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listenlouder
11-01-2000, 09:06 PM
Missa Solemnis is an excellent composition and one that Beethoven spent a majority of his time and energy on. He considered it his best work. My question is why does it recieve so little attention? Also, out of curiousity, does anyone know where the Beethoven manuscript is now housed?

Rod
11-01-2000, 10:24 PM
Originally posted by listenlouder:
Missa Solemnis is an excellent composition and one that Beethoven spent a majority of his time and energy on. He considered it his best work. My question is why does it recieve so little attention? Also, out of curiousity, does anyone know where the Beethoven manuscript is now housed?

Good question Mr. Listenlouder. Perhaps it's too difficult, or not popular amongst the superficial concert-going public. I for one don't know. I have asked the same question of Fidelio in the past, but with Fidelio the answer is perhaps rather more simple, knowing the opera-loving class (generally the lowest of the low).

Rod


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

Serge
11-02-2000, 12:18 AM
Rod, what do you mean by saying the opera-going public is the lowest of the low? I thought anyone who'd see an opera was pretty cultured! (I dislike opera myself, but that doesn't mean anything!!)

Peter
11-02-2000, 12:46 AM
Well Serge, having been to 2 of our most illustrious Opera houses in the UK , namely Covent Garden and Glyndebourne I think I know exactly what Rod means.The whole thing is a society occasion that has very little to do with music and everything to do with snobbery.I am generalising here of course, and I apologise to anyone who actually goes to these venues for the right reasons and the right Operas - Fidelio being one of a few that are worthwhile! I think Rod is also probably referring to the Opera going public's craving for a pretty tune they can hum themselves to sleep with !
There is nothing new in this and certainly little culture.

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'Man know thyself'

Luis
11-02-2000, 05:34 AM
Have you listened Karajan's Missa Solemnis from 1966 for DG? (double Cd with Mozart's Coronation Mass). To me is a very deep and expressive interpretation, but the sound quality so poor! Do you know any other good version but in DDD 20 bits sound?
I'm also looking for a good Mass in C, Op.86 and Christ on the Mount of Olives, Op.85. Any suggestions?

[This message has been edited by Luis (edited 11-01-2000).]

Rod
11-02-2000, 01:03 PM
Originally posted by Luis:
Have you listened Karajan's Missa Solemnis from 1966 for DG? (double Cd with Mozart's Coronation Mass). To me is a very deep and expressive interpretation, but the sound quality so poor! Do you know any other good version but in DDD 20 bits sound?
I'm also looking for a good Mass in C, Op.86 and Christ on the Mount of Olives, Op.85. Any suggestions?

[This message has been edited by Luis (edited 11-01-2000).]

From my experience I am not yet totally convinced by this 20bit sound technology. You need perfect hearing and a perfect hi-fi (I have neither) to get the most from it, so transparent is the sound.

If you are a Karajan fan, I used to have a DDD recording of the Missa done by him in the '80's that was packaged in a gold box with a cross on the front (it probably has been re-issued in a different pack by now I suspect). It was pretty good apart from the lumbering Credo, with good sound also.

For other recordings I can recommend John Eliot Gardiner and the London Baroque soloists recording on Archiv or the Hanover band on Nimbus.

For the totally under-rated Mass in C, Gardiner's other Archiv disk is the choice par excellance.

By coincidence I have Christus in my walkman today. It is a new recording by the Chorus Musicus and Das Neue Orchester, conducted by Christoph Spering (Opus 111 label). This recording also is the first choice for this work, consider no other.

If you buy any of these and don't like them I give you your money back if you can give sufficient justification for your displeasure! However these are 'Baroque Beethoven' period recordings which may not suit some tastes, but are particularly well suited to church music.

Rod

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

Rod
11-02-2000, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

Well Serge, having been to 2 of our most illustrious Opera houses in the UK , namely Covent Garden and Glyndebourne I think I know exactly what Rod means.The whole thing is a society occasion that has very little to do with music and everything to do with snobbery.I am generalising here of course, and I apologise to anyone who actually goes to these venues for the right reasons and the right Operas - Fidelio being one of a few that are worthwhile! I think Rod is also probably referring to the Opera going public's craving for a pretty tune they can hum themselves to sleep with !
There is nothing new in this and certainly little culture.


