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Classical Corner Classical Music Corner

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George P, May 29, 2015.

  1. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    I am really pleased to hear this. I'd actually dragged feet buying this set because of the negative "P. Bryce" Amazon review of the newest (but identical contents/mastering?) iteration in the cheapo Sony 'Masters' series. One commenter to this review (Stephen Fleschler, about halfway down the comments stream) even conjectured that the remastering wasn't Marston's. (Because it "couldn't be"?) I've appended the review below and the comment below that, for no especial reason. I'm inclined to believe you, George; it's not like you don't know Marston's work.

    Masterful musician, mortifying mastering
     
  2. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    [​IMG]
    Krenek: VIOLIN CONCERTOS & DOUBLE CONCERTO (Peter & Gabriel Rosenberg, Bamberger, Merz - Koch)

    and

    [​IMG]

    Copland: ORCHESTRAL WORKS 1948-1971
    (Copland & Bernstein - Sony, 2cd, 1991)

    Also some more of the Stravinsky/Columbia box. A disc with The Flood (maybe the only Stravinsky work that I actively dislike?) and Mass (which is lovely and suitably otherworldly...another one to track down more performances).
     
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  3. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I am not sure if the newer version is identical, but I recall that the second issue of the box:

    [​IMG]

    was not the same mastering as the one that I have, and recommend (pictured earlier.)

    So, maybe the new one is a reissue of this one, maybe that is why people are not keen on the sound?
     
  4. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    More info on this set can be found here: https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12361/

    While the review confirms this box is the same as the one I posted earlier in the week (and still recommend), it remains to be seen if the latest reissue uses the same transfers/mastering. I would guess it does.
     
  5. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    Thanks for that info. I could see why Marston would want to go indie:
    Slipping CEDAR in post? These Rach masters are Marston's AMBERSONS! I will probably take a chance on the cheapo new edition. I am not aware of Sony ever spending more time and money sprucing up the sound just for the cheap 'Masters' boxes.

    Tonight's listening was more Stravinsky/Columbia, this time Les Noces and Ragtime. Both interesting.

    Also, something I'd ordered right about the time you guys were talking Dvorak. Pure joy:

    [​IMG]

    Dvorak: SLAVONIC DANCES (Czech PO, Karel Sejna - Supraphon, recorded 1959)
     
  6. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    As for me, Rachmaninoff (through no fault of his own) is a major source of frustration right now. For several months, I've been wanting to play a set of miscellaneous "his own pieces" recordings that Victor issued in a set of 10" 78s, and the thing has gone missing. I know I have it, but it's nowhere to be seen in any of the places where it should be stored or even in places where it shouldn't. :realmad:
     
  7. Wes H

    Wes H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    A nice autumn-like cover on this album of Chopin 17 Waltzes, performed by Tamàs Vàsàry.
    Fine piano sound on this somewhat early DGG album. Copyright 1965, German press June 1966.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Wes H

    Wes H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    That happens to me way too often. I usually find it later, filed in some odd place when my brain was not fully engaged -- such as a Rachmaninoff in with the Prokofiev section and I must have been thinking "Russian" at the time and, well, there it goes. :help:
    Hope yours turns up soon.
     
  9. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
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  10. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Location:
    Northeast
    Always fascinating to hear how Arrau changed his Chopin playing from his early recordings to the Philips recordings. This time new to me was a 30s recording of Ballade in G minor also the IMHO underrated (ahh I now feel like my Steve Hoffman forum membership is complete with the use of that word :winkgrin: ) Beethoven piano sonata 7.
     
  11. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    [​IMG]

    Finzi: ORCHESTRAL WORKS
    (Rodney Friend, Peter Katin, Adrian Boult, Vernon Handley - Lyrita)

    and more Stravinsky/Columbia, this time his 1964 recording of Rake's Progress.

    Also started the Joaquin Rodrigo orchestral music series on Naxos, and I might listen to all ten volumes. Also the two Naxos discs of Artur Pizarro's Rodrigo solo piano music.
     
