Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.
I have many of them and they are fantastic IMO. I have around thirty of them.
Strongly . I have about a dozen of CD's on various Vivaldi works by Biondi in my baroque collection. I attended a Mostly Mozart Festival all baroque concert (go figure!) performed by Biondi and his ensemble at Lincoln Center some 15 years ago. What a great concert!
Thanks, Hans (and the others who responded). I saw some used copies at reasonable prices of some of the titles with lesser known pianists and was trying to decide whether I should pick them up.
Now playing, CD 1:
Edouard Lalo – Concerto for Cello in D minor
Camille Saint-Saëns – Concerto for Cello No.1 in A minor Op.33
Max Bruch – Kol Nidrei Op.47 adagio on Hebrew melodies for cello and orchestra
– Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra – Jean Martinon
Ernest Bloch – Schelomo Hebrew rhapsody for cello and orchestra
– Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra – Alfred Wallenstein
Pierre Fournier (cello) [Deutsche Grammophon]
I decided I really want to hear this mono Mahler First so I ordered another copy. I posted how I ordered it once already but returned it as I received a cheap CD-R copy. I love this Symphony and currently own two recordings of it but after numerous listening and comparisons I am not really satisfied with either. One is the Solti from 1984. Overall this is pretty good but I find the sound a little too bright and with too much volume fluctuation. Some parts are so quiet as to be almost inaudible then it gets so loud in the final movement I literally have to lower the volume a couple notches or my ears hurt. The other version I have is Sir Adrian Boult from 1958 on the Everest label. Again I like the interpretation of this but not the sound. It is OK for the most part but for me it is ruined by loud and overpowering percussion! There are parts with drums and crash cymbals that are mixed way too loud and bright that they overpower the orchestra and are harsh on the ears. I think it is a weird mixing or balance choice. I'm hoping the Walter will be more to my tastes and become my favorite Mahler Symphony No. 1.
These performances are technically very clean, but I don't detect a lot of personality in his playing, a common problem with many young musicians. Very well recorded--he's practically in my listening room!
Sad to say, I feel that way about many modern classical performances. This is probably the biggest reason why I tend to listen to the older masters.
Forgot how amazing the sound & performance of this SACD
Really shows off my meager system. The acoustics of Symphony Hall, Boston really shine.
What you're hearing is dynamic range, and it's something that many other listeners demand in their recordings - it's part of the music. You should consider using equalization settings on your playback unit to lower the dynamic range.
I am aware of dynamic range and appreciate it but in my opinion it can go too far. I don't like when I set my volume for an album to be able to clearly hear the soft parts and then it suddenly gets so loud that it actually causes discomfort to my ears. I own well over 1000 CDs and SACDs and I have only ever owned two where I felt the difference between the quiet and loud parts was too extreme. One is this Solti Mahler 1st and the other is the Dutoit recording of Holst Planets, which I know many people like. I think another problem with these discs is also that they are digital recordings on the bright side, so when the volume gets loud it is even more harsh on the ears. Again it is just my opinion and my system but I don't care for these two recordings so I won't listen to them. I prefer Ozawa for the Planets and will try Walter for Mahler, no big deal.
I haven't seen the 1st symphony live, but when I saw the 2nd, the percussion was be pretty over powering during the crescendo in the final movement. I remember there was a 4 foot wooden box, like a huge cajon. The percussionist playing it a huge wooden mallet, over 1 foot in diameter. He was putting his whole body into hitting the box. Of course, every thing was extremely loud at that point. I was anticipating hearing the organ at the Kennedy Center for the first time. I couldn't pick it out with everything else going on.
It should be mentioned that in the case of classical music, these dynamics are written into the music itself, printed right onto the score. And romantic music (like Mahler) has some of the widest dynamic range of any music. (You may know all of that, but I thought it was worth mentioning for others.)
Fair enough...the only point of doing any of this is the pleasure of experiencing music, and I won't tell you how you should enjoy it.
I've recommended it before, but this release from last year is exemplary - I listened on Spotify after seeing nothing but raves, and on hearing it I understand why.
