Dismiss Notice
We are rebuilding the search index and other forum caches this morning. Search results may not appear correct until indexing has completed, and the forum may respond a little slower than normal until this has finished.

Classical Corner Classical Music Corner (thread #21)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by OE3, Jan 18, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Present from my parents, signed by the artist after a concert in Germany ... pretty cool if you ask me. :)


    [​IMG]
     
  2. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Regarding the article about Rachmaninoff in the 1954 Grove:

    I contacted my old Music History professor from college for his take. Here's his response:

     
  3. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    Very interesting post. Thank you.
    :laugh:
     
  4. OE3

    OE3 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, I only came across this Grove quote yesterday. My opinion of Rachmaninoff the composer was formed a couple years ago -- and has only been reinforced upon repeated exposure, so I wasn't aware of such biases against him by old bitchy British pens. There may be good piano writing in the Second (C Minor) Piano Concerto but that tune in the Moderato is a straight gusher, Old Faithful on a stave. It takes a terrific player like Rachmaninoff himself or Richter to make it work, for me, but it's just not something I care to see live or want buy over and over to see how different players make it their own, because I really just don't like the tunes in that piece. There's some rich, saccharin stuff there. Others love Romantic excess. Mahler could be excessive, but it was also fused with a restless, existential, verging-on-collapse kind of neurosis that Rachmaninoff did not have in his works (that I've heard). Mahler also had a turn-of-the-century Viennese tunefulness that is more to my liking, and he pointed forward, not back. For what it's worth, late Romantic Russian music is my least favorite of all the 'major periods': Glazunov, Taneyev, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Liadov, Mussorgsky, Borodin. Russians I prefer are Prokofiev and Stravinsky. Obviously, I am in a minority among music lovers reading this thread, and in general. Whatever the case, Rachmaninoff is definitely not belitted or slighted anymore, he is loved by professors and audiences alike, the C Minor Concerto one of the most-played concertos in the repertoire. I am offering a simple lonesome opinion. Still, I would like someone to tell me what I am missing, my ears may need a tune-up....
     
  5. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Rachmaninoff had the bad luck of having his stuff played in movies..and not too flatteringly to say the least. Some listeners tend to think that his music is limited to the romantic arching melodies that have gotten a bad rap.

    Listen to his Second Piano Sonata for around a week and you will be a changed listener.
     
  6. OE3

    OE3 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm familiar with his solo piano works: Horowitz, Ashkenazy, Laredo, Richter, later Melnikov and Sudbin. I like it better than Medtner! Will listen again to Sonata No. 2 (Sudbin SACD on Bis), but I consistently return to the Etudes and Preludes. Richter is amazing.
     
  7. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Subdin on BIS SACD may very well be my favorite recording of that sonata. :cheers:
     
  8. Rose River Bear

    Rose River Bear Forum Resident

    Blame a lot of players also. Have you heard the Hough set of concertos. No gushy slow tempos there. :cheers:
     
  9. OE3

    OE3 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You know, I have. I found Hough's 2SACD set in a bargain bin for $1.99 a few years ago, obviously a mistake. It is another set that I like, along with Richter 2, Rachmaninoff's originals, and Ove Andsnes's new Third (I actually have several Thirds). Need to break it out and spin it again. Btw, I found a used copy of Hough's 2009 Hyperion Tchaikovsky set a couple weeks ago of Piano Concertos + Concert Fantasia and it opened my eyes to how good those pieces can be. Just when I thought Lang Lang's Live from Lincoln Center Tchaikovsky PC 1 turned me off for good. I had never heard the Second, for instance, and I loved the Concert Fantasia. Hough does not wallow in that set, either, keeps it moving and sizzles with unbelievable dexterity. That Tchaikovsky First can be so unwieldy in the wrong hands. It is a odd piece, structurally speaking.
     
  10. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    Too touch to say it's 'bad luck', if you're saying about 'Seven Year Itch' and 'Brief Encounter', the latter particularly. :)
     
  11. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    In the first sonata, I like Fiorentino and Weissenberg (not the DG recording, but the other one in the GPOTC set.)

    In the second sonata, I like the live 1981 Carnegie performance by Horowitz on RCA. It's a bit over the top, to be sure, but with all that thunder and lightning going on, I find it impossible not to get swept away.
     
  12. George P

    George P Notable Member

    Location:
    NYC
    I don't think so. You like what you like, no different from anyone else. And there sure can't be anything wrong with that.

    For the record, I don't think that anyone has to like Rachmaninoff (or Beethoven or Chopin, etc.) My objection to the Grove article was because they were not being objective in their write up of the composer. Though I disagree with their subjective assessment (and again, this is a separate issue), I would think it just as wrong to praise the composer and say how great he is. That simply isn't up to them to decide, nor is it up to Hurwitz or my old Music History Professor. It's up to us. Like you said, you formed your opinion without the help of the Grove, as did I. We don't need a book to tell us what is good, any more than we need someone to tell us how we like our burger cooked, or even if we like burgers at all.
     