  12. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    [​IMG]

    Joaquin Rodrigo: COMPLETE ORCHESTRAL WORKS VOLUME 3 (Polo/Ovrutsky, Leon/Castille, Bragado-Darman - Naxos)

    A terrific disc. Superb light music...is it okay to call it this? Not meant as condescension, just pure dancing uplift and spirited gritty playing throughout. A standout in recent listening.

    More Stravinsky/Columbia, this time his ~mid-60s Fairy's Kiss, and a great disc with four conductors (Stravinsky, Copland, Bernstein, Morton Gould) leading their own frequently jazz-derived pieces with Benny Goodman as soloist. I don't know why I thought I'd not be into this disc...it's very-good-to-great. Bernstein's Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs is great stuff and has dated pretty well; in 1949 I think this would have beat 1989 John Zorn at his own game.
     
  13. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    [​IMG]

    Now enjoying this gorgeously played and recorded CD. I have many, many Rachmaninov CDs, but this is probably the one I return to the most.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    Eigenvector likes this.
  14. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    [​IMG]

    Finzi: CELLO & CLARINET CONCERTOS
    (Yo-Yo Ma, John Denman, Vernon Handley - Lyrita)

    Both lovely pieces of music. And also Finzi's vocal music: a 2cd reissue on Decca/Eloquence with Hickox et al; a single disc on Chandos by Paul Spicer and Finzi Singers; Hardy song cycles on Hyperion with Hill/Varcoe; an excellent Dies Natalis by Mark Padmore on an HM SACD coupled with an equally good Britten Serenade/Nocturne.
     
    McLover likes this.
  15. Octave

    Octave Shake Appeal

    An accidentally nice double-bill tonight. More from the Stravinsky/Columbia box, this time Robert Craft's ~1964 Les Noces. This is at least the fourth time I've heard this piece in the past several months, but it took me by extra-surprise this time. I have read some criticisms of Craft's renditions as staid, or safe, or colorless, or something; but this time the piece struck me as especially rough-edged, savage, mystical. Maybe as much my mood as the performance, but it was a doozy.

    And this disc,

    [​IMG]

    Rodrigo: ORCHESTRAL WORKS VOLUME 7
    (Jose Ramon Encinar - Naxos)

    ...for Himnos de los neofitos de Qumran, a rather remarkable piece of mystical exotica. I really liked the last three works on this disc, but Himnos was strange and beautiful, eerie.
     
    George P likes this.
  16. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    The subject of Chopin came up in another thread and I thought we could expand on the discussion here. Here's a few questions we can use for discussion, but feel free to ask/answer your own.

    1. Who are some of your very favorite Chopin pianists?
    2. What are some of your favorite Chopin works?
    3. If you could go back in time and hear any pianist play a Chopin recital, who would it be and why?

    I will answer these questions soon, would love to hear from you guys! :wave:
     
  17. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Oh, surely I can't be the first to reply to this challenge, better than 12 hours later? Well! It's late, but let me offer a few answers to get the ball rolling.

    Favorite Chopin pianists? I tend to have favorites in particular works, not necessarily "across the board." Some that come to mind are Percy Grainger in the 3d sta., Marie Novello in the op. 64/2 waltz, and Rudolf Ganz in the op. 34/1 waltz. Alexander Brailowsky in the etudes, probably because that was my "imprint" version. Cherkassky and Moiseiwitsch, of course, may have been capable of doing wrong, but I have yet to hear any--but then, I have both in pinpoint hits to the literature, not broad brushes. Moritz Rosenthal is another in that category. I agree with you, George, about Artur Rubinstein--his earlier recordings are his best, at least to me, although I can enjoy his later work, too. I know Paderewski draws lots of derision for weak technique, but the man had the style in his veins, and sometimes he really shines, critics be damned. I at least used to enjoy Guiomar Novaes, but it's been a long time since I revisited her, so I can't speak to how she'd fare against my current ears.

