many (any?) would associate with Beethoven.

Obviously, I like what I like, but I'd appreciate the opinion of an expert as to those artists who are considered as great interpreters of the Master.


Consesus is the last thing you're likely to find here or anywhere else, even with recordings considered "classics" by the critics. It would be helpful if you gave us an idea of recordings you like or dislike now. Suggestions can then be made along the lines of your current preferences, or for something that will surely sound different.

Chrisg

Ludwigvan
03-05-2001, 10:47 AM
Thanks for the feedback.
In my collection, I have all the symphonies done by von Karajan and the BPO. I have some piano works by Kempf and the aforementioned works by Mutter. I'm interested by the comments on Mutter. Since she was a protege of von Karajan, can she be as bad as some comments indicate? Is there an element here of the fact that she is a looker and hence can't be taken seriously?

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If music be the food of love, then play on....

PDG
03-05-2001, 11:21 AM
I, too, would be interested in why neither Chris nor Rod (you switched over during a Beethoven performance?!) http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/confused.gif rate Ms Mutter. Apart from her flawless technique & adoration of Beethoven, does she not also ooze the kind of sex appeal which classical music so lacks? Young, "trendy" people can relate to her because she looks modern. Much recent comment has been made here about classical music`s image problem. Is Ms M not an asset in this area? We`re lucky; had she become a singer, she`d now be challenging Celine & Britney for magazine cover space! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

If music be the food of love, then let us eat!
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Peter (PDG)

[This message has been edited by PDG (edited 03-05-2001).]

Rod
03-05-2001, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by PDG:
I, too, would be interested in why neither Chris nor Rod (you switched over during a Beethoven performance?!) http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/confused.gif rate Ms Mutter. Apart from her flawless technique & adoration of Beethoven, does she not also ooze the kind of sex appeal which classical music so lacks? Young, "trendy" people can relate to her because she looks modern. Much recent comment has been made here about classical music`s image problem. Is Ms M not an asset in this area? We`re lucky; had she become a singer, she`d now be challenging Celine & Britney for magazine cover space! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

If music be the food of love, then let us eat!

My critisism stems from her playing I witnessed, which I regarded as ugly and tasteless. Certainly in these live performances you could not use the term flawless by any stretch of the imagination. I mentioned her looks only because in the world of classical music as much as elsewhere, a pretty face and a hot figure can get you places even where more relevant tallents are lacking. I've got no problem with the young and trendy, but the music comes first.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

PDG
03-05-2001, 12:16 PM
I taped these broadcasts. How is her technique flawed? Or are you referring to her interpretation?

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Peter (PDG)

Rod
03-05-2001, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
I taped these broadcasts. How is her technique flawed? Or are you referring to her interpretation?


I am referring to everything! Put it this way, I have heard better recordings (both 'modern' and 'authentic') that than these live performances. You may have heard my MP3 of the Kreutzer? This is my benchmark, and Mutter and her partner (who by coincedence is the pianist with the Castle trio who play my MP3 of Op1/3) don't even begin to match it. As usual the pianist is relgated to merely an accompanying role, which just cannot be the case with Beethoven, the pianist is at the very least an equal star. But it may not be the performers fault, I don't think the modern piano can compete with the brilliant tone of the modern violin - with authentic instruments one senses a more equal balance.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

PDG
03-05-2001, 01:21 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
I am referring to everything! Put it this way, I have heard better recordings (both 'modern' and 'authentic') that than these live performances. You may have heard my MP3 of the Kreutzer? This is my benchmark, and Mutter and her partner (who by coincedence is the pianist with the Castle trio who play my MP3 of Op1/3) don't even begin to match it. As usual the pianist is relgated to merely an accompanying role, which just cannot be the case with Beethoven, the pianist is at the very least an equal star. But it may not be the performers fault, I don't think the modern piano can compete with the brilliant tone of the modern violin - with authentic instruments one senses a more equal balance.


So her technique is not flawed? I agree! Re: equality, the programmes did have a Mutter bias, but she was the subject of them. It`s interesting that you mention the less than equal role of the piano here (still nothing to do with Anne-Sophie`s technique), because, of course, it was Beethoven who elevated the role of the violin to be equal with the piano in such works!

BTW, Rod, your Kreutzer MP3 is my favourite.

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Peter (PDG)

Rod
03-05-2001, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by PDG:
So her technique is not flawed? I agree! Re: equality, the programmes did have a Mutter bias, but she was the subject of them. It`s interesting that you mention the less than equal role of the piano here (still nothing to do with Anne-Sophie`s technique), because, of course, it was Beethoven who elevated the role of the violin to be equal with the piano in such works!

BTW, Rod, your Kreutzer MP3 is my favourite.


How can you judge when I say 'Everything' that it means her technique in not flawed!! It's just means I don't know where to begin!! Of course the period instrument version is vastly superior and I am glad you at least can agree. In fact I challenge anybody to upload a superior version of this movement on modern instruments for us to assess!

It is ironic that, as you say, Beethoven elevated the violin part, but today with piano/violin duos, the violin dominates and the pianist is usually just there to make up the numbers. Certainly I doubt if the cameras had turned up to watch Mutters partner!


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

chrisg
03-06-2001, 02:36 AM
Originally posted by Ludwigvan:
Thanks for the feedback.
In my collection, I have all the symphonies done by von Karajan and the BPO. I have some piano works by Kempf and the aforementioned works by Mutter. I'm interested by the comments on Mutter. Since she was a protege of von Karajan, can she be as bad as some comments indicate? Is there an element here of the fact that she is a looker and hence can't be taken seriously?


I have no problem with Mutter the musician, but I think her collabortions with Karajan are pretty dull. In both the Violin Concerto and Triple Concerto with Mutter, Karajan seems to think the orchestra is the show, and overwhelms the soloists with a massive orchestral sound. An earlier Karajan Triple Concerto even managed to neuter Oistrakh, Rostropovich, and Richter, an amazing feat. Karajan did it again to Richter in the Tchaikovsky 1st Concerto, plodding along to a degree that should a crime. All Richter would have needed was for the conductor to beat time up to speed and get out the way. Not to be.

The only other Mutter Beethoven I have are the String Trios with Giuranna and Rostropovich. It's the big boned Romantic approach to B, but I like it. For the Violin Concerto, nobody beats Heifetz for me. His RCA Living Stereo recording with Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony has tremendous power and drive, and the coupled Mendelssohn Concerto is equally great. For the Violin Sonatas, I recommend Francescatti / Casadesus on Sony.

For the Symphonies, I'd recommend you get an alternative to Karajan. He's very good in the big numbers, which can take the huge waves of string sound, but falls flat in 1,2,4,6, and 8. Details just don't come through, they're buried under all those legato strings. For a very different view, try Mackerras on EMI, available at budget price in the U.K. His approach is sort of HIP on modern instruments; fast, incisive, and powerful, with wind, brass, and timpani cutting through the string textures.

It's been a long time since I heard Kempff, but I remember wondering what all the fuss was about. My impression then was that they were underpowered, with fast movements not particularly fast and slow movements that were. Not much in the way of dynamic contrasts either, which added up to pretty bland. For Beethoven con brio, try Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels. These guys play B with power, passion, and soul.

Happy listening,

cg

Ludwigvan
03-06-2001, 09:42 AM
Many thanks, chrisg for your detailed response.

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If music be the food of love, then play on....

Ludwigvan
03-06-2001, 09:44 AM
Many thanks, chrisg, for your detailed response.

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If music be the food of love, then play on....