You have summised my position perfectly, and I am glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this phenomenon. Perhaps the situation is more particular to England than other nations. We are not a true 'opera-blooded' race I think, but then you have to go back to Handel to witness the last good stage music (or indeed music of any sort) written in this country! I could go on to mention the lowest of the lowest of the sub-classes within the opera fraternity, whose derranged personalities verge on the psychotic...

Rod

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

Peter
11-02-2000, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
I could go on to mention the lowest of the lowest of the sub-classes within the opera fraternity, whose derranged personalities verge on the psychotic...

Rod



You must be referring to Wagnerians ! - I think Wagner must be one of the few composers to inspire such madness - that's not to say that I don't admire some of his music - there are some though who regard it as a religion and worship at the Bayreuth shrine. I think the reason for this is that Wagner's music is satiated with passion - and it is a well known psychological fact that uncontrollable passion can lead to insanity.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
11-02-2000, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
You must be referring to Wagnerians ! - I think Wagner must be one of the few composers to inspire such madness - that's not to say that I don't admire some of his music - there are some though who regard it as a religion and worship at the Bayreuth shrine. I think the reason for this is that Wagner's music is satiated with passion - and it is a well known psychological fact that uncontrollable passion can lead to insanity.


Heck, I don't need to think any more Peter, you can do it for me. With regard to Wagners 'passionate' music, I prefer the term overbearing. I've heard Baroque arias that are infinitely more ravishing and erotic than anything I've heard from Wagner, who is a mere amateur by comparison. Passion should be a two way trip, a factor lost in a personality like Wagner, who is stricty and unstoppably one-way. Perhaps this is what causes the 'insanity'!

Rod


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

Luis
11-03-2000, 07:24 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rod:
From my experience I am not yet
totally convinced by this 20bit sound technology.

(Luis)
- All 20 bits CDs I have that come to my mind right now sound wonderfully. It might be coincidence, though, since they might be less than ten, I think.

Thanks for the recommendations I'll give them a listen

(Rod)
However these are 'Baroque Beethoven' period recordings which may not suit some tastes, but are particularly well suited to church music.

I agree with this. It's funny but the first period instrument performance I heard was B's 3rd symphony on TV about two years ago. (and 3rd is not what you can call "church" music, huh!). But in spite of that, I liked it very much. I can't remember the orchestra or director but I would never forget how absolutely weird all that looked and sounded like. All was gloomy: The concert hall was dark and frightful, men in the orchestra were wearing some horrible looong black suits and looong ties, women were on some awful and mourning dresses, while the director looked exactly like the Adams Family butler (I swear it!).
And that horrible and rustic instruments!!! Men! I thought I was on another whole dimension listening to the concert in honor to the judgment day!
To make matters worse they were playing the second movement when I turned the TV on (!). Is this gloomy style common to all period instruments orchestras, they are all freaks if so!
Anyway, I really enjoyed the piece and at once thought that kind of instruments would be perfect for church music, string chamber music or "religious / spiritual / baroque" interpretations in general. (B's late quartets slow movements should sound perfect on them)

I think however that some period instruments sound better than other. Strings sound GREAT to me and for some pieces I can say those "hunting" horns sound cool too. But I don't like the rest of the brass and, the clarinets and tympanis (these last ones are way too rustic and military to me)

I can't imagine the Missa Solemnis "Symphonic power" so well developed on period instruments, but I'll check it out.

Greetings, Luis.

Rod
11-03-2000, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by Luis:

...I agree with this. It's funny but the first period instrument performance I heard was B's 3rd symphony on TV about two years ago. (and 3rd is not what you can call "church" music, huh!). But in spite of that, I liked it very much. I can't remember the orchestra or director but I would never forget how absolutely weird all that looked and sounded like. All was gloomy: The concert hall was dark and frightful, men in the orchestra were wearing some horrible looong black suits and looong ties, women were on some awful and mourning dresses, while the director looked exactly like the Adams Family butler (I swear it!).
And that horrible and rustic instruments!!! Men! I thought I was on another whole dimension listening to the concert in honor to the judgment day!
To make matters worse they were playing the second movement when I turned the TV on (!). Is this gloomy style common to all period instruments orchestras, they are all freaks if so!
Anyway, I really enjoyed the piece and at once thought that kind of instruments would be perfect for church music, string chamber music or "religious / spiritual / baroque" interpretations in general. (B's late quartets slow movements should sound perfect on them)

I think however that some period instruments sound better than other. Strings sound GREAT to me and for some pieces I can say those "hunting" horns sound cool too. But I don't like the rest of the brass and, the clarinets and tympanis (these last ones are way too rustic and military to me)

I can't imagine the Missa Solemnis "Symphonic power" so well developed on period instruments, but I'll check it out.