    Favorite works--see the preceding answer, when one of the pianists I mentioned happened to be "on." Among the etudes, my clear favorite is no. 1, what my wife says she and her music school companions called "the runaway hymn." Several of the nocturnes, the Krakowiak, the polonaises...well, when you get down to it, probably my favorite work is whatever happens to be playing at a given time. There's very little Chopin that, played sympathetically, doesn't hold me in thrall. (Badly played, now, that's a different matter. I think the only recital on which I ever walked out was an all Chopin affair by some college professor or other at the National Gallery; as I said to my wife, "Bang! Bang! Chopin's dead!")

    As to going back in time, why, Chopin himself, naturally. By preference, with a portable recorder and a fresh set of batteries, so I could document the experience. Just think how many debates over the "correct" way of playing his music could be settled that way!
     
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  18. ubertrout

    ubertrout Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The bagatelles are wonderful pieces. I'm a particular fan of this disc, which has them both orchestrated and in original form:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Location:
    Northeast
    In general I have to say early/mid Rubinstein seems to be the most consistent among the various works so I would have to say he is my overall favorite. And while I now like those earlier recordings more than the later stereo I would still recommend the brown box as an easy one stop shop, cheap way to hear the music in good performances particularly if someone was sensitive to surface noise.

    Now generalizing with older pianists who didn't recorded complete works I still enjoy Horowitz very much. Either his early recordings or some live performances, between the big OJC box, Carnegie Hall and unreleased Carnegie Hall boxes there is some exceptional (as well as some poorly played) Chopin on there.

    @drh I have to agree Guiomar Novaes was a real highlight for me from the Marston Chopin box. A more recent addiction has been the Maryla Jonas box, I find all of the Chopin exemplary except for the Nocturnes, which are not bad, just don't reach the heights of the rest of the box.

    Moiseiwitsch gives a very passionate performance of the Ballades. What little Chopin Horszowski has recorded is usually magnificent.

    Ballades, Preludes, Waltzes, Etudes, Nocturnes hard to pick favorites :) Within them the named pieces are rightfully famous. This is a great video of someone demonstrating in an easy to understand manner why Chopin's music is so great:



    Who to see live? Maybe Josef Hofmann since so many people say he was great live, even though I don't find his Chopin that interesting (brisk, and I don't hear much imagination). Paderewski since he taught many of the greats but another where I don't care too much for his playing on recordings. Leschetizky for similar reasons. Alfred Cortot would be another good choice.

    Sorry that was scattershot thinking and not all that I would be able to write :)

    Regarding Brailowsky I was able to sample Piano Sonata 3, it was a muscular, driven performance, not brought out much of the inner voices; not bad but not particularly interesting either.

    Last night I completed my traversal of Backhaus' mono Beethoven cycle. A rare time when I listen to Beethoven's complete cycle from start to finish in order, it was that captivating (the stereo box is also very good, but I did not get that feeling that I must hear this cycle from start to finish. The last time I listened to a cycle from start to finish was Kempff's mono). Sound quality from the Japan box was miles better than Pristine's downloads.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    When did he record it? He started off in the '30s on Polydor, then shifted to RCA Victor in the '40s and early '50s, then ended up on Columbia. Conventional wisdom is that, like what we've remarked about Rubinstein, his recordings got better as you go earlier. That said, the etudes set to which I referred was on Victor, as was my favorite account of the Saint-Saens 4th Cto., from the early LP era, in which Brailowsky performs with the Boston SO under Charles Munch.

    Incidentally, Brailowsky was considered quite the Chopin specialist in his day, and if I'm not much mistaken he was the first pianist to program Chopin's complete piano works in a single series of recitals, given sometime in the '30s in Paris. He tended to get modified rapture from the big name record critics of the day (and a particularly "damn with faint praise" assessment from Abram Chasins in Speaking of Pianists), but I suspect in part that was because his approach was rather like what we tend to get today, quite "straight" by comparison with the likes of, say, Rosenthal.

