Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, Oct 3, 2014.
All in the family!
I bought the Harnoncourt's Schubert box a few years ago. It is the best cycle out there IMO ...
Now: Sibelius: Symphony 2, Op.43 - George Szell/Concertgebouw Orchestra - 5 CDs, Decca, Decca and Philips Recordings 1951-1969; disc 3
For some reason Harnoncourt is an artist that has never worked for me. Of course my introduction to his work was by Jim Svejda who dd an entire show devoted to how bad he thinks Harnoncourt is. Here is a quote from that volume of his show "The Record Shelf"
"The music of conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt "is one of the great emperor's-new-clothes stories of classical music, along with the cocktail-piano Puccini of John Bayless, and [soprano] Lesley Garrett, who can't sing but who spreads herself all over album covers in various stages of sexual arousal. [Harnoncourt] is just incompetent. He likes to make ugly sounds. And he's very good at it."
My opinion of Harnoncourt is not nearly as severe as Svejda's but I do find him to be consistently heavy handed in his phrasing and use of marcato. His work tends to feel very stilted to me. I will say this for him though, he does bring a very distinctive voice to his work. He is one of the easiest conductors to recognize by his style.
I find I enjoy his work in Bruckner best of all. I dislike a lot of his eccentric, amusical Bach.
just the opening of movement 1 ist worth the "entry ticket" (IMO)....
Count Nikolaus de la Fontaine und d'Harnoncourt-Unverzagt will not be amused
I purchased and disposed of his Beethoven cycle.
Harnoncourt's interpretations are an acquired taste. I don't have problems with many of his instrumental performances, despite the quirkiness (is that a word?) that creeps in here and there.
Used to have the CD with the great combo of this Sibelius 2 and Beethoven 5.
I have that one too; unfortunately it suffers from the no-noise treatment. It's now in my sale pile; the box I posted above sounds much better.
Also used to have the two in their respective LPs. The Beethoven was coupled with Mozart's 34th symphony, one of Szell's best Mozart performances.
Ok, we are once again out of space. Let's continue here.
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