Greetings, Luis.[/B]

This sounds like a bizarre performance that is not typical, perhaps it was Halloween night! But all music sounds all little darker and more austere on period instruments, because they are typically tuned to a lower pitch, and because of the raw nature if the instruments themselves, which suits me fine.

Their seems to be some contradiction in your review of this performance, it was gloomy and wierd with horrible rustic instruments, yet you really enjoyed it!

With regard to the Missa, contrary to your expectation, it if anything sounds above all others better on period instruments! The 'symphonic power' here is more Handel than Mahler!

Rod


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

Peter
11-03-2000, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by Luis:

I can't remember the orchestra or director but I would never forget how absolutely weird all that looked and sounded like. All was gloomy: The concert hall was dark and frightful, men in the orchestra were wearing some horrible looong black suits and looong ties, women were on some awful and mourning dresses, while the director looked exactly like the Adams Family butler (I swear it!).
And that horrible and rustic instruments!!! Men! I thought I was on another whole dimension listening to the concert in honor to the judgment day!


Some of these 'authentics' do come across as a weird lot - the earlier the music the weirder they tend to look! Ever seen the Dolmetsch family with their Viols ?
'Classical' music in general has one almighty image problem - I'm not suggesting it should go down the pop road (a la Vanessa Mae or dear Nigel Kennedy) but something needs to be done - it is vital to stimulate the interest of the younger generation or in future years we shall have nothing but our recordings and memories.

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'Man know thyself'

Luis
11-05-2000, 06:45 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rod:

(…) Their seems to be some contradiction in your review of this performance, it was gloomy and weird with horrible rustic instruments, yet you really enjoyed it! (…)

No, there is not contradiction. When I said “horrible and rustic” I wasn’t referring to the sound of the instruments but their appearance. About the gloominess it was also part of the ambient (and the performers!). Anyway, if the sound of the instruments increased it, that wouldn’t be bad, specially for the second movement.

Hey, I’ve listened Gardiner’s Missa Solemnis yesterday!. I think I’ll buy it after listening others period instruments versions, which I’m planning to do. Honestly, I haven’t find it as the “best” version of the Missa (I prefer Karajan´s), but since I never consider ONE (the best “overall” version) as the only version I can enjoy, I can find on this or any other good version, interesting things.

This is indeed more darker, austere and, well, seems to be more a mass than mine. Also the voices are more “typical sacred voices”. The sound was sharper while there was some (not too much dough) wide or spatial sound. Was it recorded at a church or something? ¿Is this common to all PI recordings?

It seems to me anyway this is not a “radical” PI version, rather, I find it a bit temporizing. For example, I haven’t noted the so liked to me “sacred air” of the strings taken to the maximum effect (but this could be 1) because my Discman which’s equalization is too low or 2) because in the missa itself the string ensembles doesn’t have much protagonism). Neither I liked so much the violin solo in the Benedictus. The gut strings here doesn’t provide the depth that modern strings does. Now here there is a question on this point. What was the meaning B tried to give to this part? Because, having listening this part on modern instruments I thought there was human’s (not only sacred) deepest feelings involved. That was like a moment between the earth and heaven, a moment of meditation and repentance maybe, but now I don’t know since I haven’t found that aspect on this version. (I’m agnostic my self so this could explain my misinterpretations!).

PS:
About the symphonic power (vg. The opening of the last part of the Agnus Dei or last part of the Gloria) I prefer Karajan here also. All this does't mean I can't enjoy this version, which I do. If fact I'm going to buy it!

Peter
11-05-2000, 11:28 AM
Although not normally a Klemperer fan, I still regard his version of the Missa with the New Philharmonia as the finest on modern instruments - he captures the Symphonic grandeur and architecture.
On period instruments, I thought this recording very impressive - Orchestre des Champs Elysses and the Choeurs de la Chapelle Royale et du Collegium Vocale, directed by Philippe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi HMC 901557)



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'Man know thyself'

Peter
11-05-2000, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by listenlouder:
Also, out of curiousity, does anyone know where the Beethoven manuscript is now housed?