    Jonas, by the by, also received less than rapturous writeups in the record guides of the period. I've never heard enough of her recordings to form any opinion.
     
  21. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    @hvbias and @drh - GREAT posts! Thanks a lot for sharing. I plan to do the same for other composers in the coming weeks.

    I plan to weigh in with my answers for Chopin sometime this week, but I want to wait until I have enough time to sit down and focus on this.
     
    hvbias likes this.
  22. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Location:
    Northeast
    RCA Victor is what I heard, this was digital so might have been using the same artwork for some other vinyl release.

    [​IMG]

    I have his Mazurkas Vol 1 on a Columbia LP, I liked it when I last heard it, but I've since heard many more performances of the Mazurkas, sadly the best ones are usually incomplete.

    I have the big Charles Munch box, I will listen to that CD soon. I have gotten deep into a Beethoven piano mood again thanks to Backhaus mono cycle, just when I think I didn't need another Beethoven cycle:

    [​IMG]

    I should have done the same, but I honestly have a hard time remembering opus numbers with very short pieces, but will recognize a piece quickly when I hear it. So doing a detailed breakdown would have taken ages.
     
  23. Hiro

    Hiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Poland
    Now listening to:

    Feliks Nowowiejski's Overture to "The King of the Winds"...

     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018
  24. MrSka57

    MrSka57 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse, New York
    There's a lot to be said for Rachmaninoff's interpretations (even if the sound is execrable).
     
  25. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Chopin works, pianists and recordings that I enjoy - I have focused on genres that I most enjoy by the composer and within each genre I focus only on complete recordings.

    I think Ashkenazy does splendidly with the Etudes, one of the very best, in fact. He has an earlier set on Melodiya that many people praise, but I find the Decca recording to be one of his best. Pollini's technical prowess is put to superb use in his DG recording of the etudes, though I frequently miss the poetry and beauty that is lacking in his recording. Also impressive is the explosive recording of the Etudes by Gavrilov on Seraphim/EMI. And for a modern recording performed in a manner which couldn't be further from the modern style, I like Kemal Gekic. He is a superb pianist, who had already done a stellar recording of the Liszt Transcendental Etudes before later moving onto the complete Chopin etudes.

    Arrau's Nocturnes were my first and still one of my favorites. His playing is gorgeous, with loving care given to every note he plays. The Philips sound is excellent as well. Maria Tipo is excellent as well, well worth seeking out on an OOP EMI 2CD set. Another Maria (Joao Pires) is more dynamic and expressive than anyone that I have heard, with better sound as well. I don't listen to hers very often, but they are nice, kind of an early evening Nocturnes if you will. Moravec's set has been justly praised by just about everyone. His beautiful tone and poetic style makes for some great listening. Rubinstein has three full sets, one from the 30s (my personal favorite by him, mastered by the great Ward Marston and coupled with the 2 concerti with Barbirolli), one from 1949-50 (coupled with the 4 Scherzi) and a stereo version that gets recommended a lot, IMO more because the sound is very good compared to the two earlier sets. Another great OOP set is Wasowski, recorded in 1988 in DDD sound. His is a slower, more introspective take on these pieces that works wonderfully. I have a number of other sets of Nocturnes, but none that really stand out. They are probably my favorite works and I am always eager to hear pianists play them, for I find that they are one of those works that people seem to usually play well. I have yet to hear a terrible set of Nocturnes. I guess the pianists love them as much as I do.

    For the Mazurkas, the aforementioned Wasowski has a wonderful, but now OOP set that I would grab if you see it. It pops up on amazon from time to time. Another pianist I like in this repertoire is Luisada on DG. In fact, I didn't even like these works until I heard him play them. OOP as well, but available on amazon when I last checked. And last but not least, Rubinstein's two mono sets are imaginative. I enjoy them every time I play them. As to be expected, the second mono set has better sound than the first.