Listened to this last night...a great reminder that even though Beethoven himself did the transcription, Beethoven's violin concerto just doesn't work on the piano:
Cool thanks for this recommendation I will check it out!
I think this is still the one to beat.
Mahler was the spiritual leader of the heavy metal artists ...
Also worth noting, however: that big dynamic range was intended for concert halls in the days before central HVAC systems, not for small domestic listening rooms with a refrigerator chugging away in the adjacent kitchen at a steady 50 dB level (or whatever), maybe a window unit in the same room, and lots of highway traffic noise coming from a mile away or less. Not to mention planes and traffic helicopters, incessant cell phone conversations, the wife's infernal ever-active TV set ("Oh, I just bought a wedding dress. BOO HOO HOO HOO HOO!" ), microwave ovens whirring away and leaf blowers and car alarms and passing buses and lawn mowers and all the other maddening noise makers that assault the modern home dweller, even the one who strives hard to make that home a refuge. Under those circumstances, getting "written as soft" loud enough to be heard can easily leave "loud" as so loud it blows the windows out.
[Edit] Let me hasten to add, I'm in no way arguing for the introduction of "loudness war" type compression in classical recordings--far from it. What I'm suggesting is that there's an art to making records that narrow the dynamic range just enough to prevent "blown windows" syndrome without spoiling the natural sense of scale that a composer was seeking and that good performers try to project. Or, to put it another way, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, in this case dynamic range, but just because you can have too much on occasion doesn't make it any less of a good thing.
That said, I have an impression--I've never scientifically tested it--that often lesser- or little-known musicians toiling in the trenches away from the "superstar" limelight offer much more interesting music-making than the average from their more publicized colleagues. For example, anybody here ever hear of The Munich Trio? Young (at the time, from the CD cover photo, but this CD is hardly new or anything close) players who really "sell" the Franck first piano trio in a way that would be a credit to any capital-B-Big capital-N-Name performers, but there the youngsters are, as far as I can tell largely unknown, playing their hearts out on a beautifully recorded disc from a defunct label (Calig). Same label brought us pianist Gitti Pirner, no spring chicken, indeed someone who's evidently been around for quite a long time, and who plays delectable Mozart and Mendelssohn, and who again is pretty much unknown to the larger music-buying public. Or how about Jorg Ewald Dahler on Claves, one of the elect few who can (or could--dunno if he's still active) make a "fortepiano" actually sing?
Anybody else have similar thoughts/impressions/experiences?
I disagree. The place to apply compression is at the listener’s seat, not by altering the dynamic range by mastering to a one size fits all standard. A variable dynamic range control built into the user’s pre-amp makes more sense to me.
I live in a rural area in a well insulated home a tenth of a mile from my nearest neighbor. My heating unit and refrigerator were chosen for quiet efficient operation. Much of the the time my ambient noise levels are quite low. In winter, they often measure in the low 30’s dB, A weighted. When traffic is light, there are no vehicles passing my house for sometimes as much as fifteen minutes at a time. At night an hour could pass between cars. At such times, ambient noise goes downs to the low 20’s.
I want all the dynamic range that is written in to the score. I don’t have any recordings that have too much dynamic range for my home. I have plenty that are too dynamic for my car, but not for my home. I say, bring it on.
And you can hear the big traffic rumble around Symphony hall.
God bless it.
What you are describing sounds like loudspeaker/amp distortion rather than the recording itself. Have you tried listening to the recording using a different system, preferably one designed for high dynamic range, low distortion playback (like a professional system for instance)?
Sure, there are modern exceptions, like Kemal Gekic and Sokolov, but I don't know if I see a pattern in terms of labels. In fact, Sokolov is now with DG and Gekic has recorded for some obscure labels.
I am no electronics expert but I think my amp and speakers are of fairly high quality and I doubt they are distorting. In addition I listen in a small room at low to moderate volume so don't push my equipment hard. My amp is a fairly new Creek 55 watt integrated. I would place the blame more likely on my ears which I know are sensitive and were abused in the past.
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