I think it is in the State library Berlin - or if you want the official title - Staatsbibliothek der Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
11-05-2000, 05:40 PM
I always find the violin solo in the Benedictus the most problematical part of the whole work. It's the first section I go to when checking out a new recording and if it doesn't work for me ...that's it! It has been widely praised as a stroke of genius and just as roundly condemned as a miscalculation (like the last movement of the Ninth).
I find the Klemperer version the best I've come across. His soloists are okay but the choir and orchestra are superb. He might treat the odd fugal section like a funeral march but you can't have everything.
Another very good version (I think) is Leonard Bernstein's with the New York Philharmonic. The violin solo comes across very well and is played by John Corigliano (father of the composer).
Incidentally - and at the risk of incurring wrath - anybody have any views on Bernstein's New York Philharmonic set of the symphonies? They had the misfortune to come out around the same time as Karajan's celebrated (infamous?) 1962 set and were always overlooked due to poor vinyl pressings but on CD they have come up well.
The NYPO might not be as polished as the Vienna Phil but the music explodes. I would go so far as to say it's my favourite set!

Michael

Rod
11-06-2000, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by Luis:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rod:

...Hey, I’ve listened Gardiner’s Missa Solemnis yesterday!. I think I’ll buy it after listening others period instruments versions, which I’m planning to do. Honestly, I haven’t find it as the “best” version of the Missa (I prefer Karajan´s), but since I never consider ONE (the best “overall” version) as the only version I can enjoy, I can find on this or any other good version, interesting things.

This is indeed more darker, austere and, well, seems to be more a mass than mine. Also the voices are more “typical sacred voices”. The sound was sharper while there was some (not too much dough) wide or spatial sound. Was it recorded at a church or something? ¿Is this common to all PI recordings?

It seems to me anyway this is not a “radical” PI version, rather, I find it a bit temporizing. For example, I haven’t noted the so liked to me “sacred air” of the strings taken to the maximum effect (but this could be 1) because my Discman which’s equalization is too low or 2) because in the missa itself the string ensembles doesn’t have much protagonism). Neither I liked so much the violin solo in the Benedictus. The gut strings here doesn’t provide the depth that modern strings does. Now here there is a question on this point. What was the meaning B tried to give to this part? Because, having listening this part on modern instruments I thought there was human’s (not only sacred) deepest feelings involved. That was like a moment between the earth and heaven, a moment of meditation and repentance maybe, but now I don’t know since I haven’t found that aspect on this version. (I’m agnostic my self so this could explain my misinterpretations!).

PS:
About the symphonic power (vg. The opening of the last part of the Agnus Dei or last part of the Gloria) I prefer Karajan here also. All this does't mean I can't enjoy this version, which I do. If fact I'm going to buy it!


The other period version I mentioned but the Hanover band is actually my marginal preference over Gardiner, whose Kirie is a little cold, but the remainder is fine. Also the Nimbus sound is more colouful (not that the Archiv sound is bad). These recordings are certainly radical compared to the modern versions I have possessed by Karajan and Bernstein.

Regarding the violin solo, to me it immediatelly brings to mind an angel or some kind of holy spirit descending from above to join in with the procedings. The opening note, played together with the flute is a master stroke - if played correctly is gives the impression of a spark of light suddenly appearing in the heavens. I have no problem with the gut string sound, it means for sure I'm not listening to Nigel Kennedy.

Rod

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

Rod
11-06-2000, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
I always find the violin solo in the Benedictus the most problematical part of the whole work. It's the first section I go to when checking out a new recording and if it doesn't work for me ...that's it! It has been widely praised as a stroke of genius and just as roundly condemned as a miscalculation (like the last movement of the Ninth).

Michael

It seems some people have a problem with this violin passage in a Mass, or at least Beethoven's method of deploying it (the melody being profane). I for one can't see the problem, none other than JS Bach himself did much the same (ie include an obligato violin passage) in the Benedictus of his B minor Mass. Certainly I never get the impression that the spirituality falls away in this section of the Missa, which is the most important issue (the only other one being the skill of the soloist).

Rod



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

Luis
11-08-2000, 06:08 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
It seems some people have a problem with this violin passage in a Mass, or at least Beethoven's method of deploying it (the melody being profane).