  13. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Indeed, I have this and another one with similar looking CD cover ...
     
  14. coopmv

    coopmv Newton 1/30/2001 - 8/31/2011

    Location:
    CT, USA
    I guess you really cannot compare Rachmaninoff with Leonard Bernstein and John Williams, who also had their works played in movies ...
     
  15. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    Do the Do!

    Rachmaninoff has grown on me, if only a little. My initial impressions of his music were formed by such cultural treasures as Seven Year Itch.* My assumption that Rachmaninoff was some sort of flashy pedestrian hack came from both watching Seven Year Itch and reading a lot of the popular press—Time, Newsweek, Life. Truth to tell, Stereo Review & High Fidelity really weren't all that different. Somehow it was assumed there was something inherently retrograde about the composer's music, it was last century's news. However, I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of notes flying around. The Third concerto, being some sort of technical Everest, attracted me as do all technical Everests for the piano. What really turned me around was working on a Program for the radio program Music From the Hearts Of Space focusing on Sacred Choral music of Russia, particularly that music associated with the Orthodox Church. I heard Rachmaninoff's wonderful Vespers and the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom among other great works by Rachmaninoff for use in church services. Suddenly this flashy pedestrian hack is hanging out, comfortably, with the likes of Grechaninov and Tallis. And the Third Piano Concerto certainly has grown on me, mostly thanks to the perpetually hot Martha Argerich.

    Thing is, I'd still rather hang out with Hubert Sumlin. So there you are.

    * Idiocracy really has something important to say about where this country is headed.
     
  16. Jay F

    Jay F New Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My initial impressions of Rachmaninoff were courtesy of Eric Carmen (though I would not realize it for another decade plus).
     
  17. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    All by yourself? :eek:

    So it appears that you have seen Mike Judge's Magnum Opus—can you believe what he did to Fuddruckers?

    By the way, Rachmaninoff's solo keyboard works don't grab me, not like say Liszt's or Scriabin's or Debussy's.
     
  18. john greenwood

    john greenwood Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    "He has Van Gogh's ear for music" - Billy Wilder
     
  19. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    he wasn't half bad as a writer either :angel:
     
  20. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    If nothing else, this thread has convinced me not to watch "The Seven Year Itch."

    I did like "Brief Encounter," however, though it really works over a piece of music and like "Death in Venice" (with Mahler's Adagietto) makes it hard to dissociate the two. There's an antidote though in the case of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto: Kapell.

    Although I like "Brief Encounter" I also think it is impossible to talk about it without referring to one critic's put-down description: "Make tea, not love."
     
  21. John S

    John S Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    If nothing else, this thread has convinced me to see "Laura". It was on my list a long time ago but I never got around to it. Great theme music (and jazz vehicle too).

    It has also convinced me I should read the Ross book.
     
  22. john greenwood

    john greenwood Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    "The Seven Year Itch" may not be Billy Wilder's masterpiece, but it
    does include the iconic shot of Marilyn standing on the subway grating.

    (Excuse me for getting a little off-topic.)
     
  23. Bronth

    Bronth Active Member

    Location:
    Riga, Latvia
    I only have an earlier Boulez recording made in the 70's with Yvonne Minton. I found it the most digestible among many samples I compared (a close second was the recording in your possession). Not quite proper sprechstimme, and many critics banned it, but some more open-minded listeners mentioned an obvious fact: these "oversung" lines flow and sound like music, whereas many other versions mostly fall to atonal pieces, don't catch all the pitches marked by Schoenberg himself and don't provide such a coherent view of the work. Even the now-in-print Sinopoli, an exemplary recording, falls in the latter category for these ears, so I preferred the old Boulez.
     
  24. SteelyTom

    SteelyTom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass.
    I wonder if there are any Shostakovich fans here..... I see that Pentatone offers a complete SACD cycle of the DS symphonies, under varying leadership (Yakov Kreisberg and Mikhail Pletnev). Does anyone have an opinion of these albums, sonically or musically? I'm particularly interested in Kreisberg's coupling of Nos. 5 and 9.

    Pentatone's engineering has a good reputation, but I suppose I'm wary of its penchant for recording second-tier orchestras and conductors.

    My redbook DS symphonies are mostly Jarvi on Chandos, which I'm mostly happy with (he's quite good in 4 and 10, imho).
     
  25. OE3

    OE3 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Gergiev and the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre are recording a complete symphonic cycle (and The Nose), two SACD's released so far, most recent just last month. Definitely a better bet, IMO, and the sound on those Mariinsky Live discs is awesome, some titles recorded by Newton and Sobotka of SoundMirror in Boston. These are not live recordings, either. They take time to set-up properly, record, patch & edit.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page