    The Ballades are another favorite of mine by Chopin. For these, there are a lot of great recordings. A number of years ago I did a survey of a few dozen sets of these works and I arrived at two favorites. Moravec’s Ballades featured slow tempos, dark piano sound, solid technique and sumptuous piano tone, which made for some special readings of these four works. His playing lacked some of Gavrilov and Zimerman’s drama, but it certainly wasn’t boring by any means. In fact, his set would be my favorite if it weren’t for the very special live recording by Maria Tipo. Her intensity and beautiful tone throughout has to be heard to believed. Considering that all of the above performances were studio creations and, with the exception of Cortot, therefore likely benefited from editing and retakes. The sound of her piano seemed a bit out of tune in the first Ballade, but this annoyance quickly faded into the background as she continued. She was at her best in the third and fourth Ballades, where she played with all the requisite power, along with that special beauty I look for in my Chopin. This OOP Ermitage CD is well worth seeking out. Luckily the Moravec Ballades remain in print and at budget price.

    Speaking of Zimerman, I recently got his set of the Concertos with the Polish Festival Orchestra. The 1999 sound and the incredible performance has made me forget any other version I own. I really think it's that good. And the sound is lovely as well.

    The Scherzos were never a big favorite for me, but Pogorelich's DG recording is great. It came highly recommended and I can see why. His technical facility and romantic style fits these works like a glove.

    I have collected many recordings of the Preludes. Very few of them seem to get most of the 24 right, IMO. As with the Ballades, I did a survey of over a few dozen recordings of this work (the 24 preludes comprise one opus) and found three recordings to stand out from the crowd: 1. Sokolov (Naive)- An epic performance, with the best finale I have heard. Richter never recorded the complete preludes, but I imagine this is how it would sound if he had. A unique and powerful performance. 2. Moravec (Supraphon)- I had previously thought the much rarer, OOP VAI preludes were better than these, but after comparing them side by side, these are the clear winner. The piano tone is clearer and the playing is alternately more beautiful and more exciting. Tempos are more common than many of Sokolov's choices. 3. Lucchesini (EMI) - Definitely a surprise for me, as this one never seems to get mentioned anywhere. However, he is remarkably consistent throughout. The recorded sound is excellent and he plays with great sensitivity and clarity. The faster preludes do not disappoint either. As an aside, I highly rate his complete Beethoven sonatas, recorded live on Stradivarius.

    The Waltzes are not a favorite of mine, but if I was going to listen to them I would likely reach for Arrau or Rubinstein. Unlike the Nocturnes and Mazurkas, Rubinstein only recorded a set these works once, in 1953.

    The Polonaises are also not a favorite of mine, but I'd listen to Cherkassky on DG or perhaps one of the mono Rubinstein sets.

    For a set of the three Sonatas, Andsnes on Virgin is excellent. You get all three sonatas and some Mazurkas and Etudes as well. When I studied the second sonata in college I needed to choose a recording to reference in my paper. After comparing him and Rubinstein, I chose the former. Great youthful playing here in nice 1992 sound.

    For Historical performances of Chopin, I strongly recommend two pianists - Cortot and Rosenthal. Five CDs of Cortot's Chopin have been lovingly transferred to CD by Mark Obert Thorn. They are on Naxos and can be had for cheap through MDT. http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/pages/home/default.asp These are poetic performances that make one easily forget about any technical limitations that Cortot had. People don't play the piano like this anymore and it is for this reason that these performances are even more special. If I could go back in tiome and hear just one Chopin recital, it would be one of Cortot's. Rosenthal also had a special way with Chopin's music. His teacher was a student of Chopin's and his recordings are stunning. They have appeared on Pearl CDs, Biddulph CDs and APR, the latter is still in print, in a box of his complete recordings, all of which are a treasure. https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Recordings-Moriz-Rosenthal/dp/B006ICUJ8M
     

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