Rod




Well that person is definitely not me!! (and I don’t think it would be Mihcael also. If “problematic” this part is, that’s because, being one of the most enjoyable parts of the mass, it has to be very well played!!)

I agree with you about the opening flute – violin trio as a spirit descending from heavens; but, at least in my version, the following part is SO touchingly harrowing -the male part, singed almost in tears- doesn’t give me (an agnostic you may say) the peaceful sounds of the heaven.

Cheers, Luis.



[This message has been edited by Luis (edited 11-08-2000).]

Michael
11-10-2000, 03:29 AM
Yes, Luis, the "Missa Solemnis" is not a very "peaceful" setting of the mass. You sometimes get the impression, especially in the last movement, that Beethoven was an agnostic too. Certainly it breaks many of the "rules" for a proper setting of the Catholic latin text. The words "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church" which are most important to most Catholics are completely rushed by Beethoven so that the words are generally inaudible, while the fatalistic "amen" is nearly the length of a symphonic movement.
B is certainly not as complacent as Bach and Mozart in his attitude to God and maybe that is why you can trust his "spirituality" a little more. I don't think Bach ever portrayed true anguish in his music because he always had the safety net of his religion to shield him. I think Beethoven wavered at times between belief and downright atheism and he won a bigger battle in the end.
That's just a personal opinion.

Michael

Peter
11-10-2000, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by Michael:
I don't think Bach ever portrayed true anguish in his music because he always had the safety net of his religion to shield him. I think Beethoven wavered at times between belief and downright atheism and he won a bigger battle in the end.
That's just a personal opinion.

Michael

I think there are passages in Bach that are full of anguish - e.g. crucifixus from the Bmin mass - Bach's emotinal range and harmony are really astonishing. He is very fond of using dissonants in his music as well as some of the most chromatic writing before Wagner.
I'm not sure about B's 'atheism' either - that he must have had doubts is only natural, but I don't think they were ever that strong as to constitute a full scale rejection of belief in God. Beethoven just did not see religion or God from the Catholic perspective.

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'Man know thyself'

Chris
11-10-2000, 09:20 PM
That was the attitude of the time, it seems. He devoutly received the last sacraments, however, so I wonder what he was thinking in his last moments? Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in seeking truth and that we automatically reject what we believe at first. Perhaps the reality of death shook Beethoven back to his religious roots. I think that knowing that would be impossible at this point, however - maybe even impossible back then. Such things are very personal, after all. There can be evidence either way, based on what he said and did, I think, but I doubt any of it is truly conclusive.

Peter
11-11-2000, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
That was the attitude of the time, it seems. He devoutly received the last sacraments, however, so I wonder what he was thinking in his last moments?

I have to admit I'm always rather sceptical of these death-bed conversions - they do seem all too common and convenient!
I am not a Catholic nor do I suscribe to any particular religion, my views being more akin to those of Beethoven, so perhaps it is hard for me to understand the importance some people attach to this ritual at death.

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'Man know thyself'

Chris
11-11-2000, 09:33 PM
I just think that Beethoven may have been more Catholic than people think these days, and so recieving Last Rights would have been logical. Though he was unorthodox (considering the changing times, that is hardly a surprise) there are just some things I have read make me think he was more Christian than we think. I'm trying to think of some examples... Well, didn't have a couple of Bibles with a lot of notes made in them? Also, didn't he pray with his nephew almost every morning, even later in his life? I think there's a part of human nature that makes us want to be like our heros, and if we think they were wrong about something, we'll rewrite them to make them more like us. People love Beethoven, but he believed in God, and that is not acceptable these days, so now he still does, but in a general way (not THE God). I think this is an unconscious thing, but I think it happens. To what degree, I don't know - I'm not even sure it happened at all in this case. To me, it just does not make much sense to ask for Last Rights if you don't think Catholicism is the way to go. I was just thinking that sometimes death forces people to look at what they believe in an objective way. On one hand, you've got a religion with an unbroken history all the way back to man who started it (Christ), or you've got some random ideas with no form at all (the "generic God"). Maybe the latter just didn't offer enough certainty for Beethoven when it all came down to it. I don't know. He must have gotten Last Rights for SOME reason.

