Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, Sep 11, 2014.
It's a Pleyel, which is a mutant cross between the piano and the harpsichord.
She wanted an instrument with enough volume to fill a concert hall, and Chopin's piano maker obliged.
That explains why I enjoy the sound of her instrument more.
Absolutely cannot stand it. On the other hand, love the harpsichord. Probably helps that I've heard the instrument close up so many times. It's not the world's most phonogenic instrument. Electronics and the harpsichord really don't get along all that well, not like the guitar.
What would be among your favorite recordings on the harpsichord?
Blandine Verlet performing François Couperin. Her complete cycle for Astrée was epic but is OOP and very expensive. Her recent re-recording of selected works of François Couperin [APARTE B007RNJXCO] has the same quality of playing, slightly better audio capture—the original series was a real milestone and set very high standards as regards the selection of instruments and quality of recorded sound. Blandine Verlet's Louis Couperin series for Astrée is of a similarly high standard. The music of both Couperins is untranslatable to the piano, unlike the eneffable genius of J.S. Bach. But as music specifically for the harpsichord, coloristically and emotively, the music of the Couperins distinguishes itself as expressing the soul of the instrument.
(CD CBS Sony 00DC 163-6 first japanese edition 1984)
Went to Tower District Records to get outer sleeves and free LPs. Owner Bob Lambert lets me absorb LPs nobody else in town will consider, saves him a trip to the dumpster. 'One' of the free LPs was a copy of the Rene Lebowitz/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Readers Digest/RCA Victor Beethoven Symphony Cycles in glorious mono, all seven LPs of it. The box looks like it went through WW III but the vinyl is spotless. Just starting with a superior rendition of the First Symphony, plenty of animation and muscle. Closer to Szell than Toscanini and sonically beating both by a big margin. Also free-Bernstein's NYPO Eroica, "Stereo 360" copy.
The big Vladimir Horowitz box The Complete Original Jacket Collection was rereleased earlier this year and I keep wondering if I should get it before it goes OOP again. I've never been able to really enjoy his playing, it left me cold; that said I haven't listened to any of his work in decades and I wonder how I would feel about it now. I'm especially interested in the solo piano works of composers like Beethoven and Schubert, but from what I remember years ago those weren't his forte. Any opinions? And how's the sound quality?
I like his Liszt recordings.
I hate the sound of Landowska's Pleyel instrument. How much do I hate it? Well, I hope to never hear it again in my lifetime. It absolutely grates on these ears.
No. 3 and 4 today. Wow, these are very dramatic and intense performances. I prefer Mr. T's 4th to the highly-praised Klieber version, also on DG, which lacks some power and is less well recorded than the new one.
It will probably still leave you cold. Horowitz excels at flash. I find his Beethoven and Schubert interesting but not a first choice. If I want to hear Rachmaninov or Chopin or Debussy, there's always someone else I'd rather hear.
Horowitz was one of the first pianists I got into. And yeah, he was the master of the flashy style. The longer I listen to him, though, the less I like him. There are some exceptions, though, like his live Rach 3 with Barbirolli (in poor sound on APR CD), his live Rach PS 2 1981, his Scarlatti and his Schumann.
Anybody have this set? Just got it the other day and have listened to the Bruckner 3rd and Schumann 3rd. Very nice, and great sound as well.
Kubelik can do no wrong, imo.
I get tired of the recorded harpsichord rather quickly. My favorite record with harpsichord is The Doors' "Love Me Two Times". A bit over three minutes & you're done.
My old [now departed] boss Joseph Spencer probably schlepped the keyboard to the studio and tuned. He was known for that at the time.
Haven't heard this set myself, but read a few reviews; his Schumann was reviewed favourably, but his Bruckner and Wagner got thrashed; the Mozart ended up in the middle, neither good nor bad, just old-fashioned. For what it's worth. Let me just add that I generally like Kubelík's work.
Them's fightin' words, eh? I have never heard a harpsichord up close. Even at a concert by a small baroque ensemble, sitting halfway back in the church the volume was pretty low. On records a side at a sitting is enough for me.