Stephen F Vasta
11-12-2000, 06:14 AM
<<Have you listened Karajan's Missa Solemnis from 1966 for DG? (double Cd with Mozart's Coronation Mass). To me is a very deep and expressive interpretation, but the sound quality so poor!>>

I think part of what Luis hears as "poor sound" is, in fact, the orchestral sonority favored by Karajan - blended rather than sharply attacked, textures homogenized rather than clearly defined,and (alas) the woodwinds in particular slightly out of tune. To my ears, the somewhat murky sound of this DG performance - I know it from the LPs, not the CDs - resembles the similarly murky sound of many other Karajan/DG productions of the mid-'60s.

<<Do you know any other good version but in DDD 20 bits sound?>>

I can't recommend any of the few digital ones I've heard. Levine, as usual, has a superficial intensity and brilliance which quickly grows wearisome. My favorites are the originally-analog versions of Boehm (DG) and Jochum (Philips)

<<I'm also looking for a good Mass in C, Op.86 and Christ on the Mount of Olives, Op.85. Any suggestions?>>

The *only* performance of the Mass in C that makes it sound to me like a great work is the Dresden one under Herbert Kegel, but I don't know if that ever made it to CD. I have the Telefunken LP (am I dating myself?).

Steve

Stephen F Vasta
11-12-2000, 06:18 AM
<<With regard to the Missa, contrary to your expectation, it if anything sounds above all others better on period instruments! The 'symphonic power' here is more Handel than Mahler!>>

If this were a multiple-choice test, I'd pick "(C): None of the above" http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/wink.gif

Steve

Stephen F Vasta
11-12-2000, 06:21 AM
<<Although not normally a Klemperer fan, I still regard his version of the Missa with the New Philharmonia as the finest on modern instruments - he captures the Symphonic grandeur and architecture. >>

Klemperer's may very well be a great performance. I had trouble hearing it through the sonics, which on the LPs distorted and broke up badly in the tuttis, and which I understand has not been significantly ameliorated for the CDs.

Steve

Stephen F Vasta
11-12-2000, 06:25 AM
<<Incidentally - and at the risk of incurring wrath - anybody have any views on Bernstein's New York Philharmonic set of the symphonies? They had the misfortune to come out around the same time as Karajan's celebrated (infamous?) 1962 set and were always overlooked due to poor vinyl pressings but on CD they have come up well.
The NYPO might not be as polished as the Vienna Phil but the music explodes. I would go so far as to say it's my favourite set!>>

I'm glad to hear that CD mastering has cleared up the originally mediocre vinyl sonics, but I doubt that it could have done anything about the basic coarseness of Bernstein's approach, reflected not only in the rough playing of the New York Phil, but in his tendency to underline and exaggerate for effect (which was NOT limited to Beethoven!).

Steve

Michael
11-12-2000, 09:46 PM
Originally posted by Stephen F Vasta:
I'm glad to hear that CD mastering has cleared up the originally mediocre vinyl sonics, but I doubt that it could have done anything about the basic coarseness of Bernstein's approach, reflected not only in the rough playing of the New York Phil, but in his tendency to underline and exaggerate for effect (which was NOT limited to Beethoven!).

Steve[/B]

I said the NYPO were not as polished as the Vienna Phil, but "coarse", Stephen? I don't think so. A bit ragged, yes, but the impression comes across that they love what they are playing, as Bernstein certainly did.
There are hundreds of bland, well-played versions of the symphonies but rarely do you come across such full-blooded performances as these. Maybe the Ninth lets the set down a bit towards the end, but the Eroica, and the Seventh are outstanding.
Michael

Stephen F Vasta
11-29-2000, 07:29 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
I said the NYPO were not as polished as the Vienna Phil, but "coarse", Stephen? I don't think so. A bit ragged, yes, but the impression comes across that they love what they are playing, as Bernstein certainly did.
There are hundreds of bland, well-played versions of the symphonies but rarely do you come across such full-blooded performances as these. Maybe the Ninth lets the set down a bit towards the end, but the Eroica, and the Seventh are outstanding.
Michael



Different strokes, then. I think of the "raggedness" you hear, particularly when perpetrated at high energy and/or volume levels, as sounding "coarse." (Nor is this a necessary consequence of "full-blooded" performing - to take the most obvious example, the strings of Toscanini's NBC Symphony, while hardly alluring tonally, have a tonal focus and unanimity of attack that places them leagues above Bernstein's scraggly New York strings.) And the Seventh is, in fact, one of the Bernstein/NYPO performances I like least, for that very reason.

SFV