I think not bombs but anti-aircraft guns. She was recording in Paris as the Germans invaded, and there was a raid during the recording sessions. A couple of other sets I know with similar combat artifacts: "Songs for Free Men," recorded by a group of anti-Franco Spaniards during the Spanish Civil War, supposedly has a break in one side that resulted from a bombardment-related power outage, and in Boult's 1945 account of The Planets with the BBCSO, what is clearly a warplane off on serious business can be heard flying over--ironically, in the Venus mvt.
No wartime artifacts, but a while back I latched onto a multi-CD collection (Sony, I think) of this and that recorded by Wladyslaw Szpilman, of The Pianist fame, the one who was playing Chopin on the Polish Radio when the German warship opened fire on Warsaw, precipitating the world into years of misery. I've not played a lot of it yet, but my impression from the Prokofiev 7th Sta. is that it's good without necessarily being a "go to" first choice set. All the recordings, as I'm recalling it, are post-war, although some not by very much.
I own one--a Zuckerman Flemish III. How I came to is a bit of a tale. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
Years and years back, I went to a benefit sale for a local arts school. Oh, what a day I had. For $1 per volume, I latched onto a complete set of Records in Review, the hardbound annual that from the mid-'50s through 1981 reprinted all the classical record reviews published in High Fidelity magazine; also for $1 per volume, I got all three volumes of The World's Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (affectionately known to us 78 collector types as WERM), the invaluable listing of nearly every electrical 78 RPM classical set or single of consequence ever released; also for $1 per volume, all three editions of The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia, the American prototype for WERM; a big haul of uncommon 78 RPM albums; a heap of old sheet music; and the Zuckerman, which set me back a mere $100. It was one of two such instruments there, each with the $100 figure on a cardboard sign sitting on the music rack, and while another sale denizen waffled about one, I boogied over to the checkout table, plunked down a check for $100, and claimed the other. With the help of one of the sale attendants, I loaded it into my car (at the time, I was driving a small K Car type wagon, which was just big enough to hold the thing), and off I went to my Sunday afternoon work commitment. That night, when I got home, I found that somehow I'd managed to leave the music rack behind, so the next day I called the school and made arrangements to pick it up. When I got there and collected it, I mentioned how surprised and grateful I was to have snared the instrument for such a modest price. Quoth the school person: "We were a bit disappointed about that. $100 was supposed to be the opening bid in a sealed bid auction, but somehow the people running the sale didn't get the word and applied it as a set price."
At the time, I was wrestling with piano lessons as an adult beginner, and I did play on the thing for a while, but eventually I hit the dread Adult Beginner Plateau, other commitments intruded, and that activity fell by the wayside; I haven't played it in years now. A good friend from Atlanta, however, did come up and give a recital on it for the benefit of my wife's piano students maybe 4-5 years ago. It is a lovely sounding instrument, with a rich if slightly tubby bass. I probably should sell it to someone who would give it more use, but I keep thinking some day, once the time demands of fatherhood have subsided, perhaps I'll go back to it and the piano....
Oh, and for the record, I love the sound of a well-played harpsichord. For those who are susceptible to jazz but allergic to the hpd. in classical music, may I suggest exploring Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five? Johnny Guarneri plays harpsichord in some of their cuts, giving them a truly distinctive sound. Another entertaining series of recordings: E. Power Biggs recorded two LPs' worth of Scott Joplin on a pedal harpsichord (a hpd. fitted with an organ pedalboard actuating an extra set of extra-long strings). As he puts it in one of the program note sets, "the music of the saloon meets the instrument of the salon." Certainly not for purists, and certainly no substitute for Joplin's original piano scoring, but great fun nonetheless as long as you don't insist on taking them seriously.
I actually have a 10" Victor 78 of Landowska playing the thing, recorded acoustically (i.e., pre-electronic recording). One side is the "Harmonious Blacksmith" variations and the other is the Mozart Turkish rondo. And if you think recording the hpd. with microphones is challenging....
I like just about all keyboard instruments. I also like most string instruments except guitar ...
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